Copyright
Ellen E. Dickinson.

New light on Mormonism online

. (page 1 of 24)
Online LibraryEllen E. DickinsonNew light on Mormonism → online text (page 1 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


-II B RAR.Y

OF THE
U N I VERSITY

or ILLINOIS
298
D56n



I .H.S.







LIGHT ON




MRS. ELLEN E. DICKINSON



WITH INTRODUCTION

BY

THURLO W WEED



NEW YORK

FUNK & WAGNALLS

10 AND 12 DEY STREET

1885

Att Righlt Eetened



Entered, according to Act of Congress, In the year 1885, by

FUNK & WAGNALLS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. C.



NOTICE

AFTER CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF THE

INNER MARGIN AND TYPE OF MATERIAL

WE HAVE SEWN THIS VOLUME BY HAND rave po-

SO IT CAN BE MORE EASILY OPENED -he most

AND READ.

______________ . t its true

origin, and for the re-telling of an old story, with the ad-
dition of facts and circumstances that have not hitherto
been printed.

A deeper interest may be felt in this attempt to cut to
the very root of this monstrous parasite upon our Ameri-
can civilization, by my stating here that the Rev. Solo-
Lo mon Spaulding, the author of the romance called " The
Manuscript Found," from which the "Book of Mor-
was formulated, was my mother's uncle by mar-
that this romance was for a long time in the
house of my grandfather,' William Harvey Sabine, near
Syracuse, New York, and that it contained no sugges-
tion of polygamy.

With the intention of writing these pages I visited
Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter and only child of the
Rev. S. Spaulding, in Washington, D. C., in 1880, and
she then made a sworn statement as to her father's
authorship of the work which has been used with such
disastrous effect by crafty men. (Appendix No. 1.)

This venerable lady at the time mentioned was seventy-
seven years of age, but in sound health and possessed of



Entered, according to Act of Congress, In the year 1885, by

FUNK & WAGNALLS,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington, D. 0.



PEEFAOE.



THE rapid growth of Mormonism and the grave po-
litical aspect it has assumed render it one of the most
important topics of current reform.

The time seems ripe for giving to the public its true
origin, and for the re-telling of an old story, with the ad-
dition of facts and circumstances that have not hitherto
been printed.

A deeper interest may be felt in this attempt to cut to
the very root of this monstrous parasite upon our Ameri-
can civilization, by my stating here that the Rev. Solo-
> inon Spaulding, the author of the romance called " The
Manuscript Found," from which the "Book of Mor-
f^mon" was formulated, was my mother's uncle by mar-
riage ; that this romance was for a long time in the
house of my grandfather,' William Harvey Sabine, near
Syracuse, New York, and that it contained no sugges-
tion of polygamy.

"With the intention of writing these pages I visited
Mrs. McKinstry, the daughter and only child of the
Rev. S. Spaulding, in Washington, D. C., in 1880, and
she then made a sworn statement as to her father's
authorship of the work which has been used with such
disastrous effect by crafty men. (Appendix No. 1.)

This venerable lady at the time mentioned was seventy-
seven years of age, but in sound health and possessed of



4 PKEFACB.

excellent memory. She resided for fifty years at Mun-
son, Mass., where she is favorably known, as well as her
son, Dr. McKinstry, of Long Meadow, near Springfield,
Mass., and her son-in-law, Mr. Seaton, chief clerk of
the Census Bureau, Washington, D. C.

With Mrs. McKinstry's full consent to follow up the
subject, several localities in Ohio and Central New York
were visited by the writer in the autumn of 1881, and
with the gleanings thus obtained, the family- traditions,
the letters written by aged people conversant with the
topic and roused into action through the publishing of
the statement referred to in the Century Magazine (then
Scribner 's), the following pages have been written. It
is the only attempt of the Rev. S. Spaulding's relatives
to set this matter in its proper light, a duty long delayed
to the memory of an upright man.

ELLEN E. DICKINSON.



AUTHORS CONSULTED AT THE ASTOR LIBRARY,



GUNNISON, STENHOUSE,

HYDE, GREEN,

KIDDER, TUCKER,

CASWELL, Gov. ELI H. MURRAY,

AMERICAN ENCYCLOPEDIA.



INTEODUOTIOF.



No. 12 WEST TWELFTH STREET,
NEW YORK, July 9, 1882.

IN my boyhood I resided in Onondaga Hollow (now
Valley), and was acquainted with William H. Sabine, the
grandfather of Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, the author of
this book, and well remember his residence, in which the
Spaulding manuscript is said to have been kept for some
years. 1 have not read this book myself, as my health
will not permit it ; but in conversation with Mrs. Dick-
inson I have become satisfied that she has introduced
considerable original material, and has gathered from
books already published a large amount of interesting
matter relating to the subject of Mormonism.

This seems to be the time to publish a narrative of the
early history of Mormonism. The subject is exciting
great interest at present ; and as no books have been pub-
lished relating to it for many years, the present genera-
tion has slight acquaintance with it.

With my knowledge of Joseph Smith and one of his
first followers, Phelps, a Canandaigua printer, it has
been for more than half a century the occasion of sur-
prise and regret that such vulgar impostors should have
obtained a following, which is even now drawing prose-
lytes by the thousand from Europe.

THURLOW WEED.



CONTENTS.



CHAPTER I.

Sketch of the Life of Solomon Spaulding and his Authorship of
a Romance which he called " The Manuscript Found " . . . . 13

CHAPTER II.

Following the Fate of " The Manuscript Found " from the Year
1816 to 1834 19

CHAPTER III.

Sketch of Joseph Smith's Early Life The Printing of the " Book
of Mormon " 28

CHAPTER IV.

Sketch of Sidney Rigdon Interview with General and Mrs.
Garfield, at Mentor Description of the Mormon Temple at
Kirtland, Ohio 47

CHAPTER V.

Interview with D. P. Hurlburt, at Gibsonburg, Ohio, and with
E. D. Howe, at Painesville, Ohio, in 1880 62

CHAPTER VI.
Visit to Conneaut, Ohio, in 1880 Reminiscences of Rev. S.

Spauldiug and the First Mormon Conference, in 1834 77

CHAPTER VII.
The Mormons in Missouri 82



12 CONTENTS.

CHAPTER VIII.
The Mormons at Nauvoo Description of the Temple The
Death of the Prophet 94

CHAPTER IX.

Brighain Young's Election to the Presidency Expulsion of the
Mormons from Nauvoo, in 1846 113

CHAPTER X.

The Early Political Situation of the Mormons in " The Land of
the Honey Bee " The Mountain Meadow Butchery The
Influence of the Mormons Over the Indians 122

CHAPTER XI.
Polygamy in Utah The Granting of Woman's Suffrage in

1871 The Edmunds' Bill Sketch of Brigham Young 140

CHAPTER XII.

John Taylor Elected as Successor to the Second Prophet The
Trial of Rudger Clawson, Jr., for Bigamy Salt Lake City
Its Beautiful Location The Tabernacle and Public Build-
ings Mormon Conferences The Freedom of the Ballot in
Utah The Present Generation of Mormons Predictions
Regarding the Future of Mormonism Far-seeing Mormons
Preparing a Rendezvous for the Victims of the Edmunds'
Law 167

CHAPTER XIII.

The Doctrines of Mormonism Hierachical Organization The
"Book of Mormon "Church Polity The Faith of the
Latter-Day Saints Their Modes of Worship 200

CHAPTER XIV.

The Josephites Epitome of the Faith and Doctrines of the Re-
organized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
David Whitmer The Debate at Kirtland, Ohio, in 1884,
Concerning the "Book of Mormon" The Revelation on

Celestial Marriage Given to Joseph Smith in 1843 215

APPENDIX o 237

IXDEX.. . 269



NEW LIGHT ON MORMOlSriSM,



CHAPTER I.

Sketch of the Life of Solomon Spaulding and his authorship of a
romance which he called "The Manuscript Found."

SOLOMON SPAULDING was born at Ashford, Conn., in
1761, of a highly respectable family of English extrac-
tion, some of whose members served as officers in the
Revolutionary "War.

lie was educated at the Plainfield, Conn., Academy
and at Dartmouth College, where he graduated in 1785,
subsequently studying theology, and preached for* a few
years in some obscure New England town, but retired
from the ministry, it is said, in consequence of ill-health.
Soon after leaving Dartmouth he married Miss Matilda
Sabine, of Pomfret, Conn. Next we hear of Mr.
Spaulding at Cherry Yalley, N. Y., where he became
principal of an academy, and remained until, through
the persuasion of his brother, John Spaulding, he re-
moved to a little town in Ohio, west of Buffalo, called
at the time Salem, but now known as Conneaut, Ashta-
bula Co. Here the Spaul dings, with Mr. Henry Lake,
were owners of an iron foundry, and were engaged in
successful business until the War of 1812, which ruined
them financially.



14 NEW LIGHT OK MOEMONISM.

Solomon Spaulding, being an invalid, remained much
of the time in his own house, reading and writing. He
was a peculiar man, of fine education, especially devoted
to historical study, the writing of essays and romances,
and given to talking to his neighbors of what he had
read and written.

He was greatly superior to the people generally with
whom he came in contact in that part of the country,
both in mental capacity and education, possessed a com-
manding personal appearance being over six feet in
height and had a pleasing, intelligent countenance.
With all these advantages he was naturally looked upon
as a man of consequence, and his opinions and conver-
sation were listened to with earnest consideration by his
acquaintances and neighbors.

He was in the habit of frequently reading to them
something he had written for their amusement and
benefit, and these unique entertainments made a vivid
and lasting impression upon those who were so fortunate
as to attend them.

In close proximity to the Spaulding residence there
were some earth-mounds ; they greatly interested him,
and in order to have one of them investigated he had a
large and vigorous tree cut down, which, on examination,
turned out to be one thousand years old. Buried within
the mound were various evidences of a prehistoric race,
relics of a civilized condition, mingled with human bones,
which were portions of gigantic skeletons. This dis-
covery very greatly excited him and fired his imagination.
He had been the very first person, it is said, to specu-
late and write on the origin of the various earth-mounds
in the Mississippi Yalley and that region, and had long
had a theory as to the peopling of this country by a race
which had inhabited the whole Continent, possessing the



NEW LIGHT OST MORMONISM. 15

refinements of civilization, and which had, in some un-
accountable manner, perished. The relics secured by his
workmen seemed to confirm this idea ; here he found
tangible proofs that his theories and conversations on the
subject were not the mere vagaries of a distorted and
fanciful imagination, and he immediately began to write
a new romance.

The extreme antiquity of the relics belonging to the
race whose history he professed to give led him to adopt
the most antique style of composition, and so he imitated
the Scriptures, as the most ancient book in the world ;
and his knowledge of the classics and histories of the
olden times enabled him to introduce the odd names
which were noticed by his friends, and which were after-
ward easily distinguished by them. In common with
all antiquarians, Mr. Spaulding was aware that the
mound- builders are supposed to have been very religious,
as well as superstitious ; but as to the nature of their
religion and superstitions it is impossible to determine
aught, save their striking si miliarity to the religion of the
modern Indians, and to that of the ancient Magi of
Persia, before the days of Zoroaster.

Mr. Spaulding conceived the idea that among the pre-
historic mementoes discovered by his workmen some
golden plates covered with hieroglyphical writing had
been found, and that he merely translated the story of a
people whose wanderings and sufferings had been thereon
inscribed, and of which he had deciphered the interpre-
tation. He altered the plot of his novel after writing
a portion of it. The emigrant Jews, whose story he pro-
fessed to narrate, were, in the first instance, fitted out at
Rome for their travels ; but after reflection he started
them from Jerusalem, with Levi and his four sons, under
divine direction. Years after, when his manuscript ro-



16 NEW LIGHT OK MOUMOJttSM.

mance was eagerly sought for at Harlwich, N. Y., the
rejected beginning of his story was found.

Mr. Spaulding was a rapid writer, and as he pro-
gressed with his romance from day to day, he read it to
his wife and neighbors, all of whom were greatly im-
pressed with its peculiarities. He called it " The Manu-
script Found" that is, a written history of a lost peo-
ple, found in an earth-mound. It purported to be an
account of the peopling of America by the lost tribes of
Israel, the tribes and their leaders having very singular
names ; among them. Mormon, Moroni, Lamenite, and
Nephi names found nowhere else in literature. So
much interest was awakened by this romance, and it was
such a distinction, at the time, to write a book, that he
determined to publish it. (Mr. Spaulding laughingly re-
marked to Nathan Howard, a neighbor, that probably in
a century from that time his account of the early in-
habitants of America would be accepted as a veritable
history.) For this purpose he removed to Pittsburg,
where he had a friend named Patterson, a publisher, to
whom he gave his manuscript for inspection, hoping he
would print it, believing that its publication would not
only establish him as a successful author, but give him,
in addition, a comfortable competence. The war had
blasted all his hopes of bettered fortune at Conneaut ;
but he now felt sanguine of success if his book could
reach the public in proper form. A young printer,
named Sidney Rigdon, was in Mr. Patterson's printing
house ; he had been there but a short time, and, from
many indisputable facts, it is believed he had followed
Mr. Spaulding from Conneaut, or its immediate neigh-
borhood, and having heard him read " The Manuscript
Found," and announce his plan for its publication, de-
vised a treachery toward both author and publisher, which



NEW LIGHT*OX MORMOXISM. 17

the world has reason to remember. This same Sidney
Rigdon figured prominently twenty years later as a
preacher among the Mormons. After weeks of delay,
during which time Mr. Spaulding's manuscript was left
carelessly lying about in the office of the printing house,
Mr. Patterson decided not to publish it. He admitted
its cleverness, and said to the author, " Polish it up,
finish it, and you will make money out of it." It is
probable that Mr. Spaulding did not attempt to find
another publisher, as he was disheartened and impecuni-
ous. It was a very different matter to publish a book
at that time from the present era of books and book-
making. Within a few months he seems to have aban-
doned his attempt to have his romance printed, and took
his family to Amity, Washington Co., Penn., where he
at one time kept a store, and then a public-house, and
again became the centre of an admiring circle of listen-
ers to his talk and writings. The author has recently
received a letter (see Appendix No. 2) from a very
aged man, still living near Amity, who distinctly re-
members Solomon Spaulding and his " Manuscript
Found." This same Mr. Miller testifies that he often
heard the romance read, remembers many particulars in
it, citing a description in the story where, before a
battle, one of the armies painted their faces with red
paint to distinguish them from their enemies, and that
he afterward read the same description in the same con-
nection in the " Book of Mormon." Mr. Miller remem-
bers distinctly, too, that Mr. Spaulding accused Rigdon of
copying his manuscript while it was in Mr. Patterson's
office, giving his reasons for such a belief. In 1816
Mr. Spaulding died of consumption at Amity, and was
there buried in the village graveyard.

His friend Miller tells how he nursed him in his



18 NEW LIGHT ON MORMONISM.

illness, made his coffin, helped to bury him, and settled
up his slender estate. At this time "he stooped for-
ward a "little, had a sober visage, was reserved in conver-
sation, and very candid apparently in his dealings," and
" I think he was a very good man," adds the narrator
of this unfortunate author's last experiences.

The humble head-stone which marks his grave has
been almost entirely chipped away by relic hunters of
our own and foreign lands ; but there is a promise that
the Historical Society of Washington Co., Penn., will
replace it with a handsome and suitable monument at no
distant day.



CHAPTEE II.

Following the fate of " The Manuscript Found " from the year 1816
to 1834.

IMMEDIATELY after Solomon Spaulding's death at Amity,
Perm., in 1816, Mrs. Spaulding and her daughter re-
moved to the residence of William H. Sabine at Onon-
daga Y alley (called " Hollow" at the time), K Y., tak-
ing with her all her personal effects. According to the
remembrances of certain persons now living, Mrs. Spauld-
ing was greatly esteemed by "Squire Sabine," as he
was familiarly known. She was his only sister, and a
woman of intelligence, refinement, and many virtues,
and he invited her to make a prolonged visit at his
house in consequence of her impoverished condition.
Mr. Sabine was a lawyer of distinction and wealth,
a graduate of Brown University, and known through-
out central New York for his legal abilities and probity
of character.* He was the personal friend of Judge
Conklingof Utica (father of Roscoe Conlding), of Judge
Strong of Onondaga Co. , and of J udge Miller of Cayuga
Co. (the father-in-law of William H. Seward), and of all
the leading men of that part of the State, one of the
most prominent of whom was Judge Joshua Forman,
his brother-in-law and partner, whose name will al-
ways be associated with the history of our country in

* It may also be stated that Mr. Sabine accepted a military com-
mission, and was promoted to the rank of Captain, and in 1811 with-
drew from the service. He was a strong Federalist, and was candi-
date for the Assembly in 1815, 1816, and 1817.



20 NEW LIGHT OK MOBMOSTISM.

connection with his instrumentality in the construction
of the Erie Canal and originating the banking system
called 'the " Safety Fund Act," during the administra-
tion of Martin Van Buren as Governor of the State of
New York, which subsequently became a law in this
State, and in 1860 was adopted by the general govern-
ment, and is now in general use.*

Squire Sabine's house remains in perfect preservation,
is still owned by the family ; and Mrs. McKinstry, in
talking of it two years since, described its rooms and
surroundings as she saw them in 1816 and 1817, which
correspond very closely to their present condition.

Among Mrs. Spaulding's belongings which she con-
veyed to the old homestead was a hair-covered trunk, of
a kind much used in those days, filled with her deceased
husband's writings, which she had preserved sermons,
essays, novels, and a manuscript, which she and all the
family were familiar with, under the title of " The
Manuscript Found." Mrs. McKinstry, Mr. Spaulding's
daughter, says that she perfectly remembers this trunk
and its contents ; that it was in the garret of the house ;
that she and her cousins (one of them the mother of the
writer) had access to it and frequently looked it through.
She remembers one set of papers or manuscripts an inch
thick, closely written and tied up with some of the stones
which she recognized as having been written by her
father, and read to her by him at Conneaut. One of
these stories was called " The Frogs of Wyndham," and
she repeated it to the writer recently, giving an imitation
of her father's comic recitation of it. One of the manu-
scripts she distinctly remembers to have seen had the
title '" The Manuscript Found."



See Mnrjnzrne of American His/on/, June, 1882.



NEW LIGHT ON MORMONISM. 21

As she was between eleven and twelve years of age at
this time, and precocious, she well understood what she
saw and read. The trunk containing the manuscript is
understood to have been in Mr. Sabine's house nearly
three years. While it was there Mrs. Anna T. Red-
field, still living in Syracuse, K. Y., eighty-three or
four years of age, of sound mind and memory, and of
high social position (see Appendix No. 3), was a resident
in Mr. Sabine's family.

She also remembers hearing a great deal of a manu-
script which Mrs. Spaulding said was written by her de-
ceased husband, and the comments made upon it by Mr.
Sabine and the neighbors, and their all agreeing that it
was a wonderful story, both in style and substance. In
after years, in seeing the " Book of Mormon," she found
names and incidents in it which she heard in connection
with the Spaulding manuscript at Onondaga Valley.
The writer has often heard members of her family say
that Joe Smith was at one time their servant or hired
man. Probably it was while Mrs. Spaulding was at
Onondaga Yalley.

Smith was in Onondaga County about the time men-
tioned, as his name (according to Gunnisou) appears in
the criminal records of 1817. He was about eighteen or
nineteen years old, possibly twenty, when he was in the
Onondaga County Jail for " vagrancy and debt," and
this jail was then at Onondaga Hill, two miles from* Mr.
Sabine's house. An old man remembered that Smith was
about this time employed to " locate" water with sticks of
witch-hazel, the "divining-rods" in the vicinity of Syra-
cuse and Onondaga Yalley, and there is a local tradition
that he was employed to look for gold in what is supposed
to be an earth-mound, a conical-shaped hill, between
Syracuse and Onondaga Yalley, with his "seer-stone."



22 NEW LIGHT ON MORMONISM.

There is no reason to doubt that Joe Smith was once
in the employ of Mr. Sabine as a teamster and man for
out-door work, taking his meals in the kitchen, and
hearing the talk of the house.

Some authors on Mormonism have said Smith stole the
Spaulding manuscript while at Mr. Sabine's ; this state-
ment is not correct. He heard of it, and from his
knowledge of it was afterward prepared to use what he
knew of the matter in getting up one of the greatest
delusions in the history of modern times.

Joseph Sabine, Esq., of Syracuse, son of William H.
Sabine, now deceased, twice wrote his recollections for
New York newspapers of the family traditions in rela-
tion to Mr. Spaulding, his romance, its being in his fa-
ther s house, and o Joe Smith's residence at Onondaga
Yalley.

In 1820 Mrs. Spaulding married Mr. Davison of
Ilartwick, near Cooperstown, N. Y. Mrs. McKinstry
says she vividly remembers seeing the hair trunk and
looking over its contents in a closet in Mr. Davison' s
house, at Cooperstown, where it had been removed, and
noticing its important feature, " The Manuscript Found ;"
but the two ladies, mother and daughter, in their new re-
lations and new home, did not give the same attention
to Mr. Spaulding' s literary legacy that they had while in
Mr. Sabine's house.

In 1828 Matilda Spaulding married Dr. A.McKinstry,
of Munson, Hampden Co., Mass., and her mother fol-
lowed her a little while afterward to make a visit, which,
for some family reasons (on the part of Mrs. Davison),
eventuated in her remaining there permanently until her
death. She placed her furniture, and with it the old
Spaulding trunk of manuscripts, in the custody of a cousin
at ITurtwick, namerl Jerome Clark.



XEW LIGHT ON MORMONISM. 23

Here it must be remem-bered that the facilities for
travel and transportation were then very different from
the present expeditious methods by railway and express.
Fifty years ago journeys were slowly and expensively
accomplished ; and in leaving her effects with a cousin
she felt they were safe, and that she would return for
them ; and she had not the remotest suspicion of the
use to be made of one of the manuscripts by fraudu-
lent men almost immediately after her departure from
Hartwick.

Soon after Mrs. Davison went to Mtmson the "whole
country was filled with an agitation in regard to a new
religious faith called Mormonism ; and the report that it
was founded on Solomon Spaulding's romance, " Manu-
script Found, 1 ' quickly followed, to the immense surprise
of Mrs. Davison, Mrs. McKinstry, and every one con-
nected with the author of that remarkable and unfortu-
nate novel. Then a report was directly carried to these
ladies, that a great meeting of Mormons had been held at



Online LibraryEllen E. DickinsonNew light on Mormonism → online text (page 1 of 24)