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- 1850 -




Volume III.                              London, U. K., 1850.                               No. ?

   [ 99 ]


Those who have ever thought it worth their while to bestow a glance of inquiry upon the subject, must have been often struck with the intense reverence and veneration which, in many a country locality, is still paid to sundry doggrel rhymes, handed down by tradition and village records, as veritable predictions uttered by some small prophet who has in bygone times honoured the locality with his presence.

Without attempting to enter into any discussion of its question, why the march of enlightenment has yet failed to banish these floating motes of misty divination from the vision of the credulous, it may prove no uninteresting prelude to examine the pretensions of a few of those who have acquired some extended notoriety for their supposed powers in this art and mystery of withdrawing the veil from futurity. There are few who have not heard of one Robert Nixon, the "Cheshire Prophet" as he has been called, and whose ruddy face in the picture title-page of the old storybooks must be fresh in the recollection of those who hare numbered him among the marvels of their childhood. Let us see, for instance, what materials for our purpose can be gleaned from the scanty records his biographers liavc furnished.

A volume just printed for private circulation, and entitled "Palatine Anthology," supplies some curious particulars respecting Nixon. Prom this it appears that John, or Jonathan, the father of the presumed prophet, was a husbandman, who had the lease of a farm of the abbey of Vale Royal, to this day known by the name of Bark or Bridge-house, in tho parish of Over, near Newchurch, and not far from Vale Royal, on the forest of Delamere. The house is still kept up and venerated by the natives of Cheshire, for the avowed reason of perpetuating the place of the prophet's birth, which took place on Whitsunday, in the year 1467, about the seventh year of Edward IV. He was christened by the name of Robert, and from his infancy was remarkable for a natural stupidity and invincible ignorance, so that it was with great difficulty his parents could instruct him to drive the team or tend the cattle. He was chiefly distinguished for his simplicity; he seldom spoke, and when ho did he had so rough and unpleasant a voice that it was painful to hear him. He was remarkably satirical, and what he said had generally some prophetic application. Having displeased a monk of Vale Royal, he added, in an angry tone --
When you the Harrow come on high,
Soon a raven's nest will be.
This is said to have come to pass; for the name of the last abbot of that place was Harrow; and when Henry VIII suppressed the monastery, the domain was given to Sir Thomas Holcroft and his heirs, who bore a raven in their crest. A most elastic allegory, it must be confessed.

At another time he told them that Norton and Vale Royal Abbeys should meet on Acton-bridge, a thing at that time looked upon as improbable; but those two abbeys being pulled down, the stones were used for repairing the bridge, and thus realised the prediction. He is also reputed to have said that a small thorn growing in the abbey yard would become its door; actually fulfilled long afterwards -- at the time of the Reformation -- by the thorn being cut down and cast in the doorway to prevent the cattle that grazed in the court from entering. The advent of the Reformation is, however, declared in still plainer terms. Nixon says --
A time shall come when priests and monks
Shall nave no churches, or houses,
And places where images stood;
Litied letters shall be good.
English books through churches are spread --
There shall be no holy bread.
Sad doggrel, it must be admitted; but, if not written after the event, we are bound to acknowledge it tolerably correct in every particular.

Those who live near Delamere forest point triumphantly to the following triplet, which has been repeated among the oldest inhabitants from a time beyond the memory of man: --
Through Weaver Hall shall be a lane,
Ridely pool shall be sown and mown,
And Darnel-park shall be hacked and hewn.
Now, curiously enough, two wings of Weaver Hall are yet standing; but between them is a cart-road. Ridely pool is filled up and made good meadow-land; and in Darnel-park the trees are cut down and made pasture ground. He is also asserted to have foretold the introduction of broad-wheels and railways; and has predicted that Northwich, now a town of considerable trade for salt, will be destroyed by waters, which is expected to come to pass by the natives of Cheshire as much as any other part of his prophecy has done. Indeed, some urge that it is now taking place; and that the navigable cuts now making are productive of considerable injury to the prosperity of the town. What rendered Nixon, however, most famous was, that at the time when the battle of Bosworth-field was fought between Richard III. and Henry VII., he stopped his team on a sudden, and with his whip pointing from one hand to the other he cried, "Now Richard; now Harry," several times; till at last he exclaimed, "Now, Harry, get over the ditch, and you gain the day." The plough-holder, amazed, related what had passed when he came home; and it was soon verified by special messengers despatched to every part to announce the proclamation of Henry King of England on the field of battle. The messenger who went this circuit related on his return the prediction of Nixon concering tho king's success; which, though it had been confirmed by his arrival, had made it no news to the natives of those parts. Henry sent the same messenger back to find Nixon, and bring him before him; but, at the same the king gave this commission, Nixon was running frantically about the town of Over, calling out that the king had sent for him, and that he must go to court and there be "clemmed," meaning starved to death.

In a few days the messenger passed through the town, and demanded a guide to find Nixon; and then, to the amazement of the people who had before scoffed at his idiotic appearance and odd sayings, the Cheshire prophet was hurried to court, where his lamentations still became more pitiable that he was going to be starved. To prevent this being the case, Henry VII, after a few satisfactory trials of his supposed powers of prediction, provided the royal kitchen for his dwelling-place, and appointed an officer to see that he was neither misused nor affronted, nor at a loss for any necessary of life. Thus situated, one would have thought that want could never have reached him; yet one day as the king was going to his hunting-seat, Nixon ran to him crying, and begged in the most plaintive terms that he might not be left; for that if he were, his majesty would never see him again alive, and that he should be starved. The king, intent upon his expected diversion, only replied that it was impossible, and recommended him more emphatically to the officer's care. Scarcely, however, was the king gone, than the servants mocked and teased Nixon to such a degree, that the officer locked him up in a closet, and suffered no one but himself to attend him. It so happened that a message of importance from the king was received by this very official; and, forgetting his involuntary prisoner in his anxiety to obey the royal command, he set forth, and though but three days absent, when he

[ 100 ]

remembered the poor fellow, he found him on his return starved to death, and thus literally fulfilled his own prediction....

That the present day is quite as prolific as the past in furnishing these small prophets, we need not go very far to discover. Even as we write, there are scattered about the walls of the metropolis, announcements of a series of lectures purporting to be a popular explanation of the "truths and beauties" to be found in the religion professed by the Mormons, or "latter-day saints," and for the support of which there seems to be no lack of dupes and impostors. Many might imagine the sect had been long since dispersed, but this symptom of re-action is strong evidence to the contrary.

The real history of the supposed oracle of the Mormonites, or Latter-day Saints, and known as the "Book of Mormon," is rather curious, and deserves to be related, the more so that we believe it to be very little known. It appears that Joseph Smith, the original leader of the "saints," was a money-digger or treasure hunter, and that he pretended to make his discoveries by means of spells and incantations, the mode and practice of which he communicated, "for a consideration," to others. The success with which he continued this imposition pointed him out as a fit associate to Stephen [sic] Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery, who had by accident become possessed of the manuscripts of Solomon Spaulding, afterwards to figure so conspicuously as an alleged divine revelation. This Solomon Spaulding was a clergyman who left the ministry, and entered into business in Cherry Vale, New York, where he failed in 1809. The discovery of the antiquities of the mounds occurred about the same time, and when he removed after his failure into the state of Ohio, he found much curiosity excited by these relics of extinct civilisation. Long previously it had been a popular theory with certain speculative writers that the aboriginal Americans were the descendants of the Ten Tribes, and, indeed, the theory is not even now without its advocates in the United States. By combining this notion with the recent discoveries, Spaulding hoped to produce a novel, the sale of which would enable him to pay his debts. He resolved to call it "The Manuscript Found," and to present it to the world as an historical record of the first inhabitants of America. As he was a vain man, he frequently read portions of the work to his friends and neighbours, pointing out to them several passages for their especial notice; and his brother, his partner, his wife, and six of his friends have testified "that they well remember many of the names and incidents in Spaulding'a manuscript, and that they know them to

[ 101 ]

be the same as those found in the 'Book of Mormon.'" The manuscript was prepared for press, and in 1812 Spaulding took it to a printer named Lamdin, residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; but before any arrangement could be concluded the author died, and as the manuscript was of great extent Lamdin was unwilling to risk his money on the speculation. The manuscript was lent to Sidney Rigdon, who, on the death of Lamdin in 1826, joined with Smith in palming it on the world as a new revelation. The worthy associates then re-wrote and altered the work, making clumsy additions to it to suit their own purposes; and amongst which will be found the promise that the New Jerusalem should be founded in America, the command that the "saints" should have a community of goods, and the rule that all admitted into the body should receive baptism by total immersion. How in August, 1831, the Mormonites commenced their settlement in Missouri; how, being thence expelled for a series of brutal murders, they migrated in vast numbers to Illinois; how they there founded three towns, the chief of which they called Nauvoo, and how this has been since converted to far better purposes, are incidents that would form an extraordinary chapter in the amazing annals of imposture.

The pseudo-prophecies of Brothers, Joanna Southcote and many others, would well bear enumeration, if only to show how easily and how successfully the imagination of the credulous may be worked upon; but so startling an illustration of the extent to which the love of the marvellous prevails, even in these matter-of-fact days, is to be so constantly found in the advertising columns of the metropolitan journals, that we need not adduce instances more remote. The enormous gullibility of that large-throated monster, the public, was never more forcibly shown than in the success that has attended these manifold traders in the craft of fortunetelling. In return for red showers of postage-stamps, and silver cataracts of sparkling shillings, poured into their laps daily by myriads of dupes, every possible species of divination -- by locks of hair, handwriting, assumed clairvoyance, and astrological chicanery -- is set in operation to satisfy anxious claimants, or to secure fresh victims. There is in addition to all this no abatement in the demand for astrological books; and almanacs professing to map out the events to occur over Europe each successive year, are published annually, and find purchasers.

At the risk of being charged with the commission of a breach of confidence, we may mention, for the especial edification of nativity-hunters, that during an interview we once had with a celebrated astrologer, who had to answer some hundred letters daily upon questions relating to the stellar influences, he then honestly confessed to us a singular facility in guessing; and thus with tolerable accuracy suiting his answers to the character of his correspondents, enabled him alone to get through the immense pressure of epistolary business. And should a parallel case be wanted, we might cite that of the late eminent meteorologist, whose "new system" of predicting the weather for the succeeding year simply consisted in adroitly converting a small coin into a weather-guage, and as he flipped it into the atmosphere from the apex of his thumb, drawing his inquiries of foul or fair from the corresponding indices of heads or tails.

But we are, after all, merely striking a familiar chord in the reader's memory. Everybody knows how prone the mind of the unlearned is to the supernatural. We first learn to listen to, and then believe in, the prophet's self arrogated mission, and watch with breathless interest those vague outpourings that, blown into a soap-bubble existence from the lips of a heated enthusiasm, float over the country as objects of popular apprehension; until, in the process of time, they explode, and mingle with the shadows of the past. The soul of man, strongly imbued with the hope of immortality, pants for an acquaintance with the future; and it is in connexion with this feeling that the human mind is predisposed to receive, forsooth, all the idle predictions that fraud or fancy may originate. In minor matters, although the falsehood may be perceived, it is not the less liked on that account; and the humblest experimentalist in graphiology, or the more ardent votaries of the romantic and the necromantic, may be ranked in the same category with the jealous Moor of Venice, and feel that they, like him, are inclined to

          Doubt, yet dote -- suspect, yet strongly love.     E. L. B.

- 1851 -

Vol. XVII.                                                Richmond,  March, 1851.                                                No. 3.

   [ 170 ]


A Discourse delivered before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania,
March 26th, 1850, by Thomas L. Kane.

Many of our readers will recollect the very entertaining and well written "History of the Mormons," published in the Messenger for November, 1848, in which the crimes and follies of that remarkable people were so powerfully summed up by one who had been himself an eyewitness of many of them. The following paper, which comes to us from a highly intelligent gentleman of our State, will appear in somewhat lively contrast with the "History," but as it has direct reference to a recent treatise on the subject and embodies some further information with regard to the followers of the Prophet, since their removal to California, we do not hesitate to give it to our readers, feeling satisfied that they will read it with interest. -- (Ed. Mess.

In the present condition of Christendom an attempt to establish a new religion by a prophet, claiming for himself a divine commission and the power of performing miracles, and sustaining his authority by the production of a Revelation, miraculously preserved and disclosed, at the first glance might be considered an absurdity, the result of knavery and credulity, that at most would be confined to a few dupes, soon to pass away among the forgotten and unimportant events of the day. But a different fate appears to await the Mormous, or as they call themselves the Latter-day Saints. The sects that are perpetually branching off from the different christian churches, profess only modifications of the same creed, and while they assert no visible supernatural interposition in their own exclusive behalf, acknowledge in all essentials the leading principles of the Christian dispensation, and adore the same holy author of a common religion. Their secessions owe their origin either to questions of church government, which are of expedience, and concerning which views may be taken widely different, yet equally correct, or to subtle doctrinal refinements, that are generally of such a nature as to elude the distinct apprehension of the understanding, and may be termed the metaphysics of religion; and however hostile these sects may be towards each other, they all concur in extending the light and blessing of the Gospel and doing the will of their muster. But the Mormons are isolated. Separated from every other class of christians, (for they acknowledge the Saviour,) they have their own prophet and martyrs, their miracles, and the Holy Book sent from Heaven, to dictate their faith and to prescribe their duties. Nor have they been wanting in persecutions, so necessary to support the pretensions of a new faith to a divine origin.

It is not our purpose to enter into an examination of their tenets or claims to sanctity, but to call the attention of our readers to the highly interesting pamphlet whose title is at the head of our article.

The celebrated Mormon temple at Nauvoo, was, and though shorn of its splendor, still is, the admiration of all who navigate the beautiful waters of the Upper Mississippi. Seated on an eminence whose base is washed by the clear broad river, its white columns shine, as if of Parian marble, and the elegance of its form and proportions, give it, at a little distance, the appearance of an edifice raised by Grecian art in its happiest days. Here they had hoped to found the seat of that Empire which was to extend over the vast and fertile regions of which it is the centre, a true faith and social institutions, more as they fancied in accordance with equal rights and conducive to the perfectibility of man than had ever before been conceived. But these dreams were soon dispelled. They found it impossible to live in harmony with the rough population that surrounded them. Faults, there probably were on both sides, and it is vain to inquire who were the aggressors. Opposed in habits, manners, modes of life and religion, it is no wonder

1851.]                                                          The Mormons.                                                           171

that violent animosities soon existed between them. In that unsettled state of society where the arm of the law is always feeble, a kind of border warfare was kept up, accompanied by robberies and murders, which would have led to the complete subjugation or extermination of the weaker party. The Mormons being outnumbered and pursued with unrelenting ferocity, their prophet Joseph, better known as Joe Smith, was placed by the civil authorities, for protection, as the version is, in the jail of Carthage, in Hancock County, where on the 27th June, 1847, he and his brother were murdered by a brutal mob. A truce was made with their persecutors and a reasonable time was to he allowed them for choosing a resting-place in the distant West, and for disposing of their property before they migrated to their new domicil. The greater part had proceeded on their journey in the spring of 1846, leaving a few to close their concerns at Nauvoo on, when the people of Illinois became impatient of delay and doubtful if the Mormons were sincere in their intention to remove. Excited by renewed acts of violence on both sides, an organized mob made a regular attack on them with artillery, and after killing numbers, forever expelled the survivors from their holy seat. These acts of slaughter and oppression had just been perpetrated when the writer of the address, in September, 1846, first visited the scene which he describes in the following passage:
"I was descending the last hillside upon my journey, when a landscape in delightful contrast broke upon my view. Half encircled by a bend of the river a beautiful city lay glittering in the fresh morning sun; its bright new dwellings, set in cool green gardens, ranging up around a stately dome-shaped hill, which was crowned by a noble marble edifice, whose high tapering spire was radiant with white and gold. The city appeared to cover several miles; and beyond it, in the back ground, there rolled on a fair country, chequered by the careful lines of fruitful husbandry. The unmistakable marks of industry, enterprise and educated wealth, everywhere, made the scene one of singular and most striking beauty.

"It was a natural impulse to visit this inviting region. I procured a skiff and rowing across the river, landed at the chief wharf of the city. No one met me there. I looked, and saw no one. I could hear no one move; though the quiet everywhere was such that I heard the flies buzz, and the water-ripples break against the shallow of the beach. I walked through the solitary streets. The town lay as in a dream, under some deadening spell of loneliness, from which I almost feared to wake it. For plainly it had not slept long. There was no grass growing up in the paved ways. Rains had not entirely washed away the prints of dusty footsteps.

"Yet I went about unchecked. I went into empty workshops, ropewalks and smithies. The spinner's wheel was idle; the carpenter had gone from his work-bench and shavings, his unfinished sash and casing. Fresh bark was in the tanner's vat, and the fresh-chopped lightwood stood piled against the baker's oven. The blacksmith's shop was cold; but his coal heap and ladling pool and crooked water horn were all there, as if he had just gone off for a holiday. No work people anywhere looked to know my errand. If I went into the gardens, clinking the wicket-latch loudly after me, to pull the marygolds, heart's-ease and lady-slippers, and draw a drink with the water sodden well-bucket and its noisy chain; or, knocking off with my stick the tall heavy-headed dahlias and sunflowers, hunted over the beds for cucumbers and love-apples, -- no one called out to me from any opened window, or dog sprang forward to bark an alarm. I could have supposed the people hidden in the houses, but the doors were unfastened; and when at last I timidly entered them, I found dead ashes white upon the hearths, and had to tread a tip-toe, as if walking down the aisle of a country church, to avoid rousing irreverent echoes from the naked floors.

"On the outskirts of the town was the city grave-yard. But there was no record of Plague there, nor did it in anywise differ much from other Protestant American cemeteries. Some of the mounds were not long sodded; some of the stones were newly set, their dates recent, and their black inscriptions glossy in the mason's hardly dried lettering ink. Beyond the graveyard, out in the fields, I saw in one spot hard-by where the fruited boughs of a young orchard had been roughly torn down, the still smouldering embers of a barbecue fire, that had been constructed of rails from the fencing around it. It was the latest sign of life there. Fields upon fields of heavy-headed yellow grain lay rotting ungathered upon the ground. No one was at hand to take in their rich harvest. As far as the eye could reach, they stretched away -- they, sleeping too in the hazy air of Autumn.

"Only two portions of the city seemed to suggest the import of this mysterious solitude. On the southern suburb, the houses looking out upon the country showed, by their splintered woodwork and walls battered to the foundation, that they had lately been the mark of a destructive cannonade. And in and around the splendid Temple, which had been the chief object of my admiration, armed men were barracked, surrounded by their stacks of musketry and pieces of heavy ordnance. These challenged me to render an account of myself, and why I had had the temerity to cross the water without a written permit from a leader of their band.

"Though these men were generally more or less under the influence of ardent spirits; alter I had explained myself as a passing stranger, they seemed anxious to gain my good opinion. They told me the story of the Dead City: that it had been a notable manufacturing and commercial mart, sheltering over 20,000 persons; that they had waged war with its inhabitants for several years, and had been finally successful only a few days before my visit, in an action fought in front of the ruined suburb; after which, they had driven them forth at the point of the sword. The

172                                                          The Mormons.                                                           [March,

defence, they said, had been obstinate, but gave way on the third day's bombardment. They boasted greatly of their prowess, especially in this Battle, as they called it; but I discovered they were not of one mind as to certain of the exploits that had distinguished it; one of which, as I remember, was, that they had slain a father and his son, a boy of fifteen, not long residents of the fated city, whom they admitted to have borne a character without reproach."
He enters the temple and among other objects of their veneration is shown "a large and deeply chiselled marble vase or basin supported upon twelve oxen, also of marble and of the size of life, of which they told various romantic stories." After viewing the wonders of the place, he ascends the river a short distance and there discovers, in a state of extreme wretchedness and destitution, with disease and death for their companions, the starving Mormons who had just been driven from their city. They numbered a little more than six hundred, the remains of twenty thousand that were at Nauvoo and its dependencies the previous year. Of that host the greater part had journeyed westward and those who lingered behind were giving proofs of their enthusiastic devotion to the soil and building of which they knew they must soon be dispossessed.
"Strange to say, the chief part of this respite was devoted to completing the structure of their quaintly devised but beautiful Temple. Since the dispersion of Jewry, probably, history affords us no parallel to the attachment of the Mormons for this edifice. Every architectural element, every most fantastic emblem it embodied, was associated, for them, with some cherished feature of their religion. Its erection had been enjoined upon them as a most sacred duty: they were proud of the honor it conferred upon their city, when it grew up in its splendour to become the chief object of the admiration of strangers upon the Upper Mississippi. Besides, they had built it as a labor of love; they could count up to half a million the value of their tithings and free-will offerings laid upou it. Hardly a Morman woman had not given up to it some trinket or pin-money: the poorest Mormon man had at least served the tenth part of his year on its walls; and the coarsest artisan could turn to it with something of the ennobling attachment of an artist for his fair creation. Therefore, though their enemies drove on them ruthlessly, they succeeded in parrying the last sword thrust, till they had completed even the gilding of the angel and trumpet on the summit of its lofty spire. As a closing work, they placed on the entablature of the front, like a baptismal mark on the forehead,

The House of The Lord:
Built by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Holiness To The Lord!"

Their Exodus is described by the author, an eye witness of what he relates, et quorum pars magna fuit, in terms that make the deepest impression, and enchain the attention of the reader. His account of the sufferings and privations they endured is often too painful to dwell on, but whatever they were subjected to -- whether the visitation of pestilence or want, cold or heat or hunger -- patience, active benevolence, and cheerfulness of temper never deserted them. They moved with order and discipline; and though the loss of life was great, it was diminished by the admirable regulations under which their march was conducted. They often remained, to recover from the lassitude of travel, for several weeks at the same encampment. The following is a description of one of their stations and of the occupations of the sojourners:
"I select at random, for my purpose, a large camp upon the delta between the Nebraska and Missouri, in the territory disputed between the Omaha, and Otto and Missouria Indians. It remained pitched here for nearly two months, during which period I resided in it.

"It was situated near the Petit Papillon, or Little Butterfly River, and upon some finely rounded hills that encircle a favorite cool spring. On each of these a square was marked out; and the wagons as they arrived took their positions along its four sides in double rows, so as to leave a roomy street or passage-way between them. The tents were disposed also in rows, at intervals between the wagons. The cattle were folded in high-fenced yards outside. The quadrangle inside was left vacant for the sake of ventilation, and the streets, covered in with leafy arbor work and kept scrupulously clean, formed a shaded cloister walk. This was the place of exercise for slowly recovering invalids, the day-home of the infants, and the evening promenade of all.

"From the first formation of the camp, all its inhabitants were constantly and laboriously occupied. Many of them were highly educated mechanics, and seemed only to need a day's anticipated rest to engage them at the forge, loom, or turning lathe, upon some needed chore of work. A Mormon gunsmith is the inventor of the excellent repeating rifle, that loads by slides instead of cylinders; and one of the neatest finished firearms I have ever seen was of this kind, wrought from scraps of old iron, and inlaid with the silver of a couple of half dollars, under a hot July sun, in a spot where the average height of the grass was above the workman's shoulders. I have seen a cobbler, after the halt of his party on the march, hunting along the river bank for a lap-stone in the twilight, that he might finish a famous boot sole by the camp fire; and I have had a piece of cloth, the wool of which was sheared, and dyed, and spun, and woven, during a progress of over three hundred miles.

"Their more interesting occupations, however, were those growing out of their peculiar circumstances and position. The chiefs were seldom without some curious affair on hand to settle with the restless Indians; while the immense labor and responsibility of the conduct of their unwieldy moving army, and the commissariat of its

1851.]                                                          The Mormons.                                                           173

hundreds of famishing poor, also devolved upon them. They had good men they called Bishops, whose special office it was to look up the cases of extremist suffering: and their relief parties were out night and day to scour over every trail."
Amusement, frolic and fun, often succeeded misery, and the monotony of a journey over the plains was, on one occasion, relieved by this adventure, at the crossing of the Missouri. They had come with their cattle, amounting to thirty thousand head, to the banks, when they found the river swollen by rains. The people were to pass over in boats; not so their herds.
"They were gathered in little troops upon the shore, and driven forward till they lost their footing. As they turned their heads to return, they encountered the combined opposition of a clamorous crowd of bystanders, vying with each other in the pungent administration of inhospitable affront. Then rose their hubbub; their geeing and woing and hawing, their yelling and yelping and screaming, their hooting and hissing and pelting. The rearmost steers would hesitate to brave such a rebuff; halting they would impede the return of the outermost; they all would waver; wavering for a moment, the current would sweep them together downward. At this juncture, a fearless youngster, climbing upon some brave bull in the front rank, would urge him boldly forth into the stream: the rest then surely followed; a few moments saw them struggling in raid current; a few more, and they were safely landed on the opposite shore. The driver's was the sought after post of honor here; and sometimes, when repeated failures have urged them to emulation, I have seen the youths, in stepping from back to back of the struggling monsters, or swimming in among their battling hoofs, display feats of address and hardihood, that would have made Franconi's or the Madrid bull-ring vibrate with bravos of applause. But in the hours after hours that I have watched this sport at the ferry side, I never heard an oath or the language of quarrel, or knew it provoke the least sign of ill feeling."

"They could make sport and frolic of their trials, and often turn right sharp suffering into right round laughter against themselves. I certainly heard more jests and Joe Millers while in this Papillon Camp, than I am likely to hear in all the remainder of my days."
The author had his full share of suffering. Attacked by the congestive fever, he was weeks almost in a state of unconsciousness, and paid dearly for his love of adventure, by the pains of sickness and the consequent evil of an impaired constitution.

In the course of the year 1848, they had nearly all assembled at their great settlement in the basin of the Salt Lake. This country had been explored by Fremont four years earlier. He described it as forming almost a complete circle 500 miles in diameter and four or five thousand feet above the level of the sea, shut in by mountains and having no outlet to either ocean. From its great features of lofty mountains and narrow valleys, it seems destined to be a pastoral country. The shores of the lake are incrusted, and its waters, in which no living thing exists, are saturated with salt. All the streams, and some of them are considerable rivers, converge to the Lake. Whether the surplus waters pass off by evaporation, or by subterranean channels, has not been ascertained. Late reports state that great whirlpools have been discovered, which are supposed to be connected with hidden drains. Here the Mormons have a fair field for testing their institutions. Too powerful to be molested by any intruders, divided from California by the barrier of the Sierra Nivada, and from the eastern settlements, by the chain of the Rocky Mountains and a wide desert, they have advanced in the improvement of their country with a rapidity hardly equaled by any of our early western population. Prosperity has crowned their labors, and that prosperity has fallen on worthy heads. Every arrival from the plains brings information of some new act of their benevolence, and every votary of Mammon, whose wanderings have led him to their abodes, invokes blessings on the Mormons. While we are writing, our eyes fall on an extract from the Deseret News, containing the part of a letter from Capt. Stansbury, who was engaged in a topographical survey of the great basin. It was said he had been opposed by the Mormons in his expedition, which he positively denies, and after expressing his gratitude for the courtesy with which he had been treated by the President and citizens, he uses the following language:
"Every facility has been studiously afforded us for the prosecution of our duties; instruments of science frankly and gratuitously loaned, and the able and faithful assistance obtained, from their commencement here, of a gentleman, well known as a fearless advocate of your doctrines, and a prominent and influential member of your community. I have deemed it not improper to say thus much, to counteract an erroneous impression against a people, already burthened with too much undeserved reproach."
The same intelligence informs us, that a tax of fifty per cent had been imposed on the sale of spirituous liquors. Buildings they were erecting with unremitting labor; their crops were abundant; their harvest of wheat commenced the 1st of July; and in the enjoyment of plenty, they were pleased to minister to the wants of the needy emigrants. The following is from an address

174                                                          The Mormons.                                                           [March,

from their President, in the true spirit of philanthropy and Christian charity --
"We have been driven here; we have made two crops, and there are hundreds of emigrants now coming here destitute. I say to you, Latter-day Saints, let no man go hungry from your doors; divide with them and trust in God for more; and those who have a manly spirit will give us their blessings. I say, treat every man kindly, and especially if there is any prospect of helping them on their journey. Emigrants don't let your spirits be worn down; and shame be to the door where a man has to go away hungry."
By conforming to such principles they have turned the current of public opinion in their favor. They have completely lived down the calumnies with which they were assailed. Acting the part of the Good Samaritan, they have proved that whatever illusions may deceive their imaginations, their faith, or what is better, their practice, so far as charity is concerned, is all right.

With extended cultivation, and the added comforts of life from successful toil, their numbers are increasing, and have been augmented during the present year by a large immigration from abroad, chiefly from England and Wales. In a land where four or five years ago the foot of the adventurous trapper had seldom made its print, there is now a thriving community with all the arts and elegancies of a polished society. The census, of which the returns are soon to be laid before the public, will show their people more numerous than the inhabitants of some of the States. Their trials seem now at an end, and they are pursuing their course with prosperous gales. The late Act of Congress has enabled them to give to their regulations the sanction of law. The readiness with which they furnished a brigade for the Mexican war, attested their patriotism; and the President of the United States has wisely conferred on the Mormon chief, Brigham Young, the commission of Governor of Utah.

What is to be their destiny, is concealed under the clouds of the future, which even conjecture cannot penetrate. The railroad to the Pacific will probably ascend the valley of the Nebraska, cross the Rocky Mountains at the South pass, and then divide, one branch going to the waters of the Columbia, and the other reaching the Sierra Nivada, after traversing the Great Basin. This vast national undertaking, which is loudly called for by the popular voice, must soon be commenced, and the Mormons will be among the chief laborers and contractors. Whether after a larger intercourse with mankind they will abandon their notions, and suffer them to become as antiquated superstitions, imitating the descendants of the early settlers of the city of brotherly love, in casting off the garb of a peculiar sect, or like the Spartans under the laws of Lycurgus, continue for ages a separate people, it is impossible to predict.

Little is said by Mr. Kane concerning the Mormon creed. The absurdity of the charges of communism and polygamy are refuted by an appeal to their Book of Doctrine. Of the vile and obscene libels that seem borrowed from the history of the Anabaptists at Munster, in the 16th century, he expresses his abhorrence and explains the motives of the libellers. He closes his address in these words:
"I said I would give you the opinion I formed of the Mormons: you may deduce it for yourselves from these facts. But I will add that I have not yet heard the single charge against them as a Community, against their habitual purity of life, their integrity of dealing, their toleration of religious differences in opinion, their regard for the laws, or their devotion to the constitutional government under which we live, that I do not from my own observation, or the testimony of others, know to be unfounded."
It is now too late in the day to consider the Mormons the contemptible slaves of a degrading superstition. They are to take their seats with our legislators in the national councils. Be their hallucinations what they may, let them have our indulgence, and be full credit given to their virtues. In this practical, utilitarian age of ours, let us remember that phrenology, mesmerism. Barnum and Jenny Lind are flourishing among us, and the follies of the wisest claim toleration. Judge of the tree by its fruit, and reflect if the most odious vice can produce results that, in the ordinary routine of life, spring only from unwearied industry and perpetual self-denial.

Every one who wishes to possess an enlarged knowledge of the state of his country, must desire to learn the truth concerning the much-slandered Mormons, and every lover of justice will be pleased to see false accusations repelled. To such we commend Mr. Kane's address. We had selected more passages for quotation, but all who take an interest in the subject should get the pamphlet. The general reader will be carried along by the incidents of the narrative, and the animation of the style; the curious will be gratified by an account of the manners of a singular people; and the honest man will rejoice that the public mind is disabused, and his calumniated fellow-citizens relieved from the load of obloquy by which they have been oppressed.

Eliza Cook's Journal
(London: Vol. II. Nos. 55 & 56)

  • 1850: May 18
      "The Mormons (1)"

  • 1850: May 25
      "The Mormons (2)"

  •    An interesting article from a
       poetic British journal.

        Transcriber's Comments

    [ 45 ]


    Vol. III.                   London,  Saturday,  May 18, 1850.                   No. 55.


    The formation of a Mormon State in the upper part of California, under the name of "Deseret," which, it is probable, will shortly be admitted into the American Union, has again directed public attention towards this extraordinary sect. That an entirely new religious body should have sprung up, and attracted around it, within a few years, a host of zealots sufficiently numerous to constitute themselves into an independent State; that this body should have been drawn together, not from Red Indiana, nor Yankee enthusiasts, nor Mexican hunters, nor Canadian trappers, but, like the followers of Thom, of Canterbury, mainly from out of the bosom of our own English church, is one of the most startling of all the illustrations of the boasted march of intellect in this nineteenth century. It is true, Joe Smith, the prophet, was a cute Yankee, bred and born; but the ranks of the Mormonites, or "Latter Day Saints," are now recruited chiefly from the small farmers, the country artisans, and shopkeepers of England, who flock towards the standard of "the faithful," carrying with them capital, industry, energy, and character, whatever may be said of their mental discernment, or religious perceptions. We have now in England a large body of Mormonite missionaries constantly at work, much more zealous in their operations than those who have better things to teach; and every year sees an increasing number of Mormon converts leaving our shores to join the general body in the far distant wilds of California. Under such circumstances, a sketch of the rise and history of the Mormon faith may not be uninteresting to our readers.

    Joe Smith, the founder of the sect, was horn in 1805, at Sharon, in the New England State of Vermont. About ten years after, his parents removed to the neighborhood of Palmyra, in the State of New York, where they lived for several years. Joe grew up with the tastes and habits of a "loafer;" he was an idle lounger at drinking-shops; ignorant, uneducated, coarse, and vicious. He did no work, unless it was an occasional stroke at "money-digging," searching for hidden treasure, the favourite pursuit of vagabonds in every age. What had first turned his attention to the project of founding a religious sect is not known; but, in the story of himself, which he afterwards gave to the world, he averred that the Spirit of the Lord found him at Palmyra, at the age of fourteen or fifteen, and awakened him to religious thoughts by a miraculous vision. A subsequent revelation, in 1823, disclosed to him that he was "chosen of God" as the instrument of a new dispensation—a dispensation which should fulfil and complete those heretofore vouchsafed in the Old and New Testaments. He was informed that the American Indians were a remnant of Israel, a branch of the tribe of Joseph: that they had been conducted to this country a civilized people, possessed of the true religion, and favoured of the Almighty: that they walked not in the ways of the Lord, but fell into all manner of wicked courses, and massacred one another in endless wars: that, at last, they were almost exterminated in a great battle, at a hill called "Cumorah," 200 miles west of Albany, in the State of New York, and not far from Joe's residence in Palmyra: and that the survivors degenerated into the savage tribes, whom the Europeans found in possession of the country. It was further "revealed,' to him, that the ancient records of this people, which had been kept from time to time by their Seers and Prophets, were saved by Divine Providence, and "hid up" in the hill Cumorah, A.D. 420, by Moroni, the son of Mormon: that, in due time, these records should be entrusted to him, and he should be enabled, by inspiration, to translate and publish them to the world: and that, through his agency, the kingdom of "The Latter Day Saints" should be established, the New Jerusalem built up, and the whole earth prepared for the final coming of Christ.

    After many alleged premonitory visions, the sacred plates were at last committed to this Moses of the Latter Day Covenant. With them he received a pair of spectacles, by the aid of which he was to interpret the records -- these spectacles Joe designated "Urim and Thummim." The sacred plates were said to be of gold, seven or eight inches square, scarcely so thick as common tin, I hound together like a hook, and secured by three rings running through one side or edge of the plates; the book being six inches thick. The plates were covered with Egyptian characters. After his establishment at Nauvoo (of which hereafter) Joe procured some Egyptian mummies, and caused several sheets of papyrus, carved with hieroglyphics, to be framed with glass, like pictures. His mother, then in her dotage, kept these as an exhibition, and explained to visitors, -- who always paid a gratuity -- the history of "King Pharaoh, his wife, and daughter" (being the mummies there present), and their connection with the children of Israel and the Latter Day Saints; her accounts of the Egyptian characters, would certainly have astounded the learned historians of Europe and Asia!

    To return: Joe commenced the work of translation of the plates, which, after considerable delay, was at length accomplished, and an edition of 1,200 copies of the "Book of Mormon," was published at Palmyra, New York, in 1830. Such is the date of this new bible of the Mormon prophet. Another edition was afterwards published in England, at Liverpool, under the auspices of three of the Brethren there. This Mormon bible contains the 1st and 2nd hooks of Nephi, the hooks of Jacob, Enos, Jarom, Omni, the words of Mormon, and the hooks of Mosiah, Zeniff, Alma, Helaman, Nephi (the second), Mormon, Ether, and Moroni. The whole is a prosy and awkward imitation of the Old Testament in subject, matter, and style; abounding in had grammar, verbose trifling, puerile conceits, stolen incidents, and palpable anachronisms.

    There is every reason to believe that Joe Smith got the idea and most of the materials of his hook, from a manuscript composed by the Rev. Solomon Spalding, some time a Congregational minister at Mason [sic], Massachusetts, and also the head of an academy at that place, but who afterwards removed to New Salem, in Ohio, in 1812. While there, he regarded with much curiosity the antiquities found in that State, and indulged in speculations about their origin. At length he conceived the idea of writing a scriptural romance; taking up the lost tribes of Israel, removing them to America, and deducing for them an imaginary history. The Book of Mormon was the result; and, while composing it, he often read portions of it to his wife and friends. At Pittsburg, Philadelphia, to which he afterwards removed, the manuscript was for some time in the hands of a Mr. Patterson, the editor of a paper there; and, by him, was shown about, without

    [ 46 ]

    any reserve. Among others, Sydney Rigdon, a compositor, read, and had abundant opportunities of copying the manuscript, which was afterwards returned to Mr. Spalding, who died in 1816.

    Many years after, in the year 1828, Rigdon was working at his trade in Palmyra, when the public began to hear rumours of Joe Smith's golden plates, and Rigdon shortly after joined him, when he assisted in "the translation "until the date of its publication, and continued one of the most zealous coadjutors of "the Prophet" until near his death. The people of New Salem, however, in the year 1834, were in no small degree surprised to hear certain passages read from the Book of Mormon by a female preacher, which they at once recognised as parts of the deceased Mr. Spalding's manuscript. His own brother was one of the audience. A public meeting was held, and a committee appointed to visit Mrs. Spalding (now Mrs. Davison) and compare the new revelations with the old romance. It was done accordingly, and the identity of the two fully established. Mrs. Davison published, in 1839, a narrative of the whole history of her husband’s manuscript; and its truth is attested by many credible witnesses. The only unaccountable thing about it is, that a minister of the gospel should have written such an amount of trash, and found people patient enough to listen to its reading. The names of Mormon and Moroni have been sometimes referred to in confirmation of this story. The first is a Greek work, meaning a frightful mask, or, as children call it, a "false-face," or "scareface." The latter is supposed to be an anomalous formation from the Greek, moros, signifying a fool.

    Joe Smith, however, succeeded in getting his Book published, and his scheme fairly launched. He obtained converts, the earliest of no greater reputation than himself; but, by degrees, others of higher standing joined him, -- some from hopes of profit, others of influence. Missionaries were set to work, who found a ready audience. Novelty, curiosity, love of change, discontent, and the love of the marvellous, attracted many. The scriptural phraseology of the new religion excited anew the slumbering spirit of fanaticism in New England; prophecies were hazarded, miracles were promised, the gift of tongues was preached, the power of casting out devils was vouchsafed, and a divine protection was offered against the poison of serpents and the assaults of wild beasts; while all other existing teachers of religion were denounced as impostors and false guides. Such doctrines, preached with zeal, will not fail to attract a large number of ignorant persons in any community; and, accordingly, the doctrines of Joe Smith prospered.

    "The rebuilding of Zion" was one of his grand dreams; but the Prophet made many mistakes as to its site. Palmyra was its first location, next Kirtland in Ohio, then in Missouri, afterwards at Nauvoo in Illinois, and from thence the Mormonites have wandered into the Californian wilds, but still growing in numbers at every stage of their wanderings. As yet, all the prophecies have failed; yet, still the faithful have hope. "The church "is full of zeal, and the missionaries are eager. It was observed that, wherever Joe and his followers pitched their camp, as being the spot on which Zion was to be rebuilt, there the land was rich, and the prospects of increase great. They never, by any accident, alighted on a barren spot, but selected fertile lands, great "water privileges," and a location abounding in wealthy settlers, enabling the Saints to "milk the Gentiles," as the process of sucking them was facetiously termed in the revelations of Joe. In Kirtland, they established a hank, the Prophet being president, and Sidney Rigdon cashier. It was established in obedience to one of Joe Smith's "Revelations given in Zion, July, 1831," wherein Sidney Gilbert was divinely "appointed to receive monies," Edward Partridge "to divide the Saints their inheritance;" the aforesaid Sidney Gilbert furthermore to "establish a store," "that he may obtain money to buy lands for the good of the Saints," and with that view, to "obtain a license, that he may send goods also unto the people;" and, finally, it appointed, in Verse 5, as follows: -- And, again, verily I say unto you, let my servant, William W. Phelps, be planted in this place, and be established as a printer unto the church," &c. These revelations of the Prophet were generally a strong exposition to the Saints "to mind the main chance;" which they were not slow to lay to heart. But the Kirtland Bank fared no better than the Heathen Banks around it; the country was flooded with its paper, while the hank vaults were innocent of specie. The holders of the notes never got a farthing; and The Saints, after "milking the Gentiles," decamped to Missouri to build another Zion. Meanwhile, their "church" had been licked into shape, and there was The Prophet, the Patriarch, the Melchisedec, and the Aaronic Priesthood, High Priests, and Presidents, the Twelve Apostles, the Quorum of Seventy, Bishops, Elders, Priests, Deacons, and Teachers, whose respective powers and duties were prescribed to them through the medium of frequent divine revelations to Joe, and occasionally to other men high in office. By order of these so-called revelations, special provision was made for the support of these persons, and, as may easily be anticipated, the Prophet and his family were not forgotten.

    Removed, or "absquatulated," to Missouri in 1831, the Mormons established the towns of Far-west and Adam-ondiahman. Dissensions here sprang up between the Saints and the Gentiles, which continued to increase in frequency and violence during their residence in the Western States. The Gentiles refused to be "milked" patiently, and were very indignant to see the laws of their State, for the check and punishment of dishonesty and knavery, set at defiance. At length the Mormons positively refused obedience to the officers and processes of the law; they fortified their towns, and prepared to defend themselves by force. The militia of the State were called out under General Doniphon, who has since so distinguished himself in Mexico, and, after some warlike demonstrations, Joe Smith surrendered himself a prisoner to answer the various charges of felony of which he was accused, and his people dispersed to seek a refuge beyond the limits of Missouri. They wandered into the adjoining State of Illinois, and began to arrive in Quincy and its vicinity during the winter of 1838-9. They were very poor, ill-clad, and almost destitute of food. Describing their wrongs and sufferings in the most moving terms, and exhibiting a deportment of the greatest humility, the inhabitants of the district were filled with compassion, and large contributions in money and necessaries were made for their support. They were employed on farms, in workshops, in private families, and everybody thought they would ere long be absorbed in the general population of the country. At this juncture, early in the spring of 1839, Joe Smith escaped from prison in Missouri, and fled into Illinois. Here he held a great gathering of his followers a few miles from Quincy, at an old camp-meeting ground, and he addressed them, as well as the "sucked," in an oily speech. It was not free from impudence, and even blasphemy. Referring to one of his followers, who had professed to have "revelations" during his imprisonment, and seemed to be ambitious of acting as successor to Joe, he said, "I don't know anything about his revelations. God can give revelations, if He pleases; this may be true or it may be false. I don't know anything about it. I can't be everywhere at once. God Almighty must attend to some of those things himself!"

    Again was a new site for the Holy City chosen, and now Nauvoo was the favoured spot. This is said to be a Hebrew word, signifying "The Beautiful." Certainly

    [ 47 ]

    the situation of Nauvoo is very beautiful. Those who have witnessed the Panorama of the Mississippi, recently exhibited in London, will remember the commanding situation of the Temple, on a high bluff, near the hanks of the river, eloping gradually down into a level bottom, and surrounded by a bend in the Mississippi about five or six miles long. The view from the Temple, in every direction, is most lovely. On the opposite shore is Fort des Moines (now Montrose) in Iowa, situated in a prairie bottom, stretching several miles to the west, and shut in by an amphitheatre of hills. Eastward, a belt of timber almost two miles wide circles it about, and beyond it lies an open prairie, some eighteen miles across, and extending almost indefinitely to the north and south. In three or four years there sprung up on this site a Mormon city, as if by magic. Houses of brick, and wood, and stone, were scattered over a surface of about three miles square, inhabited in 1844 by not fewer than 15,000 souls. The Temple itself was an imposing and costly structure of white marble, surmounted by a cupola, and a magnificent portico of Corinthian columns. The "Nauvoo House" was projected also on a splendid scale, in which Joe Smith and his family were, by special revelation, to possess a suite of rooms in perpetuity.

    (To be concluded in our next.)

    [ 57 ]


    (Concluded from our last.)

    During the first year or two of the Mormon settlement at Nauvoo, matters went on smoothly enough. The Mormons were conciliatory, and by their treatment of strangers induced many, who were not Mormons, to settle among them. There was also a continual influx of new converts from a distance, bringing with them money, which Joe Smith "sucked" from them in the shape of loans, contributions, &c. As, however, the numbers and wealth of the Mormons increased, their confidence grew. There were adventurers without the body, who were not slow to turn their growing power to account. A person of this description, who had been appointed Quartermaster General of the State of Illinois, suddenly joined the Mormons, as they were about to raise their Nauvoo Legion. All the State arms of every description, cannon, small arms, swords, and pistols, were distributed by him among the militia of Nauvoo, so that, for a long period, the State was without weapons for the volunteers and militia of the other counties. The numbers and union of the Mormons, together with their monopoly of the State arms, and the large additions reported to have been made to them from their own resources, made the sect a formidable enemy to the scattered and unarmed population of the surrounding country.

    The Mormons now proceeded to usurp and exercise a series of powers, in the teeth of the law and established authorities of the State. The Corporation of Nauvoo assumed imperial jurisdiction in their own city; they set the writ of habeas corpus at defiance; arrested visitors to the city, and subjected them to inquisitorial examinations; they issued marriage licenses, contrary to the State laws; they established a Recorder's office for the record of deeds, independent of that provided by the laws of every State; they passed an ordinance to punish with fine and imprisonment all persons guilty of disrespectful words concerning Joe Smith; they passed another ordinance, prohibiting, under penalty of fine and imprisonment, the service of any process whatever, unless countersigned by the Mayor of Nauvoo; and these penalties they forbade the Governor of the State to remit by his pardon! At the same time, in the height of their confidence, the Mormons began and carried on an alarming system of plunder. Horses, cattle, farming utensils, domestic poultry, clothes on the line, honey, everything in short, which contributes to the wealth and comfort of the farmer, were carried off by these marauders. Stores in the little towns were broken open and rifled of their contents. A manufacture of counterfeit money, both in coin and paper, was got up and superintended by the heads of the Church, and large quantities were put in circulation among the unsuspecting country people. The injured Gentiles had no redress, for the Mormons had beforehand packed the courts of justice with their creatures; and to appeal to them was to appeal from the thief to the receiver of the stolen goods.

    The Gentiles, however, though patient, would not stand this bare-faced system of "sucking;" and they began to cry out against the continued existence of Nauvoo as the head-quarters of a gang of hold, artful, and desperate rogues. But the Mormons were very numerous; they commanded many votes, and no public man in office cared about appearing openly against them. Many also were governed by considerations of interest or fear; and hesitated to act against a united body of fanatics so powerful, so well armed, and so unscrupulous. Thus the country, in the immediate vicinity of the Mormons, became divided into three parties: the Mormons, the Anti-Mormons or "old citizens," and the Jack Mormons or waiters on. The Anti-Mormons at length became sensible that there was no other way of bringing hack peace to the district but by rooting out the Mormon

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    nest, and they eagerly sought some favourable opportunity for undertaking this work. Broils, excesses, and violence took place, in which both parties were to blame, "the Anti-Mormons took a hold step in attempting to establish a newspaper in the city of Nauvoo itself, for the exposure of the hypocrisy, licentiousness, extortion, and other crimes of their opponents. The conductors of the paper were seceders from the body, and had been deep in the secrets of the supreme councils. Joe Smith at once called together the ever-ready city council to his aid, when they declared, by ordinance, that the paper was a public nuisance, and issued a warrant to the city marshal to abate it forthwith. The paper was at once "abated" by the mayor and council, at the head of a strong posse of adherents breaking into the office, destroying the press, and throwing the types into the street. At the instance of the proprietor, a warrant was issued by the county circuit clerk against the authors of, and actors in this riot. The warrant was served on Joe Smith and the other leading men concerned; and what did Joe do? He caused writs to be issued from the city court, had themselves tried by themselves, and they unanimously acquitted each other, the City Marshal sending off the constable with the assurance that they would never be taken out of the city by his writ!

    The Constable called out the posse of the county to support him, and, in view of the military organization of the Mormons, he required them to be armed and equipped for hostilities. The volunteer companies turned out promptly. Nor were the Mormons idle. They called the brethren, from the scattered settlements around and at a distance, into Nauvoo, paraded and drilled their troops every day, stationed guards about the city to keep out all strangers; formed magazines for their support and defence; and enforced all the regulations of martial law. The Governor of the State took the command of the Anti-Mormons, but he was a man of weak character, and not fitted for the post. He demanded the surrender of the leaders; when, the Smiths becoming alarmed, crossed the river to Iowa, but at last were induced to return and deliver themselves up to a company of dragoons, who were sent to Nauvoo to demand the public arms. They were brought to Carthage, and gave hail upon the writs first issued out against them. But, by this time, other affidavits were filed, accusing them of treason, in levying war against the authority of the State. The Smiths were committed to gaol to wait their trial; and, in the meantime, to gratify the public curiosity, the Governor made an exhibition of them, placing the guard in the unenviable position of a guard of honour over the men whom they detested. They were very indignant, and marched off the ground. The Governor ordered the refractory company to be arrested and disarmed; but they stood on their self-defence, hacked by their comrades. The Governor countersigned the offensive order, but shortly after, on the occasion of an assembly of the county forces at Golden's Point, near Nauvoo, he suddenly ordered the troops to be disbanded, with the exception of 200 men. The order to disband met the militia from Warsaw, on their way to the rendezvous. They were surprised and indignant, and the rumour spread among them that the Governor was a conniver at the delinquencies of the Mormons, and intended to let them escape. Seventy or eighty men marched hastily on the gaol, overpowered the detachment on guard, and, after a brief resistance on the part of the prisoners, in which some of the assailants were wounded, they killed the two Smiths, and wounded several others of the prisoners.

    The murder of the Smiths was an event deeply deplored by all right-thinking men throughout the State, who, notwithstanding the exasperation naturally felt by men who had been victimized by the Mormon emissaries, could offer no sufficient plea of excuse for such a bloody deed. The authors of the murder were sought for; five persons were indicted and tried, but the evidence was insufficient to convict them; and the murderers, whoever they were, escaped. For twelve months after this event, the country remained comparatively quiet; although partial disturbances and collisions were of frequent occurrence. At length, in August 1845, the Anti-Mormonites, outraged by some alleged act of the Mormons, took the offensive, and resolved to drive the Mormons out of the district. The Sheriff of the County, Backenstos, who had been selected by the Mormons and was in their interest, collected a body of 400 of them on horseback, and, under pretext of doing his duty, scoured the country in pursuit of the leading Anti-Mormons. His myrmidons entered houses by force, ransacked, and often pillaged, the property of the inmates, and, with threats and demonstrations of force, terrified the most orderly and inoffensive, no less than the turbulent. The latter, indeed, for the most part, sought safety in flight. A Reign of Terror prevailed throughout the county: in the course of which, several lives were lost, some of them by the most unprovoked and cold-blooded assassinations. An active system of plunder was carried on, and reprisals were made on both sides.

    At length the governor was induced, after repeated applications, to interfere actively. General Hardin was sent into the district with a body of militia from distant places. He at once ordered Backenstos to disband his posse, which, after some demur, was complied with. Steps were then taken for a final determination of the contest. A convention of delegates from the surrounding counties was held, which declared that the Mormons must, and should remove from the state, and the meeting pledged themselves to support each other by force in effecting their expulsion. The leaders of the Mormons expressed their willingness to go, provided time were allowed to make preparations, and sell their property. A treaty was made on these conditions, and they were to leave in the following spring. About three fourths of them took up the line of march for California, in the beginning of 1846; but, still a formidable number were left, who declared they could not go because they could not sell their property. It afterwards turned out, however, that these were left as a kind of "nest-egg;" one of the trustees of the church admitting, on their final expulsion, that they had not abandoned the hope of retaining a foot-hold in Nauvoo, which they designed as a sort of resting-place, or depot for emigrating parties, prior to their departure for the Far West. This policy did not escape the penetration of the Anti-Mormons, who saw with alarm large numbers of Mormon emigrants continuing to flock into Nauvoo, from the other states, as well as from England and the Old World.

    In the month of August, the forcible rescue of a Mormon in Nauvoo, from the hands of a constable, was the signal for another rising of the population against the Mormon disturbers of the peace. They assembled in arms, and formed a camp in the neighbourhood of Nauvoo, under the leadership of Thomas Brockman. Great numbers flocked to their standard. The general determination was, to expel the Mormons, or to leave the state if they failed. Men of every profession and calling left their business to part in the struggle. The Mormons, whose numbers by this time were greatly increased, prepared vigorously to defend themselves. Brockman, with his army, advanced towards Nauvoo, skirmishing as he went, until he got within a mile and a half of the temple, when he entrenched himself. With a body of one thousand men, he advanced to an attack on the city, the Mormons fighting behind the walls and the houses, contested their advance. The Anti-Mormons had several six pounder field-pieces, from which they fired round shot and grape with considerable accuracy. The whole fight was at long distances, and hence few were killed or

    [ 59 ]

    wounded on either side. But the Mormons were driven, step by step, into the city itself, until the cannon shot were exhausted: when Brockman, satisfied with his success retreated slowly, and in good order, to his camp.

    Two or three days of inaction followed; during which, the Anti-Mormons were busily engaged in collecting ammunition and provisions, and were constantly reinforced. The Mormons, though fewer in numbers, and without the prospect of succour, seemed determined to dispute the ground, inch by inch. The streets were mined in the vicinity of the temple, where the last stand was to be made. The besieged had arms and ammunition in abundance; and everything betokened an obstinate and bloody struggle.

    At this juncture, a public meeting was held by the citizens of Quincy, to consider the state of affairs in the adjoining county. Quincy is about sixty miles below Nauvoo on the same river. It was resolved to send a committee of one hundred Anti-Mormons, unarmed -- and in the character of mediators, with instructions to propose a compromise. The basis of the compromise was to be -- 1. The surrender of the City of Nauvoo. 2. The immediate removal of the Mormons. 3. Permission to a fixed number of them to remain as trustees, for the settlement of business; and 4. That the rights of persons and property should be respected by the Anti-Mormons. The terms, it must be admitted, were hard and severe; but it was well known that none better would be granted by the successful party; and the only alternative would be, a fight, without quarter, from street to street, and from house to house.

    With considerable difficulty, a deputation of the Committee succeeded in effecting a surrender on the basis proposed, and a treaty was drawn up and signed by the leaders of both parties. The city was then delivered up; the Mormons withdrew after their brethren to California; and the county has ever since remained perfectly tranquil. Large subscriptions in money, clothing, and provisions were made in the neighbourhood, to enable the Mormons to emigrate; notwithstanding which, they encountered great privations and suffering on their long and arduous march. Disasters fell in succession upon their caravans and encampments. They were decimated by famine and sickness; yet, their purpose of concentration, and their fanatical devotion to their faith, remained as fixed and unchanged as ever. Their desperate devotion reminds one of the early Mahomedans; indeed, the definition of Mormonism, as "the Mahomedanism of the New World," is highly appropriate. For two years they persisted in an irregular nomadic life, more like that of the wandering Arab, or the American Indian, than as men reared in u civilized society. At last, they settled down into localities, chiefly in upper California; and the favoured spot at length fixed upon for the New Zion was in the neighbourhood of The Great Salt Lake, where they founded their city. The surrounding country is rich, abounding in minerals and mineral springs of all kinds, with abundance of fertile land far and near. There flocks of emigrants, many from England, have poured in upon them; and their numbers have now increased to such an extent, that they are about to be formed into an Independent State of the Union, under the name of Deseret. "Their future fate," says the Editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, a Virginia periodical, "is a matter of conjecture only. But, if they thrive and prosper in their new possessions -- if they adhere to their fundamental maxim, 'that the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof, and His saints shall inherit it,' -- if they seek to accomplish this destiny, as they have heretofore done, whenever they believed their strength adequate to the work -- then the colonists of the Pacific shores may expect to realize, in that remote country, what their fellow-citizens have experienced in the great valley of the Mississippi. The emigrants may encounter, on the broad prairies of the west, a banditti more formidable than the daring Comanches: the weak settlements will be exposed to excursions, not less harassing than those of the Seminoles of Florida; and, if the Mormons should establish themselves in strength upon the seacoast, the commerce of that region may find in them enemies, as active and relentless as the piratical Malays of the other continent."

    The Eclectic Magazine
    (NYC: Edward O. Jenkins)

  • 1850: November
      "Origin of the Mormonites"

  •    An important and lengthy article from the
       British journal: The English Review

        Transcriber's Comments





    NOVEMBER, 1850

    [p. 400]


    THERE are few persons, probably, who have not, at one time or another, heard of the existence of a sect called the "Mormonites," or "Latter Day Saints," and of the crowds of deluded fanatics, who, under those names, have, from time to time, quitted the shores of this country, on their way to a new land of promise in the Far West. But among those under whose notice this one among the many religious phenomena of the present day has occasignally fallen, there are few, we apprehend, who have ever troubled themeslves to inquire into the origin or peculiar tenets of the new sect,-few who have any conception of its numerical extent, -- still fewer who have viewed it in its more important aspect as one of the "signs of the times." It is hard to say, how long this indifference of the more enlightened portion of the Christian public to the proceedings of the followers of Mormon might have continued, but for an attempt recently macie to constrain a clergyman of our Church to desecrate the Burial Service at the grave of one of the members of the sect. While it appeared simply as one of the extravagant phases of American religionism, it was not likely to excite any very lively interest in this country; but the case is altogether different when we find that the pestilence is spreading extensively in our parishes, as we fear it is, especially in the manufacturing districts; and that the spirit of ribaldry towards the Church, by which it has been characterized from thee first, is changed into a:spirit of persecution, endeavoring to expose her sacred offices to irreverent, and, if the profanation were acquiesced in, not altogether unmerited scorn.

    With this view we hare collected together a vast mass of documentary evidence, which we shall endeavor to present to our readers in a condensed and digested form. In doing so, we hold ourselves wholly absolved from the necessity of dealing with the errors, the absurdities, and blasphemies of the sect, in the way of controversy. The imposture is too palpable, the heresy too manifest, for serious argument The most efficiebt way to expose the imposture is to state the facts as we find them set forth both by the Mormonite leadersthemselves, and by certain parties who have broken off their former connection with them -- the most powerful confutation of the heresy, to exhibit their doctrine as it is propounded by themselves, both originally in their doctrinal documents, and subsequently in their apologetic writings.

    We shall begin our account by putting the Mormonite prophet himself into the witness box. A History of the different American Sects -- altogether forty-three in number -- published at Philadelphia in the year 1844, contains, (pp. 404-410,) on the Mormonites, an article from the pen of Joseph Smith, under the title "Latter Day Saints, by Joseph Smith, Nauvoo, Illinois." The writer begins by stating that

    "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was founded upon direct revelation, as the true Church of God has ever been, according to the Scriptures (Amos iii. 7, and Acts i. 2): and through the will and blessings of God, I have been an instrument in his hands, thus far, to move forward the cause of Zion."

    He then proceds to give a sketch of his own life. He was born, according to his own account, on the 23rd of December, 1805, at Sharon, Windsor County, in the State of Vermont, whence his parents removed when he was about ten years old, to Palmyra, in the State of New Youk, and after an interval of four years, to Manchester, in the same State, which was the scene of the first supernatural events in his life. At the age of fourteen, he states, he was much troubled in mind by observing the contradictions of the different religious denominations around him, and in his anxiety to be driven from the confusion of mind thence ensuing, he was in fervent prayer for illumination from above. While thus engaged in a secret recess of a grove, he had a vision:

    "I was enwrapt in a heavenly vision, and saw two glorious personages, who exactly resembled


    1850]                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     401

    each other in features and likeness, surrounded with a brilliant light, which eclipsed the sun at noonday. They told me that all the religious denominations were believing in incorrect doctrines, and that none of them was acknowledged of God as his Church and kingdom. And I was expressly commanded to 'go not after them,' at the same time receiving a promise that the fullness of the gospel should at some future time be made known unto me."

    The promise was fulfilled about three years after, when, on the 21st September, 1823, being then near eighteen years old, he had in a room, three times repeated the same night, a vision of an angel who declared to him:

    "That the preparatory work for the second coming of the Messiah was speedily to commence; that the time was at hand for the gospel in all its fullness to be preached in power, unto all nations, that a people might be prepared for the millennial reign. I was informed that I was chosen to be an instrument in the hands of God to bring about some of his purposes in this glorious dispensation."

    At the same time the Angel gave him a "brief sketch" of the origen and early history of the aboriginal inhabitants of America, and informed him that certain "plates of records," containing the details of which the Angel gave the epitome, were deposited in a certain place specified by the heavenly messenger. This was followed by many subsequent visits of Angels, till at last, on the morning of the 22nd of September, 1827, the Angel of the Lors delivered the records themselves into Joseph's hands.

    "These records were engraven on plates which had the appearance of gold; each plate was six inches wide and eight inches long and not quite so thick as common tin. They were filled with engravings, in Egyptian characters and bound together in a volume, as the leaves of a book with three rings running through the whole. The volume was something near six inches in thickness, a part of which was sealed. The characters on the unsealed part were small, and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction and much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument which the ancients called 'Urim and Thummim,' which consisted of two transparent stones set in the rim of a bow fastened to a breastplate. Through the medium of the Urim and Thummim I translated the record by the gift, and power of God." *

    The translation, so made, is the celebrated Book of Mormon, of which a brief abstract is inserted in the narrative. The prophet then proceeds to relate the origin of his Church:

    "On the 6th of April, 1830, the 'Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints,' was first organized in the town of Manchester, Ontario county, State of New York. Some few were called and ordained by the spirit of revelation, and prophesy, and began to preach as the spirit gave them utterance, and though weak, yet were they strengthened by the power of God, and many were brought to repentance, were immersed in the water, and were filled with the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands. They saw visions and prophesied, devils were cast out and the sick healed by the laying on of hands. From that time the work rolled forth with astonishing rapidity..."

    Next follows an enumeration of the various settlements successively effected by his followers, in Jackson County, in Clay County, and in Caldwell and Davies Counties, in the State of Missouri, from all which they were ejected, from the latter in 1838, when they were, according to Smith's account, from 12,000 to 15,000 in number. On their expulsion from Caldwell and Davies Counties,

    * It is worth while to compare this with the account which Joseph Smith gave to one of his comrads, at the time when he first started the imposture, and before he had any idea himself of the extent to which the business might grow. An affidavit of Peter Ingersoll, one of Joseph Smith's acquaintances in early life, after gave a general account of the character of Smith, and of his occupations and practices as a money-digger, thus proceeds: --

    "One day he came, and greeted me with a joyful countenance. -- Upon asking the cause of his unusual happiness, he replied in the following language: -- 'As I was passing, yesterday, across the woods, after a heavy shower of rain, I found, in a hollow, some beautiful white sand, that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock, and tied up several quarts of it, and then went home. On my entering the house, I found the family at the table eating dinner. They were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment, I happened to think of what I had heard about a history found in Canada, called the golden Bible; so I very gravely told them it was the golden Bible. To my surprise, they were credulous enough to believe what I said. Accordingly I told them that I had received a commandment to let no one see it, for, says I, no man can see it with the naked eye and live. However, I offered to take out the book and show it to them, but they refuse to see it, and left the room. Now,' said Jo, 'I have got the d___d fools fixed, and will carry out the fun.' Notwithstanding, he told me he had no such book, and believed there never was any such book, yet, he told me that he actually went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a chest, in which he might deposit his golden Bible. But, as Chase would not do it, he made a box himself, of clap-boards, and put it into a pillow-case, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it through the case." -- Bennett's History of the Saints, pp. 63, 64.


    402                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     [Nov.,

    they migrated to Hancock County in the State of Illinois, where, in the "fall" of 1839, they commenced a city, which, in December 1840, obtained an Act o Incorporation from the Legislature of Illinois, and received from its founder the name of "Nauvoo," signifying "beautiful." The city is described at the date of the account as containing 1500 houses, and upwards of 15,000 inhabitants. It was graced by an "University," and defended by a military body raised from the inhabitants themselves, called the "Nauvoo Legion," commanded by a "Lieutenant-General" (a Mormonite), but subject to the superior authority of the Governor of the State; and of the President of the United States. An eminence in this city was chosen for the site of the great Mormon temple, the building of which, at the date of the account, was still in progress: --

    "The temple of God, now in the course of erection, being already raised one story, and which is 120 feet by 80 feet;of stone with polished pilasters, of an entire new order of architecture, will be a splendid house, for the worship of God, as well as an unique wonder for the world, it being built by the direct revelation of Jesus Christ, for the salvation of the living and the dead."

    From this temple and city as its centre, Mormonism spread itself far and wide, not only through the United States, but beyond the Atlantic into Europe, and into other parts of the world.

    So far the account given by Joseph Smith through the medium of "He Pasa Ecclesia." We now turn to the history of the alleged revelations given to Joseph Smith from time to time, and recorded in the second of the Mormonite Standard Books. `The first of these books is the Book of Mormon, already referred to, which, containing what are alleged to be certain ancient records, answers in a manner to the Old Testament of the sacred volume, while the place of the New Testament is filled by " The Book of Doctrines and Covenants." This volume, which was printed and published separately, consists of two parts; viz. Seven "Lectures on Faith," or an abstract of Mormonite Doctrine in a homiletic form; and a collection of "Covenants and Commandments," given by by revelation from time to time, divided into 111 Sections. They do not in the collection follow in the order in which they are alleged to have been received; but as the date is generally attached to them, we shall be able to follow the history of the prophet as traced out by himself in this "canonical" book. The earliest of the revelations contained in it have reference to the translation of the "golden plates," and in particular to an untoward accident which happened at the very commencement of the work. Joseph Smith was employing an amanuensis, named Martin Harris, a farmer of some substance, and of an excitable temperament and unstable religious views, who from a Quaker had successively turned Methodist, Universalist, Baptist, and Presbyterian, and having tired of this last profession also, was at this time open to any religious novelty which might come in his way, On him Joseph Smith succeeded in palming off the story of the golden plates, and having embarked in the enterprise, for which Harris was to find the money, he dictated to him from behind a curtain, from time to time, portions of what professed to be a translation of the golden Bible. While the work was thus progressing, Harris having taken home with him the first 116 pages of it, they were abstracted by an unfriendly hand, seemingly with the intention of embarrassing the prophet, and confuting him by the publication of them. if he should be unwary enough to attempt to reproduce them. The work of translation was thus suspended, in the hope, no doubt, that the lost manuscript might be recovered; but all endeavors to procure its restitution (Harris's wife was the thief) having proven fruitless, another revelation was given in May, 1829.

    "Now, behold, I say unto you, that because you delivered up those writings which you had power given unto you to translate, by the means of the Urim and Thummim, into the hands of a wicked man, you have lost them; and you also lost your gift at the same time, and your mind became darkened; nevertheless, it is now restored unto you again, therefore see that you are faithful and continue on unto the finishing of the remainder of the work of translation as you have begun: do not run faster, or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end; pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan, that do uphold his work. Behold, they have sought to destroy you; yea, even the man in whom you have trusted, has sought to destroy you. And for this cause I said, that he is a wicked man, for he has sought to take away the things wherewith you have been entrusted; and he has also sought to destroy your gift, and because you have delivered the writings into his hands, behold, wicked men have taken them from you; therefore, you have delivered them up; yea, that which was sacred unto wickedness.


    1850]                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     403

    And, behold, Satan has put it into their hearts to alter the words which you have caused to be written, or which you have translated, which have gone out of your hands; and, behold, I say unto you, that because they have altered the words, they read contrary from that which you translated and caused to be written; and on this wise the devil has sought to lay a cunning plan, that he may destroy this work; for he has put it into their hearts to do this, that by lying they may say they have caught you in the words which you have pretended to translate.

    "Verily I say unto you, that I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing, for, behold, he has put it into their hearts to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God, in asking to translate it over again; and then, behold, they say and think in their hearts, we will see if God has given him power to translate, if so, He will also give him power again; and if God giveth him power again, or if he translate again, or in other words, if he bringeth forth the same words, behold, we have the same with us, and we have altered them; therefore, they will not agree, and we will say that he has lied in his words, and that he has no gift, and that he has no power; therefore, we will destroy him, and also the work, and we will do this that we may not be ashamed in the end, and that we may get glory of the world. * * *

    "Now, behold, they have altered those words, because Satan saith unto them, He hath deceived you; and thus he flattereth them away to do iniquity, to get thee to tempt the Lord thy God.

    "Behold, I say unto you, that you shall not translate again those words which have gone forth out of your hands; for, behold, they shall not accomplish their evil designs in lying against those words. For, behold, if you should bring forth the same words they will say that you have lied; that you have pretended to translate, but that you have contradicted yourself; and, behold, they will publish this, and Satan will harden the hearts of the people to stir them up to anger against you, that they will not believe my words. * * *

    "And now, verily I say unto you, that an account of those things that you have written, which have gone out of your hands, are engraven upon the plates of Nephi; yea, and you remember, it was said in those writings, that a more particular account was given of these things upon the plates of Nephi.

    "And now, because the account which is engraven upon the plates of Nephi, is more particular concerning the things which in my wisdom I would bring to the knowledge of the people in this account, therefore, you shall translate the engravings which are on the plates of Nephi, down even till you come to the reign of King Benjamin, or until you come to that which you have translated, which you have retained; and, behold, you shall publish it as the record of Nephi, and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. Behold, they have only got a part, or an abridgment of the account of Nephi. Behold, there are many things engraven on the plates of Nephi, which do throw greater views upon my gospel; therefore, it is wisdom in me, that you should translate this first part of the engravings of Nephi, and send forth in this work. And, behold, all the remainder of this work, does contain all those parts of my gospel which my holy prophets, yea, and also my disciples, desired in their prayers, should come forth unto this people. And I said unto them, that it should be granted unto them according to their faith in their prayers; yea, and this was their faith, that my gospel which I gave unto them, that they might preach in their days, might come unto their brethren, the Lamanites, and also, all that had become Lamanites, because of their dissensions." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xxxvi, § § 2, 2, 5-10.

    The history of this contre-temps, which seriously perplexed the prophet for a time, is recounted with still greater plainness in the Preface to the first American edition of the Book of Mormon, published in 1830; but in the second American, and in both the European editions of the book, that preface has been suppressed. The passage in question is curious:

    "As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by the evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work, I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written, one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the Book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person or persons have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again and being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written; and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again, they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation, that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi; and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work; yea, I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil. Wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, I have, through his grace and mercy, accomplished that which he hath commanded me respecting this thing. I would also inform you that the plates of which hath been spoken, were found in the township of Manchester, Ontario County, New York."


    404                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     [Nov.,

    From the tone in which Harris the scribe -- "the wicked man" -- is spoken of in the above revelation, it would appear that the prophet was not without suspicion of his fidelity; and Harris, on his part, seems to have been uncomfortably pressing for a sight of the golden plates from which the prophet was translating, or "pretending to translate." The curiosity of the scribe was accordingly repressed, and his fears and his "faith" wrought upon him to make him an eye-witness of what he had not seen, by "revelation," in the manner following:

    "Behold, I say unto you, that as my servant Martin Harris has desired a witness at my hand, that you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., have got the plates of which you have testified and borne record that you have received of me; and now, behold, this shall you say unto him: He who spake unto you said unto you, I, the Lord, am God, and have given these things unto you, my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., and have commanded you that you should stand as a witness of these things, and I have caused you that you should enter into a covenant with me, that you should not show them except to those persons to whom I command you; and you have no power over them except I grant it unto you. And you have a gift to translate the plates, and this is the first gift that I bestowed upon you, and I have commanded that you should PRETEND to no other gift until my purpose is fulfilled in this; for I will grant unto you no other gift until it is finished.

    "Verily, I say unto you, that wo shall come unto the inhabitants of the earth if they will not hearken unto my words; for hereafter you shall be ordained and go forth and deliver my words unto the children of men. Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you could show them all these things which I have committed unto you. O! this unbelieving and stiff-necked generation, mine anger is kindled against them....

    "And now again I speak unto you, my servant Joseph, concerning the man that desires the witness: Behold, I say unto him, he exalts himself and does not humble himself sufficiently before me; but if he will bow down before me, and humble himself in mighty prayer and faith, in the sincerity of his heart, then will I grant unto him a view of the things which he desires to see. And then he shall say unto the people of this generation, Behold, I have seen the things which the Lord has shown unto Joseph Smith, Jr., and I know of a surety that they are true, for I have seen them; for they have been shown unto me by the power of God and not of man. And I, the Lord, command him, my servant Martin Harris, that he shall say no more unto them concerning these things, except he shall say, I have seen them, and they have been shown unto me by the power of God, and these are the words which he shall say; but, if he deny this he will break the covenant which he has before covenanted with me, and behold he is condemned. And now, except he humble himself and acknowledge unto me the things that he has done which are wrong, and covenant with me that he will keep my commandments, and exercise faith in me, behold, I say unto him, he shall have no such views; for I will grant unto him no views of the things of which I have spoken. And if this be the case, I command you, my servant Joseph, that you shall say unto him, that he shall do no more, nor trouble me any more concerning this matter. -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xxxii.

    While this revelation, given in March, 1820, in the interval between the suspension of the work in July, 1828, and its resumption in May, 1829, was working in the mind of Martin Harris, another instrument was in training in the person of one Oliver Cowdery, a school-teacher and Baptist [sic] preacher in the neighborhood; to whom, in April, 1829, divers "revelations" were given through Joseph Smith. from which the following are extracts.

    "Behold, thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is sacred and cometh from above: and if thou wilt inquire, thou shalt know mysteries which are great and marvelous; therefore, thou shalt exercise thy gift, that thou mayest find out mysteries, that thou mayest bring many to the knowledge of the truth; yea, convince them of the error of their ways. Make not thy gift known unto any, save it be those who are of thy faith. Trifle not with sacred things. If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shalt be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the gift of salvation....

    "Therefore be diligent, stand by my servant Joseph faithfully in whatsoever difficult circumstances he may be, for the word's sake. Admonish him in his faults and also receive admonition of him. Be patient; be sober; be temperate: have patience, faith, hope, and charity.

    Behold, thou art Oliver, and I have spoken unto thee because of thy desires; therefore, treasure up these words in thy heart. Be faithful and diligent in keeping the commandments of God, and I will encircle thee in the arms of my love.

    "Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I am the same that came unto my own and my own received me not. I am the light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. viii. §§ 5-14.

    The hope of becoming himself a translator, which the preceding "revelations" had raised, is dashed to the ground by another "revelation," still in April, 1829, which reduces him to the simple condition of amanuensis.

    "Behold, I say unto you, my son, that because


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    Behold, I say unto you, my son, that because you did not translate according to that which you desired of me, and did commence again to write for my servant Joseph Smith, Jr., even so I would that you should continue until you have finished this record, which I have intrusted unto him; and then, behold, other records have I, that I will give unto you power that you may assist to translate.

    "Be patient, my son, for it is wisdom in me, and it is not expedient that you should translate at this present time. Behold, the work which you are called to do is to write for my servant Joseph; and, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you. Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.

    "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought, save it was to ask me; but, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right, I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right; but if it be not right, you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought, that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you can not write that which is sacred, save it be given you from me.

    "Now, if you had known this, you could have translated; nevertheless, it is not expedient that you should translate now. Behold, it was expedient when you commenced, but you feared, and the time is past, and it is not expedient now; for, do you not behold that I have given unto my servant Joseph sufficient strength, whereby it is made up, and neither of you have I condemned."

    The work is now resumed, Harris and Cowdery acting as assistants; and in the mean time "revelations" were given to various other parties, several of whom appear afterwards among the first founders and leaders of the sect. They are much of the same character, partly almost in the same words, consisting of announcements of the "great and marvelous work" about to come forth, and promises of spiritual endowments to the persons addressed, if they have a desire to assist in "bringing forth and establishing" it, and faith to believe in the word of the Lord by his prophet. Revelations were also given to "David Whitmer," who, with Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery, was chosen to fill up the number of three witnesses mentioned in Section xxxii., above quoted.

    Shortly after, in the same month of June, 1829, the minds of the three witnesses were judged to be ripe for the operation of attesting their sight of that which they had not seen, and a "revelation" was given to the three conjointly.

    "Behold, I say unto you, that you must rely upon my word, which if you do, with full purpose of heart, you shall have a view of the plates, and also the breastplate, the sword of Laban, the Urim and Thummim, which were given to the Brother of Jared upon the mount, when he talked with the Lord face to face, and the miraculous directors which were given to Lehi while in the wilderness, on the borders of the Red Sea; and it is by your faith that you shall obtain a view of them, even by that faith which was had by the prophets of old.

    "And after that you have obtained faith, and have seen them with your eyes, you shall testify of them, by the power of God; and this you shall do that my servant Joseph Smith, jun., may not be destroyed, that I may bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men, in this work. And ye shall testify that ye have seen them, EVEN AS MY SERVANT JOSEPH SMITH, JUN., HAS SEEN THEM, for it is by my power that he has seen them, and it is because he had faith; and he has translated the book, even that part which I have commanded him, and as your Lord and your God liveth, it is true.

    "Wherefore you have received the same power, and the same faith, and the same gift like unto him; and if you do these last commandments of mine, which I have given you, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; for my grace is sufficient for you; and you shall be lifted up at the last day. And I, Jesus Christ, your Lord and your God, have spoken it unto you, that I might bring about my righteous purposes unto the children of men. Amen." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xlii.

    Upon the strength of this "revelation," the prophet obtained, as an endorsement of his work, the following "Testimony of three Witnesses," which is appended or prefixed to all the editions of the Book of Mormon.

    Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of god the father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain this record, which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, their brethren, and also of the people of Jared, who came from the tower of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice (i. e. through Joseph Smith,) hath declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates; and they have been shewn unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness, that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvelous in our eyes, nevertheless, the voice of the Lord commanded


    406                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     [Nov.,

    us that we should bear record of it; wherefore, to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we now that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.

                   "Oliver Cowdery,
                    David Whitmer,
                    Martin Harris.

    To this testimony that of eight other witnesses is added, who profess to have handled the plates, and seen the engravings thereon; but their declaration is brought in without any account of the circumstances under which they were admitted to the sight of a treasure so long and so mysteriously guarded, and they were one and all intimately connected with Joseph Smith, and embarked in his scheme, which they hoped would have been a lucrative one. Besides, though their names continue to appear in the successive editions of the Book of Mormon, of the eleven witnesses, six apostatized from the faith in Joseph's lifetime; while of the other five, three died before him, and two were his own brothers. No weight whatever, therefore, can attach to the attestation of the existence of the golden plates; on the contrary, it makes rather against the authority of the prophet, since, in his "revelations," the number of persons who should be permitted to see the plates is expressly limited to three. As regards the value of Harris's testimony, in particular, the following anecdote is conclusive: --

    "On one occasion, a sensible and religious gentleman in Palmyra, put the following question to Harris: 'Did you see those plates?' Harris replied that he did. 'But did you see the plates and the engravings on them with your bodily eyes?' Harris replied, 'Yes, I saw them with my eyes; they were shown unto me by the power of God and not of man.' 'But did you see them with your natural, your bodily eyes, just as you see this pencil-case in my hand? Now say no or yes to this.' Harris replied, 'I did not see them as I do that pencil-case, yet I saw them with the eye of faith; I saw them just as distinctly as I see any thing around me, though at the time they were covered over with a cloth.'"

    It appears, indeed, pretty plain that Harris was all along suspended between "faith" and doubt, for it was not without difficulty that he was prevailed upon, when the translation was completed, to supply the necessary funds for defraying the printing expenses. To stimulate his flagging zeal, he was favored, in March, 1830, with an alarming "revelation," which throws a singular light upon the footing on which Harris, the prophet, and, it would seem, the prophet's wife, were with each other at the time. We give the more important passages: --

    "Behold, the mystery of Godliness, how great is it? for, behold, I am endless, and the punishment which is given from my hand is endless punishment, for endless is my name; wherefore--

    Eternal punishment is God's punishment.
    Endless punishment is God's punishment.

    Wherefore, I command you to repent, and keep the commandments which you have received by the hand of my servant Joseph Smith, jun., in my name; and it is by my almighty power that you have received them; therefore I command you to repent -- repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore -- how sore you know not! how exquisite you know not! yea, how hard to bear you know not! * * *

    "And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife; nor seek thy neighbor's life. And again, I command thee that thou shalt not covet thine own property, but impart it freely to the printing of the Book of Mormon, which contains the truth and the word of God, which is my word to the Gentiles, that soon it may go to the Jew, of whom the Lamanites are a remnant, that they may believe the gospel, and look not for a Messiah to come who has already come. * * *

    "Behold, this is a great, and the last commandment which I shall give unto you concerning this matter; for this shall suffice for thy daily walk even unto the end of thy life. And misery thou shalt receive, if thou wilt slight these counsels; yea, even the destruction of thyself and property. Impart a portion of thy property; yea, even part of thy lands, and all save the support of thy family. Pay the debt thou hast contracted with the printer. Release thyself from bondage. Leave thy house and home, except when thou shalt desire to see thy family; and speak freely to all; yea, preach, exhort, declare the truth, even with a loud voice; with a sound of rejoicing, cry Hosanna! hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Lord God!" -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xliv. §§ 2, 3, 5.

    This admonition produced the desired effect. Harris became both paymaster and witness for the Book of Mormon, and an elder of the Church. This, however, was only a beginning of what awaited him; for in August 1831, when the settlement in Missouri had been determined on, and community of goods was made the law of the "Church," we have the following revelation concerning him: --

    "It is wisdom in me that my servant Martin Harris should be an example unto the Church, in


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    laying his moneys before the bishop of the Church. And also, this is a law unto every man that cometh unto this land, to receive an inheritance, and he shall do with his moneys according as the law directs. And it is wisdom, also, that there should be lands purchased in Independence, for the place of the storehouse, and also for the house of the printing.

    "And other directions, concerning my servant Martin Harris, shall be given him of the Spirit, that he may receive his inheritance as seemeth him good. And let him repent of his sins, for he seeketh the praise of the world." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xviii. § § 7, 8.

    So great was the ascendancy which Joseph possessed over the mind of Harris, that in spite of all his misgivings, and of all his losses and disappointments, he continued with him until the year 1837, when the failure of the "Safety Society Bank," established by the prophet at Kirtland in Ohio, having swallowed up the remainder of his property, he returned in great disgust to Palmyra, and openly denounced Joseph as "a complete wretch." But we must not anticipate.

    Before we proceed with our history, it will be proper here to give a short account of the contents of the book which has made so much noise in the world, and of its probable origin. As regards its contents, it professes to be the history of the descendants of one Lehi, of the tribe of Joseph, who emigrated from Jerusalem in the days of Zedekiah, with his four sons, one of whom, Nephi, was a great prophet. After many perils by land and by sea, they reached the continent of America, where they divided into two great families, the Nephites, or white men, and the Lamanites, or red men. Besides the history of these tribes of the ancient stock of Israel, -- including an alleged descent of Christ upon the American Continent, after his ascension from Mount Olivet, -- the book contains a variety of prophetical matter. Nephi foretells with astonishing minuteness, not only the coming of the Messiah, but the history of the Christian Church during the first four centuries. Another great prophet, Mormon by name, nearly a thousand years after Nephi, and four hundred years after Christ, acts the part of Ezra, by collecting the plates on which the records and documents of his race are engraved, and completing the golden Bible; which is deposited after his death by his son Moroni under the hill, where, 1427 years after, by direction of the Angel, it is found by Joseph Smith, in fulfillment of the Scripture prophecy, that "truth shall spring out of the earth." *

    With regard to the real origin of this book, we cannot do better than transcribe from the "Boston Weekly Messenger" of May 1st 1839, the following document, which, with remarkable simplicity and manifest truthfulness, tells its own tale: --


    "As this book has excited much attention and has been put by a certain new sect, in the place of the sacred Scriptures, I deem it a duty which I owe to the public, to state what I know touching its origin. That its claims to a Divine origin are wholly unfounded, needs no proof to a mind unperverted by the grossest delusions. That any sane person should rank it higher than any other merely human composition, is a matter of the greatest astonishment; yet it is received as divine by some who dwell in enlightened New England, and even by those who have sustained the character of devoted Christians. Learning recently, that Mormonism had found its way into a church in Massachusetts, and has impregnated some of its members with its gross delusions, so that excommunication has become necessary, I am determined to delay no longer doing what I can to strip the mask from this monster of sin, and to lay open this pit of abominations.

    "Rev. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage, he resided in Cherry Valley, N. Y. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula county, Ohio; sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated upon Conneaut Creek. Shortly after our removal to this place, his health sunk, and he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem, there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers, and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding being an educated man and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement and furnish employment for his lively imagination, he conceived the idea of giving an historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity of course would lead him to write in the most ancient style, and as the Old Testament is the most ancient book in the world, he imitated its style as nearly as possible. His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbors. This was about the year 1812. Hull's surrender at Detroit, occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed

    * For fuller particulars we refer our readers to Caswall's Prophet of the Nineteenth century, which in an "Appendix," contains a copious epitome of the Book of Mormon.


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    in his narrative, the neighbors would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited among them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth, and, assumed the title of 'Manuscript Found.' The neighbors would often inquire how Mr. S. progressed in deciphering "the manuscript," and when he had sufficient portion prepared he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people and could be easily recognized by them. Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with this work and repeatedly heard the whole of it read.

    "From New Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. Here Mr. S. found an acquaintance and friend, in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. P. who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it a long time and informed Mr. S. that if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. S. refused to do for reasons which I cannot now state. -- Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at this time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript and to copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all who were connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, Pa., where Mr. S. deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKenstry, of Monson, Mass., with whom I now reside, and by other friends. -- After the "Book of Mormon" came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence and the very place where the "Manuscript Found" was written. A woman preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the "Book of Mormon." The historical part was immediately recognized by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. S., in which they had been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognized perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted, that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot, and expressed to the meeting his deep sorrow and regret, that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great, that the inhabitants had a meeting and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number to repair to this place and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds, and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction and request for the manuscript, signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright and others, with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbors when I resided in New Salem.

    "I am sure that nothing would grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition, doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to the purposes of delusion. Thus an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible and palmed off upon a company of poor deluded fanatics, as divine. I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and its author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.

    MATILDA DAVISON.        

    "Rev. Solomon Spaulding was the first husband of the narrator of the above history. Since his decease, she has been married to a second husband by the name of Davison. She is now residing in this place; is a woman of irreproachable character and an humble Christian, and her testimony is worthy of implicit confidence.

    "A. ELY, D. D.            
    "Pastor Cong. Church, in Monson.
    "D. R. AUSTIN,            
    "Principal of Monson Academy.

                "Monson, Mass. April 1st, 1839."

    The story told Mrs. Davison has since been the subject of careful investigation by other parties interested in unmasking the Mormonite imposture, and has not only been found correct, but has been confirmed by many circumstantial details which those of our readers who may feel curious on the subject, will find briefly recorded in the second chapter of Mr. Caswell's "Prophet of the Nineteenth Century." For our present purpose it suffices to have authenticated the quarter from which Joseph Smith derived the materials of a work, which he was by no means qualified by his education to compose. Nor can there be much doubt left as to the medium through which the book found its way out of the printing-office at Pittsburgh into the hands of Joseph Smith. There is a name mentioned in Mrs. Davison's narrative, which figures conspicuously, as we shall presently see, in the history of Mormonism; and the fact that the party in question, Sidney Rigdon, did not himself advance the forgery, but employed for this purpose Joseph Smith, a loose vagabond, whom his habits and occupation


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    as a money-digger pointed out as a proper person for so audacious an attempt to impose upon the public only proves the deep cunning with which the scheme was contrived. The pretended translation from behind the curtain, of which Martin Harris was made the dupe, was nothing more than a dictation of Spaulding's romance, with such alterations and embellishments as would suit the particular purpose which the two confederates -- for such Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith doubtless were at this early period -- had in view. The fact that the prediction of the discovery of the "golden plates," by a prophet in the latter days occurs in the "books of Nephi," substituted for the 116 pages which had been abstracted is a critical circumstance. Joseph having interlarded Spaulding's manuscript with his predictions of himself in the character of a great prophet, could not venture to reproduce the same matter, as the least discrepancy between his first and second "translation" would have proved fatal to his whole device. Hence the delay of ten months, during which, in all probability, Smith was not only engaged in endeavoring to recover the lost manuscript, but in secret communication with Rigdon, as to the best way of extricating himself from the dilemma in which he found himself so unexpectedly placed.

    The prophecy, itself, which points to Joseph Smith, jun., the son of Joseph Smith, sen., the head of the Mormonite Sect, is to be found in the 2d chapter of the 2d Book of Nephi, and consists of a prediction said to have been uttered by Joseph, the son of Israel, and recounted by Nephi to his youngest son, whose name was also Joseph. It runs thus:

    Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord my God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins. Yea, Joseph truly said: Thus saith the Lord unto me: A choice seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and he shall be esteemed highly among the fruit of thy loins. And unto him will I give commandment that he shall do a work for the fruit of thy loins, his brethren, which shall be of great worth unto them, even to the bringing of them to the knowledge of the covenants which I have made with thy fathers. And I will give unto him a commandment that he shall do none other work, save the work which I shall command him. And I will make him great in mine eyes; for he shall do my work. And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, O house of Israel. And Moses will I raise up, to deliver thy people out of the land of Egypt. But a seer will I raise up out of the fruit of thy loins; and unto him will I give power to bring forth my word unto the seed of thy loins--and not to the bringing forth my word only, saith the Lord, but to the convincing them of my word, which shall have already gone forth among them. Wherefore, the fruit of thy loins shall write; and the fruit of the loins of Judah shall write; and that which shall be written by the fruit of thy loins, and also that which shall be written by the fruit of the loins of Judah, shall grow together, unto the confounding of false doctrines and laying down of contentions, and establishing peace among the fruit of thy loins, and bringing them to the knowledge of their fathers in the latter days, and also to the knowledge of my covenants, saith the Lord. And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people, unto the restoring thee, O house of Israel, saith the Lord. And thus prophesied Joseph, saying: Behold, that seer will the Lord bless; and they that seek to destroy him shall be confounded; for this promise, which I have obtained of the Lord, of the fruit of my loins, shall be fulfilled. Behold, I am sure of the fulfilling of this promise; And his name shall be called after me; and it shall be after the name of his father. And he shall be like unto me; for the thing, which the Lord shall bring forth by his hand, by the power of the Lord shall bring my people unto salvation. Yea, thus prophesied Joseph: I am sure of this thing, even as I am sure of the promise of Moses; for the Lord hath said unto me, I will preserve thy seed forever. And the Lord hath said: I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him in a rod; and I will give judgment unto him in writing. Yet I will not loose his tongue, that he shall speak much, for I will not make him mighty in speaking. But I will write unto him my law, by the finger of mine own hand; and I will make a spokesman for him. And the Lord said unto me also: I will raise up unto the fruit of thy loins; and I will make for him a spokesman. And I, behold, I will give unto him that he shall write the writing of the fruit of thy loins, unto the fruit of thy loins; and the spokesman of thy loins shall declare it. And the words which he shall write shall be the words which are expedient in my wisdom should go forth unto the fruit of thy loins. And it shall be as if the fruit of thy loins had cried unto them from the dust; for I know their faith. And they shall cry from the dust; yea, even repentance unto their brethren, even after many generations have gone by them. And it shall come to pass that their cry shall go, even according to the simpleness of their words. Because of their faith their words shall proceed forth out of my mouth unto their brethren who are the fruit of thy loins; and the weakness of their words will I make strong in their faith, unto the remembering of my covenant which I made unto thy fathers."

    The latter part of this "prophecy" seems to point to Sidney Rigdon, the position assigned to him in it tallying exactly with that which he occupied afterwards by "revelation" in the Church of the Latter Day Saints. Further


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    on, in the eleventh chapter of the same book, another prophecy is introduced, which bears directly upon the discovery and translation of the "Golden Bible," by the prophet Joseph: --

    "But behold, I prophesy unto you concerning the last days; concerning the days when the Lord God shall bring these things forth unto the children of men. After my seed and the seed of my brethren shall have dwindled in unbelief, and shall have been smitten by the Gentiles; yea, after the Lord God shall have camped against them round about, and shall have laid siege against them with a mount, and raised forts against them; and after they shall have been brought down low in the dust, even that they are not, yet the words of the righteous shall be written, and the prayers of the faithful shall be heard, and all those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not be forgotten; for those who shall be destroyed shall speak unto them out of the ground, and their speech shall be low out of the dust, and their voice shall be as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him power, that he may whisper concerning them, even as it were out of the ground; and their speech shall whisper out of the dust. For thus saith the Lord God: They shall write the things which shall be done among them, and they shall be written and sealed up in a book, and those who have dwindled in unbelief shall not have them, for they seek to destroy the things of God: wherefore, as those who have been destroyed have been destroyed speedily; and the multitude of their terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away. Yea, thus saith the Lord God: It shall be at an instant, suddenly."

    The people upon whom this destruction fell were the builders of the ancient cities, the ruins of which put the first idea of the old romance into the head of Spaulding; they are the "Nephites" of the fiction, whose records are upon the golden plates. After a sally against all the sects of Christendom, (among which the Church is of course not forgotten,) the "prophecy" thus proceeds: --

    "And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered. And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof. Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them. But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto another; but the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof. And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth. Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein. And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead. Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!

    A similar prophecy is placed on record by Moroni, the son of Mormon, in the fourth chapter of that portion of the whole collection called the "Book of Mormon." to which the title "The Book of Mormon," specially belongs.

    "I am the son of Mormon, and my father was a descendant of Nephi; and I am the same who hideth up this record unto the Lord; the plates thereof are of no worth, because of the commandment of the Lord. For he truly saith that no one shall have them to get gain; but the record thereof is of great worth; and whoso shall bring it to light, him will the Lord bless. For none can have power to bring it to light save it be given him of God; for God wills that it shall be done with an eye single to his glory, or the welfare of the ancient and long dispersed covenant people of the Lord. And blessed be he that shall bring this thing to light; for it shall be brought out of darkness unto light, according to the word of God; yea, it shall be brought out of the earth, and it shall shine forth out of darkness, and come unto the knowledge of the people; and it shall be done by the power of God; and if there be faults they be the faults of a man. But behold, we know no fault; nevertheless God knoweth all things; therefore, he that condemneth, let him be aware lest he shall be in danger of hell-fire. And he that saith: Show unto me, or ye shall be smitten, let him beware lest he commandeth that which is forbidden of the Lord."

    To these "prophecies" we shall add one more extract from the twelfth chapter of the


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    second book of Nephi, which defines the position assigned to the "Book of Mormon" relative to the Holy Scriptures.

    "But behold, there shall be many--at that day when I shall proceed to do a marvelous work among them, that I may remember my covenants which I have made unto the children of men, that I may set my hand again the second time to recover my people, which are of the house of Israel; And also, that I may remember the promises which I have made unto thee, Nephi, and also unto thy father, that I would remember your seed; and that the words of your seed should proceed forth out of my mouth unto your seed; and my words shall hiss forth unto the ends of the earth, for a standard unto my people, which are of the house of Israel; And because my words shall hiss forth--many of the Gentiles shall say: A Bible! A Bible! We have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. But thus saith the Lord God: O fools, they shall have a Bible; and it shall proceed forth from the Jews, mine ancient covenant people. And what thank they the Jews for the Bible which they receive from them? Yea, what do the Gentiles mean? Do they remember the travails, and the labors, and the pains of the Jews, and their diligence unto me, in bringing forth salvation unto the Gentiles?

    "O ye Gentiles, have ye remembered the Jews, mine ancient covenant people? Nay; but ye have cursed them, and have hated them, and have not sought to recover them. But behold, I will return all these things upon your own heads; for I the Lord have not forgotten my people. Thou fool, that shall say: A Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews? Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea, even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore, I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished; neither shall it be until the end of man, neither from that time henceforth and forever.

    "Wherefore, because that ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye suppose that I have not caused more to be written. For I command all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea, that they shall write the words which I speak unto them; for out of the books which shall be written I will judge the world, every man according to their works, according to that which is written. For behold, I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the Nephites and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto the other tribes of the house of Israel, which I have led away, and they shall write it; and I shall also speak unto all nations of the earth and they shall write it.

    "And it shall come to pass that the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites shall have the words of the Jews; and the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel; and the lost tribes of Israel shall have the words of the Nephites and the Jews.

    "And it shall come to pass that my people, which are of the house of Israel, shall be gathered home unto the lands of their possessions; and my word also shall be gathered in one. * And I will show unto them that fight against my word and against my people, who are of the house of Israel, that I am God, and that I covenanted with Abraham that I would remember his seed forever."

    We now resume the thread of our history. The translation from the "Golden Plates," or the "Book of Mormon," being at last completed, and printed at the expense of Martin Harris, the prophet deemed that the time was now come for organizing a "Church," As far back as June, 1829, a "revelation" had been "given to Joseph Smith, jun., Oliver Cowdery, and David Whitmer," directing them to look out twelve men fit to be chosen as apostles, and announcing other measures preparatory to the "building up the Church of Christ, according to the fullness of the gospel." Another "revelation," to the same purpose, followed in April of the following year:

    "The rise of the church of Christ in these last days, being one thousand eight hundred and thirty years since the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the flesh, it being regularly organized and established agreeably to the laws of our country, by the will and commandments of God in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month which is called April; which commandments were given to Joseph Smith, Jr., who was called of God and ordained an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the first elder of this church; and to Oliver Cowdery, who was also called of God an apostle of Jesus Christ, to be the second elder of this church, and ordained under his hand: and this according to the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be all glory both now and forever. Amen."

    * In like manner Christ is made to say, in the Book of Doctrine and Covenants, "The Book of Mormon and the Holy Scriptures are given of me for your instruction." -- Sect. iv. § 8.


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    "After it was truly manifested unto this first elder that he had received a remission of his sins, he was entangled again in the vanities of the world; but after repenting, and humbling himself, sincerely, through faith, God ministered unto him by an holy angel whose countenance was as lightning, and whose garments were pure and white above all other whiteness, and gave unto him commandments which inspired him, and gave him power from on high, by the means which were before prepared, to translate the Book of Mormon, which contains a record of a fallen people, and the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, and to the Jews also, which was given by inspiration, and is confirmed to others by the ministering of angels, and is declared unto the world by them, proving to the world that the Holy Scriptures are true, and that God does inspire men and call them to his holy work in this age and generation, as well as in generations of old, thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, to-day, and forever. Amen.

    "Therefore, having so great witnesses, by them shall the world be judged, even as many as shall hereafter come to a knowledge of this work; and those who receive it in faith and work righteousness, shall receive a crown of eternal life; but those who harden their hearts in unbelief and reject it, it shall turn to their own condemnation, for the Lord God has spoken it; and we, the elders of the church, have heard and bear witness to the words of the glorious Majesty on high, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. ii. §§ 1-3.

    Then follows a short account, after Joseph's own manner, of the creation, the fall, the Old Testament, the coming of Christ, and the Christian dispensation, ending with the appointment of baptism, as the means of entrance into the Mormon "Church." After this, we have an outline of the constitution of the "Church," of the functions of her several ministers and members, and of the sacraments and ordinances. Baptism is to be ministered by immersion, but only to those who have reached the age of "accountability," which is fixed at eight years, * A difficulty having arisen from the wish of some persons to join the Church, who were, nevertheless, unwilling to be rebaptized, the question was settled by a special "revelation," which declared that.

    "Although a man should be baptized a hundred times, it availeth him nothing, for you cannot enter in at the straight gate by the law of Moses, neither by your dead works,"

    and commanded them to --

    "Enter in at the gate, as I have commanded and seek not to counsel your God." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. i. § 1.

    A special form is given for the administration of the Lord's supper, but this is subsequently modified by a "revelation" which declares the use of the proper elements of the sacrament to me immaterial:

    "Behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory; remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins; wherefore a commandment I give unto you, that you shall not purchase wine, neither strong drink of your enemies; wherefore ye shall partake of none, except it is made new among you; yea, in this my Father's kingdom which shall be built up on the earth." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. i. § 1.

    The Church being constituted -- at Manchester, State of New York -- the prophet next had a "revelation," appointing himself to the prophetic office, and providing for his own ordination by one of the three witnesses:

    "Behold, there shall be a record kept among you, and in it thou shalt be called a seer, a translator, a prophet, an apostle of Jesus Christ, an elder of the church through the will of God the Father, and the grace of your Lord Jesus Christ; being inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation thereof, and to build it up unto the most holy faith; which church was organized and established, in the year of your Lord eighteen hundred and thirty, in the fourth month, and on the sixth day of the month, which is called April.

    "Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words, and commandments, which he shall give unto you, as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; for his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith; for by doing these things, the gates of hell shall not prevail against you; yea, and the Lord God will disperse the powers of darkness from before you, and cause the heavens to shake for your good, and his name's glory. For thus saith the Lord God, him have I inspired to move the cause of Zion in mighty power for good; and his diligence I know, and his prayers I have heard: yea, his weeping for Zion I have seen, and I will cause that he shall mourn for her no longer, for his days of rejoicing are come unto the remission of his sins, and the manifestations of my blessings upon his works.

    "For, behold, I will bless all those who labor in my vineyard, with a mighty blessing, and they shall believe on his words, which are given him through me by the Comforter, which manifesteth that Jesus was crucified by sinful men for the sins of the world; yea, for the remission of sins unto the contrite heart. Wherefore, it behooveth me, that he


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    should be ordained by you, Oliver Cowdery, mine apostle; this being an ordinance unto you, that you are an elder under his hand, he being the first unto you, that you might be an elder unto this church of Christ, bearing my name; and the first preacher of this church, unto the church, and before the world; yea, before the Gentiles; yea, and thus saith the Lord God, lo, lo! to the Jews, also. Amen." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xlvi.

    Another "revelation" shortly after made provision for the temporal necessities of the prophet, while confirming his alleged inspiration: --

    "Magnify thine office; and after thou hast sowed thy fields and secured them, go speedily unto the church which is in Colesville, Fayette, and Manchester, and they shall support thee; and I will bless them both spiritually and temporally; but if they receive thee not, I will send upon them a cursing instead of a blessing.

    "And thou shalt continue in calling upon God in my name, and writing the things which shall be given thee by the Comforter, and expounding all scriptures unto the church, and it shall be given thee, in the very moment, what thou shalt speak and write; and they shall hear it, or I will send unto them a cursing instead of a blessing." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. ix. § 2, 3.

    And in September of the same year 1830 a special "revelation" became necessary to repress rival claims to prophetic gifts. One Hiram Page, one of the eight witnesses, was instructed that "those things which he had written from that stone," were not of God, but that "Satan" was deceiving him;" and to apostle Oliver himself, the wide distinction between himself and the prophet had to be pointed out: --

    "Behold, verily, verily I say unto thee, no one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this church excepting my servant Joseph Smith, jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses; and thou shalt be obedient unto the things which I shall give unto him, even as Aaron, to declare faithfully the commandments and revelations, with power and authority unto the church. And if thou art led at any time by the Comforter to speak or teach, or at all times by the way of commandment unto the church, thou mayest do it. But thou shalt not write by way of commandment, but by wisdom; and thou shalt not command him who is at thy head, and at the head of the church, for I have given him the keys of the mysteries and the revelations, which are sealed, until I shall appoint unto them another in his stead." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. li. § 2.

    It would be an endless task to adduce the various "revelations" which now succeeded each other, all having for their object to enforce the prophet's behests in the Church, to consolidate his authority, to repress the claims of his accomplices in the fraud to a share of his power, and to dispose of intractable Church-officers by sending them forth on missionary excursions. While the "Church" continued in Manchester and its vicinity, under the sole control of Joseph, he contrived to maintain his authority tolerably well. But a mighty change took place when, at the end of 1830, Sidney Rigdon's joint authority was brought to play. His introduction to the Church was most skillfully managed by means of a mission to Kirtland, Ohio, where Rigdon was presiding over a congregation of Campbellite Baptists. On the new doctrine of the Book of Mormon being preached to them, a number of the Campbellites, and among them Rigdon himself, were converted, and received baptism at the hands of Joseph's emissaries. This was followed by a visit from Rigdon to the "Church" at Manchester, when this "revelation" was "given to Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon," in December, 1830: --

    "Behold, verily, verily I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works. I have heard thy prayers and prepared thee for a greater work. Thou art blessed, for thou shalt do great things. Behold, thou wast sent forth even as John, to prepare the way before me, and before Elijah which should come, and thou knew it not. Thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto thee a commandment, that thou shalt baptize by water, and they shall receive the Holy Ghost by the laying on of the hands, even as the apostles of old." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xi. § 2.

    Soon after this, at the beginning of the year 1831, the head-quarters of the "Church" were removed to Kirtland, and from this time forward the "revelations" assume a fuller and more ambitious character, which evidently bespeaks the influence of a thorough man of business, more highly educated, and more deeply versed in the Scriptures than Joseph. One Edward Partridge, a creature of Rigdon's, who had come with him from Kirtland to Manchester, and returned thither, was by "revelation" appointed "Bishop;" an office which had regard rather to the ecclesiastical government of the "Church," and the management of her temporalities, than to spiritual oversight, and which rendered him at times very obnoxious to Smith, as several of the "revelations"


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    testify. With Rigdon, too, there appears to have been sharp conflicts, which were composed on one occasion by a "revelation," dividing the blame between them. * Rigdon, however, soon attended to an equality of power with the prophet, and one of the visions, which sets forth the three states, the celestial, terrestrial, and telestial, runs in their joint names. † At one time Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon saw fit to send away all the elders from the "Church," on different missions, "two and two," that they should "teach the principles of the gospel, which are in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, in the which is the fullness of the gospel," with a special injunction to "observe the covenants and church articles to do them." And all this they are bidden to

    "Observe to do as I have commanded concerning your teaching, until the fullness of my scriptures are (sic!) given." ‡

    The expression, the "fullness of my scriptures," has reference to a new translation of the Bible which had been taken in hand, probably as the suggestion of Rigdon, but the execution of which, except the publication of a few fragments, was apparently prevented by subsequent occurrences and by the want of funds.

    On the 17th of February, 1834, the "Church" which had been going on increasing was finally "organized by revelation," when Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and F. G. Williams were acknowledged presidents. A council was appointed to assist them in the administration of its affairs, and a regular staff of resident and traveling officers, whose respective duties and relative positions were accurately defined. § A costly temple was erected, as well as private residences for Smith and Rigdon, who having possessed themselves of the surplus wealth of their converts, launched out into a multiplicity of enterprises, and among others established a "Safety Society Bank," which proved eventually the ruin of the Mormon cause in the State of Ohio. Of these transactions few traces are to be found in the "revelations" given at this period; the history of them is chiefly derived from the opponents of the Mormons; and as it lies out of the way of our more immediate object, we shall refer our readers once more to Mr. Caswall's book for information. **

    Long, however, before the removal of the "Saints" from Kirtland became a matter of necessity, in consequence of the failure of the bank, under circumstances of great disgrace, a scheme had been formed for the establishment of a much larger settlement than any this sect had as yet had, farther West. As early as June, 1831, a "revelation" was given, pointing to certain land in Missouri, as land "to be consecrated to the Lord's people."

    "If ye are faithful, ye shall assemble yourselves together to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is near the land of your enemies. But, behold, I the Lord will hasten the city in its time, and will crown the faithful with joy and with rejoicings." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. lxvi. § 9.

    An assembly of elders was convened, on the ground which it was intended hereafter to occupy, and which was now declared to be the proper location for the city of Zion, and the great temple that should be built. ††

    "Behold, this is the will of the Lord your God concerning his Saints, that they should assemble themselves together unto the land of Zion, not in haste, lest there should be confusion, which bringeth pestilence. Behold, the Land of Zion, I, the Lord, holdeth it in mine own hands; nevertheless, I, the Lord, rendereth unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's: wherefore, I, the Lord, willeth, that you should purchase the lands, that you may have advantage of the world, that you may have claim on the world, that they may not be stirred up unto anger; for Satan putteth it into their hearts to anger against you, and to the shedding of blood; wherefore the land of Zion shall not be obtained but by purchase, or by blood, otherwise there is none inheritance for you. And if by purchase, behold, you are blessed; and if by blood, as you are forbidden to shed blood, lo, your enemies are upon you, and ye shall be scourged from city to city, and from synagogue to synagogue, and but few shall stand to receive an inheritance." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xx. § 8.

    In the following year, 1832, a formal promise of the restoration of Zion, the erection of the New Jerusalem in Missouri, was given by "revelation:" --

    * Covenants and Commandments, Sect. lxxxiii. §§ 7, 8.

    † Ibid. Sect xcii. § 3.

    ‡ Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xiii. § 2, 5.

    § Ibid. Sect v.

    ** Prophet of the Nineteenth Century, chap. vii., viii.

    †† Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xxvii. § 1.


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    "A revelation of Jesus Christ unto his servant Joseph Smith, jun. and six elders, as they united their hearts and lifted their voices on high; yea, the word of the Lord concerning his church, established in the last days for the restoration of his people as He has spoken by the mouth of his prophets, and for the gathering of his saints to stand upon mount Zion, which shall be the city New Jerusalem; which city shall be built, beginning at the temple lot, which is appointed by the finger of the Lord, in the western boundaries of the state of Missouri, and dedicated by the hand of Joseph Smith, jr. and others, with whom the Lord was well pleased.

    "Verily this is the word of the Lord, that the city New Jerusalem shall be built by the gathering of the saints, beginning at this place, even the place of the temple, which temple shall be reared in this generation; for verily, this generation shall not all pass away until an house shall be built unto the Lord and a cloud shall rest upon it, which cloud shall be ever the glory of the Lord, which shall fill the house." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. iv. § 1, 2.

    And in the month of December, 1833, a commandment went forth for a general gathering in all the churches in every part of the world, in order to collect funds for "the redemption of Zion." *

    How far the investments in Missouri may have helped to embarrass the finances of the "Church" at Kirtland, it is impossible to say. The probability, however, is, that they had no small share in the catastrophe which eventually accelerated the transfer of the centre of Mormonism to the spot prophetically pointed out as the place in which the New Jerusalem should be erected. And certain it is that the most stringent measures were taken to levy contributions upon the members of the Church, by a system of enforced donations, which had much more the character of confiscation than of taxation. The principle of complete surrender of private property was laid down broadly, soon after the removal to Kirtland, in the first instance under the guise of securing support for the poor, but in reality for enriching the Church, and placing all the property of the members at the disposal of the leaders.

    "If thou lovest me, thou shalt serve me and keep all my commandments. And, behold, thou wilt remember the poor, and consecrate of thy properties for their support, that which thou hast to impart unto them, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken; and inasmuch as ye impart of your substance unto the poor, ye will do it unto me, and it shall be laid before the bishop of my church and his counsellors, two of the elders, or high priests, such as he shall or has appointed and set apart for that purpose.

    "And it shall come to pass that after they are laid before the bishop of my church, and after that he has received these testimonies concerning the consecration of the properties of my church, that they cannot be taken from the church, agreeable to my commandments; every man shall be made accountable unto me a steward over his own property, or that which he has received by consecration, inasmuch as is sufficient for himself and family.

    "And again, if there shall be properties in the hands of the church, or any individuals of it, more than is necessary for their support, after this first consecration, which is a residue, to be consecrated unto the bishop, it shall be kept to administer unto those who have not, from time to time, that every man who has need may be amply supplied, and receive according to his wants. Therefore, the residue shall be kept in my store-house, to administer to the poor and the needy, as shall be appointed by the high council of the church, and the bishop and his council, and for the purpose of purchasing lands for the public benefit of the church, and building houses of worship, and building up of the New Jerusalem which is hereafter to be revealed, that my covenant people may be gathered in one, in that day when I shall come to my temple. And this I do for the salvation of my people.

    "And it shall come to pass that he that sinneth and repenteth not, shall be cast out of the church, and shall not receive again that which he has consecrated unto the poor and the needy of my church, or, in other words, unto me; for inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, ye do it unto me; for it shall come to pass that which I spake by the mouths of my prophets shall be fulfilled; for I will consecrate of the riches of those who embrace my gospel, among the Gentiles, unto the poor of my people who are of the house of Israel..." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xiii. 8-11.

    However unpalatable this system might prove, and undoubtedly did prove, to many of the members, and especially the new comers, it was constantly enforced by "revelations," and carried out with greater rigor than ever, after the removal from Kirtland, as appears from a "revelation" given at Far West, Missouri, July 8, 1838, in answer to the question, "O Lord, show unto thy servants how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tithing." The answer is as follows: --

    "Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus property to put into the hands of the bishop of my church in Zion, for the building of mine house, and for the laying the foundation of Zion, and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the presidency of my church; and this shall be the beginning of the tithing of my people; and after that, those who have thus been tithed, shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, and

    * Covenants and Commandments, Sect. xcv. §§ 9, 10.


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    this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood, saith the Lord.

    "Verily I say unto you, it shall come to pass, that all those who gather unto the land of Zion shall be tithed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you And I say unto you, if my people observe not this law, to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me, that my statutes and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy; behold, verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you; and this shall be an ensample unto all the stakes of Zion. Even so. Amen." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. cii.

    The settlement of Zion, however, notwithstanding the most confident predictions, and the most positive and explicit "revelations," proved an utter failure. One short year was sufficient to provoke the Missourians to a war of extermination against the sect, which ended in its expulsion from the State, * and its removal to the State of Illinois, where, on the banks of the Mississippi, the foundations of the famous city of Nauvoo were laid in 1839. To avoid the confession of failure, the prophet boldly asserted, that notwithstanding all that had passed, Independence in Jackson County, Missouri, was the place where Zion should be built; but in the mean time, Nauvoo, "the beautiful city," was to be their principal "stake, until "the time of the Gentiles should be fulfilled." No one could suspect the straits to which the sect had been reduced, the sufferings which its members had undergone, or the damage which the character of the prophet had sustained, from the tone of gratulalion and of triumph, and of arrogated supremacy over all the nations and kingdoms of the earth, which pervades the "revelation" given at Nauvoo in January, 1841:

    "I say unto you, that you are now called immediately to make a solemn proclamation of my gospel, and of this stake which I have planted to be a corner-stone of Zion, which shall be polished with that refinement which is after the similitude of a palace. This proclamation shall be made to all the kings of the world -- to the four corners thereof -- to the honorable president elect, and the high-minded governors of the nation in which you live, and to all the nations of the earth, scattered abroad. Let it be written in the spirit of meekness, and by the power of the Holy Ghost, which shall be in you at the time of the writing of the same; for it shall be given you by the Holy Ghost to know my will concerning those kings and authorities, even what shall befall them in a time to come. For, behold, I am about to call upon them to give heed to the light and glory of Zion, for the set time has come to favor her." -- Covenants and Commandments, Sect. ciii. § 1.

    At Nauvoo the wickedness of the Mormon system reached its climax, Flushed by his success, after the most fearful reversed, the prophet now overleapt all the bonds of self-restraint, and in more than one sense carried himself as the Mahomet of the West. A full, and to all appearance authentic, account of the state of affairs at Nauvoo, * and of the private as well as public conduct of Joseph Smith at this period, is given by one whose testimony it is hardly possible for a follower of the prophet to repudiate, considering the reception which was given him, the estimation in which he was for a long time held by the prophet, and the position which he occupied at Nauvoo, where he continued to live as a Mormonite, for the space of eighteen months, holding during the greater part of that time, a high station in the sect, which gave him admission to all its mysteries, and a knowledge of all its secrets; -- we allude to General J. [C.] Bennet, whose "Expose of Joe Smith and of Mormonism" is quoted (No. 3) at the head of this article. According to J. A. [sic, C.] Bennet's own account, he never was a believer in Mormonism, but having reason to suspect the Mormon leader of "a daring and colossal scheme of rebellion and usurpation through-out the Northwestern States," having in fact documents to show a scheme for conquering Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri, and creating a despotic military and religious empire, with Joe Smith at the head, he determined to spy out the land, and for this purpose feigned himself a convert to Mormonism. However questionable the morality of this proceeding may be, † certain it is that the inspiration of Joseph did not serve him to discern the traitor in the camp. So far from discovering Bennet's real intentions, Joseph

    * See also Caswall's City of the Mormons; or, Three Days at Nauvoo in 1842.

    † Bennet himself offers a kind of apology for it. "Persons unacquainted," he says, "with the subject, can scarcely imagine the baseness and turpitude of Mormon principles, or the horrid practices to which these principles gave rise. When they learn how habitually the Mormons sacrifice to their brutal propensities the virtue and happiness of young and innocent females; how they cruelly persecute those who refuse to join them, and how they murder those who attempt to expose them; they will look with indulgence upon almost any means employed to thwart their villainous designs, and detect and disclose their infamy."


    1850]                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     417

    distinguished him by "revelation" as a valuable accession to the staff of the Church..

    "Let my servant James A. Bennet, help you in your labor in sending my word to the kings of the people of the earth, and stand by you, even you my servant Joseph Smith, in the hour of affliction, and his reward shall not fail if he receive counsel; and for his love he shall be great, for he shall be mine if he do this, saith the Lord. I have seen the work which he hath done, which I accept, if he continue, and will crown him with blessings and great glory." Covenants and Commandments, Sect. ciii. § 6.

    Such a "revelation" in the standard book of the sect, the record of the prophet's "inspired" utterance, bestowed upon a man who himself openly declares that he never was anything but a spy and a traitor among the "saints," is the most conclusive evidence, if any were needed, that Joseph Smith has no pretensions whatever to be accounted a prophet. The mistake which he made in pronouncing Mr. Caswall's manuscript of the Greek Testament a dictionary of Egyptian hieroglyphics, * is a mere trifle compared with the moral mistake of his reposing, and that professedly while under the influence of inspiration, the greatest confidence in an individual who was in fact at that very moment planning his destruction. Nor was this want of discernment confined to the one instance of the "revelation" quoted above; Bennet had not been much more than six months in Nauvoo, where Smith was then omnipotent, before he combined in his person the offices of Mayor of the City, Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion, and First President of the Church of the Latter Day Saints; and it is worthy of remark, that when he determined to leave Nauvoo, he withdrew with the full knowledge and consent of Joseph, and received a vote of thanks from the City Council. All these circumstances, as well as his standing in society, which is attested by a number of testimonials of the first respectability, impart a degree of credibility, and an air of authenticity, to the report of General Bennet, to which few of the other opponents of Mormonism can lay claim.

    Having, then, made our readers acquainted with the history and character of our witness, we now proceed briefly to sum up the most important points of his evidence. According to General Bennet's statement, the whole community at Nauvoo was nothing more than a huge organization for the gratification of the rapacity, the lust, and lawless ambition of Joseph Smith and his associates. While these were accommodated with comfortable quarters at the public expense, and lived in ease and comparative luxury, their deluded followers were exposed to every species of privation. This Bennet states, both upon his own authority, and upon that of others whose evidence he quotes; and, in illustration of the spirit in which the prophet acted, he adduces the following anecdote:

    "At the very time that the elders of this Church, and indeed the poorer class were suffering from the want of the common necessaries of life, Smith demanded at the hands of the people 1200 dollars per year, in order to aggrandize himself and enable him to live in luxury. And when some complained that this would be a violation of the rules of the Church, he remarked that if he could not obtain his demand, his people might go to hell, and he would go to the Rocky Mountains." -- Bennet's History of the Saints, p. 60.

    While the general multitude of believers in Mormonism were thus left to toil and to starve, being deprived of their property by "revelations," under the plea of its being devoted to the service of the Most High, there was an extensive organization, under the name of the Order Lodge, to which those who were thought worthy of it, were initiated, by the most ridiculous, profane, and indecent mysteries. † Among the ceremonies which took place at these secret rites, was a blasphemous personation of the Holy Trinity, in which, in General Bennet's time, God the Father was represented by Joseph, God the Son by his brother Hyrum Smith, and God the Holy Ghost by on George Miller. One of the most horrible features of this secret organization was the Spiritual seraglio, formed for the gratification of the profligate propensities of the prophet, and of the other leaders of that sect. We cannot pollute our pages with any of the details given by General Bennet; suffice it to say, that a course of initiation took place, of both married and unmarried females, through three degrees, or orders, that of the "Cyprian Saints," or the "Saints of the White Veil," -- that of the "Chambered

    * Caswall's History of the Mormons, pp. 35-37.

    † The account given by Bennet of this Order Lodge is confirmed by a curious Tract, republished by Arthur Hall (London), entitled, "Sketch of the Rise, Progress, and Dispersion of the Mormons. By John Thomas, M.D., Author of "Elpin Israel," Virginia, U. S. of America; to which is added, An Account of the Nauvoo Temple Mysteries, and other Abominations, practised by the Mormons previous to their Emigration for California. By Increase M'Gee Van Dusen, formerly one of the Initiated."


    418                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     [Nov.,

    Sisters of Charity," or "Saints of the Green Veil," -- and, lastly, that of "Cloistered Saints." "Consecratees of the Cloister" or "Saints of the Black Veil; the adepts of the last and highest degree in this ascending scale of corruption being exempted from any restraint, and living in the indulgence of the grossest debauchery with the leaders of the sect, and especially with the prophet himself, who in this select circle assumed the familiar sobriquet of the "Old White Hat."

    Another and most frightful part of this secret organization was the body of desperadoes, incorporated originally at Zion, in Missouri under the mysterious name of the "Daughter of Zion," otherwise called "the Danites;" men who were solemnly bound under a fearful oath; and under the penalty of instant and certain death, to execute the decrees of the leaders, and especially of the prophet himself, whatever they might be: robbery, perjury, murder or whatever other crime it was desirable to commit, in furtherance of the interests of the ruling body, these "Danites" were ready to execute. At the time of. General Bennet's sojourn at Nauvoo, their number was 1200, and out of them the twelve most desperate characters were selected, and distinguished, by the appellation, the "destroying angels," or, less obviously to the uninitiated, the "flying angels." Most daring assassinations, at great distances, as well as at the Mormon city itself, were planned and carried. into effect; among them that of Governor Boggs of Missouri, whose violent death Smith had the audacity to predict, Bennet himself was in no small danger from these emissaries of death, after his separation from the sect; but being thoroughly aware of the system, he was on his guard and managed to escape:

    "Nine hundred and ninety-nine thousandths of all the faithful," says General Bennet, " of the Mormon Church, regard Joe Smith as God's vice-gerent on earth, and obey him accordingly; and all the Danites of that Church (and, by-the-by, they compose no very inconsiderable proportion of their mighty hosts), are sworn to receive him as the supreme lord of the Church, and to obey him as the supreme God. If therefore, any state officer, in the administration of public justice, happens to give offense to his Holiness the Prophet, it becomes the will of God, as spoken by the mouth of his prophet, that that functionary should DIE and his followers, the faithful saints, immediately set about the work of assassination, in obedience, as they suppose, to their Divine master; and for which NOBLE DEED they expect to receive an excellent and superior glory in the celestial kingdom...."

    "The standard of morality and Christian excellence with them is quite unstable. Joe Smith has but to give the word, and it becomes the LAW which they delight to obey! -- BECAUSE IT COMES FROM GOD!!! Acts therefore, which but yesterday were considered the most immoral, wicked, and devilish -- to-day are the most moral, righteous, and God-like; because God, who makes right, has so declared it by the mouth of his anointed prophet." -- Bennet's History of the Saints, pp. 148, 149.

    Although, after all that has been stated respecting the character and career of the founder of Mormonism, it is impossible that he should be regarded in any other light than that of a during impostor, yet the following anecdotes are not without interest, as showing the tone of his mind.

    "One day, Joe, the prophet, was gravely dictating to George Robinson a revelation which he had just received from the Lord. Robinson, according to custom, wrote down the very words the Lord spake to Joe, and in the exact order in which the latter heard them. He had written for some considerable time, when Smith's inspiration began to flag; and to gain breath, he requested Robinson to read over what he had written. He did so, until he came to a particular passage, when Smith interrupted him, and desired to have that read again. Robinson complied; and Smith, shaking his head, knitting his brows, and looking very much perplexed, said -- "That will never do! you must alter that, George." Robinson, though not a little surprised at 'the Lord's blunder,' did as he was directed, and changed the offensive passage into one more fit for the inspection of the Gentiles." -- Bennet's History of the Saints, p. 176.

    Upon another occasion:--

    " As General Bennet and Smith were walking together on the banks of the Mississippi, Smith suddenly said to him, in a peculiarly inquiring manner: 'General, Harris says that you have no faith, and that you do not believe that we shall ever obtain our inheritances in Jackson County, Missouri.' Though somewhat perplexed by the prophet's remark, and still more by his manner, Bennet coldly replied: 'What does Harris know about my belief, or the real state of my mind? I like to tease him now and then about it, as he is so firm in the faith, and takes it all in such good part.' 'Well,' said Joe, laughing heartily,' I guess you have got about as much faith as I have.' Ha! ha! ha!' 'I should judge about as much,' was Bennet's reply." -- Bennet's History of the Saints, p. 176.

    It is no wonder that a community governed upon a system of such daring iniquity should have been torn by internal dissensions, and regarded with suspicion and hostility by


    1850]                     ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE MORMONS                     419

    all around. Many of those whom the prophet associated with himself in the government of Nauvoo, separated from him; among them some of his early accomplices, and even Sidney Rigdon himself, the partner of his fraud from the beginning -- the feelings of the father overcoming every other consideration, on his making the discovery that Smith had attempted to add his daughter to the number of his "spiritual wives." The depredations of the Mormonites, and their lawless conduct, soon rendered them as obnoxious in Illinois as they had been in Missouri, and after another Mormon war, in the course of which Joseph himself, with his brother Hyrum, lost his life, being shot by an armed mob, in Carthage gaol, the remnant of the Nauvooans migrated still further west, and effected a settlement in California, where they cut a conspicuous figure, in that entertaining and instructive merk, recently published; Life in the Far West, by G. P. Ruxton.

    But what is truly surprising, is that, notwithstanding all the reverses which the leaders of the sect suffered, their dissensions among one another, and the exposure of the fraud and imposture of the prophet himself, thousands should still be found who regard Joseph in the light of a martyr; who receive the "Book of Mormon" and the "Doctrine and Covenants" As inspired writings; and who look for the fulfillment of the promises given to the "Latter Day Saints" by the vilest religious impostor which the world has seen since the days of Mahomet. At this present moment we have reason to believe that the number of Mormonites in England is not much under 30,000, In London and the suburbs alone they have near upon twenty different meeting-houses, though all of very moderate dimensions. With fanatical expectations of worldly prosperity and temporal glory, the professors of Mormonism combine the most bitter hostility against every existing religious system, and especially against the true Catholic and Apostolic Church, whose commission they deny, and whose ordinances they revile in the grossest and most offensive terms. Their creed is a tissue of ignorance and profaneness, founded upon the most palpable perversions of Holy Scripture, and characterized by the most carnal conceptions of things spiritual. We had intended to have given an outline of the doctrines of the sect as they are set forth at the present time by the preachers of Mormonism in Europe and in America; but we have already so far exceeded our limits, that we must adjourn this part of our proposed labors to a future opportunity, if, indeed we shall ever be able to afford leisure and space to revert to a subject which would be altogether unworthy of serious attention, but for the extensive spread among our benighted populations of so fearful a spiritual pestilence.


    American Whig Review
    (NYC: Wiley & Putnam)

  • 1851: June (Vol. LXXVIII)
      "The Yankee Mahomet"

  •    First article of a 6-part series. Part 2 was never
       published, but 4 more parts appeared in 1852:

  • 1852: "Mormonism in Illinois"
       Part 1: Mar. 1852
       Part 2: Apr. 1852
       Part 3: Jun. 1852
       Part 4: Nov. 1852


    Excerpt from "The Yankee Mahomet" with comments on Spalding claims




      FOR JUNE, 1851.

    [pg. 554]


    To the Editor of the American Review:

    I HAVE thought that at a time when public attention is so generally turned towards the different elements which are mingling to form the population of the western limits of our country, and the influence which that population must, at no very distant period, exert upon our national destiny, the following sketch of Mormon history might not be uninteresting to a portion of the readers of your Review.

    In treating of Mormonism, I propose to state the origin of the system; to explain its structure; to represent the causes of its past and present rapid dissemination, and to give a sketch of its history from the Establishinent of the "stake" at Kirtland to the present time.

    And, first, it will be necessary to relate a few events connected with the origill of the "Book of Mormon," a work which bears to the remainder of the sacred writings of the Mormon Church, a relation similar to that I of the four Gospels and Acts to the more elaborate and didactical Epistles of the New Testament.

    Those who were acquainted with the early life of the founder of Mormonism, with his ignorance and character for stupidity, wondered much at the publication of so invention-displaying and elaborate a work, of which he claimed to be sole author and proprietor; and as the prophet daily lived down his own boasts of superior virtue and wisdom, the wonder grew into a suspicion of the genuineness of his claims of exclusive authorship. A short time served to give this suspicion basis and confirmation, and a number of affidavits filed almost simultaneously in different parts of New-York and Pennsylvania, and by witnesses between whom there was no opportunity of collusion, showed clearly the sources of the pretended inspiration.

    Of these affidavits I shall only give the substance of one of the most important, which embodies nearly all the information possessed by the world on the subject. I quote from the information given by John Spaulding, the brother of the subject of the testimony

    "Solomon Spaulding was born in Ashford, Conn., A. D. 1761. He graduated at Dartmouth College, and was afterwards regularly ordained a minister. After preaching three or four years, he gave up his profession, and commenced mercantile business, in partnership with his brother Josiah, in Cherry Valley, N. Y., where he soon failed. In 1809 he removed to Conneaut, Ohio, where he engaged himself in building an iron forge; but in this business also he soon failed.

    "Casting about him for some method of retrieving his losses, he conceived the design of writing a historical romance upon a subject then much mooted in the scientific world, the origin of the Indian tribes. This design he carried into exe- cution between 1809 and 1812, and the produce of his labors was a novel entitled the 'Manuscript Found.' In this work lie mentioned that the American continent was colonized by Lehi, the son of Japheth, who sailed from Chaldea soon after the great dispersion, and landed near the isthmus of Darien. Lehi's descendants, who were styled Jaredites, spread gradually to the north, bearing with them the remains of antediluvian science, and building those cities the ruins of which we see in Central America, and the fortifications which are scattered along the Cordilleras.

    "Long after this, Nephi, of the tribe of Joseph, emigrated to America with a large portion of the ten tribes whom Shalmanezer led away from Palestine, and scattered among the Midian cities. This remnant of Joseph was soon after its arrival divided into two nations, the Nephites and the Lamanites. These nations made war constantly against each other, and in the year A. D. 420, a great battle was fought in western New-York, which terminated in the destruction of the armies of both the belligerent parties, and the annihilation of their power. One man only was left; Mo[r]oni, the son of Mormon, who hid the records of the Nephites near Conneaut, Ohio, previously at his death."

    In 1812 Mr. Spaulding went to Pittsburg to negotiate for the publication of this work. He presented it at the office of Patterson & Lambden, but his proposals were made without success. It seems, however, that the firm did not give him a decided refusal, since the manuscript was left at their office. In 1814 Mr. Spaulding moved from Pittsburg, where he had settled, to Washington county, Penn., where in 1816 he died.


    1851                                        The Yankee Mahomet.                                         555

    From the above facts, which might be substantiated by a vast amount of confirmative testimony, did our limits permit, we are forced to the conclusion that, previously to his publication of the Book of Mormon, which consists of the historical matter above condensed, and of various prophecies concerning himself, together with a large amount of religious matter, Smith had obtained access to the "Manuscript Found."

    How he gained this access it is impossible, with any degree of certainty, to say. We know the Manuscript Found to have been left with Patterson & Lambden in 1812, but all subsequent inquiries as to its fate have been ineffectual. One member of the firm rarely engaged in business, and has forgotten the affair altogether; the other is dead.

    We know, however, that Sidney Rigdon, who was next to Smith the most important man in the Church, was an intimate acquaintance of Lambden, and that during the three or four years previous to the publication of the Book of Mormon, he prepared the minds of over a thousand people for sudden conversion to the Mormon faith, by preaching the main doctrines of the system.

    Many maintain that it was Rigdon who obtained the manuscript of Spaulding, modified it, chose Smith as his tool and cats-paw wherewith to feel of public opinion, and afterwards joined the sect which he himself had in fact created.

    The following testimony, however, although not actually proving any thing to the purpose, would seem to indicate Smith as the originator as'well as prosecutor of the scheme, although I am inclined to think that there did exist an understanding between him and Rigdon long before 1 830, the time of the publication of the sacred writings.

    I make an extract from the testimony of Mrs. Spaulding, widow of the author --

    "In 1817, the year subsequent to my husband's death, I removed to Onondaga county, in New-York, and from thence to Hartwick, Otsego county, in the same State, having with me a truuk containing his writings. At time latter place I married again; and soon after went to Massachusetts. From 1817 to 1820 the trunk remained at Onondaga Hollow. After my marriage in 1820, it was removed to Hartwick, where it remained until 1832. A man of the name of Smith was, between 1823 and 1827, frequently seen prowling round the house without any ostensible object, so suspicious were his manceuvres, that he was once or twice arrested as a common vagabond, and only escaped the penalties of the law by running away."

    Mrs. Spaulding, at the time of giving this testimony, was old, and family misfortunes had impaired her memory, so as to destroy her recollection of the smaller circumstances attendant upon the removal of the trunk. She remembers, however, that the above-mentioned trunk contained quite a number of writings, at the time when she left it at Onondaga hollow; and although no one was known to have visited it between 1817 and 1832, it was found, by examination in the latter year, to contain but one manuscript, and that unimportant.

    The fact that Smith was near this vicinity and engaged in questionable business at the time, during which his revelations were in course of preeparation, seems therefore, in connection with the others above mentioned, to show that he himself purloined the manuscript, one copy of which had been left with Patterson & Lambden. Spaulding was then the innocent author of the Book of Mormon, and Smith the plagiarist and impostor who gave it to the world as inspiration.

    But to understand thoroughly any system, we must seek in the early life of its founder for those ultimate causes which have given it its peculiar nature and distinguishing characteristics. I think that we may find the elements of Mormonism in the early life of Smith.

    Joseph Smith was born on the 23d of December, 1805, in the town of Sharon, Vt., of poor and vicious parents, whose influence was, in his early years, constantly exerted to suppress the development of any of the higher qualities of the humnan soul to the exercise of which his disposition might incline him.

    When he was about ten years old, his family removed to Palmyra, N. Y., in the vicinity of which they resided about eleven years. His childhood was spent in following the occupation of a money-digger, one in which the ignorance and credulity of his parents constantly promapted them to engage themselves and family, to the great detriment of all industrial pursuits. The mounds and sepulchrcs of the extinct races of our Iand, holding out as they did promises of treasure to the ignorant, gave, the country over, strong motives to the idle and avaricious


    556                                        The Yankee Mahomet.                                         June

    to search into their depths and endeavor to reap advantage from the examination of their contents. Accordingly, we find Smith, in early youth, following his father, pickaxe on shoulder, digging eagerly into whatever might seeni an Indian tomb; encouraged by stories of boundless wealth hidden in the earth beneath him, which only waited the touch of his skilful hand, or the presence of the divining-rod, to reveal itself to the world; and subsisting by the plunder of hen- roosts, or upou whatever else fortune might throw in his way.

    The effects of such a course of life upon him who follows it may readily be imagined. Constantly revelling amid the wildest fictions which the avarice-stimulated imagination of his parents could fabricate, his fancy and love of the marvellous were cultivated to a surprising degree. Constantly striving for gold, and obtaining little by his efforts, he prized it above all other things, and became one of the most avaricious of men. Hope of future acquisition sustained him in his labors ; and as he was seldom reduced to want, but generally, either directly, by obtaining articles of value as a reward of his researches, or indirectly, by cheating those who joined him in speculations of the kind, made his expeditions support him, a strong and buoyant feeling of self-confidence was created and fostered. Permanent feelings of this kind are only companions of those who have learned to depend upon themselves, and they are generally found in conjunction with decision, with pride, and often with vanity; all of which qualities Smith possessed in a very high degree, as is indicated by his conduct in after life, lie could, when he had risen to power, frame legends to reanimate the desponding spirits of his devotees, and could hope on, even when his Church was most persecuted and scattered, for final exaltation and boundless dominion.

    Such was his cupidity, that he announced revelation after revelation to his saints, commanding them to bring him moneys and necessaries when his treasury was full; and such his vanity, that it required all the faith of his followers to ohviate the ridiculous effects of his boasts. He was firm even to obstinacy, as his unyielding- determination to occupy western Missouri testifies; and proud, regarding all men as fit subjects of a delusion in which he did not himself believe.

    Yet he possessed a trait of character seldom joined with pride, a low cunning which could stoop to the adoption of any means for the attainment of a desired object, and which often defeated the best pre-concerted projects of his enemies.

    In foresight, and power of estimating the probabilities of the future from the as- pect of the present, he was far from deficient, as the organization of his Church, adapted to all countries and all times, testifies; but we often find him overlooking affairs of minor importance, with a neglect which, in one occupying his position, seems surprising. He would, for instance, jest over his own infallibility and inspiration; would provoke wantonly the most powerful and trustworthy of his dependants; and would openly proclaim projects the concealment of which policy plainly dictated.

    His intellect was of no ordinary kind. Great powers of reasoning were his natural gift; and as his reasonings were rather of an analogical than an analytical cast, there existed (as is always the case with minds thus constituted) a deep vein of humor that ran through all he said and did. An imperfect education had left him deficient in knowledge of the structure of language; and hence his oratory and writings are characterized by most ridiculous grammatical blundcers. He possessed, however, a rough kind of eloquence which won upon the hearts of those too ignorant to see the glaring absurdities of his doctrines.

    Add to these qualities a retentive memory; a correct knowledge of human nature, so far as he had opportunities of observing it; ambition that knew no scruple, and licentiousnes that scorned all bounds; a Herculean frame and a commanding appearance; and we have the Mahomet of America, and the most dangerous religious impostor that has appeared for centuries.

    The knowledge of his early life which has been given to the world is limited; for all that seems to have been desired by those who made researches or gave testimony concerning him, was either to establish the bad character of the Smith family, or to show the real origin of the Book of Mormon.

    We find him at the age of 17 going out among the neighbors to do work by the job. The following anecdote is related of him, showing the effect which his previous training in the gold-seeking department had at


    1851                                        The Yankee Mahomet.                                         557

    this time produced in exciting a love for the marvellous and mysterious. It is in itself trifling, and only derives importance from its connection with his after life.

    As he was engaged one day (1822) in digging a well in company with a neighbor, a very curious stone was discovered, which he desired leave to examine. This being granted, he put it into his hat and asked Chase, the friend whom he was helping, to lend it to him. Chase did so, telling him at the same time not to lose it, as it was something of a curiosity. Soon after this, Joe began to aver that with this stone he could discover treasure, and see all things both above and beneath the earth. Chase then called upon him, and required it of him; but Smith could never be prevailed upon to give it up. It was afterwards used in the translation of the Book of Mormon, and styled the mysterious Urim and Thummim.

    His employment between this time and 1826 is not known, saving some few expeditions in search of gold and silver. One of his neighbors gives us an account of the ceremonies employed by the Smith family upon the occasion of such an expedition. These consisted in the use of the divining-rod; the sacrifice of a black sheep, previous to the commencement of the incantations the formation of a circle of stones, and others of a like nature; from an observation of which said witness sagely concludes, that the business brought them more mutton than gold.

    Occasionally he was heard advancing contradictory statements concerning a discovery made by himself of certain gold plates, and declaring the existence of a connection between himself and the spirit-world. These various stories gradually assumed form, and in after times, the story told to those who asked concerning his inspiration and published in the same writings, was as follows: --

    When he was about seventeen years of age, a revival of religion occurred in the village where he lived, by which many young people of his acquaintance were converted. His own mind was much troubled by a sense of the sinfulness of his conduct, and by doubts which of the various religious sects was most worthy of his support. One day, as he retired to a grove for purposes of prayer and meditation, an angel from heaven appeared, comforting him, and prophesying that he should be the founder of a sect destined to be greater than all others, and to embrace all mankind as its members.

    He was direeted to search on the summit of the hill Camora, in Manchester, Ontario county, N. Y., for a volume which should contain the institutions of this sect, and which had been buried there for upwards of fourteen hundred years. He searched, found, and was about to obtain possession of it, when a voice from heaven forbade him, and enjoined upon him a certain course of conduct for the ensuing four years. He was to be married to a woman described to him, and whom he should know as soon as they might meet; and was to prepare himself for the labor of translation by diligent study of the Coptic. In 1827 he might return and claim the book.

    He obeyed the Divine command; was married in 1826; obtained a complete mastery over the difficulties of the Coptic,* and returned, to obtain the fulfilment of the Lord's promise.

    The spot being indicated to him by the recollection of his former adventure, he removed the earth; and, saw, after opening a stone box, a large number of gold plates, each about eight inches long and seven wide, and of the thickness of sheet tin. Upon taking up the precious record, he looked down into the cavity occasioned by its removal, and saw a toad, which immediately leaped out and assumed the form of the Prince of the infernal world. His majesty, glancing at Smith for an instant, rushed upon him, dealt him a tremendous blow, and wrenched from him the sacred plates.

    Nothing daunted, and animated by supernatural aid, the daring intruder grappled with his opponent, and after a hard contest succeeded in regaining his treasure, with which he commenced an immediate retreat. The baffled fiend followed close, and planted upon the rear of the retreating prophet a kick which raised him four feet into the air; then, disappointed, vanished. But, unluckily for his credit, Smith had made a partial exposure of himself to a

    With regard to this profound knowledge. of the Coptic, there is some reason for doubt, as he has assured those asking him the meaning of Greek passages, that they were in the ancient Egyptian, and could be translated by no person save himself.


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    neighbor, Peter Ingersol; and this throws some little light upon the pretended discovery. The conversation had turned upon the golden Bible, and Joseph had admitted it to be a mere speculating affair; when, Ingersol desiring to know something about his first proceedings, he answered: "Early in the fall of 1827, as I was passing along in the woods, I saw some beautiful white sand. I gathered several quarts of it, tied it up in my frock, and carried it home. On entering the house, I found the family at dinner. They were all anxious to know the nature of the contents of my frock; so I gravely told them that I had the golden Bible, which I had previously mentioned; and, to my surprise, they all believed me. I added that no man could see it and live, but still offered to take it out and show it to them, upon which they left the room in alarm. Now, says I, I have got the damned fools fixed, and will carry out my fun."

    Such passages as this, occurring often in our hero's life, serve to show that, whatever else he was, he was no fanatic.

    I have mentioned the marriage of Smith. In 1826, he paid his addresses to a young lady named Hale, whose father soon forbade him his house, and removed to Pennsylvania. Joe, nothing daunted, went to a credulous neighbor named Lawrence, and told him that he had discovered a silver mine near a river which ran by the place where Miss Hale resided, and that some of the silver might easily be put into boats, and floated down to a good market. Lawrence carried Smith, who was moneyless, whither he desired, gave him upon his request a recommendation to Mr. Hale, and was then left to go home, empty-handed as he came. The money-seeker then eloped with his chosen, and, by promises concerning a gold mine, persuaded a good old Dutchman, named Stowell, to move all his furniture to a place of residence which he had prepared.

    The necessity of increased expense probably made him cast about him for means. Accordingly we see him, in 1827, in Palmyra, New-York, enteting into negotiations with Martin Harris, for the publication of the Book of Mormon. To use his own words to Ingersol, "I went to that d--d fool, Martin Harris, and told him that a revelation from heaven had informed me that he should give me fifty dollars towards the publication of the Golden Bible." This Harris, at once knave and fool, partly believing in Smith's inspiration, and partly engaging in the plan for the sake of profit, was the best tool that Smith could have found. He followed Joe to the town of Harmony, Pa., where together, Harris acting as secretary, they prepared the Book of Mormon for the press.

    Smith, seated on one side of a suspended blanket, diligently used the above-mentioned Urim and Thummim in the pretended inspection of the golden plates, (which his disciple was not permitted to see, lest their brightness should slay him,) while Harris transcribed his words. When the anxiety of the scribe to see the sacred volume became intense, as it frequently did, a revelation would be announced, telling him to wait patiently; and thus, restraining him from undue meddling, and encouraging him by flattery, his master prevailed upon him to advance all the funds necessary for the publication of the work, which took place in 1830.

    From the above facts it must appear that money-making was primarily Smith's object, and that it was success which enabled him to make his high pretensions to sanctity and miraculous power.

    Besides Martin Harris, Smith had gained over to his interests Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, whom he occasionally employed as secretaries; and when the Book of Mormon was issued from the press, a Church was formed, consisting of Smith, his father, his brother Hyram, and these three worthy coadjutors. The doctrines of this Church were contained in the newly issued volume; but as there were in the Book of Mormon only meagre explanations upon disputed theological points, the summary of faith was soon after enlarged by the Book of Covenants, published in small portions and at intervals. This last was, no doubt, partly written by Sidney Rigdon, during the sojourn of the Church in Ohio.

    The Mormon theological behief thus ushered into the world, is in many respects worthy of attention; and although we may see in it much that is ridiculous, it nevertheless appears to be the result of the endeavors of a sound mind, though of one sadly misinformed, to clear up the mysteries with which modern speculation has darkened the Scriptures; the principle of absolute


    1851                                        The Yankee Mahomet.                                         559

    human supremacy in Church affairs being constantly kept in view.

    The minds of the members of a sect which is to be governed in religious belief by one individual, must be deeply imbued with faith, lest an inquiring spirit should overthrow their confidence in the claims of him who governs them. Faith, therefore, is most treated of in the Mormon system; and so far do Mormons carry their adiniration of this quality of the soul, as to maintain that it is the power by which God created the world. In this view they sustain themselves by an ambiguity in Hebrews xi. 3, which has been suffered to remain in our translation.

    Good works are less made a theme of injunction; and although obedience to the will of the Prophet is sternly insisted upon, many indulgences are granted to the saints in other respects, and many restorations made of the doctrines of the various sects that have allowed their members liberty of action, and regarded belief as the only requisite to salvation. The Prophet, for instance, very generously allowed his chief supporters polygamy, provided the additional wives received the term spiritual, and the marriage ceremony was performed by himself. This privilege was of course unmentioned in any of the sacred writings, and extended at Smith's good pleasure.

    Three offenses Mormons are enjoined to forgive, but the fourth, they are emphatically told, God shall revenge for them and the interpretation of this has ever been, that they may revenge themselves.

    On the subject of the Trinity, Smith agrees with what is termed the Orthodox belief, as nearly as he understands it; but was often heard during his life to declare himself far superior to our Saviour.

    The Bible is said to be, after the Book of Mormon, the great canon of faith; and claims are made by the Prophet of having rectified many mistranslations, and restored many parts suppressed by the Catholics, who are denounced in no measured terms. Mormons regard it in the same light in which Christians regard the Old Testament, and its prophecies are to be literally fulfilled.

    There are now many differences in the Church, upon theological points; and were, even during the life of Smith. Elder Parley Pratt wrote a book, entitled the "Voice of Warning," in explanation of the subjects of disputation, which is almost regarded as canonical.

    In this work, the Mormon belief concerning the fulfilment of the predictions of the Apocalypse is thus explained

    "The New Jerusalem mentioned is to be built up in America, at Independence, Mo., and at the same time the old shall be rebuilt in Palestine. The two cities shall flourish until the great and last change, when both shall be caught up to heaven, to be near the Lord and his eternal habitations."

    The Book of Mormon declares that the "saints of the Church shall in after ages be equal to our Saviour, and, like him, engage in the creation and salvation of worlds." and adds, "that there are four future states or conditions of the soul, the Celestial, the Telestial, the Terrestrial, and the Infernal;" so that the distinction between the Mormon and other sects can be as well preserved hereafter as here.

    The creed of the Mormon Church would little differ, excepting on the points above enumerated, from that of any Christian denomination; but from what has been mentioned, it will be seen that in its main features it bears considerable resemblance to that propagated by Mahomet. Both recognize the principle of arbitrary power, and both that of forcible dissemination. There are, too, in both, indulgences for the faithful and sensual paradises reserved for the elect.

    It might not be unprofitable, did limits permit, to continue the parallel, and show how the minds of the great impostors of different ages are the same, and how the systems resulting from them distinguish, invariably, false teachers from THE TRUE.

    Smith's system was, however, produced in an age different from that of Mahomet, and could not, from the nature of things, be immediately promulgated by the sword. Care, circumspection, and an organization which should spread itself over the whole country, were necessary before forcible measures could quicken his onward march to power; and this organization he supplied with a skill which, considering his educational advantages and his opportunities of investigating governmental machinery, is truly wonderful.

    He was head of the Church, and, according to his own account, in constant communication with the Deity, whose commands he


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    imparted to others. The Church is therefore commanded to listen reverently to what he says, and to obey him in all affairs, spiritual and temporal.

    He only exercised this power, however, as head of a body which could live and grow without him. He was but the leading member of the First Presidency, which consisted of three individuals, and exercised supreme authority in all Church affairs. The other two members were, during his life, his brother Hyram and Sidney Rigdon.

    Each Mormon church is called a stake, and is ruled by a subordinate presidency, consisting of three high priests, who in religious affairs are subject to the central authority. There is in each stake an ultimate court of appeal in civil, and in some cases in religious affairs, which is composed of twelve high priests, and called the "High Council."

    An inferior court also exists in each stake, subordinate to the High Council, which acts only in civil affairs.

    Connected with the First Presidency is a "Travelling High Council," which acts immediately under its authority, and consists of twelve high priests, called the "Twelve Apostles," who preach the gospel in different parts of the world, and govern unorganized stakes. These 'Twelve Apostles have under their authority first, second, and third Seventies, which assist them in the administration of the affairs of new churches, and also preach.

    All the above officers are elected by the peop,le, and hold their offices during life, competency, and good behavior. There is thus a central authority in spiritual affairs, which binds the churches together, and an independence of the separate churches, which enables them to live under whatever civil laws they please. Every feeble and unorganized stake is amply provided for, and. the bond of union is strengthened by the communication of the minor authorities with the superior power, and by the constant exertions of travelling apostles.

    There are two classes of priesthood, the Melehizedec and the Aaronic. To the former belongs the First Presidency, with its High Council, together with each of the subordinate presidencies, with its High Council; to the latter the lesser courts, the "Seventies," and generally all elders and deacous of the Church who preach, whether they are travelling or stationary. The ministerial is no preventive to other occupations. Funds are occasionally provided for the ministers by the Church; but they are generally left to obtain their subsistence without extraneous aid, provided those around them can contribute nothing, and the funds of the Church are low.

    The Mormon elder is not, like too many of our Christian ministers, secluded from the haunts of life, and dependent upon a few parochial visits and upon weekly sermons as his means of reviving and sustaining religion. He wields the axe with the pioneer, climbs the mast with the sailor, drives the plough with the farmer; and thus, mingling in all the various avocations of mankind, appealing to familiar things, and using an influence which nothing but acquaintance with men and their actuating motives can give, is almost universally successful in obtaining some fruits of labor.

    Moreover, as Mormons live under a democratical form of Church government, and each man stands a chance of being a high priest or elder, all feel themselves bound to gain a thorough knowledge of their Scriptures; and thus a power of argument is gained, which gives the most ignorant the advantage in dialectical contests with the learned.

    This organization, and these facts, account, I think, for the vast influence which Mormonism exerts among the poorer classes; and when we consider such a constitution, we cannot wonder at the rapid increase of the new Church, and the astonishing power which it obtained in so short a space of time.

    Having then these foundations on which to build, it will not be difficult to construct, uninterruptedly and understandingly, the edifice of Mormon History.

    The first Mormon church was organized April 6th, 1830, at Manchester, N. Y., and was composed of six members, three of whom were, as has been remarked, members of the Smith family. Between April and October about forty were admitted as members in the surrounding villages. In October, four missionaries, among whom was Oliver Cowdery, started for the West, to preach to the Indians, whom Mormons have always looked upon with great favor, since they are taught by Smith to believe them the descendants of the ten lost tribes.


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    In the course of their journey, they preached at various places, and at Kirtland, Ohio, baptized one hundred and thirty disciples in less than four weeks. Before the next spring, the church at Kirtland had increased to about one thousand members. The reason of this enormous increase in so short a time is explained by Professor Turner in something the following manner.

    In the year 1827, Alexander Campbell, Sidney Rigdon, and William Scott left the regular Baptist Church, and founded a new sect, styled the "Reformed Baptists." S. Rigdon was distinguished from his colleagues by doctrines which soon entirely severed him from them, and made him the leader of a separate congregation. He maintained that the prophecies of the Scriptures would be literally fulfilled, and the Israelites actually restored, together with several other doctrines coinciding with those of Smith. His eloquence and persuasive powers were irresistible, his imagination luxurious, and his emotion while addressing an audience so overpowering as to induce many to believe him acting under the influence of inspiration.

    Some maintain the existence of a previous agreement between him and Smith, and the supposition is not improbable, although it cannot be verified. At any rate, as soon as the Book of Mormon was published, he started for Smith's place of residence, immediately returned after a short interview with the Prophet, and announced to his congregation his conversion to the Mormon faith. So great was his influence, that almost all of his flock followed his example, and occasioned, by entering the pale of the Church, this sudden augmentation.

    Soon after the conversion of Rigdon, Smith announced a regulation, which designated Kirtland, Ohio, as the place where, until another should be provided, the Church should take up its head-quarters. He gave it the Hebrew name of Shinahar, and adopted the practice of giving Hebrew names to the places where Mormon churches were established.

    When winter arrived, between one and two thousand Mormons had settled at Kirtland, and the Chureh seemed fairly begun. As the season progressed, many of the elders and members, excited by the revelations of Smith and the eloquence of Rigdon, fancied themselves possessed of miraculous power, and laid claim to the gift of tongues. Some ran franticly through the woods day and night, uttering unintelligible sounds; some went into convulsions, and lost their reason through overpowering religious emotion; while the country around seemed as the plains of Boeotia must have seemed during the high festivals of Bacehus.

    Smith, seeing that if each member of his church could with impunity lay claim to intercourse with heaven, his own power must fall, pronounced these farcical inspirations the work of the devil, and declared that all the commands which God would impose upon the Mormons would be first given to himself. The confusion soon after ceased.

    The year 1831 opened with bright auspices to the cause. smith announced a revelation commanding Church members to bring a large proportion of their possessions to the common treasury; and the command was obeyed. The elders made many converts throughout the country, and Smith's correspondents in the West gave him such glowing accoimts of the country lying along the Missouri frontier, that he determined to make it in future time the head-quarters of the Church. He had at first selected a portion of Geauga county, Ohio, as the promised land; but his character benig well known in those parts, and fifty gentlemen of high standing in community having made affirmation as to his rascality, he relinquished his project. In the month of June he called together the priesthood, to give what he termed the "endowment," which consisted in the imposition of hands and the impartment of the Holy Spirit; and after the performance of this ceremony, dispatched them to the West to preach the faith, commanding them to meet at Independence, Mo. Thither he and Rigdon soon went and pointed out a place for the erection of a temple, giving to Independence the name Mount Zion. After uttering various prophecies concerning the future greatness of the place, they returned to Kirtland.

    The Church at Mount Zion soon numbered twelve hundred members; but as its history is separate from that of the Mother Church at Kirtland, I shall treat only of the latter until 1838, and then review Missouri affairs.

    In the year 1832, a firm was established at Kirtland, With Smith for its head, the business of which was to take care of all consecrated property. During the commencement


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    of the next year, the gift of tongues again made its appearance. At first Smith declared it another Satanic manifestation; but soon afterwards, so great was the impression which it made upon the minds of his followers, he sanctioned it as the result of Divine influence. Judge Higbee, who soon after joined him at Kirtland, thus explains it: "Every sound that can be uttered is a word in some language. The person has only to open his mouth and utter sounds, leaving it to God to make them expressive of some train of thought. The translator must yield himself to the influence of the Spirit, and he will utter the substance of what is said."

    In June, the firm formed in the preceding year received a revelation from Smith, which commanded that the town should be laid out into lots, the proceeds resulting from the sale of which should be applied to the building of a temple. In carrying out this command, large debts were contracted, as the edifice to be erected was very expensive,

    In 1834, the firm was divided into two separate and independent arms, the one located in Missouri, the other at Kirtland

    In 1835, Smith and Rigdon purchased goods in Buffalo and Cleveland, and established a mercantile firm, the profits obtained by which were to be applied to the building of the temple. This establishment was soon involved in debt, and the leaders attempted to gain money by issuing their notes, payable at periods after date; but this expedient soon failed. During this year three or four hundred elders assembled at Kirtland, to pursue their studies in the department of Hebrew literature, under the direction of Mr. Seixas, a celebrated Hebrew scholar, whose services Smith had secured.

    In 1836 another endowment meeting was held at Kirtland, which is described as having been the most confused of earthly assemblages. Smith gave ardent spirits in great quantities, assuring the elders that the liquor was consecrated, and would not intoxicate. The meeting, soon feeling the effect, and thinking that a second day of Pentecost had arrived, indulged in outrageous extravagances, and spent the day in invoking curses upon the heads of the "Missouri Mob." Such meetings were afterwards discontinued.

    In 1837 the. Kirtland Bank was established. It had no charter, and subscribers might pay for their stock in town lots, rated at almost any value. The notes were at first current in the vicinity, and all old debts were paid off with them; but no one in the East would take them. Elders were sent off to barter away Kirtland money, but the institution, having no basis, soon fell through, and Smith, with Rigdon and several other inspired compeers, started for Missouri in the spring of 1838, hard followed by a sheriff, whose pursuit was, however, vain.

    During the six years of which I have been speaking, the sect had increased with great rapidity. Its bishops and elders had travelled over the greater part of the Union, and made converts in almost all the States. It is impossible to compute the exact number of Mormons in 1838, but probably fifty thousand does not come far from a correct estimate.

    The chief theatre of Mormon increase had not, however, been the country around Kirtland, where the Prophet's influence was most directly exercised, but Western Missouri.

    In the summer of 1831, a portion of the sect settled, according to the direction of Smith, at Mount Zion. Here, under the able direction of Bishop Partridge, a little church of twelve hundred members was built up within two years. But that zealous spirit which, in a Church admitting the principle of forcible conversion, will not let members rest unless a rapid proselytizing is going forward, was at work. Mormons were now next-door neighbors of their friends the Indians, whose affection was rapidly conciliated by that respectful treatment which Mormonism inculcates with regard to the descendants of the ten tribes of Israel. No very great number of conversions were made west of the frontier; but so close were the bonds of intimacy with the tribes drawn, that the elders began to fancy that their power was sufficient to enable them to dictate to the citizens of surrounding counties.

    Along the northern border of Missouri was the as yet unhumbled tribe of Sauks and Foxes, whose dominions extended from the Missouri river to the Illinois; while within the most a few hours' ride to the westward lay the hunting-grounds of the Pottowotamies, the Kickapoos, the Kanzas, the Delawares, and the Shawnees.

    Confiding partly in these allies, in the event of emergency, partly in their own


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    numbers, and more in the predictions of universal empire made by their sacred writings, the Mormons became exceedingly insolent, made dark and frequent predictions of the extermination of the Gentiles, and pronounced, in a way that left no doubt what would be the nature of their future conduct, that the "earth and all therein are the Lord's and the inheritance of his saints."

    Such conduct excited, of course, exasperation; and when we reflect that the saints were thievish in their habits, (as the records of Missouri courts will testify,) and justified, by appeals to their books, "milking the Gentiles," as they termed it, we cannot wonder at, although we may be unable fully to justify, what followed.

    On the 20th of July, 1833, a meeting of the citizens of Jackson county was held, for the purpose of considering the best method of effecting the expulsion of the Mormons from the neighborhood.

    It was represented at this meeting that the sect, being composed of persons of bad character, who constantly prophesied the expulsion of their neighbors, and -- being already numerous, would be a fruitful source of dissension in the community. Resolutions were therefore passed, among which were the following: --

    "No Mormon shall, in future, be allowed to settle in the neighborhood."

    "Those already settled shall be required to move away."

    "The office of the Mormon Star shall be closed."

    The Mormon elders shall be requested to co-operate with the elders in carrying out these measures."

    "Finally, those who refuse to comply with these resolutions shall be referred to such of their friends as possess the power of prophecy for information with respect to the fate which awaits them."

    While this assembly was yet deliberating, an appointed committee of twelve waited upon Partridge, to notify him of these demands.

    He required time for consideration and consultation with his friends in Ohio. The committee reported this reply to the meeting, which instantly adjourned, proceeded to demolish the printing-office of the Star, to tar and feather Partridge himself, and to extort a pledge from the Mormons that they would leave the country before the spring of 1834.

    That these violent measures are reprehensible, cannot be doubted; but that this expulsion has been beneficial to Missouri, is also indisputable. Whether the citizens were justifiable in taking some means of ridding themselves of neighbors who, it was evident, aimed at their own forcible expulsion at no very distant time, I will not pretend to determine. I leave it with such affairs as the removal of Mr. Clay's press from Lexington, to be settled in different ways, according as different canons of moral conduct are adopted.

    The Mormons, considering the agreement which they, had made invalid, petitioned Governor Dunklin for redress. He referred them to the civil law; but from this they received little or no assistance. The citizens meanly availed themselves of such means of molestation as pulling down houses, whipping and tarring and feathering individuals, until on the 4th of November a conflict took place, in which three or four were killed, and which occasioned so great an excitement that the Mormons thought it prudent to leave the county, and in a few weeks all had removed. The inhabitants of Clay county received them kindly, and gave them protection and subsistence throughout the winter.

    The loss of property occasioned by these disturbances and this hasty removal was estimated by the Mormons at $120,000. In the spring of 1834, Governor Dunklin endeavored to bring the parties to justice; but so great was the excitement on both sides, that he relinquished the attempt, hoping that quiet would be restored, and seeing that impartial decisions could not be obtained before the proper tribunals. When Smith, at Kirtland, heard of these proceedings, he issued a prodamation, reproving the Church in Missouri for its dissensions, and declaring that it had suffered punishment by the Lord's will. He also commanded his expelled disciples to return to Independence, and take possession of their property, since it was there that the Lord's temple should be established. Not contented with words, however, he mustered a number of emigrants who desired to join the Church at Independence, arid started for that place with two hundred and fifty armed men.


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    The expedition arrived about the beginning of June at the Mormon settlement in Clay county, prepared, as its members thought, for conquest. Previously to their departure, the society had voted itself the name of the "Church of Latter-day Saints," being persuaded that the time had come when wickedness should, by miraculous means, be finally removed from the earth, preparatory to the coming of the Lord's kingdom.

    On the 18th June, committees from both parties met at Liberty, Clay county, to endeavor to arrange affairs. The Mormons insisted on their right of returning to Mount Zion, and the Missourians persisted in their determination to repel all attempts at resettlement. No business of any importance was transacted, and the exasperated parties soon separated. A large portion of the Missouri committee entered a boat, apparently sound, for the purpose of crossing the Missouri river; but when they reached the middle of the stream their vessel suddenly filled and sank, thereby drowning several of them. There can be little doubt that this tragedy was planned by Smith, who had opportunities of tampering with the boat while it was tied to the bank. So fiercely, therefore, did public resentment burn against him, that the Prophet saw that with his present force he could do nothing; and although the relinquishment of his project of making Mount Zion the seat of his empire was no part of his nature, he deferred carrying it out until an increase of Mormon population should give him sufficient force.

    I have perhaps exceeded the proper limits of a communication, and must defer until some other time an account of the Missouri disturbances.

    Providence, April 17th.




    Vol XV. No. III New Series

      FOR MARCH, 1852.

    [pg. 221]


    NO. I.

    ONE of the most striking features in the history of modern fanaticism, is unquestionably the progress of Mormonism in the United States. That an uneducated youth, without the recommendation of decent morality, and in fact notorious only for a vagrant and dissolute life, should create and excite a new and revolutionary movement in the religious world, and he able to operate on the public mind by means of the most absurd pretenses to the divine and prophetic character, and that too in an age and amongst a people who boast of their general intelligence, is a paradox scarcely to be accounted for on any known laws of the human mind. It is our intention, in this and subsequent articles, to give a brief, and, so far as practicable, correct sketch of the history of this infatuated people, during the period of their residence in the Stats of Illinois. For years prior to their emigration to this State, they had occupied a district of almost wilderness country in the west of Missouri, where, however popular they may have been on their first arrival, they soon rendered themselves obnxious by setting up the most arrogant pretensions to divine favor and protection, and the advocacy of the most dangerous and disorganizing social doctrines. Smith, their dictator and prophet, assumed to act from divine appointment. It was pretended that his mission was of both a spiritual and temporal character. He was to radically and essentially change all the features of divine worship, and herald the millenial reign of Christ on earth. In addition to this, so far as could be ascertained from his vague and rather obscure prophetic teachings, he was to establish a temporal kingdom, in which the saints were to reign, and crush the unbelieving world beneath their vigorous rule. It was claimed that the foundations of this kingdom were laid at Independence, an inconsiderable village on the Missouri river. From this nucleus, it was to be extended by a series of supernatural incidents and brilliant conquests, more miraculous, complete, and dazzling than the rapid march of the Moslem prophet under his crescent banner. For the accomplishment of his purposes and the establishment of his dynasty, he was to concentrate all the savage tribes of the far West, and animate them to revenge the wrongs they had received at the hands of the white men. The terrible Comanche the Bedouin of the American desert; the Sacs and Foxes, still smarting under the defeat of their celebrated chieftain, Black Hawk; the Pawnees, the Omahaws, and all the wild tribes of the deep valleys and lofty crags of the Rocky Mountains, were to hear the voice of the Prophet, submit to his teachings, and to give their untamed barbarian energies, and employ the tactics of their destructive warfare to the establishment of the Mormon supremacy.

    It cannot be pretended that these bold assumptions of the Prophet were the insane ravings of stupid fanaticism, intended only for the amusement and edification of his superstitious and fanciful followers. The whole policy of the Prophet plainly indicated that his dreams of conquest and future empire resulted not so much from his fanaticism, as from a lofty, earnest, and determined ambition. For the purpose of advancing these lofty views, he employed and sent amongst the various tribes on the skirts of his settlement, his most cunning emissaries, for the avowed purpose of winning them over to his intended coalition. The Book of Mormon, which is a pretended history of the ancient aborigines of the country, from which it is claimed that the modern tribes have descended, was the principal means used by the Mormon missionaries to effect the conversion of the savages. From the pages of this blundering fiction, the red man was taught of his elevated origin; of an ancestry which had peopled a vast continent, and established a civilization even superior to that of their European enemies. From the pages of this book,


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    they were pointed to immense cities, which far surpassed the most populous and magnificent of modern times, and which had long since decayed and passed away, leaving distinct traces of their ruins behind. The heart of the modern savage was animated, and his sanguinary nature was excited and aroused by graphic details of terrific battles fought; of cities desolated; of countries laid waste, and whole tribes exterminated by ruthless and indiscriminate warfare. Whilst their admiration was enlisted by the heroic virtues of an ancestry which had perished from the earth, their own feeble and helpless condition was depicted in strong and glowing terms by the cunning missionary of the new faith. They were pointed to the European race, which had driven them from their fairest possessions, as the cause of their degradation. They were confidently promised a speedy restoration of all their rights, and a return to all the grandeur and power of their ancient ancestry, should they but rally and fight under the Prophet's banner. By such means as these, all the wild tribes who had suffered wrong from the usurpations of the white race were to be united under the leadership of Smith, and, emerging from the shades of their wilderness homes, were to pour their vengeful and desolating legions on the possessions of their enemies; and where the arts of civilization marked the conquest of the white man over the wilderness, was the savage to re-light his council-fires, and dance his war-dance amid sombre desolation and ruin.

    The pioneer settlers of Missouri had encountered much from the hostility of their Indian neighbors. In fact, they had maintained the occupancy of their new homes as much by the terrors of the rifle as the force of law. It was consequently with considerable alarm that they learned that the emigrant Mormons, who had been received with true hospitality amongst them, were plotting with their avowed enemies for their final extinction. It was not singular that they should immediately remonstrate with decision and warmth against a course tending to inflame the untamed passions of the savage and increase his natural hostility. But their remonstrance was received with contempt by the misguided fanatics, which they neither cared to conceal or disguise. The Missourians were informed in substance, that the Mormons must live up to their elevated destiny; that their course, however revolutionary it might be, was marked out for them by divine appointment; and that if the omnipotent Ruler of the universe intended through their instrumentality to restore the aborigines of the country to their primitive rights, they were bound to obey, regardless of what results might follow their action.

    Whatever maybe the faults of the Western pioneer, a tendency to fanaticism or superstition is not one of them. They would have treated the insane ravings of the Prophet with passive indifference, had it not been for his continued and repeated attempts to excite against them the wrath of the red man. Although they viewed Smith as an impostor, they still believed that any prophecy, however false, absurd, or stupid, might conduce to its own fulfilment in the hands of desperate and misguided fanatics. It is not, therefore, wonderful that they were excited and alarmed by the acts of the Mormons iii tampering with their savage enemies. Interview succeeded interview with the fanatics, for the purpose, if possible, of adjusting their difficulties, without any satisfactory results. The Mormons assumed a still more lofty and threatening attitude, and their language became still more irritating, until the Missourians, provoked beyond endurance, collected their forces, declared war against the Prophet, and, after a number of skirmishes between the parties, in which several lives were lost, and the property of the Mormons was totally destroyed, they were finally with strong hand expelled from the State.

    Smith, by this unfortunate termination of his settlement in Missouri, had lost years in the accomplishment of his purposes; yet his bad fortune never caused him to despair. Visions of future empire and greatness still animated his heart, and prepared him for more bold, determined, and desperate effort in the future. The land from which he had been just expelled under circumstances so humiliating to his ambition, he still claimed as his own; and if he was compelled by untoward events to retrace his footsteps eastward, it was only to recruit his exhausted resources, to rally and consolidate his increasing followers, preparatory to a more extended system of colonization in the far West.

    With these views he landed at Quincy, in the State of Illinois, some time daring the


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    autumn of 1839. He was then much reduced in circumstances. Instead of the robust and ambitious fanatic, threatening Missouri and the world with divine vengeance, he was meek with endurance, gaunt and haggard with famine; a ragged, destitute outcast of society, begging a subsistence at the hand of charity. The Prophet, together with his famished followers, many of whom were sick with the hardships and exposures they had encountered, were received with sincere and unaffected hospitality by the people of Quincy, who, with exalted and praiseworthy benevolence and liberal hand, administered to all their necessities. Whilst the famished and suffering Mormons were fed without charge by the benevolence of strangers, who had but heard of the strange sect of religionists, and of their persecutions for conscience sake, these strangers listened with sympathy to the stories of their wrongs, and as they listened they became indignant at the recital of those scenes of violence which the persecuted Mormons had suffered, for no other reason than the peculiarities of their faith, and the unaffected and gracious piety of their deportment. The people and the press of Illinois were loud in their denunciations of the people of Missouri for the violence they had manifested towards the Mormons.

    The Prophet and his followers remained at Quincy but a short time during which they received many letters from various portions of the State, inviting them to make a permanent settlement. Smith concluded, after some deliberation, that the most desirable locality for the establishment of his head-quarters was at the head of the Des Moines rapids of the Mississippi river, in the county of Hancock, then in an atmost wildeiness state. He accordingly visited that place, and was received with great kindness and consideration by the few persons who then resided there. This point had for a few years past been the property of a small junto of operators in real estate, who had been laboring to build up a city by devices and expedients known exclusively to that interesting class of speculators. This object they found no difficulty to accomplish -- on paper. Splendid lithographed plots of the flourishing city of Commerce (for so was this child of ingenious speculation christened) had been exhibited by the most industrious and enterprising agents, in all the principal Eastern cities; on which were pointed out spacious and elegant churches, hotels, banks, and other public buildings, all constructed on the most approved and graceful order of architecture. Yet, in Western phraseology, it was no go. Eastern capitalists had been already too sorely bitten by the adroit cunning of Western sharpers, in numerous speculations of like charaeter, to deal any further in paper cities; consequently, notwithstanding the handsome and imposing appearance of its public buildings, Commerce lots remained dull and inactive on the hands of their owners.

    It was not strange that Smith should be received with the utmost kindness by these speculators, who would no doubt have extended the same welcome to Lucifer, scented with all the fumes of his brimstone kingdom, if his majesty would have taken upon himself the responsibility of building up the embryo city. To facilitate business, one or two of those speculators xvent so far as to unite with the Mormon church, and subsequently won some notoriety in the annals of fanaticism. Smith was struck with the extreme beauty of the situation, and, the terms being easy, managed to purchase large tracts of the most fertile alluvial bottom lands, which for the present was to be the seat of the Mormon dynasty, and on which, as with the wand of enchantment, be was to cause a populous city suddenly to spring from the silent bosom of the earth. The locality was most admirable and picturesque. The Mississippi swept its magnificent flood of transparent waters in a vast curve, around its north-western and southern limits. On the east, by easy and gradual ascent, rose the bluff, to the height of some hundred feet, and crowned at that time by a forest of sturdy oaks, invaluable to the settler for fuel and building purposes. Stretching to the east, the forest disappeared, and an expansive prairie of untold fertility and beauty, as yet in its primitive wilderness state, invited the culture of the emigrant, and promised a rich reward to his toil. It was just what the destitute Mormons required. They could erect temporary dwellings by their own labor, and secure a subsistence by agricultural pursuits.

    The Prophet immediately brought his family, and the fugitives that accompanied him, to the site of the new city, which he called Nauvoo, meaning, in the fanciful language


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    of Mormonism, a city of rest. No sooner had Smith taken possession of his new home, and before the first log-cabin had been erected to shelter the saints, than he issued a general proclamation to all his followers to assemble themselves at their new city of rest. This call was responded to with all the zeal of fanaticism. The exbausted and care-worn follower of the Prophet, driven and persecuted by the hostile and avenging citizens of Missouri, bent their feeble and worn-out footsteps to the land of promise. The devotees of the new religion farther east, many of whom were persons of substantial means, heard the summons of the Prophet, and, full of hope and promise, collected their household gods together and hastened on their journey, to unite with the congregation of the faithful. The gaunt, famine-stricken operatives in the manufacturing districts of England, many of whom had been seduced into the ranks of Mormonism by exaggerated statements of the influence, prosperity, and prospective greatness of the new sect, heard the voice of the Prophet as the voice of God, and with precipitate haste embraced the opportunity to expatriate themselves from the prison-house of their servitude.

    Population flowed into the city. The residents of the county, who had long witnessed the abortive attempts made. to build up the city of Commerce, beheld with astonishment the life, activity, and enterprise of the fanatics. Buildings of every description, from the rude shed to the spacious and commodious dwelling, were completed with unexampled rapidity. Never in the history of the West, unprecedented for its wonderful growth, did any place, even the most flourishing, progress in improvement and increase in population as did Nauvoo. Through the enterprise of the Mormon, the wild prairie was tamed, and reduced to cultivation; spacious improvements and productive farms appeared, where only a year before the wild grass waved its exuberant and massive greenness to the invigorating prairie breeze. This beautiful region, which enterprise and cunning had failed to make available, in two short years boasted a population of ten thousand souls, and was still advancing with unexampled strides. The industry and energy of the Mormons won the approbation and applause of all who visited them. In the mean time, the most important and useful public improvements were contemplated. The Des Moines rapids, which had always been a serious obstacle to the successful navigation of the Upper Mississippi, were to be improved by private enterprise, in such a manner that a vast hydraulic power, of incalculable utility, was to be secured, and the City of the Saints was destined to rank in wealth and importance with the great manufacturing towns of Europe. Voluntary associations, for the encouragement of agriculture, for the improvement of the mechanic arts, for the advancement of their commercial interests, and the dissemination of general intelligence, were established.

    The Mormons now numbered a majority in the county of Hancock, and it was not singular that aspirants to political distinction should pay court to their Prophet, who had undisputed and absolute control of all their votes. Many of these candidates for political favor were not ashamed of the basest sycophancy and meanness in their intercourse with the Prophet, which they exerted for the accomplishment of their ambitious purposes. The egregious vanity of Smith was inflamed by the grossest flattery. Candidates for the State Legislature promised every thing for the advancement of the Prophet and his people; and the one who could stoop to the basest servility had the greatest reason to hope for success. The members elect went into the Legislature under direct pledges to Smith to carry out certain measures which he conceived necessary for his protection and future prosperity.

    The Prophet asked for the incorporation of his new city, and forthwith his obsequious representatives prepared a charter, and by their influence procured its passage, granting to the municipality of Nauvoo privileges and authority which in a great measure placed the Mormons beyond the control of all legal tribunals. A sort of anomalous judiciary, which was termed a municipal court, was created by this act of incorporation, which virtually ousted all other courts of jurisdiction in causes where Mormons were parties. Jurisdiction of writs of habeas corpus had been confined by statute to judges of the Circuit and Supreme Courts. But this important right was now vested in the municipality of Nauvoo, and threatened by its arbitrary, and extensive operation to wrest every culprit from the custody of the law.

    Since the first organization of his church,


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    Smith had suffered much from the waywardness and persecutions of the Gentile world, whilst his unorganized and unarmed followers were inadequate to his protection. His experience in Ohio and Missouri had proven to him that the supremacy of the law was nothing but idle cant when the Mormons were concerned, lie could more readily depend on the zeal of his followers thaa the strong arm of the law, which had never yet proven strong enough to vindicate his rights. For the purpose of self-protection, he now asked a complete and thorough organization of his followers into an independent military force; and, strange as it may appear, this unreasonable request was granted; and the celebrated Nauvoo Legion, ever afterwards conspicuous in Mormoa history, and which became the terror and scourge of the adjacent country, sprang into existence at the bidding of the Legislature, with chartered rights even beyond the expectations of the aspiring Prophet. And as if this organization was not of itself sufficient, a large portion of public arms, embracing several pieces of artillery, was placed at the disposal of this body of military. Other charters of great importance, though less dangerous tendency, were freely granted by this subservient Legislature.

    Smith was now rapidly becoming a personage of great importance. The haggard countenance and attenuated figure of the outcast and persecuted Missourian would scarcely have been recognized in the jovial face and athletic person of General Smith; for the Prophet had been called to the command of his legion, with the rank of lieutenant-general. He was the founder of a new and highly prosperous city. He was the prophet, dictator, and king of ten thousand devoted followers, who were clustered around his standard and awaited his commands. He had the absolute control of a large and formidable volunteer force, whose hearts palpitated in unison with his own. He was no longer a wandering fugitive, subsisting on the cold charity of the community but, on the contrary, was the centre of patronage and power. Legislators were made and unmade at his bidding; and aages who aspired to a seat in the legislative councils of the nation, were not ashamed to pay court to the Prophet, and succumb to his dictation for his influence and support.

    After organizations were effected under his various charters, Smith determined to construct a temple, to be dedicated to the celebration of the religious rites of Mormonism, which was to surpass in originality, grandeur of design, and the harmony of its proportions, all other edifices in Christendom. To enlist his people in this vast enterprise, the Prophet declared that he had received a revelation on the subject, authorizing and directing the construction of the sacred edifice, and communicating the plan of its architecture. For the accomplishment of this design, Smith adopted the ancient Jewish system of tithing. Every devotee of the faith was required, under heavy penalties, to contribute one tenth of his means; and the destitute and unfortunate, who had no property, were compelled to devote one tenth of their labor on the rising edifice. In addition to these resources, every portion of America, and many countries of Europe, were visited by the agents of the Prophet, whose business it was to solicit means to build the temple of the Lord. The material used in the building of the walls of the sacred edifice was white limestone, which admitted a fine polish, and which was found in great abundance in the adjacent river bluffs, and was excavated with comparatively little labor by the determined and energetic fanatics. The necessary lumber was cut and sawed out of the pine forests of the distant North, by Mormon labor.

    Every thing, as yet, had gone smoothly in the intercourse between the Mormons and their neighbors. But, as the polished and strong walls of the temple, under the skill, direction, and enterprise of fanaticism, rose gradually from their solid foundations, in their massive strength resembling more an unassailable fortress than a sanctuary devoted to the sacred rites of religion, a feeling of suspicion and distrust was engendered towards Smith and his followers, which soon increased to settled and deadly hostility, on the part of the citizens of the county. They now began to reflect on the difficulties which had always attended the wanderings of the fanatic impostor. They now began to inquire why it was that, in Western New-York, where the Prophet first propagated his new faith, and first organized into a church his followers, he was frowned upon by the virtuous of all religions, and, by the force of public sentiment alone, without any appeal to violence was banished from the State; and why it


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    was that, in Northern Ohio, where he sought to concentrate his followers and effect a permanent settlement, that he was compelled to fly on account of the hostility of his neighbors and their appeal to violence; and why it was that the people of Missouri had manifested such deadly hatred towards the Mormons, and visited them with such sanguinary vengeance. And, with the inquiry, the conclusion began to force itself on the minds of all candid persons that the Mormons themselves had occasioned all their difficulties; that their religion was incompatible with social order, opposed to the genius and institutions of all just governments, and in its very nature a treasonable conspiracy against American institutions; and with the conclusion came the reflection that, by their partiality and encouragement, they had breathed into the almost extinct spirit of fanaticism new life and vigor; that they had raised the Prophet from a condition of insignificance, and exalted him to one of power and prospective greatness. They had surrounded him with the protection of chartered rights, which had in a measure placed him beyond the jurisdiction of legal tribunals; through their zeal on his behalf, a formidable military force had been created, and the very bayonets which bristled in their hands, and the ordnance which thundered at their public rejoicings, were the gift of their foolish munificence.

    If Joe Smith, with a handful of his weak, inefficient, and despised followers, by a threatening and defiant attitude, could alarm and agitate all Missouri, what were the people of Illinois to expect from him, when a well-organized military force waited on the Prophet, and executed his commands?

    Another election was approaching, and it was thought important and desirable by all good citizens, who were alarmed by the growth of fanaticism, to associate themselves together, irrespective of party predilections or issues, for the purpose of opposing an undivided front to the increasing power of the obnoxious sect. It is due to this banded opposition to the Mormons to say, that anti-Mormons were not in any way disposed to abridge their rights of conscience, or in any way interfere with the free exercise of the absurd rites of the Mormon religion. It was only intended to keep in check the political tendency of their faith, and, if possible, prevent the interests of the county from perishing under their corrupt and absurd rule.

    For this purpose, an anti-Mormon meeting was called, which was largely attended by the old citizens of the county. This meeting had two duties to discharge; one to pass resolutions of censure against the Mormons, the other to nominate a full anti-Mormon county ticket, by which the subservient tools of Mormonism were to be defeated. The first duty of the convention was readily accomplished. The Mormons were attacked and abused in a long string of most bitter resolutions, which were passed with the greatest unanimity. But the apportionment of the offices amongst a crowd of aspirants was a task of more delicacy and difficulty than had been anticipated. It was desirable that every one should be satisfied, and this could hardly be expected, as a number of zealous claimants appeared for every office. Notwithstanding there appeared some dissension and dissatisfaction on the part of many members of the convention, yet there was too much zeal to abandon the projected organization. The nominations were accordingly made; but when the meeting was called upon for its final and unanimous ratification of the nominations which had been passed upon, some of the most zealous and influential members of the organization bolted outright, and retired, muttering the most unequivocal threats against the success of the ticket.

    Amongst the disaffected was a certain Mr. O., a superannuated Calvinistic Baptist preacher of the old school, noted for ignorance amid bigotry, and for his determined opposition to the cause of education. his piety was of that doubtful character which hungered amid thirsted after office more than after righteousness.

    Another of the worthies who bolted the action of this convention was a Mr. D., a lawyer of limited attainments and ordinary talents, a politician in his small way, and an oracle on all subjects in the drinking-shops which he haunted.

    Immediately after these gentlemen withdrew from the convention, they deserted to the enemy. They informed the Prophet that they had come over to him on account of the intolerant and proscriptive policy of the anti-Mormons, and that they were willing to avow allegiance to Smith, and make themselves generally useful in time advancemeat of his interests, if they could only be


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    returned to the Legislature. It was finally agreed that the lawyer should be the candidate for the State Senate, and that the preacher, in conjunction with William Smith, a younger brother of the Prophet, should represent him in the lower branch of the Legislature. Smith, by virtue of a revelation which he pretended to have received, commanded his followers to vote en masse for these candidates of his choice. This command of the Prophet was obeyed to the letter, and it resulted in the defeat of the anti-Mormon candidates by a considerable majority.

    However much depressed and discouraged the anti-Mormons may have been, by reason of their bad success, it was now too late for them to abandon the contest which they had commenced with Mormonism. The sect was daily increasing in numbers and influence, and the attitude of the Prophet was daily becoming more threatening and alarming. The unparalleled growth of fanaticism, unless speedily checked, would soon control their destiny.

    Smith boasted that the number of his followers already exceeded three hundred thousand; and his avowed policy was to centralize his numerical force at Nauvoo. The population of the State at that time did not much, if any, exceed six hundred thousand, which was nearly equally divided between the Whig and Democratic parties, the Democracy being in the ascendant by a few thousand votes only. It was not improbable that, at no very distant period, if the Prophet continued to concentrate his followers at Nauvoo, his power would become formidable to the State, as it was now to the county. The Mormon vote, even at this period, was almost equal to the difference between the Whig and Democratic parties, and was an object of great importance to the aspirant to office, inasmuch as it was never divided, but always thrown en masse, according to the Prophets directions. Nor was this vote Whig, Democratic, or Free Soil in its predilections; it was an independent power, always in the market, ready to be sold to the highest bidder. Demagogues of all parties, and of every possible shade of political belief crowded like famished carrion-crows to the City of the Saints, for the purpose of bartering for the Mormon vote.

    In view of this state of facts, the defeat which the anti-Mormons had just sustained, so far from causing them to abandon their opposition to the Mormons as hopeless, only inspired them with more determined energy and hostility, and incited them to effect a more perfect organization, to successfully meet all coming contests with their triumphant rivals.

    R. W. MAC.       
    Nauvoo, Ill, January 11, 1852.    




    Vol XV. No. IV New Series

      FOR APRIL, 1852.

    [pg. 327]


    NO. II.

    THE Mormons in the full tide of prosperity, rejoicing in their political triumph, vaunting themselves on the completeness of their organization, and the vigorous and efficient rule of their chief, failed to profit by the severe lessons of adversity which they had but lately experienced. Regardless of the waning popularity of their leader, and the rumblings of dissatisfaction and hostility which were continually borne to their ears from the surrounding neighborhood, they still persisted in their wayward and exceptional policy, and still further aroused the prejudice and hatred of their enemies by their arrogant and absurd pretensions. They laughed at the high-toned denunciations of their enemies, and treated with hardy contempt the numerous gatherings and consultations of the Gentiles. The Prophet declared that when divine interposition should become necessary, the Lord would commission his destroying angels to scatter and destroy the boasted strength of the Anti-Mormons, in the same manner as the Assyrian host had been annihilated by the supernatural visitation of the destroyer, ages before, for the vindication and protection of the Jews. Smith was too dignified, and withal too powerful, to concede any thing to allay the prejudices of his neighbors. He had forgotten that only a few years since, those who now denounced him so heartily had provided for his necessities, and sympathized with his alleged wrongs, with sincere and unostentatious generosity. He would concede nothing to the outraged feelings of those who had but lately been his benefactors, but, on the contrary, with base ingratitude, and trusting in his increasing strength, when admonished of the irritation and excitement occasioned by the impolicy of his course, he scornfully pointed them to the superior discipline of his military, the completeness of their equipments, and the strength of their unwavering devotion to his person and his cause.

    In the mean time, the Missourians had not yet abandoned their quarrel with the Mormons; nor had they forgotten that their vengeance had been baffled by the escape of Smith, whilst an indictment was pending against him for treason. They were determined that he should yet be arrested and compelled to answer for his numerous crimes. To this end a requisition was granted under the seal of the State of Missouri, requiring the executive of Illinois to deliver up to a commission appointed for that purpose the body of Joseph Smith, a fugitive from justice. Upon the service of this requisition, the Governor of Illinois, in obedience to its requirements, issued a warrant for the arrest of Smith, and placed it in the hands of an officer for execution. It is hardly probable that any officer would have possessed sufficient hardihood to have attempted the arrest of the Prophet in his own city. It would have been impracticable, even if no resistance should be made; as a thousand cunning expedients would have been resorted to by the Mormons to conceal the Prophet and defeat the ends of justice.

    Fortunately, however, it was discovered that Smith was absent from Nauvoo on a mission of love in the northern portion of the State. The officer charged with the execution of the writ having ascertained Smiths absence from Nauvoo, proceeded in pursuit of him, and, without difficulty or opposition of any kind, secured his arrest at a small village on Rock river. Being in this manner deprived of the support of his friends, the Prophet had no choice left him but submission. He accordingly prepared to accompany the officer with the utmost apparent cheerfulness, and the most jovial good feeling towards his captors, not, however, until he had contrived secretly to send an embassy with intelligence of his arrest to his friends at Nauvoo. This embassy traveled with the greatest possible speed; whilst the Missourians, having in custody the captured


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    Prophet, seeing no possible chance for his escape or rescue, proceeded at a more leisurely pace in the same direction. They did not, however, think it prudent to risk the prisoner among his friends in Nauvoo; as sufficient was known of the character of the Mormons for cunning and duplicity to render the escape of Smith absolutely certain. They accordingly determined to cross the Mississippi river at Fort Madison, ten miles shove Nauvoo. Whilst the Missourians were quietly progressing across the State, well satisfied with themselves and the result of their expedition, with chivalrous generosil;y endeavoring to cultivate the acquaintance of their prisoner, and tendering to him their good offices, the Mormon emissary which Smith had dispatched with the intelligence of his arrest, arrived at Nauvoo and communicated to the High Council the perilous situation of the Prophet. On the reception of this intelligence, the Mormons lost no time in fruitless lamentations. To allow the Missourians to take the Prophet into their own State would be in fact signing his death-warrant, or consenting to his murder, as all the fierce and relentless and undying hate of which human nature is susceptible had been aroused in the breast of the Missourian in his recent contest with the Prophet. Even should he have been acquitted by the court in which his cause was impending, the determination was general that the fanatic impostor escaping from legal justice should die by the hands of violence.

    It was uncertain to the Mormons what route would be taken by the captors of the Prophet; and to make assurance doubly sure -- to guard against the possibility of escape, a steamboat owned by the Mormons was called into requisition, and was immediately dispatched by way of the Mississippi to Beardstown on the Illinois, whence they had reason to believe the Missourians would proceed by steamboat to St. Louis. At the same time they dispatched a strong detachment of the Nauvoo Legion north on the direct route to the point where Smith had been arrested. This last expedition had traveled about thirty miles when they fell in with the Missourians, and immediately surrounded them. The odds in numbers and equipments was so manifestly in favor of the Mormons, that resistance was out of the question. The Missourians vainly urged that they acted under legal authority and by the warrant of the Governor; that by virtue of this unquestioned authority they had made the arrest, and that duty required that they should make legal return of their prisoner to the proper authority, of Missouri. The Prophet admitted the unquestioned validity of their process; nor had he any disposition to resist an authority which all good citizens were bound to respect; nor would he suffer his people -- who, notwithstanding the contrary opinions expressed of them by their enemies, were distinguished for their orderly submission to the law -- to rescue him from their custody, which, if illegal and wrongful, could be redressed without any appeal to violence. But, whiist he submitted implicitly to the supremacy of the law, he claimed, in common with every American citizen, its protection. Whilst he respected the authority under which be had been arrested, he claimed the right, under a writ of habeas corpus, to inquire into the legality of his detention. And should it be found, upon a full, impartial, and satisfactory investigation, that there was sufficient cause to restrain him of his liberty, trusting in the purity of his past life and the righteousness of his past actions, he would cheerfully accompany them and confront his accusers in their own courts, where he hoped triumphantly to vindicate his innocence. To avail himself of his legal remedy, it was necessary for them to visit Nauvoo, where he assured the Missourians a hospitable reception awaited them, and where the grievance of which he complained could be inquired into by the municipal court of that city, which had full authority to try writs of habeas corpus; and he hoped there would be no doubt entertained of its impartiality.

    However much the Missourians may have doubted the pledge of hospitality given by the Prophet, or whatever faith they may have placed in the impartiality of the tribunal to which the Prophet intended to appeal, prudence influenced them to accept the proposition made to them, and visit Nauvoo.

    Immediately after their arrival, the Pro- phet procured the issuing of his writ of habeas corpus from the municipal court of Nauvoo. This judiciary had been organized under the provisions of the charter, and surrounded with circumstances of great dignify. It consisted


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    of a presiding judge and eight associates. Smith himself had been chosen Chief Justice, and now his case was to be determined by his eight associates, whom he claimed to be impartial, even when their chief was a party.

    At this time the congressional election was pending, and the candidates were then engaged canvassing the district with the most commendable zeal and industry. The Whig candidate, a lawyer of great experience and some eminence in his profession, was at Nauvoo, engaged in the laudable enterprise of making his election sure, when Smith and the Missourians returned to Nauvoo. It was thought by the Prophet that the presence of this gentleman on the trial of his habeas corpus would be of the utmost service to him, in attaching weight and dignity to the decision of his court. Should this tribunal be afterwards charged with stretehing its jurisdiction beyond its statutory limits, he could refer to Cyrus Walker, the most thorough of jurists, who advised and insisted on the very decision to which the objection was raised. And if the learned, astute, and practical lawyer, of forty years experience, honestly erred in his opinion, was it not possible that the men who constituted the court, unacquainted with legal principles or the complicated forms of the law, might commit the same error, without being amenable to the charge of corruption? Walker hailed the misfortune of the Prophet, and the necessity of his presence as his counsel, as the brightest omen of the success of his somewhat doubtful political campaign. This congressional district, prior to the emigration of the Mormons, was about equally balanced between the political parties; and the Mormon vote at this time invariably decided the contest by its influence and number. The candidate very plausibly argued, that if he, by his professional learning, should give dignity and respectability to the Mormon tribunal, it was due to him that the Mormons should reciprocate his kindness and remunerate his labors, by granting to him their undivided support at the approaching election.

    After the preliminary arrangements were made, Smith, without further delay, was brought before the court over which he ordinarily presided. The only question which appeared necessary to decide was one of jurisdiction. It was contended by the Missourians that the Legislature never intended to grant to the municipality of Nauvoo any authority to issue writs of habeas corpus, excepting in cases where the cause of detention originated under the laws or ordinances passed by the city council; that in the case under advisement, the cause of detention arose under State and national laws, and could not be investigated by the tribunal before which it was pending. This view of the case was combated by Mr. Walker with admirable adroitness and plausibility, he had the confidence and sympathy of the court; and it was not wonderful that it should decide with the most harmonious unanimity in favor of its own jurisdiction. It would hardly be supposed that this preliminary decision would have disposed of the merits of the case. That because the court had jurisdiction of the matter in question, that therefore the prisoner should be discharged, without any inquiry into the legality of his detention, would scarcely be considered a legitimate conclusion by any court in America. Yet such was the decision of the Mormon tribunal in the present case. The court, without any reference to the Governors warrant under which the defendants justified, declared their opinion to be, that General Joseph Smith be, and is hereby, legally and honorably discharged.

    To procure the discharge of his client under such circumstances, reflected but little credit on the professional skill of the counsel. But the Missourians were resolved not to be baffled by the chicanery of the Mormons, and still determined to bring their fanatical leader to justice. For the accomplishment of this purpose, they immediately departed to Springfield, the seat of government, to procure, if possible, another warrant from the executive for the arrest of the Prophet. It now depended on Walker to counteract any statement made by the Missourians, and, if possible, prevent the Governor from granting any further process in the case. For this purpose he was sent to Springfield by Smith. In this mission Walker was completely successful. The Governor, on his representations, refused to grant a new warrant, and the Missourians, wearied and disappointed by the superior address and cunning of the Mormons, returned home from their fruitless expedition. This was an important triumph for the Prophet. He had thwarted the vengeance of his enemies without any appeal


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    to violence, lie had achieved his discharge from arrest by due course of law. To render his triumph more complete, he obtained his discharge from imprisonment under the operation of a law passed by his own city council, and his freedom was pronounced by a court under his own control. In his contest with the people of Missouri, he had fought against the legally constituted authority of the State, and was denounced as the leader of a revolutionary and disorganizing mob; but now, by a masterly stroke of statesmanship, he had changed his policy, and, by submission to the laws, had become the founder of the law and order party of the county of Hancock. In his Missouri War, where force opposed force, the Prophet had been sadly the loser. But in his late contest, where cunning and chicanery were the weapons of his warfare, the most complete success was the result of his policy. Through the influence and operation of the late decision of the Nauvoo court, assuming jurisdiction of writs of habeas corpus, the city became a place of refuge for every fugitive from justice. The outlawed felon, escaping from the vengeance of the law, hurried to the City of the Saints, and found a safe asylum and ample protection from the Prophet, who received him with kindness, and granted to him his countenance and support.

    The Prophet had read and admired the history of David, the founder of the Jewish dynasty, who, prior to his elevation to the throne, when banished by the jealous displeasure of the reigning sovereign, collected around him in the wilderness every one who who was oppressed with debt, and every one who was dissatisfied with the existing rule of his nation, until a formidable and desperate army acknowledged his leadership.

    He had, perhaps, heard that the barbarian founder of imperial Rome, which afterwards civilized the world, and controlled its destinies, had clustered around him a band of outlawed felons, who had been driven from society on account of the fercocity of their nature and the desperateness of their crimes. He had heard, too, that from this robber band had descended a race of soldiers that conquered the world. And if fierce outlaws were valuable, because of their desperate qualities, to David and the old Roman, who founded each of them a brilliant and powerful dynasty, why should they not be useful to him for the same reason? Why should they not infuse vitality and energy into the villanous compound of fanaticism and wickedness over which he presided at Nauvoo? Viewing these accessions to his strength in this favorable light, the Prophet extended the hand of fellowship to the most vile and abandoned who sought his protection, and welcomed them with the utmost consideration and courtesy into the society of the saints.

    Protected by the operation of their judiciary, the Mormons still further extended their authority, and became still more daring in their usurpations. The common council of the city, in its legislative capacity, emulated the judicial in its innovations. Paper money was voted a nuisance by this saintly assemblage of lawgivers, and the culprit who dared to circulate the interdicted commodity, subjected himself to heavy penalties in punishment of his temerity. The Prophet and his confederate council hated a paper currency with as much intensity and malignity as did the dignified conscript father from Missouri; and persecuted bank-bills of the denomination of one dollar, with the same settled and determined hostility which characterized the warfare of the distinguished senator against the monster bank; and, like that astute politician, the Prophet contemplated supplying his adherents with a hard money currency in exchange for the bank paper, which he had driven as a corrupt thing out of the precincts of the holy city. In this design he was more successful than the great Missourian; for, although gold and silver did not flow up the Mississippi to supply the vacuum, yet copper, tin, Britannia and German silver did; and out of these comparatively valueless materials a compound was ingeniously manufactured, out of which was struck, with wonderful facility, Mexican and American coin, by the aid of an extempore mint, termed, by Western science, a Bogus press. This spurious currency, thanks to the skill and experience of the proselytes, who had lately sheltered themselves under the Prophets wing, was well executed, and circulated in a thousand channels over a wide extent of country. So well did this ingenious fraud succeed, and so large was the return of the profits on the investment, that numbers of the saints embarked at once in the enterprise of coining,


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    with the most religious enthusiasm and zeal. And it is said that the Prophet, with all his wisdom, was meek enough to submit to the teachings of his hopeful converts, and learn of them the process of transmuting the most common metal into the similitude of gold. The fact of the manufacture, and the criminal vending of this spurious coin by the Mormons, is well established by conclusive testimony. After the saints, by the force of public opinion, were compelled to dispose of their property in every quarter of the city, ingenious contrivances were found in secret cellars, which had been invented and used for the production of counterfeit coin. Although efforts were made by the malicious and dissatisfied Gentiles to bring the offenders to justice, Mormon duplicity and deception were generally sufficient to baffle the exertions of the most vigilant officers; and if an arrest were made in despite of the exertions used to prevent it, the culprit, if he chose, could appeal to the court over which his Prophet presided, and secure his discharge. Should he, on the contrary, waive his privilege of discharge under a writ of habeas corpus, and permit a jury empanelled by a Gentile court to determine his guilt or innocence, he could safely count upon any number of his brethren to establish his innocence by the most heaven-daring perjury. It was a part of Smiths theology, that he had a moral and religious right to do evil that good might come. He repeatedly expressed the opinion, that it was a Christian duty to lie Mid to swear to it, for the protection of the saints against the malice of the Gentiles; and, like the arch-enemy of the human race, he could quote Scripture in support of this absurd and wicked position. He contended, if the Lord once placed a lying spirit in the mouth of an ancient prophet, he might and would do the same thing by a modern one; that when it became his duty to lie, he would do so in the name of the Lord; and it must be observed that this part of his religious duty Smith observed with most scrupulous fidelity.

    Religious impostors generally find it necessary to enforce their teachings by a hypocritical adherence to the strict forms of morality. In addition to a life of sanctity and pretended devotion, the impostor endeavors to conciliate the progressive spirit of the age by some new development of the law of love. But Smith manifested no such amiable weakness. He sighed for the return of that iron age in which physical force organized society, and hewed out man's destiny; when intellect slumbered, and passion ruled with despotic sway. He wished for a period when vengeance should be undisguised and unmitigated; when a man could rise upon his enemy and slay him; when the captive should be slain by the edge of the sword, or hewn to pieces at the bidding of his captor. He emulated more the vengeance tolerated and suffered to exist by divine wisdom in the Jewish polity, than the meekness, humility, and benevolence, incul- cated by the Saviour of the world. He imitated more the sensuality encouraged by the teachings of the Moslem prophet, than the self-denial and temperance enjoined upon his followers by him who taught as never man taught. The Prophet understood that David, whom he considered in sort a typical shadow of what he was to be, practised polygamy; that he even had resorted to base and murderous plots, to increase the number of his wives and grace his court with beauty. Solomon, the Augustus of the Jews, distinguished for the unexampled prosperity and matchless splendor of his reign, and famed amongst his barbarian neighbors for the excellence of his wisdom, boasted a harem as large and well-selected as that of the Grand Turk of modern times. Smith determined to emulate the example of these illustrious orientals in their vices only. Their great virtues were kept out of view in the picture which Smith drew of their characters. Although the restriction of the penal code for a time prevented the publicity of this new and startling vice, yet strange whispers be- gan to be breathed over the country, charging the prophet with an attempt to establish, under a new guise, a system of polygamy in defiance of reason, morals, and law, and enforce it as a religious observance amongst his infatuated followers. It was as impossible to reach this as other crimes practised by the obnoxious sect; and even from the pulpit this odious practice, which Christianity centuries ago abolished, and which the civilized world has uniformly discarded and punished, was publicly advocated by Smith, who claimed for its practice the sanction of revelation. The Scriptures of divine truth were misrepresented and tortured to establish the truth of this demoralizing


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    tenet of the new faith, and enforce the obedience of the refractory to its requirements.

    Notwithstanding the great influence of the Prophet, and the superstitious veneration with which his teachings were generally received, yet were they not all sufficiently infatuated to violate the sanctity of their marriage vows. Many of them began to fancy that the light of the divine countenance had been withdrawn from their leader; that his heart, like that of Solomon, whose example he professed to follow, had become estranged from God; and that his pretended revelation was nothing more than an emanation from a corrupt and brutalized nature.

    Mormonism, until now, although fiercely opposed and persecuted by the surrounding Gentiles, enjoyed quietness, peace, and unity amongst its own devotees; but now it was its bad fortune to be assaulted by some of its first adherents and most successful advocates. John C. Bennett, the cherished friend of the Prophet, the superior general of his legion, the accomplished tutor in his college, now disavowed his allegiance to the Prophet, and launched his thunders at his head, with all his energy and his eloquence; he labored to stir up a spirit of seditious hostility to the pretensions of Smith, amongst the saints in Nauvoo; but he was soon compelled to abandon this enterprise as hopeless, and to fly from the city, pursued by the hearty curses of all true friends of the Prophet. Driven from the city, he continued an incessant clamor against the Mormons, and denounced without stint their fallen, degraded, and sensual leader, who had failed to keep his garments white and unspotted from the world.

    At the same time that Bennett was laboring to arouse the people of the adjacent country by his startling disclosures of the enormities of Mormonism, a conspiracy was formed at Nauvoo for the purpose of leading away all the saints who adhered to the first platform of the Prophet, and refused to lend their influence to the adulterous project which had lately been developed. This schism was led by one Hinkle, a man of but little influence or talent. His object was to establish a colony in the unsettled portion of Iowa, over which he intended to preside in the prophetic character; for he, as well as Smith, held communication with the world of spirits. But few of the saints, however, could be induced to acknowledge his leadership, and his enterprise consequently proved a failure. A few of his friends deserted Nauvoo under his direction, but his influence was not sufficient to concentrate this slight force, and Hinkleism has perished from the face of the earth.

        R. W. M. Nauvoo, Ill.  




    Vol XV. No. VI New Series

      FOR JUNE, 1852.

    [pg. 524]


    NO. III.

    THE year eighteen hundred and forty-four was an eventful one in the history of Mormonism. Early in that year, the Prophet announced himself a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. However ridiculous and presuming the impostor may have appeared, in the eyes of sensible people, in arrogating to himself a position of so much dignity, yet his course was not wholly devoid of policy. His assumption of a position at once elevated and commanding tended to dazzle and captivate the minds of the ignorant and vulgar populace who acknowledged his leadership. It was admirably calculated to give color and consistency to the lofty pretensions claimed for Smith by his emissaries engaged in the propagation of Mormonism abroad. In every country of Christendom, Smith had established his missions; and the apostles of the new faith had even visited the most distant portions of Asia. They had propagated their wild and absurd vagaries in the land where the Jewish prophets communicated their visions of hope to the world, on the soil consecrated by the example and teachings of the Saviour of mankind. These missionaries of fanaticism endeavored to inculcate the principles of their faith by fanciful and exaggerated descriptions of the growth of Mormonism, its political importance, and the brilliant destiny which awaited it. In confirmation of the elevated position they claimed for their Prophet, they called attention to the fact that he was, even now, an aspirant to the highest office in the gift of the American people. To create a political party, and announce himself as a candidate for the Presidency, was a bold stroke of policy on the part of the Prophet, which, if not attended by any immediate or practical results, gave importance to his propagandism abroad, and secured its success. Smith had accomplished much in his short life, in the face of the most serious opposition, and his head was now .well nigh turned with the success of his enterprises. He had been trained in a school of severe adversity; his very name had been a by-word of scorn. In his eccentric career, he had been compelled to endure every personal indignity. He had been driven from New-York, where he first divulged his mysterious communications with the world of spirits, by a prosecution for vagrancy, in Ohio, much against his will, he was compelled to wear a coat of tar and feathers, imposed upon him by the ungracious hands of an excited mob. In Missouri, he had been immured in the walls of a dungeon, where he awaited a traitor's doom, to be pronounced upon him by a jury of bitter and vengeful enemies. In Illinois, he had been reduced to the condition of a wandering vagabond, subsisting on the benevolence of strangers. He suffered these outrages on his person and on his liberty with the constancy and heroism of a martyr. Unwavering and decided amid his most trying reverses, he never for a moment entertained the thought of the abandonment of his startling and revolutionary theories; but, during the infliction of wrong and persecution, he hopefully pointed with the finger of prophecy to a brilliant epoch which would yet grace his history, when the last enemy should be subdued; when the empire of the world should be given to the saints for an inheritance, and the millennium, with all its Apocalyptic glories, should be ushered in. In contemplation of his almost uninterrupted prosperity, and his advancement in power, Smith began to fancy that the dreams of his ambition might all be realized. He was yet young, just approaching the meridian of life. During fourteen years only had he propagated his doctrines; and, amid perplexities which no one else would have labored to surmount, with indefatigable zeal he still persevered, until he now counted his proselytes by hundreds of thousands. The Moslem prophet, whose brilliant and almost superhuman achievements startled


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    the world, and have continued in all subsequent time to excite wonder and admiration, toiled, and fasted, and prayed for twenty years in the solitary desert, before his creed was acknowledged, before his star of empire sparkled in the orient, or his crescent banner was given to the winds.

    Smith had accomplished much in his short mission besides fasting and prayer. lie had agitated and excited the public mind, lie had acquired notoriety; and he lived in a country where notoriety was more highly appreciated, and more frequently rewarded, than exalted talent. He had seen obscure and unprincipled politicians thrown to the surface by the waves of popular excitement, who were drifted into places of power and influence by the mere force of the current; and why should not the burly fanatic impostor, by the interposition of some fortunate wave, ride safely into the goal of his ambition?

    The Prophet, although much interested in the success of his political movement, was in no way neglectful of the immediate interests of his colony. Nauvoo continued the most prosperous of western cities. The rude cottages which first sheltered its inhabitants were gradually disappearing, and the march of improvement was manifest in the respectable and commodious dwellings which succeeded them. An association under the direction of the Prophet laid the foundation of a first-class hotel, the estimated cost of which was three hundred thousand dollars. A suite of rooms were to be reserved for the use of the Prophet, which were to be furnished in a style of surpassing magnificence, and were to descend to his lineal representatives for ever. The building of the temple was progressing, under the direction of a superior architect from Liverpool, with a rapidity which promised its early completion. The singular design of the architecture of this vast building already made it an object of interest to the curious and observing tourist, who, on account of this and many other attractions, was always induced to take the city of Joseph in his route. The city was becoming a resort of the fashionable class engaged in the laudable enterprise of killing time. Parties of pleasure arrived daily by the steamboats, and were received by the Prophet with punctilious courtesy, and entertained by him with generous hospitality. Social amusements were concerted by the saints, and the surrounding gentiles were invited to participate with them in the pleasures of the social circle, in the fascinations of the ball-room, and in the more exciting amusement of the card-table. The Prophet was prosperous; he began to fancy he was secure. Fortune of late had smiled on his policy. The citizens of the county had arrayed themselves against him, and by the superiority of his diplomacy he had vanquished them. Hinkle had raised the standard of insubordination in the encampment of the saints, and by the divine power of the priesthood he had delivered him over to Satan, and his rebellion had been crushed, and his spirit withered by the potency of the curse. Bennett had lectured on the vices and wickedness of the Prophet, until he was compelled to desist from the disgusting recital for want of auditors.

    But the spirit of mistrust and disaffection had not perished with the departure of Hinkle and Bennett. The former bad not sufficient capacity to give vigor and efficiency to an opposition to the unbounded popularity of the Prophet, and the latter was too notorious for his vices to inspire confidence in any pretensions he might make to reform. The material, however, still slumbered there, which, if once aroused and rightly directed, might have well caused the Prophet to tremble for the security of his power, and the safety of his person, despite of the devotion of the masses to his will.

    The necessary leadership for a spirited and vigorous opposition to the despotism of Smith was found in the persons of William and Wilson Law, two brothers, who, notwithstanding their Mormonism, were respected by the Anti-Mormons for their moral worth and the correctness of their general deportment. These brothers had become alarmed at the sensuality of the Prophet, and the open encouragement which he gave to a system of polygamy, which threatened to invade the sanctity of the marriage contract in every family in Nauvoo. Suspicious husbands and fathers found it necessary to arm themselves, for the purpose of guarding their wives and daughters from the seductive arts of the Prophet and his twelve apostles. Fears of the invasion of their own domestic felicity, by a licentiousness established by revelation, and


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    which appealed to the sanction of religion for its observance, impelled the Laws to excite and give system and tone to a vigorous opposition to Smith. Neither they nor their partisans renounced Mormonism in their contest with its leader. And it may well be observed that, so strange is the infatuation of this singular people, a complete renunciation of their religion has perhaps never yet taken place. We have seen the devotee of Mormonism, ruined in property, blighted in character, haggard with famine, with no prospect but starvation before him, with his nerves steeled with hopeless despair; we have heard him denounce Mormonism as the cause of all his distress and degradation, with a bitterness and energy sufficient to make the blood run cold; yet challenge his opinion to the truth of the new system, and he would still claim that Smith was a prophet, with the seal of divinity impressed upon his mission.

    The Laws contended that, although Smith had been invested with the prophetic character, and for years exercised it to the edification of the saints, yet, from the grossness of his passions, the spiritual existences, offended with his depravity, had refused any longer to use him as a medium of their communications; that his pretended revelation having reference to the doctrine of spiritual wives, (for so was his system of concubinage denominated,) was the offspring of corruption, or an emanation from hell. They contended that it was necessary to remove the Prophet from the exalted position which he had so shamelessly desecrated, lest the light of prophecy should be finally extinguished in their midst. There were many among the saints who were not wholly lost to morality and the decencies of life. These the Laws labored to rally against Smith; but their effort was only partially successful. The administration of the Prophet was vigilant, as well as corrupt and oppressive. Devoted and indefatigable spies, in the pay of Smith, dogged the heels of every suspected person, whether citizen or stranger. To render as vigorous and efficient as possible his system of police, the city authorities organized the "Danite Band," so conspicuous in Mormon history for reckless villainy and lawless desperation. Never, perhaps, in the annals of high-handed wickedness, not even among the mountain passes of southern Europe, was ever collected together a body of outlaws more determined and unrestrained than this same Danite Band. These villains were to look after the interests, personal and political, of the Prophet, and to act as a guard on the suspected. They were bound to their chief by the strongest possible ties. The most of them were fugitives from justice, who, after having forfeited the protection of the law, were kindly received into the "Holy City," where the influence of Smith effectually shielded them from the danger of pursuit. In addition to the debt of gratitude which they owed the generosity of their protector, the Prophet held out the still stronger inducement to their loyalty, that any moment he chose he could hand them over to justice; and as this might be considered an insufficient guarantee to their fidelity, it is said that the most horrible oaths were exacted from them, by which they bound themselves to observe the commands of the Prophet, and do his bidding, regardless of the consequences resulting from their acts. It was not surprising that, with such a police as this, bound to the Prophet by so many ties and such horrible pledges, continually dogging their heels and watching their movements, the disaffected, however much they may have sympathized with the Laws in their effort for reform, fearful of midnight assassination, or some terrible injury inflicted by the machinations of Smith, should prudently keep silence, and by every artifice labor to conceal their hostility to the Prophet.

    The Laws were bold men; and notwithstanding the desertion of the timid and prudent from their ranks, they were still resolved to overthrow the despotism established by Smith, and, if possible, restore purity to the Church. Not content with exposing and denouncing the corruptions which had crept into the Church through the instrumentality of the Prophet, the Laws determined to issue a weekly paper in the city, which should boldly speak out the views of its proprietors, regardless of the influences of the corrupt and intriguing policy which would be brought to bear against them. In this enterprise they were aided by the means of one Dr. Foster, a broken-down speculator, who had united with the Mormons for the purpose of fleecing them. This man, by means of the Mormon vote, had been elected to the office of school commissioner,


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    in the exercise of which he squandered or embezzled the funds, and failed without being able to make restitution. Foster could have forgiven any amount of moral turpitude in Smith, but it was not in human nature to forgive the wrongs he had himself perpetrated on the Prophets followers; and it was not strange that he should unite with the more virtuous Laws to persecute those whom his villainy had beggared.

    This junto of conspirators was enabled to procure a printing-press early, in the summer, and one number of their journal was issued and circulated. Smith expected to be abused, but the boldness of his enemies and the graveness of the charges which they preferred against him took him by surprise. He had never imagined that a set of men could be found in the midst of his dominions -- in his own city, at his very door -- who should possess moral courage sufficient to assail him with so much license through the public press. To think of tolerating a journal which at once threatened and defied him was out of the question; but how to rid himself of the nuisance was a matter of the greatest perplexity. To call out his military, destroy the press, and hang every person concerned in the publication of the paper, would scarcely have been a proceeding sufficiently summary to satisfy the vengeance of the incensed Prophet. Had he acted from the first impulses of his murderous inclinations, the Laws would have atoned for their temerity with their lives. But Smith was too politic to adopt illegal measures, whilst there was any hope that the matter could be satisfactorily accomplished under the authority of the law. Smith was determined to head the law-and-order party, and throw upon his adversaries the odious imputation of mobbers. In this dilemma he took counsel of one Style, a Mormon lawyer, who advised him that the obnoxious paper was, without question, a nuisance, and as such should without delay be abated; that the Municipal Court of the city of Nauvoo had jurisdiction of all such offenses; that the character of the journal should be immediately brought before the court for the grave deliberation of its judges, who had an undoubted right on a proper investigation to make an order requiring the city Marshal to cause its abatement.

    This counsel was adopted and acted upon. A petition was filed charging that a certain weekly newspaper, called the Nauvoo Expositor, had advocated seditious and disorganizing doctrines, derogatory to the peace and good order of society at the city of Nauvoo, and praying that an order might be made in the premises declaring the same a nuisance, and requiring its destruction. The judges acted on the petition, and gravely declared the press a nuisance, and made the necessary order for its abatement. This decree was immediately carried into execution. The Marshal summoned to his assistance a cohort of the Legion, numbering two hundred men, with which he proceeded to the office of the Expositor, and carried away the press, type, paper, and all the fixtures of the establishment, beyond the corporation limits, where he completely destroyed the whole apparatus according to due form of law. No resistance was made by the parties interested to this wanton destruction of the press, but there was a settled determination on the part of the Laws to bring Smith and his associates to justice. A writ was taken out for him and the principal persons concerned with him in the late transaction, before a Justice of the Peace at Carthage, and a special officer appointed for its execution. This officer, without any delay, visited Nauvoo for the purpose of arresting Smith. With this intention he called on him, exhibited to him his authority, which the Prophet unequivocally refused to obey, alleging that the Laws and their abettors had fomented an excitement against him in the country, particularly at Carthage, which would be dangerous for him to encounter; that he had no protection but what was guaranteed to him by the true hearts and the truer steel of the Nauvoo Legion; and until his own military refused to give him their support, he never would surrender himself to his enemies, who had sworn to take vengeance upon him whenever he should be placed in their power.

    The officer, unsupported by any assistance, was compelled to return to Carthage without any prisoners. A large and excited meeting was soon collected at the court-house, to which the officer reported his failure, and the determination of Smith to resist his authority. This report tended to inflame the passions of the already excited


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    masses beyond all control. There were those who advocated the policy of instantly arming the masses, marching to Nauvoo, and driving the insubordinate Mormons from the State. Others no less determined, but more prudent and rational, recommended that the warrant which Smith had refused to obey should be placed in the hands of the sheriff; that he should summon to his aid the power of the county; that, at the same time, a delegation should be appointed whose duty it should be to visit Springfield, and make a full statement of the facts to the Governor, and invoke the aid of the State in support of the law. This moderate counsel prevailed. The delegation to confer with the Governor was appointed, and departed for Springfield.

    In the mean time the sheriff issued his proclamation to the people of the county, and never was a proclamation received with more delight or obeyed with more alacrity. The farmer abandoned his field, the mechanic his shop, the merchant his counting-room, and the professional man his books, and all hastened to vindicate the outraged law. and restore the reign of order and justice. All sorts of arms were called into requisition old fire-locks half eaten with rust, fowling-pieces guiltless of the blood of bird or beast, pistols and bowie-knives, were all pressed into the patriotic service, and burnished for the day of battle. Squadrons of horse and detachments of infantry were organized, officered, and equipped with wonderful facility in every part of the county, and marched into Carthage, where the Sheriff had established his head-quarters.

    Nor was the delegation to the capital less successful, and on the receipt of the intelligence of the insubordination of the Mormons, the Governor immediately departed [for] Carthage. As he proceeded on his route, he collected, as occasion offered, a volunteer force, which, on his arrival, numbered five or six hundred men. The forces now assembled at Carthage under the command of the Governor were, in all, about one thousand men, which was less than one half the numerical strength of the Nauvoo Legion, with which they were to contend. Notwithstanding Smith was aware of the inferiority of the Governors troops, he exerted all his vigilance to guard against surprise. All his forces were marshalled and placed under arms. The note of preparation for the approaching battle was heard in every quarter of the city. A night-watch patrolled the streets; pickets were stationed on the outskirts, and bands of horsemen by day and night scoured the adjacent forests and prairies. The Prophet, refusing to surrender himself to justice, had placed himself under the ban of proscription; he was in open war with the executive of the State to which he owed allegiance, and with lofty resolution he determined to bravely fight it through. The position of Nauvoo is naturally a strong one. The Mississippi river, by the curve which it makes at that point, protects three fourths of its boundaries from invasion. It is accessible to an enemy only on the east and north-east by the Carthage and La Harpe roads. One of these, the Carthage road, was flanked on each side with deep ravines sufficient to protect a large army from the raking fire of artillery. Also skirts of forest, interspersed with dense undergrowth, overhung this road, and afforded an impenetrable cover to the saintly forces, who, concealed by this covering, could, unperceived, pour a destructive fire on the approaching enemy. Under such circumstances, the Prophet fancied he could hold out successfully against any force which Governor Ford could bring against him.

    The Governor, on his arrival, immediately dispatched a small detachment of troops to Nauvoo, sending by them a letter to Smith, in which he informed him of the danger which he would incur from the excited masses in case he continued to resist, and threatening him with the concentrated power of the State if he still refused to surrender himself. Smith still determined to resist. To obey the authority of the State would seal his doom. The excited countrymen who had been pouring into Carthage were impelled by an uncontrollable desire for vengeance, which nothing would satiate but his blood. On this refusal of the Prophet to accompany them, the troops, with the exception of one of their number, returned to Carthage and reported the fact to the Governor, with the representation that Yates, the person who remained behind, was compromising the dearest interests of the county to the Mormons.

    Upon the receipt of this intelligence, a troop of horse, under the command of Captain Dunn, was dispatched to Nauvoo, with a requisition for all the arms furnished by


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    the State to the Nauvoo Legion. This expedition had advanced less than half the distance, when it was met by Smith and his brother Hyrum, and several other distinguished Mormons, who were included in the writ for riot. Through the representations made by Yates to Smith, he had concluded to surrender himself to justice. His fears had been aroused by the bustle of preparation which was heard in every part of the county, and which was rapidly extending throughout the State. He justly feared that, although he might readily vanquish the force now assembled at Carthage, the authority of the State would eventually triumph, and the scenes of violence from which they had just escaped in Missouri would be reenacted in Illinois, and the faithful would be again driven in hopeless exile from their homes.

    Under this impression, the Prophet and his friends surrendered themselves. When they arrived at Carthage, they were great objects of curiosity to the Governor's troops, many of whom resided at a distance from Nauvoo, and never had caught a glimpse of a genuine prophet of the latter days. To gratify this natural and laudable curiosity, the Governor requested the Sheriff to parade the troops and introduce to their notice Joseph Smith and his brother Hyrum, who, by the way, was second in the Church, and very frequently assumed the prophetic character, to the great edification of the saints. This request of the Governor was strictly complied with by the Sheriff; the troops were placed on parade, and the Prophet was introduced as General Joseph Smith to the army. But as he and his suite rode along the extended lines, bowing with the most respectful courtesy to the citizen soldiery, no response of welcome or approbation greeted his overtures for friendship; no kindly sympathy sparkled in the eyes of the sullen Anti-Mormons; no shout of applause burst from the embattled host! All was cold, grave, silent, and threatening; and as the proscribed impostors passed, every countryman in the ranks, nerved with intense hate, convulsively grasped his weapon, his respect for the law and the fear of its penalties only preventing summary vengeance from being taken at that moment. The troops muttered their disapprobation of the conduct of the Sheriff in presenting to them an impostor and vagabond under a militia by title which they had been taught to respect. It was impossible to conciliate the wrath of the troops against their prisoner. They were determined in their hatred to the Mormon character; and no overtures made by Smith or his friends, amongst whom they began to regard the Governor, could ever induce them to look upon him with any degree of allowance. The vindictive troops were dismissed from parade, and immediately afterwards, Smith and his fellow-prisoners were brought before the justice of the peace who had issued the warrant, to be examined on a charge of riot for the destruction of the printing-press. It was claimed by the prosecution that they were not ready for trial; that, owing to the resistance which the prisoners had made, and the probability that they would still continue to resist, no effort had been made to procure the necessary testimony in the case. The surrender of themselves as prisoners had taken the prosecution by surprise, and found them without witnesses; it was therefore asked that the case should stand over until the 27th of June, which was only three days, but would be sufficient time for them to procure the testimony; and during which time it was asked that the prisoners should be committed to the common jail at Carthage, to await their examination. The course proposed by the prosecution was adopted by the justice; the continuance was granted, and the prisoners were remanded to jail. But whilst the justice was preparing the commitment, they demanded their right to enter bail for their appearance at the examination, and thus discharge themselves from arrest. This was their unquestioned right, and the bail proposed being unexceptionable, the justice was compelled to accede to this request; but, before time necessary bonds could be prepared, and the bail formally accepted and approved, another process was issued and served upon the Prophet, Hyrum Smith, Willard Richards, and John Taylor, charging them with treason against the State, in resisting the authority of government, in levying troops and fortifying time city, with time avowed purpose of giving battle to the Governor and the State troops. This grave charge was, of course, not bailable. The prisoners were now compelled either to procure their discharge on examination, which


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    was doubtful, or be confined like common felons in the county jail. The prosecution urged the same reasons in this as in the former case for a continuance, which was granted; and the Prophet and his associates were fully committed to await their examination, which was to take place three days afterwards.

    Shortly after the imprisonment of Smith and his associates, Captain Dunn, who had been dispatched to Nauvoo to demand of the Mormon authorities a surrender of the State arms, returned, bringing with him four pieces of artillery, with a large quantity of musketry and other small arms, which had been delivered up to him as the full quota which had been furnished them by the State. Whether the Mormons acted honestly in this transaction, we have no means of ascertaining. It was charged by the Anti-Mormons, at the time, that the Mormons concealed the most valuable part of the arms; but of this there is no very satisfactory proof. The Mormons unquestionably carried with them, on their migration from the State, some fine pieces of artillery and large quantities of small arms of every variety. It has, however, never been conclusively shown (though repeatedly alleged) that any portion of these was the property of the State. In anticipation of their emigration westward, the Mormons, as opportunity afforded, negotiated for arms, until their legion had become the best armed military in America. But whether the Mormons acted in good faith or otherwise, the Governor was fully satisfied that all that could be attained at this time, in disarming them, had been accomplished by Captain Dunn, and no further effort for that purpose was made.

    Governor Ford now concluded that the ends of justice were fully attained. The factious Prophet had surrendered, and was in prison; the public arms had been delivered; the riotous spirit of the Mormons had been quelled, and the necessity for the armed occupation of Hancock had ceased. It was consequently determined to disband the military; but every precaution was taken to guard against outrage. Separate pledges were exacted of every person enrolled in the service, to exert his influence to preserve the peace, and make every effort to protect the prisoners. A volunteer company, the Carthage Grays, was retained for the purpose of guarding the jail against any attempts which might be made by the Mormons to rescue the prisoners, as well as to protect them against the assaults of their enemies. This company was placed on duty, and all the residue of the troops were disbanded, and were earnestly advised by the Governor to quietly return to their homes, and, by an orderly example, assist him in the preservation of the peace. This advice was only partially acted upon by the dissatisfied troops. There were many who, even then, regarded it their imperative duty to drive the Mormons out of the State. This violent procedure they regarded as the only possible measure to restore peace and tranquillity to their distracted community. As long as the obnoxious sect remained, the same jealous antipathies would continue to agitate the public mind, and tend to disorganize society. They believed that the time was rapidly approaching when a grand rally to rid themselves of the Mormons would become an absolute necessity, whether the movement should be sanctioned by the executive or otherwise; and they believed that this object could now be accomplished with less peril than at any subsequent period. Dissatisfied as they were, however, there was no open mutiny. A large majority, immediately after their discharge from service, retired to their homes; others, more reckless and excitable, and who cared but little for the maintenance of social order, remained sauntering through the streets or collected in threatening groups, where they discussed the policy of the Governor, and muttered deep curses against the Prophet and his allies.

    It must be observed that the order to disband the troops had taken effect before all who had been required to rendezvous under the command of the Governor had reached their destination. Colonel Levi Williams, who commanded a regiment of the Hancock militia in the south-west of the county, had been required to organize and equip his command, and march it to Point Golden, which is a skirt of timber projecting into the prairie five miles below Nauvoo, and near the Mississippi river. The Colonel, who was an ultra Anti-Mormon, and extremely violent in his prejudices, exerted all his influence and authority to rally his men. In a short time he had them on the march, every heart animated with the hope


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    of a fight with the Prophet. They had marched less than half the distance to their point of destination, when a dispatch was received from the Governor, countermanding their order to march to Point Golden, and requiring them to instantly disband. This course of the Governor both surprised and disappointed them. Inflammatory and denunciatory speeches were made, arraigning the character of the Governor, and charging him with being confederate with the Mormons.

    In the meantime, Governor Ford, gratified with the happy termination of his labors, thought it prudent and advisable to visit Nauvoo, and, by a candid statement of facts, and a fair promise of protection to his prisoners, win back the Mormons to their allegiance to the State. The Mormons received him with the respect due his station. Their interest in the fate of their Prophet was so general, so lively and intense, that no difficulty was found in collecting the whole population in one vast assemblage, in the open commons, where the Governor, in default of a rostrum, mounted a log cabin, from the roof of which he addressed the multitude for two hours or more, during which time the Mormons listened with the most anxious and profound attention. He admonished them against suffering any influence or policy to divert them from a due and implicit obedience to the law; threatened them with the power of the State if any attempts were made at insubordination, and guaranteed the public faith for the protection of the prisoners at Carthage. The Governor was earnest and sincere in the whole tenor of his remarks, and was greeted with frequent and enthusiastic bursts of applause from the assembled multitude, won over by his candor and apparent impartiality. The anxious suspense of the Mormons was measurably removed by the definiteness of the Governors pledges. Addresses were made by the leading men of the city, in which assurances were given of the loyalty of the Mormons and their disposition to sustain the law. That lien. Smith had only hesitated to surrender himself a prisoner, on account of the excitement and unjust prejudice of the public mind occasioned by the misrepresentations and falsehoods of the renegade Laws, who were plotting for the death of the Lords Prophet and the destruction of the Church. That in future, assured as they now were by positive pledges from the executive, the officers of the law would have no further cause of complaint against them. The meeting dispersed in good order, cheering the Governor for his liberality, and rejoicing in the pledges of his protection. They pressed upon him the hospitality of their city, which was declined, owing to pressing engagements at Carthage. The Governor accordingly left Nauvoo about sundown, well satisfied that the wrathful storm was quelled, angry passions were allayed, and peace, with its manifold blessings, was restored to Hancock.

    But, to return to Carthage, notwithstanding the absence of the Governor and their disaffection to his policy, there was no actual outbreak amongst the disbanded troops. The angry groups which were collected in the streets, indulging in surly comment on the Governors conduct, were gradually talking away their wrath, and were silently dropping off to their homes. The little village of Carthage, which for a week past had been a scene of bustle, animation, and excitement rarely witnessed, was resuming its usually quiet, dull air. The only feature which marked that anything extraordinary was transpiring, was the guard on duty around the jail. The unsuspecting citizens rejoiced at the quiet of their streets, and congratulated themselves on the restoration of order in their midst.

    Their joy, however, was of hut brief endurance. Near sunset, and at the very moment when the Governor was pledging the public faith on behalf of the Mormon prisoners, an armed mob, numbering about one hundred men, was seen advancing stealthily, in single file, from the Nauvoo road, in the direction of the jail. On their arrival at the place of their destination, several shots were fired, and a scuffle ensued with the guard. The successful mob forced their way to the front door of the jail, burst into the lower room, which was instantly filled by the excited and determined crowd. There was no hesitation; they instantly poured in one dark and threatening mass up the stairway which led to the room where the prisoners were confined. Arriving at the head of the stairs, a volley was fired through the door into the prisoners apartment. One of these random shots


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    passed through the panel with sufficient force to inflict a wound on Hyrum Smith, from which he instantly expired. The door was now forced, and the excited mob precipitated themselves in the very centre of the room, shouting and firing volley after volley. The contest was too fierce to continue long. The prisoners vainly attempted to parry the guns of their assailants. Taylor was severely, and at the time it was thought mortally, wounded. The Prophet was armed with a six-barrelled pistol, with which he defended himself with a bravery inspired by desperation. Three times did he discharge his weapon, and every shot was effectual, wounding one of his assailants mortally and two others slightly. Having been already severely wounded, and having fired all the barrels of his pistol which could be discharged, the Prophet turned to an open window with the intention of precipitating himself below. But the terrible appearance of the wrathful and determined mob without caused him to abandon his purpose. He was now exhausted from the loss of blood flowing from numerous wounds, yet he labored with the energy of despair to recover himself, lie clutched the window sill to which he was suspended, and cast a wild and imploring look at the angry faces below. A volley was fired by the unrelenting mob, and the Prophet fell lifeless to the ground.

    Thus fell a martyr to licentiousness and ambition the most corrupt, successful, and wicked impostor of modern times. Far from being animated by a desire to reform and purify the spirit of religion, he took a retrograde march from enlightened virtue, and introduced into the sanctuary, dedicated to the solemnity of Christian worship, vices which out-distanced the obscene rites of paganism. Mahomet, to whom the Mormon Prophet has been frequently compared, was a reformer. Amid the corruptions of paganism, surrounded by the temples of polytheism, he declared to his countrymen his sublime creed, there is no God but God. However crude may have been his conceptions of the Divine character, however much the worship lie established may have been blended with superstition and error, yet the noble principle of the unity of Deity -- the base of his splendid superstructure -- was in itself a mighty triumph over the corrupt mysteries of pantheism, which it demolished and succeeded. In an age when Christianity had but little of the purity, and shed but little of the radiance which distinguished it when it first dawned upon the world; when its light struggled feebly with the clouds of monkish superstitions and ignorance; when its spirit was crushed by corruptions within and corruptions without; it was not singular that the Moslem Prophet failed to discover the just attributes of Deity, and entirely misconceived his character. But, in an age when Christianity shone with full lustre, Joe Smith propagated the notion of a material God endowed with the same gross and debasing passions as himself; a Deity pleased with licentiousness, and delighted with the commission of crime. In Mahomets time polygamy was recognized and sanctioned by the observance of a long series of ages. True, he suffered it to remain, not however as a distinguishing feature of his theology. Smith, on the contrary, in an age and amongst a people where time doctrine and practice were alike repudiated, outraged virtue and decency by its revival and its practice.

    In the mean time, whilst Carthage was thrown into consternation by the murder of the Smiths, the Governor was quietly jogging on his way from Nauvoo to Carthage. He had not proceeded far when he was met by a messenger, spurring in hot haste, who informed him that the jail had been invaded by an armed mob; that the guard had been overcome, the prison stormed, and its inmates murdered. This news effectually paralyzed him. The causes of a catastrophe so dire and so unexpected were to him entirely unaccountable. For days he had labored by the most accomplished diplomacy to restore peace to the turbulent factions. He had succeeded. He had quelled the waves of agitation and restored the supremacy of law; and, in the moment of his triumph, all his plans were defeated, and the reign of anarchy introduced. So sudden was the intelligence communicated, that he had neither the power nor the inclination to analyze the causes which produced this strange revulsion in the affairs of Hancock. He thought only of his personal safety. He directed his course towards Quincy, turning his back on the storm of passion which his wisdom was insufficient to control.


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    But, to return to the perpetrators of this tragedy, it is only necessary to state that so soon as the bloody deed was consummated they fled in the wildest confusion, impelled by vague fear of immediate danger, spreading in their flight the news of the catastrophe.

    When the citizens of Carthage saw the mob investing the jail, it was supposed to be a party of Mormons endeavoring to effect the rescue of the prisoners. After they became aware of the true nature of the riot, and learned the murder of the Smiths, an immediate rising of the Mormons was anticipated for the purpose of avenging the death of their leader and Prophet. They reasonably expected that their first rush would be to Carthage, which would fall a sacrifice to their blind and avenging fury. Under this fearful impression the village was entirely deserted; men, women and children, panic-stricken, all fled in the wildest disorder and confusion. Mr. Hamilton, the proprietor of the Carthage Hotel, with his family, were the only persons who had sufficient presence of mind to remain. To this hotel the remains of the Smiths were removed from the place where they had been abandoned by the mob in their blood. As the news of the death of the Smiths extended, the same panic which was manifested at Carthage communicated itself all over the county. Every one confidently believed that the desolating march of the Nauvoo Legion would bring terror and death to every home.

    The news of the violent death of their Prophet was received by the Mormons with mingled emotions of surprise, horror, and rage. Their first impulse was to collect their forces and revenge themselves by the desolation of the county; but their desire for vengeance was instantly smothered by their cool and politic leaders, who at once saw the impropriety of permitting the infuriated multitude to take vengeance in their own hands. A delegation composed of the least obnoxious of their number was sent to receive and bring to Nauvoo the mutilated bodies of their Prophet and Patriarch. The Legion was paraded, placed under aims, and marched on to the prairie to escort the remains into the city. The bodies of the deceased were received with the greatest ceremony and solemnity. The whole populace was assembled to take their last look of affection on those wham, in life, they had venerated and loved. Never was mourning more general or sincere. With all his vices, the impostor had been true to his people. In all their reverses, amid all their persecutions, he never thought of deserting them. They had listened to his teachings as the voice of God, and now the light which in all peril had shone on their pathway was for ever extinguished. The funeral of the deceased was attended by an immense concourse of people. The city authorities, the Nauvoo Legion, the Masonic lodges, the agitated and sorrowful populace, and the curious inquisitive strangers whose love of novelty had induced them to visit the city, all fell into the procession and followed the remains to their last resting place.

    The perpetrators of this murder were never clearly identified. The Mormons, at the time of its commission, alleged that it was accomplished by their old enemies in Missouri, who had taken advantage of the existing disturbances in Illinois to satiate their malice and revenge. A letter was written by Elder Richards, who was confined with the Smiths at the time they were murdered, exculpating the people of Carthage from any connection with the riotous proceedings, and charging the Missourians with the murder. That Elder Richards was right in exonerating the citizens of Carthage from all participation in the transaction, there can he no shadow of doubt; that he was mistaken or willfully lied in seeking to attach the guilt of the murder to the Missourians, there can be just as little doubt. In fact, the notion that the Missourians had any thing to do with the matter was almost immediately abandoned by all the Mormons, who now labored with much zeal and plausibility to fasten guilt on a part of Col. Williams' regiment, which we have seen was disbanded on its march to Point Golden. But their very exertions to bring the murderers to justice were so mixed up with cunning expedients and unequivocal malice, that they manifested a disposition rather to secure victims to gratify their revenge than to procure a correct and impartial administration of justice. The witness by whom they sought to fasten guilt on the expedition under Col. Williams, was a fellow by the name of Daniels, without character or common decency, who had


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    lately by sudden, and as he claimed supernatural means, become a zealous convert to Mormonism. This Daniels admitted that he himself was in the conspiracy, and assisted in the murder of the Smiths. To give color and consistency to his story, he published a narrative purporting to be a statement of the facts connected with the Carthage murder. In this narrative, he in substance states that he marched with Col. Williams' regiment from Warsaw to the point where the troops were disbanded. That on the dismissal of the troops, an inflammatory speech was made by the editor of the Signal, an Anti-Mormon journal published at Warsaw, in which he boldly proposed to march to Carthage, and murder the prisoners in jail. This proposition, he informs us, was rejected with disgust by a large number of the company, who were indignant at a proposition to murder men in the confinement of a prison, whatever guilt they may have incurred. That a portion of the company, less scrupulous, of which number he himself made one, organized themselves and marched to a point within four miles of Carthage, where they communicated with the prison guard, who entered heartily into the conspiracy. That they then immediately marched to Carthage and consummated the murder, without any hindrance from the guard. That the rencontre of the mob was only a sham to keep up appearances, and that the shots which were fired by the guard were blank cartridges.

    On the testimony of this witness nine persons, all of whom belonged to the regiment referred to, including Col. Williams, were duly indicted for the murder. This indictment came on to be heard at a special term of the Hancock Circuit Court, in June, 1845, about a year subsequent to the commission of the crime. Every effort was made to procure an impartial jury. A number of days were consumed in challenges. A jury was finally procured which has never yet been arraigned by public opinion, but has uniformly received the credit of having discharged their duty fearlessly and impartially. The Attorney-General of the State prosecuted with a vigor and ability rarely equaled. Yet the testimony of Daniels, who was his principal witness, was so inconsistent and contradictory, that he frankly admitted to the jury that the witness was wholly unworthy of credit, and that no attention should be given his testimony in the formation of their verdict. The prisoners were consequently, without any hesitation, found not guilty by the jury, and were accordingly discharged.




    Vol XVI. No. V New Series

      FOR NOVEMBER, 1852.

    [pg. 511]


    NO. IV.

    THE Anti-Mormons had supposed that all difficulty with their adversaries would necessarily cease with the death of their prophet and dictator. They believed that Smith was the soul of their organization, and that after he should perish the fanatics would be compelled to disband their forces, and find a refuge in some locality where their religion would be viewed with less suspicion, and where they would be less annoyed with persecution. In this conclusion the Anti-Mormons were altogether mistaken. True, there was a short and rather fierce struggle between the various factions in Nauvoo, headed by Brigham Young and Sidney Rigdon, in which, however, the brutal energy of Brigham triumphed over the more acute and intellectual resources of Rigdon, who was compelled to fly from the city of the saints to avoid the vengeance of his triumphant rival.

    Brigham coolly seated himself on the throne of the prophet, and by his vigorous rule crushed all disaffections; for a year the voice of discord was hushed, and all inquiry into the official acts of the dictator was stifled. At the end of that period, in the autumn of 1845, a blow was struck at Mormonism in Illinois more disastrous and terrible than any which had previously been inflicted, and which involved in its consequences the final and complete banishment of fanaticism from the State. The Mormons had established in the surrounding country a number of flourishing settlements. These were attacked by the Anti-Mormons; houses were burned and farms desolated. So sudden were the movements of the insurgents, that near one hundred houses were destroyed before resistance could be organized. The sheriff of the county, a zealous friend of the Mormons, eventually marched a strong Mormon force from Nauvoo into the infected district, and dispersed the rioters. He discharged his duty with the most unjustifiable violence. Several lives were lost in his conflicts with the Anti-Mormons, who, in their turn, appealed to the Governor for protection. Upon their application a force was raised under the proclamation of the Executive, numbering near one thousand men, which was placed under the command of General Hardin, who subsequently perished so gloriously at Buena Vista. This force was immediately marched to Nauvoo. Through the mediation and influence of General Hardin, the belligerent parties were brought to terms of accommodation; a treaty was agreed upon, by which the Mormons obligated themselves to remove from the State of Illinois early the following spring. It was agreed by the Anti-Mormons that they should cease from their hostile movements, and in all lawful ways assist the Mormons in the sale of their property. This agreement was ratified by the whole Mormon population, assembled "en masse" for that purpose, who resolved that the Church should march into the wilds of California, beyond the limits and jurisdiction of the United States.

    The year of "forty-six" witnessed a scene at Nauvoo as novel and curious as has ever been exhibited in modern times. It witnessed the desertion of home, of civilization, and the protection of the law, by the Mormons, for the peaceful enjoyment of a false and licentious creed. Early in the spring of that year, they commenced in good earnest their preparations for their long and toilsome march to the far West. The bulk of their real estate had already been bartered away to the huckstering gentiles, in exchange for cattle and wagons, which were to carry them to the land of promise. The residue of their lands and houses which were yet unsold were still in the market at reduced prices, and their owners, intent on emigration,


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    were leaving no expedient untried to effect an exchange for an available outfit for the wilderness. The public houses of the city were crowded with a multitude of visitors from all portions of the West, attracted to the spot by the cheapness of the property now offered for sale. The sharp and wary dealer in real estate, weighing well his chances before he made an investment in Mormon lots; the dealer in dry goods, with a meagre and unsalable collection of the fragments of what had once no doubt been a respectable stock in trade; the professional gambler, with his pack of marked cards his only capital, awaiting with commendable patience his opportunity to pluck some unguarded countrymen, were all congregated together in some close bar-room, insufferable from the fumes of whiskey and tobacco, or were bustling through the streets, striving for the attainment of the various objects of their pursuit.

    The Mormon authorities had already shifted the scene of their impostures to the wilderness west of Iowa. There the impostor Brigham had planted his standard, around which had already clustered more than five thousand tried and true friends, who with him had escaped from the fiery persecution of the vindictive gentiles, to breathe the free air of the wild prairie, and enjoy without restraint the unlicensed indulgence of their debasing faith. There on the silent bosom of the wilderness, which had not yet submitted to the conquering march of American enterprise and civilization, did the fanatic pause in his endless journey,

    It was indeed necessary that every effort should be made to hasten their departure from Nauvoo. The Anti-Mormons had construed their treaty to read that the Mormons were bound by their contract to leave the State by the first of May at all hazards, and that unless the whole of them should be removed against that time, they should be removed by force of arms. Although the Mormons objected strenuously to this construction of their contract, they abated none of their effort to make good their retreat beyond the reach of their enemies.

    The first of May was now approaching; and the Governor, under the belief that the Mormons were quietly carrying out the stipulations of their treaty, and that the Anti-Mormons, well satisfied with their efforts, had no disposition to create any further disturbances, caused the withdrawal and disbanding of the volunteer company stationed at Nauvoo. The Anti-Mormons, however, were far from being satisfied. They had been so often deceived by the false representations and pretenses of the proscribed sect, and had so long looked upon all their acts with suspicion and mistrust, that it was impossible now to satisfy their jealous watchfulness. If it were true, as they were informed from time to time, that the Mormons were leaving Nauvoo in such vast numbers, they were apt to inquire why it was that the population was so little reduced. They were led to believe that the intention of the Mormons to emigrate was not so general as had been represented. Brigham had informed the masses, in the name of the Lord, that the saints should never again have seed-time or harvest in the land of the gentiles; yet despite of this prophetic mandate, and amid all the hurry of preparation and departure, the Anti-Mormons were able to perceive that quite a number of the Mormons were engaged in planting crops which would not mature until long after the stipulated time for their departure. Another phase of deception now developed itself amongst the Mormons. Many of those who had emigrated to Nauvoo and purchased property apparently in good faith, on inquiry were ascertained to be Mormons, and were equally obnoxious with the original residents to the wary and ever vigilant Anti-Mormons. In fact, they began to conclude that a large part of the population which had purchased in Nauvoo were the followers of the prophet in disguise, and that a new population of Mormons was to be forced upon them in spite of all their caution.

    The Governor, immediately after the Quincy Riflemen were disbanded, authorized Major Warren to retain ten men, not so much however to quell the insurrectionary movements in the country, as to act as a committee of vigilance, and report through the newspapers the progress the Mormons were making in effecting their removal. These reports were made from time to time, and apparently produced a pacific effect. It gave many in the surrounding country confidence in the good faith of the Mormons, in consequence of which emigration commenced flowing into Nauvoo, and every thing tended to a state of permanent peace.


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    In the mean time, about the first of June, a general mass meeting of the Anti-Mormons was called at Carthage, for the purpose of making arrangements for the celebration of the ensuing fourth of July. In this meeting it was urged that they could not consistently celebrate a day which presupposed their independence as long as the Mormons remained as a foil on their liberty; that the preliminary step to be taken was to expel the Mormons, whose strength, now much reduced by emigration, would readily yield to a comparatively small force. This idea was caught up with avidity; and a few days witnessed the assemblage of au army, regularly appointed and officered, at Golden's Point, in the neighborhood of Nauvoo. The more reckless of the Anti-Mormons, anxious for the conflict, poured into the encampment with such arms and equipments s they could readily lay their hands upon. The Mormons were well informed of these hostile demonstrations. Many of them hastened their preparation for their departure; others precipitately abandoned their homes without preparation -- destitute of provisions and all the necessary comforts of a long and perilous journey. Others, less terrified and more determined, resolved to defend themselves. The new citizens who had settled in Nauvoo, by the invitation of Mormons and Anti-Mormons, regarded themselves as no party to their quarrels. Their true policy was to remain neutral by a refusal to participate in these lawless proceedings, the merits of which it was impossible for them to understand. This policy the Mormons determined they should not adopt, and to change their resolution, representations were made to them that the crusade against Mormonism was nothing less than a destructive blow aimed at Nauvoo; that the intention of the Anti-Mormons was to desolate the city. The massive Temple, which was now completed, and which was reared by such a vast expenditure of labor and money -- an original model of a new and magnificent order of architecture -- the only ornament and attraction of the city, was to be undermined and blown to atoms by the Goths and Vandals now assembled in force. The city itself, which had changed hands and was now the property of the new citizens, was to be reduced to ashes by the incendiary band of mobbers.

    The new settlers, believing these representations to be true, were scarcely less alarmed than the Mormons, and many of them were equally resolved to resist the contemplated invasion of their property. But, notwithstanding their prejudices had been excited by the Mormons against the expedition which was now encamped at Point Golden, they thought it prudent to consult with the Anti- Mormons themselves, relative to their intentions with regard to Nauvoo. Accordingly, at a general mass meeting, which was composed exclusively of new citizens, or rather which was intended to be so, a delegation was appointed to confer with the hostile force, and, if possible, by peaceful measures adjust their increasing difficulties. But in the selection of the delegation, they were as usual imposed upon by the specious cunning of the Mormons; at least two of the delegation of five were at the time Mormons. One of them, William Picket, who had lately removed from Alabama, a broken-down lawyer, who had found it unsafe to remain longer in the South, had united his destiny with Mormonism, and pursued its opponents with the blind and revengeful fury characteristic of the North American savage. Although baptized in the faith, he had not openly acknowledged his connection with it. No one of the new citizens had even the slightest intimation of his religious faith, and in fact it was on account of his supposed opposition to the fanatics that he was appointed a delegate. Israel Clap, the other Mormon delegate, had recently removed from Iowa, and his Mormonism was a secret to all but the faithful.

    These delegates immediately after their appointment visited the Anti-Mormon force encamped at Point Golden. They found. this army, to the number of three or four hundred, safely lying in a thicket, through which a sluggish and filthy stream struggled in vain to find an outlet for its stagnant waters. This stream had never before been used for any purpose of practical utility, unless by the swine of the neighborhood which had occasionally regaled themselves with a refreshing wallow in its turbid waters. The patriotic army had taken possession of this stream and the slashes around it, and placed their sentinels and planted their cannon to guard against surprise. The encampment was surrounded on all sides by a thicket of undergrowth so dense and impenetrable, that their whole force was rendered invisible to the eyes of their vigilant enemies.


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    The Nauvoo delegates were courteously received by the Anti-Mormon Generals, Colonels and Majors, (the whole force appeared to possess exalted rank,) and as new citizens opposed to Mormonism were welcomed to their head-quarters. There was necessarily no difficulty between the Anti-Mormon encampment and the new citizen delegates. It was the interest of both parties that the Mormons should remove. The delegates however believed and represented that the fanatics, now reduced to a mere fragment of their original force, had ceased to be formidable; that the few who remained did so from their inability to procure the necessary outfit for their journey; that in spite of their destitution they were leaving Nauvoo as fast as the ferry boats could carry them away; that hundreds had already left without means, and their families were now encamped in the open prairies, without a common tent cloth for a covering, awaiting their opportunity to exchange their real estate for available funds for their journey. This was thought by the delegates to be sufficient to satisfy the most zealous and uncompromising Anti-Mormon. The Anti-Mormons expressed their willingness to disband their forces if they could have a satisfactory assurance that the Mormons would still continue their preparation for their departure; and to fully assure themselves that such was the fact, they proposed that one of their number should be stationed at Nauvoo, who should be protected by the new citizens, and who should daily report the movements of the Mormons their preparations and the number of the departures and arrivals. To this the new citizen delegates made no objection. There was a disposition on the part of each of the contracting powers to avoid any rupture, and if possible by mutual concessions to form a friendly alliance. In this spirit speeches were made by the representatives of each, expressive of a desire to harmonize whatever causes of disagreement might exist between them. The parties manifested the utmost, good feeling towards each other, and separated with mutual pledges of fidelity.

    In the mean time the utmost terror and excitement reigned in Nauvoo. The citizens had contrived to inform themselves of the designs, the force and equipments of the Anti-Mormon encampment, by means of spies who daily and almost hourly visited it The Mormons were now without a leader to direct their movements in the threatening crisis. The twelve apostles, their high council, and every person high in authority, were now clustered around the standard of Brigham, and the saints were left like sheep without a shepherd. They were destitute of a leader. No one could be found on whom the consecrating hands of the deceased prophet had been laid, or who had been set apart to lead the hosts of Israel to battle. And when was fanaticism like theirs ever decided, unwavering, or successful, unless its devotees were controlled by the authoritative dictation of some master-spirit, to whom the blind submissive masses had conceded the unquestioned right to command. Destitute as they were of such a leader, deprived of the supernatural endowments of an inspired priesthood, in which they so implicitly and blindly trusted, indecision and fearful apprehension marked all their councils. A general panic communicated itself to all classes. The wretched, spiritless and terrified Mormons abandoned homes and property, and fled in confusion from the doomed city, without subsistence for a single day. But fortunately, on the very day on which the new citizens had dispatched their delegates to confer with their enemies, Sheriff Backenstos, the tried friend, the sworn clansman of the fanatics, arrived at the city of the saints. His presence at once dissipated their despondency, and fired their hearts with hope and courage.

    The first act of this official was to issue an authoritative and pompous proclamation, commanding every able-bodied man to rally under his law-and-order banner, and denouncing the Anti-Mormons as lawless banditti, assembled for the purpose of plundering the weak and defenseless. This proclamation was without any delay widely circulated; and wherever it was read it diffused enthusiasm and courage among the Mormons. The retreating fugitives, who in the hour of panic had precipitately fled the State, no sooner learned that Backenstos had arrived than they recrossed the river, to march under his leadership to attack the enemy. The streets were crowded by the Mormons, who were preparing their arms for the anticipated battle.

    All hesitation and every indication of cowardice had vanished from the wavering fanatics. When the delegates returned from Point Golden, the streets were enlivened by


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    crowds of armed men hastening to some point in the city, where their enthusiasm was to be still further aroused by the stirring eloquence of the martial sheriff and the no less martial priesthood. All ages and classes appeared animated and infuriated by an unappeased desire for vengeance. There might be seen the aged saint of threescore years and ten, with tottering and decrepit footsteps, hastening to the point of concentration, his eye grown dim with age now flashing with the fires of intense malignity, his lips compressed with determined resolution to die for his religion, and his feeble and attenuated body trembling under the weight of arms and years. By his side might be seen the white-haired urchin, the mere child, with all his boyish enthusiasm aroused by the stirring occasion, mingling with his excited seniors with as lofty a heroism as the bravest. And there too might have been seen a true knight of the new temple, mounted, its true, on a rather jaded and indifferent war-horse, which had been taken from the plough-tail for the occasion; but badly as he may have been mounted, he was none the less a hero and knight. He bore about his person arms and equipments enough to have well nigh furnished a company of the military with approved weapons. A heavy sword dangled conspicuously on his, left side. On his other side was suspended a huge bowie knife which would have wearied Hercules to wield. His waist was encircled by a belt crowded with revolvers, and two enormous rifle-barrelled pistols protruded from his holsters. The fatal rifle was strapped across the hero's shoulders. As he surveys his manifold weapons, in the pride of his exultation he applies the spur to the flank of his worn and jaded charger, and shouts the battle cry of all the saints. The startling cry was taken up by his comrades and communicated to all the stragglers in the streets, until one wild universal shout of maddening fury arose from every part of the city. The fierce knight, still more excited by the answering shouts of his partisans, urged his war-horse into something like a half gallop, and disappeared in the direction of the field of Mars.

    The place to which the Mormons were hastening was a large plat of unimproved ground, in front of a little rough stone building, designated by the saints as the arsenal. This same little building has been degraded by the more peacefully inclined gentiles into a blacksmith shop, in which humble capacity it has done good service for the last three years. A promiscuous assemblage of near a thousand persons was collected in the open space; some on horseback others on foot, all armed to the teeth and highly excited. The whole crowd appeared to rave with insane fury. Shout after shout arose from the multitude, and was re-echoed by the distant hills. Prayers for divine vengeance were invoked by the fanatical priesthood on the heads of their enemies, and their devotions were mingled with threats, imprecations, oaths and blasphemies.

    After the saints had shouted, prayed, and cursed until they grew hoarse, it was announced that the Bull of Bashan would address the saints then present. It must not, however, be supposed that a genuine bona fide Durham was to claim the attention of the saintly auditory. On the contrary, the worthy introduced under the singular and somewhat startling title was a Mormon priest of high standing, and still claiming affinity with humanity. It must be understood that the Mormons applied to each other, and particularly to their superiors, mystic appellations significant of the virtues and mental qualities for which they were distinguished. One, who had been unusually successful in the propagation of their religion, was designated the "Fruitful Vine." One, whose course had been peaceful and conciliatory amid their persecutions, was known as the "Olive Branch;" and another, an impulsive, reckless genius, and withal refractory to the authority of his immediate superior, rejoiced in the cognomen of the "Wild Ram of the Mountain." The orator of the evening was so called for his supposed fierce courage and savage brutality, The Rev. Bull of Bashan stood before his auditory confessedly the very counterpart of an enraged and noisy bull. He was over six feet high, heavily proportioned, and inclined to corpulency, so much as to induce the belief that he had been stall-fed. The lower part of the Rev. Mr. Bashan's countenance was ornamented with a heavy growth of red beard, which, from its tangled and disorderly appearance, had never been visited by combs or razors. But despite of the coarse and vulgar appearance of this high priest of the latter days, there was an energy about his fierce denunciation of the gentiles, which amounted to sublimity, and


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    called forth loud shouts of applause from the assembled saints. To have heard the oaths and threats made against the Anti-Mormon encampment, one would naturally have been inclined to the belief that their enemies would have been cut to pieces before morning; but nothing of the kind appeared seriously contemplated. After shouting themselves hoarse, the saints dispersed for their homes, and, no doubt, many of them slept soundly from exhaustion.

    In the mean time, the new citizens, startled and terrified by the warlike demonstrations of the Mormons, but still determined to make another effort to conciliate the parties and prevent a hostile conflict, in which they must severely suffer, met in general meeting, to hear the report of the delegates who had returned from Point Golden. This meeting was held in the lower part of the city, known as the Seventy's Hall. It was intended to be strictly a meeting of the new citizens, in which the Mormons should not be allowed to participate. But, contrary to the expectations of every one, the fanatics were present in much larger numbers than the friends of peace, and were zealously laboring to excite discord amongst the new citizens, and, if possible, induce them to become a party to their quarrel. The delegates reported the arrangement which the Anti- Mormons were willing to make. There is no doubt that the new citizens were willing to make any reasonable concession to the Anti-Mormons for the sake of peace. But the measures proposed, especially the one providing for the maintenance of what they were pleased to term a spy in their midst, to report their progress in their contemplated removal, aroused the indignation of the Mormons to the most extravagant height. The same scenes of violence, the same insane fury which had characterized the Mormon meeting just dispersed, burst forth in the same noisy and exciting demonstration. Captain Picket, who was one of the delegates, and who was actually a Mormon, made a genuine blood and thunder speech, in which he charged the assemblage of Anti-Mormons with a desire to enrich themselves by the plunder of the holy city. He advised immediate attack on the encampment, and indiscriminate and merciless slaughter of all their enemies. This speech, the more sanguinary portions of it especially, were received with wild shouts of applause. It was in vain for the peacefully disposed to stem this torrent of passion. A mild policy was advised by the prudent; but the advocates of peace had their voices drowned in hisses, shouts, and execrations, which burst from the uncontrollable Mormons. Only such as were known to be in the interest of the fanatics were suffered to give any expression of their views. The contract which had been agreed to between the Anti-Mormons and the delegates of the new citizens was proposed in the meeting for ratification, and rejected by an overwhelming majority. It was then proposed by the Mormons that the city be immediately put in a state of defense, to meet the invasion of the gentle rabble which was menacing it. This proposition was received by deafening thunders of applause. The meeting adjourned about midnight; but even then, so great was the excitement, no one took any thought of repose. The streets were still crowded with the bustling, excited, and vindictive Mormons. Shout after shout arose upon the night air. Guns were continually fired at all hours of the night, and it was considered treasonable to be without arms to defend the city.

    In the mean time the Anti-Mormon encampment received intelligence of the return of the sheriff, and of the courage and enthusiasm inspired by his presence. In taking up their position at Point Golden, they had mistaken the force of the enemy and their own. They had supposed their call for reinforcements would be promptly answered by the nine counties confederate with Hancock for the removal of the Mormons; and that a force could be immediately collected, sufficiently powerful to capture Nauvoo, and expel the Mormons without striking a blow. In this, however, they were mistaken. Although deputations had visited all the various counties, soliciting material aid, they were received coldly and with but little approbation. Scarcely a man could be found who was willing to abandon the cultivation of his crops for the sake of active intervention against the Mormons. The consequence was, that instead of two thousand well-armed and appointed troops, which had been pledged to them by the neighboring counties, whenever it should be signified that their presence was needed, they had only some three or four hundred collected out of their own county


    1852                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         517

    and they in a great measure destitute of arms and ammunition. From the best information which they could procure, the number of the Mormons exceeded them two to one, were well armed, and had abundant supplies of ammunition. It was therefore considered highly impolitic to think of making a stand against them. The expedition was accordingly disbanded; and whilst the Mormons were concocting their plans of vengeance, and shouting in their desperation, the soldiers of Camp Golden, under the cover of night, were making the best of their way homeward, satisfied that but little glory was to be won at present on the tented field.

    The assemblage at Point Golden unquestionably proved highly disastrous to both parties. By its sudden and unexpected termination, the Mormons were induced to believe that their enemies could never raise a sufficient force to dislodge them from Nauvoo. A great portion of them, who had always looked with but little enthusiasm on their Western pilgrimage, now expressed their determination to remain at Nauvoo, regardless of any attempts which might be made for their removal. They now ridiculed the pretensions of the Anti-Mormons to soldiership. Their newspaper published at Nauvoo manifested the highest exultation over the result of the campaign. High encomiums were pronounced on the character of the meetings which had been held at Nauvoo. All of the warlike demonstrations, the general arming for the battle, were attributed to the new citizens, who were represented by the Mormon organ as altogether hostile to the Anti-Mormons, and friendly to the persecuted sectaries. The Anti-Mormons, deeply mortified by the result of their expedition, were highly incensed by the insolent bravado and sneers of the Mormons. They began to view the new citizens with a great deal of mistrust. The Nauvoo paper represented them as wholly devoted to Mormon interests; and they had already found that many of them were secret professors of Mormonism. Notwithstanding various causes of complaint were continually arising between the belligerents, there was now a period of several weeks of comparative quiet. The Anti-Mormons were engaged in harvesting their crops; and although mutterings of discontent and threats of invasion were continually borne to Nauvoo, they were treated with contempt by the Mormons, who fancied that their gentile neighbors were effectually discouraged by their untimely retreat from Point Golden.

    In the latter part of July, a Mormon residing in Nauvoo, who owned a large farm eight miles north, in a strong Anti-Mormon neighborhood, found it necessary to employ and send to his farm eight laborers, all of whom, with a single exception, were Mormons. To guard themselves against attack, these laborers all armed themselves with rifles, which was a source of no inconsiderable annoyance and alarm to their neighbors, none of whom could look with any degree of favor on the intruders. Nor did these laborers conduct themselves with strict propriety. Instead of attending to their labors as directed, it is alleged that they spent their time scouring the country, shouting, firing their guns, and denouncing and cursing as mobbers every person who might happen to cross their path. Several days passed without any hostility between the parties. The Mormon laborers formed the conclusion that there was no danger of an encounter with their enemies. It was, therefore, with surprise as well as alarm, that they witnessed an Anti-Mormon party, numbering at least ten times their force, well armed and mounted, advancing towards them, evidently with the most hostile intention. This threatening party rode to an adjacent skirt of timber, where they dismounted, and held a consultation in low and hurried tones, relative to their course of procedure. Their conclusions were soon formed; and no sooner were their deliberations ended than they surrounded the astonished and terrified Mormons, took possession of their arms, and marched them into the skirt of timber where they had just consulted together. Arriving at that point, they deliberately cut from the impending boughs a large number of heavy goads, and peremptorily ordered their prisoners to lie down on their faces, and receive at their hands the punishment which they merited, and which, in solemn council, they had resolved upon inflicting. Against this violent course of procedure the Mormons ventured to remonstrate, insisting that if they had in any way disturbed the peace of the neighborhood, they were liable to be prosecuted and punished in a legal way; and pledging their honor, that if suffered to escape, they would hasten to Nauvoo, and not again disturb the Anti-Mormons by their


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    presence. This reasonable proposition was received by the indignant Anti-Mormons with contemptuous indifference. The only response it elicited was a still more decided command to prostrate themselves, accompanied by a dangerous menace of fire-arms, and sullen threats of the most fatal vengeance. Resistance was absolutely out of the question; and the Mormons submitted to their fate, receiving at the hands of their enemies a most severe and inhuman lynching. As we have already intimated, one of the company which received this lawless flagellation was not a member of the Mormon fraternity. When it came to his turn to receive his portion of the penalty prescribed by his self-constituted judges, he informed his executioners that he had no connection with the fanatics, that he had but lately removed to Nauvoo, and, as he supposed that the castigation about to be inflicted was intended solely for the benefit of the Mormons, he therefore politely begged leave to decline the unmerited honor. In reply, he was with some show of courtesy informed, that as he had chosen to associate with Mormons, he was entitled to the same treatment and equal honors with them. He was further informed, that his judges, after a careful reference and examination of the precedents in such cases, had come to the conclusion that the one relating to poor Tray was precisely in point; and if in future he wished to avoid catching thunder, he must avoid entirely the society of Mormons. He was, accordingly, out of compliment to his superior merits and Anti-Mormon pretensions, treated to double the number of lashes which had been administered to his Mormon colleagues. After the flagellation had been duly administered, to the very great satisfaction of the grim disciples of Judge Lynch, and much to the chagrin and mortification of those receiving it, the Mormons were ordered to take themselves off to the holy city, and advised never again to make their appearance out of the corporation limits, unless they wished to incur the most deadly vengeance. Their arms were restored to them, with the exception of one gun, which was claimed to be the property of Samuel McBratney, who had perished by Mormon violence a year before. This gun was retained by the Anti-Mormons as a kind of relic of one who had suffered martyrdom in their cause, as well as an evidence of the thieving propensities of their enemies.

    In the mean time the Mormons, with their undressed wounds open, and bleeding profusely, hastened back to Nauvoo, and related the story of their wrongs, without omitting any circumstance which might in any way tend to inflame the public mind. As might have been expected, the relation of an outrage so cruel, and inflicted on such small cause of provocation, created the most unbounded and passionate excitement. A public meeting was instantly called, in which, as usual, small demagogues, who lived by stirring and irritating the passions of the people, harangued in bold terms about the enormity of the crimes which had been perpetrated. It was resolved by the assembled Mormons, that they would take ample vengeance on their enemies; but as they had always been more successful by a resort to cunning than force, it was determined to prostrate justice and the law to the purpose of gratifying their revenge. It was consequently determined to take out writs for the persons implicated, charging them with an unlawful assault and riot. One serious difficulty, however, occurred in taking out the writs. The persons on whom the outrage had been perpetrated, and who were about to subscribe the necessary affidavits, were unacquainted with the names of the persons Implicated, with the exception of one McAuley, a justice of the peace in that neighborhood, who, they averred, was the leader of the rioters. The affidavit was accordingly drawn, distinctly charging John McAuley with the offense, after which succeeded a long blank, in which it was intended to insert the names of all persons who might hereafter be implicated in the transaction. The warrant was drawn in the same loose irregular manner. A special officer was selected and sworn in, charged with its execution, who was instructed to insert the names of all persons who should hereafter be identified as being connected with the riots. This officer immediately proceeded to summon every man in Nauvoo, as a posse, to effect the arrest of all rioters, and persons disposed to break the peace. This summons was obeyed with the utmost alacrity on the part of the Mormons. Against nine o'clock of the same evening, he was ready to march with near a hundred men into the infected district. He immediately directed his course to McAuley's, who resided nine miles from Nauvoo. The


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    posse arrived at his residence about midnight, when they succeeded in effecting his arrest without resistance or opposition. The premises were searched, and an Anti-Mormon by the name of Brattle, a resident of Carthage, who had not in any way participated in the lynching of the Mormons, was taken into custody. The gun which had been taken from the Mormons was also found and secured. These prisoners were immediately brought to Nauvoo, where the officer and his posse arrived about sunrise.

    The prisoners demanded an immediate trial, which undoubted right, on the most trivial pretexts, was denied them. Instead of being brought before a justice of the peace for a legal examination of the charges for which they had been restrained of their liberty, they were remanded into custody to await the convenience of their captors. To render escape impossible, they were placed in the third story of a large waste building known as the Masonic Hall, whilst a guard of malicious and uncompromising Mormons surrounded the building. All communication with their friends was prevented, and any interference in their behalf was rendered impracticable by the jealous vigilance of their jailers.

    The Mormons were not yet satisfied with the glory of this achievement, nor was their vengeance fully gratified. Consequently another expedition was instantly planned; a renewed call for volunteers was made, the power of the county was again invoked, and a new and more formidable posse was organized, for the purpose of following up their success, and bringing to justice all persons in the la e lawless demonstration. This body was instantly called into active service. A new judicial officer, an avowed and most daring and reckless Mormon, known as Captain Anderson, was sworn in and received the warrants for execution. It was supposed that the great portion of the rioters resided in the village of Pontoosac, an unimportant place on the Mississippi river, twelve miles above Nauvoo. To this place the officer now directed his march. His force amounted to near one hundred men. They were all well mounted, and armed in a manner known only to Mormon troops. The Anti-Mormon rioters, after whom they were marching, were equal in numbers, and if their organization and equipments had been equal, a spirited conflict might have justly been anticipated on the meeting of the parties. This company of Mormons arrived in the neighborhood of Pontoosac late in the evening, where they selected a convenient place, and encamped until the following morning.

    In the mean time the news of the arrival of this Mormon force was communicated throughout the neighborhood by the zealous Anti-Mormons, with so much secrecy and effect, that long before morning dawned, a force was collected equal in number to their adversaries, every man of which was resolved to resist any effort which might be made to secure any arrests of their numbers. This force, as soon as it was collected together, secretly marched to a hazel thicket, about eighty rods from Pontoosac, which on both sides flanked the Nauvoo road, and afforded a sufficient cover for a force much larger than theirs, where they concealed themselves with the intention of assailing their adversaries, should they attempt to march into Pontoosac. They had not long occupied this ambuscade, when the Mormon force was discovered on the march. Fate was apparently leading them without suspicion into the range of their deadly weapons. Every heart beat high in anticipation of victory. But whilst with exultation they beheld the Mormon column on its blind and fatal march to certain ruin, they were surprised to see it make a sudden halt before it came in direct range of their rifles. The Mormons were evidently acquainted with the existence and locality of the ambush. A short and hurried consultation took place in the column, upon the close of which the Mormons reined in their horses, and spurring them into the most furious speed, they precipitately charged into the densest part of the thicket. This sudden and unexpected movement of the Mormon cavalry took their adversaries completely by surprise; and a majority of them, without waiting to count numbers, or to make any defense, instantly retreated in the greatest confusion. Only about a dozen had sufficient presence of mind to remain. These were required to submit themselves to the authority of the process. This they peremptorily refused to do; upon which the Mormon constable, who was without question a man of the boldest courage, proceeded without any difficulty to disarm them.. When this was accomplished, their names


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    were inserted in the warrant, charging the commission of a riot, and the whole number were unceremoniously placed in a wagon, and without delay were borne in triumph to Nauvoo.

    The success of this campaign was hailed by the Mormons with joyful acclamation. Captain Anderson was voted a hero of the first magnitude. A general shout of exultation arose from every part of the city. Loafers, boys and priests commingled together promiscuously, to gaze on the desponding and terrified prisoners, and exchange congratulations on the result of the victory which had crowned their arms. They had now in close custody fourteen of their most bitter enemies, and it was determined that their trial should be for the present postponed, and that they should remain in confinement under the eye of a vigilant and reliable guard, as hostages for the good behavior of their associates and friends, until the Anti-Mormons now under arms should disperse or cease their depredations.

    The Anti-Mormons, however, never thought of the abandonment of any of their enterprises, from the fact that a part of their comrades had fallen into the hands of the Mormons. In their own language, war had again been declared in Hancock. They had no longer any compromises to make with Mormonism. They were resolved that the existing conflict should continue until the one party or the other should prove finally and completely triumphant. Should. they be defeated, they would surrender their homes and their county to the Mormons for ever. Should they prove triumphant, the Mormons should be driven from the State. If their friends had fallen into the hands of their enemies, it was the fortune of war, and like other prisoners of war, they must abide their misfortunes as became soldiers. They considered any effort which they might make for the rescue of their prisoners as entirely hopeless. Their wisest policy, they concluded, was retaliation; and for opportunity to test this policy they had not long to wait.

    The very day on which Captain Anderson made due and lawful return of his prisoners, a small company of Mormons, numbering some five or six, found it necessary to reclaim their oxen which had strayed on the prairie. They followed what they supposed to be the trail of the missing cattle, until it led them to the neighborhood of Pontoosac, where they were surprised by a large party of Anti-Mormons, who suddenly emerged from an ambuscade, surrounded them, and marched them to their encampment. To prevent discovery and the danger of recapture, they were immediately hurried into a wild and secluded ravine, shaded by dense undergrowth, where they remained until night under a strong guard, when they were placed in a small boat furnished for the occasion, and ferried in silence to an island opposite in the Mississippi. The custody of these prisoners they believed would prove an ample guarantee against any violence which might be contemplated against their friends in Nauvoo.

    In the mean time the Mormons were informed of the capture of their friends by the predatory gentile bands, and measures were instantly adopted to secure their rescue, Captain Anderson summoned his command. and without delay marched to the village of Pontoosac. In anticipation of the march of the Mormon force on this point, the village was almost entirely abandoned by its inhabitants. A few frightened women and children were all that remained. From signals which were discovered from the windows, it was inferred by Anderson that the enemy, with their prisoners, had retreated to the island opposite. How to effect a landing was a question which, with all his ingenuity, he was unable to solve. He had no boats at his command. He carefully searched the coast in vain efforts to discover some vessel to press in his service ; but the fugitives had taken the precaution to cut off this resource, and after two days spent in great perplexity, during which his command was compelled to levy contributions for their subsistence off the surrounding country, the brave captain was compelled to relinquish the invasion of the island, and return to Nauvoo to procure boats for the enterprise.

    No sooner were the Anti-Mormons relieved of the presence of the Mormon force, than they recrossed to the mainland, and whilst Captain Anderson, deeply mortified with the result of his labors, was retiring to Nauvoo, the Anti-Mormons, well mounted, were making a forced march north, at the rate of six miles per hour, whilst the prisoners were compelled to march on foot in front at that sweeping pace. Should their energies appear to flag by their unusual exertion


    1852                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         521

    they were stimulated by the application of goads, until nature refused to endure such exertion longer, and the prisoners in almost fainting condition were borne into a secluded spot, where they were suffered to recruit their strength until the following morning.

    Before Captain Anderson could fit out his boats for his river fight, intelligence was received at Nauvoo that the Anti-Mormons were seen retreating north at furious speed, still having their prisoners in custody. Without any delay an opposing force, under the command of Picket, was dispatched in pursuit. He passed through Pontoosac, and from thence east to La Harpe; however, without falling in with them. The Anti-Mormons, through the instrumentality of their friends, contrived to be informed of all the movements of the Mormons, and although the pursuit was hot, and long continued, it was ineffectual, the Anti-Mormons invariably eluding the vigilant and untiring efforts of the Mormons.

    This chase continued during two weeks, during which the prisoners were fatigued by incessant marching, until life had become a burden which could scarce be endured. The prisoners at Nauvoo, who still continued in close confinement, had become haggard by constant watching and fearful apprehensions from threatened violence. Both parties became wearied by their mutual lawless obstinacy. Finally, the Anti-Mormons procured for the benefit of their friends in confinement at Nauvoo, a writ of habeas corpus, which was served on their Mormon jailers, who surrendered them to the proper tribunal for examination, upon which on entering bail they were finally discharged from arrest. No sooner were they set at liberty than the Mormon prisoners, jaded and travel-worn, broken in health and spirit, from their unceasing exertions, were suffered to return to Nauvoo. They were received by their families as if they had risen from the dead. Their release had never been expected; they had already been enrolled on the list of martyrs who had attested their faith by a heroic death.

    It should have been observed, that to avail themselves of the benefit of the writ of habeas which had been issued on their behalf, it was necessary for the Anti-Mormon prisoners to be taken to Quincy, where the judge issuing that process resided. On their discharge they immediately returned to Hancock county, but apprehending further annoyance and danger from the Mormons, who still continued to send out their predatory bands into the neighborhood of Pontoosac, they declined visiting their families; they determined to accept the hospitality of their Anti-Mormon friends in the southwest of the county, and remain in that section until a general and final rally should be made for the expulsion of the Mormons. It was resolved, if possible, to bring matters to an immediate crisis between the parties. To effect an object so much desired, they. determined to make an attempt to arrest the leaders of the Mormons concerned in their imprisonment and detention in Nauvoo, and if possible secure legal redress for the wrongs they had endured. To this end, writs were taken out before a justice of the peace, who resided in the centre of a hazel thicket in the southwest of the county. This justice was not selected so much on account of his legal acquirements, as the remoteness of the situation from Nauvoo. The justice resided on the outskirts of the Morley settlement, which had been desolated by Anti-Mormon vengeance only a year before, where the blackened and decaying ruins of the dwellings of the hapless fanatics still remained as monuments of Anti-Mormon hate, and where dreary barren wastes met the view where only a year before cultivated fields smiled in cheering beauty and abundance. They knew it would be a source of annoyance to the Mormons to pass through this desolate district, that it would bring fresh to their memories the frightful disasters which they had already sustained at the hands of the Anti-Mormons. It would impress upon the minds of the Mormons the reckless and unscrupulous character of the opposition which they might yet reasonably expect to encounter.

    For various reasons it was considered unsafe and impolitic to place the warrants issued in the hands of an ordinary constable, who might possess but little or no influence over the great mass of the people. To give dignity, importance, and effect to their policy, one John Carlin, a gentle man very respectably connected, and possessing considerable wealth and no contemptible ability, who was generally known in Adams and Hancock counties as an uncompromising Anti- Mormon, and, from that fact, exerted a powerful influence over the masses, was sworn in


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    and charged with the execution of these writs. The persons against whom process was issued were James E. Furnace, William Clifford, and William Picket.

    Carlin, immediately on his appointment, hastened to Nauvoo, and demanded the surrender of the persons charged in the writ. Clifford and Furnace, who were not actually Mormons, but only tools for them, after some hesitation and a consultation with their friends, concluded to submit. Picket, who was a Mormon, and consequently more exposed to the violence of the Anti-Mormons, declared that he had received intimations from some of his Anti-Mormon friends that if he surrendered himself a prisoner he would certainly be assassinated. Surrounded as he was by a host of long-tried and faithful friends, he defied the officer to take him. The officer was alone, and of course, unaided, could not secure his arrest. He accordingly left with his other prisoners without even making an attempt, which prudence taught him would be unsuccessful.

    Arriving at the justice's office, they found it surrounded by an angry and excited multitude, all of whom had deadly weapons in their hands, and viewed the prisoners with unalloyed hate and disgust. The prisoners attempted a conciliatory policy, proffered their hands in token of friendship, but their overtures at first were all scornfully rejected; but eventually the cunning, diplomacy and chicanery of the prisoners triumphed over the morose and sullen hate of the Anti-Mormons. Mr. Furnace was the most cunning, and had heretofore been the most unwavering friend of the Mormons. He had sold himself to do their commands, however revolting to morality and decency. He was, however, now in the power of his enemies, who looked upon him with scornful disgust, Mr. Furnace believed that his life depended on conciliating their friendship, and not discouraged by the coldness, the unrelenting, and almost ferocious hate of the Anti-Mormons, he still continued his protestations of friendship to the Anti-Mormon cause; but he was coldly and haughtily reminded that his zeal must be manifested in their favor by far less equivocal acts than marching in Mormon companies, for the purpose of dragging Anti-Mormons from their beds at midnight, subjecting them to illegal duress, and by arming himself, and uniting with a Mormon guard to prevent their escape, as had been his previous policy. He must, in fact, before he could claim the respect of the Anti-Mormons, wipe out his former acts by a thorough reformation; he mast for ever abandon all alliances with Mormonism; he must labor to counteract its influence, and use all laudable efforts to aid their cause, until fanaticism, and its long train of blighting curses, should be removed from Hancock county. To any one more scrupulous than Mr. Furnace, who had heretofore manifested the strongest friendship for Mormonism, and had even shed tears of sympathy for its wrongs and persecutions, a proposition to renounce all his previous principles, and adopt a course of policy radically different from that previously acted upon, would have been rejected with indignation. But Mr. Furnace had espoused the cause of Mormonism from motives of self-interest alone; and now the same cold selfishness required the sacrifice of his principles; and Mr. Furnace, without any hesitation, pledged himself and all his friends in Nauvoo, to unite with the Anti-Mormons, for the purpose of expelling his former friends and allies. He proposed to his new friends to return to Nauvoo without delay, and call a meeting of the new citizens to organize an Anti-Mormon party in Nauvoo, and unite upon the terms of the proposed coalition.

    The earnestness and zeal with which Mr. Furnace set about his work effectually won over the Anti-Mormons. The angry scowls of deadly hostility and revenge were chased away, and smiles of amity and friendly greetings were freely exchanged between the contracting parties. So highly gratified were the Anti-Mormons with the conversion of Mr. Furnace, and so much were they taken up in shaking hands in ratification of their coalition, that they quite forgot the causes of the visit of their new friend amongst them; and when reminded of the fact that Mr. Furnace was even now in legal custody, that he stood before them charged with riot, false imprisonment and robbery, Anti-Mormons rushed forward with commendable zeal and the greatest kindness, and volunteered to stand as his bondsmen. Thus discharged from arrest, congratulations were again exchanged between the parties, and Mr. Furnace went on his way rejoicing.

    Arriving at Nauvoo, the proposed meeting, at his suggestion, was called. It was intended to be a meeting of those new


    1852                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         523

    citizens averse to the longer continuance of the Mormons in Nauvoo. But, as usual at all public meetings called on such occasions, the Mormons, uninvited, poured themselves in the large temple hall in numbers sufficient to control all its deliberations. Mr. Furnace, by his late involuntary excursion amongst the Anti-Mormons, had been terrified into sincerity. Notwithstanding the presence of the Mormons, who had begun to view him with suspicion and mistrust, he boldly advocated a peaceful adjustment of their difficulties with the Anti-Mormon insurgents. This he regarded as their only policy. He had but recently encountered their angry scowl, and his courage had vanished. He had seen the hand-writing on the wall. He was satisfied that total destruction awaited them in the coming conflict. He advised the appointment of a delegation to confer with the Anti-Mormons, and if possible avert impending ruin, and restore order and quiet where anarchy had so long prevailed.

    Mr. Furnace, as we have seen, was sincere, he was even eloquent; but the Mormons derisively laughed at his cowardice, and ridiculed his inconsistency. They compared him to a chicken furnished with two pair of legs, the one pair impelling him towards Mormonism and the other leading him in the opposite direction. The Mormons, on a direct vote, might have readily defeated the proposition for the appointment of the delegation; but their policy was never to meet any measure by direct and open opposition; they therefore, without discussion, acquiesced in the views of Furnace, and the delegation was appointed; but in the selection of proper persons to discharge the duties of this important mission, good care was taken that every delegate should be wholly Mormon in his predilections. The only exception to this rule, as the appointment of a gentleman who rejoiced in the cognomen of Major Bidamon, a stout, rugged, consequential Pennsylvania Dutchman, who, contrary to the instincts of his race, gloried in polished boots, fashionable hat, faultless linen, and superfine broadcloth. The gallant Major accepted the appointment with avidity. His vanity was as much excited as if his mission had been to negotiate the peace of Europe, or enforce the neutrality of Russia, in a conflict between Austria and her dependencies. Mynheer Bidamon was no less a personage of that day than Mynheer Kossuth is of the present. The Major lost no time; he borrowed a horse, and travelled with a rapidity known only to borrowed horses. He met the Anti-Mormons, and told them just what he thought of them; that in his opinion they were a scurvy rabble, a lawless mob, a banded conspiracy of savages and robbers, with whom it was humiliating to the refined feelings of a civilized gentleman to be compelled to hold converse. The valiant Major, who was too much of a swaggerer to be a successful diplomatist, told them all this, and was only laughed at for his pains. He was informed that the Anti-Mormons were re- solved on the banishment of the Mormons; that they would like to secure the cooperation of the Anti-Mormon new citizens at Nauvoo for that purpose; but if they refused to join their enterprise, they had made up their minds to do without their assistance; and finally the Major was roughly reminded that he might as well keep his mouth shut. Whereupon the testy Dutchman, without deigning any reply, mounted his borrowed horse, in a towering passion, and was off for Nauvoo like a whirlwind.

    This was the last attempt at conciliation made by the parties. The Anti-Mormons now studied the most efficient mode of attack, and the Mormons of resistance. The new citizens still labored to maintain an honorable neutrality; but this peaceful policy had now become well nigh impossible. Many of them, by threats of violence, were driven into the Mormon ranks. Others, unacquainted with the odious vices of their Mormon neighbors, and believing that religious intolerance and persecution had again been revived in this boasted age of religious freedom, zealously marshalled themselves under the Mormon banner to resist Anti-Mormon bigotry and cruelty. Others, inflamed by a desire of revenge, excited by the dictatorial and menacing policy of The Mormons, or disgusted by their brutal and savage vices, escaped to the Anti-Mormon encampment, determined to make their influence felt by the persecuting fanatics, in the approaching conflict. Others, who had but lately emigrated, and who had invested all their means in Nauvoo lots, regardless of pecuniary interest, and indifferent to the destruction of their property, collected their children together, and, ruined and penniless, fled from a country where they had witnessed nothing during their short sojourn but scenes of wild


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    confusion, and frightful, uncontrolled, and lawless anarchy.

    The Anti-Mormon party had thoroughly studied the peculiar tactics of the Mormons in all their previous difficulties. They discovered that the most obnoxious and objectionable of all the acts of the proscribed sect had been based on the assumption that they were the law-and-order party, and had been accomplished under the guise of legal process. By the abuse of judicial authority they had rescued every felon from the vengeance of the law, and by the same insidious policy, and under color of legal process, they had contrived to detain Anti-Mormons in close custody for weeks without trial. This false show of legal subordination on the part of the fanatics was the grand secret of their success. By assuming to be governed exclusively by the law, and invoking its protection against the violence of their enemies, whom they denounced as lawless mobbers and incendiaries, they had won over to the support of their interests the sympathy of the public and the press generally throughout the State. The Anti- Mormons were now determined to beat their antagonists with the same weapons of chicanery which had been used against themselves with such eminent success. They were resolved to employ to their own advantage a policy marked out to them by the daring and unscrupulous career of Mormonism. They justly considered that if they invoked the assistance of their friends in the adjoining counties, for the avowed purpose of lawlessly driving the Mormons from their homes, that their whole project would prove a complete failure; for in whatever light their friends might regard the Mormons, and however anxious they might be to rid the State of their influence, they would hesitate long before they would willingly encounter the perils and penalties incident to a lawless expedition.

    At this period fortune favored the Anti-Mormons with a legal pretext to justify an invasion of the Mormon city, of which they determined to avail themselves. It will be recollected that recently Capt. Picket, for whom a process had been issued, surrounded by an armed mob, had openly braved a legal officer in the streets of Nauvoo, who sought to apprehend him by virtue of a warrant for his body. This same Picket, still relying on the protection extended to him by some five or six hundred Mormons with arms in their hands, continued to occupy the same attitude of defiance. It was now resolved, dead or alive, to take him. To secure this arrest, it was necessary to call upon a force sufficient to carry Nauvoo by storm, as no doubt was entertained that the Mormons would resist to the last. Accordingly John Carlin, the same officer who first attempted to serve the writ, now issued his proclamation, which, after reciting the failure of his previous attempt to secure the arrest of William Picket, and the resistance he encountered, commanded every able-bodied man in the county of Hancock to rendezvous at Carthage, on the twenty-fourth day of August then next following, armed and equipped, and furnished with two days provisions, for the purpose of aiding him in arresting William Picket. This proclamation was distributed through every neighborhood in the county. In many instances where there was reason to doubt the devotion of an individual to the Anti-Mormon cause, the proclamation was personally served upon him; and lest he might still prove refractory, he was cited to the provisions of the statute made in such cases, by which he was clearly shown that he incurred heavy penalties should he refuse obedience to the legal mandate.

    However much the Mormons may have been surprised at this attempt of the Anti-Mormons to fight them with their own weapons, they had no sooner discovered their policy than they brought into active requisition all their wisdom and ingenuity to secure its defeat. To this end, writs were issued by a Mormon justice of the peace, charging the more distinguished and active of the Anti-Mormon leaders with riots and sundry other breaches of the peace. Precisely the same policy was adopted in all respects which the Anti-Mormons had previously devised, for the prosecution of their plans. Like their antagonists they procured the appointment of a special officer to execute these writs, and this officer likewise issued his proclamation, in which opprobrious terms were heaped without stint upon the Anti-Mormons, and the power of the county demanded to crush the lawless organization of mobbers, now being banded together for the most nefarious and barbarous designs. It will be seen that both parties were anxious to shelter themselves under the protection of the law. To win over the


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    approbation of the observing public, and to secure material aid in the approaching conflict, each party placed itself in a false position, and each based its quarrel on a false and deceptive issue. Under the ostensible design of taking in custody the body of William Picket, the Anti-Mormons were marshalling, organizing and drilling their forces for the actual purpose of storming the city of Nauvoo, and driving the Mormons, including the same person sought to be arrested, from the limits of the State. The Mormons, in summoning to their aid the power of the county for the avowed design of arresting Sharp, Williams, and others of notoriety in the Anti-Mormon camp, and to preserve the peace of their city and county, actually intended to make a stand against their enemies, and dispute with them every inch of ground, for the purpose of maintaining a supremacy which they had long labored permanently to establish in the State of Illinois. Not content with placing themselves under the leadership of a constable duly appointed, the Mormons were determined to invest their proceedings with a color of still higher authority. It was at present determined to invoke the sanction of the Governor to all their movements.

    A special commissioner was accordingly appointed by the town council of Nauvoo, which, in addition to its ordinary powers of opening, establishing, and repairing the streets of the city, of making provisions for the support of paupers, and of punishing petty breaches of the peace, now by the occurrence of extraordinary events, the threatened invasion of their commonwealth, found it necessary to assume the most extraordinary powers -- of declaring war, of negotiating treaties, and voting supplies for the public defense. The object of this special embassy was to secure the assistance of Gov. Ford in putting the city in a state of defense, and maintaining it against the incursions of their enemies. It must be understood that for all practical purposes Nauvoo was an independent State, fighting its own wars and making its own treaties, and exercising the most important acts of sovereignty. We have seen that Gov. Ford collected a force in Hancock on one occasion, with the design of reducing the refractory fanatics to obedience; but being frightened off the ground by the tragical death of the prophet, had ever since suffered the ecclesiastical authorities of the revolted city to govern after their own fashion, doing that which was right in their own eyes. Since the termination of that unfortunate campaign, the Governor could never hear the name of Nauvoo mentioned without losing his temper, and indulging in the most undignified and profane language. And when he heard of the late gathering of the Anti-Mormons at Point Golden, he expressed his deep regret that the conflicting parties did not come into actual collision, and, like the Kilkenny cats of ferocious memory, devour each other bodily.

    Major Bidamon was the person again selected to negotiate with Gov. Ford. Our impulsive friend lost no time in the discharge of his official duties. He hastened to Springfield, visited the Governor, laid before his Excellency the perilous position of the city which he represented, and requested his "active intervention" in their behalf. The Major signified that it was his belief that Nauvoo had sufficient force within its own limits to repel any invasion which could be organized by the Anti-Mormons; all they wished was the official sanction of the Executive, that they might be able to repel the imputation that the Nauvoo authorities were in open conflict with the people and the government of the State. This course of procedure was highly satisfactory to the Governor. He could give the required sanction to the Mormon policy, and extend the protection which was solicited, without incurring any personal exposure to danger, and without any extraordinary expenditure from the public treasury. The suggestion of Major Bidamon was accordingly acted upon. The Governor issued his special proclamation to one James Parker, a resident of Canton, who was a sturdy, and withal quite respectable blacksmith, and a major of militia, commanding him to accept the active services of ten volunteers, and with them repair immediately to Nauvoo, where he was directed to take the command of as many volunteers as were willing to enroll themselves free of charge to the State. Major Parker was instructed to supersede the service of all writs now in the hands of the officers appointed by both parties, and was further directed to demand and receive into his own hands all such processes, and with the aid of his ten men procure their execution. He was also instructed


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    to defend the city of Nauvoo against the excursions of the Anti-Mormons, should any attempt be made, on any pretext whatsoever, to invade the city; but was expressly prohibited from marching his forces out of the corporation limits.

    Major Bidamon had no sooner received this proclamation and the accompanying instructions, than he hastened on his way to Canton, to place them in the hands of his friend Major Parker. He found that gallant warrior sweating over his forge, hammering a piece of wrought iron, little dreaming of the illustrious honors which Governor Ford and a beneficent Providence were about to shower in rich profusion on his head. He had long awaited a period in his life when his peaceful pursuits should be abandoned for the more stirring scenes of the tented field. He would have volunteered his services in the Mexican war, but he was well stricken in years. Like the knight of the hard-fought and chivalrous field of Shrewsbury, he was encumbered with a huge mountain of flesh. He had heard, too, that the Mexican climate was intensely warm, and that the vomito with wonderful fatality swept into the grave all fat heroes. It was late in the evening when Major Parker received his commission; but notwithstanding the unseasonableness of the hour, he immediately took off his leather apron, washed the coal-dust from his ears and whiskers, and marched into the street in quest of volunteers. He entered a grocery where he found two recruits, who, for the love of glory and auditors warrants, were willing to fight for the Mormons. A saddlery shop furnished another, and a tailor shop yet another; and before an hour had elapsed our modern Falstaff had pricked his tailors and tinkers until they roared again; and in another hour this formidable host was duly armed and equipped and was on the march to Nauvoo.

    Major Parker resided about eighty miles from the seat of war; but by means of forced marches by night as well as in the daytime, and not being much encumbered with a baggage train, he succeeded in reaching the point of his destination in thirty hours after he received his marching orders.

    He arrived at Nauvoo on the very day on which the Anti-Mormons commenced concentrating their forces at Carthage, in obedience to the proclamation of their special constable. Major Parker was received with the greatest deference by the obsequious Mormons. On his arrival a salute was fired by the Mormon forces then on parade on the temple green; and on reading his instructions to the Mormon battalion, the chief command was immediately tendered to him, whereupon the gallant Major made a speech which breathed a spirit of loyal subordination to law, and concluded by the application of harsh epithets to the Anti-Mormons, which caused him to be vociferously cheered by his Mormon allies, who expressed the unanimous opinion that the "Major was one of 'em."

    Major Parker was one of those sanguine, impetuous spirits, who could never rest satisfied when anything was to be accomplished. Had he been. free to act from his own impulses, he would have marched his forces, now mustering three hundred effective men, right into Carthage, and routed Constable Carlin and scattered his forces to the winds; but situated as he was, fettered by arbitrary and as he thought unnecessary restrictions, which confined all his operations to the defense of the Mormon city, he determined to try the force of diplomacy on the swaggering constable and his lawless rabble, and if possible, by a sounding and verbose proclamation, drive him from the field before his forces should be sufficiently trained to bring successfully into actual combat. That this proclamation might be as terrible to the enemy as possible, one George Edmunds, a Mormon attorney, was summoned to the Major's headquarters to assist in its preparation. This document, among other things, informed Mr. Carlin and those under his command of his appointment to take the command of the Nauvoo forces, and use all laudable means to preserve the general peace; that the armed occupation of Carthage or any part of the county for the purpose of arresting criminals was wholly unnecessary, for he alone, under express instructions from the Executive, had lawful right to serve legal process within the county during the continuance of the riotous and lawless demonstrations now existing; and finally commanded the armed assemblage at Carthage to disperse forthwith, under the penalty of being treated as a mob and dispersed as such.

    This proclamation was confided to the care of one of Major Parker's Canton volunteers,


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    who was immediately dispatched with it to Carthage. He was received by the Anti-Mormon force with unequivocal marks of disapprobation. They had sworn the most deadly hostility to the Mormons and their allies, and were determined that no obstacle, not even the authority of the Executive nor the menacing threats of his agents, should stand between them and their wrath, and thwart the full measure of their vengeance. Carlin read the proclamation without the slightest emotion, and then coolly threw it away, informing the messenger who brought it that he had collected and organized his force for the purpose of marching into Nauvoo, and to that place march he would, despite Governor Ford, Major Parker, and the devil; this was all the answer which he would condescend to deliver to such a Mormon tool as he knew Parker to be.

    However, on more mature reflection, the Anti-Mormon constable concluded that it would be more officer-like and better policy to address a note to the Mormon commander, in which he informed that dignitary that he had assembled the force under his command, which he had chosen to denounce as a mob, for purposes which were strictly legal. He was a constable of Hancock county, and he fancied a constable was somebody as well as a Governor or major of militia; that a constable had certain rights, and was vested with certain and various power and authority, as well as the most dignified officer in the commonwealth; that however humble his official duties might he, they were well defined, and he was amply protected by the clearest legal enactments in their discharge. He had in his possession a warrant for the apprehension of William Picket, which charged that person with crime, and which he was fully authorized to execute; and that resistance having already been made by that person, and still further resistance having been threatened, he had found it necessary to summon to his assistance the large force now under his command; and he apprehended that neither Gov. Ford nor Major Parker, by a lawful exercise of any rightful authority, could prevent him from discharging a clear official duty. He had yet to learn how the executive or the military, or both combined, could legally resist a civil officer in the service of a judicial writ, without incurring the charge of unlawfully resisting an officer in the regular discharge of a very important and well-defined duty. He was compelled to regard the command of Major Parker a lawless assemblage, collected for the most illegal and revolutionary purposes, and that unless the same should quietly disperse, and as good and orderly citizens retire to their homes, he would be compelled to treat them as a mob, and disperse them as such.

    While Constable Carlin was engaged in the preparation of his stately official missive, his soldiers had found the threatening proclamation of Major Parker, and for their amusement were thrusting their bayonets through it, in derision of the authority from which it emanated. They finally set it up as a target, and their most expert marksmen tested their skill by driving its centre, until the joint production of lawyer Edmunds and Major Parker was shot to tatters, and carried away by the winds.

    However much Major Parker may have been enraged by the insulting message he received from Constable Carlin, and the gross indignities offered his official proclamation, he was compelled to forego his vengeance, his hands were fettered by his instructions. He had but one course which could be consistently adopted without transcending his authority: he could still thunder in a proclamation; he could shake the strongholds of the enemy by the fierceness of his denunciations. He therefore called upon his Mormon barrister, and Vulcan-like, the attorney seated himself and composed a fresh proclamation forged a new and more terrible bolt. The Major called up his trusted messenger, delivered his official thunder into his hands, and sent him in haste to Carthage, where he was received with a yell of defiance and rage. Terrified by threats and menaces, the messenger fled to Nauvoo, where he reported he had been startled and terrified by the wild shouts of the gentile host, and threatened by a bowie knife flashing in close proximity to his ears. He had escaped unhurt the frightful menace, but was unwilling encounter any further peril in behalf of this or any other cause. This ended all attempts at negotiation for the present. The Major's thunders only endangered his friends, whilst his enemies laughed at his impotent rage.

    In the mean time the Anti-Mormons were zealously engaged in recruiting their numbers, in furnishing and equipping their men,


    528                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         November

    and in the introduction of discipline and subordination amongst their newly-raised troops. It was the best organized force ever raised in the State of Illinois. It consisted of two regiments of infantry, of as many companies of cavalry, and several detachments of artillery, which served six field pieces the most of which belonged to the State, and had been pressed into this patriotic service in a manner known only to the insurgents themselves. The command of this gallant body of troops, which as we have seen had been summoned as a posse comitatus, of course devolved on Constable Carlin; but that worthy gentleman was a civilian, and, however brave he may have been, had but little knowledge of military life, and no practical acquaintance with the stirring scenes of camp or field. Mr. Carlin very justly concluded that it was hardly possible for any one to become a great constable and a distinguished general at the same time.

    He accordingly appointed Mr. Singleton, a young lawyer from an adjacent county, a brigadier general and commander-in-chief of all the Anti-Mormon troops. It is not a very usual occurrence to see a constable exercise the rather doubtful authority of appointing high military functionaries, but it is presumed that the necessary precedents were to be found in the higher law code, of which Mr. Carlin was the principal representative, and the most reliable exponent. Immediately after his appointment, General Singleton marched his army into a skirt of timber, five miles west of Carthage, where they occupied their time in learning the deadly science of war, punishing pale-faced whiskey, and by way of variety shaking with the ague.

    Whilst these preparations were being made by the Anti Mormon force, the Mormons at Nauvoo manifested equal zeal and activity. They blustered in the streets, and shouted with the energy and savage fury of their red brethren, whose example they professed to emulate. They brandished swords and bowie knives, and fired off their guns to the imminent peril of all who might pass. They held public meetings in which the assistance of an overruling Providence was invoked, whilst religion and decency were outraged by shocking profanity and blasphemy. The numbers and equipments of the gentiles were much superior to theirs, but they were not disheartened. Their advantage of position counteracted the numerical strength of the enemy. They had no artillery, but their energy supplied this necessity with a most novel expedient. They fell upon the wreck of a steam engine, which abundantly supplied all their wants; with great labor and ingenuity they drilled the shafts, mounted them on cart wheels, and swore they were the best cannon in the universe. To supply the want of ball, they broke into small fragments the boilers and other portions of the same engine, with which they crammed to the muzzle their novel field pieces. Not satisfied with this and similar measures of defense, the Mormons excavated the ground over which it was anticipated their adversaries would be compelled to advance, and filled the cavities with kegs of gunpowder and deadly missiles, to which they designed to apply the match and blow to atoms the advancing column. These subterranean powder plots which were destined to vomit flame and smoke and death in the path of the invading gentile, were termed, in the pious and expressive language of the saints, hell acres, and were intended perhaps more to terrify the Anti-Mormons than to injure them.

    Whilst the parties were making these deadly preparations, Captain Picket, in command of a small scouting company, was ranging the prairies after the manner of chivalrous knights of yore, in search of adventures. It would be impossible to recount in our limited space the gallant deeds of this chivalrous commander -- how with his small band of adventurers, on a dark rainy night, he encountered a strong party of Anti-Mormons; how his band recklessly and bravely fired on them, which induced the Anti-Mormons to scamper for dear life; and how one of their number, scorched by the fire from their muskets, rode away blazing like a comet in the darkness.

    Whilst these events were transpiring, an under-current was silently at work amongst the new citizens, which promised a speedy and satisfactory adjustment of all the exciting topics which had so long been agitated, and which threatened to involve all parties in a destructive civil war. It was the desire of the new citizens to effect a final compromise between all the parties. Through their efforts, a final treaty of peace was mutually signed by the belligerents. This treaty specified that the Mormons should leave the State


    1852                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         529

    within sixty days; that they should immediately surrender all their arms to persons indicated in the treaty, to be restored to the true owner as soon as it should be satisfactorily known that in good faith he had complied with the stipulations of the treaty by leaving the State. It was further provided that the Anti-Mormons should leave a permanent force of twenty-five men in the city, for the purpose of enforcing the terms of the treaty. This treaty was fully acceded to by the Mormons, who were becoming alarmed by the gathering strength of their adversaries. The new citizens, under the most discouraging circumstances, had labored for its adoption, and now hailed it as a harbinger of permanent peace. General Singleton was anxious for the peaceful arrangement of a difficulty which threatened the destruction of social order and the shedding of blood without legal warrant. He had enjoyed sufficient of the glory, and experienced sufficient of the hardships of the camp to satisfy his young ambition. He therefore gave the treaty his influence and ardent support. He assembled his troops, read the treaty for their approbation and adoption, and was deeply chagrined when it was rejected by a unanimous yell of indignation. The Anti-Mormons had assembled and organize d their troops with a great sacrifice of time and a large expenditure of money. Their force now, so far as the Mormons were concerned, was irresistible. It was to them the height of folly to abandon their enterprise when its object lay within their grasp. They had been repeatedly foiled by the superior adroitness of the fanatics, who had always managed to evade and nullify all their engagements, however clearly and positively expressed and solemnly ratified. They had now a sufficient force to remove them; it was therefore unnecessary to trust them to remove themselves; and trust them they would not under any circumstances, and there was an end of it.

    General Singleton expressed the opinion that the Mormons had acceded to every thing that could be reasonably asked of them. To prosecute the war any further, under the circumstances, was unnecessary and treasonable to humanity; he therefore resolved to withdraw from the camp, and leave the consequences to those who chose to prosecute the war further.

    The withdrawal of Gen. Singleton occasioned little if any inconvenience to the Anti-Mormon host. The encampment swarmed with illustrious Generals of approved bravery and high renown, who panted for the honor of leading the embattled host to victory. The citizen soldiery immediately elected Thomas Brockman as the successor of Gen. Singleton. Gen. Brockman, they were assured, would never surrender his sword or turn his back upon their enterprise. This new military chieftain had various and high qualifications for so important a command. He was a blacksmith, a house carpenter, a county commissioner, a preacher of the gospel, and served as groom to a celebrated horse, which had the most undisputed and aristocratic pretensions to a long line of Arabian ancestors. It was thought that a person who could so readily turn his hand and his head to such various and different pursuits with a tolerable share of success in each, could not fail to shine as a hero likewise. To be sure, one of the favorite pursuits of the old gentleman, in which he had spent the better part of a pretty long life, i. e., to proclaim peace on earth and good-will to men, appeared to be in decided antagonism with the death-dealing profession of which he was now a conspicuous member; but the villainous expression of a countenance which would have been a warrant of condemnation before a jury skilled in reading the passions from their outward manifestations, at once conclusively demonstrated that, so far as he was concerned, the gospel of peace which he had so long proclaimed was the greatest of humbugs. He had spent a long life in canting hypocrisy, and now, for the first time, he had unfurled his true colors. It cannot be pretended that the Rev. General was influenced by religious zeal or the love of Christian purity in his Quixotic campaign. He possessed none of the fire, The fervor or fanaticism which induced the enthusiastic Covenanters to gallantly and bravely throw their lives away at Bothwell Bridge. Nothing of the kind. Base and sordid selfishness was the spring of all his actions, the controlling motive of his life. His noblest aspiration was to win the votes of the Anti-Mormons, and through their influence fatten on the spoils of office. He had preached and prayed for office without success, and now he was resolved to descend from the altar, throw aside his clerical habiliments, and fight for it. He had grown gaunt as a greyhound with hunger


    530                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         November

    and long and anxious waiting. Despair and hard feeding had furrowed his cheeks and sprinkled his hair with gray. The Mormon war was to him a god-send ; it aroused his despairing energies, it resuscitated him with renewed life and activity. It mattered little to him how much blood should flow, how many of his comrades might perish, or how many of the enemy should be trampled under the hoofs of his avenging Arab charger, provided by such means he could secure the reward of his ambition and ride safely into office. General Brockman occupied a position entirely different from the men he commanded. They had suffered and endured every thing from the intrigue and violence of the Mormons. They had arisen in their own primitive right and majesty to remove a nuisance, for which the law had provided no adequate remedy. Such was not the case with Brockman; he lived in the county of Brown, near one hundred miles from these exciting scenes. He had no actual acquaintance with the Mormon character, and had never suffered from their depredations.

    Gen. Brockman intended there should be no delay of his vengeance; there should be no compromise with Mormonism, save at the cannon's mouth. Gen. Singleton had wasted three weeks in fruitless negotiations on the prairie, but Gen. Brockman could brook no delay; he was determined to charge like a thunderbolt into the city, and stake his reputation on a coup d'etat. The Mormons heard the high resolve of this clerical Napoleon, and trembled for the consequences. Their courage had, in a great measure, evaporated. They had been commanded by their inspired prophets to follow the standard of the Church far into the wilderness; they had delayed their march, and the superstitious began to fancy that the frown of Omnipotence should continue to rest upon them as long as they remained in a land devoted to destruction by an offended Deity. Their prophets had forewarned them that Nauvoo and the adjacent country would be destroyed by a storm of divine wrath, which would sweep the wicked and blasphemous gentiles into eternity, and that if any portion of the saints should disobediently remain behind they would be visited by the same destroying vengeance, and miserably perish by the same omnipotent displeasure.

    At the time Gen. Brockman assumed the command, the army was occupying the nook of timber to which they had been led by Gen. Singleton, about fifteen miles east of Nauvoo. Animated by the hopes of a brilliant victory, Gen. Brockman, two days after his appointment, placed himself at the head of his troops and gave them their final orders to march. The march was commenced early in the morning, and a halt was never called until the column was within cannon shot of the city. They brought with them their artillery, their military stores, and an amply supply of provisions to last them for weeks, should the campaign continue so long.

    Long before the invading troops had completed half the distance to Nauvoo, they encountered the Mormon pickets, who dashed before them like the wind, to convey the intelligence to Nauvoo. On their arrival, signal guns were fired and the drums beat to quarters. The troops were instantly paraded and formed on the temple green, and marched in quick time to meet the gentiles. They took up their position about one mile east of the city, in the ravines which flanked the Carthage road. The contest to the Mormons was indeed a desperate one. By the desertion of the cowardly and superstitious, who had fled on the march of their enemy, their numbers were reduced to less than two hundred. These men, however, were nerved by despair, and were well provided with the most approved arms, and possessed the skill to use them with the most deadly effect. Their position too was formidable; it protected them from the fire of the enemy's artillery, and with the invincible courage and the stern determination of men resolved to die rather than yield, they would have been much superior to the overwhelming Anti-Mormon force. Besides their infantry and artillery, which were promptly placed in position to flank the road, Major Parker had under his command about thirty horsemen, which he immediately dispatched to make a reconnaissance of the enemy and report his movements. This detachment had proceeded but a short distance through a lane shaded on each side by luxuriant corn-fields, when they were suddenly startled by a fire of musketry from an ambuscade to their right. It would be supposed, from the position occupied by the enemy, that they had every facility to take the most deliberate and deadly aim; that every shot might have proved effective; but on the contrary, not one of the saintly


    1852                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         531

    troopers received the slightest scratch. The whizzing of the balls terrified both men and horses, and drove them with lightning speed into the camp, where they reported the enemy were on the march to attack them. This report, which by the way was wholly false, induced the Mormon leaders to remove their whole force from the shelter of the ravines where they were posted, and place them in ambuscade in the same cornfields from which the enemy's fire had just been delivered, on a level with the Anti-Mormon batteries, which were in position only a half mile distant; a single shot from which might have raked with the direst effect the whole column, and put a summary termination to the Mormon war. The Anti-Mormons were aware of the advantage which had accrued to them by this foolish act of the enemy, and fired two or three shots in a very direct range, but on account of their want of skill were entirely too high to accomplish any thing beyond the terror which the demonstration inspired.

    In the mean time, through the influence of the Mayor of Quincy, who had visited the belligerents with the intention of effecting an accommodation between the parties, and if possible prevent the barbarous scenes which were daily transpiring, General Brockman concluded to suspend hostilities until the following morning, and if possible induce the Mormons to capitulate. He accordingly, through Mr. Wood, the gentleman before alluded to, sent in a proposition to the Mormons granting them five days in which to abandon the city, provided they should cease from their hostilities and surrender their arms in his keeping. To this proposition the Mormons refused to accede, and both parties spent the night in perfecting their arrangements for renewed hostilities on the following morning.

    Immediately after the firing had ceased, Major Parker turned the head of his war-horse from the enemy, and marched his men to their head-quarters at the temple; fatigued and worn down by his unusual exertions, and deeply disgusted with the scenes through which he had passed. In fact, the gallant hero began to lose confidence in himself his soldiers, and his preparations for defense. The cannon which the indefatigable Mormons had ingeniously manufactured would in no way compare with the highly-finished and effective brass pieces in possession of the enemy. The Anti-Mormons were confident of victory; they had brought fifteen hundred men into the field, and their force was daily augmented by new recruits to their standard, whilst his own force had dwindled to insignificance, and was every day growing beautifully less. Besides these discouragements, Major Parker did not like to come into collision with his clerical rival. They were both blacksmiths, and if their rivalry had consisted in making horse-shoes or burnishing plough-shares, Major Parker would have been the last man to have declined the contest. He delighted in the clear and musical ringing of the anvil; but the roar of hostile artillery grated harshly on his ear. His competitor was a lean, lank, wiry old fellow as you would desire to meet, whilst he was a huge mountain of flesh, and the weather was insufferably hot, and the wind dry and sultry. Whilst General Brockman was mounted on a spirited Arab courser, fleet as the wind, he was compelled to jog along on a jaded hackney, recently taken from the plough-tail, which boasted neither wind nor bottom, nor any more illustrious descent than that of a common scrub; and what kind of head could he be expected to make on his wheezing, jaded charger, when pursued with lightning speed by the avenging Arab? He might as well attempt to resist or fly from Death on a pale horse. These considerations induced the gallant Major to tender his resignation, in which he spoke of the disparity between the forces; and although it was confidently expected that the following morning would witness the general conflict between the parties, which would be decisive in its consequences, he promised to return to his home and raise a force of some six or seven hundred men, and return in the course of two or three weeks and turn the tide of victory. The Major's resignation was accepted, and he has ever since reposed on the laurels won in this trying campaign, and amuses himself and his neighbors by a rather highly colored relation of the exciting events which he witnessed.

    By virtue of the authority which the Governor's commission vested in him, Major Parker, when he retired, handed over his authority to one Clifford, a kind of loafing. tool for the Mormons, and constituted him commander-in-chief of the Mormon forces. We shall not pause to inquire into the legality of this procedure, but suppose it could claim about as much legal sanction, and perhaps


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    a little more, than the creation of Anti-Mormon generals by a constable. However casuists might doubt, Major Clifford never questioned the legality of his appointment. Without a moments delay he addressed himself to the defense of the city. He had noticed with deep chagrin that the efficient force of the city was alarmingly reduced by the desertion of cowardly, skulking wretches, who had not sufficient courage to face the enemy in defense of their homes or their religion. He determined to adopt measures to effectually arrest the tide of emigration, which was carrying every one across the river. To accomplish a purpose so necessary, the instructions of the Governor to Parker, under which he was acting, gave him no powers. He had no authority to coerce any one into his ranks, or to restrain any one of his liberty of crossing and re-crossing the Mississippi river whenever his inclination might dictate. But powerful evils require powerful remedies; and Major Clifford considered that the emergency was such as made it absolutely necessary to make the military superior to the civil power; and to back him in this rather arbitrary notion, he had the opinion and example of General Jackson, the great founder of democratic absolutism in politics. With such an example before his eyes, Major Clifford did not hesitate to declare martial law. He brought two of his field pieces into the portico of the temple, charged them with powder as highly as they could bear, and fired them at midnight as a ratification of his high resolve, and as the annunciation of his purpose. He immediately detached a guard and forthwith sent them to the river, with instructions to fire upon every one, no matter who, that should attempt to cross the river without a pass from him.

    During the night, whilst Major Glifford was firing his cannon and proclaiming his higher law doctrines, the Anti-Mormons were removing their encampment to the North or La Harpe road, by which they avoided the ravines which sheltered the enemy on the other route, and procured ground sufficiently level to use their artillery with effect on the Mormons. About noon of the following day, General Brockman made an attempt to enter the city by storm. The attack commenced by the Anti-Mormons cannonading some waste building on the northeast of Nauvoo, in which it was supposed the Mormon force was concealed. The Mormons returned their fire. Peal answered peal from the deep-mouthed cannon, and for hours, balls, grape-shot and other deadly missiles encountered each other, and fiercely whizzed through the air, with decidedly less effect than the buzzing of mosquitoes. After the parties had become thoroughly aroused by the thunder of the conflict, and enraged by the blood which they anticipated would soon spout in cataracts, they threw aside their ponderous and unwieldy weapons of death, and boldly rushed to the encounter and discharged their small arms right into each others faces, but fortunately, however, without impairing or damaging the beauty of any hero on that hard-fought field. One of the Mormon heroes, who had exhausted his stock of ammunition, turned to fly, and in the dastardly act received a spent ball in his heel, which alarming catastrophe however only seemed to add wings to his speed; another complained of the loss of a finger which he had contrived to shoot off by means of his own expertness in the science of gunnery. No sooner had blood begun to flow from this unfortunate wound, than a panic seized the consecrated host, and with wild confusion and shouts of terror they fled to the temple for protection.

    General Brockman sat motionless on his white charger, viewing with calm philosophy the work of havoc and blood around him. With huge satisfaction he beheld the rout of the enemy; but he hesitated long before he would order his troops to charge their retreating footsteps. He had heard that subterranean powder plots gaped wide for his destruction. A danger so formidable and so different from the science of civilized warfare he feared to encounter. He therefore determined to follow the example of the saints, and accordingly gave the order to fall back on the encampment. At the same moment the casual observer might have seen both armies flying from each other, for dear life.

    The hostile parties on the following night each slept on their arms, and both dreamed no doubt of swimming in pools of blood. On the following morning the Anti-Mormons arose with the determination of fighting their way into the city, despite of all opposing obstacles. The Mormons in the mean time, having in a great measure recovered from their absurd and cowardly panic, were busily engaged in the construction of temporary


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    breastworks on which to mount their cannon, as well as to shelter them from the fire of the enemy. They threw themselves behind these slight fortifications and behind the surrounding buildings, and awaited with no little anxiety the assaults of the enemy. The Anti-Mormons coolly planted their cannon, and about noon commenced firing on the fortifications and buildings, which protected the Mormons. The attack was kept up with decidedly more spirit, and the firing was much better directed and told with more destructive effect on the buildings, than that of the preceding day. A blacksmith shop, which sheltered a small company of the saints, was severely riddled by the incessant discharge of cannon. One of the party, a small boy, the son of Captain Anderson, was struck by a shot from the artillery which pierced the wall, and was shattered to atoms. A retreat from the building to a safer position was deemed advisable, in effecting which another of their number was struck down mortally wounded by the enemy's fire.

    In the mean time, the street which they sought to enter being hotly contested, and several of their number being severely wounded by the fire from the Mormon breastwork, the Anti-Mormons marched south to a street which was wholly unguarded, with the intention of taking possession of that point, before the Mormons could be rallied for its support. This movement being discovered, Captain Anderson was dispatched with his company, consisting of about thirty men, all of whom were armed with fifteen shooting rifles and revolvers, to oppose the progress of the enemy at that point. Arriving at the point of destination, they commenced pouring a galling fire into the Anti-Mormon ranks, which instantly checked their progress. Col. Smith of Carthage, who commanded the Anti-Mormon column, hastily placed his cannon in position and blazed away at the Mormons, but without any effect. Anderson, the Mormon leader, at this crisis rushed forward in full view of the enemy, and called upon his men to charge on the enemy's battery; but at the very moment of giving the command he received a musket ball in his breast, from which he instantly expired.

    At the very time that Anderson was urging his men to make a desperate charge, Col. Smith, who is a man of unquestioned bravery, and was the soul of the Anti-Mormon army, was urging his men forward for the purpose of surrounding the handful of Mormons, who were pouring a hail-storm of ball on his advancing column, when he was severely wounded in the neck, and was carried as dead from the field. Each party was thrown into confusion by the loss of its leader and to add to the embarrassment of the Anti-Mormons, it was discovered that their supply of ammunition was entirely exhausted. They were consequently compelled to fall back on their encampment, which was strongly fortified, and leave the enemy in possession of the field. In this contest the Anti-Mormons lost only one in killed and some seven or eight in wounded. The Mormons, as we have seen, lost in killed three persons, and in wounded two or three, but slightly. Of the heroic achievements of General Brockman and Major Clifford in this spirited engagement history has made no record, and we are constrained to pass them by without notice, until these worthies shall furnish the world with an accurate account of what they did and suffered in the conflict.

    The Anti-Mormons without delay dispatched an embassy to procure ammunition, and more particularly cannon ball. They spent a great portion of the time in perfecting and strengthening the fortifications of their encampment, which they determined to occupy until the Mormons should be compelled to abandon the holy city.

    Notwithstanding the Mormons had for the time checked the advance of the enemy, they were far from being encouraged by their success. Even the arbitrary and lawless regulations of Major Clifford could not prevent terrified fugitives from hourly crossing the river. The guard, which as we have seen had authority to murder all deserters, connived at their escape, and many of them were known to betray the confidence reposed in them, by the abandonment of their post, and retreating across the river.

    In addition to the annoyance of continued desertions, the city was hard pressed by the horrors of famine. Their supply of bread-stuffs was totally exhausted. The army was compelled to subsist on fresh beef without any other aliment; nor did their families fare any better. Hunger and wretchedness stared every family in the face. Pale-faced and tearful women, haggard with hunger and terror, without protection, huddled their squalid, starving and naked children together


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    and hurried away, without means or provisions for a single day, to encounter the bleak winds of approaching autumn, and perish unpitied like famished wolves on the wild prairie.

    To render the condition of the Mormons more desperately hopeless, their enemies had raised a force on the opposite side of the river, which had full control over the Iowa shore, and whose duty it was to prevent any provisions from being crossed over to relieve the starving Mormons. Resistance on their part was no longer possible. To raise the siege which so grievously oppressed them, it would be necessary to storm the formidable barriers of the enemies camp, and seize upon their provisions, of which they had an abundant supply, and appropriate them to their necessities; and to accomplish an enterprise of so much peril by a force diminished by desertion, and feeble from starvation, was altogether impracticable.

    The want of ammunition on the part of the Anti-Mormons, and the weakness of their adversaries, caused a temporary cessation of active hostilities, which continued for several days. However, the dullness of the times was relieved by the action of hostile parties from each of the camps, who carried on a guerrilla warfare worthy of the most savage and depraved of the Mexicans. Although but little was accomplished by the various sallies of these irregular companies, no one being killed or seriously wounded, yet it kept up continued excitement and alarm, and kept alive the terrors which the situation naturally inspired.

    In the mean time, the city of Quincy, which had exhibited a lively and humane interest in the struggle, and many of whose citizens had manifested the most commendable zeal in preventing the effusion of blood, now dispatched a committee of fifty persons who were instructed to use all their influence to bring the hostile parties to an accommodation. These gentlemen arrived during the suspension of active hostilities; and although the firing of the guerrilla parties, which was incessantly kept up, continually exposed them to imminent peril, yet they manfully and almost heroically persevered until they actually brought the enraged and now desperate factions to terms, and prevented that indiscriminate and brutal massacre which there was too much reason to apprehend would result from taking the city by storm.

    By the terms of the accommodation effected, it was agreed on the part of the Mormons that the city should surrender; hostilities to immediately cease, and the Anti-Mormons to march in and take possession of Nauvoo the following day. The Mormons were to surrender their arms to the Quincy committee, and leave the State without delay; their arms to be returned to them in good faith, as soon as it could be ascertained that they had permanently removed, and manifested no intention of returning. Ten families, to be indicated by the Mormon trustees, were permitted to remain until the first of May following, for the purpose of adjusting and settling the accounts of the Church. From this arrangement, William Picket was expressly excluded. Instead of stipulating for the surrender of his body into the custody of Mr. Carlin, who had called upon the power of the county to effect his arrest, he was required forthwith to leave the State, which it must be conceded was a rather singular manner of terminating an enterprise set on foot for the avowed purpose of securing the custody of this same Picket.

    In pursuance of the stipulations of the treaty, on the following day General Brockman paraded his troops preparatory to marching into the conquered city. He congratulated them on the successful termination of the expedition. He informed them that now, when the Mormons were within their power, when their struggle was fortunately terminated without material loss, they could well afford to be generous. He enjoined upon them the strict observance of the stipulations of the treaty, and exacted a separate pledge of every person in the camp to observe the rights of persons and property. The troops then marched into the city. Although they were unrestrained by any but moral and voluntary obligations, the most perfect order was observed, no outrage was committed, and the terms of the treaty remained inviolate. The troops, encountered no opposition in taking possession of the city; in fact, the streets were deserted, the doors of the dwellings were all closed, the shops gave no sounds indicative of industry or of animated existence; a universal silence, profound as that of the unoccupied desert, reigned throughout the city. Brockman immediately took possession of the temple, which had been deserted by the terrified


    1852                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         535

    and flying Mormons, planted his batteries in the portico, charged his artillery with ball and grape-shot, distributed his sentinels with the utmost care and vigilance, and provided every possible means to guard against surprise and secure the general peace.

    In the mean time the Mormons placed but little confidence in the most solemn pledges of their enemies. Judging from the course of policy which had uniformly been adopted by the saints, they had little right to anticipate an observance of faith on the part of the Anti-Mormons. Pledges solemnly made, and sacred oaths duly administered, the Mormons had always treated as farcical jokes, to be laughed at, and, when policy dictated, to be disregarded and trampled upon. Observing no faith with the gentiles, they believed that retribution was now to be visited on their false derelictions. They did not care to await the storm of destructive wrath which they believed was about to break on their devoted city and temple. Accordingly, in the greatest haste, they made their preparations for their departure, many of them abandoning their property in the precipitancy of their flight. Every boat which could do service was incessantly plying from shore to shore, bearing away the proscribed fugitives to the less hostile shores of Iowa. The sullen Mormon still manifested the unmitigated hate, the undying malignity which appears to form the basis of their character. Unlike the early Christian martyr, who invoked forgiveness on the heads of his murderers, the desperate saint of modern times, as he beheld for the last time the tall spire of the temple which he profoundly reverenced, muttered deep curses on the gentile bands who had conspired to drive him from his altars and his gods. They exulted in view of their speedy expatriation from a land doomed by their prophets to divine wrath and complete and fearful overthrow. They disavowed their allegiance to a government which had failed to recognize and protect their lawless villainies, their demoralizing vices, and acknowledged obedience to no authority save that which emanated from their ecclesiastical tribunal, to be established in the wilds of California.

    The Anti-Mormons were relieved from the disagreeable necessity of removing any of the saints by violent measures. All that remained of the fanatics was a miserable remnant of sick and starving wretches, whose hopeless condition any one with the unpitying heart of a demon might have well commiserated. These were permitted to remain on pledges to leave the State as soon as their health should be sufficiently restored to permit their removal. Their destitution was supplied, and their present necessities relieved, by the generosity of their conquerors.

    The new citizens, however, caused General Brockman more trouble. Many of them had ventured the opinion that a man of his sacred profession was rather out of place in commanding a force organized on very doubtful authority. Many of them very naturally considered it their duty to volunteer under the orders of the Governor, not for the purpose of vindicating the Mormons so much as to protect their homes and their property, which they feared were endangered by the hostile movements of the Anti-Mormon army. Many of them who feared to trust General Brockman fled with the Mormons at his approach. Others, placing more confidence in the broad pledges which he had given for the protection of persons and property, chose to remain at their own firesides, in their own dwellings, believing that a mans house was his castle at the present period as much as it was a thousand years ago, amid the darkness of feudalism. But these self-confident, hardy fellows soon found that they reckoned without their host. It was soon discovered that they knew not what manner of man this same Brockman was; for no sooner had the veteran discovered that there were certain persons who had ventured to remonstrate against his authority than files of soldiers were dispatched for their arrest; when this model soldier, fresh from the field of his glory, doffed his epaulettes, assumed the official robes of a judge, and passed sentence of banishment on every culprit who was brought before him by this summary process. These culprits, least of all persons, had any right to complain of the delays of the law; for they were immediately remanded into the custody of a trusty guard, when they were promptly trotted down to the brink of the river at the point of the bayonet, where they were guarded on the ferry until they reached the opposite shore. In this manner were many persons removed from their rightful homes; persons who had no connection


    536                                        Mormonism in Illinois                                         November

    with Mormonism or sympathy for its doctrines; persons who had only dared to doubt the authority of a self-constituted, unlawful military tribunal, over which the Rev. Mr. Brockman presided as chief judge. Only a few days passed, and General Brockman, satisfied with the completeness and permanency of his triumph, disbanded his troops and retired from the tented field, retaining, however, a garrison of some twenty persons, to retain possession of the temple, and prevent the return of the Mormons. This guard remained in Nauvoo about one month, when they retreated before the Governor, who marched two hundred men into Nauvoo, for the purpose of finally restoring order and legal supremacy. Under his protection, the new citizens returned to their homes. Signs of life and activity were again manifested in the streets of the deserted city, and peace again smiled away the spirit of discordant strife.

    Whilst these arbitrary and lawless scenes of violence were transpiring at Nauvoo, the citizens of Quincy, with a noble and humane benevolence, sent a steamboat freighted with provisions to feed the starving outcasts on the opposite shore. Notwithstanding their exposure to the inclemency of the weather, and the prevalence of the bilious diseases peculiar to the season and the western climate, but few if any of the Mormons perished in their flight from Nauvoo. A very few weeks passed away until the Mormons, recovering from their despair and consternation, were busily engaged in preparing to remove their quarters westward. Many of them equipped themselves for Council Bluffs, where Brigham Young had established his winter quarters. Others sought temporary homes in St. Louis and the neighboring towns of Iowa, where they could procure a meagre and precarious subsistence by their labor. In a few weeks more fanaticism had finally vanished from Illinois. The long line of white tents which stretched for miles along the Iowa shore disappeared, and the last remnant of the saints was on its march to the unoccupied and wilderness regions of the remote West, where, amid wild crags and inaccessible mountain passes, they determined to establish an independent empire of fanaticism, where the immoral tenets of their licentious faith, far removed from legal restraints, could be practised with impunity.


    Household Words
    (New York City: Geo. P. Putnam)

  • 1851: Vol. III. No. 69.
      "In the Name of the Prophet Smith"

  •    A harsh assessment of 1850s Mormonism:
       "It exhibits fanaticism in its newest garb..."

        Transcriber's Comments


    Familiar in their mouths as HOUSEHOLD WORDS." -- SHAKESPEARE.



    Vol. III.                                             NEW YORK CITY, 1851.                                             No. 69.

    [p. 385]


    Our age, among other curious phenomena, has produced a new religion, designated Mormonism, and a prophet, named Joe Smith. Within the last twenty-five years, the sect founded by this man has risen into a State, and swelled into the number of three hundred thousand. It exhibits fanaticism in its newest garb; homely, wild, vulgar fanaticism; singing hymns to nigger tunes, and seeing visions in the age of railways. This rise of the Mormons is, indeed, a curious and interesting feature of our age. In sectarian history, nothing so strangely important has happened for a century at least.

    In 1805 there was born in Sharon, Windsor county, Vermont, United States, a boy to the house of one Smith there. He was named Joseph. His parents -- poor, industrious people -- moved shortly afterward to Palmyra, New-York. Joseph was brought up as a farmer. Joseph, a vigorous, wild, uncultivated boy, seems to have been used to working from the beginning. His lot turned to the homely side of affairs in general. What he saw of daily life was the necessity of digging and clearing; what he heard of religious matters was through the medium of a squabbling, violent, fanatical sectarianism. Joe's career was the product of these two influences: his "religion" presents, accordingly, two marked phenomena: immense practical industry, and pitiable superstitious delusion. What the Mormons do, seems to be excellent; what they say, is mostly nonsense.

    At the very outset of the story, we are met by the marvellous. Joseph Smith, the ignorant rustic, sees visions, lays claim to inspiration, and pretends to commune with angels and with the Divinity himself. He is a ploughboy, and aspires to be a prophet; he is at first what they call "wild," but repents; in his rude, coarse life, and narrow way, he really has a genuine interest in the Bible. In this disturbed variety of feelings the young Yankee grows up; he is, as you see pretty clearly, naturally shrewd, yet credulous. The neighbors are puzzled what to make of Joseph; he complains that "persecution" was his lot very early. The neighboring ministers did not listen very favorably to Joe's visions. The time for all that, they told him, was gone by; nobody had visions now-a-days! But Joseph struggled on; for he felt some power in himself; felt that he was, in his way, a shining light; but, like many other shining lights, set in a desperately thick horn lantern! The fact was, Joseph, naturally gifted, was wretchedly brought up. Perhaps it would be fair to say that he hoped to be able to do some good in his time; so he rushed into his career with strategic disguises to help him on. The world would not listen to plain Joe Smith, junior, prophet, unaided. Joe Smith must have something to help him. In the nineteenth century you must "rig" your spiritual market, Joe thought, as well as any other. So, to make things pleasant, he set about cooking up his own accounts of his own prophecies with a tale of the marvellous. Accordingly, in 1827, a rumor spread about among persons interested in these matters, that Joseph Smith, Junior, had made a discovery of importance. Inspired by a vision, he had searched in a certain spot of ground, and there had discovered some records, written on "plates, apparently of gold," which contained, in Egyptian characters, an additional Bible! This was, indeed, the "Book of Mormon," from which the sect derive their name. The book professed to be a sacred and inspired narrative, reserved for the new prophet to usher into the world, and is thus described by one of the Mormon apostles:
    "The book of Mormon contains the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, who were a branch of the house of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph; of whom the Indians are still a remnant; but the principal nation of them having fallen in battle, in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Mormon, saw fit to make an abridgment of their history, their prophecies, and their doctrine, which he engraved on plates; and afterwards, being slain, the record fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who, being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit the record safely in the earth, with a promise from God that it should be preserved, and should be brought to light in the latter days by means of a Gentile nation, who should possess the land. The deposit was made about the year 420, on


    a hill then called Cumora, now in Ontario county, where it was preserved in safety until it was brought to light by no less than the ministry of angels, and translated by inspiration. And the great Jehovah bore record of the same to chosen witnesses, who declared it to the world."

    This book is extant (in its printed English form, of course) in the British Museum, and resembles the Scriptures about as much as a paraphrase of the Pentateuch by Moses & Son's poet! It appears from all the evidence, in fact, that this book of Mormon was founded on an historical romance, written by an American author some years before Prophet Smith's time, which fell, while still in MS., into the hands of a friend of the prophet, and which was sublimated into an "inspired" state by the prophet and a personal acquaintance. It was followed by a book of doctrines and covenants.

    Not long after their publication, the success of these works was so great, that Joseph's faith in his own fabrications appears to have become wonderfully strengthened; and he began, poor fellow, to believe in himself, and to take up prophecy as a trade. He had occasional "revelations" to suit each new phase in his career. He professed also to work miracles, and to cast devils out of the bodies of brother Tomkins and brother Gibbs, whenever those worthy men were troubled with them.

    The sect increased with great rapidity. It gained converts everywhere in the States. The disciples took the name of the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints." They held that these present days are the "latter" ones, preparatory to the Millennium. A material, eminently Jonathonian form of Christianity organized itself gradually; Joseph had apostles and disciples; once more the world saw a man believed in by his fellow-men, and reverenced as sacred.

    It sounds strange to hear of a church having a "location." But a "location" was the term they applied to their place of settlement. Their first one was in Jackson county, Missouri. Here was to be the "New-Jerusalem." Picture to yourselves loaded wagons travelling westward; canal boats swimming low and deep down the rivers; the tall, brawny prophet with dark eyes; the Church is on its way! One likes to see a love of the beautiful in Joe. Joe looks round the landscape, and sees "the great rolling prairies like a sea of meadows." Here was Zion at last, and Joseph had a "revelation" on the subject. His revelations are the oddest compositions -- scriptural phrase and sturdy business details blended. "Verily I say unto you, let my servant Sidney Gilbert plant himself in this place and establish a store!" This is an odd weaving together of velvet and fustian; like using Raphael's "Madonna" for a public-house sign.

    Prophets, we all know, are persecuted in all ages. Joe was no exception. But unhappily Joseph was ludicrously persecuted. He was a martyr; but a martyr to practical jokes. The brawny man was dragged from his bed one night by a horde of Methodists, Baptists, Campbellites, and other burning zealots. Wild cries are heard through the night air; the prophet is hauled along, furious orthodoxy buffeting him right and left. Where is the tar-bucket?

    The fatal bucket -- black and calm as a pool of Erebus -- is brought. Joe is ferociously anointed with pitch; the thick dark fluid sticks all over him, and causes the plumage mercilessly coated over his sacred person to adhere as tightly as if he had been really blessed with wings. A saint tarred and feathered is, indeed, a new chapter in the Book of Martyrs. The faith that could survive so tremendous a bathos was impregnable, and showed the unbounded power of the prophet over his followers. It took the whole night for the "inspired" friends of the prophet to cleanse his revered and canonized skin! Yet, scared and bleared as he was -- raw as some goose plucked alive -- Joe preached the next day to his own egregious multitude.

    The agitation in Jackson county, Missouri, by degrees grew furious; there were Mormon newspapers and anti-Mormon newspapers; and when the pen and the leading article had done their worst, the sword, (the States' name for which is "bowie-knife,") the bludgeon and the revolver were brought into play. Judge Lynch, who never is to be bothered with juries, and decides in a second on his own responsibility, was continually invoked; end there were perpetual scenes of bloodshed. In the end, the war waxed too hot even for the dauntless Joseph. When he found that active valor was of no avail against his enemies, he betook himself to the courage of discretion, the passive and the better part of valor. He went away. In May, 1834, the entire community packed up its "notions" and effected a successful exode.

    We find that after their expulsion from Missouri, they migrated to Illinois, and mustered fifteen thousand souls. Here they established a city, which they called "Nauvoo," or the "Beautiful," and by the consent of everybody, worked right well. Joe was mayor, president, prophet; spiritual and temporal head of the settlement. They now began to send out missionaries, and to build a temple of polished white limestone. It was one hundred and thirty-eight feet in length, and eighty-eight in breadth, surmounted by a pyramidal tower; and was so elevated on a rising ground that it stood in the sight of the whole population. The Mormons spent a million of dollars on this edifice.

    We now view Joe at the summit of his career. Joe has military rank, and reviews his troops as Lieutenant-General. Drums beat, and flags are waved. He rides abroad a King. His Work is now nearly done. The city grows around him daily; houses with


    gardens spring up; the hum of the mill is constantly heard. Every visitor to Nauvoo describes the prosperity of the place as marvellous. The solid element of the religion invented by Joseph Smith is, that it inculcates work; hard, useful, wealth-creating labor. The Prophet also incorporated into his creed a thorough appreciation of relaxation. That all work and no play makes a dull boy of Jack, nobody knew better than Joe. One does not like to speak with levity of a prophet; but, perhaps, the exact adjective for Joe's religion is -- jolly! An air of jollity attends the faith. It is a jovial heresy; a heresy that "don't go home till morning!" Thus, after some squabbling, a small fight or two, (not more intestine dissension than falls to the lot of most new communities,) the two grand desiderata of this life were realized -- prosperity and ease. It was soon spread abroad that one of the first things realized in this good, substantial town of Nauvoo, was plenty to eat and drink. In consequence, Joe's disciples increased by the thousand. All sorts of pleasant fellows who loved an easy life flocked thitherward.

    There was, travellers say, a healthy, happy look about the place. Life rolled along there in a clear, vigorous way, like the flood of the Mississippi hard by. Joe himself is described as a "cheerful, social companion." So very social in his tastes, that there got about a rumor that he had a tendency to make Nauvoo into a kind of New World Oriental Paradise. One of his apostles, Sidney Rigdon, broached a doctrine concerning " spiritual wives" which excited great scandal.

    We have read one or two of Joe's published letters; they show a shrewd, hard-headed fellow. He writes to one man -- "facts, like diamonds, not only cut glass, but they are the most precious diamonds on earth." There is a sturdy self-assertion about him; and that self-assertion is perpetuated; for the Mormons seem to differ from other sects chiefly in believing the continued inspiration of their prophets. Their faith, with its materialism; its rude hopes; its belief in the superiority of their best teachers; its heartiness in physical labor, is indeed a piece of genuine transatlantic life, likely to hold together long. Their belief in their "Book of Mormon" implies a rugged, ignorant belief in Holy Writ, too. To speak seriously of our prophet, Joe Smith, we should say that the sturdy, illiterate, shrewd Yankee conceived power in him to do a work; brooding over the Bible in his youth, and seeing it through the hazy eyes of his rude ignorance, such a man, with a warm heart, might fancy many strange things. Orthodoxy should consider whose fault it is that Joe Smithism could erect itself into a sect; orthodoxy should look at the three hundred thousand souls, and reflect on them. The ruling powers of the world should stoop to learn lessons of these things. Balaam learned something very important from the speaking of his poor ass. The ass saw the angel when respectable Balaam could not. In Roman history, when anything terrible was happening to the republic, we find -- los locutus est! Things are bad indeed when the very ox has to have his say!

    We now come to the close of Joe's earthly career. The peace and prosperity of Nauvoo were soon interrupted. The prophet's old Missourian enemies kept harassing him with litigation; and some bad sheep in his own flock gave him great trouble. "At this time he appears to have been quite as convinced of the divinity of his mission as the most credulous of his disciples," says his latest historian. No such thing; what good he was destined to do, he had now done; and for the bad he was about to pay. There were dissenters from Joe's Church; heretics to his heterodoxy, who looked on the prophet as a humbug. These were not genuine believers; but wretched, cunning impostors, who were never "deluded;" being far too bad for any such innocent exercise of faith. These committed acts of licentiousness, (such as cannot be proved against Joe,) and he had to excommunicate some of them. They started a newspaper called the "Nauvoo Expositor." In this they calumniated Joseph so vilely that his supporters rose; two hundred men attacked the office of the journal, armed with muskets, swords, pistols, and axes, and reduced it to ashes.

    The proprietors, editors, reporters, compositors, and pressmen of the journal fled to the town of Carthage, and applied for a warrant against Joseph, his brother Hiram, and sixteen others. The warrant was served on Joseph as Mayor, and he refused to acknowledge its validity. Illinois instantly made preparations for civil war. Mormons gathered from all parts, and Anti-Mormons likewise. Governor Ford took the field; Nauvoo was fortified. Everywhere resounded the note of preparation for war.

    Governor Ford issued a proclamation calling on Joseph Smith and his brother to surrender, pledging his word that they should be protected. They agreed, accordingly, to stand their trial; Joe, however, observing, with a sad, calm heart, "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning!" (The tranquil, life-enjoying prophet!) "I shall die innocent."

    We now are to picture the brothers in prison. Their assailants prowl uneasily round the walls; there is a desperate hungry uneasiness about the mob; they are afraid Joe will escape. One can fancy their murmuring reaching the prophet's ears -- the low, murderous humming, every now and then.

    The evening of the 27th of June, 1844, came; it had been a warm summer day in the Western country. The brothers were standing chatting with two friends in an upstairs room of their house of detention.


    There was a rattle of musketry. They sprang forward against the door -- a bullet went through it. They sprang backwards. Open flew the door, and an armed mob with blackened faces came in. A flash and a roar, and down went Hiram Smith, shot. Joe's revolver snapped three times, missing fire. He made a bound to the window. Two balls struck him from the door; one struck him from the window. There was one wild cry from his heart, "O Lord, my God!" and down he fell out of the window on the ground. They propped him against a wall there, and shot at him again, as his bleeding body drooped forward from it. Four bullets were found in his body; and will, peradventure, be carried to the credit-side of his life-account.

    After his death, the Mormons had a time of and tribulations: a time of troubles from within and without. It is easy to see that sectarian ferocity was at the bottom of the persecution they met with. Governor Ford issued a proclamation denying for himself any belief in their having committed certain crimes attributed to them; and some time before, the celebrated Henry Clay had expressed his "lively interest" in their progress, and his "sympathy with their sufferings." But the neighbors could not be pacified; the Mormons had to go away west once more; and the town they had built was reduced to ashes. They crossed the Mississippi, and set out for the "Great Salt Lake Valley," away beyond the Rocky Mountains.

    Their passage is one of the most marvellous things on record. Colonel Kane, of the United States, who travelled with them, has left an extremely interesting account of it. We hear of wagons crossing the Mississippi on the ice; of weary journeys across wild prairies; long chill nights of dead cold; sickness and death; graves dotting all the line of march; seed sown here and there, with thoughtful benevolence, that after voyagers might find a crop growing for them. Then there were halts, when "tabernacle camps" were pitched, and hymns were chanted. The prairies heard -- "By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept," sung there. Their depth of faith through that dreary journey was wonderful; it seems to have warmed them like actual fire.

    They established themselves in the State of Deseret, and some of their body were the first who discovered the gold of California. But it seems that the colony did not send many there; they esteemed it their proper office to "raise grain, and to build cities." They claim, too, the distinction of living in better and higher relation to the Indian tribes than any settlers have yet done.

    We have scattered up and down such remarks as we thought would illustrate Joe Smith's career. Let us say a word of the Mormon organization.

    The Mormons are governed by elders, priests, teachers, exhorters, and deacons. An apostle is an elder, and baptizes and ordains. The priest teaches, expounds, and administers sacraments. The teacher watches over the church, and sees that there is no iniquity; he exercises, in fact, a kind of censorship. The elders meet in conference every three months; and the presiding elder or president is ordained by the direction of a high council or general conference.

    By the latest accounts, the Great Salt Lake City prospers very well. It is the capital of the State of "Deseret," with boundaries of immense extent. They stretch from thirty-three degrees northern latitude, to a point where they intersect the one hundred and eighth degree of western longitude. Thence they run to the south-west, to rejoin the northern frontier of Mexico, and follow to the west, even to its mouth, the bed of the river Gila, which separates the State of Deseret from the Mexican frontiers. The line of separation further runs along the frontier of Low California to the Pacific Ocean. It remounts the side towards the north-west, as far as one hundred and eight degrees thirty minutes of west longitude, while it trends towards the north, to the point where this line meets the principal crest of Sierra Nevada. These boundaries stretch still northward along this chain, till it meets with that which separates the waters of the Columbia and those waters which are lost in the great basin. They then double towards the east, to follow this last chain, which separates the waters of the Gulf of Mexico from those of the Gulf of California, at the point of departure. Such are the boundaries as described on a map published by order of the Senate of the United States.

    Accessions to the Mormon community are being fast made from this country; a fact we learn from a well drawn-up volume of the "National Illustrated Library," entitled, "The Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints; a Contemporary History," Another authority avers that from Liverpool alone, fifteen thousand emigrants have turned their faces to the new Mormon Mecca in Deseret, with the view of making it their future home. "Under the name of Latter-Day Saints," says one of Mr. Johnston's "Notes of North America," "the delusions of the system are hidden from the masses by the emissaries who have been despatched into various countries to recruit their numbers among the ignorant and devoutly inclined lovers of novelty. Who can tell what two centuries may do in the way of giving an historical position to this rising heresy?"

    Nauvoo was a neglected ruin, when M. Cabet, the spirited speculator in "Icarie," thought the site more salubrious than Texas, and resolved to establish his French colony there. His party arrived at the spot in 1849. We see from a letter of M. Cabot's that the


    system he has established is "a commonalty, founded on fraternity and equality, on education and work."

    The American journals also afford a favorable account of the progress of Nauvoo. It will be a matter of philosophical interest to see how a colony founded on social impulses will advance in comparison with another founded on religious ones.


    - 1852 -





    Vol. VII.                                       London, U. K., January, 1852.                                       No. 1.

         [ 29 ]



    Considerable curiosity having been recently excited in connexion with this singular sect of religious fanatics, we have collected some of the principal incidents in their history, which we hope will be read with interest.

    The Mormons are of comparatively modern


    30                           MISCELLANY  OF  EXTRACTS  AND  CORRESPONDENCE.                           .

    date. Their "prophet, seer, revelator, and leader," did not attempt to palm his delusions upon the people, until between the years 25 and 30 of the present century. Joseph Smith, the inspired individual who started the new sect, was born in the town of Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, United Status, on the 23d of December, 1805. When fifteen years old, his religious eccentricities began to develop themselves. He retired into a grove near his father's house to pray. A light shone upon him, before which he trembled, and in the midst of which two angels appeared, to inform him that he was appointed to give to the world a new dispensation. Shortly after this he prayed again, and a flood of light filled the room in which he was. An angel appeared, in stature beyond the size of an ordinary man, and informed him of some brass plates which were buried in a place to which he would be directed, "if found faithful." He was instructed to disinter them, and he would be taught the meaning of their mysterious hieroglyphics. They were said to be records of the history of the "remnant of Israel," and contained the elements of a new and sublime faith. In due time the plates were dug up, and the "Prophet" Joseph commenced a translation in good earnest; the result of which was the remarkable "Book of Mormon," containing the "ordinances and commandments" observed by the sect of "Latter-day Saints." After this, the "Prophet" had given to him "the keys of the Aaronic priesthood," and his communications with angels and "mysterious personages" were of daily occurrence.

    But the reader must not suppose that Mr. Smith had no difficulties to contend with in connexion with the aforesaid brass plates. A Mrs. Spaulding was in existence, who had her eye on this religious excitement, and especially the book. The reader's attention is invited to the following history of that document, from "The Book of Mormon," a work by the author of the "London Poor." "In the year 1809, a man of the name of Solomon Spaulding, who had formerly been a Clergyman, failed in business at a place called Cherry Vale, in the State of New-York. Being a person of literary tastes, and his attention having been directed to the notion which at that time excited some interest and discussion, namely, that the North-American Indians were the descendants of the lost ten tribes of Israel, it struck him that the idea afforded a good groundwork for a religious tale, history, or novel. For three years he laboured upon this work, which he entitled 'The Manuscript found.' 'Mormon' and his son 'Moroni,' who act so large a part in Joseph Smith's 'Book of Mormon,' were two of the principal characters in it. In 1812, the manuscript was presented to a printer or bookseller named Patterson, residing at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a view to its publication. Before any satisfactory arrangement could be made, the author died, and the manuscript remained in the possession of Mr. Patterson, apparently unnoticed and uncared for. The printer also died in 1826, having previously lent the manuscript to one Sidney Rigdon, a compositor in his employ, who was at the time a Preacher in connexion with some Christian sect, of which the proper designation is not very clearly stated. This Rigdon afterwards became, next to Joseph Smith himself, the principal leader of the Mormons. How Joseph Smith and this person became connected is not known, and which of the two originated the idea of making a new Bible out of Solomon Spaulding's novel is equally uncertain. The wife, the partner, several friends, and the brother of Solomon Spaulding, affirmed, however, the identity of the principal portions of the 'Book of Mormon' with the novel of 'The Manuscript found,' which the author had, from time to time, and in separate portions, read over to them." From this statement, which is well authenticated, an argument might be constructed which would be rather damaging to Mr. Smith's veracity, and the inspiration to which he pretended.

    Whatever may have been Mr. Smith's private impressions about his having been called to be a Prophet, we lament the dreadful hypocrisy by which he circumvented the simple people whom he victimised, by his hollow pretensions to supernatural power. His "revelations," many of which are exceedingly impious, could not have been forged by an ordinary impostor or madman. When the book was translated, and he had numbered some thirty followers, he commenced operations on a large and important scale. His "revelations" at this period were conceived with the most consummate tact, and might have been taken as the earnest of some very skilful generalship on the part of the "Prophet." The friends of the movement, though few in number, found persecution so rife, that they began to colonise, hoping by union to consolidate an organisation which would resist any opposition that might arise. They settled down as a community in the State of Missouri. While the first steps were taken by Smith's coadjutors to form a colony, Joseph was on a preaching tour in the United States. When he came to a village called Hiram, "he was dragged out of bed at midnight from the side of his wife," and received a smart application of Lynch law, in the shape of tar and feathers. This warned him that it would not do to be away from his disciples: so he at once started for the home of the "saints;" and most joyous and enthusiastic was the reception they gave him. While in the States preaching, he had sent to his followers


                              MISCELLANY  OF  EXTRACTS  AND  CORRESPONDENCE.                           31

    many "revelations," which they had faithfully observed. A printing establishment had been called into existence. "The Evening and Morning Star," and "The Upper Missouri Advertiser," newspapers, "were exclusively devoted to the interests of Mormonism." His disciples were now in number between two and three thousand souls. Such was the success which attended the efforts of this infant colony, and so many were the proselytes made, that the Missourians began seriously to contemplate their extermination. Hence the settlement of the Mormonites was the scene of many riots, and much bloodshed and destruction of property. At last the State took summary measures for despatching them; and, of all the records of persecution which have been handed down to us on the page of history, we know of few characterized by more cold-blooded cruelty than that which was suffered by this handful of fanatics in that powerful State. Joseph, his brother Hyrum, and some Elders of the Mormon Church, were imprisoned. After twice trying to escape from confinement, they succeeded, and joined their persecuted brethren in Illinois, who had increased to fifteen thousand, including men, women, and children. Here they were allowed peaceably to settle down. In the course of a year and a half, they erected two thousand houses, besides schools and other public buildings, and called the place the "Holy City." Joseph Smith was appointed Mayor. His word was law. He was both the spiritual and temporal head of his people, and enjoyed the titles of "Prophet," "President," and " Mayor;" besides the military title of "General Smith," in right of his command over a body of militia, which he organised under the name of the "Nauvoo Legion."

    In 1844, Elder Lorenzo Snow, who was then on a mission to England, forwarded, by desire of the "Prophet," a copy of the "Book of Mormon" to Queen Victoria, and another to His Royal Highness Prince Albert. This caused the following lines to be written by a Mormon poet in celebration of the event: --
    "O! would she now her influence lend --
    The influence of royalty --
    Messiah's kingdom to extend,
    And Zion's nursing mother be;

    "Then, with the glory of her name
    Inscribed on Zion's lofty spire,
    She'd win a wreath of endless fame,
    To last when other wreaths expire."
    In no part of the "Prophet's" imposture do we see so much ingenuity and taut as in his "revelations." In January, 1841, the building of the temple was commenced. This, of course, needed a "revelation;" and, of all those previously published by this singular man, none was so remarkable and elaborate as the document then produced. It was divided into forty-six paragraphs. The following extracts respecting the "temple" and the "boarding-house," may be taken as fair specimens of the whole: --
    "Let all my saints come from afar, and send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and say unto them, 'Come ye, with all your gold and your antiquities, and your silver, and your precious stones, and with all who have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come; and bring the box-tree, and the fir-tree, and the pine-tree, together with all the precious trees of the earth, and with iron, and with copper, and with brass, and with zinc, and with all your precious things of the earth, and build a house to my name for the Most High to dwell therein.'"
    The "saints" were also commanded to build a "boarding-house" for receiving strangers; and "my servant Joseph" was by no means omitted in that connexion. The paragraph runs thus: "Let the boarding-house be built in my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph Smith and his house have place therein from generation to generation; and let the name of the house be called the Nauvoo House, and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting-place for the weary traveller, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion, and the glory of this, the corner-stone thereof."

    Nearly a million of dollars was spent in building the temple alone, the foundation-stone of which was laid with much pomp.

    In 1844, so much had the Mormons gained, in a temporal point of view, and in toe augmentation of numbers, that the "Prophet" was put forward as a candidate for the Presidentship of the United States, and his faithful friend and coadjutor Sidney Rigdon as a candidate for the Vice-Presidentship. The "Prophet" issued an address to the American people, stating his views on the great political questions then under discussion throughout the States; and though his manifesto is not so elaborate and profound as those of some of his opponents, yet, taking into consideration his education and general training, it evinced an amount of ability and perspicacity which did him infinite credit.

    But the community at Nauvoo, much as unity was preserved in it, could not prevent the admission within its precincts of other knaves, who put on the mask of Mormonism, merely to add to their own importance and self-aggrandisement, and whose real object was to undermine the characters of their leading men, and aim for the envied supremacy in their own persons. An excommunicated member started in Nauvoo a publication called the "Expositor," its professed aim being to expose the evils and dangers of Mormonism. The authorities, of course, would not permit it to be continued, and its proprietor was ejected from


    32                           MISCELLANY  OF  EXTRACTS  AND  CORRESPONDENCE.                           .

    that society in which he had caused so much mischief and dissension; his office was razed to the ground by a number of exasperated Mormons; and his presses and types were passed through the ordeal of a public bonfire. The State was appealed to by the editor of the defunct "Expositor." The militia were called out, and, to save the great effusion of blood which must have resulted from an open contest, Joseph and Hyrum Smith surrendered themselves as prisoners to the Missourian army, until their differences could be adjusted to the satisfaction of both parties. They were lodged in the prison at Carthage, where they hoped to be secure from the fury of their assailants, and to be eventually restored to their people, having satisfied their enemies that their movements were peaceable and patriotic. Shortly after they reached the prison, a mob, consisting of two hundred men, thirsting for the blood of the Mormonites, rushed upon the guard stationed at the prison-door, and overpowered them. They succeeded in effecting an entrance into the room in which the Smiths were confined, and, without giving its defenceless inhabitants breathing space, they shot them both down like beasts of the forest, with fiendish delight. An eye-witness describes the fury of the mob as having been of the most awful description; for not only did they kill them outright, but, when they were dead, they indulged their demon-like ferocity in perforating their dead bodies with untold bullets.

    After their death, Brigham Young, one of the most able and skilful of the Mormon Generals, succeeded to the Presidency. Under his auspices, the temple was finished, and the people prospered beyond any parallel in their previous history. But they had to suffer another persecution; which having endured, they quitted the "Holy City" and "temple" for a home beyond the Rocky Mountains, where they might worship "God and His Prophet" without molestation or suffering.

    The Great Salt-Lake Valley was ultimately fixed upon as the dwelling-place and future home of the sect; and the first company of one thousand six hundred men crossed the Mississippi for their final destination on the 3d of February, 1846. Other companies followed, until Nauvoo had not within its walls one solitary Mormon inhabitant. During their journey, the privations they endured are horrible to recount; but, by a perseverance which seems to have risen to the necessities of any emergency, they overcame every obstacle, and in a few years established a colony and founded a state which in a little time will have a large influence over the government of the country.


    - 1852 -





    Vol. XVIII.                                         Boston, Mass., September, 1852.                                         No. 2. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

       [ 201 ]


    The Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints: with Memoirs of the Life and Death of
    Joseph Smith, the "American Mahomet."
    Illustrated with Forty Engravings.
    London: Office of the National Illustrated Library 1852. 12mo. pp. 326.

    This volume affords the best account that has fallen under our notice of the greatest religious imposture of this age on this continent. Nor is it so strange as might at first sight appear, that such a book should have been produced in England rather than in the United States. Great Britain has contributed her full relative proportion to the victims and abettors of that stark imposture, Mormonism. The number of its professed adherents who have emigrated hither from that island is computed at fourteen thousand. When we consider, too, the strength of faith and the fanaticism of zeal necessary to inspire the motive for emigration in such a cause, and also, that foreign disciples are generally more fervent and earnest than those of native growth, we may not unreasonably conclude that Joe Smith was indebted to his imported converts as much, at least, as to those of our own soil, for the temporary success of his folly. His missionaries found ready credence across the water, and even the

    202                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           [Sept.

    printed reports of his doings in the newspapers drew hither hundreds of dupes. It is certain that Mormonism has always attracted more attention abroad than it has received in our immediate community. In our neighborhood it has been regarded either as too shallow a cheat, or too monstrous a delusion, to deserve a deliberate treatment. The beautifully illustrated volume before us is a compilation made by one who never came hither to visit the scenes, or to study the actual living fruits, of Mormon folly. We should regard the volume as, on the whole, well suited to convey just impressions, and as aiming successfully to give a fair view of its subject. Though we have not been indebted to it for any of the facts which we are about to lay before our readers, we readily adopt it as an introduction to what we have to say. As we have never presented this subject at any length in our pages, we have no apology to offer for inviting attention now to a brief rehearsal of the origin and the present fortunes of by no means the least memorable of the frauds which have been practised in the name of religion. Nor are we dealing with a defunct superstition.

    Joseph Smith, the author of the Mormon imposture, is first heard of at Palmyra, New York. There he came to manhood some thirty years ago. His father was a farmer, but was much given to incantations, divinations, mysteries, enchantments, wild imaginations, money-digging by night, delusions, deceits, and lies. Joseph seems to have been a favored child. He inherited his father's whole character, and greatly augmented the store of the above precious gifts; adding thereto a permanent and extensive real property of laziness. His practice seems to have been in the most extravagant and silly lies, for the purpose of trying to what extent his subjects might be duped.

    We will first introduce Smith senior to our readers. In the testimony under oath of Mr. Peter Ingersoll, taken in 1833, it is stated that the deponent

    "was a neighbor of Smith from 1822 to 1830. The general employment of the family was digging for money. Smith senior once asked me to go with him to see whether a mineral rod would work in my hand, saying he was confident it would. As my oxen were eating, and being myself at leisure, I went with him. When we arrived near the place where he thought there

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           203

    was money, he cut a small witch-hazel, and gave me direction how to hold it. He then went off some rods, telling me to say to the rod, 'Work to the money,' which I did, in an audible voice. He rebuked me for speaking it loud, saying it must be spoken in a whisper. While the old man was standing off some rods, throwing himself into various shapes, I told him the rod did not work. He seemed much surprised, and said he thought he saw it move. It was now time for me to return to my labor. On my return I picked up a small stone, and was carelessly tossing it from one hand to the other. Said he (looking very earnestly), 'What are you going to do with that stone? 'Throw it at the birds,' I replied. 'No,' said the old man, 'it is of great worth.' I gave it to him. 'Now,' says he, 'if you only knew the value there is back of my house! ' and pointing to a place near. 'There,' said he, 'is one chest of gold and another of silver.' He then put the stone which I had given him into his hat, and, stooping forward, he bowed and made sundry manoeuvres, quite similar to those of a stool pigeon. At length he took down his hat, and, being very much exhausted, said in a faint voice, 'If you knew what I had seen, you would believe.' His son, Alvin, went through the same performance, which was equally disgusting.

    "Another time the said Joseph senior told me that the best time for digging money was in the heat of summer, when the heat of the sun caused the chests of money to rise near the top of the ground. 'You notice,' said he, 'the large stones on the top of the ground; -- we call them rocks, and they truly appear so, but they are, in fact, most of them, chests of money raised by the heat of the sun.'"

    The good character and veracity of this deponent are established by the testimony of several witnesses, and the like account of Smith's family is given by Rev. John A. Clark and others. Mr. Clark says: --

    "Joe Smith, who has since been the Mormon Prophet, belonged to a very shiftless family near Palmyra. They lived a sort of vagrant life, and were principally known as money-diggers. Joe, from a boy, appeared dull and destitute of genius, but his father claimed for him a sort of second-sight, a power to look into the depths of the earth, and discover where its precious treasures were hid. In their excursions for money-digging Joe was usually the guide, putting into his hat a peculiar stone, through which he looked, to decide where they should begin to dig."

    Mr. E. D. Howe, in his book called "Mormonism Unveiled," quoted by Bennett, says: "If the eleven witnesses"

    204                                          The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                          [Sept.

    (who testified to the finding of the Golden Bible) "are considered, from what has already been said, unimpeached, we will offer the depositions of some of the most respectable citizens of our country, who solemnly declare upon their oaths, that no credit can be given to any one member of the Smith family." Such is the general tenor of the testimony in relation to the family.

    These estimable traits of the head of the family were crowned with the graces of idleness and drunkenness. They were all centred in the person of Joseph Smith, Jr., and developed in him with greater fulness. They became in him, not a dead faith without works, but practical virtues, which he studied to make profitable by applying them to persons of simple and credulous minds, in such a way as to work for his advantage.

    Such details as are above given of the character of Smith senior, and his acts and language, cannot be very interesting to readers; but as it is only by acts and language that a man's character can be authentically presented, while any general statements in regard to him, given as deductions merely, are liable to the imputation of being prejudiced, the same mode of showing the character of the younger Smith will be pursued, by extracts from the depositions of eye and ear witnesses.

    William Stafford "first became acquainted with Joseph Sen. and his family in 1820. They lived in Palmyra, about one mile and a half from my residence. A great part of their time was devoted to digging for money: especially in the night-time; when they said the money could be most easily obtained. I have heard them tell marvellous tales of the discoveries they had made in their money-digging. They would say, for instance, that in such a place, on such a hill, on a certain man's farm, there were deposited kegs, barrels, and hogsheads of coined silver and gold, bars of gold, golden images, brass kettles filled with gold and silver, gold candlesticks, &c. They would say, also, that nearly all the hills in this part of New York were thrown up by human hands, and in them were large caves which Joseph Jr. could see, by placing a stone of singular appearance in his hat in such a manner as to exclude all light; -- at which lime they pretended he could see all things within and under the earth; that he could see within the caves large gold bars and silver plates; that he could also discover the spirits, in whose charge these treasures were, clothed in ancient dress. At certain times these treasures could be obtained very easily; at others, the obtaining of them was

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           205

    very difficult. The facility of obtaining them depended in a great measure on the state of the moon. New moon and Good Friday, I believe, were regarded as the most favorable times for obtaining these treasures * * *

    "Joseph Smith Sen. came to me one night, and told me that Joseph Jr. had been looking in his glass, and had seen, not many rods from his house, two or three kegs of gold and silver, some feet under the surface of the earth; and that none others but the elder Joseph and myself could get them. I consented to go, and early in the evening repaired to the place of deposit. Joseph Sen. first made a circle twelve or fourteen feet in diameter. This circle, said he, contains the treasure. He then stuck in the ground a row of witch-hazel sticks, around the circle, for the purpose of keeping off the evil spirits. Within this circle he made another, of about eight or ten feet in diameter. He walked around three times on the periphery of the last circle, muttering to himself something, which I could not understand. He next stuck a steel rod in the centre of the circles, and then enjoined profound silence upon us, lest we should arouse the evil spirit who had the charge of these treasures. After we had dug a trench about five feet in depth around the rod, the old man, by signs and motions, asked leave of absence, and went to the house to inquire of young Joseph the cause of our disappointment. He soon returned, and said that Joseph had remained all this time in the house, looking in the stone and watching the motions of the evil spirit; that he saw the spirit come up to the ring, and as soon as it beheld the cone which we had formed around the rod, it caused the money to sink. We then went into the house, and the old man observed that we made a mistake in the commencement of the operation. If it had not been for that, said he, we should have got the money.

    "At another time they devised a scheme by which they might satiate their hunger with the mutton of one of my sheep. They had seen in my flock of sheep a large, fat, black wether. Old Joseph and one of the boys came to me one day, and said that Joseph Jr. had discovered some very remarkable and valuable treasures, which could be procured only in one way. That way was as follows: -- that a black sheep should be taken on to the ground where the treasures were concealed; that, after cutting its throat, it should be led around a circle while bleeding. This being done, the wrath of the evil spirit would be appeased; the treasures could then be obtained, and my share of them was to be fourfold. To gratify my curiosity, I let them have a large, fat sheep. They afterwards informed me that the sheep was killed pursuant to commandment; but as there was some mistake in the process, it did not have the desired effect. This, I

    206                                          The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                          [Sept.

    believe, is the only time they ever made money-digging a profitable business. They, however, had around them constantly a worthless gang, whose employment it was to dig money nights, and who daytimes had more to do with mutton than money.

    "When they found that the people of this vicinity would no longer put faith in their schemes for digging money, they then pretended to find a Gold Bible, of which they said the Book of Mormon was only an introduction."

    Such is the testimony of Messrs. Ingersoll and Stafford, under oath. Many other deponents testify to the same effect, with the additional relation of the drunkenness of both Joseph senior and junior. Barton Stafford says, that

    "Joseph Smith senior was a noted drunkard, and most of the family followed his example, and Joseph Jr. especially, who was very much addicted to intemperance. In short, not one of the family had the least claims to respectability. Even since he professed to be inspired of the Lord to translate the Book of Mormon, he one day, while at work in my father's field, got quite drunk on a composition of cider, molasses, and water. Finding his legs to refuse their office, he leaned upon the fence, and hung for some time: at length, recovering again, he fell to scuffling with one of the workmen, who tore his shirt nearly off from him. His wife, who was at our house on a visit, appeared very much grieved at his conduct, and to protect his back from the rays of the sun, and conceal his nakedness, threw her shawl over his shoulders, and in that plight escorted the prophet home."
    Fifty citizens of Palmyra certify that "Joseph Smith Sen. and his son Joseph were, in particular, considered entirely destitute of moral character, and addicted to vicious habits." And eleven citizens of Manchester certify that the family of Joseph Smith Sen. "were not only a lazy, indolent set of men, but also intemperate, and that their word was not to be depended on, and that we are truly glad to dispense with their society."
    These extracts from the depositions given in New York, some eighteen or twenty years since, in the beginning of the Mormon imposture, exhibit a vivid picture of the character of Joe Smith. Some of the touches are done with a rough brush, but they are evidently after life, and not the creations of fancy. We have therefore thought necessary to copy them to this extent; -- that

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           207

    our readers may be made acquainted with the character of Smith better than by any attempt on our part to delineate him anew. Such an attempt, though it might present an accurate general likeness, would be apt to fail in some of the important features. The most prominent traits of his character were a disposition to deal in the marvellous, to see what was invisible, -- spirits, hidden treasure, and the like, -- to pretend to extraordinary powers, to delude and impose upon the neighbors, swindling, lying, and drunkenness. He seemed to have the natural endowments for making dupes, in a larger measure than the rest of the family, and to have been selected as the Coryphaeus of the fascinating circle. He could see better and farther into the earth, by the aid of the miraculous eye-stone, than any of the others; could discern the evil' spirits, keeping watch over the hidden treasures; could readily describe the wonders he had seen; and had in perfection that high gift, of so great value in all knavery, the power of which is acknowledged in the saying, "A lie well told is as good as the truth." The facile impudence of his lies seems to have been such as to gain ready credit in shallow minds, and to make them easy dupes to his art. His own account of the finding of the Golden Bible is a good illustration of this accomplishment; -- though it is not introduced in this place for that purpose, so much as on account of the probably correct statement which it gives of that great era in the life of Smith and in the Mormon Church, -- the discovery of that precious wonder. The story is related in the deposition of Peter Ingersoll, from which extracts have been already given. The deponent says: --

    "One day he came and greeted me with a joyful countenance. Upon asking the cause of his unusual happiness, he replied in the following language: -- 'As I was passing yesterday across the woods, after a heavy shower of rain, I found in a hollow some beautiful while sand, that had been washed up by the water. I took off my frock, and tied up several quarts of it, and then went home. On my entering the house, I found the family at table, eating dinner. They were all anxious to know the contents of my frock. At that moment I happened to think of what I had heard about a history found in Canada, called the Golden Bible: so I very gravely told them it was the Golden Bible. To my surprise they were credulous enough to believe what I said.

    208                                          The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                          [Sept.

    Accordingly, I told them I had received a commandment to let no one see it: for, said I, no one can see it with the naked eye and live. However, I offered to take out the book and show it to them, but they refused to see it, and left the room * * *' Notwithstanding he told me he had no such book, and believed there never was any such, yet he told me that he actually went to Willard Chase, to get him to make a chest, in which he might deposit his Golden Bible. But as Chase would not do it, he made a box himself of clapboards, and put it into a pillow-case, and allowed people only to lift it, and feel of it through the case."

    That he went to Mr. Chase, as he related, appears from the testimony of Chase.

    There were other stories related about the attempts made by Smith to find the Bible, which appear to have occurred at the time of finding the sand. The stories are told by Smith and his father. They differ each from the other, and it is needless to say that they both differ from the above, related by Joe to Ingersoll.

    As this pretended discovery of the Golden Bible is the grand event from which Mormonism, with all its beautiful efflorescence, has sprung, the various versions of that occurrence by the prophet cannot well be omitted. In September, 1827, he requested Mr. Willard Chase to make a chest, stating that he expected soon to get his Golden Bible, and he wanted a chest to lock it up. This was no doubt the occasion of which he spake, when he informed Mr. Ingersoll, as related on a previous page, that he had gone to Chase for that purpose: though it seems he did not tell him, as he had told Ingersoll, that he had found it, but only that he expected to find it. A few weeks after, Mr. Chase says, he came to his house and related the following story. That on the 22d of September he arose early in the morning, and, together with his wife, repaired to the hill which contained the book. He left his wife in the wagon by the road, and went alone to the hill, a distance of thirty or forty rods from the road. He said he then took the book out of the ground and hid it in a tree-top, and returned home.

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           209

    The old man, Smith Sen., had another tale, highly embellished with the marvellous, according to his usual manner, about the precious discovery. In the summer of the same year, 1827, according to Chase's testimony, he related to him that, some years previous, a spirit had appeared to his son Joseph, in a vision, and informed him that in a certain place there was a record on plates of gold, and that he was the person that must obtain them; and this he must do in the following manner. On the 22d of September he must repair to the place, dressed in black clothes, and riding a black horse with a switch tail, and demand the book in a certain name; and after obtaining it he must go directly away, and neither lay it down nor look behind him. They accordingly fitted out Joseph with a suit of black clothes (no doubt the especial object of the vision) and borrowed a black horse. He repaired to the place of deposit, and demanded the book, which was in a stone box, unsealed, and so near the top of the ground that he could see one end of it, and, raising it up, took out the book of gold; but fearing some one might discover where he got it, he laid it down to place back the top stone, as he found it; and turning round, to his surprise there was no book in sight. (Joseph should have been more obedient to the directions of the spirit.) He again opened the box, and in it saw the book, and attempted to take it out, but was hindered. He saw in the box something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head. Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. (Hard-fisted for a spirit. He was commanded by the spirit to come again in a year. He did so, and again received the like command. He went again the third time, and saw the book and a pair of spectacles, with which he afterward translated the Book of Mormon. At this interesting point of the romance the particularity of the old man's story gives out, and it is not distinctly stated whether he obtained the book or not; but as it seems that he has since had the spectacles as well as the book, we are to suppose that both were obtained together at this third attempt, toad and hard-fist notwithstanding.

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    Smith thus became possessed of a sacerdotal capital, marvellous in its nature, marvellous in the pretended mode of acquiring it, and, combined with his marvellous courage in obtaining it, most marvellously adapted to work upon the credulity of the simple and superstitious. He accordingly, when he found there were fools to believe him, which was quite beyond his expectation, commenced a career of lying on a more extended scale than he had hitherto practised. He held communications with God, who revealed to him what he should do: which was always the thing that he would himself have proposed, and was specially effective for his individual advantage. He began his translation of the Golden Bible, or Book of Mormon. The origin of the book is a matter of undoubted proof, and will be explained in a few words. The mode in which Smith became possessed of it is also pretty well substantiated.

    Solomon Spalding, who was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and had been a regularly ordained clergyman, after a short term of years passed in preaching, relinquished the ministry, and removed first to Cherry Valley, New York, and subsequently, in 1809, to Conneaut, in Ohio, and engaged in mercantile business. While in this place he occupied his hours of leisure from business in writing a fabulous account of the origin of the former inhabitants of this country; -- on which work he labored for several years. As he intended that the origin of his work should appear fictitious, as well as the narrative, he determined to introduce it to the public as a volume found in a cave, and, to give it the appearance of antiquity, he wrote in the style which is used in the common translation of the Scriptures. He completed the volume about 1812 or 1813, at about which period it was announced in the papers of the day, as a discovery, then recently made, of the Book of Mormon, containing a history of the lost tribes. From some cause the publication of the volume was delayed, and some fifteen years after, Smith, who got possession of the book by a fortunate accident, pretended to have found the Book of Mormon on plates of gold, in the manner above related, and to be engaged in translating it from the unknown tongue in which it was written. It appears that he retained the book in the form in which it had been prepared

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           211

    by Mr. Spalding, altering the text only or chiefly by the interpolation of certain matters which purport to be revelations from God to Smith, in which he is represented as a prophet, clothed with all sacerdotal power, and implicit faith and obedience in and to him are enjoined upon the saints. With this capital and his unequalled impudence he imposed himself on a credulous few as a prophet of God. In the State of New York there is a class of persons not educated to the knowledge of law, and who do not appear in the courts as counsel or attorney, but, having attained some acquaintance with the statute law, and the forms of judicial proceeding, with a voluble style of speaking, make a business of managing causes, if it be correct so to say, before justices of the peace. They are called, not by way of contempt, but of designation, pettifoggers. If we have correct information, Sidney Rigdon was of this profession. With him and Martin Harris, a neighbor of some property, Smith associated himself in the beginning, and thus secured to his aid talents, such as they were, (certainly superior to his own,) and pecuniary means. These were all-important to his success; -- and having persuaded them that money was to be made out of Mormonism, the principal object of himself and Harris at least, if not of Rigdon, they went heartily into the job of publishing the Book of Mormon, and of building up the Church. With these men and Cowdry, who appears to have acted as scribe in writing the interpolations in the Book of Mormon, or, in Smith's language, translating it, and who was the first cabinet minister or vizier to the prophet, and the addition of two or three of his brothers and old associates, he constituted a Church to the number of six, and commenced his career as a prophet, at Fayette, in the western part of New-York, in 1830. His first efforts in the line of prophesying met with some success; -- and after he had increased his Church by the addition of a number of proselytes, he concluded to remove to Kirtland, Ohio. He accordingly promulgated a revelation to that effect; -- and the members of the Church removed to that place, which became honored as the ecclesiastical seat and the residence of the prophet, as it continued to be till 1838, though many of the brethren had removed some years earlier to

    212                                          The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                          [Sept.

    Missouri. The acts of Smith in this place may be taken as fair exponents of his general purposes. In 1831, soon after their removal to Kirtland, a revelation was promulgated that they should consecrate all their property to God (of necessity to be handled and managed by his prophet). A mercantile house was established by Smith and others, probably aided by the funds that had been thus consecrated. He had no other means. Some of the leading men were sent to Missouri, and settled themselves at Independence; a branch of the Kirtland trading-house being also established there. Smith had now met with success quite beyond his most sanguine expectations. Numbers were added to the Church, and in 1833 he promulgated a revelation to his followers to build a temple. For this purpose all were directed to borrow as much money as possible. This plan of raising money by loans, however, was not so successful as he desired; -- and four years later the Bank of Kirtland was put in operation, on authority of and by charter from Smith, without incorporation by the State, and proved a happy expedient to replenish the prophet's treasury, at a time when the ecclesiastical properties and revenues from other sources were about at zero, and to swindle those who were persuaded to take its worthless promises. The institution exploded in a few months, and Smith and most of the saints removed to Far West, in the State of Missouri.

    So great had been the increase of the society during the residence at Kirtland, that the settlements at Far West and Independence now included some thousand male members, or thereabout, beside those remaining at Kirtland and at other places.

    The origin of the Book of Mormon as given above is authenticated by the depositions of eight witnesses, to whom the book had been at different times read. Mr. Spalding died in 1816. His widow confirmed the testimony of the other witnesses in relation to the existence of the work, and said that it had been left at the office of Patterson and Lambdin, printers in Pittsburg, where her husband had resided two years between the completion of the book and his death. Dr. Bennett, who was at one time in the most important offices at Nauvoo, and in the fullest confidence of the other highest functionaries

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    of the Mormons, says that he was informed by them, that the book was taken from that office by a distinguished Mormon divine, understood to be Rigdon, and remodelled by adding the religious (?) portion, placed in Smith's possession, and by him published to the world. An incident is related concerning the manuscript while it was in the hands of the printer, by J. N. T. Tucker. Mr. Tucker was, at the time of its publication, a printer in the office of Patterson and Lambdin [sic - E. B. Grandin], and he relates the story as follows: --

    "We had heard much said by Martin Harris, the man who paid for the printing, and the only one in the concern worth any property, about the wonderful wisdom of the translators of the mysterious plates, and resolved to test their wisdom. Accordingly, after putting one sheet in type, we laid it aside, and told Harris it was lost, and there would be a serious defect in the book in consequence, unless another sheet like the original could be produced. The announcement threw the old gentleman into quite an excitement. But after a few moments' reflection, he said he would try to obtain another. After two or three weeks another sheet was produced, but no more like the original than any other sheet of paper would have been, written over by a common school-boy, after having read as they did the manuscripts preceding and succeeding the lost sheet."

    It would seem from the above story, that the Translator had not a very clear idea of what had been revealed. Another incident which happened many years later in Missouri is of similar import, It is related by General J. C. Bennett on the authority of George Robinson, as follows: --

    "One day Joe the prophet was gravely dictating to him a revelation which he had just received from the Lord. Robinson, according to custom, wrote down the very words the Lord spoke to Joe, and in the exact order in which the latter heard them. He had written for some considerable time, when Smith's inspiration began to flag, and, to gain breath, he requested Robinson to read over what he had written. He did so until he came to a particular passage, when Smith interrupted him, and desired to have that read again. Robinson complied, and Smith, shaking his head, knitting his brows, and looking very much perplexed, said,' That will never do, you must alter that, George.' "

    The Mormon Bible, as their writings are called, consists of several volumes. The Book of Mormon was

    214                                          The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                          [Sept.

    printed at the outset of Smith's career as a prophet. An account of the origin of this book has been given. Probably the interpolations which were made by Smith in Spalding's work were not very voluminous; as it cannot be supposed that Smith had formed any definite plans at this time. His designs were at first shadowy and limited. They were developed and became distinct by success. When he first reported in his father's family the story of his having found the Golden Bible, he appears to have had no purpose but to amuse himself at the expense of their credulity. Finding his tale was given to ears of faith, his design extended to raising a little money. Here again success attended him; -- and he found the purse of his neighbor, Martin Harris, at his disposal. But Harris's object was moneymaking, as well as Smith's, and it became necessary to enlarge the plan and extend the sphere of action, in order that both the inventor and the capitalist should make the largest profit from the business. The services of Rigdon were accordingly enlisted. The Book of Mormon was printed, additions made revealing the will of God; -- in which Smith was declared to be his prophet with all power, and entitled to all obedience. In a revelation made about the same time, April 6, 1830, the same day that the Church of six members was gathered at Fayette, Smith is styled "Seer, Translator, Prophet, Apostle of Jesus Christ, and Eider of the Church." He is declared also to be "inspired of the Holy Ghost to lay the foundation of the Church, and build it up in the most holy faith." Further it is said, "The Church shall give heed to all his words and commandments, which he shall give unto you, for his word shall ye receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith." He is to preside over the whole Church, and be like unto Moses, to be a Seer, Revelator, Translator, Prophet, having all the gifts which God bestows upon the Head of the Church. In a subsequent revelation, given February, 1831, his divinity confers on him the exclusive right to receive and give forth commandments from the Lord, and also power to appoint his successor; and the Church are commanded to uphold him, to appoint him, to provide him food and raiment, and whatsoever things he needeth, to accomplish his work, with threats for disobedience. In a revelation,

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           215

    [of] September, 1831, all Smith's dignities and titles are conferred on him for life. And at about the same time it is declared by revelation, that Smith had no strength to work; therefore the Church is commanded to support him.

    In 1833, the Book of Commandments was published, constituting the second book of the Mormon writings: or more truly it may be said to be the first; its predecessor having been written by other hands, with a different design, and having been published, with a few interpolations, before the establishment of the six confederates as a Church, and before the designs of the prophet had assumed any regularity of shape. The Book of Commandments, like the Book of Mormon, contained very imperfect developments of the will of the prophet. Smith's was a growing will. He was a man of progress, and it became necessary to have frequent revelations and new volumes to keep even pace with the new demands of his will. In 1835, a new edition of the Book of Commandments was published. In the first edition of this work, God had commanded Smith to pretend to no other gift than to translate, according to Professor Turner in his "Mormonism in all Ages," and expressly declares "that he will grant him no other gift." The second edition adds, "until my purpose is fulfilled in this. For I will grant you no other gift until it is finished." Oddly enough, the prophet seems to have overlooked some of his great commissions and powers, or we must suppose that he had resigned them, or that God had revoked them. For it will be remembered that in 1830, at the period of establishing the Church at Fayette, God had constituted him "Seer, Prophet, Apostle of Jesus Christ, and Elder of the Church, and Revelator," in addition to the office of Translator; -- and in a revelation of the next year, February, 1831, it is explained that his divinity confers on him the power of receiving and giving forth commandments, and also of appointing his successor. In September, 1831, all his dignities and titles are conferred on him for life. A defect of memory seems to be universal with liars. Smith had manifested the same weakness at other times; and probably the limitation of his power in the Book of Commandments was owing to forgetfulness. He evidently also forgot

    216                                          The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                          [Sept.

    another office, which he frequently exercised, that of Alterator, by which revelations were from time to time altered by him. At about the time of the second edition of the Book of Commandments, or in 1835, the Book of Doctrines and Covenants received the approbation of the Mormon General Assembly. This was about the time when the prophet's organ of acquisitiveness was receiving a remarkable development. He had become possessor of a large treasure in virtue of his office of President of the Church, the members of which had been commanded to give all their substance to the Lord. He was about building the temple at Kirtland, and had by revelation commanded the saints to borrow all the moneys possible. In this last volume another method of acquisition was revealed, which out of the Mormon Church is commonly called theft: -- "Behold it is said in my laws it is forbidden to get in debt to thine enemies" (or those out of the Church); "but, behold, it is not said, at any time, that the Lord should not take when he pleases, and pay as seemeth him good. Wherefore, as ye are agents, and ye are on the Lord's errand, and whatsoever ye do according to the will of the Lord is the Lord's business, and he hath sent you to provide for his saints," &c. (Doc. and Cov., p. 147.)

    The revelation before mentioned, enjoining the members to borrow all the moneys they could, and this last, which was a happier afterthought, for taking in the name of the Lord, were two of the means for raising the Church revenue, which was mostly appropriated in two modes; -- the first and most important use was to furnish sustenance to the President of the Church, the second to build the Temple. A third means to aid him in obtaining the necessary funds was the establishment of the Bank of Kirtland, and the trading-house before mentioned. The bank was established, without charter, except that derived from the will of the prophet, in 1837. Both bank and shop, however, broke in the year 1838, and the vicinage of Kirtland not being a profitable vineyard for gathering, in the spiritual manner directed in the last revelation, and the takings in the Lord's name not being sufficient, the prophet and a large number of the Church removed in this year, 1838, to Far West in Missouri. To the period of this migration, the eight

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    years of prophesying had been a period of unanticipated success. As a business it had proved decidedly superior to gold-digging in the hills of Palmyra, and had supplied the worldly wants of the prophet, which were not measured by a very narrow scale, and acquired for him no little ecclesiastical fame and success. He was, consequently, every day looking to larger things, extending his vision over a broader field, and, pari passu, revealing new powers, immunities, and privileges conferred upon himself by the Lord; -- which seemed to be, indeed, the special object of all the revelations. The sojourn in Missouri was of short duration. The saints continued there about a year; but, having committed some robberies and violence, paying a more willing obedience to the command to "take in the Lord's name " than the Missourians considered for their advantage, they were driven out by an armed mob, and compelled for safety to fly the State. They migrated to Illinois in the spring of 1839, and settled at Nauvoo, so named by them, where they were speedily joined by great numbers, mostly from England, and in three years numbered, it is said, ten thousand, of those gathered at that place.

    At the settlement of Nauvoo a large tract of land was purchased, comprising some hundreds of acres. This, of course, was purchased by Smith, who, in addition to his other offices, was treasurer of the society. The thousand or two who came from Missouri were entitled to lots. The eight or ten thousand who came afterward, mostly from England, were also entitled to lots, but subject to the condition on which all were placed, that they should impart of their substance to the Lord. "If thou lovest me, thou shalt keep my commandments, and thou shalt consecrate all thy properties unto me, with a covenant and a deed which cannot be broken." This revelation was made at Kirtland in the first or second year of the Church, and published in the Book of Commandments, and subsequently in the Book of Doctrines and Covenants, adopted by the body in 1835. "It is wisdom in me that my servant Martin Harris should be an example unto the Church in laying his moneys before the bishop of the Church. And also this is a law unto every man that cometh unto this land to receive an inheritance: and he shall do with his moneys according as the law directs."

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    A very large amount was paid into the treasury, the whole of which was under Smith's control, and mostly devoted to his expenses, by virtue of the revelation before mentioned, that he had not strength to work, and must be supported. The revelations to this effect were more frequent than any others, and of course a faithful Mormon must consider it as the most sacred of his duties. "Provide for him" (Smith) "food and raiment, and whatsoever he needeth." (Doc. and Cov., p. 126.) "Let the bishop appoint a storehouse unto this Church, and let all things, both in money and in meat, which is more than is needful for the wants of this people, be kept in the hands of the bishop" (Smith). "And let him also reserve unto himself for the wants of his family, as he shall be employed in doing this business." (Book of Cov.) "It is meet that my servant, Joseph Smith, Jr., should have a house built, in which to live and translate." (Doc. and Cov., p. 189.) " And now I say unto you, as pertaining to my boarding-house, which I command you to build for the boarding of strangers, let it be built unto to my name, and let my name be named upon it, and let my servant Joseph and his house have places therein from generation to generation." This last revelation was after the removal to Nauvoo; and it was added, "Let the name of that house be called the Nauvoo House." The house was built, and, according to common reputation in that part of the country, the prophet and revelator kept as good a tavern therein as the average of public houses in those parts. It proved a profitable business, and was, therefore, a valuable accessory to prophesying, as that and all of Smith's offices and employments had a special eye to the main chance.

    Perhaps some readers are disposed to inquire, What are the religious tenets of the Mormons? That is a question much more easily asked than satisfactorily answered. Neither Smith, the founder of the Church, if it is not sacrilege to call this community a church, nor any one of the five who composed, with him, its members, at the original gathering at Fayette, had an idea of any definite religious faith, or a capacity to explain it, if any had been formed, with the exception, probably, of Rigdon. It was not by any means a leading object with them to hold any faith or make any profession. Smith was a

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    veiled prophet. He was careful to conceal the sight of his Golden Bible, under penalty of immediate death to those who should look upon it. It may be supposed that the peculiar doctrines and articles of faith held by the prophet were affected with the same fatal effulgence as the Golden Bible. For we believe it is a fact, that to the present time both are nearly alike unknown to mortal sight and sense. What few propositions are stated for the belief and guidance of the Church are contained in the revelations delivered from time to time by Smith, as suited his purposes for the moment. He had no fixed design or established platform of faith. The revelations were mostly directory, and had special relation to the rise. The Church were directed to give their moneys to the Lord; to take, in the Lord's name, from the Gentiles, -- which the prophet, in his significant and refined phrase, termed "milking the Gentiles"; and to support Smith. These and kindred injunctions constituted, in great part, the burden of the revelations. Other revelations go to affirm the inspiration of the books, and the holy character of Smith, to whom in all things they were to be obedient, as the revelator of the will of God. Inspiration and miraculous powers were also conferred upon the saints. Thus the following revelation: --

    "And as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for ye are mine apostles; therefore, as I said unto mine apostles, I say unto you again, that every soul who believeth on your word, and is baptized with water for the remission of sins, shall receive the Holy Ghost, and these signs shall follow them that believe. In my name they shall cast out devils, heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind, unstop the ears of the deaf; and if any man shall administer poison unto them, it shall not hurt them." -- Doc. and Cov., p. 92.

    There was a series of revelations, also, in relation to the future political power of the Mormon Church. In this class are the following: --

    "Verily I say unto you, that in time ye shall have no king nor ruler. For I will be your king, and watch over you; and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws, when I come." -- Doc. and Cov., p. 119.

    "Assemble yourselves together, to rejoice upon the land of Missouri, which is the land of your inheritance, which is now in the hands of your enemies." -- Ibid. p. 194.

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    "Therefore get ye straightway into my land; break down the walls of mine enemies, throw down their tower, and scatter their watchmen, avenge me of mine enemies, that by and by 1 may come and possess the land." -- Ibid. p. 238.

    Smith's work was not only wholly without plan, design, and shape, like chaos before the creation, but it was full of darkness also; it was utter confusion. Thus when his great powers were promulgated to the Church of six, at Fayette, on the day of forming that Church, April 6, 1830, he is styled, among other official titles, "Apostle of Jesus Christ, &c, through the will of God the Father, and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ"; implying clearly a belief in Christ, and, of course, in his revelations of the will of God.

    Yet the following revelation, published some years subsequently, must be understood as repudiating Christ and his doctrines, and setting up the Book of Mormon instead: --

    "And this condemnation resteth on the children of Zion, even all ; and they shall remain under this condemnation until they repent, and remember the new covenant, even the Book of Mormon." And "Behold, I say unto you, that all old covenants have been done away in this thing, and this is a new and an everlasting covenant." -- Book of Covenants, pp. 91, 178.

    Yet notwithstanding this announcement that all old covenants were done away, the preachers continued to draw their texts from the Old and New Testaments, and to make their discourses in supposed conformity thereto, like other sects. There is a similar inconsistency and confusion on other points.

    The body of Mormon doctrine and faith, of divinity and morality, is summed up in this; -- what may be delivered from time to time, by revelation.

    The Book of Covenants, which contains the basis of their faith, includes only a small part of the revelations given to Smith. There is a large volume of unpublished revelations, which it would be indiscreet to expose until the proper time. The few points of faith which can be distinctly named are, first, as to the nature of faith itself, which is largely discussed in the first part of the Book of Covenants, and affirmed to rest on human testimony. Next, as to the nature of God. They believe

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    in the Trinity. And in the last chapter on faith, it is laid down, that men know their acceptance with God only through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things. In this last point there is a most perfect and exact consistency and harmony throughout . All the revelations concur in directing them to give their moneys to the Lord. It is the great point of faith, without which there is no acceptance.

    A large portion of the converts of the Mormon Church have been drawn from England, and principally from the poorer of the laboring class. Those who have been acquainted with the English laborer know that the mental condition of this class is one of the most woful darkness. They seem to surpass in stolid ignorance the poorest specimens of their kindred from the Emerald Isle. Others of the English converts are, however, of good education, as well as many of the American members of the Church. In the matter of property, the article of faith last named, that they know of their acceptance with God only through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things, sufficiently explains their condition. It was Smith's purpose, not only to "milk the Gentiles," but the saints also. Those, therefore, who had any means, on coming into the fold usually surrendered it to the shepherd. And what property might be afterward acquired would be likely to have the same destination. They avoided the payment of a tithe of their income to swell the church revenues, when they emigrated from England to the holy city. But those of them who had money or other property were obliged to sacrifice the whole to the Lord.

    While in Missouri, during the twelvemonth sojourn in that State, the members of the society, under Smith's inducements of revelations and menaces, were organized as a band for general pillage of the Gentiles. They were called by the name of Danites, and consisted, according to the testimony of one of their number under oath, of eight or ten hundred men. The deposition states that they were building block-houses, and their purpose was, if the produce raised was not sufficient for their support, to take it from the other citizens. The band took an oath to support Smith against the State authorities, and to cowhide any person who should say a word against

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    him. They had a small band also, called the Destroying Angels, whose duty was said by Bennett to be to assassinate those who came under the displeasure of the Church or the chief. This band, as stated in the above deposition, made a visit to the Indians, to induce them to join Smith against the people of Missouri. This deposition was given in September, 1838; and in the following month the counties of Caldwell and Davies were overrun by their forces, the inhabitants mostly driven out into the neighboring counties, their houses, farms, and stores pillaged, and some buildings burned. Several of Smith's church-members were also compelled to leave the society and the county, in consequence of their dissent from these proceedings. Among them were Cowdry and the two Whitmers, who had been three of the original certifiers to the genuineness of the Book of Mormon, and the first a professed scribe and translator, an early and eager participant in Smith's imposture, who went two or three hundred miles to see him, and was the means of inducing the removal of the Church from Fayette to his own place of residence, Kirtland. It is stated in the testimony of another of the dissenters, who had been President of the Twelve Apostles and President of the Church at Far West, that a company was sent out to bring in fat hogs, cattle, and honey, and at the same time another, composed of eighty men, under command of a captain, marched to Gallatin, and by their own report had run off twenty or thirty men, and burnt Gallatin. They also robbed the postmaster, and pillaged the neighborhood. The same deponent says: "The plan of said Smith the Prophet is to take this State" (Missouri), "and he professes to his people to intend taking the United States, and ultimately the whole world." This deposition was confirmed by Orson Hyde, one of the twelve apostles, who left the Church from a conviction of their immorality and impiety. He says: "The most of the statements in the foregoing disclosure I know to be true. The remainder I believe to be true." Hyde is not a very good witness. He has since gone back to the Mormons. But the statements in the deposition have other confirmation. The last, relating to their possessing and ruling the country, is plainly foretold in the revelations, and, extravagant as it may appear, the design

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    to fulfil this prophecy is testified to by other witnesses.

    In consequence of this course of rapine and pillage, the citizens assembled in great numbers, and drove the robbers from the State. They went to Illinois and formed the settlement at Nauvoo, as before stated.

    The era of the migration from Missouri to Illinois may be marked as a period of great progress in the prophet's affairs. For it seems to be at about this time that he began more systematically to carry out his designs of setting up a political power, in addition to his pontificate; and also greatly to enlarge the bounds of privilege pertaining to the priestly office, especially in the holy institution of spiritual polygamy. From this period till his death, a little more than three years, was the most prosperous day of the short and sunny span of Smith's life. Commanding by a nod some two thousand votes, and, if occasion called, as many bayonets for open war and bowie-knives for secret service, the politician courted his influence, and the city and the field felt and feared his power. Having promulgated the revelation he had received from God, commanding polygamy as a Christian duty, it became the prophet to set a good example in obeying the command, and Mahomet himself could not boast more holiness, if it should be measured by the number of his favorites, than Smith.

    His progress from the beginning of his manhood to this time reminds one of a banker who starts in the world by selling a half-penny-worth of apples and cakes at a stall on a gala-day, and ends by loaning monarchs a hundred millions to uphold their thrones. Smith began with nothing more than the small wares of a common liar: and he gradually extended his dealings, as his capital increased and his credit enlarged, till he had made himself the prophet whose word, blasphemous and filthy as it was, was gospel truth and law to ten thousand trusting souls, and the political master and sovereign by whom the worldly and social affairs of his people were dispensed and governed, and the people themselves ruled, by an absolute and supreme dominion. He had neither foreseen nor designed the great things that were to come out of his brazen artificery of lies. Taken up for the sport or the gain of the moment, for freak or fancy,

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    they became of unexpected value and importance by the credulity of those who received them; -- and the money-digger found such a ready and profitable market for the sale of his marvels, that he was instigated to go into the trade more at large, until by constant increase he found himself the possessor of the souls, bodies, and fortunes of his ten thousand dupes, -- of supreme ecclesiastical power, great political influence, and large wealth.

    The Book of Covenants had put an end to the authority of the Bible, and set up instead the revelations made through Smith. " Behold, I say unto you, that all old covenants have been done away in this thing, and this is a new and an everlasting covenant." (Book of Cov., p. 178.) And having thus set aside the Gospel, it Was the next design to set aside all law also, except what came from Smith. "Verily I say unto you, that in time ye" (the Mormons) "shall have no king nor ruler. For I will be your king, and watch over you; and you shall be a free people, and ye shall have no laws but my laws, when I come." (Doc. and Cov., p. 119.) There are other passages looking to a complete temporal as well as spiritual dominion of the Mormon President. Thus we have shown the blossoming of this Mormon plant. The period of the Church after the migration to Illinois was high summer: the fruit was coming fast to maturity, and the prophet himself, while doing a good business in the "Nauvoo House," and creating a great political influence, and holding the aspiring demagogues in the hollow of his left hand, as he held his Mormons in his right, employed his more politic thoughts and serious moments in establishing a military power, of which himself was the head, as of all the other matters; -- and in promulgating new revelations for the increase of the priestly privilege, especially in the multiplication of wives; -- and in the aggrandizement of the Church, by the building of the great temple.

    Soon after the settlement at Nauvoo, Smith obtained from the State authorities the commission of Lieutenant-General of the Nauvoo Legion, and organized a military force of two or three thousand men, which he had put under a very good state of discipline, and was evidently preparing to fulfil that prophecy according to which he

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           225

    was to rule the earth. The command "to take in the name of the Lord," was obeyed here with more reserve and caution than in Missouri, it is true. The lesson given them in that State had taught them to be more private in this part of their religious duty. Still it was performed to such an extent as to be very onerous upon the stores and crops of the neighboring Gentiles, and aroused a spirit of hostility among the dwellers round about the holy city. Some of those who were injured, having become possessed of information tending to criminate Smith in the attempted assassination of Governor Boggs of Missouri, communicated it to the civil authorities of that State, and a requisition was made on those of Illinois to deliver him up as a fugitive from justice, to be tried for that offence. Smith concealed himself, but being found by an excited mob who went to seek him, consisting of citizens of the county of Hancock, he, with his brother Hiram, was instantly killed. For a time after this event quiet prevailed, but the fire was only smothered, not quenched. After a year or two, new troubles arose. There was a set battle between the Mormon forces and the militia of the State, and the former were driven out. Some went to the western border of Iowa, and formed a settlement on the Missouri River. A large body went to Salt Lake, in the valley between the Nevada and Rocky Mountains. Others soon after followed, and accessions from time to time have been made to them.

    The United States government having constituted this district a Territory, with a political organization, officers were appointed in accordance thereto. Most unfortunately, the President appointed Brigham Young, an English [sic] Mormon but a few years resident in this country, and whose merits are chiefly an inheritance of the dignities and spiritual offices of Smith, whose mantle he wears, as the supreme executive of the Territory. Several other of the most important offices were given to the Mormons. The policy of thus investing with the highest offices men who had been concerned in the worst crimes cannot be questionable. Its result could not be good. Two of the Judges, and the Secretary, not being of the Mormon Church, have been virtually displaced by Young and his confederates, and compelled to return.

    226                                          The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                          [Sept.

    They report that Young assumed all the government, violently seized on the moneys, declared that no law should be administered but through him, and that no authority should prevail in the Territory but that of the Church. This is only carrying out the command of the revelations given by Smith, and formerly attempted in Missouri and Illinois; -- and, being in accordance with the religious duty of the faithful, is no more than was to have been expected.

    They report also some instances of violent dealing similar to that practised in Missouri on those who were obnoxious to them; and a very faithful obedience to the revelation enjoining polygamy.

    Perhaps few readers have had the patience to read so long a story on so disagreeable a subject. But this discussion of the Mormon history ought not to terminate without allusion to a miracle, which is related by Mr. Tucker, the same who gave the incident connected with the printing of the Book of Mormon. It is thus told in the volume, published by Dr. Bennett.

    "Towards the close of a fine summer's day, a farmer, in one of the States, found a respectable-looking man at his gate, who requested permission to pass the night under his roof. The hospitable farmer readily complied: the stranger was invited into the house, and a warm and substantial supper set before him.

    "After he had eaten, the farmer, who appeared to be a jovial, warm-hearted, humorous, and withal shrewd old man, passed several hours in pleasant conversation with his guest, who seemed to be very ill at ease, both in body and mind, yet, as if desirous of pleasing his entertainer, replied courteously and agreeably to whatever was said to him. Finally, he pleaded fatigue and illness as an excuse for retiring to rest, and was conducted by the farmer to an upper chamber, where he went to bed.

    "About the middle of the night, the farmer and his family were awakened by the most dreadful groans, which, they soon ascertained, proceeded from the chamber of the traveller. On going to investigate the matter, they found that the stranger was dreadfully ill, suffering the most acute pains, and uttering the most doleful cries, apparently without any consciousness of what was passing around him. Every thing that kindness and experience could suggest was done to relieve the sick man; but all efforts were in vain, and, to the consternation of the farmer and his family, their guest expired in the course of a few hours.

    "In the midst of their trouble and anxiety, at an early hour in

    1852.]                                           The Origin and Fate of Mormonism.                                           227

    the morning, two travellers came to the gate, and requested entertainment. The farmer told them that he would willingly offer them hospitality, but that just now his household was in the greatest confusion, on account of the death of the stranger, the particulars of which he proceeded to relate to them. They appeared to be much surprised and grieved at the poor man's calamity, and politely requested permission to see the corpse. This, of course, the farmer readily granted, and conducted them to the chamber in which lay the dead body. They looked at it for a few minutes in silence, and then the oldest of the pair gravely told the farmer that they were elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and were empowered by God to perform miracles, even to the extent of raising the dead; and that they felt quite assured they could bring to life the dead man before them.

    "The farmer was, of course, considerably astonished by the quality and powers of the persons who addressed him, and rather incredulously asked if they were quite sure that they could perform all they professed to.

    "'O, certainly! not a doubt of it. The Lord has commissioned us expressly to work miracles, in order to prove the truth of the prophet, Joseph Smith, and the inspiration of the books and doctrines revealed to him. Send for all your neighbors, that in the presence of a multitude we may bring the dead man to life, and that the Lord and his Church may be glorified to all men!'

    "The farmer, after a little consideration, agreed to let the miracle-workers proceed, and, as they desired, sent his children to his neighbors, who, attracted by the expectation of a miracle, flocked to the house in considerable numbers.

    "The Mormon elders commenced their task by kneeling and praying before the body with uplifted hands and eyes, and with most stentorian lungs. Before they had proceeded far with their prayer, a sudden idea struck the farmer, who quietly quitted the house for a few minutes, and then returned, and waited patiently by the bedside until the prayer was finished, and the elders ready to perform their miracle. Before they began, he respectfully said to them, that, with their permission, he wished to ask them a few questions upon the subject of their miracle. They replied that they had no objection. The farmer then asked, 'You are quite certain that you can bring this man to life again?' 'We are.' 'How do you know that you can?' 'We have just received a revelation from the Lord, informing us that we can.' 'Are you quite sure that the revelation was from the Lord?' 'Yes, we cannot be mistaken about it.' 'Does your power to raise this man to life again depend upon the particular nature of his disease, or could you now bring any dead man to life?'

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    'It makes no difference to us, we could bring any corpse to life.' 'Well, if this man had been killed, and one of his arms cut off, could you bring him to life, and also restore to him his arm?' 'Certainly, there is no limit to the power given us by the Lord. It would make no difference, even if both his arms and his legs were cut off.' 'Could you restore him if his head had been cut off?' 'Certainly we could.' 'Well,' said the farmer, with a quiet smile upon his features, 'I do not doubt the truth of what such holy men assert, but I am desirous that my neighbors here should be fully converted, by having the miracle performed in the completest manner possible. So by your leave, if it makes no difference whatever, I will proceed to cut off the head of this corpse.' Accordingly, he produced a huge and well-sharpened broad-axe from beneath his coat, which he swung above his head, and was apparently about to bring it down upon the neck of the corpse, when lo, and behold! to the amazement of all present, the dead man started up in great agitation, and swore he would not have his head cut off for any consideration whatever.

    "The company immediately seized the Mormons, and soon made them confess that the pretended dead man was also a Mormon elder, and that they had sent him to the farmer's house, with directions to die there at a particular hour, when they would drop in, as if by accident, and perform a miracle that would astonish every body. The farmer, after giving the impostors a severe chastisement, let them depart, to practise their humbuggery in some other quarter."

    It is certainly to be hoped, that some wisdom and some warning will be gathered by the world from the exposure of the successive frauds which have been practised upon popular credulity, so that they may be fewer in number and at longer intervals of recurrence in years to come.
    W. J. A. B.            


    Graham's Magazine
    (Philadelphia: George Graham Co.)

  • 1853: May
      "Mormonism and the Mormons"

  •    An article published at about the time readers
       were first becoming aware of Mormon polygamy

        Transcriber's Comments



    Vol. XLII.                                   PHILADELPHIA, MAY, 1853.                                   No. 5.

    [p. 531]



    Since the introduction of Christianity, the world has seen two great religious impostures -- remarkable for the absurdity of their pretensions, not less than for their astonishing success. The first was Mohamedanism. For twelve centuries this false religion has been the faith of millions; and though no more threatening to overrun the world, though no longer even increasing its votaries, it cannot be yet said to be sensibly declining. The second is Mormonism. Thirty years scarcely have elapsed since this imposture began; but already it has made converts of three hundred thousand souls -- has founded a commonwealth -- has sent forth missionaries to Moscow, to Rangoon, to the Isles of the Pacific. There are other points of resemblance between these two false faiths. Both recognize the books of Moses and the teachings of Christ. Both maintain that a new revelation had become necessary, and that their respective founders were prophets of God. Both appeal, with great art, to that love of the marvelous inherent in human nature; and to even worse qualities -- to gross sensuality, to spiritual pride. But here the likeness ceases. Mohamedanism arose in a Pagan country, among a barbarous people, in a comparatively remote age of the world. Its tenets, though less pure than those of Christianity, were purer than the gross idolatry of Arabia. It was propagated chiefly by the sword. But Mormonism has sprung up in an age the most civilized and intellectual mankind has ever seen: in an age of railroads, magnetic telegraphs, ocean steamers, Bible societies, common schools. It has made no accessions by war. But, in spite of the vices of its founder, in spite of positive proof of its being an imposture, it has not only steadily increased, but increased faster than any Christian sect in the same period of time. The rise, the progress, the character, the probable destiny of such a development of human folly, is a study instructive to all men, but indispensible to Americans.
    In 1825, an illiterate family named Smith lived at Palmyra, in the State of New York. The father was idle, quarrelsome, a drunkard, and a liar. The sons were but little better. One of them, Joseph, was indeed far worse. To all the vices of his parent this man united sensual appetites and great hypocrisy. But he was shrewd and adventurous, and had a marvelous insight into character. He early resolved to live by his wits. He soon found that, if he wanted a dupe, he possessed an intuitive faculty of discovering one. At first, he tried digging for money, as his vagabond father had before him. He persuaded a simple neighbor that he knew of a silver mine on the Susquehannah; but the poor gull, on accompanying him thither, discovered that Smith's real aim was to reach Pennsylvania without expense, as a girl lived there whom he wished to marry. The marriage was knavish as the rest of his proceedings; for the parents being opposed to the match, Smith watched [for] an opportunity when they were absent, and then persuaded the daughter to elope with him. To find means for returning home, he bubbled a credulous Dutchman with a story of a bar of gold, which he pretended to have found in a cave in Jefferson County, New York; but when the greedy fool had paid the expenses of the young couple back, Smith evaded his promise, pretending that he could not leave his wife among comparative strangers. But shifts like these were not always possible. As he became known, dupes grew scarce. His circumstances began to be straitened, even beyond his careless endurance. At last he hit upon a scheme -- which, though originally intended only to relive his present necessities, events finally enlarged into the most audacious, the most absurd, yet one of the most successful impostures ever practiced on the credulity of mankind.

    Smith, with all his vices, was not without religious sensibility. To use his own phrase, he had been converted; and though he had fallen away for a while, he had returned again to grace. Such men, uniting great religious susceptibility to a life of vice, are rare, but not impossible characters; and are frequently met with, as every lawyer can testify, on the criminal side of the courts. Smith was credulous himself respecting the supernatural, and this taught him that others might be equally weak. He began accordingly to whisper about that he had seen visions -- that an angel of the Lord had appeared to him -- that he had been chosen as the instrument of a new revelation; and, finally, that the inspired book was
    * 1. -- Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah. By Howard Stansbury. Printed by order of the Senate of the United States. 1 vol.

    2. -- The Mormons, or Latter-Day Saints, in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. A History of their Rise and Progress, Peculiar Doctrines, Present Condition and Prospects, derived from personal observation during a residence among them. By Lieutenant J. W. Gunnison, of the Topographical Engineers. 1 vol. Philadelphia [1860 ed.]

    3. -- The Mormons. A Discourse delivered before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. By Thomas L. Kane. 1 vol. Philadelphia, 1850.

    4. -- The Book of Mormon. Translated by Joseph Smith, Jr. 1 col. Nauvoo.

    5. -- History and Ideas of the Mormons. Article VII. Westminster Review. No. CXV. [Am. ed., Jan., 1853, pp. 102-120]

    6. -- The History of the Saints. An Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism. By John C. Bennet. 1 vol. Boston 1842.


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    already in his possession, and would soon be laid before the world. Nothing is more conclusive of the deception than the pretended origin of the volume; because the story is marked by all that is characteristic and ignorant in Smith. he gave out that the Holy Books had been buried for fourteen hundred years -- that they were composed on plates of gold, and that the character they were written in was the old Egyptian. But, by virtue of his prophetic office and the aid of the Urim and Thummim, he professed to be able to translate the volumes. The Urim and Thummim was an instrument like a bow, with two transparent stones set in the two rims -- a rude conjuror's weapon, such as low jugglers mystify gaping crowds with at a show. It is almost incredible how any but the simplest of fools could have become victims of this imposture. If a new revelation was necessary in consequence of the vices of modern times, it was fatal to the claims of Smith that his pretended revelation, instead of being contemporary, dated back fourteen hundred years. The blunder of selecting the old Egyptian character as that in which to say the new Bible was written, was not less preposterous. Smith had yet to learn that the hieroglyphics can be decyphered without the aid of inspiration -- without even the farce of a Urim and Thummim.

    The impostor was so illiterate, indeed, that to write the Golden Book was beyond his capacity; and but for a fortunate incident, he would never have been the founder of a sect. The original idea of the Mormon Scriptures appears to have been derived from a manuscript, professing to be a history of the mound-builders on this continent, written by a Mr. Spaulding, at Conneautville [sic - Conneaut?], Ohio, where many of these mounds -- relics of a lost race -- exist. This manuscript had been passed from hand to hand, but never published; and had finally reached a printing-office in Pittsburgh, where it fell under the eye of one Sydney Rigdon, who secretly copied it. Rigdon was acquainted with Smith, and exhibited the narrative to him. The work was full of quaint phrases, imitated from Scripture, to give it an air of antiquity with popular readers.

    Smith, though without education to write such a book, had the shrewdness to see that something could be made of it; and, accordingly, adding a few bombastic passages about religion, he resolved to publish it as a revelation from God. The design originally does not seem to have gone beyond the making of a snug sum by this impudent theft. The first dupe was Martin Harris, a credulous miser, who had been successively Quaker, Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian. This man Smith accosted in the street; telling him that the Lord had a commandment that he should assist in translating the Golden Bible, and for that purpose should contribute fifty dollars. Harris, awed by this audacity, gave the money on the spot. This was in 1828, two years after Spaulding's manuscript came into Smith's hands, and one year after the impostor professed to have found the golden plates. Those facts do not depend for their authenticity on hearsay evidence, but have been established under oath in public court. In 1830, the Book of Mormon finally appeared. During the interval, the scheme of Smith had gradually assumed a more complete and ambitious shape in his mind; so that what had been begun as a mere financial speculation, now challenged attention as the foundation of a new church. 

    The doctrines of this forged volume are such as might be expected from its origin. They are a strange jumble of orthodox theology, of absurd articles of faith, of adroit appeals to the weaknesses of human nature. The Mormon Bible affirms the Trinity, the Atonement, the Lord's Supper, Baptism, Repentance, Faith, the Gift of Prophecy, and the Laying on of Hands. It acknowledges the inspiration of the Christian Scriptures; but it claims that the days of miracles and revelation are not yet over; that it is itself a proof of the last; that other revelations may be expected, and are, indeed, continually occurring among the saints, its believers. Honesty, chastity, temperance, benevolence, and every ordinary virtue is inculcated; while vice of all kinds is emphatically denounced. But precepts like these are mixed up with all sorts of absurd tales, and with dogmatic assertions, which, as parts of a creed, are more absurd still. The Mormon is compelled, for example, to believe in the physical restoration of the ten tribes, in the thousand solar years of the Millenium, in the personal reign of Christ on earth with the saints in the latter days. But Mormonism teaches, or at least allows dogmas, which, in comparison with these trifles, are as the vices of a Byron to the crimes of a Borgia. It permits polygamy, under certain restrictions indeed, but nevertheless open, shameless, brutalizing polygamy. It even defends this abomination under the plea that the creation of souls, in marriage, is the most honorable and righteous act a man can perform. Three different styles are perceptible in this strange book. The most coherent is that of the narrative portion, which we have seen was the composition of Spaulding. The rest of the volume fluctuates between the drivel of Rigdon and ungrammatical declamation of Smith. Nowhere is there sublimity, rarely even point. But for the chapters written by Spaulding, and a few beautiful texts incorporated from Scripture, the work would be perfectly unreadable. To compare it with the Koran is an insult to the latter. The Koran is as much superior to the Golden Bible, as the Christian Bible, even in a literary aspect, if we may compare things sacred and things profane, is superior to the Koran; and the Koran, as all know, is more inferior to the Scriptures in this respect than Pollock to Milton, Phillips to Burke, Mrs. Radcliffe to Sir Walter Scott.

    At first the church consisted of but six members, of whom five belonged to Smith's own family. But the imposture soon began to tell among the rude and ignorant, from the very audacity of its pretended marvelousness. At first only the highly credulous joined the society. Soon others, seeing these conversions,


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    wondered if there might not be something in the prophet's pretensions. Among such persons there was but one step from doubt to conversion. An excitement having once commenced, the fever of contagion rapidly spread, till hundreds of nervous women and weak visionaries became its dupes. Smith baptized, commissioned elders, sent forth missionaries to preach. It was on the 6th of April, 1830, that he organized his church, and by January, 1831, he already had a thousand members. The views of the impostor began now to enlarge. No longer satisfied with establishing a church, he aspired to found a theocratic community. A provisional settlement had been undertaken at Kirtland, Ohio. But desiring a wider scope for his authority, Smith pretended a revelation, commanding him that the elders should go forth, two and two, in imitation of the disciples whom Christ had sent out with staff and scrip; and that, at an appointed time, these elders should convene on the borders of Missouri, there to select a spot on which to build a temple and found the New Jerusalem. The plan was carried into execution. A place was fixed upon in the vicinity of Independence. Twelve hundred Mormons immediately collected around the elders; laid the corner-stone of the sacred edifice; began to build houses, to break the soil, to sow seed. The first commencement of a theocratic commonwealth was made, by the leaders issuing a decree that all property was held in trust for the Lord, and that a tenth part should be paid immediately to the prophet, and his colleagues. Soon after, the settlement at Kirtland was abandoned, chiefly through the financial difficulties of the leaders. The circumstance gave new impetus to the colony in Missouri. The place speedily became a nucleus, not only for honest converts sincerely endeavoring to lead a godly life, but for careless professors, and worse than all, for hypocrites who secretly made Mormonism a cloak for every description of vice. Falsehood, theft, profane swearing, profligacy with women, became, we are told, the distinguishing marks of the settlement. To these vices on the part of the dishonest, was added the haughty spiritual pride of the sincere, which was almost as irritating to the surrounding population as theft and licentiousness itself. Naturally the colony became an object of suspicion, misrepresentation, and finally inveterate dislike. Its vices were exaggerated by prejudice, by secret rancor, by attributing to it all the villainy perpetrated in the neighborhood. On the frontier, law is not always respected. A mob collected and assailed the colony. But the Mormons beat off the rioters. At this the population of the contiguous counties rose in rage; the state authorities took up the quarrel; troops were called out. Against such overwhelming numbers the Mormons vainly essayed to resist. The colony was broken forcibly up; the leaders were arrested on a charge of high treason: sentence of banishment from the state was pronounced on the inhabitants; and in the last days of November, a terrified crowd of fugitives, driven forth upon the break prairie, began a toilsome march, they scarcely knew whither, in search of another home.
    However foolish, and in some respects even criminal, the conduct of the Mormons had been, they now redeemed themselves by the sufferings they endured. They bent their steps toward the Mississippi, intending to seek refuge in Illinois. But the difficulties on the way were almost incredible. The snow often impeded their progress; the rivers were without bridges and chocked with ice; many of the exiles were feeble, all were famishing. In the terror of the expulsion, wives had been separated from husbands, parents from children. A number of persons were known to have been killed, and it was feared that all the absent had met this fate. To add to the horrors of that wintry journey, disease broke out in the ranks. Death ravaged old and young alike. No one could tell to-day who would be alive to-morrow. The oxen began to perish from cold and starvation; and oxen were the only teams the colonists had. Yet the wayfarers struggled on. The delicate mother carried her infant. Parents denied themselves to give a morsel of food to their children. The dead were hastily thrust into rude bark coffins, and committed to the swollen stream, perchance to be wafted to some quiet nook, perhaps to reach the shore only to be devoured by wolves. At last twelve hundred emaciated persons arrived on the banks of the Mississippi, and succeeded in crossing over to Illinois, where they were compassionately allowed to settle. Here their leaders, having eventually escaped, finally rejoined them. These latter had suffered in turn. They had been paraded from one jail to another, the mark of popular opprobrium. They had been kept in uncertainty as to the fate of their families. They had been tormented by a refinement of malice, with tales of the treatment their brethren had received -- tales that even now freeze the stranger's blood with horror, and which must have kept the captives in hourly fear of death. Nor were the narratives, it seems, exaggerated. At Howe's [sic- Haun's?] Mills, twenty prisoners had been thrust into a log building, and when the door was locked, had been shot through the crevices, amid mocking laughter. A lad of nine years, who had escaped the massacre, was discovered secreted under a forge, was dragged forth, and his skull blown to pieces by one of the miscreants, while the others danced around in exultation. That such atrocities could happen, even on that then wild frontier, is a disgrace to the age, to the nation, to humanity itself. The leaders had only escaped, it is said, by their guard becoming intoxicated. But, more probably, it was through the connivance of the authorities, who grew sick at horrors perpetrated by lawless men, whom they found it impossible to control.

    The fugitives selected a picturesque bend of the river, where they began immediately to build a town, which they called Nauvoo, or "The City of Beauty." In a period of time, almost incredibly short, a large surrounding district was brought under


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    cultivation. The city itself grew rapidly. New converts poured in continually from every quarter of the Union, from Great Britain, and even from countries more remote. The prophet organized this increasing population, and developed their resources, with an ability which amazed those who had known him in earlier years. Nauvoo soon became a thriving city. On the brow of a bluff overlooking the lower town, a site was chosen for a temple, which was destined to surpass, it was declared, any edifice erected in honor of Jehovah, since the great temple of Solomon. The traveler, as he beheld the crowded quay at Nauvoo, the broad avenues, and the neat dwellings, where, but a year before, he had seen a comparative waste, acknowledged to himself that the Mormons were a wonderful people, in many respects at least. But when he passed beyond the town, and observed the settlements springing up in every direction; when he looked, as far as the eye could range, over fields of grain and hills dotted with cattle; when every farm-house he passed and every face he met bore evidence of thrift, contentment and plenty; and when, returning to the town, the shining walls of a great temple rose before him, on its elevated site, the first object to catch the believer's eye at sunrise, the last to reflect the beams of departing day, he could not but confess that the Mormons were not merely a wonderful people, but one to admire also. If their doctrines were strange, and often repulsive even, they were themselves practically meek and laborious. Transient visitors almost invariably returned from Nauvoo enthusiastic in the belief that the Mormons were misunderstood, if not purposely belied.

    But such was not the opinion of those who inhabited the neighborhood. The peculiar tenets of the Mormons rendered them objects of suspicion and prejudice to the great body of the people of Illinois; nor were there wanting facts, industriously circulated, to substantiate, as it was thought, the most grave accusations. 

    As in Missouri, so here, there were faults on both sides. The Mormons, neglecting to profit by experience, were as fanatic in many respects as ever. Success had partially turned their leader's head. He grew arrogant to those not of his people. He boasted openly that a day was coming when the saints should go in and possess the land; vague language, but deriving significance, it was believed, from his accompanying conduct. He repudiated both the great candidates for the presidency, put himself in nomination for that office, and began to drill soldiers, to collect arms, to wear a sword in public. Meantime counterfeitors, robbers, house-breakers, in short, villains and scoundrels of every hue, thronged to Nauvoo, and, professing Mormonism, began to prey on the honest inhabitants of the state. It was even said that Smith secretly shared the spoil of these marauders. It is certain that Nauvoo was their head-quarters, and that the Prophet did not ferret out and bring them to punishment, as he easily might. But it is doubtful whether his guilt exceeded this, for his character, as is usual in a career like his, appears to have risen with success; and besides, his tithes and other sources of revenue afforded him a large income. There were, however, sufficient just causes of complaint against him and his people. The Mormons made no effort to conceal their designs to monopolize the lands around Nauvoo, even to the expulsion of those who originally had welcomed them with generous pity. If they wished for any improvement, they offered, indeed, what they considered a fair price; but, if the bargain was declined, they proceeded to drive the owner into their terms by various annoyances. One of these was called "whittling off." Three men were selected to take jack-knives and sticks, and placing themselves opposite the house of the obnoxious owner, began to whittle. When the proprietor appeared, they rose up to attend him wherever he might go, still whittling. If his errand was to market, to a place of business, to the post-office, or to church, they accompanied him, whittling as they went. If he expostulated, they made no reply, but continued to whittle. If he became angry, if he swore, or if he threatened, they answered only by whittling. Idle boys would join the procession, laughing and jeering at the victim, while his annoyers whittled more demurely at every shout. When he returned home the whittlers took their posts again opposite his house, and there continued their work. Before day-break they were whittling, and they kept guard till late at night. The irritated owner could not gaze out of his window without meeting the annoyers' stare, as they looked insolently up, still whittling. Generally, a single day brought the victim to terms. Sometimes he held out for forty-eight hours. But never, it is said, was human nature known to endure beyond three days this ludicrous, yet insufferable martyrdom.

    In many cases the ejected proprietors were speculators, who had purchased for a rise, and who demanded exorbitant prices. But, in other instances, there was not even this palliation for such conduct. A disposition to have their own way, in spite even of the state authorities, began finally to develop itself among the Mormons. The office of a newspaper at Nauvoo, which had fallen under the prophet's displeasure, having been sacked by a mob, writs were issued against the leading rioters. But Smith prevented their execution. What had already happened in Missouri, now happened in Illinois. But in Missouri the people had been the first aggressors -- in Illinois it was the Mormons. The civil power called out the posse comitatus to enforce the writs. The prophet replied by summoning his militia. At last, the governor of the state himself repaired to Nauvoo, and succeeded in arresting Smith and three others, whom he threw into jail and caused to be indicted for treason. The great impostor, whether desirous of courting martyrdom, or alarmed at the lengths to which he had gone, seems to have felt a presentiment that he would never return to Nauvoo.


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    On his way to Carthage, where he was to be imprisoned, he said -- "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter; but I have a conscience void of offense toward God and toward all men." His forebodings proved but too correct. He had raised a popular storm, which even the authorities could not control. A mob of disguised persons, nearly two hundred in number, broke open the prison in broad day, assassinated him and his brother Hiram, who was confined with him. Hiram was shot first. He fell, exclaiming -- "I am a dead man!" The prophet endeavored to escape by a window, but was shot in the attempt; and died with the words -- "O Lord, my God!" This brutal tragedy happened on the 27th of June, 1844 -- a day ever since held memorable in Mormon annals.

    Thus died this extraordinary impostor. But Mormonism, instead of perishing with him as his murderers had supposed, received new vitality from his martyrdom. His followers now regarded him as a saint. His words on going to Carthage were quoted as a fresh proof of his prophetic character, and a thousand stories were circulated respecting the meekness with which it was said he had welcomed death. In another respect his fall was an advantage to Mormonism. Though a man peculiarly fitted to originate and even organize such a movement, he was not so capable of controlling it. The disturbances which brought on his martyrdom are believed by many to have led him further than he had intended. An adept at insinuating himself into men's esteem, and even in managing single individuals, he was deficient in that far-seeing policy which guides a community through complicated perils. This, at least, is the opinion of Gunnison, the most impartial, perhaps, of all his critics. By dying at the crisis he did, and thus making way for the elevation of Brigham Young, the present leader of the Mormons, he probably saved his people from nay dangers, if not from total dispersion. Impetuosity, and even recklessness, may assist the founder of a sect; but prudence, even to the extreme caution, best befits the successor. In these last qualities, it is said, the present head of Mormonism, eminently excels.

    It was owing to Brigham Young that vengeance was not sought, by force of arms, for the death of Smith. The new chief counseled forbearance -- pointed out the folly of the unequal contest, and suggested that a new home should be sought elsewhere before fresh disasters arose. It was hard to abandon the fields, brought to perfection with so much care -- it was harder to leave the hearths, made sacred by so many memories -- it was harder still to give up the beautiful temple, now advancing to completion, and which had so long been the pride, almost the adoration of every believer. For a time, indeed, the Mormons could not bring themselves to leave Nauvoo. Though an exploring party set forth in the autumn, in search of a suitable spot for the colony somewhere in the vast western wilderness, the great body of the community left behind cherished the hope that removal might yet be avoided, and so still clung to their homes. But the hostility of the people of Illinois was not to be allayed. Nothing but the emigration of the entire sect, it was declared, would be accepted as satisfactory. The exasperation increased, in fact, rather than diminished. At last the Mormons were notified that, if they removed before a certain day, no hindrance would offered to their departure, while aggressions on them meantime should cease. To the terms thus imperiously dictated, it was thought wisest to accede. But the departure was still made reluctantly. The period of grace was suffered to pass, and new threats were required before all of the exiles would consent to go. At last, in February, 1846, a large proportion of the Mormons crossed the Mississippi from Nauvoo, and formed a temporary rendezvous at Montrose, in Iowa. 

    The sufferings they now endured were an exaggerated repetition of those that had attended their banishment from Missouri. What agony is to simple pain, what starving to privation, that the horrors of this second exile were to those of the first. Until late in march the intense cold and deep snows prevented the further prosecution of the journey. When finally the route was resumed, and the fugitives, following the direct road, entered the northern part of Missouri, the people there rose on their track, and drove them, with threats, back into Iowa. After many hardships the advance guard of the migration reached the banks of the Missouri beyond the limits of the state. Here an officer of the United States presented himself, with a requisition for five hundred men to serve in the war with Mexico. The order was complied with, though the result was to break up the expedition, at least for that year. The colonists who remained, consisting chiefly of old men, women and children, hastily prepared habitations for the winter. Some constructed log-huts, some had to content themselves with mud-cabins, and many could aspire only to a cave rudely dug out of the earth. The season set in with great severity. The hardships of the summer had brought fever and cholera in their train, decimating the fugitives by death, and weakening those who survived, so that the physical capacity of endurance was reduced to its lowest standard. The fuel was scanty. The bleak prairie was swept incessantly by piercing winds. Food became scarce. The ague, the rheumatism, and the scurvy, followed each other in quick succession. New graves were continually opened. Yet amid it all the spirits of the emigrants never failed. Their misfortunes had sobered down their arrogance, and they now accepted their sufferings as sent from heaven. They looked death daily in the face, with a faith that recalled the times of the early Christians. They even displayed an exuberant gayety, that found vent in music and dancing, during the very saddest hours of that sad winter. For the sagacity of the Mormon leader had early divined the power of music over masses of men, had invested dancing with something of a religious character, and had provided bands of excellent instrumental performers. But no unworthy levity


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    attended these amusements. When the first stars of night began to twinkle in the frosty sky, the music, the laughter, and the loud talking ceased; the various groups broke up; the hymn was sung; and then "the thousand-voiced murmur of prayer," to use the metaphor of one who, not of their faith, accompanied them, "was heard like bubbling water falling down the hills." At last the long winter came to an end. In April the people were again organized for their journey. A pioneer party of one hundred and forty-three men was sent ahead to locate a home for the colony. The rest followed more at leisure, divided into parties of tens, of fifties, and of hundreds, so as to maintain discipline, and guard against the thievish savages who hovered continually on their flank. On the 21st [sic - 24th?] of July, 1837, a day only less memorable in Mormon annals than that on which the prophet was murdered, the advanced guard reached the valley of the Great Salt lake, and here, midway between the frontier settlements and the Pacific, a thousand miles from the then utmost verge of civilization, it was determined to establish the colony.

    But prior to finally abandoning Nauvoo, a scene had occurred, the recollection of which still kindles the cheek of the Mormon with enthusiasm, and which a stranger cannot hear recounted without gleams of sympathetic emotion. In spite of impending exile, the work on the great temple had never ceased. When, at last, the edifice was completed, the elders resolved to consecrate it, although emigration had already begun, and many principle persons had to be summoned from the prairies. A day was fixed for the august ceremony, and secretly announced to the believers. At the appointed time crowds flocked to Nauvoo. At high noon the consecrating mysteries commenced. Elders, priests and bishops shone in all the imposing pomp of hieratic robes. The great altar was festooned with flowers and hung with wreaths. The walls blazed with lights. The baptistic laver, resting on its twelve gigantic oxen, was decorated all over with mystic symbols. The chant rose and majestically through the court, the prayer ascended, the dedication was completed. Then, in silence, but not, it is said, without tears, the ornaments were removed and the great temple dismantled. When the sun rose, on the morrow, scarcely a sign of the late event remained. The gorgeous pageant had come and gone like a dream. The priestly crowd had vanished, the chant was heard no longer in the sanctuary, the great laver stood empty, the festive flowers and festoons had departed forever. Years have passed since that day, and another sacred edifice has risen in the wilds of Utah, but the great temple at Nauvoo has never again echoed to the tread of worshippers, never again witnessed the solemn ceremonies of its faith. 

    The locality chosen for the new city was in every respect admirable. The soil was found to be almost unprecedentedly rich. At first, indeed, the colonists had privations still to endure, for food was scarce, nor could supplies be expected until the crops matured. There being but little game, many were compelled to live partially on roots, while others subsisted on the hides with which their huts had been at first roofed. The harvest, however, brought golden days; for the wheat had yielded sixty bushels to the acre. A grist-mill was put up. Saw-mills followed. New settlements were made at suitable locations in the vicinity as fresh companies of emigrants arrived. In less than eighteen months the space occupied by the farms of the colonists stretched for nearly one hundred miles north and south; while the original city had already become the capital of a new federal territory. In five years the population of the town had risen to thirty thousand. Travelers, on reaching this spot, after a weary and often painful journey across the prairies, are enchanted with its spacious streets, white dwellings, and seas of verdure. Its sight refreshes the most dispirited. Yet it scarcely needs the contrast to perpetuate its memory. Nestled at the foot of the Wahsatch Mountains, washed by the waters of the Jordan on the west, and commanding a view southward for twenty-five miles, over a luxuriant plain silvered by fertilizing streams, it is, perhaps, as beautifully located as any city in the world. A river, that never fails, flows through the town, and is artificially conducted along one side of each street. The house lots are uniform in size, an acre and a quarter apiece. The dwellings stand twenty feet back from the front line of the lot, the intervening space being filled with shrubbery and trees. As each garden is irrigated, from the artificial river conducted by its door, the vegetation is always blooming, even in the driest seasons. So picturesque is the city, especially when seen in the fresh glory of spring, that the stranger almost pardons the enthusiasm with which the compare it to the New Jerusalem, such as the seer of the Apocalypse beheld it, surrounded with green pastures and living fountains of waters.

    The pursuits of the Mormons are mostly confined to agriculture. Separated by a vast desert from the Atlantic states, and with no water communication even with the Pacific, this singular people necessarily live principally within themselves. Like all communities thus situated, they are plain, prosperous and contented. But two persons, in the whole territory were, in 1852, so poor as to require charity. In their dealings with visitors, or temporary residents, they are honest even to conscientiousness. Generally they are distinguished by enthusiastic rather than logical minds, and are more credulous and simple-hearted than learned or even intelligent. Their manner of worship is not dissimilar from that of Protestant sects who use no ritual: they have singing, prayer, and a sermon or exhortation from a pulpit. A band of music is, however, always stationed behind the choir of singers, and not only aids in the devotional exercises, but plays while the audience assembles and disperses. Mormonism is not ascetic. Balls, parties and merry-makings are


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    described by Stansbury as a prominent feature of social life in Utah. But on this picture there is one dark blot. Polygamy is legalized. Originating in the sensual appetites of Smith, and incorporated into his creed to preserve popular opinion of his sanctity, this licentious practice has become generally prevalent among the leaders, and is pronounced by every candid traveler, to be rapidly extending. However virtuous the Mormons may be in other particulars, however devout even, they are; as regards women, brutish, if not lewd. They live, in this respect, in open violation of the constitution and laws of the United States. Consequently Utah cannot be admitted into the Union until this sensual and debasing custom has been abolished. It has been urged, indeed, that as each state is sovereign judge of its own affairs, the Federal Government has no option but to admit the Mormon commonwealth whenever its population shall be sufficient. But the discussions on the admission of Missouri, and at subsequent periods, prove that the United States has the right to impose terms of admission, and even to refuse altogether. And the plurality of wives, legalized among the Mormons, is justifiable cause for such a refusal, because polygamy is in direct violation, we repeat, of the fundamental laws of the Union.

    This question must not be tried on narrow and merely technical grounds, but in a comprehensive and statesman-like spirit. It will not suffice to say that as Mormon polygamy is not punishable at common law in the federal courts, therefore it cannot be in hostility to the constitution and laws. There are many acts which are crimes, that are not cognizable for want of jurisdiction. The Federal Government, it must be remembered, is not a commonwealth in the full meaning of the term, but merely a quasi-commonwealth, made up of a league of commonwealths. It possesses only such powers as were delegated to it by the independent states joining the compact. It was initiated for the better management of our foreign relations, for the prevention and adjustment of differences between the states, rather than for the purposes of internal police, social order, or moral discipline. Its range of action is consequently limited. But within that range its is sovereign. The neglect to keep this distinction in view often betrays our own writers into latent absurdities, and always bewilders, if it does not mislead, European authors, when discussing American politics, or questions of American social economy. It is the duty of the United States to pass laws against breaches of federal rights, and to punish offenses against federal privileges. But the correction of other crimes, and the guardianship of morals generally, is the province if the several states. This is the doctrine which all our great statesmen have held, from the first institution of the Federal Government; which every eminent jurist has ratified; which the Supreme Court has solemnly asserted again and again. It was never doubted, for example, that the common law of England, under which murder, highway robbery, bigamy, and other principal crimes, were felonies, were in force in all the original states of the Union. But in the very first case which came before the Federal Courts, in which it was sought to convict a criminal under common law, the judges determined that they had no jurisdiction. Their powers, they said, were limited to the cognizance of such crimes as Congress had invested them with, and they could not go beyond that boundary. In a later case it was asserted that they might resort to the common law in certain emergencies. If Congress, for example, should bestow on them authority to try cases of murder, it would be proper to seek in the common law for the definition of murder. Yet even this relaxation of the strict rule has never been indorsed by the Supreme Court, but rests for its authority only on the high character of the judge who suggested it. The rule seems to be that the Federal Courts have no jurisdiction over crimes committed in the territories of the United States, until Congress has vested them with that jurisdiction, because, as they do not possess it at common law, they must wait until it is explicitly conferred upon them. This cautious reserve was a necessity, as we have seen, of the peculiar character of the federal league. It was better, as the judges saw, even to allow crime to go unpunished, than, by creating precedents in favor of federal interference, to open the sluices for centralization.

    But though this has been the undeviating practice of the courts, they have been careful not to exceed the necessity of the case. In the same breath in which they have refused to punish criminals under the common law, they have acknowledged its original force in the states, and its life-giving presence still in our jurisprudence everywhere. It is not, indeed, federal law, they aver, but it is municipal law, and in one sense lies at the foundation of all our law. This is especially true of it, considered in its genius and development. It is, as it were, the unwritten bond of concord between American citizens. It is the premises from which the confederation is deduced. Some such tacitly acknowledged code of first principles is indispensible to such a compact as the federal league, which pre-supposes a general development among the contracting states. In this sense the common law was recognized by our ancestors, when the war of Independence first broke out, as a fraternal bond between the thirteen colonies; and in this sense it undoubtedly entered into the minds of those who framed the constitution in 1789. It was, in fact, the bone, fibre, and muscle of the common system. What it was then it has remained to this day. That states in which the common law formed originally no part of the municipal law, have since been admitted into the Union, does not alter this fact; for the Roman law, as in Louisiana, for example, has given way wherever repugnant to the genius of the common law. The common law, viewed in this comprehensive aspect, pervades our entire social organization, as atmospheric air pervades the surface of the globe;


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    in it we live, and move, and have our social being; without it, every one of the great social communities, which form together the federal nation, would perish as quickly as human life under the exhausted receiver of an air-pump. It is the subtle influence which holds the atoms of the federal republic together, invisible, indeed, intangible, but not the less potentially there. The solar system, which moves so melodiously through space, each planet keeping its appointed order, would, we are told, break into pieces, and each fragment rush wildly into chaos, if attraction should ever cease. Banish the common bond in morality, social life, and traditional ideas, which Americans derive from the common law, and the confederation will lose its cohesive power, though the constitutional forms of the different states may remain unaltered. With the common law, considered as we have regarded it, the alliance may be made perpetual; without any such common bond, disruption would be inevitable. Finally, any bond but that would involve us inextricably with all the social, political, and religious problems of the age, and so eventually lead to disunion as certainly as no bond at all.

    Polygamy is in violation of the common law. Our national development, socila life, and morals, all are hostile to it. To sanction it would not only be an error in policy, not only a crime against our well-being, but simply self-destruction. Polygamy is the vice of despots, and the mistake of semi-barbarous tribes; but to attempt to ingraft it on a free and civilized people would be suicidal. It pre-supposes what Nature proves to be a lie, an excess of the female sex so great, that in order to restore the equilibrium, each man must take at least two wives. For if it means any thing, it means this. But practically, polygamy can never become universal, because so far from there existing this disproportion in number between the sexes, the numbers are about equal -- the males being slightly in the excess, as if, by a wise provision of Nature, to correct the casualtiesof war and accident. Consequently, in countries where polygamy exists, it is a practice confined to the rich, and when not maintained by supplies from foreign nations, is carried out at the expense of the poor. For every additional female in the harems of the Oriental merchant, pashaw, or monarch, there must be one household the less among the indigent, if not one mutilated slave the more. Such a wrong as this can never be legalized in a community of equal rights. Nor is this all of the evil. Polygamy degenerates the race, vitiates the man, degrades the softer sex. The children of the rich, in countries blighted by polygamy, rarely excel in either physical stature, or intellectual capacity. The great men nearly always rise from the people, to whom polygamy is practically unknown. Even where the best blood of Caucasia, as in the harem of the Sultan, is mingled with the enervated current of the polygamist, the progeny is feeble, compared with the progeny born in proper wedlock. Nor is the custom more beneficial to him who practices it. The heir of Mahomet, in our day, looks like a French roue. But it is in its effect on the female that polygamy is most deleterious. It degrades her inexpressibly. All that is most lofty in womanhood, all that is most refined, all that is most pure, all that is most characteristic is stunted in its growth, even if its development is not absolutely prevented, by this unnatural, suicidal, brutish practice.

    To indorse polygamy, by admitting into the Union a state which legalizes it, would be to retrace our steps toward the past. But development is the law of our life, and has been, not only since our forefathers landed at Plymouth, but since the common law began. To stand still, much less to retrograde, would be fatal to us. It is a necessity of our existence to go forward. We say thia, not of territorial, but of social progress. In proportion as we Americans understand more thoroughly the great principles of our well-being -- in proportion as we act up to those principles, watching ourselves, denying ourselves, disciplining ourselves, just in that proportion will we attain toward national as well as private perfection, and contribute to work out the stupendous destiny which will manifestly be ours, if we do not prove false to God and to humanity. For the life of a people is like the life of a man, it is great and glorious, or the reverse, according as the eternal standards of right are observed or violated. It may not always be successful in the narrow sense of what is success, but it will be so in the wider meaning, as an immortal testimony against wrong, and therefore as a perpetual incentive to whatever is heroic, whatever is elevated, whatever is divine. Was it not better that Leonidas died at Thermopylae, that Latimer perished at the stake, instead of purchasing a few years of existence, the one by cowardice, the other by recantation? How many patriots, through all ages since, have been fired by the example of the first! How much does not religious liberty, and even political freedom -- for the two are inseparable -- owe to the grand words of the last to his fellow sufferer at the pile: "Be of good cheer, Brother Ridley, and play the man, for, by God's grace. we shall light such a beacon this day, in England, as shall not soon be put out." Nations, equally with men, pass away, but truth and justice are eternal. As it is better for one tempted to hold his right hand in the fire till it shrivels into parchment, rather than to subscribe a lie to his soul, so it is worthier for a people to fall gloriously, than to buy a life of pampered rottenness by violating their national conscience. But we Americans run no peril of martyrdom for doing right. Our only foes can be ourselves. For us to live truly, is to insure success, as well as to win immortal glory. We have but to follow out our national development, to adhere to the free progressive spirit of the common law, in order to make ourselves the greatest of nations, morally as well as physically. The genius of that old common law elevated our ancestors from Saxon thralls to independent yeomen; removed social and political evils, as a healthy circulation sloughs off the sores


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    of the human body; made England the freest commonwealth in Europe; led our grandsires to resist royal oppression as contrary to their inherited rights; enabled them to found a mighty republic, by teaching them to regard the practical before the visionary; and has carried these confederated states, in little more than a lifetime, to a height of prosperity and influence unprecedented in the annals of the world. Blessings on the genius of that old common law! Never had people such a heritage!

    And this brings us back to the point from which we started. The common law considered as a code of social and political morals, underlies the federal constitution, like the ground beneath the capitol underlies and sustains that edifice. It is, in one sense, no part of the structure, yet the fabric could not stand a day without it. To cut away any portion, to render it even unsound, would topple down the whole as if a quicksand should open and engulf it. The right to reject the Mormon association, therefore, is a right of self-preservation. To admit into the federal compact a state which sets aside any one of the great obligations of the common bond of brotherhood, would, we repeat, be virtually an act of suicide; and so our ancestors, who framed the constitution, would have doubtless declared, if they could have imagined the possibility of such a contingency. It would be sufficient cause for a withdrawal from the Union, because to remain would be to share in the guilt and ruin, and because no other remedy could be found. To deny this is to affirm an absurdity. For if there is nothing to prevent a state, which legalizes polygamy, from entering the Union, neither is there any thing to prevent one which allows promiscuous intercourse between the sexes, or one which is a community of murderers. The supposition of a common bond somewhere, which precludes such possibilities, is absolutely necessary to the integrity of the constitution, which without this, is but so much waste paper. That bond is not the Christian religion, as sometimes popularly asserted, for the Federal Government is committed to the toleration of all religions. It is not unity of race, for the race was never one, and is becoming more diverse every day. It is not any code of morals reduced to words and universally acknowledged, for no such code is extant on any statute-book, or in any ethical treatise. It is not climate, and consequent necessary similarity of life, for nearly all zones are embraced within our territorial limits. It is not equality of fortune, for almost as great a difference, in this respect, exists here as in Europe. But it is something to which most, if not all of these ingredients have contributed; something which has grown with the growth and strengthened the strength of the Anglo-Saxon from the earliest period of his history; something which all other races that come here, all other religions, all other ethical creeds, may assist to develop and improve, but cannot radically change -- the noble, venerable, humane, free old common law, considered, not simply as a bundle of dry precedents, but in its essential and life-giving principles, in its social, moral and political, as well as in its merely technical aspects.

    It has been asserted that this is not a civil, but a religious question, and that the United States, which is pledged to tolerate all creeds, is bound to protect the Mormons in the exercise of polygamy, because it is a tenet of the Mormon faith. But, if this opinion was correct, a Brahminical colony might erect a Juggernaut here, and immolate victims, without power in Congress to prevent it. They might hold a suttee in the very grounds of the capitol, and burn their shrieking victims within sight of the senators and representatives. They might expose the aged to be carried off by the tide of the Potomac, as they do to be washed down by the Ganges. The priests of Baal used to sacrifice children, by casting them alive into red-hot furnaces. If this doctrine was correct, men would have but to call themselves priests of Baal, and they might roast innocent babes to-morrow with impunity. Already there are thousands of Buddhists in California, who burn their tapers, and go through their genuflections, before their hideous deities, as undisturbed as if still in China. The day may come when these idolaters, by natural increase and by fresh emigrations, may attain to numbers necessary to found a state; may choose to segregate themselves, as would be natural, from the rest of the Pacific population; may settle on some of the unoccupied lands of that wild region, and may apply for admission into the American Union. There can be no question that, if they submitted in other things, their adherence to their idolatry would be no excuse for their exclusion. But there can be as little question, that, if they insisted on retaining child-murder, or preserved any of their grossly immoral religious practices, on the pretence that their faith authorized them, their petition would be rejected. For the constitution, though it tolerates all religions, tolerates them only in their religious aspects. No sect, or members of a sect, Christian or otherwise, can make their creed the excuse for unbridled license. The Moslems believe that he who dies fighting against the infidel goes straight to heaven. Would it be persecution to prevent fanatic Turks from slaughtering, right and left, like mad Malays, in our streets? There are some things too preposterous to discuss at length, and the assumption that Mormon polygamy must be permitted because it is a part of the Mormon creed, is one of the most ridiculous of these preposterous things.

    The Mormons have the less cause to complain, because polygamy, though legalized among them, is not a cardinal point of their faith. It is nowhere recommended in the Golden Book. It has never been made the subject of a general revelation. Its very existence was concealed at first by the writers of the sect. It is not a duty enjoined, but only a license permitted. It could be exscinded, therefore, from their social system, without compromising the scruples


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    of the most devout. No Mormon, for example, would consider that he sinned by confining himself to one wife. In parallel cases, men continually refrain from doing what they hold they have a right to do, out of respect to the laws, to a different social code, or even to popular prejudices. A Protestant thinks it no evil to eat meat on Friday. But a Protestant may fast on that day without the least peril to his soul, and at a Catholic table would do it as a matter of course. If a Mormon commonwealth desires to become a member of the great American family, it should expect to abandon a habit so repugnant to the majority. There is another aspect of the question, even more fatal to the Mormon claim. By asking for admission into the Union with the leprosy of polygamy upon them, the Mormons actually demand that the other states shall violate their consciences by consorting with what they abhor as unclean. Yet, for the Mormons to give up polygamy is not to violate their consciences, but simply to deny themselves a gratification. Again -- if the Mormons are admitted, every American not a Mormon will, by the act of admission, wink at what he believes a sin. If the Mormons surrender polygamy in order to be admitted, the most fanatical cannot accuse himself of guilt. In a word, the conscience of the Mormons runs no danger of being outraged: it is the conscience of the great body of the American people that is threatened with assault. It is not two hundred thousand who are in peril of persecution; but it is twenty-five millions, whom an inconsiderable minority desires to wrong. As water and oil will not mix, so neither can the American people and the Mormons live together in that brotherly concord which should reign over confederated states, unless polygamy is abolished by the latter. It was the "spiritual wife" system which, more than all else, exasperated the people of Missouri and Illinois. Against the continuance of this system -- policy, justice, and the common law, combine to protest.

    The decision of this great question has been evaded as yet, but it cannot be much longer postponed. The Mormons, immediately on the settlement of their new territory, proceeded to form themselves into a civil government, to adopt a constitution, and to petition for admission into the Union. The request, though declined by Congress, resulted in the organization of the territory of Utah. The forms of the Mormon constitution were strictly republican, but the government is, in reality, a modified theocracy. The civil power, practically, is subordinate to the spiritual -- for every Mormon acknowledges the chief elder to be a divinely commissioned authority, in temporal as well as in religious affairs. The first proceeding of the inhabitants, when they had established their commonwealth, was to elect Brigham Young governor, as his -- in obedience to the same conviction -- was to appoint the bishops of the several wards justices of the peace. Had President Taylor, when Utah was organized into a territory, commissioned any man governor who was not a Mormon, a collision between temporal and spiritual powers would have been inevitable. But he prudently continued Brigham Young in office

    If Utah becomes a state, the Mormons, being the majority of the population, can elect whom they please; but they will doubtless continue to choose their spiritual fathers, to the exclusion of all others. Practically, those who are not Mormons will, in that event, be shut out from all stations of public trust in Utah. Practically, the government will be that of a hierarchy, though retaining the name and working under the forms of a republic. In all this, however, there will be no violation of the constitution and laws. While other religions are tolerated -- while no illegal tests are put upon the statute book -- while equality of rights before the law is not denied, the citizen of Utah will practically have the same right to refuse voting for a candidate who is not a Mormon, as a Democrat has to decline voting for a Whig, or a Whig for a Democrat.

    The settlement of this Mormon question is one of the great problems of the day. But we must be cautious that, in adjusting it, we do not allow ourselves to commit a great national crime, by sanctioning polygamy. We must be as cautious that we do not, from fear of oppressing the weaker party, allow the Mormons to violate our consciences. We must, in a word, be strictly just -- let what will betide.


    - 1858 -




    Vol. II.                                             New York, February, 1858.                                             No. 2. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

         [ 112 ]




    A great deal has been written about the Mormons, and different works, none of which have ever been adopted as specific authority, have appeared, in all of which can be found more or less truth regarding the singular people who have adopted this strange delusion. A few years ago it made but little national difference whether we were informed of the peculiarities of the Mormons, but now that they have grown into what may termed a powerful people, and have raised the standard of rebellion against the government, it becomes the duty of every citizen to be thoroughly informed, that a correct public opinion, which is the supreme law of the land, may be brought effectively to correct the evils which now fester as a sore upon our social system, and as a canker is eating into our political organization.

    The federal government is no doubt to be justly blamed for much of the evil which will grow out of this Mormon difficulty. The appointment of Brigham Young, the chief of the "Latter Day Saints," to the office of United States Territorial Governor, was an unpardonable error, for the office is naturally paternal in its character, possessed of vast power, and in the hands of a man like Young, could easily be used, as it has been, to foster the outrages of a licentious code, give the sanction of law to a system that is a disgrace to the intelligence of the nineteenth century, and made the free, enlightened and Christianized people of the United States responsible for abuses, social and moral, such as have never found parallel elsewhere in all the history of mankind.

    Mormonism is of such recent date, that its origin is not involved in any secrecy; A short sketch of its rise, though often given, may not be uninteresting. In the year 1809, a man by the name of Solomon Spaulding, a graduate of Dartmouth CoIlege, a dreamy enthusiast, at one time a preacher and at another time a dealer in dry goods, moved from Cherry Valley in the State of New York, to the romantic county known as Ashtabula county, Ohio, Here he found himself surrounded with some of the most interesting Indian remains that are to be found in the valley of the Mississippi. Imaginative, and of considerable acquired information, he soon, from his early religious education and natural sympathies, adopted the theory that has been

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    vigorously if not ably supported by many writers, that our aborigines were the lost tribes of Israel, and once conceiving this notion, it was a source of gratification to him to people the mounds he saw with the original inhabitants, and, among other things, he conceived the idea, which he eventually carried out, of writing a fictitious history of "the ancient race." Having settled upon his plan, he styled his work the "Manuscript Found," and represented that it was discovered by him while hunting among the Indian remains in the neighborhood, and that in its translation he had endeavored to imitate the style in which it was written, which was evidently formed by his biblical studies. In this work he describes the departure of a family of Jews -- the father Lehi, and four sons, Laman, Lemuel, Sam and Nephi, with their wives -- from Jerusalem into the wilderness, in the reign of Zedekiah, and after various wanderings, their voyage to the Western Continent, under the leadership of Nephi, one of the brothers. On their journey and voyage they became distracted by dissensions, which in America. resulted in their division into hostile tribes, which branched out and populated the country, built up large cities, engaged in fierce wars, and underwent various changes and revolutions. Laman appears to have been the focus of disaffection in this imaginary family, and his descendants became a very powerful nation or tribe, under the name of Lamanites, engaging frequently in wars, and destroying the country and cities of the more peaceable Nephites. The frequency of these wars eventually broke up and destroyed the regular avocations of peace; the people became barbarized and split up into predatory bands, plundering and murdering each other, until, in fine, they degenerated, into the vagabond Indians of the American Continent. Beside the designations already mentioned, the names of Mormon, Moroni, Mosiah, Heleman, and others, frequently occur in the

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    book, and represent the heroes, prophets, and great men who figured in this drama. As Spaulding progressed with his work, he was in the habit of amusing himself and sundry of his neighbors by reading them his manuscript, and he evidently took advantage of their observations in making alterations and additions. He labored upon it for about three years, at the end which time he removed, in the year 1812, to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he became intimate with a printer by the name of Patterson, in whose hands he placed the work with the design having it published. Probably a want of faith in its being paying speculation delayed its publication, and it became, as is often the case with an author's labors, a familiar roll of paper in the printing office. Among the journeymen, was Sidney Rigdon, a man of great natural ability, a kind of religious Ishmaelite not uncommon on the frontiers; sometimes he was a "Campbellite preacher," sometimes a printer, and at all times fond of technical disputations in theology. In his leisure he used to read Spaulding's manuscript, and finally became so thoroughly imbued with its spirit, and so charmed with its ideas, that, as he has frequently stated, he copied it entire that he might have its contents in his possession.

    No satisfactory contract appears ever to have been made to bring out Spaulding's work; at least it was delayed for some reason or another until the author was obliged to move, when he settled in Washington county, New York [sic], in 1816. What became of the original manuscript does not appear, as both Spaulding and Patterson died in 1826. According to a statement of Mrs. Spaulding, made in 1839, it was taken from Pittsburg by her husband, and after his death remained with other papers in her possession. This lady subsequently married again, and the papers were left in Otsego county, but on search being made for them in the year 1839, by some persons interested in exposing the pretensions of Joe Smith, who was then beginning in localities to attract attention, the document could not be found.

    In the year 1815, the father of Joseph Smith, Jr., came with his family of boys from the county of Windsor, Vermont, to Palmyra, New York, from which he subsequently removed to Manchester , in the county of Ontario, remaining in both places about eleven years. He was a laboring man, and professed to be a farmer, but he manufactured and peddled baskets and wooden bowls, and, withal, his employments appears to have been of a miscellaneous character, not very consistent with regular industry. The members of the family were held in light estimation of their neighbors, some of whom subsequently described them as "notorious for breach of contracts and the repudiation of their honest debts. "

    Joseph, was ten years old when the family first settled in Palmyra, and, as represented by those hostile to his subsequent pretensions, he grew up among bad associates, totally averse to anything in the shape of regular industry, and a ready adept in the art of "living by one's wits." His physiognomy indicates sensuality and cunning, in which latter trait his mind was unusually versatile, He reflected great mystery in his movements; pretended to the gift of discovering hidden treasures, and the possession of seer-stones by which they could be found; traveled about the country, appearing and disappearing in a mysterious manner; possessed a plausible and wordy jargon, by which many minds are easily captivated; and, in various ways, cheated and robbed sundry simpletons, who were persuaded to credit his pretensions. Nor did he confine his attention to any single branch of the business of deception, but allowed himself to be drawn in to the work of pseudo-religious revival, and became quite wordy in the vocabulary of hypocritical cant. On the other hand, his subsequent followers allege, that though of very humble origin, and of extremely limited education, he was of retired habits and religiously disposed; that as early as fifteen years of age, he began seriously to reflect upon the necessity of being prepared for a future state of existence, spending much of his time in prayer and acts of devotion."

    During Smith's searching operations for the discovery of hidden treasure, it is probable that he exhumed some of the curious glyphs which now figure so widely in the list of American antiquities. These consist of metallic plates covered with hieroglyphical characters. A number of similar remains were found in 1848, in Pike county, Illinois, and described as "six plates of brass of a bell or pear shape, each having a hole near the smaller end, and a ring through all, to which was fastened two clasps. The ring and clasps appeared to be iron, very much oxydated. The plates first appeared to be copper, and had the appearance of being covered with characters. A subsequent cleansing by sulphuric acid brought out the engraving distinctly." It seems to be strongly confirmed that Smith discovered one of these singular specimens of American antiquity, in the fact, that soon after the alleged discovery of the Golden Bible, he sent Martin Harris to Professor Anthon with characters which, according to the professor's description, are identical with those which appear upon them.

    In the course of his wanderings Smith met with and formed the acquaintance of Sidney Rigdon. According to that view of the case which proceeds upon the hypothesis that he was an impostor, it would not be unreasonable to believe that these two men together conceived the idea of starting a system of religious imposture upon a scale commensurate with the popular credulity. Conjointly they possessed, in mercantile phrase, the requisite capital for such an adventure, Smith; had cunning, plausible volubility, seer stones, mysterious antiquities, and withal, the prestige of success; Sidney was versed in the lights and shadows" of religious verbiage, had some literary pretensions, was a printer, and, above all, had a copy of Spaulding's book. Which started the idea of the Golden Bible is not known, though in all likelihood the credit is due to Smith, as he ever after maintained the ascendency in the new hierarchy. After the plan had assumed a definite form and shape in the minds of the originators, it was easy for Joseph, in his perambulations, to trace out and secure the original manuscript of Spaulding to guard the intended scheme from exposure, and the lapse of time and the death of many of the parties who knew about the original manuscript made it safe to dispense with any important alterations in the new Bible.

    To Smith was reserved the honor of making the first open demonstration, because success in deception had rendered him bold and skilful. Rigdon, it was agreed, was not to come in until afterward, and then as a convert. The time was favorable, a large number of persons had been looking for the last days; the seeds of Millerism had been planted, and when a prophet appeared who professed to have discovered a Golden Bible; proclaiming the destruction of all things, a power of attorney for the creation of a new priesthood, the gathering of the saints, the display of miraculous power, what could, be devised for a more popular superstition?

    But those who regarded the new dispensation with faith in its Divine origin, argued that in 1823 Smith had a vision in which an angel appeared and announced to him that he was to be the chosen instrument in introducing a new dispensation; that the American Indians were a remnant of the Israel, who after emigrating to this country, had their prophets and inspired writings; that such of those writings as had not been destroyed were safely deposited in an appointed place; that they contained revelation of the latter days, and that if Smith remained faithful, he was to be the chosen instrument to translate their contents to the world. The next day an angel appeared, informed him where the plates were, and told him to go and possess them, accordingly, Smith went to a hill about four miles from Palmyra, State of New York, on the west side of which he dug down and came upon a stone box, so firmly cemented that the moisture could not enter. In this box the records were found deposited. On being exposed to view, the angel, of course, appeared, and there was a wonderful display of celestial pyrotechnics, and the prophet was permitted to see the devil, "surrounded by his innumerable train of associates."

    By the kindness of H. K. Heydon, Esq. living at Newark, Wayne co., New York, we are able to present to our readers a daguerreotype view of the spot where the plates were buried, and subsequently exhumed. Mr. Heydon says that the view was taken by him in the fall of 1853, The hill is on the plank road leading from Palmyra to Canandaigua, and just four miles from the first named place, The view is of the north side, which is the highest and steepest part, as the hill running south gradually descends until it is lost in the plains. Joe Smith dug in the earth, but says he found the plates while ploughing. The hole, at the time the daguerreotype was taken, was still visible (it can be just seen in our engraving, on the right of the house, as you ascend the hill; though almost

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    filled up, there was a little knoll and a slight depression still apparent in the sod. The authenticity of the picture makes it deservedly interesting. Strange to say, although Joe Smith, according to his own statement, had seen the plates, he was not permitted to obtain possession of them until the 22d of September, 1827, and then, not until after a great deal of negotiation between him and the angel, were they placed in his possession. The following is a description of these important documents, by Orson Pratt, one of the Mormon champions: "These records were engraved on plates which had the appearance of gold. Each plate was not far from seven by eight inches in width and length, being not quite as thick as common tin. They were filled on both sides with engravings in Egyptian characters, and bound together in a volume as the leaves of a book, and fastened at one edge with three rings running through the whole. The volume was near six inches in thickness, a part of which were sealed. The characters or letters upon the unsealed part were small and beautifully engraved. The whole book exhibited many marks of antiquity in its construction, as well as much skill in the art of engraving. With the records was found a curious instrument, called by the ancients the Urim and Thummim, which consisted of two transparent stones, clear as crystal, set in the two rims of a bow. This was in use in ancient times by persons called seers. It was an instrument by the use of which they received revelation of things distant, or of things past or future.'"

    It is now necessary to notice that the "Manuscript Found," fell under the notice of Rigdon somewhere between the years 1812 and 1826, in which latter year Spaulding died. Between this and 1827 there was ample time not only to trace out and gain possession of the original manuscript, but to add to the matter such things as were necessary to carry out the contemplated fraud, the whole of which, with the exception of liberal extracts from the Bible, as a literary performance is beneath criticism. Patterson died in 1826 [sic], and the new Bible could consequently be published to the world without risk of exposure from the only person who could at that time identify and make plain the fraud.

    Everything having been completed, Smith boldly exhibited the external form of the Bible, which, however, no unsanctified hands were allowed to touch. The wonderful discovery, as might have been expected, soon raised a popular commotion. The news of the finding of the golden plates spread throughout the rural neighborhoods. False reports, misrepresentations, and loose slanders flew in every direction, as if on the wings of the wind. Joe Smith's house was beset by mobs, several times he was shot at, and very narrowly escaped with his life. Every device was used by outside parties to get possession of the plates, and finally becoming alarmed, he determined to remove to Pennsylvania. Accordingly he packed up his goods, hid the plates in a barrel of beans, and started on his journey. Very soon Smith was arrested by an officer with a search warrant, but the official failed to find the "sacred revelation," and after various adventures he reached the settlement on the Susquehanna river, where his father-in-law and Sidney Rigdon resided.

    Joseph being thus quietly housed, and, thanks to the beans, the plates safe in his hands, he proceeded to the work of translation; but, being a poor penman, he soon provided himself with a scribe in the person of Oliver Cowdry, who subsequently became one of the witnesses to the verity of the book. He stationed himself behind a. screen, with the "Urim and Thummim" in his hat, and read off sentence after sentence, which Cowdry wrote down as an amanuensis. This process occupied a number of years. During the work of translation, and on the 15th of May, 1830, John the Baptist appeared and laid hands on Smith and Cowdry, ordaining them into the Aaronic priesthood, and commanded them to baptize each other, which they accordingly did; at the same time, he informed them that he was sent by Peter, James and John, who held the keys of the Melchisedech priesthood, which was to be conferred in due time; Smith to be first, and Cowdry second elder. The thing began now to assume more form and shape. The family of the prophet's father were specially converteud; and, out of this family circle, a man of some property , by the name of Martin Harris, who had been a Quaker, Methodist, Baptist, and finally Presbyterian, was so much captivated with the scheme, that he advanced some money to aid in the publication of the book. Harris had a strong desire to see the wonderful plates. The prophet, however, put him off, on the representation that the ground on which they stood was not holy enough, but gave him the transcript of some of the characters on a piece of paper, which the admiring disciple submitted to the inspection of Professor Anthon, of New York, who upon examination of the documents, pronounced the whole thing transparent humbug.

    "This paper in question," says the learned professor, "was, in fact, a singular scroll. It consisted of all kinds of curious characters, disposed in columns, and held evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets, Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes; Roman letters inverted, or placed sideways were arranged and placed in perpendicular columns; and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, arched with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican calendar, given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived. I am thus particular as to the contents of the paper, inasmuch as I have frequently conversed with my friends on the subject since the Mormon excitement began, and well remember that the paper contained anything else but Egyptian hieroglyphics."

    The friends of Smith dwelt much upon the fact that an illiterate young man could fluently dictate in a connected series a voluminous work, but all cause of astonishment is removed when we regard him as reading from Spaulding's manuscript; but to those who will not admit this assistance, that the prophet's power partakes of the miraculous, this seeming wonder has been one of the strongest proof, of his mission. In the conventional sense of the term, Joe Smith was an uneducated man, his knowledge acquired from books was very limited. "How could I," he would say, "an illiterate impostor, attempt to impose upon the intelligence of the nineteenth century." But in this very confession be exhibited his intuitive wisdom the weak traits of humanity; in which, in fact, he had more available learning than all the closet men put together. His own autobiography shows him well studied at an early period in the nice shades and differences of modern sectarian creeds, and subsequent developments proved him well read in the history of Mahommed and other religious impostors. He would undoubtedly have excelled in such other pursuits as were suited to his disposition and tastes. As a gambler, he would have exhibited unrivalled dexterity; as a trader, he would have been skilful sharper; as a military man, a master of strategy; as politician, an adroit whipper-in; and as a policeman, a Vidoeq in the discovery of stolen goods and the entrapping of thieves.

    The book of Mormon was given to the world in the year 1830, with the following notice attached , written by one "the Apostles." "The Book of Mormon contains the history of the ancient inhabitants of America, who were a branch of the house of Israel, of the tribe of Joseph, of whom the Indians are still a remnant; but the principal nation of them having fallen in battle in the fourth or fifth century, one of their prophets, whose name was Mormon saw fit to make an abridgment of their history, their prophecies, and their doctrines, which he engraved on plates, and afterward being slain, the records fell into the hands of his son Moroni, who being hunted by his enemies, was directed to deposit the records safely in the earth, with a promise from God that it could be preserved, and should be brought to light in the latter days by means of a Gentile nation who should possess the land. The deposit was made about the year 420, on a hill called the Cumora, now in Ontario county, where it was preserved in safety until it was brought to light by no less than the ministry of angels, and translated by inspiration; and the great Jehovah bore record of the same to chosen witnesses, who declare it to the world."

    From time to time Joe Smith commenced the career of a prophet, and at once established a visible church. A melancholy picture of human degradation is suggested as you follow him and his deluded victims through their first struggles, and watch them rising from the obscurity of the country village to assume an importance, which in a quarter of a century has rendered the rise and progress of the Mormons the most extraordinary phenomenon of the nineteenth century. The plan of our article

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    Will not permit us to go into full details of the beginning of this moral leprosy. Soon After the appearance of the Mormon Bible, Joe Smith organized a church in Ontario, New York. His character and that of his followers being well known, in the following year he removed to Kirtland, Ohio, where he made a temporary abiding-place, until the "Great West" could be explored and a locality selected which would justify an establishment equal to the increasing demand. Independence, in the State of Missouri, was selected, and the prophet, who had now commenced receiving messages direct from heaven, had a vision in which he was instructed to build a temple on the site of this new Zion. In a short time the saints numbered twelve hundred persons, the settlement rapidly increased, and the spirit of arrogance began to display itself, which has since ripened into open rebellion against the federal government. Among other things the Mormon paper at the at time published contained a series of incendiary articles regarding the colored population, which aroused the jealousy of the slave-holders, and they held a meeting and resolved on the expulsion of the Mormons. No compromise was permitted, the multitude assembled, leveled the printing-office to the ground, and tarred and feathered two of the principal saints.

    This persecution gave exactly the kind of aid needed for a rapid accumulation of numbers. New converts flocked in and sympathizers were found in all the surrounding country. The temporary home which was afforded the saints in Clay county, soon became so overstocked with disciples that the respectable "Gentiles" became alarmed. The people found that they had in their midst an ignorant, clannish population, combined together by religious fanaticism, arrogant and overbearing in their pretensions, and completely under control of a single will. The result was that the Mormons were finally driven from the State of Missouri. It was at this time that Smith established the formidable band of ruffians, bound

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    together to commit any, violence, however horrible, if by command of the prophet, whose business it was to inflict vengeance upon the Gentiles. This band was termed The Danites or Brothers of Gideon -- men who have since been prominent Utah, in the murder of Americans and others who have fallen by the hands of the Mormons. In the legal suits instituted this time before the Mormon courts, accumulated evidence furnished that the prophet had, even at that early day, infused into the hearts of his followers a fanatical belief in the pretensions of the saints, and extravagant notions of their future greatness, which has ripened and brought forth the present rebellion against the authorities of the United States.

    The Illinoisans received the saints with undisguised favor; persecution brought converts, old and new, from all quarters. Nauvoo was founded, and in about one year from their involuntary exile from Missouri, fifteen thousand saints had settled in and about the city. The prophet now got a revelation to build a temple, in which was to be a fount especially appropriated to the new doctrine of the "baptism of the dead:" Everything prospered, the city received from the Legislature of Illinois a charter of great privileges, among which was the right of raising a military force, to be armed by the State, and to be commanded by the prophet as lieutenant-general.

    Reviews were held from time to time, and Joseph began to appear with a splendid staff, surrounded by all the pomp and circumstance of a high military commander. The Mormon community at this period presented a spectacle of much apparent prosperity; increasing number, great industry among the masses, an efficient military organization the protection and favor of a powerful State, and its chief a candidate for the Presidency of the United States. It was a strange combination of incongruous materials; a festering mass of ignorance, discontent, hypocrisy, chicanery, licentiousness, and crime.

    The Gentiles were held up daily to ridicule, and in all preaching to speedy destruction, and of no more intrinsic value than the felon already condemned to execution. Under such circumstances was it very strange a saint occasionally anticipated events and made free with property not his own? Accordingly there rose complaints against the saints from the surrounding Gentiles, which included almost every crime known to the criminal calendar. But the most fruitful element of internal commotion and which led immediately to the prophet's death, was the introduction of polygamy as one of the numerous privileges of the saints. This extraordinary addition to the collection of Mormon doctrines and practices, grew legitimately out of the character of Joseph himself, who was constitutionally a combination of cunning and sensuality.

    The prophet was aware that he was entering upon a ticklish experiment even with his own disciples, to say nothing of the Gentiles; and he prefaced its reception by pretending to be in great trouble. He told some of his most influential followers; that if they knew what a hard and unpalatable revelation he had had, they would drive him from the city. The heavenly powers, however, were not to be trifled with, and a day was appointed when the important mandate was to be submitted to a convocation of the authorities of the church. The time arrived; the priests and elders convened; but Joseph, in virtuous desperation, concluded rather to flee the city than be the medium of communicating a matter so repugnant to his mind. He mounted his horse and galloped from the town, but was met by an angel with a drawn sword and threatened with instant destruction unless he immediately went back and fulfilled his mission. He returned, accordingly, in submissive despair, and made the important communication to the assembled notables. This revelation, of course, legalized Joseph's numerous left-hand marriages already contracted, and gave a general license for future matrimonial enjoyments. Brigham Young was the first who followed Smith's example, H. C. Kimball the second. Hyrum Smith, it is said, utterly refused to give the doctrine his sanction, and remained faithful and devoted until death to his first and only wife.

    In the meantime it became essential to prepare the saints generally, and after them the Gentiles, for the reception of this

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    diabolical revelation. This was the origin of what has been called the spiritual wife doctrine. A man could have a dozen spiritual wives, but it was found inconvenient to allow a woman to have the same number of spiritual husbands. Collisions growing out of this kind of license became bitter animosities; and accordingly we find them very soon accusing one another of the most scandalous practices.

    A trial for slander before the municipal court of Nauvoo, exposed the scandalous practices of the people, and developed the fact that Joe Smith had attempted to ruin the wife of Dr. Foster, who, with the assistance of another person, established a paper and attempted to prove, in this public manner, the charge against the prophet. Joseph was too absolute in his own dominions quietly to submit to such an insult. As mayor of Nauvoo, he assembled the city authorities and caused this audacious press to be pronounced a nuisance, and ordered it to be abated; and in obedience to the mandate; the marshal with a posse, leveled the establishment to the ground. Foster and his coadjutors fled, and in revenge for these summary injuries; procured a warrant for the arrest of Joseph and Hyrum Smith and some others. The prophet refused to acknowledge the validity of the Gentile document, and the officer who was in charge was unceremoniously expelled from the city. The militia of the county were thereupon ordered out to support the officer in the execution of his process, and the Mormons in Nauvoo and its vicinity prepared to defend the prophet. The excitement rapidly spread, the militia of the adjacent counties were summoned, the governor repaired to the scene of disturbance, and then commenced the second great collision between Mormonism and the established laws of the land.

    The result was as might be expected, the Governor of Illinois triumphed. Joe Smith was finally persuaded, to avoid bloodshed, to surrender to the constituted authorities, which he did, and he with Hyrum Smith and other saints were lodged in jail. About six o' clock on the evening of the 27th of June, 1844, the guard of the jail was surprised by an armed party of some two hundred men disguised with paint, who forced the prison and assassinated the prophet and Hyrum Smith. Thus perished the chief founder of Mormonism. Stripped of his disgusting associations, it must be admitted that he possessed some extraordinary traits of character; which would seem to be established by the success attending the strange hierarchy originated by him. In 1827, he announced the discovery of the Golden Book, when only twenty-two years of age; and at the time of his death in 1844, his followers must have numbered over one hundred thousand. To operate on so many minds, even though upon a low plane and easily affected by the marvelous, bring them under a distinct organization, a.nd sway them at will, in the very midst of hostile influences, prove that he had some mental powers, which we are compelled to respect, however much we may condemn the motives by which he was influenced.

    The news of the violent death of the prophet; introduced the wildest state of grief, apprehension and indignation among the saints of Nauvoo. Total disorganization was apprehended. Brigham Young, since so notorious as chief in Utah, was now left in a most influential position, and he with others successfully quieted the exasperation. Under wise councils the Mormons were advised to remain quiet; if they had acted otherwise they would have been swept from the land. Brigham Young after overcoming all opposition, was elected president of the church on the 7th of October, 1844, and peace was apparently restored. The great temple was erected from white limestone; wrought in a superior style; was one hundred and twenty-eight by eighty-eight feet square; nearly sixty feet high; two stories in the clear, and two half stories in the recesses over the arches; form tiers of windows -- two Gothic and two round. The two great stories each had two pulpits, one at each end, to accommodate the Melchisedek and Aaronic priesthoods, graded into four rising seats; the first for the president of the elders and his two counselors; the second, for the president of the high priesthood and his two counselors; the third for the Melchisedek president and his two counselors; and the fourth for the president over the whole church (the first president) and his two counselors. This highest seat is where the Scribes and Pharisees used to crowd in "to Moses' seat." The Aaronic pulpit at the other end the same. The steeple or dome was between one and two hundred feet high. The fount in the basement story was for the baptism of the living, for health, for remission of sin and for the salvation of the dead, as was Solomon's temple, and all temples which God commands to be built. Although the saints were quiet, not so with the surrounding people of Illinois. It was believed among them that the Mormons had not only resisted the administration of the laws, but that they had made their capitol the depository of stolen goods, and that the people within its walls were guilty of every conceivable crime. It was in vain that the Mormons protested their innocence; matters were now approaching a crisis. Brigham Young was first to perceive that the constitution of his church could never sustain itself peaceably under the laws of the land. He accordingly made diligent efforts to prepare the minds of the saints for removal beyond the jurisdiction of the United States.

    This was no difficult task The Mormons had become in some degree a nomadic race, they had broken the ties of kindred and home to gather around their fancied Zion; many of them had left one part of Missouri for another, and then had removed to Nauvoo; some had wandered from beyond the broad Atlantic; and could not, within a few years form very strong local attachments. Superadded to all this was an intense hatred to the United States, some of whose citizens had inflicted upon them the sufferings, losses and persecutions of which they complained, and whose government had failed to afford them redress. So intense was this feeling, that they looked exultingly forward to the fulfillment of prophecy, which remorselessly consigned the country to one vast and common ruin, under the visitations of earthquakes, fires, famine, pestilence and civil wars, from the offended majesty of heaven. In the meantime Brigham Young commenced making preparations for the entire removal of the Mormons to some good valley in the neighborhood of the Rocky Mountains. Much ability was displayed in the arrangements’. The saints were divided into different companies, to move at different times. Places were selected in the Indian country, among the Omahas and Potawatomies, as recruiting points and resting places. The first band, consisting of two thousand persons, crossed the Mississippi on the ice in February, 1846. The pioneer band encountered much severe weather and suffering. Other detachments followed from time to time during the season. Great Salt Lake Valley was ultimately fixed upon as the new Mormon Zion, and an advance colony of four thousand souls arrived there in July, 1847, and went to work diligently to irrigate the land and plant crops.

    Those who still remained at Nauvoo continued the work upon the temple, deeming the completion of that edifice necessary to the fulfillment of prophecy. This excited the jealousy of the surrounding people, and a thousand rumors followed that the Mormons did not intend to leave the State. But little was wanting to fan the flame fiercer than ever. One form of violence succeeded to another still more and more flagrant, and finally the luckless saints who yet lingered within the walls of Nauvoo were regularly besieged in September, 1846, and, after fighting two or three days, were driven from the place. They made their way in the best manner they could, under circumstances of much difficulty and suffering, to the temporary settlements west of the Missouri.

    Once more, then, we find these strange people fugitives from their homes, and now seeking an abiding-place deep in the recesses of savage life. The question naturally occurs, Were they really persecuted on account of their religion, or were their habits and practices such as made them intolerable in any civilized community? They had essayed to establish themselves in different States of the Union, and the result would seem to prove that, for some reason, they cannot exist in contact with republican institutions -- that they present a combination of the elements of popular superstition and fanaticism, which, in its constitution find government, must necessarily interfere with the rights of the citizen and come into collision with the laws of the land. It was, in fact, the strange anomaly of an independent power within the bosom of the State, which, like a camp of soldiers, believed itself entitled to live at free quarters upon the surrounding population.

    Early in the spring of 1847, a pioneer band of one hundred and forty-three men, with seventy wagons, started on their

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    westward journey, with all the means and appliances for forming a settlement. They reached the valley of Great Salt Lake in July, laid the foundation of their present capital, and put in extensive crops for the future necessities of the incoming Saints. Others followed at short intervals, and some four thousand people became the inhabitants of the valley during that year. In 1848, nearly all that remained made their way to the new land of promise. Fortunately, the land cost them nothing, and all the money and goods saved from the wreck of their property at Nauvoo they were able to devote to other uses than acquiring a property in the soil.

    After the pioneer company reached Salt Lake; Young addressed the saints "throughout the world." In it the saints were required not only to assemble at a common centre, but to come provided for all possible emergencies. Among other things it said: ... "Come immediately, and prepare to go West, bringing with you all kinds of choice seeds of grain, vegetables, fruits, shrubbery, trees, and vines -- everything that will please the eye, gladden the heart, or cheer the soul of man, that grows upon the face of the whole earth; also, the best stock of beast, bird, and fowl of every kind; also, the best tools of every description, and machinery for spinning or weaving, and dressing cotton, wool, flax, and silk, &c., &c., or models and descriptions of the same, by which they can construct them; and the same in relation to all kinds of farming utensils and husbandry, such as corn-shellers, grain-thrashers and cleaners, smut-machines, mills, and every implement and article within their knowledge that shall tend to promote the comfort, health, happiness, or prosperity of any people."

    It is owing to the comprehensive views of this address being measurably carried out that we find so many of the conveniences and appliances of civilized life in the great Basin. The saints meantime went on gathering as fast as distance and other circumstances would permit. But many were poor, and, especially in Great Britain, were unable to defray the expenses of so great a journey without material aid. This want gave rise to the establishment of a vast project, the successful accomplishment of which deservedly calls forth the most profound admiration; for the manner the Mormons have conducted their emigration from Europe to Salt Lake city, displays sagacity and foresight that has never been equaled in the removal of large numbers of people. The strictest economy has ever been observed, and the object to be accomplished has been brought about by the most direct means. The time selected for the departure from Liverpool has always been so arranged that the emigrants have arrived on the frontiers between April and June, sufficiently early to cross the plain and the mountains before the winter sets in. When a sufficient number of applications have been received by the agent, the passengers; are notified by printed circulars, embracing instructions to them how to proceed.

    In contracting for a vessel, it is agreed that tthe passengers shall go on board on the day of their arrival in Liverpool, which protects them from robbers and sharpers. When the passengers are on board, the agent , who is always a president of the church, proceeds to organize a committee of men who have been to Salt Lake and have been to sea. These men are received by the emigrants with implicit confidence. The committee then proceed to divide the ship into wards, over which an elder or priest is placed, While at sea, the presidents of the various wards see that the passengers rise at five or six o'clock, cleanse the specified portions of the snip, and throw all rubbish over board. This attended to, prayers are then offered, breakfast partaken of, and this constant discipline is carried out in the incidents of the entire day. People of experience amuse the passengers by histories of their travels, lectures on various subjects are delivered, the Sabbath is spent in worship. "There is one thing which in the opinion of the emigration committee of the House of Commons, they the (L. D. Saints) can do, viz. teach Christian ship-owners how to send poor people decently, cheaply and healthfully across the Atlantic."

    On arriving at New Orleans, the emigrants are received by an agent of the church, who procures suitable steamboats for them to proceed on their way without unnecessary detention. From St. Louis they are forwarded to Keokuk, in Iowa, or Independence, in Missouri, where they find teams, which have already been prepared, waiting to receive their luggage. Ten individuals are allotted to one wagon and one tent. The cattle are purchased of cattle-dealers in the western settlements; a full team consists of two yoke of oxen and two cows. Each wagon is supplied with one thousand pounds of flour, fifty pounds of sugar, fifty pounds of rice, thirty pounds of beans, twenty pounds dried apples and peaches, five pounds of tea, one gallon of vinegar, ten bars of soap, and twenty-five pounds of salt. These articles, and the milk from the cows, game caught on the plains, and the pure water from the streams, furnish to hundreds better diet, and more of it, than they enjoyed in their native lands, while toiling from ten to eighteen hours per day for their living. Other emigrants, who have means , of course, purchase what they please, such as dried herrings, pickles, molasses, and more dried fruit and sugar, all of which are very useful; and there is every facility for obtaining them from New Orleans to the edge of the plains. As soon as a sufficient number of wagons can be got ready, and all things are prepared, the company of companies move off under their respective captains. The agent remains on the frontiers until all the companies are started, and then he goes forward himself, passing the companies one by one, and arrives in the Valley first to receive them there, and conduct them into Great Salt Lake City. We shall not detail further under this head as we shall have occasion to do it upon the route.

    From the review we have taken of the modus operandi of the emigration, although we have merely glanced at the framework, it will be readily seen that it is of no ordinary magnitude, but brings into requisition, directly and indirectly, the labor of hundreds of individuals, besides the emigrants themselves, and at the present time involves an outlay of not less than $160,000 to $250,000 each year, an amount nevertheless small, when the number of emigrants and the distance are considered. It is only by the most careful, prudent, and economical arrangements that such a number of persons could be transported from their various British and European homes across the Atlantic Ocean, and three thousand miles into the interior of America with such a sum of money.

    The road across the plains to Salt Lake Valley is diversified by many, remarkable natural curiosities; they are perhaps unequalled by any similar exhibitions on our continent . One of the most remarkable is Chimney Rock, situated on the south side of the Platte river: This irregular conformation must have at one time been a part of the main chain of bluffs bounding the valley of the Platte, and has been separated by the action of water. It consists of a conical elevation of about one hundred feet high, from the apex rises a nearly circular and perpendicular shaft of clay, now from thirty-five to forty feet high. At one time it was visible forty miles distance, but the lightning, or some other cause, broke down the shaft and left only a portion of its original height standing. On the right of the rock the wagons of an emigrant train are technically, in corall, which is the order observed while camping . When danger is suddenly apprehended from Indians, the cattle are driven inside the corall, but the slightest noise from a dog or a wolf, or any unaccountable circumstance, often causes a stampede, in which the cattle, break down the wagons and rush madly from the camp, endangering the lives of the emigrants, and frequently never stop their career until they are lost to their owners, or fall dead. The stampede is one of the most serious misfortunes encountered by the emigrants across the plains.

    Laramie's Peak is remarkable elevation, the top of which is generally covered with snow; it is often seen across the plains at the distance of a hundred miles. Fort Laramie formerly belonged to the North American Fur Trade Company, but was purchased in the year 1849 by the United States, and now has a barracks capable of accommodating one hundred troops. Rock Independence is an immense mass of granite, standing in bold relief on the plains, famous as being connected with Col. Fremont's expeditions. Four miles beyond is the "Devil's Gate," where the Sweet Water river forces its way through a narrow gorge not more than forty feet wide, with perpendicular granite walls on either side of nearly four hundred feet. Through this narrow pass the river brawls and frets over broken masses of rock, that obstruct its passage, Affording one of the most lovely, cool and refreshing retreats from the eternal sunshine without, that the imagination could desire.

    120                                   FRANK  LESLIE'S  NEW,  FAMILY  MAGAZINE.                                  

    It is difficult to account for the river having forced its passage through the rocks at this point, as the hills, a very short distance to the south, are much lower, and according to present appearance, present by no means such serious obstacles as had been here encountered. It is probable that when the canyon was formed, stratified rocks obstructed it in that direction, and that these rocks have since disappeared by slow disintegration.

    Bridger's Fort is a small trading post belonging to Major James Bridger, one of the oldest mountaineers in the region. The fort is built in the usual form, with pickets, the lodging apartments opening into the interior. A high fence incloses the yard, into which the animals of the establishment are driven for protection both from wild beasts and Indians. This place has become familiar to the people of the country from the fact that here the Mormons found a large quantity of food, which at the commencement of their rebellion they destroyed, for fear it would fall into the possession of the United States troops.

    The fastnesses and gorges of the Rocky, Wahsatch, Humboldt, Sierra Nevada, and other mountains, reveal scenes, as they are explored, equal in interest to any that have yet been discovered by civilized eyes. The gorges, or canyons, some of which have perpendicular walls from SL.""( hundred to fifteen hundred feet high, present pictures of the utmost wildness. They are in some instances nearly half a mile wide, and in others only a few rods, which would, if necessary; enable a handful of resolute men to defend them against a host. We give a sketch of Parley's Canyon, one of the most familiar entrances or passes into the Great Salt Lake valley. Of all the objects of interest, however, the Great Salt Lake and its scenery may be considered the most extraordinary, when we consider the saltness of its waters, the circumstance of its having no outlet, and that it is fed by numerous fresh water lakes; these facts regarding it afford abundant materials for reflection. There is also Pyramid Lake, embosomed In the Sierra Nevada mountains, with its singular pyramidal mount rising from its transparent waters to the height of six hundred feet, and walled in by precipices three thousand feet high!

    The Indian tribes which roam over the country may be divided into two heads, the Utahs, and the Soshonees or Snake Diggers. These tribes are in perpetual hostility to each other. The different tribes of the Utahs are united by a common language and affinities, and numerous intermarriages. They are a superstitious race, and have, for American Indians, many cruel customs. When we remember the fact, that the Mormon religion acknowledges the Indians as part of the lost tribes of Israel, and that Mormon and all their fathers were aborigines, that the golden plates purport to have been buried by a person of the Indian tribes, it is somewhat singular that the Utahs have in great vividness traditions of all the most prominent events in the history of the world, such as the creation, the flood, Elijah being fed by ravens, and the death and resurrection of Christ. They are also great believers in dreams, and in the efficacy of the laying on of hands. These facts have not only had their effect upon the ignorant Mormons, but upon the Indians themselves, and it is therefore they have been so easily brought into sympathy with Brigham Young's plans and pretensions. The extent of the evil of the thing we have, we fear, yet to realize. Among the chiefs who were first in amity with Young on his arrival at Salt Lake valley were Joseph Walker and Arapeen, head chiefs the Utahs; the portraits of these men which illustrate our article were taken from life.

    There cannot be a doubt but that the Utah valley is one of the choicest spots for the home of human beings that exists in the world. The land is fertile, the climate salubrious, the landscape is made up of mountain grandeur, extensive and beautiful valleys, carpeted with luxuriant herbage, whose ample green skirts reach out to the broad bases of the towering mountains, or terminating amid their curvatures and canyons. Small portions of their wide sweeping plains are studded with gentle undulations and a few rocky cliffs, thrown up by some great convulsion of nature, presenting on their rugged brows and gently sloping bases, the black vertical stratus of the magnetic iron ore, which, when manufactured, will be the staple production of the locality. To the south you again behold the valley stretching itself, like an arm of the mighty deep, amid the mountains, bearing majestically upon its proud

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    bosom all the inviting inducements that possibly could be offered to encourage and gladden the heart of the settler -- a rich, luxuriant pasturage, abundance of timber, short and mild winters, mountains of ore, extensive strata of stonecoal, a healthy and pure atmosphere, not to say anything of the gold and silver, the copper, the zinc, which are only some of the things hidden these ancient mountains -- in these lasting hills. The valleys are encircled with a broken chain of beautiful mountains; on the south and east they are lofty, and romantic, and grand, presenting on their sloping sides up to their towering summits variety of vivid colors -- the scarlet, the orange and the green. They are densely covered from the base to a considerable distance up the acclivity with trees of cedar and pine, which are beautiful evergreens. To the west they recede in the distance as they appropriate to the extremity of the great California basin. To the north you again behold them as far as the eye can penetrate, towering above their fellows, shooting into the aerial regions their pyramidical forms, crowned with the eternal snows -- crowns, too, which bid defiance to the melting influences of the effulgent beams of the regal sun. On the east, at a distance of from three to six miles, the mountains are cleft asunder into beautiful canyons, the storehouses of immense quantities of timber, and the great reservoirs of those cooling and crystal rivulets which are poured forth in rapid torrents on the plains below. Such is the country peopled by the Mormons, and desecrated by their doctrines and practices.


    - 1858 -



    Vol. II.                                             Boston, May, 1858.                                             No. 3. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

         [ 421 ]

    Art. V. -- THE  MORMONS.

    Between the long-established possessions of the United States and those which lie on the coast of the Pacific extends a vast wilderness, where, till within a few years, the foot of civilized man has rarely penetrated, and where, even yet, travel is difficult, dangerous, and confined to a few roads, worn by the steps of that multitude who have been led westward by the attractions of the Land of Gold. Far in that wilderness is a valley, singular in its geographical character, and peopled by singular inhabitants. Lofty mountain ranges gird it in, their highest points covered with perpetual

    422                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    snow. Sharp peaks arise, in various fantastic forms. As the traveller reaches an eminence towered over by these heights, and itself eight thousand feet above the level of the sea, he sees before him, beyond the dark fringe of pines, a silver lake expanding in ocean-like magnificence. Suddenly, his companions fall on their knees; the air resounds with the mingled noise of joyful shouts, and prayer, and weeping; as when, in the East, a company of devout pilgrims greet for the first time the blended minarets and domes of Jerusalem. The scene is Oriental in many of its circumstances. That gleaming lake is like the Dead Sea of old Palestine, of bitter waters wherein no living thing is found. Those devotees approach a city, holy in their view as Jerusalem to the tribes of Israel; for there presides one whom they reverence as a prophet of the Lord. But to one who is with them, but not of them, the thought occurs of another city which stood by the Dead Sea in old time, and he recognizes in the city of the Western Salt Lake not a new Jerusalem, but a second Sodom.

    Pass on beyond the dark pine barrier, and descend the shelving ranges, -- the successive boundaries from age to age of the vast inland sea, which has gradually contracted to its present dimensions. Pass on, here by springs of salt, there by fountains of boiling water, and enter the city. It is of vast extent, but thinly peopled; surrounded by fortifications which might resist an attack of predatory Indians, but which, commanded by the surrounding eminences, would be slight protection against a civilized assailant. As you proceed, the signs of Oriental and of Western life are strangely mingled. Here are stores and warehouses and workshops, bearing on their fronts the familiar names that meet us in our New England streets; there rises slowly the wall of a temple, destined apparently to rival Solomon's in magnificence, yet not in ancient Jewish proportions, but resembling rather some European cathedral. And there again, sight of shame and sign of approaching doom, appear the buildings of a harem, where some man, who has enjoyed from youth the light of civilization and of the Gospel, keeps his numerous wives. Over the portico of the lordliest mansion frowns a bronze lion. That, known as the Lion House, is tenanted

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     423

    by seventeen or eighteen of the wives of him who reigns in this strange community with the blended authority of Moses and Solomon, -- Brigham Young, "the Lion of the Lord."

    In order to understand this singular commonwealth, it will be necessary for us to go back some years, to trace the course of him who gave the first impulse which resulted in what we now behold.

    Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church and State, was born in Sharon, Vt., December 23d, 1805. During his childhood, his parents removed to Palmyra, New York. His education was very limited, his occupation that of a farmer. The account given by himself of the manner in which he received the system which he taught, is briefly the following. At the age of fourteen or fifteen, he was affected with religious feelings, and much disturbed in mind on account of the diversity among the sects of Christians. Fearful that, in making a choice from among them, he might be led into error, he withdrew into the woods for the purpose of prayer. Here a horror of great darkness fell upon him, and he fancied himself on the verge of destruction through the malice of some infernal enemy. He exerted all his powers to implore deliverance, and suddenly he saw a pillar of light above his head, brighter than the sun, which gradually descended till it rested on him. He now saw two personages, who proved to be no other than the Eternal Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

    Not to continue the details of this strange and to us revolting narrative, Smith, according to his own account, was informed that the American Indians were a remnant of ancient Israel, but a degenerate remnant, -- the relics of a once mighty branch of that sacred stock, which had filled this continent with populous cities, flourishing in arts and arms, until the greater part of them were, for their unworthiness, destroyed; but that the records of their former greatness had been safely deposited in the earth. He was directed to the spot where these treasures were preserved; and after several visits there, the Book of Mormon, written upon plates of gold in characters which Smith styled "reformed Egyptian," was taken from its long repose, and delivered to the new prophet by angel hands.

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    There is a strange mixture of the burlesque with this bold blasphemy. With the plates inscribed in this unknown language was found a singular instrument, through which alone they could be interpreted. This was the Urim and Thummim, mentioned in Holy Writ as the means whereby communications were made from the Divine Guide of the people in ancient times. Much have commentators been bewildered to know in what these Urim and Thummim, "lights and perfections" as the words mean, consisted. Smith solved the mystery in a way which no commentator probably had imagined before. They were a pair of spectacles, "two transparent stones, set in the two rims of a bow." This wonderful instrument enabled him who wore it to understand the meaning of the otherwise unknown language before him.

    The gold plates found by Smith have not been often seen by other eyes than his. Certificates however are produced from a few persons, mostly members of Smith's own family, and of another by the name of Whitmer, who profess to have seen and handled them. One of these persons, Martin Harris, brought to Professor Anthon of New York a copy made by Smith of some of the mysterious writing. That eminent scholar used his best endeavors to convince farmer Harris of the fraud which was practised upon him, but without success. His account of the paper is as follows: --

    "This paper, in question, was in fact a singular scroll. It consisted of all kinds of crooked characters, disposed in columns, and had evidently been prepared by some person who had before him at the time a book containing various alphabets, Greek and Hebrew letters, crosses and flourishes; Roman letters, inverted or placed sideways, were arranged and placed in perpendicular columns; and the whole ended in a rude delineation of a circle, divided into various compartments, decked with various strange marks, and evidently copied after the Mexican calendar, given by Humboldt, but copied in such a way as not to betray the source whence it was derived."

    From his gold plates translated, or from some other source, Smith produced a volume in the English language, -- the Book of Mormon, or Mormon Bible. This work, had it

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     425

    been his own composition, would have given him a claim to be regarded as not only the most daring of religious impostors, but as possessing powers of fictitious composition, which, considering his scanty opportunities of education, would border on the miraculous. We know indeed how the boy Chatterton wrought out from a few old mercantile accounts and other worthless waifs from a distant age the splendid creations of the imaginary Rowley, -- poems which command the wonder of the world for their genius, and its pity for their young, misguided, and unhappy author. But Chatterton wrote on themes long familiar to him; he had mused for hours in the old muniment-room of Redcliffe church, and his imagination was at home in the language and the ideas of the age whose style he imitated; -- while Smith was an ignorant country-boy, unskilled in the art of authorship, except from the impulse of ambition and the inspiration of genius. Genius he certainly possessed; but it did not make him the author or the translator of the Book of Mormon. That strange production was from another source; and little did its real author imagine the evil use to which his composition would be applied.

    The true origin of the Book of Mormon is sufficiently established. In the year 1809, the Rev. Solomon Spalding, a clergyman in the State of New York, who had left his profession from feeble health, failed in that business to which he had afterwards given his attention. He now removed to New Salem in Ohio, and sought to occupy himself by writing, choosing as the object of his undertaking a fictitious tale founded on the Scripture history, and on the theory, which was not original even with him, that the Indians of North America were descended from the Israelites of old. The idea of this tale was suggested to him by the numerous mounds and forts in the neighborhood of his new residence, the relics of a former race. He entitled his work, "The Manuscript Found." Mormon and his son Moroni were among his leading characters, as in the publication which Smith professed to have translated from the golden plates. In 1812, the manuscript of this work was deposited with a bookseller named Patterson, of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania;

    426                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    but before any arrangement was made for its publication, the author died, and the manuscript remained unclaimed in Patterson's possession. The printer lent the manuscript to Sidney Rigdon, a compositor in his office, and at the same time a preacher in the "Christian Connection." Rigdon afterwards became associated with Smith as one Of the principal leaders among the Mormons.

    In 1839, the widow of Spalding, then residing in Monson, Massachusetts, stated these facts in one of the newspapers of Boston. She further declared, that a Mormon female preacher, having appointed a meeting at New Salem, where her husband had resided, read and repeated copious extracts from their sacred book. These extracts were immediately recognized by some of those present, as part of the work of Mr. Spalding, which they had read or heard in manuscript. Mr. John Spalding, the brother of the author, was present at the meeting. Recognizing his brother's work, and amazed and afflicted at its perversion to the vile purpose of a religious imposture, he rose, and with tears declared the true origin of the passages which they had heard. He afterwards stated the same on oath; particularizing that his brother's work gave an account of the journey of a portion of the Israelites from Jerusalem by land and sea, until they arrived in America under the command of Nephi and Lehi, and that it also mentioned the Lamanites. This account of the contents of Mr. Spalding's book identifies it with the Book of Mormon.

    This journey of the Israelites, we may remark in passing, is a romance which reflects no little credit on the imagination of its author. We condense it, as far as possible, in the following abstract.

    In the first year of Zedekiah, king of Judah, when the destiny of the nation was darkening towards the calamity of the captivity in Babylon, a devout man, named Lehi, was moved by the warnings of Jeremiah and other prophets, to flee from Jerusalem. He took with him his four sons and their wives, and travelled till they came to the great ocean. Here Nephi, the youngest of the sons, by Divine direction, built a vessel, in which the whole company embark. On the voyage, the elder brothers mutiny, and bind Nephi; but as

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     427

    he alone has been instructed from Heaven how to manage the vessel, they are obliged to reinstate him in the command. At length they reach land, -- this Western continent, near two thousand years before its discovery by Columbus. After their arrival, Laman and Lemuel, the elder brothers, again revolt; and this division between the members of the family becomes perpetuated in their descendants, under the names of Lamanites and Nephites, -- the Nephites being generally obedient and virtuous, the Lamanites rebellious and unbelieving. Cities arise, kings reign, and prophets exhort. These prophets are represented as predicting the coming of the Saviour, and in clearer language than that of the prophets of the Old Testament. At length the Saviour himself appears, after his ascension as recorded in the New Testament. His teaching is described in language copied from the genuine Scriptures. He ascends to heaven, and his Gospel is preached among the Nephites, and to some extent among the Lamanites. But at length the Nephites "dwindle in unbelief"; the infidels gain the ascendency; the true believers become extinct, and their last prophet, Mormon, consigns to the earth the plates that contain the record of the nation, "to be brought forth in due time by the hand of the Gentile."

    While the testimony of the Spalding family explains the origin of this strange romance, the testimony of Smith's early associates sheds light upon those habits of thought and action which induced him to employ this manuscript for purposes of deception. Smith, it appears, was engaged in youth with a set of men who devoted themselves to the business of digging for hidden treasure; the places where treasure was buried he pretended he could find by means of a stone placed in his hat. It is possible that, in some of his digging adventures, he may have lighted on some relics of the past, sufficient to suggest to his own mind, and to pass off upon the minds of others, the fraud which proved so successful. This supposition is confirmed by the actual discovery, in an ancient mound at Kinderhook, New York, of some brass plates inscribed with unknown characters, -- the work undoubtedly of that former race, more civilized than the Indians, the traces of whose greatness exist in various parts of the continent, but chiefly in Mexico and Central America.

    428                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    The 22d of September, 1827, is named by Smith as the date when he received the plates of gold from the Lord. On the 5th of May, 1829, Smith and Cowdery were ordained priests, as is asserted, by direction of no less a person than John the Baptist. They alternately baptized and ordained each other. About a year after (April 6th, 1830) the Mormon church was organized, at Manchester, New York, consisting of six persons, -- two only not being members of the Smith family. This scanty beginning reminds us of the time, twelve hundred years before, when, at Mecca in Arabia, Mahomet first declared, in an assembly of his relatives and friends, his claim to a divine commission, -- when others wondered and laughed, as he inquired who would take the office of his vizier, but the enthusiastic boy Ali fearlessly responded; and a spiritual empire was organized, which, in less than a hundred years, ruled from Persia to the Straits of Gibraltar.

    On the 1st of June, 1830, the first conference of the Mormon sect was held, at Fayette; the number of believers being about thirty. Some opposition was encountered even thus early; a dam which Smith had ordered to be constructed across a stream, for the purpose of baptizing his disciples, was broken down, and himself threatened with violence, and accused of robbery and swindling. With equal courage and good judgment, he neutralized reproach, by confessing that he had once led an immoral life; but, unworthy as he was, "the Lord had chosen him, had forgiven him all his sins, and intended, in His own inscrutable purposes, to make him -- weak and erring as he might have been -- the instrument of His glory."

    The church thus organized, they received through their prophet a command to remove to Kirtland, Ohio, where Rigdon had a body of converts. Thence, August 3d, 1831, a removal was determined upon, to Independence, Missouri, which was fixed on as the seat of the earthly Zion.

    The removal to Missouri did not, however, take place till April, 1832; and would perhaps have been longer delayed, but for the events of the 22d of the preceding month, when Smith and Rigdon were brutally abused by a mob at Kirtland, --

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     429

    the cause, real or pretended, being their "dishonorable dealing." Shortly after this affair, Smith and some of his friends left for Missouri.

    Hostility followed them. The conduct of the settlers in Missouri did not make friends among the rough citizens of that border State. Among other misdemeanors, they were accused of having a community of wives. Probably the imprudent language of some among them, who talked of their determination to possess the whole State, and suffer none to live near them who were not of their church, created more hostility than any immoralities practised among themselves. Nor was the least of their offences that of "exercising a corrupting influence over the slaves," -- the ground for which charge was an article which appeared in their newspaper, on "Free People of Color." In April, 1833, a meeting was held at Independence, at which resolutions were passed requiring the Mormons to leave the country, and referring them contemptuously to their prophets to foretell what would be the result should they refuse compliance. This action was followed by the destruction of their printing-offices and the tarring and feathering of two among their leaders. The Lieutenant-Governor, Lilburn W. Boggs, was in the neighborhood, but refused to interfere to prevent this outrage. On the re-assembling of the mob in July, the Mormons entered into an agreement that half of them would leave the State by the 1st of January, and the remainder by the following April. Smith, who was at Kirtland at the time, had more courage than to yield so easily. He appealed for protection to the Governor of Missouri (Mr. Dunklin), and that magistrate advised the Mormons to remain where they were, and apply to the courts for redress. But the Governor's confidence in the law-abiding character of his constituents was not well founded. The mob re-assembled, houses were demolished, a battle ensued, and two of the assailants were killed by the Mormons in defending their property.. This action, justified though it was by the circumstances, raised to its extreme the excitement against them. The militia were called out; but they were anti-Mormon to a man. In fear and haste and misery, the ill-used victims of Smith's deception fled from the

    430                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    spot they had expected to make their Zion. They did not, however, at once abandon the State. Driven from Jackson County, they were received with hospitality in Clay. "They never," says one writer, "returned to their Zion, but remained for upwards of four years in Clay County. It was mostly uncleared land where they settled or squatted; but being a most industrious and persevering people, they laid out farms, erected mills and stores, and carried on their business successfully. They also laid the foundations of the towns of Far West and Adam-On-Diahman; but their fanaticism here, as well as in their former location, soon proved the cause of their expulsion from the whole State of Missouri. The slavery question, the calumny about their open adulteries and community of wives, their loud vaunts of their supreme holiness, their continually repeated declarations that Missouri was to be theirs by Divine command, and the quarrels constantly resulting therefrom, led to the same ill-feeling in Clay County as had been exhibited elsewhere.

    In this enumeration of the causes of their unpopularity, the charge of immoral conduct is called a calumny. The subsequent history of the sect gives too much reason to believe that it was well founded. On the other hand, if they then deserved the hostility of the Missourians by antislavery sentiments, they subsequently became as faithful believers in the patriarchal institution as any Missourian can desire. The African race, according to them, is twice doomed; bearing the mark of Cain and the curse of Ham, united in them through the marriage of Ham with a descendant of the first murderer. But whatever the charges against the Mormons, they were sufficient to arouse the popular rage. One of their hymns says: --
    Like a whirlwind in its fury,
    And without a judge or jury,
    Drove the saints and spilled their blood."
    During these eventful days Smith was not idle. With equal courage and conduct, he led a party from Kirtland through a country filled with his enemies, to strengthen his suffering brethren in the West. They encamped by one of

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     431

    the ancient mounds. Smith caused some of the earth to be removed, and, uncovering a skeleton, told his wondering auditors who the man had been, his name, Zelph, his character, as a Lamanite more virtuous than his kinsmen, and how "he was killed in battle in the last great struggle between the Lamanites and Nephites." Many will remember the remarkable meteoric shower of November 13, 1833. This, as a sign from Heaven, answered good purpose in the cunning management of Smith.

    We have not time nor disposition to enter at length into the sad history of their final expulsion from Missouri. After much confusion, in which the Mormons appear to have been "more sinned against than sinning," the Governor, the same Lilburn W. Boggs who had refused to interfere for their rescue from outrage on a former occasion, gave orders that they should be "exterminated or expelled." The officer who had received this order, Captain Nehemiah Comstock, who had himself only the day before promised them protection, began to put the atrocious command in execution by surprising and massacring the people of a whole settlement, -- Haun's Mill. The messenger who brought the tidings declared that himself, with a few others, fled into the thickets, which preserved them from the massacre, and on the following morning they returned and collected the dead bodies of the people and cast them into a well. There were upwards of twenty who were dead or mortally wounded. The Mormons say, in a document published soon after: "Men were shot down like wild beasts, or had their brains dashed; women were treated with insult, until they died in the hands of their destroyers; children were killed while pleading for their lives. All entreaties were vain and fruitless; men, women, and children alike fell victims to the violence and cruelty of these ruffians."

    From Missouri, the Mormons took refuge in Illinois. Here they built a town, to which they gave the name of Nauvoo, from the Hebrew ~~, or The Beautiful; and increasing continually, notwithstanding, or perhaps rather in consequence of their persecutions, they established here, under the personal direction of their prophet, a flourishing community, and built

    432                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    a magnificent temple. Smith, exalted to the height to which his ambition had long aspired, united with the titles of Prophet, President, and Mayor that of General of the Nauvoo Legion, a body of troops which were enrolled as a portion of the State militia. His vanity even allowed the idle compliment of his name being brought forward as the candidate of his people for the office of President of the United States.

    But the end was near. Truly or falsely, assertions were made that the prophet and his chief confederates were. guilty of conduct in private which in public they disowned; that acts of gross impurity were committed by them, the victims being deluded by pretended revelations from above. A newspaper was commenced in Nauvoo itself, under the name of the Expositor, in opposition to the Mormons. In its first number were printed the affidavits of sixteen women, fixing the charge of such crimes on Smith, Rigdon, and others. The Prophet, in his capacity of Mayor, and by consent of the City Council, destroyed the office and presses of the Expositor, and burnt the papers and furniture. This bold proceeding aroused the country. Smith refused to submit to a warrant for his arrest. Illinois was in arms, and the Governor took the field in person. His Excellency called on the two Smiths, Joseph and his brother Hiram, to surrender peaceably, pledging his word and the honor of the State for their protection. They obeyed; the prophet saying as he surrendered: "I am going like a lamb to the slaughter, but I am calm as a summer's morning; I have a conscience void of offence, and shall die innocent." His anticipations were verified. On the 26th of June, 1844, the Governor visited the prisoners at Carthage, and pledged his word to protect them against the violence with which they were threatened by the excited populace. But that evening a band of nearly two hundred men, with blackened faces, overpowered the small guard of the jail, and murdered the prisoners. The assailants completed their own dishonor by brutally insulting the body of their victim.

    Thus died Joseph Smith, the Mahomet of the nineteenth century, -- if the application of that name to him is not a wrong to the Arabian, prophet. For the faith of Mahomet, with whatever of conscious imposture he may have proclaimed

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     433

    it, was at least a great advance upon the idolatry which previously, existed among his countrymen; while the doctrine of the Western deceiver rejects what is highest and purest in the prevalent religion, and degrades its followers to a grovelling materialism and a worse than Asiatic sensuality. It is in our power to speak personally of the founder of Mormonism. In a visit to the city of Washington he held an audience interested through a long discourse, defending his tenets, and complaining of the oppressions suffered by his people in Missouri. He was a man of powerful frame, a commanding voice, and a ready flow of language. He said little of his own claims as a prophet, except to deny the charge of having derived the Book of Mormon from Spalding's manuscript, but labored chiefly to conciliate favor to his sect, as a harmless and industrious people, whose religion differed little from that of other Christians, and who had been subjected to gross and cruel persecution.

    Our historical sketch must be rapidly brought to its conclusion. Dismayed by the fall of their leader, and the excitement in the public mind against themselves, the Mormons were not without internal difficulty from the question of succession to the chieftainship of their sect. But all competitors at length gave way to Brigham Young, a man possessing much of the courage and prudence of Smith.

    This leader saw the necessity of yielding to the storm which had been aroused against the sect in Illinois, and determined on a retreat to the regions of the remoter West. There, it seemed probable the Mormon church and state might remain undisturbed, on ground where none could complain of them as intruders. But while their arrangements were in progress, events took place which converted their chosen home in the desert into the central point of an emigration far more extensive than their own. The Mexican war took place; and in it some of the Mormons were offered and accepted military employment under the United States. The results of that war, in the annexation of a part of Mexico to this country, and the discovery of gold in the annexed territory, turned westward a tide of emigration of which no Mormon prophet had ever dreamed. That tide necessarily passes the Valley of the

    434                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    Great Salt Lake, and thus the forms of social life from which the Mormons fled pursue them to their desert, and threaten them with the repetition of their former sufferings. On the shore of that lake of salt, the Mormons have exhibited the better traits of their character in the industry which has converted that lonely desert into a populous and flourishing territory, and their darker features in the full development of that systematic licentiousness which the vicinity of civilization had hitherto kept in check. With a policy suggested by the remoteness of their position, and by a desire to do justice to a suffering people, but which has proved unfortunate, the national administration conferred the office of Governor of the Territory on the Mormon chief. Young accepted it; but has ruled his people far more by the title derived from the prophetical character which he claims, and from the commanding power of his own mind. His sway is constantly extending, through the influence of numerous missionaries, and the arrival from various countries of bands of emigrants, converted by their labors. All went on peaceably, till the attempt was made to establish in the now populous territory the jurisdiction of the courts of the United States. Then it quickly appeared that neither Young nor his people would endure an authority independent of his own. The United States officials returned from a territory where their functions could not be discharged. The present executive appointed a successor to Young in the office of Governor, and commissioned a military force to accompany him to the scene of his duties, and sustain him there. To this action, Young and his people oppose a bold resistance. The issue still rests among the secret counsels of Divine Providence.

    Rumors reach us, of various and contradictory character, as to the purpose of the Mormons. Now we are told they are preparing to resist, -- now it is rumored they intend to emigrate; now, that Young is embarrassed by a party who advocate submission, and anon, that he can hardly restrain the ardor of those who are for instant hostilities. Our own impression is, that, after letting winter do their fighting for a while, as it has already done to good purpose, destroying the beasts of burden of the national army and disheartening the

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     435

    troops by a long period of suffering and inglorious inactivity, in the spring they will ply with vigor the weapons of diplomacy, bribery, and intrigue, and meantime guard the mountain passes, and prepare themselves for the last extremity. We will not, however, discuss these contingencies without saying a few words more of the religious belief of this singular body.

    The Book of Mormon, it will be seen, is founded on the Old Testament. It is essentially Jewish. It records the imagined history of Hebrew kings and prophets, who continued to a Hebrew race on this continent the same institutions which David and Solomon, Elijah and Isaiah, administered in ancient Palestine. True, the book makes mention of the coming of the Saviour, both as having been foretold, and as actually occurring; but the admission of this great fact as a theological truth, does not materially alter the Jewish aspect of the system. It is impossible to examine the Book of Mormon without seeing its resemblance to that modern Jewish literature, of which, in another place, we have spoken. There is the strongest similarity between the modes of thought of the real descendants of Abraham, and those of the class who claim so strangely, considering some of their practices, the name of "Latter Day Saints."

    We are far, indeed, from charging on the modern Jews, who faithfully adhere to the religion of their ancestors, those gross corruptions, which, developing continually with more and more offensiveness, have now made the Mormon faith synonymous with impiety and impurity. Yet is the resemblance in the Jewish and Mormon explanations of Scripture extremely striking. Those prophecies of the Old Testament which Christians apply in a spiritual manner to the establishment of the kingdom of God in the hearts of men, the Jews interpret literally, to the building up of a real, substantial kingdom, a Jerusalem of actual wood and stone. The Mormons interpret the passages in the same way, only with this difference, that their Zion is to be somewhere in this Western world, while the real Jews expect their royal city to be rebuilt in its pristine glory on the same spot where David reigned, and Solomon consecrated the temple. Such is the spirit of

    436                                                    The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    the Mormon system. It sees in the glorious promises of the Bible assurances of earthly grandeur; it narrows down every noble figure of the old inspiration to a mere literal rendering.

    A few specimens of their statements of doctrine will illustrate what has been said.

    "We believe," says one of their forms of confession, "in the literal gathering of Israel, and in the restoration of the ten tribes, that Zion will be established on the Western continent, that Christ will reign personally upon the earth a thousand years, and that the earth will be renewed, and receive its paradisiacal glory."

    "O ye saints," exclaims Orson Pratt, one of their leaders, in a sermon, " O ye saints, when you sleep in the grave, don't be afraid that your agricultural pursuits are for ever at an end; don't be fearful that you will never more get any landed property; but if yon are saints, be of good cheer, for when you come up in the morning of the resurrection, behold there is a new earth."

    The Mormon faith teaches that the Almighty Being exists in human form, interpreting literally every passage of the Bible which ascribes to him human members or human passions. And this error, which might at first appear, however unworthy of the Deity, to be comparatively harmless, is unhesitatingly carried out to results with the record of which we will not insult the reverential feelings of our readers, nor defile our own pages. Suffice it to say, that in Mormonism, as now developed, the eternity and unchangeableness of the Most High are utterly denied. He is represented as a Being who began to have existence, and will have an end; and their representations fulfil the words of Scripture, "Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself."

    The following is a characteristic specimen of the Mormon hymns: -- *
    "The God that others worship is not the God for me;
    He has no parts nor body, and cannot hear nor see;
    But I've a God that lives above,
    A God of power and of love, --
    A God of Revelation, -- O that's the God for me!
    O that's the God for me! O that's the God for me!

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     437

    "A church without apostles is not the church for me;
    It's like a ship dismasted, afloat upon the sea;
    But I've a church that's always led
    By the twelve stars round its head;
    A church with good foundations, -- O that's the church for me.

    "A church without a prophet is not the church for me;
    It has no head to lead it, in it I would not be;
    But I've a church not built by man,
    Cut from the mountain without hands;
    A church with gifts and blessings, -- O, etc.

    "The hope the Gentiles cherish is not the hope for me;
    It has no hope for knowledge, far from it I would be;
    But I've a hope that will not fail,
    That reaches safe within the veil;
    Which hope is like an anchor, -- O, etc.

    "The heaven of sectarians is not the heaven for me;
    So doubtful its location, neither on land nor sea;
    But I've a heaven on the earth,
    The land and home that gave me birth;
    A heaven of light and knowledge, -- O, etc.

    "A church without a gathering is not the church for me;
    The Saviour would not order it, whatever it might be;
    But I've a church that's called out
    From false traditions, fear, and doubt;
    A gathering dispensation, -- O, etc.

    The allowance of polygamy, the most offensive peculiarity of Mormonism, was not generally proclaimed until after the death of its founder. But Smith cannot be acquitted of sanctioning this evil practice. The charge of such immorality was indignantly protested against; but that very protest, coupled with the subsequent open avowal of the practice, shows that it was a legitimate and not remote consequence of the earlier acknowledged principles of the sect. Years ago Martha Brotherton testified to the fact that Smith endeavored to induce her to marry Brigham Young, he having one wife then living, -- that he justified the practice, and told her that he would take the responsibility in the sight of Heaven. This testimony might be passed over as a slander on the prophet, were it not that it coincides so entirely with the subsequent

    1858.]                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     439

    be, or it is in vain. Persecution that does not kill root and branch, has ever been found to foster, rather than impair, the cause it seeks to destroy. Steady, relentless, deadly, taking for its patron saint Dominic, the founder of the Inquisition, and for its pattern ruler the stern Philip II., -- such is the only persecution that succeeds in its object. And from this our feelings as men, our consciences as Christians, alike revolt. No. The principle ought to be laid down at once, and proclaimed distinctly and strongly, that with the religious opinions of the Mormons the government of the United States has nothing to do.

    But what shall we say with regard to the disgusting polygamy of the Mormons? Is this to be punished as a crime, or tolerated as a religious peculiarity? This question might give us much embarrassment, if the community in question existed within territory where laws forbidding polygamy were in existence. But this is not the case. However inconsistent it may be with the laws of God, the practice of having many wives is not a crime by the laws of Utah. And, according to our institutions, it cannot be such a crime until the opponents of polygamy in that Territory shall outnumber and outvote its supporters; or at least until the superior authority of Congress forbid the custom. If, then, we would remove this stain from our land, the proper means is not a religious crusade, but the opening of Utah Territory to the natural influence of general emigration, the due execution of the existing laws, and the enacting of such others as may be thought advisable and just. Leave it then to organized emigration, the great lever of civilization, to do the rest. If the army which is now freezing on the mountains were quartered in Salt Lake City, not a Mormon could be punished for polygamy without previous legislation on the subject. This institution then, vile as it is, does not form at present any portion of the question to be settled between the Mormon community and the government of the United States.

    But the government of the United States is bound to maintain its authority. While it claims not to interfere with religious belief, or to punish crimes which are not recognized as such by existing laws, it cannot allow the inhabitants of

    440                                                     The  Mormons.                                                     [May,

    any portion of its territory to withhold obedience to the legitimate action of its appointed magistrates. If the Mormons are in rebellion, that rebellion must be quelled. We say "if they are in rebellion," for there seems some doubt upon the point. The ground is taken by some, that rebellion is not existing, but threatened. If honorable means can be found to avert the evil of civil war, let no such means be neglected; but if all such fail, the government must do its duty, painful as the necessity must be. In such a contest, there is little which we can have any satisfaction in anticipating. The lingering duration of our late Seminole war, where the only opponents were a few miserable savages, shows us what it is to carry on hostilities against the disadvantages of an unknown country and a wily foe; and the swamps of Florida are not more difficult to penetrate, than the great American Desert and the mountain barriers of Utah may be found. Heaven avert the contest, or, if it must come, give speedy victory to the side of Law and Right; and grant that our civil rulers and our military commanders may alike remember, in the hour of conquest, the claims of mercy, -- mercy, that sits
            "a smiling bride,
    By Valor's armed and awful side,
    Gentlest of sky-born forms, and best adored;
    Who oft, with songs divine to hear,
    Wins from his fatal grasp the spear,
    And hides in wreaths of flowers his bloodless sword."


    Transcriber's Comments

    1850s Magazine Articles on the Mormons


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