Every complete, critical discussion of the divine origin of the Book of Mormon naturally divides itself into three parts:--first, an examination as to the sufficiency of the evidence adduced in support of its miraculous and divine origin; second, an examination of the internal evidences of its origin,1 such as its verbiage, its alleged history, chronology, archeology, etc.; third, and accounting for its existence by purely human agency and upon a rational basis, remembering that Joseph Smith, the nominal founder and first prophet of Mormonism, was probably too ignorant to have produced the volume unaided. Under the last head, two theories have been advocated by non-Mormons. By one of these, conscious fraud has been imputed to Smith, and by the other, psychic mysteries have been explored 2 in an effort to supplant the conscious fraud by an unconscious self-deception.
In 1834, four years after its first appearance, an effort was made to show that the Book of Mormon was a plagiarism from an unpublished novel of Solomon Spaulding. for a long time this seemed the accepted theory of all non-Mormons. In the past fifteen years, apparently following in the lead of President Fairchild of Oberlin College,3 all but two of the numerous writers upon the subject have asserted that the theory of the Spaulding manuscript origin of the Book of Mormon must be abandoned, and Mormons assert that only fools and knaves still profess belief in it.4 With these last conclusions I am compelled to disagree. In setting forth my convictions and the reasons for them,
It will be shown that Solomon Spaulding was much interested in American antiquities; that he wrote a novel entitled the "Manuscript Found," in which he attempted to account for the existence of the American Indian by giving him an Israelitish origin; that the first incomplete outline of this story, with many features peculiar to itself and the Book of Mormon, is now in the library of Oberlin College, and that while the story as rewritten was in the hands of a prospective publisher, it was stolen from the office under circumstances which caused Sidney Rigdon of early Mormon fame, to be suspected as the thief; that later Rigdon, on two occasions, exhibited a similar manuscript which in one instance he declared had been written by Spaulding and left with a printer for publication. It will be shown further that Rigdon had opportunity to steal the manuscript and that he foreknew the forthcoming and the contents of the Book of Mormon; that through Parley P. Pratt, later one of the first Mormon apostles, a plain and certain connection is traced between Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, and that they were friends between 1827 and 1830. To all this will be added very conclusive evidence of the identity of the distinguished features of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon. These facts, coupled with Smith's admitted intellectual incapacity for producing the book unaided, will close the argument upon this branch of the question, and it is hoped will convince all not in the meshes of Mormonism that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism. To those Mormons whose minds are untainted by mysticism, who have the intelligence
SOLOMON SPAULDING AND HIS FIRST MANUSCRIPT
Solomon Spaulding was born in 1761 at Ashford, Conn., graduated from Dartmouth in 1785, graduated in theology in 1787, and became an obscure preacher. The fact that Spaulding had become an infidel,5 that in rewriting the first outline of his story he adopted, as he said, "the old Scripture style" to make it seem more ancient,6 and the further fact that he told at least four persons at different times that his story would some day be accepted as veritable history7--all of these, combined with the peculiar product, tend to show that one motive for the writing of this supposed novel may have been the author's desire to burlesque the Bible and furnish a practical demonstration of the gullibility of the masses.
While at Dartmouth College, Spaulding had as a classmate the subsequently famous imposter and criminal, Stephen Burroughs,8 which fact furnishes interesting material for reflection as to how far the subsequent ill fame of Burroughs, coupled with personal acquaintance, may have operated in Spaulding as a fruitful suggestion inducing this labor as a means of securing fortune through fraud. If
In 1809 Solomon Spaulding and Henry Lake built and conducted a forge at Salem (now Conneaut), O., where, in 1812, the former made his second business failure.12
Spaulding, being an invalid, possessed of a good education and habits of study, naturally took to literary work, which he probably commenced soon after 1809,13 and continued until his death in October, 1816. During this seven years he seems to have written several other manuscripts14 besides the two with which we are directly concerned.
Necessarily Spaulding's surroundings gave some direction to the course of his literary efforts. Environed as he was in a country where once dwelt the mound-builders, and having himself caused one of the mounds to be opened, with the resulting discovery of bones and relics of a supposedly prehistoric civilization,15 like thousands before him, he was led to speculate upon the character of that civilization and the origin of those ancient peoples. Josiah Priest, in his "Wonders of Nature and Providence" (1824), quotes over forty authors, half of whom are Americans, and all of whom, prior to 1824, advocated an Israelitish origin of the
In Spaulding's first writing of his manuscript story, he pretended to find a roll of parchment in a stone box within a cave. In the Latin language, this contained an account of a party of Roman sea voyagers, who, in the time of Constantine, were, by storms, drifted ashore on the American continent. One of their number left this record of their travels, of Indian wars and customs, which record Spaulding pretends to have found and to translate.16 How that resembles a synopsis of the Book of Mormon!
In 1834, when E. D. Howe had in preparation his book, "Mormonism Unveiled," wherein the Spaulding story was first exploited, this first manuscript was given by Spaulding's family to D. P. Hurlburt, the agent of Howe. The Spaulding family, without having made any examination whatever of the papers delivered to Hurlburt, seem always to have believed,17 though without any evidence, that he received and sold to the Mormons the rewritten story entitled "Manuscript Found," which will be more fully discussed hereafter. From Howe this first manuscript story went into the possession of one L. L. Rice, who bought out Howe's business, and later, with other effects of Rice's, it was shipped to Honolulu, and there, in 1884, accidentally discovered by President James H. Fairchild of Oberlin College.18 This manuscript is now in the Oberlin library, and has been published by two of the Mormon sects as being a refutation of the Spaulding origin of the Book of Mormon. It can be such refutation only to those who mistake it for another story. Howe, in 1834, published a fair synopsis of the manuscript now at Oberlin19 and submitted the original to the witnesses who testified to the many points of identity between Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon. These witnesses then (in 1834) recognized the manuscript, secured by Hurlburt and now at Oberlin, as being one of Spaulding's, but not the one
According to many witnesses, the re-written "Manuscript Found" (like the Book of Mormon) was an attempt at imitating the literary style of the Bible. So was the manuscript submitted to Patterson, according to his own statement.21 No such indications are found in the Oberlin manuscript, which further evidences that it is not the manuscript of which the witnesses testified, and which Patterson says was submitted to him. The Oberlin manuscript also furnishes internal evidences of an improbability that it was ever submitted to a publisher by any man as sane and well educated as was Spaulding. The plot of the story is incomplete, and the manuscript is full of interlineations, alterations, careless or phonetic spelling, and misused capital letters. These are all easily explainable consistently with Spaulding's erudition, if we view the manuscript as a hasty and careless blocking out of his literary work, but it is not in such a condition as would make him willing to submit it to a publisher.
If we bear in mind that from the beginning it was asserted that this manuscript now at Oberlin was not the one from which the Book of Mormon was alleged to have been plagiarized, then President Fairchild's conclusion that it disproves such plagiarism of course becomes absurd and only demonstrates his ignorance of the early testimony upon which was asserted the connection of the Book of Mormon and another manuscript. This also disposes of the Mormon argument most frequently urged against the theory here advocated.
Either through like ignorance of the evidence of 1834 that this was not the manuscript then being testified about, or through a willingness to play upon the ignorance
By always remembering these separate manuscripts and their different histories, much seeming conflict of evidence can be explained, mistaken conclusions accounted for and confusion avoided. The Mormons, in their publication of the first manuscript story, have labelled it "The Manuscript Found," though no such title is discoverable anywhere upon or in the body of the manuscript in the Oberlin library.22 The evident purpose of this is to further confound that first story with the second or rewritten manuscript which it will be demonstrated really was used in constructing the Book of Mormon, and which manuscript the witnesses to be hereafter introduced described by that title. Having traced to its final resting-place at Oberlin
SPAULDING'S REWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT
Spaulding commenced his writing about 1809, changing his plans while still at Conneaut, that is, prior to 1812,23 at which later date the rewritten story of "The Manuscript Found" was still incomplete.24 In 1812 Spaulding borrowed some money with which to go to Pittsburg, hoping there to get his novel published and thus make it possible for him to pay his debts.25 In Pittsburg Spaulding submitted his manuscript to one Robert Patterson, then engaged in the publishing business.26 The exact date is not known, but it is probable almost to certainty that Spaulding would do this immediately upon his arrival in Pittsburg in 1812, since that was one of his definite purposes in going there. Spaulding's widow is reported as saying: "At length the manuscript was returned to the author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington County, Pa."27 The return of the manuscript before 1814, the date of the removal to Amity, is made additionally certain by the testimony or Redick McKee28 and Joseph Miller.29 This additional evidence, especially that of the latter, makes it plain that Spaulding had his rewritten manuscript at Amity, thus demonstrating its return to Spaulding before the latter's removal from Pittsburg. The evidences of identity between the manuscript testified about as being at Amity, and Spaulding's rewritten story, leave no doubt. The review of this evidence of identity will be postponed until we come to review the other evidences of identity between "The Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon.
It is said that Patterson returned the manuscript to Spaulding with the advice to "polish it up, finish it, and
After residing in Pittsburg two years,32 the Spauldings moved to Amity in Washington County. Pa., where Solomon Spaulding and his returned "Manuscript found" again became the center of attraction among the commonplace neighborhood listeners, who did their loafing about the Spaulding tavern.33 Here the story was polished and finished,34 and from Amity Spaulding again journeyed to Pittsburg, in the hope in the second attempt of securing the publication of his story, "The Manuscript Found."35 Spaulding's widow and daughter assert that at one time Patterson advised Spaulding "to make out a title-page and preface."36 That remark would seem most likely to have been made after the finishing of the story, and I therefore feel justified in believing it to have been made after the second submission of the manuscript. Mrs. Spaulding-Davidson says this request was never complied with, but for reasons which are unknown to her. In the light of evidence to be hereafter reviewed, we are justified in an inference that one of the causes was a theft of the manuscript from the publisher's office, followed, perhaps, within a few weeks or months, by the death of Spaulding, which occurred in October, 1816.
ERRONEOUS THEORIES EXAMINED
It has been a theory among some that Joseph Smith himself secured the Spaulding manuscript from the house of William H. Sabine of Onondago Valley, N. Y., for whom Smith worked as a teamster in 1823.37 According to another theory, Sidney Rigdon, while the "Manuscript Found" was at the printing office, copied it, the original being returned to Spaulding. A third theory supposes
In 1816 my father died at Amity. Pa., and directly after his death my mother and myself went to visit my mother's brother, William H. Sabine, at Onondago Valley, Onondago county, N. Y.. We carried our personal effects with us, and one of these was an old trunk in which my mother had placed my father's writings, which had been preserved. I perfectly remember the appearance of this trunk, and of looking at its contents. There were sermons and other papers, and I saw a manuscript about an inch thick, closely written, tied with some of the stories my father had written for me, one of which he called the 'Frogs of Wyndham.' On the outside of this manuscript were written the words, 'Manuscript Found.' I did not read it, but looked through it and had it in my hands many times and saw the names I had heard at Conneaut when my father read it to his friends. I was about eleven years old at this time.38
Assuming, for the sake of argument, that it has been established that the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism from Spaulding's rewritten story, then we may still doubt that any of the above theories have sufficient evidence to warrant their acceptance as established facts. These various theories were all invented because of a supposed necessity of accounting for the alleged presence of the rewritten "Manuscript Found" in the trunk at Sabine's house after 1816, the date of Spaulding's death. If the "Manuscript Found" was never there, the theories constructed to explain that fact must fall.
That the first outline of the story which is now at Oberlin was then in the trunk is certain, because Hurlburt, in 1834, found it there. It is even possible that this first manuscript may at some time have been labeled "Manuscript Found." But was the rewritten story ever in the trunk at Sabine's? If not, Smith could neither have stolen it nor copied it, and if never there, or if stolen by Smith, Hurlburt could not have secured that rewritten manuscript and sold it to the Mormons, as it has been charged he did do, while he gave only the first manuscript to Howe, by whom he was employed to secure another. It may not be amiss to here stat that Howe never doubted Hurlburt's fidelity in the matter.41
The great preponderance of the evidence is against the allegation that the second manuscript was ever in the trunk at Sabine's. Mrs. McKinstry's evidence does not
In determining what weight to give to Mrs. McKinstry's statement as to the contents of the trunk manuscript, several important facts must be kept in mind. Mrs. McKinstry made this statement in 1880, when she was seventy-four years of age. Her father died in October, 1816, very soon after she and the trunk went to Sabine's at Hartwick, Onondaga County, N. Y., and there she "many times" had it in her hand. At the earliest date this must have been in the fore part of 1817, and she tells us that she was about eleven years old at this time. If, in 1817, she was eleven years old, then, in 1812, when she, with her parents, left Conneaut for Pittsburg, she could not have exceeded six years of age. At the age of seventy-four Mrs. McKinstry testified that when she was eleven years old she looked through, but did not read, a manuscript, yet saw the names she heard her father read at Conneaut, between 1810 and 1812, when she was from four to six years old.
From 1834, when this alleged plagiarism was first publicly charged, until the giving of Mrs. McKinstry's evidence in 1880, it had necessarily been a matter of frequent discussion in the family circle that the Book of Mormon was a plagiarism from her father's "Manuscript Found," and always the identity of names must have been spoken of as the connecting link in the chain of evidence proving the plagiarism, since that identity of names was the principal item of evidence as it was first argued and published in 1834. With like uniformity, it was firmly believed (but as a mere matter of inference, be it remembered) that Hurlburt secured from the trunk that second manuscript, which contained these names. Hence it would be inferred by the Spaulding family that the trunk must have contained the names in question. This association of ideas through an almost infinite number of recurrences in mind became firmly impressed as a fixed fact during this forty-six years of frequent repetition. It is not strange, therefore, if, after these forty-six years, and with the failing memory of the age of seventy-four, Mrs. Mckinstry should have forgotten the real origin of this association of ideas, and relate it back to the supposed inspection of the trunk manuscript and the Conneaut readings, honestly believing in her accuracy. In this conclusion Mormon authorities concur.42
The only other statement which has ever been claimed as evidence showing Spaulding's rewritten manuscript to have been in the Sabine trunk is one by his widow, Matilda Spaulding- Davidson. She says that before leaving Pittsburg for Amity, her husband's manuscript was returned
By what follows, she makes it plain that the "other friends" referred to are the Conneaut neighbors, who's examination was made prior to 1812, and not at Sabine's. That she herself never examined the Sabine trunk manuscript so as to speak upon the matter of identity of manuscripts from personal knowledge, is apparent from several facts. first, although writing an argumentative article, the strongest part of which would have been her personal testimony as to some point of identity between the trunk manuscript and the Book of Mormon, she mentioned none such as being within her own knowledge. In the absence of personal knowledge, she repeats as a justification of her belief the evidence of Conneaut witnesses as to the identity of her husband's "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon. Even upon the question of the existence of any manuscript in the Sabine trunk, she seems not to rely upon any personal inspection of the trunk manuscript, but with an apparent intention of putting the responsibility for her statement upon the inspection of her daughter, Mrs. McKinstry, speaks of the latter's inspection, while remaining silent as to whether or not she made any inspection of her own.
The argumentative style and the failure to distinguish between personal knowledge and argumentative inferences is all readily understood when the history of this statement is made known. It seems that two preachers, named D. R. Austin and John Storrs, are responsible for this letter. Mrs. Davidson never wrote it, but afterwards stated that
Upon the question as to whether or not Spaulding's rewritten manuscript was in the possession of anybody but Rigdon at any time after October, 1816, Mrs. Davidson's statement as published cannot in any sense whatever be considered as evidence. And since Mrs. McKinstry's unsupported evidence, for the reasons already given, must be considered as of such very infinitesimal weight, I conclude that there is no believable evidence upon which to base the conclusion that the "Manuscript Found" was ever returned to Spaulding after its second submission to Patterson, or was ever in the trunk at Sabine's, and therefore, could not have been either copied or stolen by Smith. This also answers one Mormon argument made against Rigdon's theft of the manuscript from the printing office, which argument is always based upon the assumption the original manuscript of the rewritten story was in the Sabine trunk long after the time of the alleged theft by Ridgon.
1. Valuable contributions to this study are Lamb's "Golden Bible" and a pamphlet by Lamoni Call classifying two thousand corrections in the inspired grammar of the first edition of the Book of Mormon.
2. The best effort along this line is Riley's "The Founder of Mormonism." To me the conclusions are very unsatisfactory, because so many material considerations were overlooked by that author.
3. President Fairchild, in the New York OBSERVER for February 5, 1885, that being immediately after his discovery of the Oberlin Manuscript, says: "The theory of the origin of the Book of Mormon in the traditional manuscript of Solomon Spaulding will probably have to be relinquished. . . . Mr. Rice, myself, and others compared it with the Book of Mormon, and could detect no resemblance between the two in general or detail. . . . Some other explanation of the origin of the Book of Mormon must be found, if an explanation is required." (Reproduced in Whitney's "History of Utah," 56. Talmage's "Articles of Faith," 278)
Ten years later Mr. Fairchild is not so brash in assuming the Oberlin Manuscript to be the only Spaulding Manuscript, and he certifies only that the Oberlin Manuscript "is not the original of the Book of Mormon"
Fairchild's latest Statement.--In 1900 President Fairchild wrote the Rev. J. D. Nutting as follows:
With regard to the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding now in the library of Oberlin College, I have never stated and know of no one who can state, that it is the only manuscript which Spaulding wrote, or that it is certainly the one which has been supposed to be the original of the Book of Mormon. The discovery of this MS. does not prove that there may not have been another, which became the basis of the Book of Mormon. The use which has been made of statements emanating from me as implying the contrary of the above is entirely unwarranted.
James H. Fairchild.
4. The DESERET NEWS editorially says this on July 19, 1900:
The discovery of the manuscript written by Mr. Spaulding, and its deposit in the library at Oberlin College, O., . . . has so completely demolished the theory once relied upon by superficial minds that the Book of Mormon was concocted from that manuscript, that it has been entirely abandoned by all opponents of Mormonism except the densely ignorant or unscrupulously dishonest.
And this on May 14, 1901:
It is only the densely ignorant, the totally depraved, and clergymen of different denominations afflicted with anti-Mormon rabies, who still use the Spaulding story to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon.
5. See Addendum to Spaulding Manuscript at Oberlin College and Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 288.
6. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 288.
7. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 283, 4, 6, 7.
8. "Memoirs of Stephen Burroughs," p. 26, ed. of 1811, shows Burroughs to have entered Dartmouth in 1781, which must have been Spaulding's date of entry, he having graduated in 1785.
9. "New Light on Mormonism," 261
10. xxxv. SAINTS' HERALD, 820.
11. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 285.
12. "Prophet of Palmyra," 443; Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 279 and 282; "New Light on Mormonism," 13.
13. Howe's Mormonism Unveiled," 279; "New Light on Mormonism," 13-14.
14. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 284; "New Light on Mormonism," 20.
15. "New Light on Mormonism," 14.
16. "The Manuscript Found." for Howe's synopsis see "Mormonism Unveiled," 288. Whitney's "History of Utah," 49-51.
17. "New Light on Mormonism," by Mrs. Ellen F. Dickinson.
18. Publisher's Preface to "The Manuscript Found;" iv. DESERET NEWS, July 19, 1900; i. Whitney's "History of Utah," p. 49; Talmage's "Articles of Faith," 278-9.
19. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 288; i. Whitney's "History of Utah," 49.
20. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 288.
21. "The Spaulding Story Examined and Exposed," by John E. Page, 7; "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon?" 7; "Mormonism Exposed," by Williams.
22. xxxv. SAINTS' HERALD, 130; "Prophet of Palmyra," 459.
41. Under date of September 12, 1879, E. D. Howe wrote to R. Patterson saying, "I am very certain he (Hurlburt) never had any Manuscript Found to sell to anybody. Whatever Mormons may say, I think Hurlburt was perfectly honest in all his transactions here." (Taken from a copy of the letter furnished by Patterson in his History of Washington County, Pa.)
44. QUINCY WHIG, quoted in "The Spaulding story Examined and Exposed," 5, to be read in connection with "Gleanings by the Way," 261-7. On p. 22 of the "Myth of the Manuscript Found" this interview appears with the statement that the Boston RECORDER article was IN THE MAIN TRUE carefully omitted. For still more gross dishonesty see "Apostle" (afterward Prophet) John Taylor's lying perversion of this alleged interview as reported in his "Three Nights' Public Discussion," pp. 45 and 46. The dishonesty of the original publication of this interview is pointed out in "Gleanings by the Way," 261-4.
(To be continued.)
AMERICAN HISTORICAL MAGAZINE
When we digressed from the main lines of our argument, Spaulding's rewritten story had been traced into the hands of Robert Patterson, a Pittsburg publisher, and this prior to Spaulding's death in October, 1816. If the manuscript was never returned to Spaulding after its second submission to Patterson, then what became of it? John Miller, who knew Spaulding at Amity, bailed him out of jail when confined for debt, made his coffin for him, and helped lay him in his grave, says Spaulding told him "there was a man named Sidney Rigdon about the office [of Patterson], and they thought he had stolen it" [the manuscript].45
The Rev. Cephus Dodd, a Presbyterian minister of Amity, Pa., as well as a practicing physician, attended Spaulding at his last sickness. As early as 1832, when Mormonism was first attracting general public attention, and two years prior to the publication of Howe's book, in which Spaulding's story was first ventilated, this Mr. Dodd took Mr. George M. French of Amity to Spaulding's grave, and there expressed a positive belief that Sidney Rigdon was the agent who had transformed Spaulding's manuscript into the Book of Mormon. The date is fixed by Mr.
The conclusion thus expressed by Mr. Dodd in advance of all public discussion or evidence is important, because of what is necessarily implied in it. First, it involved a comparison between Spaulding's literary production and the Book of Mormon, with a discovered similarity inducing conviction that the latter was a plagiarism from the former. This comparison presupposes a knowledge of the contents of Spaulding's rewritten manuscript. The second and most important deduction is to be made from the assertion that Sidney Rigdon was the connecting link in the plagiarism. Such a conclusion must have had a foundation in Mr. Dodd's mind, and could have arisen only if he was possessed of personal knowledge of what he considered reliable information creating a conviction in his mind of the probability of Sidney Rigdon's connection with the matter. This conclusion, if not made on independent evidence, in all human probability had no less significant foundation than a confidence in the accuracy of Spaulding's expressed suspicion to the effect that Rigdon had stolen the manuscript from the printing office. Thus accounted for, Dr. Dodd's statement has less force than if presumed to have been made on independent evidence, yet it confirms Joseph Miller's statement that Spaulding suspected Rigdon, and that suspicion must be accounted for by those who deny Rigdon's presence in Pittsburg prior to 1821.
HOW ABOUT SIDNEY RIGDON?
Was Spaulding's expressed suspicion that Rigdon had stolen his manuscript from the printing office well founded? We can never know upon what evidence the accusation was made, but we may inquire into the probative force of such
Sidney Rigdon was born February 19, 1793, in Piny Fork of Peter's Creek, Saint Clair Township, Allegheny County, Pa.,47 which place is variously estimated at from six to twelve miles distant from Pittsburg. At least until 1810, that being the date of the death of his father, and his own eighteenth year, Rigdon remained on the farm with his parents.48
According to the Mormon account, Rigdon was licensed as a Baptist preacher fourteen years before becoming a Mormon.49 This would make the date 1816, the same year in October of which Spaulding died, it being Rigdon's twenty-fourth year, and the same year in which he stole from the publishing office of Patterson the manuscript of Spaulding, if the latter's suspicions shall prove well founded. A very opportune time, be it observed, for the giving of attention to religious subjects.
According to another account, and perhaps the more accurate one, Rigdon joined the Baptist Church May 31, 1817,50 a Welsh clergyman, Rev. David Phillips, being his pastor.51 This church was located near where the neighboring hamlet of Library is now situated. Rigdon "began to talk in public on religion soon after his admission to the church, probably at his own instance, as there is no record of his license."52
The following year (1818) Rigdon left the farm and took up his residence and the study of divinity with the Rev. Andrew Clark at Sharon, Beaver County, Pa.,53 where, in
RIGDON'S PRIOR RELIGIOUS DISHONESTY
There are two circumstances of the above narrative which need a little further elucidation, since the impressions which Rigdon made upon his discerning intimates during his earlier life may have some bearing upon the force to be given to the circumstantial evidence concerning his after life.
As to Rigdon's conversion to the Baptist Church so very soon after the time when Spaulding expressed the suspicion that Rigdon had stolen his manuscript, the Rev. Samuel Williams, in his "Mormonism Exposed," says: "He [Rigdon] professed to experience a change of heart when a young man, and proposed to join the church under the care of Elder David Phillips. But there was so much miracle about his conversion and so much parade about his profession, that the pious and discerning pastor entertained serious doubts at the time in regard to the genuineness of the work. He was received, however, by the church and baptized by the pastor with some fears and doubts upon his mind. Very soon, Diotrephes-like, he began to put himself forward and seek pre-eminence, and was well-nigh supplanting the tired and faithful minister who had reared and nursed and led the church for a long series of years. So
Concerning Rigdon's expulsion or resignation from the Baptist Church, the Mormons declare that it was caused by Rigdon's refusal to either accept or teach the doctrine of infant damnation. Dr. Winter, in the course of historical notice of the First Baptist Church of Pittsburg, says: "When Holland Sumner dealt with Rigdon for his bad teachings, and said to him: 'Brother Rigdon, you never got into a Baptist church without relating your Christian experiences,' Rigdon replied: 'When I joined the church at Peter's Creek I knew I could not be admitted without an experience, so I made up one to suit the purpose; but it was all made up and was of no use, nor true.' This I have just copied from an old memorandum as taken from Sumner himself."69
The first of these accounts was published in 1842, the last in January, 1875, and Rigdon lived until July 14, 1876. While one H. A. Dunlavy of Lebanon, O., did, in the March number of the same paper, publish an apology for Rigdon by way of answer to the article of Dr. Winter, yet neither Dunlavy nor Rigdon ever denied the facts alleged therein. We must, therefore, accept the facts stated as true, and they fasten upon Rigdon such religious dishonesty as establishes his willingness to be a party to a religious fraud in kind like the one here charged against him.
This, then, brings us to the question of what, if any, opportunity Rigdon had for stealing Spaulding's manuscript from Patterson's publishing office.
It has been frequently charged that Sidney Rigdon lived in Pittsburg and was connected with the Patterson printing office during 1815 and 1816. To this charge Rigdon, under date Commerce (Ill.), May 27, 1839, makes the following denial:
It is only necessary to say in relation to the whole story about Spaulding's writings being in the hands of Mr. Patterson, who was then in Pittsburg, and who is said to have kept a private printing office, and my saying that I was connected with the same office, etc., etc., is the most base of lies, without even the shadow of truth. There was no man by the name of Patterson during my residence in Pittsburg who had a printing office; what might have been before I lived there, I know not. Mr. Robert Patterson, I was told, had owned a printing office before I lived in that city, but had been unfortunate in business and failed before my residence in Pittsburg. This Mr. Patterson, who was a Presbyterian preacher, I had a very slight acquaintance with during my residence there. He was then acting under an agency in the book and stationery business, and was the owner of no property of any kind, printing office, or anything else during the time I resided in that city. If I were to say that I ever heard of the Rev. Solomon Spaulding and his hopeful wife until Dr. P. Hurlburt wrote his lie about me, I should be a liar like unto themselves.70
The evidence upon which is based the charge of Rigdon having a permanent residence in Pittsburg during the years in question, or his connection with Patterson's printing office, is so unsatisfactory that these issues must be found in favor of Rigdon's denial, even in spite of the fact that his evidence is discredited by reason of the conclusion as to his guilt, which is to be hereafter set forth, and his personal interest.
Rigdon, it will be remembered, lived within from six to ten miles of Pittsburg during the years in question. Pittsburg was the only town of consequence, and the family's place of buying and selling. Rigdon would of necessity
70. "Spaulding Story Examined and Exposed," 11 and 12. "History of the Mormons," 45 and 46. "The Mormons," 34. "Braden-Kelley Debate," 94. "Plain Facts Showing the Falsehood and Folly of the Rev. C. S. Bush," p. 14 to 16.
The very prevalent notion as to Rigdon's connection with the Patterson publishing establishment must have had some origin, which, in all probability, would be Rigdon's close friendship for some who were, in fact, connected with it. Upon this theory only can we account for such a general impression.71
It might be well, before entering upon that subject, to fix in our minds Patterson's business mutations. In 1812 Patterson was in the book business in the firm of Patterson and Hopkins. They had then in their employ one J. Harrison Lambdin, he being a lad of fourteen. January 1, 1818, Lambdin was taken into the partnership of Patterson and Lambdin, which firm succeeded R. and J. Patterson. R. Patterson had in his employ one Silas Engles as foreman printer and superintendent of the printing business. As such, the latter decided upon the propriety, or otherwise, of publishing manuscripts when offered. The partnership of Patterson and Lambdin "had under its control the book store on Fourth Street, a book bindery, a printing office (not newspaper, but job office, under the name of Buttler and Lambdin), entrance on Diamond alley, and a steam paper mill on the Allegheny (under the name of R. and J. Patterson)."72 Patterson and Lambdin continued in business until 1823. Lambdin died August 1, 1825, in his twenty- seventh year. Silas Engles died July 17, 1827, in his forty-sixth year. R. Patterson died September 5, 1854, in his eighty-second year.73
Let us now analyze Mr. Rigdon's denial of 1839 as quoted above. Rigdon was an educated man, a controversalist in religion, and at the date of the denial he was also a lawyer. Therefore we are justified in holding him in a strict accountability for all that is necessarily implied from what he says or omits to say, as we could not, in justice, do with a layman.
Rigdon's first denial is of the "Story about Spaulding's writings being in the hands of Patterson." This story is established by the evidence already adduced and some besides, even to the satisfaction of most Mormons.
The negative of this proposition Mr. Rigdon, if he was a stranger to the office, as is claimed, could not possibly assert as a matter within his own knowledge. If Rigdon had in his mind any fact upon which he justified this assertion, it could only have been a knowledge that the manuscript was at the printing office of Buttler and Lambdin, not knowing that office was controlled by Patterson.
The second denial in Rigdon's statement is: "There was no man by the name of Patterson during my residence in Pittsburg who had a printing office." The foregoing account of Patterson's business affairs is made up from the information possessed by Patterson's family and an employee. It must, therefore, be accepted as correct. Here again Rigdon's denial can be accounted for by assuming his ignorance of Patterson's interest in the printing office known as Buttler and Lambdin. Rigdon's son says Rigdon lived in Pittsburg in 1818. Church biographers allege that he preached there regularly after January 28, 1822. During 1818 and 1822 Patterson was in the printing business, and Rigdon's statement must be deemed untrue.
Howe, in his "Mormonism Unveiled,"74 did as early as 1834, charge that Rigdon had been "on intimate terms"
Rigdon's third matter of denial relates to his own admission of a connection with Patterson's printing establishment. This denial we must accept as true, since no one to whom he is alleged to have made the admission has ever recorded his evidence, and the hearsay statements without certainty of origin are too indefinite to be entitled to weight.
This paragraph above quoted and thus analyzed absolutely denies nothing in the remotest degree essential to the real issues involved in the charge of plagiarism under investigation, and is absolutely the only recorded public denial ever made by Rigdon, though from 1834 to 1876 he was almost continually under the fire of this charge, reiterated in various forms and with varying proofs.
RIGDON AND LAMBDIN IN 1815
Heretofore we have argued that by his silence Rigdon admitted his intimacy with Lambdin, successively Patterson's employee and partner from 1812 to 1823. The early writers all treated the intimacy between Rigdon and Lambdin as a matter apparently too well known to need proof. Yet we need not rely upon that, nor even Rigdon's
Mrs. R. J. Eichbaum, under date of Pittsburg, September 18, 1879, leaves us this very convincing statement:
My father, John Johnston, was postmaster at Pittsburg for about eighteen years, from 1804 to 1822. My husband, William Eichbaum, succeeded him, and was postmaster for about eleven years, from 1822 to 1833. I was born August 25, 1792, and when I became old enough I assisted my father in attending to the postoffice, and became familiar with his duties. From 1811 to 1816 I was the regular clerk in the office, assorting, making up, dispatching, opening, and distributing the mails. Pittsburg was than a small town, and I was well acquainted with all the stated visitors at the office who called regularly for their mails. So meager at that time were the mails that I could generally tell without looking whether or not there was anything for such persons, though I would usually look in order to satisfy them. I was married in 1815, and the next year my connection with the office ceased, except during the absences of my husband. I knew and distinctly remember Robert and Joseph Patterson, J. Harrison Lambdin, Silas Engles, and Sidney Rigdon. I remember Rev. Mr. Spaulding, but simply as one who occasionally called to inquire for letters. I remember there was an evident intimacy between Lambdin and Rigdon. They very often came to the office together. I particularly remember that they would thus come during the hour on Sabbath afternoon when the office was required to be open, and I remember feeling sure that Rev. Mr. Patterson knew nothing of this, or he would have put a stop to it. I do not know what position, if any, Rigdon filled in Patterson's store or printing office, but am well assured he was frequently, if not constantly, there for a large part of the time when I was clerk in the postoffice. I recall Mr. Engles saying that 'Rigdon was always hanging around the printing office.' He was connected with the tannery before he became a preacher, though he may have continued the business whilst preaching.75
While this does not establish that Sidney Rigdon had a permanent abode in Pittsburg, nor that he was connected with Patterson's printing establishment, it yet explains why seemingly everybody who knew him reached that conclusion. It also establishes beyond doubt his undeniable intimacy with Lambdin and Engles, and by reason thereof, his possible access to Spaulding's manuscript, and doubt-
RIGDON EXHIBITS SPAULDING'S MANUSCRIPT
It will be remembered that in 1822-3 Rigdon was a Baptist preacher in Pittsburg. The Rev. John Winter, M. D., one of western Pennsylvania's early preachers, was then (1822-3) a school teacher in Pittsburg. Dr. Winter died at Sharon, Pa., in 1878.
On one occasion during this period (1822-3) Dr. Winter was in Rigdon's study when the latter took from his desk a large manuscript, and said, substantially, that a Presbyterian minister named Spaulding, whose health had failed, brought it to a printer to see if it would not pay to publish it. "It is a romance of the Bible." Dr. Winter did not read the manuscript, nor think any more of the matter until the Book of Mormon appeared. It was thought by members of Dr. Winter's family that he had committed his recollections of this interview to writing, but none could be found.
The authorities for Dr. Winter's statement are Rev. A. G. Kirk, to whom Dr. Winter communicated it in a conversation had at New Brighton, Pa., in 1870-1. The second authority is the Rev. A. J. Bonsail, a stepson of Dr. Winter, and for twenty-three years pastor of the Baptist Church at Rochester, Pa. To him the same story was often repeated by Dr. Winter. The third authority is Mrs. W. Irvine, a daughter of Dr. Winter, in 1881 resident at Sharon, Pa. Her statement has one or two details not already given, so I quote:
I have frequently heard my father speak of Rigdon having Spaulding's manuscript, and that he had gotten it from the printers to read it as a curiosity; as such he showed it to father; and that at the time Rigdon had no intention of making the use of it that he afterwards did"76
RIGDON FOREKNOWS THE COMING AND CONTENTS OF THE BOOK OF MORMON
The Rev. Adamson Bentley (whose wife was sister to Mrs. Sidney Rigdon) wrote the following to Walter Scott under date of January 22, 1841:
I know that Sidney Rigdon told me that there was a book coming out, the manuscript of which had been found engraved on gold plates, as much as two years before the Mormon book made its appearance or had been heard of by me.
This statement was published in the MILLENNIAL HARBINGER for 1844, with the following editorial note from Rev. Alexander Campbell:
The conversation alluded to in Brother Bentley's letter of 1841 was in my presence as well as his, and my recollection of it led me, some two or three years ago, to interrogate Brother Bentley touching his recollection of it, which accorded with mine in every particular, except the year in which it occurred, he placing it in the summer of 1827, I in the summer of 1826, Rigdon at the same time observing that in the plates dug up in New York there was an account, not only of the aborigines of this country, but also it was stated that the Christian religion had been preached in this country during the first century, just as we were preaching it in the Western Reserve.77
It will be remembered that Rigdon lived for a time at his brother-in-law Bentley's house, and that it was Scott, Campbell, and Rigdon who, in Pittsburg, organized the Disciple Church in 1824 or 1825. The above statements were published in the MILLENNIAL HARBINGER in 1844 (p. 39), twenty-two years before Rigdon's death, yet he never published
Mrs. Amos Dunlap, a niece of Mrs. Rigdon, under date of Warren, O., December 7, 1879, writes this:
When I was quite a child I visited Mr. Rigdon's family. He married my aunt. They at that time lived at Bainbridge, O. [1826-7]. During my visit Mr. Rigdon went to his bedroom and took from a trunk which he kept locked, a certain manuscript. He came out into the other room and seated himself by the fireplace and commenced reading it. His wife at that moment came into the room and exclaimed: 'What, you are studying that thing again?' or something to that effect. She then added: 'I mean to burn that paper.' He said, 'No indeed, you will not; this will be a great thing some day.' Whenever he was reading this he was so completely occupied that he seemed entirely unconscious of anything passing around him.79
Since Rigdon never, in person or by anyone else, has claimed to have written any such manuscript of his own, in the light of other evidence here adduced, we are warranted in believing that to have been Spaulding's "Manuscript Found."
The Rev. D. Atwater, under date Mantua Station, O., April 26, 1873, three years before Rigdon's death, writes this:
Soon after this the great Mormon defection came on us [Disciples]. Sidney Rigdon preached for us, and notwithstanding his extravagantly wild freaks, he was held in high repute by many. For a few months before his professed conversion to Mormonism, it was noticed that his wild, extravagant propensities had been more marked. That he knew before of the coming of the Book of Mormon is to me certain from what he said [during] the first of his visits at my father's some years before. He gave a wonderful description of the mounds and other antiquities found in some parts of America, and said that they must have been made by the aborigines. He said that there was a book to be published containing an account of those things. He spoke of these in his eloquent, enthusiastic style, as being a thing most extra-
ordinary. Though a youth then, I took him to task for expending so much enthusiasm on such a subject, instead of things of the gospel.80
Of this statement Rigdon never made a denial.
Dr. S. Rosa, under date of Painsville, O., June 3, 1841, writes, among other things, this:
In the early part of the year 1830, when the Book of Mormon appeared, [and in November of which year Rigdon was converted], either in May or June, I was in company with Sidney Rigdon, and rode with him on horseback a few miles. Our conversation was principally upon the subject of religion, as he was at that time a very popular preacher of the denomination calling themselves 'Disciples' or Campbellites. He remarked to me that it was time for a new religion to spring up; that mankind were all rife and ready for it. I thought he alluded to the Campbellite doctrine. He said it would not be long before something would make its appearance; he also said that he thought of leaving Pennsylvania, and should be absent for some months. I asked him how long. He said it would depend upon circumstances. I began to think a little strange of his remarks, as he was a minister of the gospel. I left Ohio that fall and went to the state of New York to visit my friends who lived in Waterloo, not far from the mine of golden Bibles. In November I was informed that my old neighbor, E. Partridge, and the Rev. Sidney Rigdon, were in Waterloo, and that they both had become the dupes of Joe Smith's necromancies. It then occurred to me that Rigdon's new religion had made its appearance, and when I became informed of the Spaulding manuscript, I was confirmed in the opinion that Rigdon was at least accessory, if not the principal, in getting up this farce.81
This last article was first published in book form in 1842, thirty-four years before Rigdon's death, but never publicly denied or explained by him. Whether this particular letter was published in the CHRISTIAN OBSERVER and EPISCOPAL RECORDER I cannot say, but other portions of the same book evidently were, and received comment in a Mormon church organ.82 This but emphasizes Rigdon's silence upon Dr. Rosa's letter.
In Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled,"83 it is said that Rig-
Behold thou was sent forth, even as John, TO PREPARE THE WAY before me, and before Elijah which should come, AND THOU KNEWEST IT NOT.84
That Rigdon did prepare the way we knew before the revelation informed us of it. That it was done unconsciously we cannot even now believe.
Especially in the light of the foregoing evidence, this revelation must be construed as much more convincing proof of Rigdon's advance knowledge of the forthcoming Book of Mormon and its contents than even a tacit admission.
It is practically an admission of guilty knowledge, coupled with a transparent effort at warding off the inference of complicity in fraud by veiling the acts constituting the evidence in an assumed mysticism, which really deceives few aside from the mystic degenerate and the willing victim who enters the fold for opportunities to "fleece the flock of Christ."
(To be continued.)
AMERICAN HISTORICAL MAGAZINE
FROM RIGDON TO SMITH VIA P. P. PRATT
When to this evidence already adduced is added, as will be done, conclusive proof of the identity of the salient features of the Book of Mormon and Spaulding's rewritten "Manuscript Found," it would seem that the ease of plagiarism through Rigdon's complicity is established beyond reasonable doubt. The Mormon objector, however, insists that no possible connection between Rigdon and Smith has ever been shown to exist prior to 1830, and that, therefore, even if Rigdon did steal the manuscript, Smith could not have obtained it for use as a help in preparing the Book of Mormon. It would seem as if the facts above recited should, even if unaided by more direct evidence, raise an almost conclusive presumption of the existence of an undiscovered connection between the two. But we are not confined to an inference from such evidence alone. There are still more pointed evidentiary circumstances to which we will now give attention.
Parley Parker Pratt was born at Burlington, Otsego County, N. Y., April 12, 1807, of parents who later resided at Canaan, Columbia County, N. Y.85 During his sixth year (1813) he went to reside with his father's sister, named Van Cott,86 which name afterward became conspicuous in the early history of Utah. In 1826 Pratt spent a few months with an uncle in Wayne (formerly Ontario) County, N. Y.87 This, it will be remembered, is the same county in which
In October of this year Pratt went to Ohio, locating at Amherst, thirty miles west of Cleveland94 and was also located fifty miles west of Kirtland.95 One of the temptations inducing Pratt's departure from New York was to get to a country where, as he himself expresses it, there is "no law to sweep [away] all the hard earnings of years to pay a small debt."96 The ethical status of an average country peddler who is willing to leave his native state to avoid the payment of his "small debts" furnishes a fertile immorality in which to plant the seeds of religious imposture.
It will be remembered that it was also in 1826 that Rigdon went for a second time to reside in Ohio, where he became an itinerant "Disciple" preacher, laboring in the vicinity of Bainbridge, Mantua, Kirtland, Mentor, Chester, New Lisbon, and Warren,97 at some of which places Rigdon had an unsavory reputation.98 Rigdon and Pratt, therefore, were in the same neighborhood in 1826, and undoubtedly met soon after. The date of their first meeting is nowhere given,
Lambdin, who, by some has been suspected of once having been Rigdon's partner in the contemplated fraud, died August 1, 1825. Engles, Patterson's foreman, died July 17, 1827. Spaulding had died in 1816, and Robert Patter-
In 1827 Pratt started back to New York for the purpose of getting married. Now, remember, this was nearly three years before the advent of Mormonism. Pratt reached the home of his aunt Van Cott July 4, 1827, and in his autobiography records a summary of a conversation with his future wife thus: "I also opened my religious views to her and my desire, which I sometimes had, to try and teach the red man."103 In October, 1830, within a month after Pratt's professed conversion to Mormonism, a revelation was received for Pratt, in which the Lord, through "Joseph Smith, the Prophet," directed Pratt to carry out this very design.104 The desire which Pratt thus expressed to his wife three years before the advent of Mormonism was afterward and for a long time, the pet scheme of all Mormons. Pratt was married September 9, 1827.105 On September 22, 1827, a "heavenly messenger" appeared to Joseph Smith and unfolded to him the scheme of the Book of Mormon, and disclosed the whereabouts of the "Golden Plates."106 This "heavenly messenger" is called the Angel Moroni. According to Mormon theology, "God may use any beings he has made or that he pleases, and call them his angels, or messengers."107 "God's angels and men are all of one species, one race, one great family."108 "God is a man like unto yourselves; that is the great secret."109 Why, of course! "That is the great secret." God is but an "exalted man," and may call Parley Parker Pratt his angel. Parley Parker Pratt was the "heavenly messenger," the angel who, on that day (September 22, 1827),
September 9, 1827, Pratt was married. On September 22, 1827, he was the angel who appeared to Smith, and in October he started back to Ohio, the home of Rigdon.111 Rigdon is now brought again upon the scene. He preaches in Pratt's neighborhood, converts him, the latter commences preaching,112 evidently preparing for his part in the drama about to be enacted.
RIGDON VISITS SMITH BEFORE MORMONISM
The work of revising the Spaulding manuscript, or, as "Holy Joe" calls it, the "Translation of the Golden Plates," is begun. A mysterious stranger now appears at Smith's residence and holds private interviews with the far-famed money-digger. For a considerable length of time no intimation of the name or the purpose of this personage transpired to the public, or even to Smith's nearest neighbors. It was observed by some of them that his visits were frequently repeated.113 At about this time Rigdon is away from his Ohio home on several long visits, reporting himself as having gone to Pittsburg.114
Abel Chase, a near neighbor of the Smiths, says: "I saw Rigdon at Smith's at different times with considerable intervals between." Lorenzo Saunders, another neighbor, testifies: "I saw Rigdon at Smith's several times, and the first visit was more than two years before the Book appeared." J. H. McCauley, in his history of Franklin County, Pa., states "as a matter too well known to need argument, that Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, and Sidney Rig-
I have been able to find but one specific denial of Rigdon's acquaintance with Smith prior to the appearance of the Book of Mormon. That denial comes from Katherine Salisbury, a sister of the "Prophet Joseph," and is dated April 15, 1881, when she was nearly 68 years of age. She says that
Prior to the latter part of the year A.D. 1830, there was no person who visited with, or was an acquaintance of, or called upon the said family [of Smith], or any member thereof to my knowledge by the name of Rigdon, nor was such person known to the family or any member thereof to my knowledge, until the last part of the year A.D. 1830, or the first part of the year 1831. I remember the time when Sidney Rigdon came to my father's place, and that it was after the removal of my father from Waterloo, N. Y., to Kirtland, O. That this was in the year 1831.116
In 1827 and 1828, when Rigdon's visits must have occurred, and his help was needed in revamping Spaulding's "Manuscript Found," this woman was fourteen or fifteen years of age. That Rigdon did visit at the Smiths in New York State, December, 1830, is admitted,117 and of this she seemingly remembers nothing. She has no recollection of Rigdon's coming to her father's or brother's house until after their removal to Ohio. May she not also, either by design or otherwise, have forgotten visits made by Rigdon to her New York home prior to the admitted, and, by her, forgotten one in December, 1830?
In the same statement she avers that "at the time of the publication of said Book [of Mormon], my brother Joseph Smith, Jr., lived in the family of my father in the town of Manchester, Ontario County, N. Y., and that he had all of his life to this time made his home with the family."
The manuscript of the Book of Mormon was finished and the book copyrighted by June 11, 1829.118 Rigdon's help would be most needed before this time, and from June, 1828, until June, 1829, all and numerous revelations are dated "Harmony, Pennsylvania," which, together with
The admitted errors in Mrs. Salisbury's statement destroy its evidentiary value, and leave it clearly demonstrated by the other evidence adduced, that Rigdon visited Smith several years before the appearance of the Book of Mormon.
THE CONVERSION OF PARLEY P. PRATT
In the summer of 1830 the Book of Mormon came from the press, and the time had come for Pratt and Rigdon to be astonished by its appearance. Now watch their maneuvers. That year Pratt left Ohio for a visit to New York. Of this trip his autobiography records the following:
Landing in Buffalo, we [Pratt and wife] engaged our passage for Albany in a canal boat, distance three hundred and sixty miles. This, including board, cost all our money and some articles of clothing.
Would a mere desire to visit friends induce him to give up part of his clothing for passage money? Hardly; he was after larger game. But let us read on:
Arriving in Rochester, I informed my wife that, notwithstanding our passage being paid through the whole distance, yet I must leave the boat and leave her to pursue her passage to our friends, while I would stop a while in this region. WHY, I DID NOT KNOW; but so it was plainly manifest by the Spirit to me. I said to her: 'We part for a season; go and visit our friends in our native place; I will come soon, but how soon I know not, FOR I HAVE A WORK TO DO IN THIS REGION OF COUNTRY, AND WHAT IT IS OR HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE ME TO PERFORM IT, I KNOW NOT; but I will come when it is performed. My wife would have objected to this, but she had seen the HAND OF GOD so plainly manifest in His dealings with me many times that she dare not oppose the things manifest to me by His Spirit. She therefore consented, and I accompanied her as far as Newark, a small
town upwards of a hundred miles from Buffalo, and then took leave of her and of the boat.
It was early in the morning, just at the dawn of day. I walked ten miles into the country [remember now he doesn't know where he is going], and stopped with a Mr. Wells.
This was undoubtedly a member of the same Wells family of Macedon with whom Joseph Smith had long been on terms of intimacy.119 Pratt's autobiography continues:
I proposed to preach in the evening. Mr. Wells readily accompanied me through the neighborhood to visit the people and circulate the appointment.
We visited an old Baptist deacon by the name of Hamblin. After hearing of our appointment for the evening, he began to tell of a BOOK, A STRANGE BOOK, A VERY STRANGE BOOK in his possession, which had just been published. I inquired of him how and where the book was to be obtained. He promised me the perusal of it at his house the next day, if I would call. I felt a strange interest in the book. Next morning I called at his house, where, for the first time, my eyes beheld the 'Book of Mormon,' that book of books.
Pratt says he opened it with eagerness and examined its contents. "As I read, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD WAS UPON ME, and I knew and comprehended that the book was true as plainly and as manifestly as a man comprehends and knows that he exists."120
Pratt soon determined to see Smith, and accordingly, visited Palmyra, where Hyrum Smith welcomed him to their house, and they spent the night together. Joseph had not returned from Pennsylvania. One is led to wonder if Hyrum Smith would take in every inquisitive stranger as his bedfellow. In the morning Pratt returned to fill his appointment to preach the doctrine of Alexander Campbell. Hyrum Smith presented Pratt with a copy of the book, which the latter tells us he was glad to receive, because he had not yet finished his reading of it.121 Pratt preached the doctrines of the "Disciples" that night and the following one, then returned to the Smith house, and from there went to the Whitmers in Seneca County, resting that night, and taking his Mormon baptism the next day. On the next Sabbath Pratt attended a Mormon meeting and preached a
About the details and the order of events in such remarkable occurrences, there could not possibly be doubt or errors of memory. Had they actually transpired, these events would have been the most important in any eventful career, and would have been indelibly impressed upon Pratt's memory. If, however, this marvelous tale is but a falsehood told to conceal Pratt's real connection with a fraud, then it is quite possible that he and those associated with him should forget how the falsehood had been told at other times, and thus produce contradictory statements.
Let us, in the light of this comment, examine the foregoing account more carefully. Evidently in this account Pratt is desirous of conveying the impression that, as he has elsewhere expressed it, he "was greatly prejudiced against the book."123 However, in a sermon delivered in 1856--thirty-two years before the publication of the autobiography--Pratt tells us he was converted before completing the reading of the Book of Mormon, or meeting a single true "Saint." Here are his own words:
I know it was true, because it was light, and had come in fulfillment of scripture; and I BORE TESTIMONY OF ITS TRUTH to the neighbors that came in DURING THE FIRST DAY THAT I SAT READING it at the house of an old Baptist deacon named Hamblin.124
Of course such a conversion was altogether too miraculous and sudden to preclude suspicion of Pratt's complicity in the fraud; hence it has usually been stated that the conversion did not, in fact, take place until much critical examination, and sometimes, it is said, after much supplication to the Lord. In Joseph Smith's autobiography he puts the time of conversion as during Pratt's visit to the Whitmers in Seneca County. Here are his words: "AFTER listening to the testimony of the 'witnesses' [at Whitmers, in Seneca
The "prophet's" mother, who, with the mother of the Danite, Orin Porter Rockwell, was present at Pratt's alleged first visit to the Smith home,126 has a third account of this conversion. Pratt, according to the account above quoted from his sermon, had not yet seen the prophet, and had not yet finished reading the Book of Mormon, but was already converted and had borne testimony to its truth. Now read Mother Lucy's account as published by Orson Pratt (Parley Pratt's brother and his first miraculous convert)127 and "written by the direction and under the inspection of the Prophet."128
Just before my husband's return, as Joseph was about commencing a discourse one Sunday morning, Parley P. Pratt came in very much fatigued. He had HEARD OF US at some considerable distance, and had traveled very fast in order to get there by meeting time, as he wished to hear what we had to say, that he might be prepared to show us our error. But when Joseph had finished his discourse, Mr. Pratt arose and expressed his hearty concurrence in every sentiment advanced. The following day he was baptized and ordained.129
This conversion is quite as miraculous and sudden as the one Pratt tells us about as having occurred at Deacon Hamblin's. The prophet's mother, Lucy Smith, who wrote this account, and the prophet himself, under whose supervision it was written, must have been both present, and in this account related only what they pretended they themselves saw. In contradiction of this, Pratt, in two different places, tells us that while at the Whitmers in Seneca County he was baptized and ordained an elder by Oliver Cowdry, and that then he preached a Mormon sermon, after which he went to visit his friends in Columbia County. On his return from Columbia County, over a month after he had been baptized, he for the first time saw Joseph Smith.130 These discrepancies can be best accounted for by the explanation that they are different accounts of an event that never happened, and told to conceal one that did happen.
RIGDON'S MIRACULOUS CONVERSION
Pratt having been converted, the next act of importance must, of course, be the conversion of Rigdon, and, so far as possible, the congregation whose members he had so carefully prepared for the reception of Mormonism.
Pratt is still in New York State with Smith, it being October, 1830. He has already converted his relatives. The Lord, by a revelation through Joseph Smith,131 directs Pratt to go with Oliver Cowdry, Peter Whitmer, and Ziba Peterson "unto the wilderness among the Lamanites" (meaning the American Indians). Pratt, it will be remembered, had sold part of his clothing for passage money with which to travel in his quest for the Book of Mormon. He was, therefore, ill prepared for a winter trip to Ohio and Missouri. "As soon as the revelation was received, Emma Smith and several other sisters began to make arrangements to furnish those who were set apart for the mission with the necessary clothing, which was no easy task, as the most of it had to be manufactured out of the raw ma-
Adding fifteen miles for the distance from Macedon to Palmyra, we find the total distance to be traveled, all on foot, going from Whitmer's home in Seneca County, N. Y., to Kirtland, O., is three hundred and seventy miles, "preaching by the way,"139 even to Indians.140 When we remember the time of year and the almost certainty of inclement weather and the unimproved condition of the roads in that then wild west, it could hardly be expected that Pratt, traveling "on foot" and preaching by the way, could reach Kirtland before the middle of November. Rigdon must have been converted in great haste, because, by the end of November, he is already a Mormon visitor at Smith's home in New York, and on December 7 is the recipient of a special revelation from god.141 These conclusions accord with the diary of Lyman Wight, who, being baptized on the same day as Rigdon, entered the fact as on November 14, 1830.142 These facts also confirm Howe's statement that Rigdon was baptized on the second day after Pratt's arrival.143 Another authority conversant with the occurrence, and desiring to be very exact, fixes the time as thirty-six hours after Pratt's arrival.144
The Mormons are not all dull, and their cunning leaders readily saw that it would be unwise to advertise the suddenness of this conversion, since it might serve to identify the
The facts of this sudden conversion and the subsequent concealment of its precipitate character all reveal a guilt on the part of those who are conscious of having done something they wish to keep from the knowledge of others. Had this conversion been honestly miraculous, there would have been no thought of concealment.
November 14, 1830, the date of Rigdon's baptism, was Sunday, and of course the first Sunday after the arrival of Pratt. At their first interview during this visit, Pratt requested and "readily" received permission to preach Mormonism in Rigdon's church. The prophet's account says:146
At the conclusion [of Pratt's sermon] Elder Rigdon arose and stated to the congregation that the information that they had received was of an extraordinary character, and certainly demanded their most serious consideration, and as the Apostle advised his brethren to 'prove all things, and hold fast that which is good,' so he would exhort his brethren to do likewise, and give the matter a careful investigation, and not turn against it without being fully convinced of its being an imposition, lest they should possibly resist the truth. This was indeed generous on the part of Elder Rigdon, and gave evidence of his entire freedom from any sectarian bias.
But according to Elder Lyman Wight's diary and the other evidence here adduced, Rigdon was already a convert. Why, then, all this false suggestion and hypocritical cant about Rigdon's generosity and freedom from prejudice? There is but one answer, and that is, the authors of it are thereby attempting to conceal the real facts.
On December 7, 1830, and with due promptness, be it observed, Rigdon, through Smith, received a revelation making him (Rigdon) scribe to the prophet, and informing Rigdon how, all unconsciously to himself, he had been preparing the way for Mormonism.147 This is speedily followed by another revelation,148 in which Rigdon's Ohio home,
THE PLAGIARISM CLINCHED
Thus far we have established in a general way the existence and nature of Solomon Spaulding's rewritten "Manuscript Found." By undenied evidence we have shown its theft from Patterson's printing office before Spaulding's death and under circumstances which made the latter suspect Sidney Rigdon as the thief; that Rigdon, prior to this time, was so intimate with the employees of that printing office as to give rise to a general belief that he was himself employed there, and beyond all question evidencing an intimacy such as afforded him opportunity to purloin the manuscript. By like uncontradicted evidence, we have shown Rigdon to have been in possession of a similar manuscript, the existence of which is not explained by any other literary work ever done by him, and which, on one of the several occasions when he exhibited it, was said by him to have been written by Spaulding. We have established a perfectly plain and probable connection between Smith and Rigdon through Parley P. Pratt, and such contradictory statements as to the sudden and miraculous conversions of the two latter as bring home with redoubled force the suspicion of a concealed motive, such as a conspiracy in fraud would best explain. It now remains only to make more certain the points of identity between Spaulding's rewritten "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon. When this is done, we will have established the plagiarism and convicted Smith, Rigdon, and Pratt as the conspirators who perpetrated the fraud. With the identity of the distinguishing features in the "Manuscript Found" and Book of Mormon established, we will have demonstrated beyond all reasonable doubt the very low origin of the Mormons' Book.
Before proceeding to the examination of the direct evidence, it will be well to give an account of the discovery of this identity, the very spontaneity of which adds force to the evidence adduced. Spaulding, like most authors had a great fondness for his productions, and often read them to his friends. In 1832 or 1833, when Mormonism was fairly afloat, a Mormon preacher brought a copy of the Book of Mormon to Conneaut or New Salem, as it was sometimes called, the very place where Spaulding wrote most of his "Manuscript Found." A public meeting was appointed, in which the Book of Mormon was copiously read from and discussed by the elder. The historical part and style were immediately recognized by many present, among them John Spaulding, brother to Solomon Spaulding. Being "eminently pious," he was amazed and afflicted that his brother's manuscript should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. With tear-filled eyes he arose in the meeting and expressed sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. So much excitement was produced that a citizens' meeting appointed Dr. Philastrus Hurlburt to gather the evidence which afterwards was published in Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled."149
In the first publication of Matilda Spaulding Davidson's letter, from which the above is gleaned, the words "Mormon preacher" in the manuscript published over her name were, by the typesetter, converted into "woman preacher." Mormons at once undertook to impeach the statement, not by denying the main features of the story or its value as an argument, but wholly upon the ground that Mormons never had a "woman" preacher. As the result of this criticism,
The evidence gather by Dr. Philastrus Hurlburt pursuant to the citizens' meeting of Conneaut was first published in Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," in 1834, and is the most important single collection of original evidence ever made upon this subject. We will first examine that evidence in so far as it relates to the identity of Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon, afterwards introducing such corroborating evidence as may be at hand. Unless otherwise indicated, the following evidence was taken before and published in 1834 by E. D. Howe in the nineteenth chapter of his "Mormonism Unveiled." The first witness introduced is John Spaulding, who lived with his brother Solomon Spaulding at Conneaut, O. Of a book his brother had been writing John Spaulding says this:
The book he was writing was entitled "Manuscript Found," of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavoring to show that the American Indians are the descendants of the Jews, or the lost tribes. It gave a detailed account of their journey from Jerusalem by land and sea till they arrived in America under the command of NEPHI and LEHI. They afterwards had quarrels and contentions and separated into distinct nations, one of which he denominated NEPHITES and the other LAMANITES. Cruel and bloody wars ensued in which great multitudes were slain. They buried their dead in large heaps, which caused the mounds so common in this country. The arts, sciences and civilization were brought into view in order to account for all the curious antiquities found in various parts of North and South America. I have re-
cently read the Book of Mormon, and, to my great surprise, I find NEARLY ALL THE SAME HISTORICAL MATTER, NAMES, ETC., as they were in my brother's writings. I well remember that he wrote in the old style and commenced about every sentence with 'AND IT CAME TO PASS,' or 'NOW IT CAME TO PASS,' the SAME AS IN THE BOOK OF MORMON, and, according to my best recollection and belief, it is the same as my brother Solomon wrote, with the exception of the religious matter. By what means it has fallen into the hands of Joseph Smith, Jr., I am unable to determine.
Our next witness is Martha Spaulding, wife of John Spaulding. She says:
I was personally acquainted with Solomon Spaulding about twenty years ago. I was at his house a short time before he left Conneaut; he was then writing a historical novel, founded upon the first settlers of America. He represented them as an enlightened and warlike people. He had for many years contended that the aborigines of America were the descendants of some of the lost tribes of Israel, and this idea he carried out in the book in question. The lapse of time which has intervened prevents my recollecting but few of the leading incidents of his writings; but the names of NEPHI and LEHI are yet fresh in my memory as being the principal heroes of his tale. They were officers of the company which first came off from Jerusalem. He gave a particular account of their journey by land and sea till they arrived in America, after which disputes arose between the chiefs which caused them to separate into different bands, one of which was called Lamanites and the other Nephites. Between these were recounted tremendous battles, which frequently covered the ground with the slain; and their being buried in large heaps was the cause of the numerous mounds in the country. Some of these people he represented as being very large. I have read the Book of Mormon, which has brought fresh to my recollection the writings of Solomon Spaulding, and I have no manner of doubt that the historical part of it is the same that I read and heard read more than twenty years ago. The old, obsolete style and the phrases of 'and it came to pass,' etc., are the same.
Our third witness is Henry Lake, Spaulding's business partner at Conneaut. He says:
He [Spaulding] very frequently read to me from a manuscript which he was writing, which he entitled the "Manuscript Found," and which he represented as being found in this town. I spent many hours in hearing him read said writings, and became well acquainted with its contents. He wished me to assist him in getting his production printed, alleging that a book of that kind would meet with a rapid sale. I designed doing so, but the forge not meeting our anticipations, we failed in business, when I declined having anything to do with the publication of the book. This book represented the American Indians as the descendants of the lost tribes, gave an account of their leaving Jerusalem, their contentions and wars, which were many and
great. One time, when he was reading to me the tragic account of Laban, I pointed out to him what I considered an inconsistency, which he promised to correct, but by referring to the Book of Mormon I find, to my surprise, that it stands there just as he read it to me then. Some months ago I borrowed the Golden Bible, put it into my pocked, carried it home, and thought no more about it. About a week after my wife found the book in my coat pocket as it hung up, and commenced reading it aloud as I lay upon the bed. She had not read twenty minutes when I was astonished to find the same passages in it that Spaulding had read to me more than twenty years before from his 'Manuscript Found.' Since that I have more carefully examined the said Golden Bible, and have no hesitation in saying that the historical part of it is principally, if not wholly, taken from the 'Manuscript Found.' I well recollect telling Mr. Spaulding that the so frequent use of the words, 'And it came to pass,' 'Now it came to pass,' rendered it ridiculous."
101. "The Angel of the Prairies, a Dream of the Future," pp. 7 to 24, being a republication from the "Northern Light" of a sermon delivered by P. P. Pratt, in Nauvoo, Ill. Long before this Rigdon is reported to have related somewhat similar visions; Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 217.
104. Section 32, Doctrine and Covenants. Smith's God was, however, unfamiliar with governmental regulations of Indian affairs, so in spite of the revelation Pratt and Company were compelled by the United States Indian agent to leave the reservation. 5 Journal of Discourses, 199. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 218-226. "Gleanings by the Way," 324.
113. "Origin and Progress of Mormonism," 28. The author was a native of Palmyra and read proof on the Book of Mormon. "Hand Book of Mormonism," 3. This author lived thirty-two years in Palmyra. Braden-Kelly Debate, 46. Mother Lucy in "Joseph Smith, the Prophet," pp. 119, 120, 121, gives an account of a mysterious and unnamed "stranger" who came to their home with Joe at the time Harris had lost some of the manuscript of the Book of Mormon. As a mere matter of kindness this "stranger" forced upon the "Prophet" his company for a twenty mile walk through the woods at night, left a stage coach and went out of his way to do it, and attended the interview with Harris next day. An opportune time was this for Rigdon's presence. May 1, 1829, Sec. 10, Doctrine and Covenants.
114. Howe's "Mormonism Unveiled," 289, followed in "Gleanings by the Way," 319. "Prophet of the Nineteenth Century," 57. See also the pointed statement of L. Rudolph, father-in-law to President Garfield, quoted in Braden-Kelly Debate, 45.
115. See Braden-Kelly Debate, 46, for three last statements. Tucker in his "Origin and Progress of Mormonism," p. 50, says Rigdon officiated at the wedding of Joseph Smith and Emma Hale, but he fixes date of wedding in November, 1829, when in fact it seem to have occurred January 18, 1827. (HISTORICAL RECORD, 363.) Tucker may therefore have been misinformed. An alleged admission of Sidney Rigdon to James Jeffries that Spaulding's story was used, which is quoted in Braden-Kelly Debate, 42, I consider of doubtful value.
124. 5 Journal of Discourses, 194. This Hamblin seems to have emigrated to Wisconsin with Pratt, there became a Mormon and later his son became implicated in the Mountain Meadow Massacre. See "Jacob Hamblin," p. 9, and books generally on Mountain Meadow Massacre.
127. 7 Journal of Discourses, 177. Here Orson Pratt says his conversion is due to certain information "derived independent of what can be learned naturally by the natural man." See also supplement 14 MILLENNIAL STAR, 49.
(To be continued.)
AMERICAN HISTORICAL MAGAZINE
Our fourth witness is John N. Miller, who was employed by Spaulding and Lake at Conneaut and boarded at the former's home. Miller says:
He (Spaulding) had written two or three books or pamphlets on different subjects, but that which more particularly drew my attention was the one which he called the 'Manuscript Found.' From this he would frequently read some humorous passages to the company present. It purported to be the history of the first settlement of America before discovered by Columbus. He brought them off from Jerusalem under their leaders, detailing their travels by land and water, their manners, customs, laws, wars, etc. He said that he designed it as a historical novel, and that in after years it would be believed by many people as much as the history of England. He soon after failed in business, and told me he would retire from the din of his creditors, finish his book, and have it published, which would enable him to pay his debts and support his family. He soon after removed to Pittsburg, as I understood. I have recently examined the Book of Mormon, and find in it the writings of Solomon Spaulding from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and other religious matters which I did not meet with in the 'Manuscript Found.' Many of the passages in the Mormon book are verbatim from Spaulding, and others in part. The names of NEPHI, LEHI, MORONI, and, in fact, all the principal names are brought fresh to my recollection by the
Golden Bible. When Spaulding divested his history of its fabulous names by a verbal explanation, he landed his people near the Straits of Darien, which I am very confident he called Zarahemla; they were marched about that country for a length of time in which wars and great bloodshed ensued. He brought them across North America in a north-east direction."
John N. Miller.
Our fifth witness is Aaron Wright, who says:
I first became acquainted with Solomon Spaulding in 1808 or 1809, when he commenced building a forge on Conneaut Creek. When at his house one day, he showed and read to me a history he was writing of the lost tribes of Israel, purporting that they were the first settlers of America, and that the Indians were their descendants. Upon this subject we had frequent conversations. He traced their journey from Jerusalem to America as it is given in the Book of Mormon, excepting the religious matter. The historical part of the Book of Mormon I know to be the same as I read and heard read from the writings of Spaulding more than twenty years ago; the names are especially the same, without any alteration. He told me his object was to account for all the fortifications, etc., to be found in this country, and said that in time it would be fully believed by all except learned men and historians. I once anticipated reading his writings in print, but little expected to see them in a new Bible. Spaulding HAD MANY OTHER MANUSCRIPTS which I expect to see when Smith translates his other plate. In conclusion I will observe that the names of, and most of the historical part of the Book of Mormon, were as familiar to me before I read it as most modern history. If it is not Spaulding's writing, it is the same as he wrote; and if Smith was inspired, I think it was by the same spirit that Spaulding was, which he confessed to be the love of money.
When Solomon Spaulding first came to this place (Conneaut), he purchased a tract of land, surveyed it out, and commenced selling it. While engaged in this business he boarded at my house, in all nearly six months. All his leisure hours were occupied in writing a historical novel founded upon the first settlers of this county. He said he intended to trace their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till their arrival in America, and give an account of their arts, sciences, civilization, wars and contentions. In this way he would give a satisfactory account of all the old mounds so common to this county. During the time he was at my house I read and heard read one hundred pages or more. Nephi and Lehi were by him represented as leading characters when they first started for America. Their main object was to escape the judgments which they supposed were coming upon the old world. But no religious matter was introduced, as I now recollect. . . . When I heard the historical part of it related, I at once said it was the writings of Solomon Spaulding. Soon after I obtained the book, and on reading it, found much of it the same as Spaulding had written more than twenty years before.
Our seventh witness, Nahum Howard, avers this:
I first became acquainted with Solomon Spaulding in December, 1810. After that time I frequently saw him at his house, and also at my house. I once, in conversation with him, expressed a surprise at not having any account of the inhabitants once in this country, who erected the old forts, mounds, etc. He then told me that he was writing a history of that race of people, and afterwards frequently showed me his writings, which I read. I have lately read the Book of Mormon, and believe it to be the same as Spaulding wrote, except the religious part. He told me that he intended to get his writings published in Pittsburg,
and he thought that in one century from that time it would be believed as much as any other history.
Our eighth witness is Artemas Cunningham, whose evidence reads thus:
In the month of October, 1811, I went from the township of Madison to Conneaut, for the purpose of securing a debt due me from Solomon Spaulding. I tarried with him nearly two days for the purpose of accomplishing my object, which I was finally unable to do. I found him destitute of the means of paying his debts. His only hope of ever paying his debts appeared to be upon the sale of a book which he had been writing. He endeavored to convince me from the nature and character of the work that it would meet with a ready sale. Before showing me his manuscripts, he went into a verbal relation of its outlines, saying that it was a fabulous or romantic history of the first settlement of this country, and as it purported to have been a record found buried in the earth, or in a cave, he had adopted the ancient or scripture style of writing. He then presented his manuscripts, when we sat down and spent a good share of the night in reading them and conversing upon them. I well remember the name of Nephi, which appeared to be the principal hero of the story. The frequent repetition of the phrase 'I, Nephi,' I recollect as distinctly as though it was but yesterday, although the general features of the story have passed from my memory through the lapse of twenty-two years. He attempted to account for the numerous antiquities which are found upon this continent, and remarked that after this generation had passed away, his account of the first inhabitants of America would be considered as authentic as any other history. The Mormon Bible I have partially examined and am fully of the opinion that Solomon Spaulding had written its outlines before he left Conneaut.151
Our ninth witness upon the facts showing the plagiarism of the Book of Mormon from the Spaulding manuscript is Mr. Joseph Miller. He was intimately acquainted with Solomon Spaulding during all of the time while the latter resided at Amity, Pa., (1814-16).153 Mr. Miller's testimony is preserved in the Pittsburg TELEGRAPH of February 6, 1879, from which the following is pertinent:
On hearing read the account from the book (of Mormon) of the battle between the Amlicites and the Nephites (Book of Alma, Chapter 1--Chapter 3, Edition of '88--), in which the soldiers of one army had placed a red mark on their foreheads to distinguish them from their enemies, it seems to reproduce in my mind, not only the narration, but the very words, as they had been impressed upon my mind by the reading of Spaulding's manuscript.
Out tenth witness is Redick McKee, whose evidence upon another point we have already used. Under date of Washington, D. C., April 14, 1869, published in the Washington (Pa.) REPORTER for April 21, 1869, he says:
In the fall of 1814 I arrived in the village of 'Good Will,' and for eighteen or twenty months sold goods in the store previously occupied by Mr. Thos. Brice. It was on Main street, a few doors west of Spaulding's Tavern, where I was a boarder. With both Mr. Solomon Spaulding and his wife I was quite intimately acquainted. I recollect quite well Mr. Spaulding spending much time in writing (on sheets of paper torn out of an old book) what purported to be a veritable history of the nations or tribes who inhabited Canaan. He called it 'Lost History Found,' 'Lost Manuscript,' or some such name, not disguising that it was wholly a work of the imagination, written to amuse himself and without any immediate view to publication. I was struck with the minuteness of his details and the apparent truthfulness and sincerity of the author. I have an indistinct recollection of the passage referred to by Mr. Miller about the Amlicites making a cross with red paint on their foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in the confusion of battle.
The eleventh witness is the Rev. Abner Jackson, who, when but a boy and confined with a lame knee, heard Solo-
Spaulding frequently read his manuscript to the neighbors and amused them as he progressed with the work. He wrote it in Bible style. 'And it came to pass' occurred so often that some called him 'Old Come-to-pass.' The Book of Mormon follows the romance too closely to be a stranger. In both, many persons appear having the same name, as Moroni, Mormon, Nephites, Laman, Lamanites, Nephi, and others. Here we are presented with romance second called the Book of Mormon, telling the same story of the same people, traveling from the same plain, in the same way, having the same difficulties and destination, with the same wars, same battles, and same results, with thousands upon thousands slain. Then see the Mormon account of the last battle at Cumorah, where all the righteous were slain. How much this resembles the closing scene in the 'Manuscript Found.' The most singular part of the whole matter is that it follows the romance so closely, with this difference: The first claims to be a romance, the second claims to be a revelation of God, a new Bible. When it was brought to Conneaut and read there in public, old Squire Wright heard it and exclaimed, 'Old-Come-to-pass has come to life again.' Here was the place where Spaulding wrote and read his manuscript to the neighbors for their amusement, and Squire Wright had often heard him read from his romance. This was in 1832, sixteen years after Spaulding's death. This Squire Wright lived on a little farm just outside of the little village. I was acquainted with him for twenty-five years. I lived on his farm when I was a boy and attended school in his village. I am particular to notice these things to show that I had an opportunity of knowing what I am writing about.
Squire Wright, referred to in Mr. Jackson's statement, is the same Aaron Wright who was our fifth witness upon the question of identity.
Last, but not least, we introduce John C. Bennett. He says he joined the Mormons in order to enable himself to expose their iniquity. He was quartermaster-general of Illinois, the mayor of Nauvoo, a master in chancery for Hancock County, Ill., appointed by then Judge Stephen A. Douglas, a trustee for the "University of the City of Nauvoo," the recipient of special mention in revelation purporting to come direct from God, as well as innumerable
I will remark here in confirmation of the above [he having quoted a small part of the statements herein last above quoted] that the Book of Mormon was originally written by the Rev. Solomon Spaulding, A. M., as a romance and entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' and placed by him in the printing office of Paterson and Lambdin, in the city of Pittsburg, from whence it was taken by a CONSPICUOUS MORMON DIVINE and remodeled by adding the religious portion, placed by him in Smith's possession, and then published to the world as the testimony exemplifies. This I have from the confederation, and of its perfect correctness there is not the shadow of a doubt. There never were any plates of the Book of Mormon excepting what were seen by the spiritual and not the natural eyes of the witnesses. The story of the plates is all chimerical.155
It will be observed Bennett does not name Rigdon or Pratt in his statement. The reason is apparent from reading certain correspondence published in the book from which it appears that at the same time of writing he entertained a reasonable hope that Sidney Rigdon and the Pratts would leave the church and join him in his anti-Mormon crusade, and he probably did not wish to unduly embarrass his supposed confederates, who were still apparently within the fold.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOLD, NOT GOD
With the exception of establishing the motive, our case is now
Soon after Rigdon's visit to Smith and the reception of the revelation making Kirtland the gathering place of the "Saints," Smith's family, together with their followers, moved to Ohio. Revelations now came thick and fast, and of such a character as to demonstrate that the love of gold, and not God, was the inducing cause of their existence. I quote a few pertinent samples:
Whoso receiveth you receiveth me, and the same
will FEED you and CLOTHE you and GIVE YOU MONEY--and he who doeth not these
things is not my disciple.157
If ye desire the mysteries of the kingdom,
PROVIDE FOR HIM (Smith) FOOD AND RAIMENT and whatsoever he needeth to
accomplish the work.166
"Your money or your damnation" has about as much ethical sanction as the less pretentious demand of the highwayman who says, "Your money or your life." But we have not yet reached the end. The "Prophet's" father, who, prior to the discovery of the alleged divine mission of his son, eked out only a scanty living as a dispenser of cake and root beer170, now became the dispenser of patriarchal blessings at ten dollars per week and expenses,171 and later at three dollars per bless.172
The Prophet's brothers and friends received a gift of real estate by revelation,173 and another brother of the Prophet was retained in a holy office, though confessedly concealing his property to cheat his creditors.174
These are a part and by no means all of the evidence tending to establish that a desire for money was the inspiring cause of every act of the Mormon Prophet, the very divinity that moulded his thoughts and revelations, and brought into being Mormon's books. Before becoming a Prophet, Joseph Smith's earning capacity as a peep-stone money digger was $14 per month.175 Soon after becoming a Prophet he became president of a bank.176 In 1842 the Prophet (together with his brother Hyrum and Sidney Rigdon) took advantage of the bankruptcy law to avoid creditors, whose claims amounted to one hundred thousand dollars.177 A few years later the Prophet was killed, he being at the time the richest man in Nauvoo.
Through the whole story of their lives, if we may believe their alleged revelations to come from on high, God manifests in the conspirators' behalf a greed for earthly prosperity which would disgrace any decent man who should
It is perhaps a work of supererogation, yet I cannot readily resist calling attention to the human side of the conspirators, when they came to fall out, over the division of the spoils. Many, even Brigham Young included, suspected Joseph Smith of misappropriating church money.178 Brigham, however, had his suspicions allayed, for the Lord actually put money into his trunk.179 This would, of course, be very convincing evidence that a man might have much money without misappropriating anything, even months later fail with $150,000 of liabilities and practically though a bank established by revelation,180 should a few no assets, and after only eight months of business.181
At one time Cowdery, a witness to the divinity of the Book of Mormon, invited suspicion that he was converting more than his share of the spoils, and the following revelation was the result:
It is not wisdom in me that he (Cowdery) should be entrusted with the commandments, AND THE MONEYS which he shall carry unto the land of Zion, EXCEPT ONE GO WITH HIM WHO WILL BE TRUE AND FAITHFUL.182
The most forceful incident of this sort, however, occurred as the result of jealousy between Rigdon and Smith, which manifests itself in scores of ways all through their lives. When Rigdon on his visit to the Prophet in New York desires to be proclaimed a translator of remaining plates given by the angel to Smith, and as having the same power as Joseph Smith, the former's ambitions are quietly squelched by a revelation from God to Rigdon, saying: "It is not expedient in me that ye should translate any more until ye shall go to Ohio,"183 but the rest of the plates never were translated.184
When Cowdery and perhaps Rigdon importune their partner in fraud to be elevated to the prophetic office, Smith resists with a revelation in which God is made to say: "No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and reve-
Finally the pressure became too hard to bear, and a revelation was procured in which God, in contradiction of his former declarations, one of which is above quoted, appoints Sidney Rigdon "to receive the oracles for the whole church."187 And not neglecting the equal rights of the "Prophet's" brother, God declares: "I appoint unto him (Hyrum Smith) that he may be a prophet, and a seer, and a revelator unto my church, as well as my servant Joseph."188 Both men were accordingly "ordained" each a "prophet, seer, and revelator."189 Thus are even the Gods made to eat their own words at the behest of the conspirators, who quarrel in their division of the glory and the gold.
One more incident of this sort will suffice. In February, 1831, Smith received the first of several revelations directing the brethren to provide him a home. In part it reads as follows:
It is mete that my servant Joseph Smith, Jun., should have a house built in which to live and translate. And again, it is mete that my servant Sidney Rigdon shall live as seemeth him good, inasmuch as he keepeth my commandments.190
Of course, living "as seemeth him good" was to Sidney Rigdon hardly a fair equivalent for a house and lot. Had he not made Smith a "prophet, seer, and revelator," and could he not also unmake him? Why, then should Sidney Rigdon submit to any unfair division of the spoils of the prophetic office? He didn't.
The above revelation was received while Rigdon was absent from Kirtland. Upon his return he went to the meeting-house where an expectant throng awaited him in anticipation of one of his entrancing sermons, but Rigdon failed to go to the speaker's stand, and instead paced back
Amid tumultuous excitement of the part of the sisters, "Brother Hyrum" left the meeting to bring "Joseph the Prophet," who was in a neighboring settlement. On their return next day the "brethren" and "sisters" were gathered in anticipation of important happenings. Joseph mounted the rostrum and informed the assembly that they were laboring under a great mistake; that the church had not transgressed. Speaking of the lost keys, he said: "I myself hold the keys of this last dispensation, and will forever hold them, both in time and in eternity; so set your hearts at rest upon that point; all is right."
I continue to quote from an account written by the "Prophet's" mother, relating just what they desire the world to believe happened immediately after:
"He (Joseph Smith) then went on and preached a comforting discourse, after which he appointed a council to sit the next day, by which Sidney Rigdon was tried for HAVING LIED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD. In this council Joseph told him he must suffer for what he had done; that he would be delivered over to the buffetings of Satan, who would handle him as one man handleth another; that the less priesthood he had the better it would be for him, and that it would be well for him to give up his license. This counsel Sidney
What really did happen is made very plain by subsequent occurrences. Smith and Rigdon got together, patched up their differences by an agreement that Rigdon should have a house if he would restore the "keys" to the last dispensation, and desist from executing his threats to smash the "Kingdom," and for the sake of its wholesome influence upon others he must play penitent and humble. As evidence of this conclusion we point to the story of this transaction as quoted above from Mother Lucy's life of the "Prophet," and the two following sections of a revelation announced by Smith under the date of August, 1831:
Behold, verily I say unto you, I the Lord am not pleased with my servant Sidney Rigdon. He exalted himself in his heart and received not my counsel, but grieved the Spirit." "Let my servants Joseph Smith, Jun., and Sidney Rigdon seek them a house as they are taught through prayer by the Spirit.192
It is needless to add they each received a house, and both stood for many years, and perhaps even to this day, side by side, and both built according to the same plans.193
The case, so far as the production of evidence is concerned, must now be considered closed. The actors in this fraud are all dead, and upon the precise question here discussed no new evidence is likely to be discovered. All the evidence directly affecting either side of the question had been introduced and reviewed.
Let us put the defenders of the divinity of Mormonism to a test on this matter by inviting them to make an equally good case of circumstantial evidence based upon established fact, all tending to show some other human origin for the Book of Mormon than that here advocated. Inability to do so means that such an array of concurring facts cannot be duplicated in support of any other theory than the one here advocated. If, as must now be admitted, the concurrence of so very many facts can best be explained by the conclusions here contended for, then that is a more believable, a more rational conviction than one which of necessity requires belief in an assumed and unprovable miracle. That explanation which takes the least for granted is always the one adopted by the sanest person. Bearing in mind these truths, let us briefly review a portion of the most salient features of the argument.
From the uncontradicted evidence of witnesses, practic-
Solomon Spaulding, between 1812 and 1816, outlined and then re-wrote a novel, attempting therein to account for the American Indian by Israelitish origin. The first outline of this story, now at Oberlin College, had no direct connection with the Book of Mormon, and was never claimed to be connected with it, and such connection was expressly disclaimed as early as 1834. The rewritten story, entitled "Manuscript Found," was by Spaulding twice left with a publisher, whence it was stolen under circumstances which then led Spaulding to suspect Sidney Rigdon, who long after was the first conspicuous convert of Mormonism; that Rigdon, through his great intimacy with the publishers' employees, had opportunity to steal it, and that after Spaulding's death, and years before the advent of Mormonism, Rigdon had in his possession such a manuscript and exhibited it, with the statement that it was Spaulding's. Through Parley P. Pratt, Rigdon and Smith were brought into relation, and the latter made the Prophet of the "Dispensation of the Fullness of Times," the discoverer, translator, and, according to his own designation, the "Author and Proprietor"194 of the Book of Mormon. This connection is established by the most convincing circumstantial evidence, taken wholly from authorized Mormon publications; it is shown that Rigdon foreknew the coming and in a general way the contents of the Book of Mormon; that both Rigdon and Pratt were, according to some of their contradictory accounts, converted to Mormonism with such miraculous suddenness and without substantial investigation that when this, coupled with the contradictory accounts of these important events and their attempts at concealing
Upon the question of plagiarism, we may profitably add a brief summary of the points of identity between the peculiar features shown to be common to Spaulding's novel and the Book of Mormon. In Spaulding's first outline of the story it pretended to be ancient American history, attempting to explain the origin of part of the aborigines of this continent, all translated from ancient writings found in a stone box. It recounts the wars of extermination of two factions, tells of the collecting of armies and of slaughters which were a physical impossibility to those uncivilized people who were without any modern methods of transporting troops or army supplies. After two revisions, one by Spaulding and a second by Smith, Rigdon & Co., the above general outline still describes equally well the Book of Mormon.
Leaving the first blocking-out of his novel unfinished, Spaulding resolved to change his plot by dating the story farther back and by attempting to imitate the Old Scripture style, so as to make it seem more ancient. Spaulding's determination to date his novel farther back probably suggested changing the roll of parchment which, according to the Oberlin manuscript was found in a stone box, to golden plates. Some time before 1820 some one pretended to have found a Golden Bible in Canada.195 If Spaulding, in re-writing the story, did not make the change, this incident may have suggested such a change to Smith and his fellow-frauds.
Spaulding, in his attempt at imitating Bible phraseology, had repeated so ridiculously often the words "it came to pass," that both in Ohio and Pennsylvania the neighbors to whom he read his manuscript nicknamed him "Old Come-to-pass." In the Book of Mormon, though professedly an abridgement, the same phrase is uselessly repeated several thousands times, and a bungling effort at imitating the style of Bible writers is apparent all through it.
The uncontradicted and unimpeached evidence of many witnesses is explicit that the historical portions of both the "Manuscript Found" and the "Book of Mormon" are the same, and much of the religious matter interpolated is in the exact phraseology of King James's translation of the Bible. We find also many names of places, persons, and tribes to be identical in the "Manuscript Found" and the Book of Mormon. Some of the names were taken from the Bible, others would be known only to the students of American antiquities, among whom was Spaulding, and still others were unheard of until coined by Spaulding. The names proven to be common to both are Nephi, Lehi, Mormon, Nephites, Lamanites, Laban, Zarahemla and Amlicites.
Add to this the very novel circumstance that in both accounts one of two contending armies placed upon the forehead of its soldiers a red mark that they might distinguish friends from enemies, and the new and characteristic features common to both are too numerous to admit of any explanation except that herein contended for, viz: That the Book of Mormon is a plagiarism from Spaulding's novel, the "Manuscript Found," and is the product of conscious fraud on the part of Sidney Rigdon, Parley Parker Pratt, Joseph Smith, and others, which fraud was prompted wholly by a love of notoriety and money.
180. Statement of Warren Parrish, copied in "An Exposure of Mormonism," 10. MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE, January 1837, copied in "Prophet of Palmyra," 134. DESERET NEWS, December 21, 1864, Vol. 14, p. 94, says "under the direction of the Prophet."
189. 20 MILLENNIAL STAR, 550 as to Rigdon, and p. 373 as to Hyrum Smith. It is now claimed that Smith had conferred upon all the Apostles "all the Power, Priesthood, and Authority ever conferred upon himself." 1 Journal of Discourses, 206. 19 Journal of Discourses, 124. See also MELCHISADIC AND ARONIC HERALD, Feb 1850. 5 MILLENNIAL STAR, 104, 68 Semi-Annual Conference, 70.
191. Mother Lucy's life of "Joseph Smith the Prophet," 195 and 196. As to Rigdon's declaration that the keys were gone, see also 14 DESERET NEWS, 91, December 21, 1864. As to Rigdon's being dragged out of bed, see also History of the Mormons, 53.
194. Smith designates himself as the "Author and Proprietor" of God's word, in the Title Page of the Book of Mormon, also in the testimony of the witnesses as it appears in the first edition, since which time both have been altered. See also EVENING AND MORNING STAR, 177.