The Origin of the Spaulding Story

1840

Winchester, B. Winchester, B.

❮ Home

Winchester, B. The Origin of the Spaulding Story, Concerning the Manuscript Found, 1–16,20–21. Philadelphia: Brown, Bicking & Guilpert, 1840.

THE ORIGIN OF THE SPAULDING STORY, CONCERNING THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND; WITH A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF DR. P. HULBERT, THE ORIGINATOR OF THE SAME; AND SOME TESTIMONY ADDUCED SHOWING IT TO BE A SHEER FABRICATION, SO FAR AS ITS CONNECTION WITH THE BOOK OF MORMON IS CONCERNED. BY B. WINCHESTER, MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL

———————

“Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.” Matt. v. 11.

———————

PHILADELPHIA:

BROWN, BICKING & GUILPERT, PRINTERS, NO. 66 NORTH THIRD ST.

1840.

PREFACE.

THE following work is not designed as a vindication of the peculiar tenets of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints—but simply as an exposition of the means used, by the enemy of all righteousness, to stop the progress of inquiry, and prejudice the minds of those who know little or nothing of the religious faith of those who believe the Book of Mormon an inspired record of a fallen people; and thereby prevent examination and investigation. The writer has therefore esteemed it a duty devolving on him, to make a statement of facts coming under his own inspection; as well as those with which he has had ample opportunity of becoming cognizant. [2]

THE ORIGIN OF THE SPAULDING STORY CONCERNING THE MANUSCRIPT FOUND.

As the public mind has been somewhat agitated for the last nine or ten years, upon the subject of Mormonism, (so called,) and as there have been coined and put in circulation, innumerable statements respecting its origin, and all of them contrary the one to the other; I deem it an act of justice to a belied people, and a deceived public, knowing the facts of the case, to present them to the truth of the matter, and to know the contradictions and absurdities, which are swallowed greedily down, without question or examination, because men love darkness rather than light.

THE Spaulding tale of a ‘manuscript found,’ seems to be the basis, from which the vast multitude of ephemeral lies derive their very existence. I shall, therefore, address myself to the task of its entire demolition, so far as it has any thing to do with the book of Mormon; when the superstructure reared thereon, will fall to the ground of necessity.

I shall, in the first place, relate a few of the incidents that brought me in connexion with the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints; and in the next, give a short biography of Doct. P. Hurlbert, who first originated the above tale; and thirdly, compare his testimony, with that of others of his coadjutors; and I think that the sequel will clearly disclose it to be a base fabrication, as notorious as that invented eighteen hundred years ago;—“His disciples came by night and stole him away while we slept.”

In the month of November, 1832, I, for the first time, had the privilege of attending a meeting which was addressed [3] by an elder of the church to which I now belong. I then resided in Erie Co., Pa. I was much prejudiced, and supposed them to be among the greatest of impostors, and their doctrine to be a delusion of the worst kind, I had imbibed these opinions from newspapers, and public rumour, which represented them as holding all things common, being seditious, and denouncing the bible, and being led on by a set of men devoid of every moral principle, and ripe for any enormity. The better to secure their hellish purposes, they had invented a new code of morals, embodied in the golden bible.

With these by no means favourable prepossessions, I was curious to hear these distinguished emissaries of his satanic majesty, as I verily supposed them to be. After entering the house where the meeting was appointed, I beheld a young man in the act of commencing the services, by reading a chapter in the new testament; this somewhat astonished me. He addressed the people on the subject of the gospel of Christ; and seemed only solicitous to impress upon his hearers, the necessity of obeying the gospel. And instead of learning some new fangled doctrine, as I expected, contrary to that taught by the Saviour and his apostles, I heard the very doctrine Christ commanded his disciples to go and preach; and the very words the apostles used, enforced upon his hearers; he insisted upon the absolute necessity of obeying all the commandments of God; and showed what the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, as taught by the apostles were, as follows: 1st, To believe in God, and in Jesus Christ his son, and that the only plan of saving men, is through the gospel, see Gal. i. 9;—2nd, Repent of, and forsake you sins; 3, Baptism for the remission of sins, see Acts ii, 38;—4th, the laying on of hands for the reception of the Holy Ghost. This he demonstrated to be a commandment of the Lord, and an ordinance of the gospel, as much as any other contained in the new testament, by the following passages: Acts, viii, 17,—xix, 6,—Heb. vi, 2. He also contended that the children of men take the new testament for their rule of faith and practice, in the present age of the world, as in any other; and that the church of Jesus Christ be organized on the plan therein directed, see 1 Cor. 12th chap.; Ephesians, 4th chap.

I immediately recognized this as the doctrine of the Bible, and that there is no such thing as believing the [4] Bible and denying the doctrines contained therein. Indeed it commended itself to my conscience in the sight of God.

The next meeting he held, the congregation was addressed on the coming forth of the Book of Mormon. This was a new and a strange thing brought to the ears of this generation. The eyes of the people, however, were opened to understand the scriptures, which testify of the work of the Lord in the last days, and the manner of its accomplishment. The visions of the prophets were unfolded, and many of their declarations shown to be fulfilling before our eyes. The subject assumed a majesty and glory, which altogether surprised and captivated the audience; and we discovered that the stone cut out of the mountain without hands, and which should ultimately fill the whole earth, had already began to roll. That God had indeed chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, and the weak things to confound the mighty. Other appointments to preach were made in other places, in the appointments to preach were made in other places, in the neighbourhood; and the same commotion which the ancient gospel produced, was found still to accompany its promulgation. Some received the truth in the love of it, others used every exertion to withstand it. After I had heard several discourses on the fulness of the gospel, I felt anxious to ally myself to a people who were every where spoken against, and sought the earliest opportunity of doing it; accordingly, I went forward and was baptised. This was in the month of January, 1833; shortly after this, quite a number, seventy or eighty, were baptised and added to the church.

Thus mightily grew the work of the Lord, and the Holy Spirit was poured out. Other elders began to visit us from other parts of the United States. This brought me acquainted with many of them, among them appeared the famous Doct. P. Hulbert, some of whose writings I shall examine. He was at this time, April, 1833, an elder. The numbers of the church having increased, and the desire to hear considerable, in the surrounding country, it was thought best for him to remain and fill the calls. Dr. P. Hulbert resided at Jamestown, N.Y., previous to his embracing the profession of a Latter Day Saint, and was a member of the Methodist E. Church, and was for some time a class leader, and then an exhorter and local preacher; but was expelled for unvirtuous conduct with a young lady; at length he embraced the faith of the church [5] of Latter Day Saints, and soon started for Kirtland, Ohio; ostensibly to cultivate an acquaintance with the brethren there. On his way, he passed through the place in which I resided; he was not ordained at this time; while at Kirtland he was ordained to the office of elder, and shortly returned to Pennsylvania, and commenced preaching as before mentioned. The members of the church at this time had confidence in him as a man of God; but this was soon shaken by his conduct. Dr. P. H. was a man of some parts, and evidently from his conduct and bearing, fully conscious of his power, and while conversing with the other elders or more humble character and acquirements, he often exhibited the spirit of big I and little u.

While in this region of country, he made several converts in Crawford county, Pa. He frequently called, and stayed over night at my father’s; which afforded me an opportunity of forming a correct estimate of the man. The church ultimately lost their confidence in him, in consequence of the discovery, that the organ of amativeness, philoprogenitiveness, or some other organ, not of a moral mould, was unduly developed, and that the gratification of these propensities manifested itself in numerous peccadillos, disgraceful to the man, and calculated to bring upon him the reproach of every lover of virtue and correct morals; so much so, that he was cast off from the church, and his license taken from him by the conference; at first he appeared impenitent and obdurate, but afterwards professed penitence and humility; he soon left for Kirtland, to appeal to the general conference, when his case was reheard, and, in consequence of confession and acknowledgement, his license was restored. In returning into Pennsylvania, he stopped at Thompson, Geauga county, Ohio, and immediately commenced his old practices, in attempting to seduce a young female, but Providence interposing, frustrated his diabolical designs. For this crime he was immediately expelled from the church, and his license called for, but he refused to give it up. On discovering he had irretrieveably ruined himself with the church, his tactics were changed, and he now determined to demolish, as far as practicable, what he had once endeavoured to build up. Now his nefarious purposes were frustrated, he sought to obtain revenge in this manner. Not because he did not conscientiously believe the work of God, as proclaimed by the Latter Day Saints, but because he had rather enjoy the pleasures of sin, which are but for a sea- [6] son. And now he could no longer hide himself under the cloak of religion, and have a name with the people of God, because his wickedness was brought to light, and proclaimed as on the house top.

Therefore, he determined like a true son of the old Apostate, to take a firm stand against God and his truth. He accordingly repaired to Springfield, Pa.; in which place he held forth for the first time. From that place he came to the neighbourhood where I resided. I would here observe, that while he was in connexion with the church of Latter Day Saints, the preachers and priests of the different denominations heaped their calumny upon the Society for fellowshipping him; and made a stumbling block of him, and said there was no mark of a christian about him.

But no sooner had he made his appearance as the campion of sectarianism, and the assailant of Mormonism, than churches, chapels, and meeting-houses were crowded to hear him. By this time the doctrine of Jesus Christ had been proclaimed there about six months. The priests and people had been engaged, with all their powers, to suppress the work; their exertions, however, were fruitless, and the work of the Lord continued to roll on in majesty and power; truth triumphed, and the number of the disciples was greatly multiplied. In this condition of things, the sudden appearance of Dr. P. Hurlbert among them, afforded an opportunity for the Devil to rally his forces once more, and renew his attack; their zeal was again renewed, and their hopes reinvigorated, and the cry was down with Mormonism.

I attended the first lecture that was delivered in the neighbourhood, and there I beheld priest and people listening with breathless anxiety, to see and hear Mormonism forever demolished, and utterly overthrown, with as much interest, apparently, as the Pharisees waited the decision of Pilate, on the death of Jesus Christ. I say, with so great avidity did they drink in the falsehoods, misrepresentations, and calumnies of this modern Julian. The inebriate shout, and the ribald jest, evinced, in a manner not to be mistaken, how welcome the work which he was performing, was to his hearers: there were men, who had never been to hear a single discourse by our people, exclaiming, how true he does it, “its every word true.” Those who had been engaged in overthrowing the cause of God, were inspirited to fresh effort, and renewed hope of succeeding [7] in obtaining a signal victory, and that its promulgators would flee the country in disgrace.

The now Rev. Mr. Hulbert was petted and patronised by priest and people, and every accommodation afforded him. After spending two or three months in that region of the country, lecturing, it was quite manifest to him that his plan had completely failed to secure his purposes.

He resolved, therefore, to try a new experiment, and that was to forge a lie, and make it look as plausible as possible.

After having pursued the history of this individual so far, we shall now proceed to detail the precise manner in which the Spaulding story originated, respecting the manuscript found, which, it is supposed by some, has been transmuted in to the Book of Mormon.

In doing this, I shall be led to notice the proceedings of the fabricator of the same, while engaged in maturing his infamous project.

During the six or eight months that Mr. H. was preaching in the State of Pennsylvania, (part of the time he belonged to the church, and part of it he was lecturing against it;) he formed a large circle of acquaintance, and mingled with all sorts and classes of people. While in a small village, called the Jackson settlement, (a place that is famous for infidels,) he became familiar with a family of the name of Jackson, and others, who were personally acquainted with the now celebrated Solomon Spaulding, who is reputed to be the legitimate author of the Book of Mormon. Here, while in conversation with them, Mr. H. learned that Mr. S., while alive, wrote a work called the Manuscript Found. Not that any of these persons had the most distant idea that this novel had ever been converted into the Book of Mormon; or that there was any connexion between them. Indeed, Mr. Jackson, who had read both the Book of Mormon, and Spaulding’s manuscript, told Mr. H. when he came to get his signature to a writing, testifying to the probability that Mr. S.’s manuscript had been converted into the Book of Mormon; that there was no agreement between them; for, said he, Mr. S.’s manuscript was a very small work, in the form of a novel, saying not one word about the children of Israel, but professed to give an account of a race of people who originated form the Romans, which Mr. S. said he had translated from a Latin parchment that he had found. The Book of Mormon, he added, purports to be written by a branch of the house of Israel; is written in a different [8] style, and altogether different; for this reason Mr. Jackson refused to lend his name to the lie, and expressed his indignation and contempt at the base and wicked project to deceive the public.

Mr. Jackson was a disinterested man, and a good citizen.

Mr. H., after learning that such a novel had been written, in order to carry out his designs, resolved to make the fact, that a novel had been written, the foundation of a notorious fabrication; and at the same time make it appear as plausible as possible, to deceive the world, and induce them to account for the origin of the Book of Mormon in some other way than the truth.

After Mr. H. had learned what I have before mentioned, he immediately repaired to Kirtland, Ohio, and made an appointment to deliver a lecture, on what he called Anti-Mormonism; and made a special request that all who were opposed to the church of Latter Day Saints should attend, which they did, both priest and people, and composed a council, which I suppose resembled strongly the conclave of Hell, or the Jewish Sanhedrin, when they met to put down Jesus and his doctrine.

Here Mr. H. had ample opportunity to display his talent for talking, to a people who listened with breathless attention, and were greedy in devouring his words, expecting to hear some great secret divulged. Mr. H. told them that he had been travelling in the State of Pennsylvania, lecturing against Mormonism; and that he had learned that one Mr. Spaulding had written a romance, and the probability was, that it had, by some means, fallen into the hands of Sidney Rigdon, and that he had converted it into the Book of Mormon. Mr. H. stated also, that he intended to write a book, called Mormonism Unveiled, which he said would divulge the whole secret.

His auditors were much elated at the idea, and one of the a Campbellite, by name, Newel, and a notorious mobocrat in the bargain, advanced the sum of three hundred dollars, for the prosecution of the work; others of them contributed for the same purpose, and expressed their desire for it to be hastened as fast as possible. After receiving such encouragement, he proceeded immediately to prosecute his hellish purposes with more courage than ever, and was immediately fitted out, and started in search of the above manuscript. He proceeded as far as New Salem, the place where Mr. S. lived, when he wrote his manuscript found; and [9] called a meeting, and made known his intentions. This meeting caused considerable stir in the place, and was attended by a number of the citizens. Mr. H. mentioned to them that he had learned that one Mr. Spaulding, several years since, had written a novel, while living in that place, and the probability was, that S. Rigdon had by some means obtained it, and converted it into the Book of Mormon.

This idea was new to them, however, they were pleased with it, and Mr. H.’s project seemed to them a good one; Mr. H. therefore received their support in the shape of some money, and was advised to visit Mr. Spaulding’s widow, now Mrs. Davieson, who resided in Monson, Mass.; and learn if possible all the particulars concerning the matter. I ought to mention that the doctrine of Jesus Christ, had been propagated with considerable success, in the region round New Salem; and had caused there as it every where does, no small stir among the people. And the enemies of truth, had there exhausted all their ingenuity, to put a stop to the progress of righteousness; but still the number of the disciples was daily multiplied. The Spaulding story was never dreamed of, till Mr. H. mentioned it, notwithstanding this was said to be the identical place where the thing was written. But to my history.

Mr. H. immediately repaired to Monson, Mass., to see Mrs. Davieson, who, after Mr. H. presented his object, gave him the writings of her former husband; (this, Mr. H. says himself, in Mormonism unveiled, and also in priest Storrs’ history of the origin of Momonism,) and told him there was a trunk somewhere in the state of New York, which also contained some papers which he might have if they were found to suit his purpose; Mr. H. says, he found nothing in this trunk that would suit his purpose.

By the way, while Mr. H. was on his way to Mass., he called at Palmyra, N. Y., and some of the adjoining towns, and obtained the signatures of several men, bitter and declared enemies of Joseph Smith, Jun., testifying many hard things concerning him, which has exalted his character very much in the estimation of every disinterested person, from the fact, that it is an honour a man to be slandered by a set of blackguards, liars, horse jockeys, and drunkards; but to proceed, Mr. H. while in conversation with Mrs. Davieson, learned that Mr. S. removed from New Salem to Pittsburgh, Pa., in the year 1812; and in a short time after, to Amity, Washington Co. [10] Pa. and deceased in the year 1816; this information was thought to help along the project admirably, and no sooner had Mr. H. returned to New Salem, than it was thought best, that he should immediately repair to Pittsburgh, and Mr. S.’s manuscript had ever been left there.

Now the whole aim and object of this project, was to make the public believe, that Sidney Rigdon was the real author of the Book of Mormon. It is a fact easily apprehended, that if a man or set of men, undertake to palm an abominable lie upon the public, they will endeavour to make it as plausible as possible. Therefore, knowing that S. Rigdon had resided in Pittsburgh for a certain length of time, he had endeavoured to make the finding of the manuscript take place at Pittsburgh, and then infer, that S. R. had coppied it there.

After Mr. H. returned from Pittsburgh, he went to Kirtland, Ohio, and stopped in that region of country, as he said, to learn other particulars, and finish writing his book. Mr. H. had not been there long before he threatened to murder Joseph Smith, Jun., for which he was bound over in the sum of five hundred dollars, to keep the peace. While there, his best friend began to lose confidence in him, his reputation waned rapidly, and the dark side of his character began to develope itself more fully, and he began to play his old pranks.

Those who were anxious that Mr. Hulbert’s work should come out discovered it would not do to publish it in his name, his reputation was too rotten; they advised him therefore, to sell it to Mr. E. D. Howe, of Painesville, Ohio, for five hundred dollars. Mr. H. got the money, and gave up his manuscript, thus Mormonism Unveiled, became the adopted offspring of Mr. Howe; indeed Hulbert’s name was cancelled in many places. These are facts, and can be proven by hundreds of unimpeachable witnesses in that region of country.

Mr. Hulbert with his ill gotten gains, went to Erie county, Pa., in the township of Girard, Miller Settlement, and bought a farm, and married a wife, soon became a confirmed drunkard, spent every cent of his inglorious gain, was reduced to beggary, took to stealing for a livelihood, was detected in stealing a log chain, fled the country, to esc1ape justice, and that is the last of him, so far as I know. I have written this short biography of Dr.* P. [11] Hulbert, that my readers may know the character of the man who first invented the Spaulding lie.—Also that they may know the merit of him whom the priests of this day, to serve their purpose, have dubbed honourable, reverend, &c.

As respects “Mormonism Unveiled,” published by E. D. Howe—its circulation in the west was trifling. They knew too much about it; the persons by whom, and the way in which it was got up. Therefore it died a natural death, in a very little while; and, instead of Mr. Howe making a fortune by it, as he expected, the edition became a burden to him. He offered them at less than half price, and could not get rid of them even then. Instead of doing harm to the church of Latter Day Saints, it did good, for this reason: there had been as much noise made about it as if a mountain were in labour, and when the delivery came, behold it was a mouse. It was boldly affirmed that Mormonism was to receive its death blow: when the blow came, there was no force in it. Vague conjecture, improbabilities, and abuse, were the ingredients of which it was made.

Notwithstanding the downfall of “Mormonism Unveiled,” and the complete prostration of this scheme of the Devil and his emissaries in the West, a new version of the thing has been published by the religious editors of New York, who have asserted its incontrovertible truth; and by their positive affirmation, succeeded in deceiving some with an exploded lie, acknowledged as such in the section of country where it was begotten.

Still another version has made its appearance, emanating form one Mr. Storrs, a Congregationalist priest, of Holliston, Mass., which has come before the world in a different form—in fact they completely annihilate each other. Last of all, it has been re-dressed , and re-touched, in some of the papers of this city, in a manner likely to deceive some, who are unacquainted with the facts; and it is on this account particularly, that I have undertaken the present statement of facts.

I will now proceed to examine them specifically—compare them with each other, and expose thereby their positive falsehood, by the contradictions which they contain.

First, of Priest Storrs’ version of the story, purporting to be signed by Matilda Davieson, the relict of Solomon Spaulding.

This immaculate gentleman commences by remarking, [12] “that the ‘Book of Mormon’ has been put, by a certain new sect, in the place of the Sacred Scriptures.” Does the reverend falsifier know, that the Latter Day Saints esteem the Scriptures so highly, that they denounce the whole sectarian world as apostates, on the ground that they have so lightly prized them, as to renounce a certain part thereof, by saying they are non-essential? Answer, Yes, assuredly.

It is next asserted, that Mr. Spaulding removed from New Salem to Pittsburgh, Pa. Here Mr. S. found an acquaintance and friend in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper.

He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. P., who was very much pleased with itand borrowed it for perusal.

Now, if Mr. Patterson’s testimony can be relied on, this statement is false; for, as soon as it appeared in public, Mr. Green called on Mr. P., to know if this statement was true. Mr. P.

*Doctor is not the title of his profession, he being the seventh son, his mother saw proper to name him doctor. replied, that he knew nothing of any such manuscript. I learned this from Mr. Green’s own mouth, who is a man of undoubted veracity. I suppose the pious priest of Holliston was labouring under the hallucination of trusting to his cloth to cover his naked fabrication. A very rotten dependence, truly! Mr. Hulbert states, that he called on Mr. Patterson, who affirmed his entire ignorance of the whole matter. The author of “Mormonism Unveiled,” and “The Origin of Mormonism,” are clearly at work unwittingly destroying each other.

Again, it is asserted, that “Sidney Rigdon was at the time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated.” Sidney Rigdon was never connected with any such office, for the simple reason, that no such office was in existence while Mr. R. resided in Pittsburgh! Mr. Patterson kept a book and stationary establishment at that time, and had no connection whatever with Mr. Rigdon. The author of the “Origin of Mormonism,” has therefore been guilty of forging, inventing, or circulating a demonstrative falsehood; and however he may attempt to screen himself under his sanctimoniousness, the covering cannot hide him. The horns and the hoof will betray, in spite of himself, and exhibit the folly of the concealed culprit. “By their fruits, ye shall know them.”

But again. Here he (S. Rigdon) had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr.

Spaulding’s manu- [13] script, and to copy it if he chose.” The intention of the whole scheme is manifestly to create the impression that S. Rigdon had a share in its production, if he was not the sole author of the Book of Mormon. Almighty God always does his work so as effectually to preclude the possibility of its ever being mistaken for the work of man, by the lover of truth; and the attempt of the father of lies to make a show of accounting for the Book of Mormon, in some other way than the truth, will not deceive a single honest heart, whose motto is, “Prove all things.”

That Mr. Rigdon lived in Pittsburgh between the years 1822 and 1826, no one disputes; but that he had any thing to do with the compilation of the Book of Mormon, we utterly deny. In fact, he did not know of its existence until years after, as we are prepared to show. Let us, however, see how the statements tally. Mr. Spaulding wrote his manuscript in New Salem, Ohio, in the year 1812: from thence he removed to Pittsburgh. Here the ingenious author carefully conceals the time when he removed to Pittsburgh. Why? Because he would be building his fabric with one hand, and pulling it about his ears with the other. Mr. Hulbert says the widow of Mr.

Spaulding informed him, that the removal to Pittsburgh took place in 1812, and from thence to Amity, in 1814. Mrs. Davieson is made to say in the “Origin of Mormonism,” that, “At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity. The manuscript then fell into my hands, and was carefully preserved.” Admitting this—all the time, and the only time S. Rigdon had an opportunity, or possibility, of becoming acquainted with the manuscript, was between 1812 and 1814; for since that time, it has been carefully kept by Mrs. Davieson. S.

Rigdon is now forty-seven years of age—consequently was born in 1793; and in 1812, of course, was only nineteen years of age. I learned from his mother, before the Spaulding story was ever thought of, that he lived at home, and worked on the farm, until the twenty-sixth year of his age, and was never engaged in public life until after this period, either politically or religiously. Any one who can credit that a plough boy, nineteen or twenty years of age, who had lived a secluded life from his infancy, could set to work to copy a manuscript necessary for a book of six hundred pages, and secrete it twenty years, without the slightest apparent reason under heaven, can find no difficulty in believing Mahomet’s account of the seventeenth heaven. Mark, [14] Mrs.

Davieson says she had it form 1814 to the time of Mr. Hulbert’s application, in her own possession: couple that with the fact, that S. Rigdon never lived in Pittsburgh until after 1822! eight or ten years after the manuscript was in the careful preservation of Mrs. Davieson!! The very lame attempt at something like precision, by affixing names and dates, is then the key by which the whole plot is unravelled and exploded. Another extract from the “Origin of the Book of Mormon,” is as follows: “After the Book of Mormon came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem. A woman preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting read and repeated copious extracts from the Book of Mormon.” As I lived close by New Salem at this time, I knew all the Elders of this church who visited New Salem. I have reason to know that no such meeting as that herein described ever took place; especially as we never had a female teacher in the church! We do not allow any such impropriety. This account moreover says, that John Spaulding, brother of Solomon, was present at this meeting, and “His grief found vent in floods of tears; and he arose on the spot, and expressed in the meeting his deep sorrow and regret, that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking.”

In the first place, Mr. J. S. does not live in New Salem, or in the state! And in the next, it is a very strange thing that a saint of God should be engaged in manufacturing a Romance, (lies!) to palm upon the public as truth: surprising consistency!! We will match this with an extract from Mr. Hulbert. “The fact also that Spaulding, in the latter part of his life, inclined to infidelity, is established by a letter in his own handwriting, now in my possession.” neither does their witness agree together, and it is clear whose servants they are, because his works they do. Mr.

Hulbert is said to be deputed by some others to visit Mass., to obtain from Mrs. Davieson the original manuscript; we have examined this more particularly in the former part of our remarks; priest Storrs evidently borrowed this idea from the veracious gentleman himself.

The far famed manuscript, it is said, was delivered up to Hulbert, by Mrs. Davieson, and that is the last of it. Where is it now? Why has it not been published long ago? Simply because it would have branded their statements with everlasting infamy. It is certainly of sufficient moment to warrant a publication, and the interest these [15] gentlemen have taken in the matter, proves, beyond all doubt, that they consider it so. Will these pious and patriotic citizens not lend a hand to undeceive some hundreds of thousands of human beings, in an affair of such intrinsic importance, when it can be done with such ease, and withal so effectually. With all their pretension to christian philanthropy, what is the position they now occupy; according to their own showing, multitudes have, and are continually receiving a book as of divine origin, and moulding their faith and practice therefrom, when these men start up and declare we have discovered it is all a gross imposition! it was written by a man for amusement! we have the identical manuscript from which it was copied; and yet refuse to bring it to light! Do not these men stand convicted in every honourable mind, with being either recreant to their duty, as teachers of religion, or wilfully blinding and deceiving the people. One of these must be true, and we think there is no difficulty in determining which, when it is remembered how zealous these men have been in using every means in their power to withstand the progress of truth. [16]

. . . Having said so much respecting the manuscript found, I shall add a few more remarks, and then close the subject. Sufficient has already been said to prove clearly to every candid mind, that the whole story is not reconcilable with the facts, as stated by the originators themselves, and by its various contradictions completely destroys itself, and proves it to be a base fabrication.

It is evident, from Hulbert’s own statement, that he obtained the manuscript from Mrs. Davieson; but, after comparing it with the Book of Mormon, he found there was no correspondence or similarity between them, either in style or contents: therefore, to cover his own shame, he resorts to the supposition, without a particle of presumptive evidence, that S. Spaulding had written a different kind of novel, and the probability was, that it had been converted into the Book of Mormon. Mr. Hulbert makes the following statement respecting the manuscript which he had in his possession: “This is a romance, purporting to have been translated from the Latin, found on twenty-four rolls of parchment, in a cave, but written in modern style—giving a fabulous account of a ship being driven upon the American coast, while proceeding from Rome to Britain, a short time previous to the Christian era; this country then being inhabited by the Indians.” Now any one who has read the Book of Mormon, knows that the contents are altogether dissimilar from this description. [20]

According to Mrs. Davieson’s account, the manuscript was given up to Hulbert, on the condition that it should be printed, and one half the proceeds accruing be paid to her. But he afterwards writes to her, that the manuscript did not read as he expected, and he should not print it. After all, then, it appears the whole story is traced to the source, which is nothing more than the ipse dixit of a vagabond, and a fugitive from justice, the veritable D. P. Hulbert. This is the principal plea which is depended upon for rejecting the Book of Mormon. Such, then, is the history of the Spaulding lie. It no doubt has afforded many a pretext for rejecting the truth; but it never prevented a sincere lover of truth from embracing the message which God has sent again to the children of men. Why? Because they would search and prove the matter for themselves, without any regard to what others might do. I now the Book of Mormon to be true; and all the inventions and slanders which the Devil and his servants can invent, will never shake my faith in it. The evidence on which it rests, cannot be overthrown. It will continue to roll on with accelerated speed; and all opposition, no matter from what source emanating, will be overcome, and crushed beneath its universal prevalence. . . .

❮ Back