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Title: Gleanings by the Way

Author: John A. Clark

Release date: January 22, 2012 [eBook #38644]
Most recently updated: January 8, 2021

Language: English

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Rector of St. Andrew's Church, Philadelphia,


"Let me now go to the field and glean ears of corn." Ruth, ii. 2.

W. J. & J. K. SIMON.


Entered according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1842, by
John A. Clark, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court in the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


[Pg iii]


When it was not so common, as now, to issue publications from the press, a book of any kind seldom made its appearance, without a preface, to give the reader some idea of its contents, and the history of its elaboration from the author's mind. But at the present day, when authorship is no longer the prerogative of the few, and the press teems with every species of literature, preface writing has quite fallen into desuetude; not improbably for the very solid and satisfactory reason that it would be a most difficult, perplexing, and onerous business, to their several authors, to assign any plausible grounds for the publication of one half of the volumes that come forth in such immense shoals from the press.

We are certainly attached to the good old custom of having a preface, although we are aware that many authors who omit this appendage, assign as a reason, that the preface is the only part of a book that is never read. This we think, in many instances, is not exactly true. There are those in the present day, who like to know why a book was written, and what it contains, before they begin[Pg iv] to read it. By such knowledge—and this is precisely the information a preface ought to convey—they avoid the trouble of reading many a volume, which had the author been of the same mind, he might have escaped the trouble of writing. To this class of readers the preface is an important part of the book: while to those who eschew every thing of this sort, it will give but little trouble, to turn over a leaf or two to the commencement of the first chapter.

We did not mean, when we began, to write a defence of prefaces—but to write a preface to our own work.

The name of this volume, Gleanings by the Way, indicates the character of the work. It consists principally of thoughts gathered up—and sketches of scenery, and incidents, that came before the author during excursions made into the country at different periods, within the last four years. For several years the author has been labouring under infirm health, and has found it necessary after encountering the heavy pastoral duties and labours connected with a large city congregation for nine or ten months in succession, to retire from the scene of his ministerial duties, and seek to recruit his wasted strength and enfeebled health amid the retirement of rural life, or the diversified scenes of travel and journeying. During these seasons of relaxation, the author desired still to be engaged in something that might at least indirectly promote the interests of religion. This volume contains some of the things of which he at such seasons made a record.[Pg v]

In the tour to the far West, made during the summer of 1837—and the sketch that depicts the outline of the Mormon Delusion, the author cherishes the hope that facts are brought to light that will interest a large class of readers. And he also cherishes the hope that while these pages may interest the general reader, may beguile a lonely hour—and attract the attention of some who would not be likely to take up a more serious book—the tendency of the whole volume will be to advance, at least indirectly, that cause which lies so near to his heart. With this hope—and not with any expectation of earning increased literary reputation, he sends forth these Gleanings by the Way.

[Pg 7]


Chapter I. 13

The Three Gleaners.

Chapter II. 25

Views of Pennsylvania:—Tour to Harrisburgh—Aspect of the country—The Valley of the Susquehanna—The passage of the River—The Valley of the Juniata—Huntingdon—The Rev. John W. James—His sudden exit.

Chapter III. 32

Glimpses of Western Pennsylvania:—Source of the Juniata—Ascent of the Alleghanies—The summit—The Great Mississippi Valley—Skepticism—Rank growth of religious error—Dunkards—Valley of the Conemaugh—Moonlight—Singular conversation—Infidel sneers.

Chapter IV. 42

Pittsburg and its environs:—First view of Pittsburg—Its general aspect—Sabbath and its employments—An affecting incident—Orphan children—A Christian father in the midst of his children on the Sabbath.

Chapter V. 49

Voyage on the Ohio:—Travelling companions—Steamboats on the Ohio—The Elk—The Ohio river—The Harmonists—Steubenville—Wheeling—Marietta—Portsmouth—Kentucky—The dead steamboat captain—Kentucky funeral.

Chapter VI. 62

A glimpse of Kentucky:—Cincinnati—The Queen city—Views in reference to missionary labour—The kind of missionaries wanted in the great Valley—Walnut Hills—Lane Seminary—Dr. Beecher—Woodward College—Dr. [Pg 8]Aydelott—The old Kentucky man—Louisville—The Galt House—View of the interior of Kentucky—Plantations—A sore evil—Kentuckian traits of character—A thrilling incident.

Chapter VII. 75

The Ohio near its mouth:—New Albany—Sailing down the Ohio—Profanity—Lovely views of nature—A sudden squall on the river—Kentucky shore—Young fawn—The mouth of the Tennessee river—The swimming deer—His struggle and capture—Meeting of the waters of the Ohio with the Mississippi—Gambling—Intemperance—Sail up the Mississippi to St. Louis.

Chapter VIII. 88

The Mississippi and some of its tributaries:—St. Louis—Roman cathedral—Desecration of the Sabbath—Golden sunsets—Sail up the Mississippi—The meeting of the waters of the Missouri and the Mississippi—Alton—The burning prairie.

Chapter IX. 105

Further views on the Mississippi:—Des Moines River—Iowa—Group of Indians—Tributary streams to the Mississippi—Galena—Bishop of Illinois—My sister's grave.

Chapter X. 114

Illinois and the Lakes:—Lead mines—Indian treaty—Ride to Chicago—Vast prairies—The stricken family—Amusing adventures—Chicago—Milwaukie—Mackinaw—Indian encampment.

Chapter XI. 126

Michigan:—Steamboat travelling upon the western Lakes—The waters of Huron—Saginaw Bay—The stormy night—The beautiful St. Clair—Detroit—Bishop of Michigan—Ypsilanti—Ann Arbour—Ore Creek—Bewildered at night in the woods—Rescue—Meeting of friends—Log Cabin.

Chapter XII. 140

Tour from the West:—The Romanists—Miracles—Indians—Captain M—— The unhappy sailor—Toledo—Cleveland—Buffalo—Niagara Falls.

Chapter XIII. 151

Western New York:—Niagara Falls—Rochester—Canandaigua—Geneva—Seneca Lake—The moonlit heavens—Departed friends—The clergyman's son—The candidate for the ministry—A beloved brother—My [Pg 9]departed mother—Geneva College—The Sabbath.

Chapter XIV. 161

A jaunt from Philadelphia to Albany:—A bleak, dreary morning—Bishop of Illinois—Sail up the Delaware—New York Bay—Sail up the Hudson—Unexpected meeting—College friend—Story of his afflictions—Poor African servant.

Chapter XV. 171

The Irish couple:—Albany—The Irish mother—Incidents that occurred five years ago—The disappointed emigrants—The Little Falls—Rural retirement.

Chapter XVI. 179

Western New York.

Chapter XVII. 181

A Summer Tour:—Retirement—Seneca Lake—Burlington, N. J.—Brooklyn,
N. Y.

Chapter XVIII. 187

Green Wood Cemetery:—Brooklyn—Improvements—Ride—Approach to the Cemetery—Views—Beautiful scenes.

Chapter XIX. 193

Rhode Island:—Sail up the Sound—Burning of the Lexington—Providence—Meeting of old friends—Mr. Emerson—Transcendentalism—Westerly.

Chapter XX. 201

The sudden storm:—Rapid travelling—Auburn—Stage coach—Seneca Lake—Summer's sultry heat—Sudden change—Fierce tempest—Imminent peril.

Chapter XXI. 205

Reminiscences of the past:—Sunday—Sacred worship—The sanctuary recalling youthful scenes—Early plighted vows at the table of the Lord—Retrospect—Mournful reflections—Change in the congregation—Mr. and Mrs. N—— The C—— family—Col. T—— Village burial ground—C—— The buried pastor—My Mother—Palmyra—Early ministerial [Pg 10]labours—Lyons.

Chapter XXII. 216

The Origin of the Mormon Delusion:—The golden Bible—Moral, political, and numercial importance of the Mormon sect—Views of Revelation—Causes that have contributed to spread Mormonism—Martin Harris—Interview with the author—Transcripts from the golden Bible—Jo Smith, the Mormon prophet—His early history—First pretended revelation—His marriage—Chest containing the golden Bible—Attempts to disinter it—Consequence—Delusion of Harris—Translation and publication of the Book of Mormon.

Chapter XXIII. 232

A letter written by Professor Anthon:—The circumstances that led to this letter—Martin Harris—His visit to New York—Interview with Dr. Mitchell—Professor Anthon.

Chapter XXIV. 239

The Mormon, or Golden Bible:—The origin of the Book of Mormon—The statement of Mr. Isaac Hale, father-in-law of the Mormon Prophet—Rev. Mr. Spalding's Historical Romance—Mrs. Davison's statement—The blindness of Martin Harris—Testimony of the three witnesses—The eight witnesses.

Chapter XXV. 259

Mormon Jesuitism:—Denial of Mrs. Davison's statement in reference to the origin of the Mormon Bible—The truth of her statement corroborated by a letter from the Rev. John Storrs—By another from the Rev. D. R. Austin.

Chapter XXVI. 268

Analysis of the Book of Mormon.

Chapter XXVII. 285

Analysis of the Book of Mormon continued.

Chapter XXVIII. 304

Farther developments in relation to the Mormon imposture.

Chapter XXIX. 311

Organization of the Mormons, and their removal to Ohio:—Steps leading to the Mormon emigration to the West—Conversion of Parley P. Pratt—Mission to the Lamanites—Sidney Rigdon—His avowed conversion—Fanatic scenes at Kirtland—Dr. Rosa's letter—Mr. Howe's statement—Smith's [Pg 11]removal.

Chapter XXX. 323

Mormon emigration to Missouri:—Mission to Missouri—Causes that led to emigration—Settlement at Independence—Change in operations—Gift of tongues—Rule for speaking and interpreting.

Chapter XXXI. 331

Mormon Banking:—The prophet's attempt at financiering—Mr. Smalling's

Chapter XXXII. 337

The Mormon Prophet and his three witnesses:—An interesting public document—The Danite band—Testimony of Dr. Avard—Paper drafted by Rigdon.

Chapter XXXIII. 345

Concluding sketch in relation to Mormonism.

[Pg 13]




Nature has a voice to instruct, as well as charms to please. No one can walk over the surface of this earth, and gaze upon the objects and scenes that every where cluster around him, and not hear her instructive voice echoed upon his ear from ten thousand points, unless stupidity, or sin have sealed up his senses, and made him deaf as "the adder that stoppeth her ear, and will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely."

Providence, too, has a voice, that speaks with trumpet-tongue in the ear of those who watch the movement of human events—who regard the work of the Lord, and consider the operation of his hands. The fall of every leaf—the opening of every grave, the subversion of kingdoms—the[Pg 14] overthrow of empires—every event transpiring around us, reads us a lesson full of deep and solemn instruction.

In the various and diversified developements of human character—whether contemplated in its rougher, or more polished state, there is a vast deal presented to view, from which an intelligent mind may gather very important elements of instruction.

One who keeps his eye out upon these various fields, will scarcely fail to glean something every day, either from nature, or Providence, or the different and ever varying phases of human character, that can be turned to a profitable account both for instruction and pleasure.

There are, however, different kinds of gleaning—and different kinds of gleaner. The caption to this chapter contains an implied pledge, that there is to be brought before the eye of the reader three successive gleaners.—And so we intend it shall be. We will at once introduce you to the first of the three.

Some sixteen hundred years before the first advent of the Lord's Anionted, there lived in Bethlehem a man of wealth and distinction. He possessed extensive flocks and herds, and fields, and all the usual resources of oriental riches. Palestine was then the land that flowed with milk and honey. Though there had been periods when for the sins of the people the heavens were shut, and the dews and rains withheld—till the blight of sterility seemed to have impressed its dreary iron aspect upon every smiling valley and sunny hill:—at the time to which[Pg 15] we refer it was not so. That whole region then poured forth its productions most luxuriantly, for the blessing of the Lord was upon the land. And now the season of the barley harvest had arrived, and the reapers went forth with their sickles to cut down the bearded and bending grain.

This opulent citizen of Bethlehem, to whom we have referred, when the rising sun, ascending the deep blue arch of heaven and pouring its full orbed radiance over hill and dale, had drank up the dew drops of morning, rode forth into the country amid vine-clad hills, and beneath groves of olive and palm till he reached his own paternal estate. The bright luminary of day now poured down a full tide of heat and effulgence over the whole surrounding scene. The reapers were plying their glittering steel, and gathering the falling grain into sheaves. The sound of rustic music came upon his ears as he rode along through the fields. It was the song of the reapers. He approached them. They were his own hired servants. Though they were poor, and had to toil for their daily bread, their wealthy employer did not despise them. He was one who feared the Lord, and saw in every human form a brother. Kind were his words as he approached the reapers, and full of pious sentiment—for his salutation was, The Lord be with you.

Those sun-burnt and swarthy laborers, suspending for a moment their toil, respectfully and piously responded, The Lord bless thee. I know not what other pleasant discourse followed. An object of deep interest now presented itself to the rich owner of these grounds. In a distant part of the field was to be seen the slender and delicate form of a young female walking hither and thither to gather up the scattered heads of barley that had escaped the hand of[Pg 16] the reaper. Then said he to his servant who was set over the reapers: Whose damsel is this? And he replied, It is the Moabitish damsel that came back with Naomi.

That lone female, whose hand was gathering the scattered heads of barley, had known better days. She had been nursed in the lap of ease. She dwelt in Moab. A stranger came there. He had been reared near Siloa's sacred stream. He had been instructed in the divine law and his intellect had been beautified and expanded, and his heart softened and refined by its heavenly teaching. He was young and beautiful, and full of manly dignity. This interesting Moabitess saw the stranger. His dark lustrous eye met hers with an interest that mutually increased till love burned bright in both their bosoms. They were joined in wedded love, and her Mahlon was all her own! No, not all—for death, the insatiable archer, had fixed his eye upon him. Only a short period elapsed, and Mahlon was numbered with the dead! She saw his bright eye forever shut, and the dark grave closing over his pale, unbreathing corse.

Mahlon had a father, but he too had found a grave in that Moabitish land where they now sojourned. Mahlon had a brother, but that brother had fallen beneath the shaft of death, and his dust slumbered fast by the side of his dead father. Mahlon had a mother. Poor lone widow! Her name was once Naomi—pleasant, but now she chose to be called Mara—bitter—for the Almighty had dealt very bitterly with her. She had buried all she most loved in a stranger land. Why should she not now return to her native land—to the altars of her fathers—and the home of her childhood?

Shall she go alone? No—not while Mahlon's widow[Pg 17] lives. The hour of parting came. Her two daughters-in-law—for both of her sons had taken them wives in the land of Moab—had already accompanied her several miles on her way to the land of her nativity. But the moment of separation had now come! They stood under a cluster of palms—a cool, refreshing spring sent forth its waters which flowed and gurgled along beside them. All nature smiled around them, but their hearts were sad. This widowed, childless mother—after a long painful struggle of silent feeling, said unto her two daughters-in-law, go return each to your mother's house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead and with me. Then she kissed them each. And they lifted up their voice and wept. How could they part? They said, surely we will return with thee unto thy people.—And she said—nay—I have nothing to offer you: I go back to my country stript of friends, and substance. Therefore turn again my daughters, why will ye go with me?

The deep fountains of feeling were again broken up, and they again lifted up their voices and wept. Then Orpah clasping the mother of her buried Chilion in her arms, fell on her neck, and, sobbing long and loud, kissed her and bid her a final adieu.

Not so the beautiful, but now faded and care-worn Ruth. Hers was a love stronger than death. Many waters could not drown it. She refused to separate herself from the mother of him she had loved. They still lingered under the shade of the clustering palms. Orpah had taken her final leave, and her retiring form had now vanished from their view. The sad widowed mother, now preparing to start on her way, again addressed Ruth, still lingering at her side—[Pg 18]Behold thy sister-in-law has gone back unto her people, and unto her gods. Return thou after thy sister-in-law.

But the fair and lovely Moabitess nobly replied—Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God; where thou diest I will die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me. So onward they two went together to the holy land. It was the beginning of the barley harvest when they reached Bethlehem. They were quite destitute, and scarcely knew how they were to provide themselves with the means of subsistence. But the eternal God in whom they trusted, and who feeds the fowls of the air, clothes the grass of the field, and decks the expanded petals of the lily with hues more brilliant and beautiful than those reflected from the shining robes of royalty—had not forgotten the poor—had not forgotten to insert in his law when ye reap the harvest of your land—thou shalt not wholly reap the corners of the field, neither shalt thou gather the gleanings of thy harvest. * * * Thou shalt leave them for the poor and stranger: I am the Lord your God. This divine injunction was reiterated again and again. When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that the Lord thy God may bless thee in all the works of thine hands. Here was a merciful provision for the poor. The devoted Moabitess who had left country and home for her love to Naomi, was not backward in offering to go forth to glean[Pg 19] in the field after the reapers. It was on this errand, that she walked into the country, and patiently toiled beneath the rays of the scorching sun.

It was while thus engaged, that Boaz, the rich Bethlehemite, came to his reapers, and first saw the lovely stranger. How she afterwards sped, those acquainted with the sacred story need not be told. It only remains for us to add, that she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out all that she had gleaned: and it was an ephah of of barley. And she took it up and went into the city; and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned; and she brought forth and gave to her that she had received after she was sufficed. And her mother-in-law said unto her, Where hast thou gleaned to-day? and where wroughtest thou? blessed be he that did take knowledge of thee!

This is the first of the three Gleaners. The story of the two that follow will be much shorter.

Circumstances, several years since, led the writer to spend a few days in a secluded little village, in a very retired and beautiful part of the country. It was in the month of August, when the indications of summer were seen on every side—the wheat fields were ready for the hand of the reaper, and during the livelong day there seemed no cessation to the tide of heat that came flowing down from the sun, overwhelming the broad earth and every creature that moved upon it with his fervid influence. The early dawn of morning, and the hour of twilight at the decline of day, seemed to be the only seasons, when one could walk forth with any comfort, to enjoy the[Pg 20] rural scenery, that the hand of the Creator had spread with surpassing loveliness around this spot. These seasons were not allowed to pass unimproved. The first morning that I walked forth—while the grey twilight still lingered on hill and dale—casting a sombre, dusky aspect over surrounding objects, as I passed along, refreshed by the fragrant breath exhaled from the fields, cheered by the notes of the feathered tribe who were chanting their early matin lays, and enamored with the glorious scene pencilled on the eastern sky, which brightened and kindled into broader lines of orient radiance every step I took, and every moment I gazed, I saw a young lad, some twelve or thirteen years old, passing by me with a brisk step, but stooping every now and then, to gather up some straws of wheat, that lay scattered along the road. The occurrence, however, awakened no particular attention, and would have been forgotten, had not the same thing been observed in the evening. In returning to my lodgings, after a ramble over the fields on the evening of the same day, I met this boy with quite a bundle of wheat under his arm, moving with a quick step, but stopping every now and then to gather up a single straw that lay in the road.

The next morning, the circumstance had quite passed out of my mind, till suddenly and unexpectedly the form of this boy again appeared before me. He was still occupied in the same manner. He seemed in a great hurry, and yet he stooped to pick up every straw that lay in his path. I felt an unusual curiosity to learn his history, and the motives that influenced his conduct. Upon inquiry, I was made acquainted with the following facts. This lad was an orphan boy, who resided in an old cottage, about[Pg 21] a mile distant from where I met him, with an aged grand-mother, who was blind, and very poor. Her children had all gone down to the grave, and this boy was the only representative of her family. The old blind cottager, was one who trusted in the Lord, and believed that he did all things well. She tried to train up her child to a life of industry and early piety. He was a promising lad and seemed disposed to aid his aged grand parent, and contribute to her comfort by every means in his power. Every evening he would read to her out of God's holy book, and in the day he sought some occupation by which he could contribute to her maintenance. At the time I fell in with him, he was in the employ of a wealthy farmer, assisting in securing the wheat harvest. This farmer resided in the outskirts of the village, while the broad fields which he cultivated, lay abroad in lengthening expansion and beauty in the immediate vicinity of his dwelling. Several of his barns were contiguous to his dwelling, so that the wheat when harvested, was principally conveyed from the field where it grew, along the road on which I had taken my walks, to these barns. Hence as one loaded wane after another was driven along, the whole road became strewed with heads and stalks of wheat. This lad, to whom I have referred, rose a half an hour earlier in the morning to go on his way to his daily toil, and lingered a half an hour later at evening on his way homeward to his nightly couch, in order to gather up these wheat stalks that had fallen by the way. These wheat gleanings thus gathered up by the way he every night carried home with him and subsequently threshed, and by steady perseverance in this course was able to obtain a considerable quantity of grain, to afford bread both[Pg 22] for himself and his aged grand parent. Was not this a beautiful instance of filial piety? This is the story of our second gleaner—one who gleaned by the way.

Some twelve years since, it was our happiness, to have met a very remarkable man, who seemed to live for one single purpose. He possessed naturally great strength and brilliancy of intellect. While yet a child, a highly gifted mother had laid her plastic hand upon his character, and so directed his education as to bring out the highest powers of his mind in symmetrical development. Thus through the educational advantages he enjoyed, he was prepared to make large attainments, and to gather much information from every field of knowledge through which he walked. As he grew up, he became furnished with most ample stores of learning. He had the power to instruct and to please, and was eminently fitted to act upon other minds. Added to all this—he was a Christian. He had felt the power of a Saviour's love, and had consecrated himself to his service. To him had been committed the ministry of reconciliation, and he was acting as the legate of the skies—the ambassador of the King of kings. This was his business. All the powers of his mind were consecrated to the work of winning souls to Jesus. He still moved around in society. He was still the charm of every circle in which he was found. He did not always speak upon religion. He did not always stand before his fellow men in the attitude of a preacher. He travelled; for his health required it. He walked out into the fields. He looked abroad over the face of nature. He moved[Pg 23] amid the circles of his fellow men. He engaged in literary pursuits and scientific investigations. But he pursued nothing to the neglect of ministerial duty. And from every circle in which he moved, from every scene he witnessed, from every company he met, from every field he trod, from every object to which he turned his eye, from every investigation in which he engaged, he gleaned something, by which to throw new charms around religion, and enable him to reach minds through new channels. He never for one moment lost sight of his great business—but was all the time steadily moving forward to the attainment of the object for which he lived and laboured. All his pursuits—all his enjoyments, all his recreations, were made to contribute at least indirectly to the furtherance of that great object. Like the wheat gleaning boy, he went to his daily labour, and relaxed no effort in the business of prosecuting prescribed ministerial duties, yet while going to and from these duties, he GLEANED BY THE WAY. Every flower that spread its expanded petals before his eye, every breath of music that fell upon his ear, every dew drop that glittered in the beams of morning, every little tiny insect that flitted across his path, every landscape that stretched before him, every mountain and hill that pointed upward to heaven, every forest and stream on which his eye rested, every star that hung out its golden lamp on the sable curtain of night, every interview of friendship, every vicissitude of life, every incident of travel, every occurrence whether pleasing or painful, presented to his enriched intellect some new aspect of thought, from which he could glean materials for the instruction of other minds. Thus he gleaned by the way. And through these gleanings he acted upon a[Pg 24] thousand minds, that he could not otherwise have reached. He has gone to his reward. He sleeps in the silent sepulchre. But though dead, he yet speaketh. A thousand flowers gathered by his hand from the fields of literature and the scenes of active life, and by his hand planted in the garden of the Lord, still remain, and from their contiguity to Siloa's sacred font, and the blood-stained cross, they bloom with brighter tints, and richer fragrance, and still lead many to approach and fix their eye on that blessed cross, and ultimately to feel its transforming power. This is the history of our third gleaner. And from the history of the three, our readers will be at no loss to determine what suggested to us the idea of entitling this volume gleanings by the way.

[Pg 25]



Tour to Harrisburg—Aspect of the country—The Valley of the Susquehanna—The passage of the River—The Valley of the Juniata—Huntingdon—The Rev. John W. James—His sudden exit.

The following twelve Chapters consist principally of extracts from the note book which the author kept, during a tour through the great Western Valley in 1837.

On board the Canal Packet Swatara,
Wednesday evening, June 14, 1837.

I have never been more struck than to-day with the tranquilizing influence which the works of nature are capable of exerting upon the mind. There is a calmness, a solemn stillness—a sweet quietude spread over field and forest, and all that the eye rests upon in passing through the country at this beautiful season, which cannot fail to find a response in the bosom of every beholder. I have no doubt a ride into the country would often operate like a charm to calm down the agitations, quiet the corrodings, and soothe the anxieties of many, who amid the engagements of the city are the victims of carking care, and[Pg 26] seem to live only to wade through the fiery stream of perturbed and anxious feeling.

We left Philadelphia at six o'clock this morning. The cars belonging to the three regular lines that run on the Rail Road to Harrisburg, filled with about one hundred and fifty passengers, and fastened to each other in one train, were moved by the same locomotive. There is something very exhilarating in the act of being borne through a beautiful country at the rate of fifteen miles an hour. It seemed as we moved along as though our whole train was instinct with life, and endowed with magic pinions, which it had only to spread abroad, and skim over the surface of the ground with the fleetness of the wind. As we passed along from the city, one varied, and verdant scene of all that is lovely in hill and dale, forest and field, orchard and farm-house, presented itself in quick succession after another—filling up the whole way with images as beautiful and varied as are brought to the eye by every turn of the kaleidoscope.

The country between Philadelphia and Harrisburg in its outlines and agricultural aspect strikingly reminded me of western New York. The impress of thrift and wealth are enstamped upon every vale and hill-side that meets your eye in this vast fertile landscape. I could not but ask myself, however, "Is there a moral beauty here, displayed in the lives of those who cultivate this land, corresponding with the marks of material loveliness which the Creator has spread over all this scene? Do the walls of these cottages and farm-houses resound to the voice of prayer and praise with each rising and setting sun? Is the Saviour of sinners universally known, and[Pg 27] loved, and served here? Do all these people, whose homes are scattered along this range of country, regard this beautiful region as the theatre on which God has placed them to prepare for the skies?"

I know not what the state of religion may be generally through these counties, but when I turned to a tabular list to see how many churches and communicants we numbered in this extent of country, I felt sad to find how small a part of the land we had possessed, and how very little we, as a branch of the great Catholic Church, were doing to extend the kingdom of Christ even in our very neighborhood. I hope other communions have done and are doing more to diffuse vital godliness through this section of the land than we, otherwise there must be a lamentable want of that faith which Christ came to establish on the earth. O when shall prayer go up as one thick cloud of incense from every house and hamlet scattered through this region, made so fair and beautiful by a divine hand! Then indeed will "the valleys which stand so thick with corn laugh and sing, the hills will clap their hands, and every thing that hath breath praise the Lord."

At Harrisburg we took the canal. Our course till evening lay along the valley of the Susquehanna, which as we proceeded we found hemmed in with mountain bluffs, not unlike the palisades which surmount the banks of the broad Hudson, or some of the rougher mountain features in the neighborhood of the Highlands. The scene that opened before us was one of calm—quiet beauty. There was awakened somewhat of a romantic feeling as we sat down to our tea, borne quietly along through the rural beauties that clustered thick around us. Our cabin[Pg 28] windows were thrown wide open, and we inhaled with delight the cool and refreshing breath of evening. On our right, almost within reaching distance, the road passed along just under the brow of a very precipitous hill, whose top peered up amid the clouds. On the left, parallel with our course, was the expanded Susquehanna: and beyond this beautiful stream one bluff and lofty range of hills rising up after another, gave to that side of the river the aspect of continuous mountain scenery.

As the day declined and the sun sunk below the horizon, a dark mass of clouds seemed rolling up from the northwest. This stupendous pile of clouds hung directly over the gap in the mountains, through which the Susquehanna poured its wide and troubled waters. Soon the heavens began to gather blackness, and the forked lightning to play with fearful glare on the surface of this dark mass of clouds, followed by loud peals of startling thunder. Almost immediately the rain commenced pouring down in torrents. The transition from the quiet scene through which we had been passing, to one of storm and tempest, was sudden and unexpected. There was a sublimity and awful grandeur that gathered around that hour and spot, which I shall not soon forget. What added to the effect, was, that just then we had arrived at the point, where we were to cross the Susquehanna. The bridge that had been flung up over the river to afford a passage for the horses to tow the boat across, had partially fallen down, so that it was no longer capable of use. A strong cable had been fixed across the stream, by means of which a power was applied to our boat, which, in connexion with the force of the current, would bear us rapidly over. It[Pg 29] began to be dark, and the rain fell violently. The waters seemed rough and threatening, and many of the passengers felt a sense of great insecurity. To many on board, though I presume there was no danger, it was a moment of deep and awful suspense. My mind instantly run off into a train of serious thought. It appeared to me that our course this day had been not unlike the journey of life. At first in the May morning of our existence, we start off with speed and are borne as by enchantment through a succession of gay, bright, blooming fields. As we advance, though we move apparently beneath benignant skies, and tread amid many of the beauties of creation, our path all the while runs along by the side of the river of death. That river we must finally cross, and it may be amid darkness and storms, and beneath the impending thunder cloud of divine wrath! Happy are they whose hopes and interests are so garnered up in Christ, that it matters not to them when, or how they cross it! Happy are they who can embark upon this river with such a simple, and firm reliance on the Saviour, as to feel that there is no danger, however rough or dark the passage may be!

Thursday, June 15.—When we awoke at four o'clock this morning, we found ourselves wending our way along the valley of the Juniata, a stream tributary to the Susquehanna. The scenery on either side of this river is surpassingly beautiful, and in style not unlike that which we passed yesterday on the Susquehanna. The hills that hedge in the narrow valley of the Juniata are usually of a conical, or triangular shape, covered to the very summit with a stunted growth of forest trees. There was a[Pg 30] peaceful quiet—a solemn stillness reigning through almost the entire extent of this valley, which to me appeared truly delightful. It seemed like the deep and unbroken silence of nature. It was to us a stillness seldom broken save when the sound of the boatman's horn, or the heavy tread of the horse on the tow path, went up the mountain side, and woke an echo amid the untrodden solitudes that stretched up those wild, and wood covered steeps.

As we advanced farther up the Juniata we saw evidences of a more dense population. Villages occasionally rose to view. We passed Lewistown early in the forenoon, and heard a favorable account of the acceptableness and labors of our young clerical friend, the Rev. J. F. H. How true it is, that wherever a faithful servant of the Lord is planted, there "the waste places will soon be converted into a fruitful field, and the desert will be made to rejoice and blossom as the rose!"

Just at nightfall we passed Huntingdon, the place where poor James fell last August on his way to western Pennsylvania. This esteemed brother had been much in my mind in all our jaunt up the valley of this river: and it had occurred to me as we passed along, if there was a spot on earth where one could be content to lie down and die, far from friends and home, it was along this valley, amid this sweet quiet mountain scenery. One can scarcely look out upon these green and foliage clad heights and the multiplied demonstrations around him of Almighty power and skill without feeling his heart drawn up in devout adoration to the Framer of these everlasting hills.

I was disappointed, and sorry in finding the scenery less beautiful at Huntingdon than at any of the former[Pg 31] points on the Juniata. The village presented an unattractive appearance. The house in which our brother[1] met his final hour was pointed out to me. It seemed a very gloomy and unlovely abode. As I passed the spot I felt the deep fountains of sensibility moved in my soul: I thought, that it was here, far away from the sympathy of his people, that this man of God lay down in the agonies of death. It was here that his eye was sealed for ever on earthly scenes—and his liberated spirit mounted up to God! Though to mortal eyes the circumstances of his death seemed most undesirable, yet we know that he went quickly up to tread the streets of the heavenly city, and to stand where he could gaze everlastingly on the unveiled face of Jesus, his crucified and risen Lord. O who that looks to the end of the glorious consummation will not long to depart and "be with Christ which is far better!"


[1] The individual above referred to was the Rev. John W. James, assistant minister of Christ Church, Philadelphia. Mr. J. was travelling with his family on a summer excursion in 1836, when he was suddenly arrested with disease, and called from the scenes of his labors to "the rest which remaineth for the people of God." He was a faithful minister of Jesus Christ, and his memory is still most sacredly cherished by many, who feel that he was to them the messenger of salvation.

[Pg 32]



Source of the Juniata—Ascent of the Alleghanies—The summit—The Great Mississippi Valley—Skepticism—Rank growth of religious error—Dunkards—Valley of the Conemaugh—Moonlight—Singular conversation—Infidel sneers.

Saturday morning, June 17, 1837.

We reached Hollidaysburg, a little village on the Juniata, where the Alleghany Portage Rail Road commences, yesterday morning, June 16th, about eight o'clock. Our way from this point was up the mountain by successive inclined planes. I never saw more strikingly illustrated the triumph of art over the obstacles of nature.

In our progress up the mountain, we at length left the Juniata, at a point so near its source that we saw the two little rills which, by their confluence, constituted the commencement of that river, pouring down the precipitous side of the same hill, and which, separately, were so small that one might step over them with perfect ease. We traced these mountain brooks with our eye as they swept along over the washed and worn pebbles—saw them unite, and then followed them in imagination till they swelled along the banks of the Juniata, mingled their[Pg 33] waters with the Susquehanna, poured into the Chesapeake, and finally were lost in the ocean.

In our ascending way up the mountain, we found the scenery altogether of a new, wild, and more rugged cast. Our ascent amid these vast summits,—the wonderful velocity with which we were borne—the ease with which we seemed to move through the gaps of the mountains, and over the tops of these everlasting hills—surrounded at every step by the most picturesque and gigantic elevations, appeared like the effect of enchantment. Then too as we moved upward a change was perceptible in the atmosphere—we felt its invigorating and exhilarating influence—and perhaps the new buoyancy, which our spirits acquired, helped to impart increased effect to the majestic scene that stretched around us, and had laid hold of our every sense and feeling with the power of a giant.

Our course was still upward—upward! and all our train of cars still flew upward till we reached the very tops of the mountain wilds and fastnesses that stood in such majestic grandeur around us. It was announced at length that we had attained the summit height of the mountain. Just here the rivulets changed their course. The streams had all flowed eastward to empty themselves into the Atlantic, but now they turned westward and leaped forward, as though eager to find repose in the deep waters of the Mississippi. The Conemaugh, a tributary stream to the Kiskiminetas takes its rise here, and appears as a very little rill at its commencement.

It was with peculiar emotions that I stood on the summit of the Alleghanies, and strained my eye to look off towards the vast valley of the Mississippi, whose[Pg 34] western boundary is terminated by the Rocky mountains, a distance not less than 2500 miles. I then thought what immense undeveloped resources does this vast valley contain! What an object of sublime contemplation is this broad and beauteous region in its surpassing fertility—its measureless capabilities—its vast rivers—its deep untrodden forests—its boundless prairies—and in its ten thousand rising villages and cities! What vast, complicated and mighty sympathies are gathering around this valley! What scenes are to be acted here, deciding this nation's civil and religious destiny! What teeming millions are to be sustained by the products of this soil—are to live and die, and be prepared for heaven or for hell on the broad bosom of this valley! There is nothing but the gospel that can exert a saving influence upon the mass of mind congregating here, and make this far outspreading and fertile region the abode of moral beauty and the home of civil freedom. The gospel planting her foot here, and stretching her arms over the whole extent of this western valley, must wake up holy affections, and songs of praise to the sin-conquering Lamb, all along the banks of these thousand streams, or the blight of desolation will fall here—and the fairest portion of God's earth will be withered by the scorching fire of human passion—and bathed, as has been the old world, in seas of human blood! There is but one influence that can save this mighty empire from the sway either of lawless anarchy or of iron-handed despotism, or rescue the populous millions that will spread over it, from the deep "damnation of hell," and that is the influence of the gospel. What new arguments do we find in this thought to lead us to be unwearied in our[Pg 35] efforts to send Bibles, and tracts, and missionaries, and to establish Sunday-schools in the west!

I have already seen enough of western character to discover that while mind starts up here vigorous and majestic as the sturdy trees of the forest, it is exceedingly prone to spurn the restraints, and question the authority of divine Revelation. No where probably is there more avowed or evident independence of mind—or with a certain class, greater susceptibility of being gulled, by a swaggering, boastful departure from the ancient landmarks of faith. The great adversary is always ready to persuade men that there is much more manliness and independence in believing something new, however false, than in adhering to what is ancient, however true, in the faith of our forefathers.

We had scarcely crossed the mountains and reached the level of the great valley, before we encountered a group of men of very singular, and grotesque appearance. Their beards were long and filthy, hanging down upon their breast. I was greatly surprised to learn that this savage appearance was for conscience' sake. I was told that these were individuals belonging to a religious sect called Dunkards. My informant gave me the following particulars in relation to this people. They sometimes live in distinct communities, and have all things in common. This, however, is not always and perhaps not generally the case. They do not usually build houses for public worship, nor believe in sustaining a ministry as a distinct order of men. Certain persons in their churches, they think, are from time to time called to preach, and these are denominated ministers. These individuals, however,[Pg 36] still pursue their own secular avocations as before. They not only hold to baptism and the Lord's supper, but to washing each other's feet, and, I believe, the observance of an annual love feast. They also keep up the ancient custom of saluting each other with the kiss of charity, and this among all their members, whatever the color or sex may be. Their converts are all baptized by immersion, and hence, they are sometimes called Dunkard Baptists. They hold to a trine baptism—dipping the candidate three times, with the face downward into the water. Their sacramental seasons are periods of general feasting—when they keep open houses, and free tables. In doctrine they hold to the Arian heresy, though some of them are decided Unitarians. They also believe, most of them, in universal salvation, holding that the wicked will be punished after death for a certain period, and then be restored to happiness. One of the peculiarities to which I have already referred, is that they feel conscientiously bound to abstain from cutting the beard, or removing the hair that grows upon their faces. I am told that this sect is quite numerous in the west.

Last evening we were slowly moving down the valley of the Conemaugh, on board the Canal Packet Detroit. The scenery on either side of the stream whose course we were following was bold and beautiful. The trees were covered with dark thick foliage—at one time spreading out before us the view of a lengthening forest, and then again opening to disclose to us a rich verdant lawn—a beautiful corn field or a smiling farm house—with all its usual appendages for convenience and comfort. After the lingering rays of twilight had faded away, and night had drawn her sable[Pg 37] covering over the woodland scenes that stretched so gracefully around us, the moon rose in silvery brightness, and poured down her rich mellow light on all the shadowy landscape. Now and then a floating cloud crossed her path, and gave a deeper momentary shade to the sombre shadows that here and there were flung over the face of nature. It was a summer evening to make one court the open air; most of our passengers were on deck. Some were sitting apart by themselves, in silent meditation: some were gazing upward into the peaceful heavens—and others, off upon the quiet scenes of nature. Others stood around in little groups and knots, holding various conversations. I was walking slowly from one end of the deck to the other, a silent observer of what was passing around me.

At length a remark that I heard arrested my attention, and led me to stop and listen. The group was composed of some six or eight individuals, who were most of them evidently well educated and intelligent men, though, as it will appear in the sequel, exceedingly ignorant upon all topics connected with the gospel. One of the number was a physician of some standing; another a lawyer, a member of the Senate in our state Legislature, who although young has already attracted considerable attention by the depth of his acquirements, and the brilliancy of his talents.

The remark which fell upon my ear, and drew my attention to the discussion that was going on in this little group—was—"that any man would find it hard work to be an infidel." I was glad to hear such testimony from such a quarter. As it was regarded no intrusion to sit or[Pg 38] stand any where, where one chose on the deck, I found an unoccupied seat near this little knot of gentlemen, which I immediately took with a view of listening to their conversation now that it had turned upon the subject of Christianity. The question had been raised as to what constituted a Christian, when one of the company thus delivered himself:

"He may be called a Christian who acknowledges the divine authority of the doctrines and precepts of the Saviour."

This remark the more interested me, as it came from one who had spent much of his time since we entered the packet in card-playing. As the conversation progressed, I became more and more interested—but determined to continue a silent listener. The general style of remark, was of a character that evinced beyond all question a consummate ignorance on the part of the speakers, not only of the real design of the gospel, but of the leading truths which the Bible unfolds. I could not but think how melancholy it was that so many of the distinguished men of our country—who were well educated in other matters—should be so profoundly ignorant, in the science of all others most important. I could not but fear that the individuals congregated in that little group but too truly represented several classes in our country, which taken collectively constituted the majority of our population. I was so struck and so pained at what I heard that I felt constrained to note down the substance of the conversation at once.

As the conversation progressed, one of the gentlemen observed—

"No man can come up to the requisitions of the gospel:[Pg 39] neither is this expected. It of course became a perfect Being, like the author of Christianity, to lay down a perfect system. We are to aim to reach this system in all its demands. Some will succeed in one particular, and others in another. No one will come up to the required standard in all things. Still every one should do what he can to come up to the model set before us. This is my idea of being a Christian."

The same individual afterwards observed, "Christ had great shrewdness. He never answered questions directly, but evasively. Take, for instance, the case when he was asked 'Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cæsar,' he replied, 'render unto Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and unto God the things that are God's!' this is the way he generally did. It was difficult to obtain a direct answer from him."

"He was like a Yankee," said another of the company, sneeringly.

"Or like a Quaker," rejoined a third, with a leering laugh. "I never yet could get a direct answer from a Quaker; they will always answer your question by asking another."

"That is because they wish neither to give offence, nor to get caught," replied one of the company.

I felt it was almost sinful to sit and listen to this profane manner of speaking of the blessed Saviour—of Him before whom the loftiest hierarchs in heaven cast their crowns in lowliest reverence. It was a page of human nature, however, that I thought it well for me to read; and therefore, I sat still:

"A really conscientious man," continued the man of[Pg 40] law, "is just the worst witness that can be brought on to the stand. He has so many qualifications to make, and is so afraid that he shall not state every thing precisely as it is, he fritters his whole testimony away. A legal friend of mine told me the other day that he had just lost a cause by having a student of divinity as a witness. When he conversed with him in private, he thought his testimony would be entirely conclusive, but when sworn he made so many qualifications to all he stated, such as—'if he recollected correctly'—'if he heard correctly'—'if he did not receive a false impression,'—and ten thousand other hypotheses, which so weakened his testimony as to render it good for nothing."

Again the conversation went back to the question as to what constitutes the substance of Christianity. One of the gentlemen remarked.

"In my view the whole of it is summed up in this precept—'Do unto others as ye would they should do unto you.' Whoever acts on this principle is a Christian; and I don't care what he believes about the Trinity, or atonement, or any of the other mysteries of faith. Let him be a Unitarian, or Trinitarian, or believe what he chooses about the Deity, if he acts on this principle he will do well enough, and need not trouble himself about matters of faith."

Another of the group responded—"This is undoubtedly true—it is in accordance with common sense; but some hold strange views. A lady of my acquaintance, the other day, was expressing great anxiety about the salvation of a certain acquaintance of hers. This acquaintance, though somewhat of a fashionable woman, and not particularly[Pg 41] religious, is nevertheless a most lovely and estimable character. I replied to the lady expressing this anxiety, 'If you think she is in danger, I am sure there is not much hope for me.' She looked very grave, and shook her head as though she thought my case wholly desperate. Now I think it is horrible for people to be cherishing such opinions about their neighbours—looking upon all the community around them as going infallibly to an eternal hell, unless they have a certain species of faith, which is supposed to ensure to those who have it the favour of God, and everlasting life. I believe this is all a mystic dream, and whoever acts on the principle 'of doing to others, as we would they should do to us,' may with perfect safety give to the winds all apprehensions about salvation, and all controversies about doctrines, and particular forms of faith."

The individual who uttered these sentiments was the very person who had remarked that "it was hard work for any one to be an infidel."

To me it seemed astonishing, that intelligent men, who knew any thing of the scriptures, could hold the views that had been broadly expressed, and yet suppose that they were not infidels. I was more than ever convinced that men might be learned in science, in law, in medicine, in politics, and yet be profoundly ignorant of the great design and prominent features of the gospel.

[Pg 42]



First view of Pittsburg—Its general aspect—Sabbath and its employments—An affecting incident—Orphan children—A Christian father in the midst of his children on the Sabbath.

Saturday Evening, June 17.

About nine o'clock this morning, we passed the Alleghany river just above the point where the Kiskiminetas falls into it; our course thence was along the banks. The scenery on either side of this river, like that of all the other rivers we have traced, is very interesting. Its waters seem clear and transparent, and the banks are beautifully over-hung with trees of a rich dark foliage.

It was about three o'clock, P. M., when we caught the first view of Pittsburg. The day was unusually bright and sunny, and the atmosphere uncommonly clear, and our Pittsburgian friends congratulated us upon having so favorable a time in which to take the first view of their city.

I was aware that the hills that encompassed this city were filled with bituminous coal, and that one great source of its wealth and prosperity were the factories moved by steam power which could be employed with great effect[Pg 43] and cheapness, in consequence of the abundance of this coal. I was also aware that this article constituted the principal fuel which warmed their houses. I therefore expected to see a smoky city, but I was not prepared to see what actually, at first sight, burst upon my view—a vast cloud of smoke rolling up in ten thousand dark columns, and forming a dense, murky canopy, that hung in expanded blackness over the whole town. The city seemed in its sooty and blackened houses, and in its columns of everlasting smoke, like one vast and extended group of furnaces or glass-factories. As I continued to gaze upon it, I was reminded of the smoke that went up from the plain of Sodom the morning after the destruction of that city, "when Abraham gat up early and looked over the whole plain." Our nearer approach to the city did not relieve me from my first impression. Every object and scene, every house and building within the purlieus of the town seemed stained, soiled, and tarnished with the sooty vapour that was ceaselessly ascending from its ten thousand chimneys. Like the frogs of Egypt this dreadful smoke came up into their houses, and there was no escape from it. The walls of the most elegant drawing-rooms bore evidence that the discolouring element had found its way there. The atmosphere every where seemed impregnated with it. I raised the window in my chamber, and the room was almost instantly filled with smoke. Almost as soon as I reached the church on Sunday evening, the doors and windows being open for the admission of air, I perceived the church was filled with a cloud of smoke. Surely Pittsburg is a smoky city. I ask the pardon of its inhabitants for this doleful description. The town certainly[Pg 44] bears marks of great thrift and prosperity, and its inhabitants do not lack in sterling excellencies of character. I should be very ungrateful if I did not here record the acknowledgement of the many acts of kindness and hospitality that were extended to me during my temporary stay.

In the manner in which the people regarded the unpleasant appendage connected with Pittsburg to which I have just adverted, I saw another evidence of the benevolence and wisdom of the Creator in constituting us with capabilities of adapting ourselves to whatever is around us. The smoky atmosphere, so far from being an annoyance to the citizens of Pittsburg, is constantly spoken of by them as its beauty and glory, and seems associated in their minds with all the delights and interest of home.

I have visited the environs of the city, and clambered to the summit of some of the hills out of which the coal is dug. The views from these elevations up the Alleghany and the Monongahela are beautiful. The scenery in every direction around Pittsburg, viewed from these eminences, would be magnificent, were it not for that unchanging cloud of smoke that covers the city as a canopy of darkness.

From many a point on the lofty range of hills that encircle the city, you have a view at the same glance of the Alleghany and the Monongahela, wending their way from different points through their own distinct beautiful valleys, and hastening on like two ardent lovers to meet and mingle into one; and still farther on you see these two blended rivers moving off in one united stream—the beautiful ohio, which winds its serpentine way through its own rich valley, to meet the waters of the mighty Mississippi—a thousand miles from this spot.[Pg 45]

Pittsburg, Sabbath Morning, June 18th, 1837.

The church-going bell calling worshippers to the house of prayer, emits sounds that fall sweetly on the Christian's ear. How delightful is the thought, that go where we may in this happy land, we find some who love the Saviour and are glad when it is said—"Let us go up to the house of the Lord."

As I sat in my room an hour since, I was attracted to the window, which looks out upon the back-yard, by the merry voices of children. I found the voices came from an adjoining yard; and as I looked thither I was struck with the wonderful resemblance which two fine looking boys bore to a deceased clerical friend. I was not deceived! Upon inquiry, I found that these were the orphan children of my friend, whose image was so accurately traced in their countenances. Their father had been suddenly cut down in the freshness and vigor of manhood. Their mother, always delicate, survived him only a few weeks,—and they were left alone. They were now thrown upon the care of their paternal grand-father, who was a Campbellite Baptist, and whose family, though very amiable, were not professedly pious. Thus were the children of this deceased clergyman, at almost the very dawn of their being, removed from those religious sympathies and influences that their father would most ardently have desired, should have encircled them. We know not what may be in reserve for us, or our children. We may be quickly in our graves, and our children may be left to be trained by those who have no attachment to the church of our affections—and little regard for that holy religion which brings us into blessed union with the Framer of the skies, and[Pg 46] the Father of our spirits. Can not we, who are bereaved parents, find in this thought an argument to reconcile us to that mysterious dispensation of Divine Providence, which has smitten down our tender blossoms, and covered up in the grave those dear ones that seemed the light of our eyes and the joy of our hearts! Surely, it is the Lord who hath done this! He hath made safe and ample provision for our little ones in his kingdom above! When we go the way of all the earth, we shall have no anxieties about them—about their education—their morals, their spiritual welfare, or their future success in life. Yes, thou art just and righteous in all thy ways, O thou King of saints! And blessed be thy name, that thou art on the throne, and orderest all things after the counsel of thy own will! Taking hold of the everlasting covenant, we can leave ourselves, our families, our all, in thy hands, for eternity!

Sunday Evening.

After returning from divine service this afternoon, I went to my room to spend a few hours in preparation for the evening exercises. The window of my chamber being open, and those of the back parlour directly under my room, I discovered that my kind host had his children, six little daughters, assembled there for religious instruction. He was a Sunday-school teacher, and his children were in the Sunday-school; and yet he did not feel himself on this account released from the parental obligation of instructing his own offspring in the way of holiness. I could distinctly hear the sweet voices of that little assembled group, one after another, reading aloud to their[Pg 47] parent the word of God, and then his simple but striking comments upon the meaning of what was read. This was continued for awhile, and then they all united in singing one of the songs of Zion. Never did I listen to sounds sweeter than those that came from those uplifted voices, engaged in chanting the praises of God. Directly, however, those sweet strains were hushed. A solemn pause ensued. Then I heard the voice of that father going up to heaven supplicating a divine blessing upon his offspring. The prayer was a simple, earnest pleading with "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," for the sanctification and everlasting salvation of these children whom the Lord had given him. There was a tenderness, and pathos, and child-like simplicity connected with the prayer that deeply affected me. This manifestly was not an extraordinary—but usual Sunday exercise in which parent and children were engaged. A lovelier, or holier scene, I could not well conceive this side of heaven. What a delightful occupation to the parent! What a blessing to the children! When his head is laid low in the dust, the memory of that consecrated Sabbath hour, will come up with an influence to melt and subdue their hearts, and lead them to seek after their father's God. But, alas! how is this duty of family instruction neglected. How many Christian parents could be found in any Church who habitually set apart a portion of the sacred day, to be employed in singing and praying with their children, and instructing them in the knowledge of Christ and his salvation? What would be the effect, if all professing Christian parents were in the habit of spending an hour with their children this way each Sabbath![Pg 48] Would not the baptized youth of our congregation be a very different race of beings from what they now are? Should we so frequently hear of infidelity, and our breaking sins among the children of Christian professors? No. There is unquestionably a great neglect of duty here—a neglect on the part of parents which results in the everlasting ruin of their offspring.

[Pg 49]



Travelling companions—Steamboats on the Ohio—The Elk—The Ohio river—The Harmonists—Steubenville—Wheeling—Marietta—Portsmouth—Kentucky—The dead steamboat captain—Kentucky funeral.

On board the Elk,
Monday Evening, June 19.

I have two exceedingly agreeable travelling companions. The one, Mr. B——, who started with a special view of accompanying me in this tour. He is a young gentleman of mature intellect, accomplished education, and ardent piety. The other friend we fell in with on our way to Pittsburg. Mr. F—— is a merchant, residing in Boston, a devoted member of the Congregational Church, a man of business, and of sterling Christian principle, possessing more of "the milk of human kindness" than ordinarily falls to the lot of mortals. The presence of these delightful companions has taken away much of the solitariness one feels in having a space of so many miles thrown between him and his home.

Whoever has travelled on any of the western rivers knows something about the annoyances connected with[Pg 50] western steamboats—the drinking—the swearing—the gambling. We were induced to take our passage in "The Elk," from the fact that it was the only boat that was going down the river this morning. We soon found that our boat was not of the first order; our captain, however, appears to be one of the most quiet, taciturn, and unmoveable men we ever met.

It was about ten o'clock, that we found our boat pushing off from the shore, and our backs turned upon the clouds of smoke that hung in dense masses over what has been called the Birmingham of America. As we stood on the deck, we seemed at the moment of starting enclosed by a forest of dark tunnels peering up from countless steamers lying along the shore. More than forty of these were clustered together in the same group where "The Elk" was stationed. It is said there cannot be less than seven hundred steamboats moving on these western and south-western rivers.

We were fully in the stream!—We began to feel that we were borne on the flowing bosom of the Ohio! The luxury of that moment was worth travelling four hundred miles to enjoy! What thronging emotions then came rushing upon our minds! We remembered whither this stream was bearing us—away from our friends—perhaps never to return! We thought of the vast territory it watered—its majestic length—the scenes of Indian warfare that had been acted upon its shores and on its surface, long before the axe of the white man had felled a single tree in those vast and unbroken forests that stood upon its banks, and were reflected from its mirrored surface! It was even then the beautiful river, as the name Ohio denotes.[Pg 51] It is said that "the line of beauty" is not a straight but waving line. If so, this river is richly entitled to its name. From first to last, it moves in "the line of beauty." So winding is its course that we usually do not see, as we are passing along upon it, more than a half or quarter of a mile in advance of us, and often not so far. Thus we see it in distinct sections, each section resembling a beautiful little lake, surrounded by its own sweet and peculiar scenery—shut in by its verdant and variegated banks and wood-covered hills, and ornamented by one or two, and often several little green islets, around which the parted waters wind romantically.

We passed the settlement of the Harmonists, or Economists, as they are frequently called. This people are the followers of Rapp, and reside at a town called Economy, about fifteen miles below Pittsburg. They also form a singular instance of the power of delusion. The people belonging to this community are principally German emigrants, extremely ignorant, and, therefore, more easily controlled by a shrewd and cunning leader. Rapp professes to be a prophet sent from God, and gifted with the high privilege of holding such constant communication with heaven, as to receive from thence directions how to regulate and govern all their affairs.—He therefore enjoins upon every individual belonging to the community, entire, passive submission, and implicit obedience to his orders.

This self-constituted ruler claims to be their sole religious instructor. The people usually assemble on the Sabbath, when he speaks to them, what it concerns them to know in relation to the Supreme Being and his Prophet—and[Pg 52] then gives them directions about their labour for the ensuing week, reminding them of the great importance of harmony and economy, assuring them, that both of these will be effectually secured if they undeviatingly follow his directions.

Though they have no outward ordinances, they make great account of an annual festival—the Harvest Home. At the observance of this festival, after immense preparation in the way of providing all manner of good things to eat and drink, not less than six hours are spent at the table—which are occupied alternately in eating, singing, and praying. The above particulars I received from several different, but well informed individuals, residing at Pittsburg.

In the course of the day we passed Steubenville, pleasantly situated on the river. I had barely time during the landing of passengers to ascend the hill, and look into one of its principal streets. Its houses, like those of Pittsburg, bore the dingy stain so common to all this bituminous coal region. I wished to have met the Rev. Mr. M——, of this place, with whom I had no personal acquaintance, but in whom I felt a particular interest on account of the silent and powerful influence he exerted in the institution where he finished his literary studies, in commending godliness and rebuking sin, by a holy, spotless, and unblemished life. The savour of his name still remained at that institution several years subsequent, at the time when I was passing through my preparatory studies there. I found upon inquiry that the same simplicity of faith, and singleness of mind, and devoted holiness of life, characterized his labours on the banks of the Ohio, which imparted[Pg 53] such a charm and moral power to his conduct as an academical student. There is nothing, after all, that can place such a mighty moral lever in a man's hands, as simple-hearted piety—decided holiness of heart and life.

We reached Wheeling just at sunset, and made our arrangements to remain there through the night, with a view of taking the stage next morning to pass into the interior of Ohio, making Gambier one of the points at which we should stop. There having fallen heavy rains, however, the state of the roads was such that the project was abandoned, and we determined to keep on in the Elk. We felt some pleasure in being permitted to spend an hour or two within the limits of the "old dominion," for it was the first time that either of us had trod upon Virginia soil.

Tuesday, June 20th, Cabin of the Elk,
Passing down the Ohio.

I know of nothing more delightful than to sit at one's ease, and be wafted down such a beautiful stream as this, winding its graceful and circuitous way through groves and grass-covered fields, and beauteous woodland scenes. Occasionally we see the banks surmounted with lofty bluffs that lift their proud summits up towards the clouds—and then succeeded by bottom land studded with trees that bend over to dip their pendent boughs in the glassy surface that sweetly reflects them. As one sits in a sheltered nook in the cabin, gliding down such a stream, with such a scenery around him, and feeling the cool refreshing breeze fanning his fevered brow, and imparting vigour and new elasticity to his enervated frame, he must be very stupid, or very depraved, if his heart is not drawn upwards[Pg 54] and made to throb with gratitude to the glorious Framer of this garnished and goodly scene!

One acquires as he proceeds westward, largeness and expansion to his ideas: his mind is carried out of its former habits of thought, and swells away into the vast dimensions of the majestic rivers, and boundless tracts of country, over which his eye expatiates. Only think of sailing beyond the Mississippi, in a steamboat, still westward more than two thousand miles, and find your course at every step skirted with the most rich and fertile lands which stretch away interminably before you!

We passed this day some interesting towns. Marietta appears beautiful from the river, is neatly built, and bears the marks of thrift and enterprise. Point Pleasant and Guyandot in Virginia, Gallipolis and Burlington in Ohio, are interesting points.

Wednesday, June 21.

We found ourselves this morning lying at the shore of Portsmouth, with the borders of Kentucky on our left. Being detained several hours we took a view of the town, found a neat little Episcopal Church, and had an interview with its humble, worthy, and devoted minister, the Rev. Mr. S——. In all this western world we find that ministers have many trials and discouragements. The people are more intent upon every thing else than that of saving their souls. We here met, to our great delight and surprise, the Rev. W. J——, and his lady, on their way to Louisville, his future field of labour.

The river continued to present us with the same beautiful views, varied now and then by loftier ridges of head-land[Pg 55] on the Kentucky side. It was about two o'clock, P. M., when we saw on the Kentucky shore in a solitary place, a house surrounded by a large collection of people. Our boat seemed to sympathize in the scene before us, for it was immediately arrested in its course, and the captain put on shore. I have before spoken of the captain of our steamer, as remarkably quiet, taciturn, and even tempered. We did not know that the placidity of his natural temperament could be moved, or his tongue unloosed by any earthly power, till the second night after our embarkation, when we were awakened from our sleep by the tones of boisterous anger, and volleys of oaths that almost froze our blood. It was our captain chiding his men. We were now to see him under new circumstances. As I have said, we dropped him on the Kentucky shore about two o'clock, while the boat went on to a small village a few miles below. We were told by some of the hands on board that the captain had stopped on account of the severe illness of his brother-in-law, who was the owner of the Elk, and its former commander. The order was to wait until he joined us. The Rev. Mr. J. and myself improved the time of this delay by clambering up to the summit of one of the loftiest hills in the neighbourhood, where we had a fine view of the river and the surrounding scenery. When the signal for our boat's departure was sounded, we perceived, as we were going on board, a coffin covered with black velvet. We now learned for the first time that our boat was to go back to the point where we dropped our captain, and remain there until the funeral rites of his brother-in-law, now deceased, were performed. It was in vain to remonstrate, so we submitted[Pg 56] to the delay with as much cheerfulness as possible.—To improve my time I determined to go on shore and witness a funeral among the yeomanry of Kentucky. The steamboat had been drawn up to the bank under the verdant canopy of a cluster of umbrageous trees. After ascending the bank, which might have been some fifty feet from the water to its summit, we found ourselves in the midst of a beautiful grove, where the underwood had been cut away, and the earth was carpeted with green sward. Most of our passengers having landed, the coffin was brought out from the boat and conveyed towards a cottage that stood some two hundred yards distant. We all then moved on towards the house. The first thing that attracted our attention in approaching this rural dwelling, was the number of horses fastened to the fences, and equipped most of them with ladies' riding saddles.—Around and within the house we found a large company assembled. I was sorry to see so many rotund and rubicund faces among the men, bearing unerring indications of intemperance. The fair daughters of Kentucky were certainly on this occasion more happily represented than the stronger sex. They were, however, very peculiarly dressed. They generally wore a sun-bonnet, which had a long frill or flounce that hung like a shawl over their shoulders, and carried in their hands little riding whips, which left us at no loss to understand who were the riders of the caparisoned steeds that we had seen in such numbers around this house of mourning.

I pressed along through the crowd, and followed the coffin to the house with the hope of witnessing the religious exercises that I supposed would be performed on[Pg 57] this occasion. The house consisted principally of one long large room, in a corner of which the corpse was placed. Here also the mourners sat, and the company that were collecting to attend the funeral. The coffin was brought into this room, and placed in front of the corpse, which was clad in the vestments it was to wear in its narrow house. It was immediately in the presence of the mourners, and of this promiscuous company, raised from its position and transferred to the coffin. This being done, the undertaker proceeded to fasten on the lid with the exception of the head-piece, which was separate from the other. The wife, and mother, and family friends, then moved forward, and proceeded to take leave of the unbreathing dead. I never was more struck with the power of human sympathy. At that moment many hardy, sun-burnt, iron-looking faces put on all the expression of deep and overwhelming emotion. Tears ran down cheeks that one would have thought had never been wet with such tender drops before. Even our imperturbable captain, whom we thought proof against all feeling, and almost a perfect impersonation of apathy, wept and sobbed aloud.

The coffin was then borne out into a rude open piazza or stoop in front of the house, and there left for some time till the curiosity of every gazer seemed fully glutted. Then again the near relatives came forward and kissed the dead. The widowed wife seemed almost frantic in bestowing the parting tokens of her affection upon the unbreathing body of her deceased companion. I felt obliged to turn away, for I could not endure the sight of her wild frantic manner as she clasped and kissed again and again[Pg 58] the cold clay of her husband! This finally had a close. Then after a short pause, a female bearing in her hands a pair of shears, pressed her way through the crowd, and proceeding to the head of the coffin, took off several large locks of hair that rested on the cold forehead of the dead man. The coffin was then immediately closed, and preparation made to move towards the grave. I accosted an elderly lady that stood near me and said—

"Are we to have no religious services on this occasion?"


"Is there no minister present to officiate?"

"No," was the only reply I received.

I then turned to another and said, "Are there no ministers who reside in this part of the country?"

"None very near here," was the response.

I mentioned this conversation to my friend B—— who stood near, and observed to him that I regretted that such an opportunity should be lost, when the feelings of all were so subdued, to direct the minds of these people to the solemn realities of eternity; that even a single prayer offered up at this moment might be the means of saving a soul. He went and spoke to our captain, mentioned that there was a clergyman present, and suggested to him the expediency of inviting him to engage in some religious exercises. The captain with his usual apathy, into which he had again relapsed, replied, "I don't know whether it is worth while."

The funeral began to move off in the following order or rather disorder. First, the four bearers took the lead, carrying the coffin on two rudely hewn sticks, prepared[Pg 59] for the occasion. Then followed four or five of the near relatives all abreast. Then came the bereaved widow, riding on horseback, and after her all the assembled crowd, male and female, hurrying on twelve or fifteen abreast of each other. The funeral train proceeded near where we landed, and, after having gone a short distance into the grove, it descended into a narrow ravine, through which run a little brook, gurgling over its pebbly bottom. When the bearers reached this brook they had no other way to proceed but to ford it; the others got over as well as they could, on logs and stones. Having ascended the opposite bank, we soon reached a well trodden path, which we followed for some short distance, and then turned abruptly into a cornfield. When we had reached the central part of the field, which was an eminence of some height, we found an open grave. The excavation was at least four times larger than the coffin required, with a place sunk in the bottom just large enough to receive it.

While we were ascending the hill near the grave, the captain having had some consultation with the friends of the deceased, and again feeling some kindlings of sensibility, sought me out from among the crowd, and very affectionately throwing his arm over my shoulders thus accosted me—

"I am very sorry to detain you on your journey, but the hands were all so much attached to Mr. R., I could not well send them on till the funeral was over." I replied, "It is perfectly right to detain us under these circumstances. This is a very solemn event, and one that should be regarded as a loud call both to you and your hands.[Pg 60] We must all soon come to this! How important then to lay it to heart!"

To all this he readily assented and replied, "Several of the friends have expressed a wish that you should give us a short exhortation at the grave."

I felt no disposition to decline complying with this request. Accordingly when the coffin had been placed over the excavated grave, with the broad blue canopy over our heads, amid the stillness of the surrounding country scene, and the hill-side beneath me covered with a dense mass of human beings, I lifted up my voice for my Master, and spoke to them of sin, and death, and Christ, and salvation. As I looked over the silent listening throng, I remembered that I had never met one of them before, and probably should never meet one of them again, till we stood together at the judgment bar. I endeavoured to exhibit to them the scenes of that great and dreadful day, and the terms on which they would be accepted or rejected. I endeavoured to direct the mourners that wept around that grave to the balm that is in Gilead and the physician who is there. The countenances of all were solemn, and there were not wanting evidences of deep and tender emotion. The remarks were closed with prayer to the eternal Framer of earth and sky. Whether on that hill-side, with the Ohio rolling at our feet, and the blue heavens stretching over our heads, any good was done when we laid the dead steamboat captain in his grave, the developements of the great day must show! In my heart I thanked the Lord for this opportunity of going out into the highways and hedges to try to compel them to come in.[Pg 61]

As soon as the grave was closed up, the bell from our boat reminded us that we must be on our way. During the rest of the voyage our captain seemed very serious and thoughtful. At tea he requested that a blessing should be invoked on our meal. My friend B. sought a private opportunity to press the subject of personal religion upon his attention. He received what was offered with great candour, and seemed willing to prolong the conversation. His conduct after this to us was marked with every indication of respectfulness and attachment. The next morning we found ourselves at Cincinnati, the city which has been called "the Queen of the West."

[Pg 62]



Cincinnati—The Queen city—Views in reference to missionary labour—The kind of missionaries wanted in the great Valley—Walnut Hills—Lane Seminary—Dr. Beecher—Woodward College—Dr. Aydelott—The old Kentucky man—Louisville—The Galt House—View of the interior of Kentucky—Plantations—A sore evil—Kentuckian traits of character—A thrilling incident.

Cincinnati, Friday Morning, June 23d, 1837.

We reached this city, not inappropriately called "The Queen of the West," yesterday morning, and bid adieu to the Elk and its taciturn captain. Upon the whole I have been greatly pleased with Cincinnati. The whole air and aspect of the town has reminded me more of Philadelphia than any city I have seen west of the mountains. Christ Church, in this city, is a noble building, and the interior furnishes a beautiful specimen of architectural taste and skill. St. Paul's Church is also a tasteful structure, although I was not able to obtain a view of the interior. The Roman Catholic cathedral and college make a fine appearance, but the interior of the cathedral greatly disappointed me. The audience room is small, narrow, and mean in appearance. I am happy to say that in passing through this western[Pg 63] region I find but one impression among well-informed and intelligent men in relation to the growth and progress of popery here; and that is, that it is making little or no advances, except with the increase of foreign population.

In my visit to Cincinnati I derived much information in relation to the west, as well as much personal enjoyment from the conversation and society of our most excellent brother, the Rev. J. T. B., Rector of Christ Church. He occupies a most important position on the walls of Zion, and I could not but say to myself, the more I saw and conversed with him, "Oh that we had a thousand such clergymen at the west as he." He, as well as several other intelligent clergymen in this region, assured me that it needed only a band of well-trained, devoted, godly men, to plant the Episcopal Church every where through the whole length and breadth of this vast valley. The united testimony of all is, "Send us the right kind of men—or send us none. The idea that any one will answer for a missionary to the west is a most fatal error. We want here men of enlarged and liberal views, thoroughly educated, of great prudence, energy and efficiency—men who are willing to work, and willing to keep on working till they see the fruit of their labours—and above all, pious, devoted men—men full of the Holy Ghost, and burning with a love for immortal souls, who will speak directly to the hearts and consciences of people. Give us such ministers, and no limits need be set to the establishment of the Church. But if men of another stamp are to be sent, those whose dullness, and deadness, and inefficiency prevent their getting any place among the old established parishes at the east, the result will be that our prospects[Pg 64] here for the Church wherever they plant themselves will be for ever ruined."

I have heard these sentiments again and again from the lips of some of our most devoted ministers at the west. The body of clergy that now come here are going to give character to the Church. They are engaged in the momentous business of laying foundations. We must look not only to the immediate, but future results of their labours. In almost all places, before any thing can be done a church has to be built. I had no conception till I entered this great valley of the difficulty of finding a place in which to assemble the people for public worship. Almost the first business to be done is to effect the erection of a church. The clergyman who can inspire such confidence in himself and awaken such a degree of interest, as to lead a western community to embark in such an enterprize, must have some tact and power. Another difficulty is to induce the people to attend church. Vast numbers here have fallen into the confirmed habit of spending their Sabbaths in another way. It is an effort for them to go to church. There must be some attractions in the minister to draw this class of persons out, and they are here a very large, and respectable, and influential class. A dull, sleepy, prosing minister is not the man for the west.

In the afternoon we rode out to Walnut Hills to visit Lane Seminary, and pay our respects to Dr. Beecher. He received us with that frank, blunt cordiality, which I have so often experienced in New England, and which makes its rough and cragged hills more attractive to me than all the luxuriant fields of the west. The pleasure of our visit was not a little enhanced by the presence of Miss Catharine[Pg 65] E. Beecher, who is widely known to the literary world through the productions of her gifted pen. I am sorry that my limits will not allow me to detail to you some parts of a discussion that we had upon several interesting topics—especially in reference to the present state of the Presbyterian Church, and of the best mode of diffusing light among the Roman Catholics. I certainly left Dr. B—— more than ever impressed with a high conviction of the brilliancy of his intellect, and the depth of his piety.

The location of Lane Seminary is in the midst of a most beautiful landscape. There is just enough, and just the right admixture of hill and dale, forest and field, to give it the effect we love to feel in gazing upon a calm and quiet scene of beauty. In our return to Cincinnati we took another route, which, as we approached the town, gave us from the lofty amphitheatre of hills that encircle this "occidental queen" a new view of her charms. As we approached the lofty eminences in the rear of the town, while we gazed from the summit down upon the city, I could not but reflect how Jerusalem must have appeared to the spectator who stood upon Mount Olivet, and looked down upon the proud domes and busy streets that lay beneath him. And the thought too then occurred to me, that had I the gifted vision of him who once stood upon Olivet, and wept over Jerusalem, I might see in this beautiful city enough to draw forth floods of grief. With all my admiration of Cincinnati, I see here abundant evidences of great wickedness. The temperance cause I fear has made but little advance in this place, and the god of this world holds a fearful sway over the minds of too many of its inhabitants.[Pg 66]

I met last evening the Rev. Dr. Aydelott, the former Rector of Christ Church, who now occupies the place of President of Woodward College, an institution in Cincinnati, endowed by the munificence of a single individual, and which promises, with its present head, to do much for the cause of learning in the west. I am satisfied that education here is to be one of the great moral levers by which mind is to be raised from the darkness and degradation of sin. In the President of Woodward College I found a man of thorough evangelical views, sound intellect, and fine literary attainment.

Louisville, Tuesday, June 27.

It was about noon, Friday the 23d, that we left Cincinnati on board the steamboat Commerce. Having reached the great Miami, we had immediately under our eye the view of three states. Ohio which we were leaving—Indiana which now constituted the right-hand bank of the river, and Kentucky, which still continued to present us with its "alternations of bottom and bluff" on the left.—We met on board a fine specimen of plain, honest, fearless Kentucky character. He was an old man who cultivated a farm without slave labour, possessing great bluntness, a large share of intelligence, and an evident warm-hearted piety. Having formed some acquaintance with B——, he accosted Mr. F—— and myself almost immediately upon coming where we stood, in the following manner. "Well, gentlemen, I find your friend here is for Christ: which side are you on? I am willing to show my colours." He seemed very happy to know that we were trying to serve the same Master whom he loved.[Pg 67]

At early dawn, on the morning of Saturday, June 24th, we found our steamboat lying along the shore, on which Louisville is built. As the heat now began to be oppressive, it was very reviving to leave the confined cabin of our steamer, and inhale the fresh breath of morning. Louisville is evidently a flourishing business town, containing about twenty-five thousand inhabitants, ten thousand less than Cincinnati. We put up at the Galt House, an establishment which we had heard very highly commended. We however, in the end, did not feel disposed greatly to dissent from the remark of one of the lodgers at the Hotel, who in true Kentucky style remarked—"that the Galt House was not after all just what it was cracked up to be." I found many things to interest me in Louisville. During the few days that I stopped here, it was my intention to visit Lexington, but having been providentially prevented, I endeavoured to make amends for this disappointment by taking short excursions into the country. How could I fail to be delighted with the splendid corn and hemp fields along by the sides of which I passed! and the luxuriant forests which, with their underwood cleared away, and grown up, as they were, with blue grass, appeared like noble parks affording pasture ground for the hundred beeves that roamed there! How could I fail to be delighted with the frank, and generous, and warm-hearted hospitality which I every where experienced. But I saw a dark cloud hanging over this beautiful state! Almost all its inhabitants see it, and lament it, and hope that it may one day be rolled away! Through the politeness of a friend I was afforded an opportunity of visiting several large plantations cultivated by slaves. I was pleased with the evident[Pg 68] kindness with which the slaves are treated, and the happy contentedness which they displayed. But still I could not but see many evils connected with this system. And I have no doubt that large portions of the intelligent part of the people in Kentucky have juster views of these evils than any of their northern neighbours—and that could silent wishes remove the difficulty the chains of bondage would be instantly broken. I dined with a gentleman, of great urbanity and professed piety, living on a small plantation in the country. After dinner, we walked out, and passed by the shantee in which his slaves lived. He asked me to look in, and talk with them, he in the mean time passing on, with some other gentlemen into the garden. I did so. In the cottage they occupied there was every appearance of neatness and comfort. I remarked to an intelligent looking woman who stood over the wash-tub—

"You look quite comfortable here, I suppose you are very happy."

She immediately replied, "I am not happy."

"Ah!" said I, "what makes you unhappy? Are you not treated kindly by your master and his family?"

"Oh, yes!" she responded, "I have nothing to complain of on that ground."

"What is it then that makes you unhappy?" I asked.

"My sins," she replied.

I remarked that this was indeed the cause of all our misery; and I then endeavoured to point her to that blessed fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, where she and all our guilty race might wash and be clean.

As I passed along, I saw several young children around the establishment, and when I joined our host in the garden,[Pg 69] I told him what had passed, and inquired of him, if the parents of the children we saw had been regularly married. He appeared somewhat confused, and very serious—but at length replied—

"This is one of the worst features of slavery. Two of the parents of those children are married. The woman with whom you were conversing is the mother of four children, and has never been married? Her conscience is not easy."

I inquired if such things were of common occurrence among the slave population? He replied—"Yes—and we cannot prevent it." Alas for that state of society which brings along unavoidably such sin in its train!

I inquired in relation to the religious instruction of the slaves, and was sorry to learn that it was so very defective. On one plantation where there were seventy slaves, the master was a perfect worldling, and never allowed his slaves to attend public worship or receive any kind of religious instruction. Must there not be something wrong in that state of society which places seventy immortal souls so entirely under the control of one individual that he can shut against them completely the gate of heaven? But this is an unwelcome theme and I pass on.

Perhaps there is no part of our country where there are such fixed and marked traits of character as in New England and Kentucky. There are many traits in the Kentuckian which I admire, and which when brought under the influence and control of Divine grace form the substratum of a noble character. One of the attributes of this character is an honest independence, which despises the meanness of stooping to get any advantage by blandishment[Pg 70] or truckling. This is evident from the common drayman to the high-minded planter. Another attribute in this character, is a love, amounting almost to a passion, for discussion, oratory, and public speaking. It is said, that in no one of the states are all political questions so thoroughly discussed and understood by the great mass of the people as in Kentucky. During the sittings of the courts, I am told that all leave their work, and give up their time to attend the trial of the various suits that are pending, and to listen to the speeches that are made on the occasion. Wherever there is public speaking, there the people will flock. I believe there is no state where a talented, eloquent ministry could effect more than here.—Unhappily there is much infidelity prevailing in this state, and yet I have no doubt that it may and will be entirely supplanted by the labours of a faithful and efficient ministry. You will be gratified to learn that the Rev. Mr. J—— has commenced his labours with great acceptableness. His removal to Louisville, at this time, is regarded by the friends of the Church in this region as a most auspicious event. I have no doubt that a wide field of usefulness lies before him. They are erecting in Louisville a new Episcopal Church, and if a suitable pastor is procured, there is not the least question but that both churches will be entirely full.

The very best specimen of true original Kentucky character, which I have met, was on board the steamboat. The love of this individual for his native state amounted almost to a passion. Though in exterior very plain and blunt, he possessed uncommon intelligence, and contributed by his conversation in no small degree to our enjoyment.[Pg 71]

He gave me the following statement in relation to the early settlement of Kentucky.

"This was one of the most beautiful and blooming territories over which a wild luxuriant forest ever waved.—And yet as it was a sort of dividing line between the northern and southern Indians, it became the battle-ground upon which these nations met and waged interminable wars, so that it went among the savages by the name of the dark and bloody land. Near the close of the revolutionary war several settlements were attempted in Kentucky by emigrants from Virginia. My ancestors were among the number. The Indians both from the south and north, almost immediately became jealous of these white settlers, and adopted the purpose of exterminating them. The settlers were able to keep their position only by building a fort and living in it. While a certain portion of the men worked in attempting to clear and cultivate the land, another portion being armed, were on watch. I was born in one of these forts near Boonsborough. I wore, till I was twelve years old, hose made of buffalo hair. Our chief living was upon bear and buffalo meat. We were in the midst of the wildness of nature. Hundreds of times have I seen the Indians rushing upon our fort, or fleeing before the sharp-speaking guns of our friends. People who live in the densely settled portions of our country, know very little about the toils and dangers, the sacrifices and privations which the first settlers endure."

My Kentucky acquaintance illustrated this last remark by a vast number of thrilling incidents, one or two of which I will relate.

When he was quite young, several of the people of[Pg 72] that settlement, undertook to manufacture maple sugar. The winter had relaxed its rigours, and the warm sun began to pour down his genial rays. The snow was fast melting away, and the sap ran merrily from the perforated sugar trees. Several negroes were engaged a short distance from the fort in collecting the sap. It was supposed that no Indians were in the neighbourhood, as none had been seen for several months. Tempted by the bright sunny day, a daughter of one of the settlers, a young, beautiful, blooming girl, rambled beyond the enclosures of the fort, where the negroes were collecting the sugar sap. While she stood there, full of buoyancy and free from every apprehension, a negro being near, busily engaged in some of the various processes of sugar-making, four or five wild Indians in a moment sprung upon them! The negro they seized and bound, and in an instant cut down with their tomahawks this beautiful girl. Having scalped her, they fled, carrying with them the captured negro. The alarm was soon given at the fort. They were pursued—overtaken, and several of them shot. The negro was rescued. Those that had escaped went five hundred miles around among the tribe to raise the war-cry, and then came back and again attacked the settlement. In that encounter my Kentucky friend told me that eleven of his family relatives were killed.

Another incident which he related was the following. Somewhere on a station near Kentucky river, in the spring, when the earth began to put on her bloom, two young ladies, the eldest of whom was the first child born in Kentucky, went out to gather flowers. As they saw some very rich blossoms on the banks of the river, they took a[Pg 73] little skiff, and went from one side to the other collecting them. While thus engaged a number of Indians were in the canebrakes watching them. The young ladies having by a turn of the river passed beyond the view of their enemies, the Indians proposed to gather flowers, and place them all along the bank, where they were in ambuscade, so that when they returned, attracted by these flowers, they would come up to the bank and then the boat could be seized. The plan entirely succeeded, and while these young ladies were gaily cropping their flowers, a huge wild Indian sprang from his concealment into the boat. Their destiny then seemed sealed. They were immediately borne away as captives. One of them, however, wore a dress handkerchief of red and brilliant colours.—This she silently kept pulling to pieces, and dropping the shreds as she was hurried along through the forest. The friends of these young ladies soon become alarmed. Marks were discovered of an Indian trail. The empty boat was found. A band of armed men commenced pursuit, headed by the father of one of these young ladies.—They discovered the shreds of the handkerchief, and traced them till night fall, when they suddenly came upon them where they were encamped. They perceived there was a large number of Indians, and thought secresy in their movements important. They waited till the Indians were asleep, and then the father drew near. He saw the two young ladies sitting by themselves, guarded by an Indian. The others appeared to be asleep. His men were at some distance, and he thought it better to go up unseen, and tomahawk this sentinel, and rescue his child without alarming the other Indians. But in attempting it,[Pg 74] his faithful dog which accompanied him, growled at the sight of these savages. In a moment they were on their feet and he their prisoner. They determined at once to put him to death. He was stripped and bound to a tree, and they were just levelling their pieces to fire at him.—What a moment of awful suspense for his child who stood looking on! His men, alarmed at his long absence, drew near, saw what was going forward, and instantly fired upon the Indians. A panic was immediately struck into the camp, and as the fire from the whites was kept up, and one and another Indian fell gasping on the ground, they soon fled and left their prisoners. The father and the two young ladies returned. One of them is still living, the mother of a large and respectable family, whose declining age is cheered with the comforts of a sweet hope in Christ.

It is well for us to know something of the hardships endured by the first settlers in the west.

[Pg 75]



New Albany—Sailing down the Ohio—Profanity—Lovely views of nature—A sudden squall on the river—Kentucky shore—Young fawn—The mouth of the Tennessee river—The swimming deer—His struggle and capture—Meeting of the waters of the Ohio with the Mississippi—Gambling—Intemperance—Sail up the Mississippi to St. Louis.

New Albany, Indiana,
Tuesday Morning, June 27, 1837.

Indiana is unquestionably destined to become one of the most interesting of the Western States. Its principal towns that stand along on the Ohio, must of course become very important points. This will be particularly the case with New Albany, which is already one of the most populous and flourishing towns in Indiana. It bears on every part of it the marks of a new place, and the manner in which every house and shed within its precincts is crowded, shows that it must have expansion. It is situated about four miles from Louisville, just below the rapids, on a fine broad table of land, which is so far above high water mark, as effectually to secure it from those inundations, occasioned[Pg 76] by the sudden rise of the Ohio. Some way back in the rear of the town, and nearly encircling it, rises up in a very picturesque manner, what is here called a knob, an elevated steppe of land, from which we look down upon the town and river, and see them spread out before us as on a map, in distinct and beautiful delineation. Louisville appears in the distance, and the adjacent country, which with the windings, and wooded scenery of the beautiful Ohio, presents a view so exquisite, that the imagination can scarcely conceive any thing more romantic.

It is only three or four years since there were but a handful of inhabitants at New Albany: it now numbers six thousand, and is rapidly increasing in population. A very large proportion of its inhabitants are young, enterprising men from the East, who possess moderate means, and have come here to build up their fortunes. How important to bring such minds under the influence of the Gospel! This is a centre from which influences for good or evil will go forth through the state, and I believe it may be truly said, it is one of those fields that "are white for the harvest."

I met Bishop Kemper at Louisville, on his way to hold an ordination at Madison, another interesting town in Indiana, on the Ohio, between Louisville and Cincinnati. The bishop purposes to devote two or three months between this and autumn to Indiana. He appears indefatigable in his efforts to promote the good cause, and every tongue through the whole west speaks forth his praise, and cheerfully accords to him the high encomium of a zealous, devoted, and holy man. There are now seven or eight[Pg 77] Episcopal clergymen in Indiana, and the cry still is, "The harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few."

Steamboat, Tuesday Evening, June 27th.

It was about three o'clock to-day, that we started on our way from Louisville, down the Ohio. It was excessively hot, and I experienced a languor and sense of exhaustion, which I do not recollect ever before to have felt. When the sun began to decline, and we again found ourselves gliding as by enchantment over the surface, and sweeping through the midst of the beautiful scenery of the Ohio, I felt that I had passed into a new world. As I traversed the deck of the boat, and saw reflected from the smooth and mirror-like bosom of the river, the luxuriant foliage, rich and dark by its own deep verdure—the smooth green bank that sloped down to the water's edge, as though to kiss the smiling surface that slept so quietly below—the abrupt precipitous bluff, starting up like a mound of earth, or a wall of solid masonry—and the head-land sweeping off into sloping woods that towered in majesty above the stream, I could not but feel, and could scarcely refrain from exclaiming aloud, how beautiful and surpassingly lovely are the works of God! What must the heart of that man be made of, who can pass through the midst of such displays of divine beauty, and pollute the very atmosphere as he passes with profanity! This is what hundreds are daily doing. Almost all the hands on board of the steamboats, down even to the little boys, utter an oath almost every other word. Profane swearing is one of the crying sins of this western world. Oaths the most horrid are awfully common among[Pg 78] all sorts of people. Amid these scenes of varied beauty where creation appears so lovely we may truly say,

"* * * Every prospect pleases
And only man is vile.
In vain with lavish kindness
The gifts of God are strown."

Men pass here in thousands, and mindless of all these tokens of a wonder-working Deity, continue to live as though there were no God in the Universe, or as if He existed only to afford a theme for more aggravated profanity. And yet looking at the matter, aside from the native depravity of the human heart, one would think that the spontaneous effusion of every intelligent mind whose attention was directed to this scene, would be, as he looked around, "Surely this is the teaching of the mighty God! May lessons be impressed upon my heart by the outspread volumes before me, which no mutations of time, no excitement of passion, no fascinations of the world, no devices of the Evil one will ever efface. Eternal Creator, here among this green, boundless, majestic temple of thy works I renew the consecration of myself to thee, soul, body, and spirit. While these rivers roll their waters towards the sea—while a spear of grass grows in these fields—while a tree on these wooded banks is clothed with foliage in the vernal month—yea, while the solid earth lasts, and the cycles of eternity move on, with thy grace will I live only to serve and glorify Thee."

Wednesday, June 28th.

While we were leisurely sailing along to-day, the weather being oppressively warm, and the heavens very[Pg 79] bright and sunny, and not a breath of air stirring, pyramids of snow-white clouds began to be piled up in the northern and western sky. These masses of cloud seemed heaped together in every fantastic form. They towered aloft like huge mountains of snow. What added to the interest and singular appearance of the scene was, that this arch of the snow-pillowed sky sprung directly up from a boundless sea of verdant foliage that stretched interminably around. Through these masses of white cloud, there occasionally appeared large interstices, like deep caverns, opening into the blue profound!—long vistas through which we could seem to catch a view of the inmost heaven. Suddenly a tremendous gale struck us; the waters of the calm Ohio were thrown into the utmost commotion, and the wind came down upon us with a power that threatened to shiver the steamer into a thousand atoms. The heavens gathered blackness, and the whole dark firmament presented a surface every now and then lit up with a sheet of the most vivid fire. The waters ran very high, the wind roared, and the thunder was awful. The captain very prudently sought the shelter of the shore, and our boat was soon fastened by a strong cable to a tree. Then the rain fell in torrents, as though the waters of the river itself were scooped up and poured upon us. We learned that a few days before, not far from where we were, a steamboat had been capsized by a similar flaw of wind. We were soon again on our way, moving beneath a bright and benignant sky, and fanned by a gentle and refreshing breeze. How much our course down this river resembles human life! I cannot stay to make the application, but will only add that they only are wise who seek the[Pg 80] shelter of God's presence as a hidingplace till the storm be overpast.

We stopped towards evening to take in wood on the Kentucky shore. We there saw for the first time the native cane-brake. A wood-cutter's hut was near. A little ragged boy came out followed by two large dogs, and a little pet fawn. The dogs seemed to be fond of this little innocent thing, which had been taken only two or three weeks before. It seemed as it skipped along, and played around the footsteps of the child, very affectionate and confiding. Oh! that hardened sinners were transformed into a nature as mild, and gentle, and sweet as this little fawn! The power of Christ through the gospel can alone accomplish this.

Just at nightfall we passed the steamer Louisiana in distress. She had run upon a reef of rocks, and was in a sinking state. I cannot but here record the mercy of God which has followed us thus far in our journeyings. Steamboats have been blown up, and fired, and sunk, all around us since we started, and yet the Lord in boundless mercy has preserved us.

Thursday, June 29th.

When I awoke this morning, I found the boat was taking in wood at Paducah, just at the mouth of the Tennessee, having passed the Cumberland river in the night. We were now approaching a scene of interest that we had been long anticipating—the meeting of the waters of the Ohio and "the father of rivers." The morning was rainy and unpleasant, still we were constantly on the alert, eagerly intent upon seeing every object of interest around us.[Pg 81] While thus looking abroad, an affecting scene presented itself to us. The Ohio here, having received its last large tributaries, had become very deep and broad. Its banks were covered with tangled underwood, and dense forest-trees—presenting a scene of unbroken wildness. Now and then a woodman's hut was visible on the shore, and a little boat fastened to the bank. A deer, bounding with the fleetness of the wind to escape his destroyers, had reached the river's edge. What could be more natural than that, as his pursuers pressed on, he should plunge into the midst of the flowing stream! How cool and grateful must have been its waters to him thus panting and faint! But will he find safety here! No. His pursuers are again upon him. Having seized two little skiffs they eagerly press on to reach him. We saw them gliding through the waters towards him. Again he puts forth all his energies, and dashes through the waves like an arrow through the air. The effort he is making is for his life. But the strong arms that ply the oars, send forward the little barques which contain his pursuers with a velocity that seems to cut off the hope of escape. Now they are upon him! one boat is in advance of him, and the other rushing towards him. His destiny seemed sealed! But no—he is gone! He has darted to the depths beneath, and risen far beyond the furthermost boat! He is exerting every nerve to reach the shore! A few moments more, and his point will be gained—he will be bounding through the Kentucky woods! No. Hope again dies! His pursuers are again upon him—the boat is again between him and the shore. His strength is exhausted. The uplifted oar with dreadful stroke has fallen upon his head. The hands[Pg 82] of his fell pursuers have grasped his horns, he is dragged up into the boat and the huntsman's knife has made a deep incision in his throat. He pants, and struggles, and expires!

I said to myself—the sinner is pursued by sin, and satan, and passion, like that chased deer. There is no escape for him but in Christ. Oh what a happy, blessed hour of deliverance is that when the arm of mercy is reached forth to pluck him from the hands of his destroyers!

It was about nine o'clock this morning, when we first come in sight of the Mississippi. The waters of the Ohio had seemed muddy to us, but now they appeared clear and limpid compared with the muddy and discoloured stream which we were about to enter. There it was before us in all its magnificence, "the mighty father of rivers!" When our steamer touched its waves, it was with us a moment of deep and intense interest. We now turned up to breast its impetuous current which swept proudly along by us in foaming eddies. Every part of the river seemed turbid and thick with mud, and we could not understand how these waters could hold so much soil in solution. I shall never forget my sensations, when, shortly after we reached the Mississippi, I saw one of the boatmen draw up a pail full of this muddy water, and putting his lips to the vessel drink it off with apparent relish. I afterwards found it was the only water drank on board the steamboats, and in the towns situated on this river. I also found that after it was filtered, it was the most delightful water that I ever drank. One cause of its turbid appearance is the large portions of magnesia it holds in solution. This water derives[Pg 83] its peculiar characteristics from the Missouri. Above that stream the waters of the Mississippi are clear and limpid.

I have already spoken of the annoyance to which we were constantly subjected from the profanity of those we encountered. And I may now add that, gambling is another of the vices that are rife here. On our way from Louisville to St. Louis there has been one incessant scene of gambling night and day. We have evidently had three professed gamblers on board. I am told that there are men who do nothing else but pass up and down these waters, to rob in this way every unsuspecting individual, they can induce to play with them, of his money. We saw one victim fall into the clutches of these blacklegs. He was a young merchant, I believe, from Chilicothe, Ohio. He was first induced to play a simple game of cards. A slight sum was then staked to give interest to the game. He was allowed for awhile to be successful and to win of his antagonist. He played on till he became perfectly infatuated. He would hardly stop long enough to take his meals. Being fairly within their toils, large sums began to be staked, and this young man did not see the vortex into which he was being borne until he had lost six hundred dollars. In this deep gambling, physicians and judges who were present participated. What will our country come to, with such examples before the people! After being shut up for two or three days with such company, I thought how horrible it must be to be shut up in perdition with such characters forever! Surely the very presence of such men, with their depraved passions in full play, would of itself constitute a perfect hell! Another crying sin, which abounds on board[Pg 84] the western steamboats, and is fearfully prevalent through every portion of this western region, is the free and unrestrained use of ardent spirits as a drink; usually on board these western steamboats whiskey is used just as freely as water. All drink. The pilot—the engineer—the fireman—all drink. The whiskey bottle is passed around several times a day, and then the dinner table is loaded with decanters. I am satisfied that more than two-thirds of the disasters that occur on board these steamboats, are attributable to this free use of ardent spirits.

I know it will be natural to ask, can nothing be done to arrest the progress of these mighty evils? A gentleman at St. Louis, Captain S——, has embarked in a noble effort to do this. Last summer he ran a boat from Galena to St. Louis, with these avowed principles—that the Sabbath should be sanctified—that wherever the Lord's day found them, there they would tie up their boat and remain till Monday—that no ardent spirits should be brought on board the boat—that no profane swearing should be allowed, and no card-playing permitted. He remarked to me that the exclusion of ardent spirits removed the whole difficulty—that where there was no intoxicating drink, there was very little disposition to indulge in profanity or gambling. This gentleman has now raised forty thousand dollars, and hopes to bring it up to one hundred thousand in order to establish a line of boats on the same principle from Pittsburg to New Orleans. I do believe that this is one of the most important enterprises of the present day, and that the religious interests of the west are vitally connected with it. Captain S—— remarked to me, that no class of men, after the clergy, could exert such a prodigious influence[Pg 85] for good or for evil, in the western valley, as the captains of steamboats. If they were only pious men, there is no telling how much they might do, every trip they made, to promote the cause of the Redeemer.

If something be not speedily done at the west to prevent the profanation of the Lord's day, there will soon be no Sabbath. At the principal landing places along the rivers, business appears to go forward on the Sabbath just as upon any other day. Professors of religion are deeply involved in this sin. Goods are carried to and from their ware-houses at noon-day, and their clerks are busy in the counting-room while they are at church. Facts of this kind I do not guess at, but know. Will not God visit for such things? Oh what will become of our land when God riseth up to judge the earth?

The whole character of the scenery, since we entered the Mississippi has become changed; the banks of this great stream are low and marshy. They are generally covered with dense forests and tangled underwood, and present the appearance of nature in its untrodden wildness.

Friday, June 30th.

We to-day made a short stop at a place which bears the name of Western Philadelphia. There were some half dozen buildings, and two stores. It is only about nine months since the settlement commenced. Chestnut and Market streets were pointed out to us. Their course was through a flourishing cornfield, the stalks of which were so luxuriant and lofty, that we in vain essayed to reach their tops with our hands.

There are more signs of cultivation visible, as we passed[Pg 86] along, on the Missouri than on the Illinois side. The banks as we proceed up the stream, occasionally rise into high bluffs—especially in Illinois—towering aloft, not unlike the palisades on the Hudson. Frequently one rock is piled upon another to such an elevation, that the summit of the bluff juts over the river, as though it were ready to tumble down upon the heads of those who were passing along on the quiet stream beneath. This is particularly the case as we enter the lead country which commences some time before we reach St. Louis. These lofty towering bluffs that rise up so perpendicularly, projecting over the river, afford every convenience for forming natural shot towers. We saw several of these lofty cliffs that were thus used. A little box was erected upon the summit of the rock, where the molten lead was poured down through the mould, into a little tub on the shore beneath to receive the shot as they fell.

As we slowly wended our way up this mighty stream we found the shores adorned with flowers, and covered with cane-brake and thick underwood. We also saw the trees loaded with grape-vines—and many of them completely matted over with ivy, woodbine, and misletoe. The luxuriance of vegetation seemed so great, as not only to cover the earth, but to lift itself up suspended in the air.

We passed to-day St. Genevieve, a French village standing on a beautiful hill-side. The loveliest prospect stretched out before the town. We could from this point see the broad Mississippi in its magnificent course piercing the boundless forests of eternal verdure, and spreading out its watery surface upon which a hundred green islets seemed to float. The town itself, like all the[Pg 87] French villages that we have seen on this river, appeared old and dilapidated, and quite destitute of every thing like improvement, or enterprise. I could not but contrast these French villages, in the midst of this rich luxuriant land, with their little Roman Catholic chapels, their low narrow houses, and abundant marks of poverty, with the neat, tidy, thriving villages of New England, which, although they rear their heads from a hard rocky soil, where industry has to be taxed to the utmost to obtain the means of subsistence, present—in their beautiful church edifices—their elegant public buildings, and well constructed private residences—marks of thrift, industry, and comfort, which cannot fail to gladden the heart of the traveller who passes through them. Such is the difference in their influences between Protestantism and Romanism.

Twelve miles before we reached St. Louis we passed Jefferson barracks, a military station on the Missouri shore, located on a beautiful swell of land.

Carondolet is another French village on the banks of the Mississippi, around which every thing appears ruinous and poverty stricken.

At length St. Louis rose to view, and we hailed the sight with no ordinary sensations, not only as it was to be our resting place for awhile, but as a point of exceeding interest in this vast western world.

[Pg 88]



St. Louis—Roman cathedral—Desecration of the Sabbath—Golden sunsets—Sail up the Mississippi—The meeting of the waters of the Missouri and the Mississippi—Alton—The burning prairie.

St. Louis, Tuesday Evening, July 4th.

This, unquestionably is destined in time to become the great city of the west. Its location is pleasant, and from the manner in which the upper part of the city is now building, I should think it would ultimately compete in regularity and beauty with almost any city in the Union. Its most prominent public buildings at present are the theatre and the Roman cathedral. One of the priests politely showed us through the latter building. The interior would be very grand and imposing, were it not for the gaudy paintings, intended as scriptural illustrations, suspended around the audience room. However much these may catch the attention and awaken the admiration of the ignobile vulgus, they cannot fail to excite any thing but complacency in minds accustomed to the more chaste productions of the pencil. In entering the church, we passed through the basement, where are the confessional boxes and a small[Pg 89] altar, on which wax candles were burning. Here we saw one of the sisters of charity, sitting in black vestments, in a solitary dusky nook, as though absorbed in holy meditation. In the church we found another priest, engaged, as far as we could understand, in preparing a class of German boys for confirmation.

I learned from an intelligent source that Romanism is making little or no progress among Protestants at St. Louis. They have found it necessary to cut off, or conceal many of its offensive excrescences, so that a friend remarked to me, that he thought that a reformation in spite of themselves, silent and gradual, was going on in the Roman Catholic Church. The fact is, that the great difficulty at St. Louis is, that the mass of the people "care for none of these things." They are equally indifferent to every form of religion. Of course iniquity abounds, and the institutions of God are trampled in the dust. The following fact will illustrate this point. As I went to church on Sunday morning, to my utter astonishment, in passing by the new theatre, I saw some twenty or thirty men at work on it—masons, house-carpenters, and painters. God's law, Remember the Sabbath, to keep it holy, was to be of no account, because the people of St. Louis were anxious to have their new theatre opened on the evening of the Fourth of July! Each one of the usual denominations has a church here. From all I could learn, however, I fear religion is at a very low ebb in St. Louis. There are numberless discouragements to be encountered every where in the West, calculated to weaken the hands and depress the spirits of the ministers of religion. No one can understand the number or nature of these discouragements, without[Pg 90] being actually on the ground. A successful missionary at the West must have great faith and patience, and be unwearied in his labours. To animate his clergy, and cheer them on in their toil, there could not be a better man than Bishop Kemper. He seems to throw sunshine around him wherever he goes.

One thing struck me as remarkable at the West, and particularly at St. Louis. I refer to the appearance of the heavens at sunset. Nothing can exceed the richness and splendour of a western sunset. I have heard much of an Italian sky, but my imagination never conceived such pictures of beauty and indescribable glory, as are painted on the sky here at the decline of day. The whole hemisphere seems flooded with unearthly radience. The clouds piled up the western sky, appear more brilliant and gorgeous than any or all the colours of earth can make them. And as you look at them, you see, through the clouds, apertures, which seem like golden vistas, through which you look almost into the heaven of heavens.

Our Fourth of July has been spent quietly here. There has not been half the noise and disturbance I had anticipated.

Wednesday Evening, July 5th.

We this morning left St. Louis about nine o'clock. Our progress up the river has been slow. Some eighteen miles from St. Louis we witnessed one of the most interesting sights in all our journey—the meeting of the waters of the Mississippi and the Missouri! I cannot attempt description! The imagination alone can conceive it. If I ever had feelings of sublimity waked up in my bosom, it[Pg 91] was when our boat stood off just abreast the Missouri, and I looked up its mighty channel, and thought of its source between two and three thousand miles distant, amid those mountains whose tops are covered with eternal snow, and then thought of the sunny orange groves, near where it empties its waters into the ocean!

We stopped a few hours at Alton, Illinois, just above the point where the Missouri mingles its waters with the Mississippi. This is an interesting town, fast rising into importance. It is destined to become a point of great interest. Its present population exceeds two thousand. We passed Marion City and Quincy, as we advanced up the river. Of the former we have heard frequent descriptions. We stopped an hour or so at the latter, and enjoyed from the high bluff on which it is built, a view of one of the most magnificent prospects that ever stretched before the human eye. The expanded waters of the Mississippi—the innumerable green islets that seem to float on its bosom—the beautiful vistas opening between these—the boundless ocean of forest stretching off to the south and west, and the level, treeless, luxuriant prairie running back to an unknown distance—all these lay at your feet, furnishing one of the most picturesque scenes upon which the eye ever gazed. I regretted the shortness of our stay at Quincy, not only on account of the enchanting loveliness of the spot, but more particularly as it deprived me of the pleasure of paying a visit to Dr. Nelson, the author of a popular work entitled, "The cause and cure of Infidelity," a book of sterling excellence.

We had now passed over a long tract of river navigation since we embarked at Pittsburgh. Our eyes had[Pg 92] become almost wearied with tracing first the endless sylvan beauties that clustered around the banks of the smooth-flowing Ohio; and then the vast, unpenetrated, boundless forest scenes that spread away on either side of us from the abrupt, muddy banks of the Mississippi. Our ear had become wearied with the monotony of the sharp, rough sound of the high-pressure engine, that was heard ceaselessly day and night. Books scarcely any longer could interest us. The character and conversation of most of those around us seemed exceedingly dull and common-place. There was however one exception. This was found in the person of one of our passengers—a man of almost herculean stature, who, we soon learned, possessed great versatility and vigour of mind. His manners, however, at first appeared so coarse, and his conversation so blunt, that there seemed something exceedingly repulsive connected with his character. But this impression soon wore away, and in a few days he became the centre of almost universal attraction. He was a true Kentuckian of the old school; he was born and brought up amid the stirring scenes connected with the early settlement of his native state, and was perfectly familiar with all the war legends, and every bloody fray from the first movement of Col. Boone to the final expulsion of all the savage tribes from this their ancient hunting ground. To use his own language, he was "born in an Indian fort, and through childhood fed upon bear's meat, and clothed in buffalo skins." His physical strength seemed enormous, and he bore evident marks of being one of those brave, reckless characters that find pleasurable excitement in facing danger and death[Pg 93] in every form. Yet he was not destitute of the softer and more kindly feelings of our nature, and withal seemed to have a high and reverential regard for religion.

It was now just at the close of a long summer's day. Our steamer for many a long weary hour had been pushing her slow course up the broad current of the Mississippi, when there suddenly opened upon us a vast, far-extending prairie. To me this was an object of thrilling interest, and the more so because hitherto we had seen scarcely nothing upon either side of the river but unbroken and boundless forests, stretching away as far as the eye could reach to the distant horizon. But here was a vast expanse in which no tree, nor stump, nor stone was visible. Naught met the eye but the tall grass, waving in the breeze, bending, rising, and rolling to and fro like the waves of the ocean after a tempest; and this grassy surface interspersed with wild flowers of every colour, hue and form.

For a long time I watched this beauteous scene, till the shadows of evening began to settle down upon it. While I continued still gazing upon the prairie, the old Kentuckian, who stood near, was making his observations, and at length remarked, "That prairie on fire would be a noble sight! I have seen them burning in a dark night, while the wind sprung up and bore on the flames like a sea of fire. I can tell you a good story and a true one about a burning prairie, and a family who perished by the conflagration."

We were urgent for him to proceed in the narrative. He began by giving an account of the family that perished in this conflagration, with whose history he seemed quite[Pg 94] familiar. It was a beautiful and touching picture of real life that he drew in describing this family as they lived somewhere in the valley of Onion River, amid the sublime mountain scenery of Vermont. He represented Mr. N——, the father, as a hardy, sensible, and pious New England farmer. The family consisted of four children, two of whom, James and Lydia, were grown up to adult age, while George, the next son, was about thirteen years old, and the youngest daughter was only eight. Mr. N—— had long toiled to accumulate a little property, but the increase had been so slow, that in a fit of discouragement he sold his little farm, and determined to emigrate to the Far West, where he learned he could purchase land at a very low price, and procure the means of subsistence with very little labour. He persuaded himself that by adopting this course he should be doing more justice to his children than by remaining in a country where property, and even the means of subsistence for a family, could be attained only by years of persevering toil. There was only one heart made sad by this determination, and that was the heart of his favourite and eldest daughter. Lydia N—— was a girl of excellent sense, and some personal attractions. She had interested the affections of a young man who had grown up with her from childhood. His father owned an adjoining farm. The two families were quite intimate, and many happy hours had Charles S—— and Lydia passed together. This proposition of emigrating to the Far West seemed to the young people a death-blow to all their long-cherished hopes, as the circumstances of the young man did not warrant his forming a marriage connexion at once. But true affection is ready to make any[Pg 95] sacrifices to attain its object. As soon as it was a settled point that Mr. N—— was to leave, Charles S—— offered to accompany him in the capacity of a hired man, if he would accept his services. Mr. N—— assented, and every thing was arranged accordingly.

They were now on their way, moving in true western style. They expected to be weeks and months on their journey before they reached their distant home. The family and all the effects they bore with them, were carried in two stout wagons, each one of which was drawn by three yoke of oxen. Mr. N—— or his eldest son usually acted as the driver of one of these wagons, while Charles S—— took charge of the other. They had already been on their journey many weeks, and had penetrated so far into the western world as to find it necessary to pitch their tents each night, and seek a lodging-place wherever the shades of evening overtook them. They at length entered the prairie country, and were for awhile almost spell-bound by the wide tracts of plain that stretched around them. To them the wonders of the boundless prairies appeared more amazing, because they had always been shut up by lofty mountains in a narrow dell, and had never till now looked abroad upon such amplitude and vastness of expanse.

They had now been travelling through prairie country for several days. It was late in autumn, though the weather continued as bland as summer. The day was bright and sunny; the wagons, each covered with a thick tow-cloth awning, and drawn by three yoke of oxen, were moving slowly on through the vast extended region of long grass, now sere and dry, which stretched around them like a[Pg 96] shoreless ocean, and gently bent and waved to and fro in the autumnal breeze. No house, nor stone, nor hillock, nor solitary tree were seen within the vast circle of the encompassing horizon. As the sun declined, and the shadows began to lengthen, the tops of a small grove began to be visible in the distance. The emigrants immediately determined to seek a place of encampment for the night in the neighbourhood of this grove; for they naturally concluded that they should there find a spring or rivulet that would furnish water for their cattle and for their own use, and fuel for cooking their evening meal. They had been successful this day in shooting a large quantity of prairie hens, and were anticipating a delicious repast.

Mr. N—— proposed that James and himself should go on ahead of the wagons, and get every thing ready by the time they came up. They accordingly started off, having left Charles S—— to drive the forward wagon in which the family rode, and George to conduct the other. Mr. N—— and James, however, had gone but a few yards before Lydia came bounding through the long, sere grass, with the fleetness of a deer, bearing a tea-kettle in one hand, and three or four prairie hens in the other. Lydia, as we have before said, was full of sprightliness and vivacity, and she had too often clambered up the steep and rough sides of the Green Mountains to think any thing of a walk of two or three miles across the prairie. Her object in accompanying her father and brother was to hasten the evening meal; and as her father made no objection, the group moved on with quickened step towards the distant woods. They had already proceeded full three miles when they came to a beautiful spring of cool, clear water.[Pg 97] Here they all sat down, and with grateful hearts partook largely of nature's refreshing beverage. In the mean time Mr. N—— drew his pipe from his pocket, and having filled it with the dried Indian weed, a supply of which he always carried with him, he soon ignited the same by means of his jack-knife and a flint. They were now only a short distance from the woods, and having filled a tea-kettle and a pail with water, they went forward and began to cut up some wood and prepare for kindling a fire.

And now the sun had set, and the evening shades were gathering fast around them. Beneath the covert of a large tree a fire was burning brightly, over which was suspended the tea-kettle and all things were ready for the arrival of the party on board of the wagons. Lydia ran out of the woods a little way into the prairie to see if she could any where discover the advancing party. She saw them about a half mile distant, moving slowly on, but she saw at hand, and near the spring, what greatly alarmed her—a smoke and flickering blaze. She ran back in great haste and said, "Father, I fear in lighting your pipe you have set the prairie on fire!"

Mr. N—— started up as though a thunderbolt had fallen at his feet, and rushed forward to ascertain the truth of Lydia's remark, James and Lydia both following him. The moment they had emerged from the woods and got into the open prairie, the awful certainty burst upon them in a moment! What a sight then met their view! The prairie was indeed on fire. It was now quite dusky, and the little flickering blaze which Lydia had seen had already become a sea of fire! The wind drove the flames in the[Pg 98] direction of their friends, whose escape seemed impossible.

The long dry grass, which had waved so gracefully in the wind, now caught every where like tinder, and sent up a long sheet of flame that widened and expanded every moment, and mounted up with increasing brightness and height, as though it would reach the very skies.

The feelings of this group were excited almost to agony in behalf of their friends. The thought at length struck them that if they could only succeed in getting them through the long line of flame, they might save them, as the conflagration was evidently moving off from the place where they stood; and as the column of flame seemed to extend more to the right than to the left, they embraced the determination to make an effort to reach their friends in that direction. Reckless of consequences, wild with despair, they instantly rushed forward, and succeeded in getting in advance of the fire in one place. But they soon saw that the enemy was coming upon them with the speed and the fury of the whirlwind. Mr. N—— lifted up his voice and shouted aloud, bidding the teams to move in this direction, but no sound was returned save the awful crackling of the advancing flames. Darkness, too, covered the whole vast prairie, save where this sweeping column of fire spread its desolating track. They could no where discover a single trace of the wagons; and now they began to see the peril of their own situation. Already were they completely environed with the fire, and all retreat seemed cut off. The only hope left them was to endeavour to rush through the flames and get to the windward side of the conflagration. Mr. N—— and James made their way for a while successfully[Pg 99] through this awful tempest of flame, the daring Lydia keeping close at their heels. At length a point was gained which seemed to open the prospect of escape; not a moment was to be lost, for already the fire raged around them like a furnace. Mr. N——, drawing in his breath, dashed through this awful line of flame, and reached a spot where the consuming element ceased to rage, it having already swept away every vestige of combustible matter. Though scorched and smarting in every limb, he could not but feel grateful to God for this deliverance. He instantly turned to see what had become of his children. At this instant he saw one bright, lurid sheet of fire mounting up like a vast wave of the ocean, and completely overwhelming them! He rushed back to assist them, but the flame, like a furnace seven times heated, rolled its intense, fiery surge back upon him in such a manner that he was obliged to retreat. At this moment he heard Lydia shriek—her dress was all on fire, and her brother was trying to bear her through the raging tempest. When it had in some slight degree abated, again the father rushed forward—but another gust of wind swept such a torrent of fire over the bodies of his children that it was impossible for him to reach the spot where they were. When the burning waves had passed by, he strained his eyes, but in vain, to catch a glimpse of these objects of his affection. They were not visible. At length, as the fire marched on, he reached the spot where he had seen his children struggling with this awful element, and there he found them both, lying on the ground—their clothes nearly burnt off, and their bodies half consumed by the devouring flame! His poor daughter was gasping in death, and his[Pg 100] son so dreadfully burned that he could scarcely move a limb. The fire was still burning the roots of the grass around and beneath them. A little distance, however, there was a spot where the consuming element had exhausted itself; to this place he endeavoured to remove his children. Poor Lydia almost expired in his arms. As he laid her down on this black and scathed spot of earth, she faintly said, "Christ is my hope! Jesus can make this resting-place 'soft as downy pillows are!'" The father hastened to remove his son to the same spot. He there laid him with his face turned towards his sister. He soon saw that she was dead, and said to his father, "This is a sad night for us; Lydia is gone, and I think I shall soon follow."

"This is an hour," replied his father, "in which all we can do is to look to God. He has said 'when thou passest through the fire I will be with thee.'"

"Will you pray with me, dear father?"

"I will," said the agonised father, and kneeling down on the blackened earth, while bending over one child already dead, and another almost ready to expire, he cried unto God for help and mercy. When he arose from his knees he perceived that James's breathing was more rapid and embarrassed than it had been before. A dreadful fever was burning through his veins.

"I shall soon be," said the dying son, "where the flame can no longer kindle upon me; and I shall be able to bathe in the cool, refreshing stream that flows from the throne of God and the Lamb."

"God grant," said the father, "that an entrance may be ministered unto thee abundantly into his everlasting king[Pg 101]dom." "Amen," responded James, and died. The chill of death had suddenly come over him, and his spirit fled to the presence of his Maker and Judge.

The father sat for a long time on the ground gazing upon his dead children. The curtain of darkness was drawn over the scene—but here and there dissipated by the dying and reviving embers, and flickering flame that still lingered on almost every spot over which the awful conflagration had swept. An unsteady, lurid light, just sufficient to reveal the wide-spread scene of desolation, was thus flung over the dark and blackened waste where the consuming element had a few hours before rode on in his resplendent car. At the distance of a few miles, and as far to the right and left as the eye could reach, rose one vast extended column of flame, mounting up to heaven amid the darkness of midnight, and marching on with the speed, and fierceness, and fury of the whirlwind. It was an awful and sublime sight! Here the father sat by the side of his lifeless and unbreathing children; the stillness of solitude was around him;—and there, bursting up from amid thick darkness, was this tremendous conflagration, which seemed so bright, and fierce, and awful, that one could hardly refrain from thinking it would burn up the world and melt the elements with its fervent heat.

But I ought before this to have told the reader the account the Kentuckian gave of the fate of those who were connected with the advancing wagons. They had seen the smoke of the fire that was to cook their evening meal curling above the trees, and directed their course to that point as the spot where they should meet their friends. They[Pg 102] were not at all aware of the coming of this awful conflagration, or of the approach of danger, till they saw the whole prairie directly before them lit up with one extended sheet of flame. No one can depict the terror, the anguish, the horror of that moment! No one can depict the sublimity and grandeur of the scene that at that moment burst upon their view! But fear and wild distraction took complete possession of the whole company. The very cattle that drew the wagons seemed to sympathise with them, and to discover at once that their fate was sealed.

We have already remarked that the fire extended more rapidly in one lateral direction than the other. This Charles S—— observed, and immediately sought to take advantage of it, and if possible get to the windward of the fire. But long before they reached the line of the flame, the fire had extended miles in this very direction. It was too late—there was no escape—the fire was every moment approaching them. Mrs. N—— clasped her young daughter to her bosom and sat still in the wagon. The oxen, as the flames advanced, became perfectly unmanageable. They rushed forward with the fury of wild and maddened beasts into the thickest of the flames. The one team took one direction, and the other, another, but both of them continued to move on through the hottest column of flame, till at length the cattle one after another fell down in the yoke, suffocated by the flame, and bellowing as though in the agonies of death. Long before the last ox had fallen, and the wagon had ceased to move, Mrs. N——, with her youngest child clasped to her bosom, had given up the ghost. The tow awning which covered[Pg 103] the wagon in which she rode, took fire almost as soon as they met the line of flame, and instantly all the combustible materials in the vehicle were in flames. Escape seemed impossible, for already the oxen were moving with the speed of the wind through the thickest of the flames, and Mrs. N.——, clasping her child to her bosom, yielded to her fate, committing all to God. Poor George, not able to keep pace with the team he drove, as he saw the flame marching on, sought by running to escape from the face of the devouring element, but the attempt was vain. The whirlwind of fire soon overtook him, and like a resistless sea, rolled its burning waves over him. When Charles S—— saw the team he drove could no longer be controlled, and that in order to follow them he must encounter certain death, he left them to take their own course, and sought to rush through the line of flame—which had now become so expanded, that long before he passed the fiery column, the flesh was almost burned from his bones, and he at length fell down upon the burning earth, unable to move a step farther. The fire still moved on with awful, unabated fury over the wide and far-extended prairie. No one that looked upon that awful sight could have failed to have exclaimed, "What a time it will be for the ungodly when this whole world shall be on fire!"

When the morning came, a most melancholy spectacle was presented to view over that blackened plain. One solitary living human form alone, was seen slowly moving amid the scene of desolation—and that was Mr. N——. He found Charles S—— just in the last agonies of[Pg 104] death, from whom, however, he learned the particulars above stated. This young man soon expired; and Mr. N——, alone, of all that emigrant train, was left to tell the sad story of the burning prairie.

[Pg 105]



Des Moines River—Iowa—Group of Indians—Tributary streams to the Mississippi—Galena—Bishop of Illinois—My sister's grave.

Friday Evening, July 7th.

Having passed the Des Moines river, the whole country bordering on the west bank of the Mississippi, is denominated the Wisconsin Territory, or more commonly here, the Iowa country. It is indeed a most beautiful country. It is said that a little more than four years since, there was not a single white settler west of the Mississippi and north of Des Moines river; now, there are between thirty and forty thousand. The Iowa country will, undoubtedly, soon become a state. Its new towns are springing up rapidly. I stopped at Burlington, where there are more than twelve hundred inhabitants, and where two years since there were only a few log-cabins. How important is it that the gospel should be planted here! The Methodists are beginning to send their preachers to proclaim salvation here. Every where we find them first on the ground. Truly their promptness and zeal are to be commended.—We have not a clergyman in this whole region. Cannot[Pg 106] one be found who is willing to go to the Iowa country? Is there not one in the classes now graduating in our seminaries, that will come over to this Macedon and help them?

As the day declined, the scenery around us seemed still more pleasing. The prairies on the left bank of the Mississippi became increasingly interesting. The river stretched before us like a broad lake, indented at a hundred points by masses of luxuriant and thickly clustered trees, that seemed to float in natural and upright form upon the surface. These, with all their verdant foliage, were distinctly reflected from the mirrored bosom of the unruffled waters, so that we seemed, as we gazed upon the watery surface, to look into the very depths of the forest, and see one tree standing back of another almost interminably. While thus gliding on, by a turn of the river we came suddenly upon the corner of another large prairie, and almost the first object that met our view were two rude bark covered wigwams that had just been put up on the very margin of the stream. In front of these cabins a fire had been kindled, either to keep off the musquitoes or to cook their evening meal. At the entrance of these Indian huts lay a dog, and around him stood or sat half a dozen Indian children, some of them in a state of almost entire nudity. Still nearer the water, looking into it, and off on to the opposite shore, stood the adult members of each family. These scarcely raised their head, or deigned to cast a glance at us, as our boat with all its clattering machinery swept proudly by.—While I continued to look at them, and saw them standing amid the solitariness of the prairie, with their eyes still fixed upon the opposite bank of the river, where rested the[Pg 107] bones of their ancestors—when I saw how dignified, and serious, and contemplative they seemed, I could not but regard them as the last representatives of a race fast fading away, and who will soon scarcely have a place or name this side of the Rocky Mountains. It seemed to me that they were standing at this twilight hour looking once more upon the shore where rested the bones of their people, before they bade a final adieu to these scenes where they used once to hunt the deer, glide over the watery surface with their bark canoes, raise the luxuriant corn, and build their wigwams. Strangers now possessed their home, and they were just bidding to the scenes of their childhood a long, long farewell! Oh, thought I, that they could have the gospel to tame their fierceness, soften their savage natures, and cheer them in their solitary wanderings through the wilderness! It occurred to me as very likely that those Indians who stood there on the bank of the Mississippi, knew nothing of the way of salvation, and very likely had never heard of the name of Jesus! We know there are thousands that range over the great hunting grounds of the west precisely in this condition. We are going to meet them at the judgment bar—shall we not make every effort to send them the gospel?

Saturday Evening, July 8th.

We found ourselves, when we awoke in the morning, at Stevenson. This is another of those places springing up as by the wand of enchantment. It is located at one of the most beautiful points in all the west. Just here Rock River enters the Mississippi, separating the town from Rock Island, on which stands Fort Armstrong. It was in[Pg 108] reference to the section of country just around here, that the Black Hawk war took its rise, and all along above was the scene where it raged. I do not wonder that the Indians gave up this tract of country with reluctance. The eye never looked out upon a more beautiful land—the imagination in its most romantic flight never conceived any thing more lovely. On the Iowa side, especially, the country sweeps off from the shore most beautifully in the form of a rolling prairie, covered here and there with small clusters of trees, that give it the aspect and loveliness of a region that had been under the highest cultivation for the last three centuries. And yet five years ago no foot trod there but the Indian's.

The day passed pleasantly away. As the shades of evening gathered thick around us, we bade adieu to the mighty Mississippi, on whose broad current we had travelled nearly seven hundred miles. Our boat turned in behind an islet of living green, and pushed its way up the serpentine course of Fevre River. At length Galena was in view. It was at the close of the week, and here we were to seek a resting place for a number of days.

Galena, July 15th.

Fevre River, at Galena, runs through a narrow vale, and is hedged in on either side by ranges of hills. The town is built at the base and on the side of the western ridge, which is here quite precipitous. The valley itself is overflown with every rise of the Mississippi above this point. The waters of the Fevre River between Galena and its junction with the "Father of rivers" are very sluggish—so that the waters of the Mississippi flow up to Galena[Pg 109] often three or four times a year, and flood the whole lower part of the town. Since I have been here the third rise which they have had this season occurred, occasioned as it was supposed by the melting of the snows and ice around the sources of the most northern tributaries of the Mississippi. One thing is very remarkable in relation to the whole class of western tributaries to this stream. The freshets to which they are subject, all occur at different seasons, beginning with the southernmost and ending with the most northerly. This is accounted for by the fact, that, as these streams take their rise at different points of latitude in the Rocky Mountains, spring and summer reach the source of each of them in regular progression from south to north, by a few weeks later. This is a most merciful provision: for if the freshets in two or three of these streams were to happen at the same time, the effects would be desolating. Let the Red River, the Arkansas, and the Missouri, pour their swollen streams at the time of their annual freshets, together into the Mississippi, and the whole lower regions for hundreds of miles above and around New Orleans would be one unbroken sea. What a tremendous armament of destruction has the Almighty here! Have not the inhabitants of that city which has seated herself as a queen at the mouth of this river, reason to remember that the Lord can bury them in a moment in the midst of the sea? He has only to blow with his wind, and the waters will flow, and the depths cover them! Let those who openly and remorselessly trample on every law of God consider this and tremble.

Galena is by no means a pleasant town. There are some situations on the hills which environ it that would furnish delightful sites for residences, but at present these[Pg 110] are chiefly unoccupied. The streets of this place are narrow, and after a rain unspeakably muddy. The houses are small, poor, and crowded. There is nothing interesting or attractive about the appearance of the town, except in a business point of view. Galena is the port where almost all the lead raised from the vast mines scattered through this region is brought to be shipped, and will therefore unquestionably be a place of great importance. Its moral character, I fear, is far from what we could wish it. Like many of these western towns, till recently, there has been scarcely the semblance of a Sabbath here. Drinking, duelling, and gambling, have all been common.—And yet there are many here that wish things were different, and are making some successful efforts to cause them to be so.

The Bishop of Illinois was here, and officiated the first Sunday I spent in Galena. He bore his testimony very faithfully, in rebuking the prevailing sins of the country, especially duelling, Sabbath-breaking, and profane swearing. I believe his counsel was very kindly received. There is a great deal of intelligence among the residents in this place, and they seem willing to have the truth preached to them plainly.

To me there was one object of thrilling interest in Galena—its grave yard! Some half-mile from the town, on the head lands beyond the western range of hills that encompassed it, where one stands and looks down into the valley of Fevre River, and off upon the far-spreading prairie, in a retired place, is the spot of earth allotted to the dead, shut in and guarded from unhallowed tread by a neat enclosure. Owing to the newness of the country, and the difficulty in procuring marble, scarcely a single sculptured[Pg 111] monument appears on this ground which has already become the resting place of many who were once engaged amid the activities of life. But affection has displayed itself in another form. Not a few of the graves are enclosed by a little fence, painted beautifully white, and the graves are adorned with wild roses which scatter their fragrance and leaves over the place where rests the mouldered dust beneath. When I first entered this sacred enclosure, and trod through the high tangled grass that grew here, I felt at each step that I was treading on holy ground. I was led to a spot where rested the mortal part of one whose image came up before me with the vividness of living reality. The long grass had grown, and become matted over her grave! Fifteen years had elapsed since I had looked upon that dear form, that rested in unbreathing stillness below. During this period I had passed through many trying scenes and often drank deep into the cup of sorrow. And now with the image of this dear departed one, all of "life's troubled dream" rose up before me with a power that paralyzed every effort I made to subdue or control my feelings. I then felt and wept like a child. Why should I not have done so? I was standing on the grave of the sister of my childhood, whose existence and mine for many years had run along together as though our being had been woven in the same web. I remembered how when I was but a very little child, she led me to the country school—how we wandered together in playful glee on the green bank of the Housatonic, and her hand gathered for me the wild flowers that grew there. I remembered how in the wild buoyancy of childhood we strolled together through the orchard, and gathered fruit from a favourite tree? With what kind looks and affectionate greeting our[Pg 112] dear mother met us when we returned from such a ramble. And could I then fail to remember the sad hour when that dear sainted mother gasping in the agonies of death bade us all a long farewell? When a mother's kind eye no longer gazed upon me, was it not natural that my heart should turn with deeper and stronger affection to the sister of my childhood? But where was she? She no more came, bounding along with sparkling eyes, and flowing locks, and animated features at the call of her brother. There she lay sleeping, oh how silently, how profoundly in the grave! The solitude and stillness of the mighty prairie were around me. No mortal was present to witness or intermeddle with the feelings or overflowings of my heart, save him who recognised in this heaped hillock of earth the resting place of the loved one of his heart—the wife of his youth—the mother of his children. Together we bowed down there in silent grief? Our hearts were so full that we could do nothing but mingle our tears together over that sacred spot, which I would again travel all the way from the Atlantic to the Mississippi to look upon! A thought full of light and glory, however, darted across my mind as I bent over that grave. I remembered that this dear sister had closed her eyes upon this mortal scene, full of faith, full of trust in Christ, and of calm resignation to his blessed will. I recollected the words of my Saviour, and his promise to raise the dead. This recollection chased away my tears, and brought a flood of heavenly radiance down upon that grave. I said, "my sister shall rise again." "The Lord Jesus will bring her with him." This is his promise.

The last time I visited this grave, I brought away a little flower that bloomed on it. It has already faded—but that[Pg 113] glorious body which Christ will give to that dear mouldered form will never fade, but bloom on in immortal youth, through the unending ages of eternity. Oh, how happy shall we be, when we have passed all these gloomy scenes that now surround us, and stand in the midst of that "land where the inhabitants no more say I am sick"—when we shall have done with sin, and behold the Redeemer in all his glory! May the Lord safely bring us there.

[Pg 114]



Lead mines—Indian treaty—Ride to Chicago—Vast prairies—The stricken family—Amusing Adventures—Chicago—Milwaukie—Mackinaw—Indian encampment.

We spent one day during the present week in passing through the mining country to visit several of the diggings in Wisconsin, and around Galena, and also the smelting furnaces, where the mineral is extracted from the ore and cast into pigs. The country through which we passed was one continued series of rolling prairies. It was perfectly enchanting to see what a perfect flower garden was before us wherever we went.

We descended a mine which had been sunk about one hundred feet. The lead runs in veins either due north and south, or west and east. Veins frequently cross each other at right angles. If it is a north and south vein, and a good one—and crosses an east and west vein, it becomes inferior from that point, and the other assumes a superior character, and usually is the best lead. The way the miners dig the lead is to pierce down perpendicularly till they get to the bottom of the sheet—then take the base out and dig upwards. The lead is usually wedged in between two ledges of rocks, filling up the crevice, which[Pg 115] runs down from fifty to one hundred feet. It is frequently wedged in so tight that the rocks have to be blasted to loosen it. I went down about fifty feet where they were at work, and then passed along in a horizontal direction, about eighty feet, where the miners were knocking out the lead in the fissures in the rocks over their heads. We loitered around the mines till the decline of day. The shades of evening gathered over us before we had crossed the last prairie on our way to Galena. The moon was just climbing above the horizon, when a prairie wolf darted across our path, as though scared by the sound of our carriage wheels, but having run a few rods, turned around to look to see who were the intruders upon his domain.

An Indian treaty is about negotiating at St. Peters, and a steamer started from here a few days since to carry up a party who desire to be present at this gathering of the wild men, and to visit the majestic and stupendous scenery around St. Anthony's Falls. I had fully intended to have been one of the party, but on the eve of starting I felt myself forced for want of time to forego the excursion.

The Steamer James Madison,
Wednesday Evening, June 19th.

At early dawn, on Monday last, we crossed Fevre river, and started for Chicago in an open lumber wagon, 'ycleped a stage. Taking our trunks for seats, we determined we would make the best of every thing, and if possible keep up good spirits, while we learned the manner in which people travel through new countries. Our journey, though attended with no little fatigue, was like a walk over the rosied path of pleasure, compared with a jaunt of which[Pg 116] Bishop Kemper gave me an account. He had made an appointment somewhere in the interior of Indiana, where it was necessary for him to be at a given day, and had undertaken to pass over Illinois from St. Louis to that point by land. He was overtaken by rain which continued a day or two: the streams became swollen, and the roads, often for miles, completely overflown. All this time he was obliged to ride in an open wagon, the bottom boards of which were loose, and often slipping out, rendering it necessary for him every now and then to get out, and stand in the mud and water, till the rickety wagon could be again brought into a state of temporary order. During the last part of his journey he rode all night with the rain pouring down upon him, and the horses sometimes fording deep creeks—sometimes plunging into sloughs, and then wading for miles through the water which had overflowed the road. The office of a missionary Bishop at the west, if he does his duty, and throws himself with all his heart into the work, is no sinecure.

Our course from Galena, for the first thirty miles, was through beautiful oak openings, and over a rolling prairie. After this, on nearly to Chicago, our path lay through a magnificent, level prairie country. The wide sea of grass around us was now and then broken by a grove, springing up with luxuriance and beauty amid the treeless tract of country that stretched around on every side. These groves are points of great interest, and are spoken of by the sparsely scattered inhabitants of northern Illinois, as we speak of cities and towns. The most beautiful of those which we passed were Buffalo, Inlet, and Paw Paw groves, around or near which were scenes of massacre and slaughter during the Black Hawk war.[Pg 117]

As no one can conceive the sensation awakened by being out of sight of land at sea, till he actually stands on the deck of a vessel, that is ploughing her way through the trackless world of waters that stretch interminably around him, and strains his eye in vain to catch a view of one single fading outline of the far off shore—so no one can conceive the emotion that rises up in the bosom of the traveller as he stands on the broad prairie, and sees the horizon settling down upon one wide sea of waving grass, and can behold around him neither stone, nor stump, nor bush, nor tree, nor hill, nor house. These vast prairies, though bearing a luxuriant growth of grass, would impress one with a sense of desolateness, were they not beautified with flowers, and animated with the songs and the sight of the feathered tribes. The view of the prairie, as it stretches off before you, often appears like a perfect flower garden. Though we were too late to see these productions in their rich vernal beauty, yet often they stood strewn around us on every side as far as the eye could reach, spreading out their rich and brilliant petals of every colour and hue. An intelligent lady told me that in a single walk over the corner of a prairie, she gathered for a bouquet forty different kinds of flowers; and another informed me that she had been able to gather one hundred and twenty different kinds. Though the music wafted along over these luxuriant expanses of earth be usually not so melodious nor varied as that to which the woodlands echo, there is something very animating in the wheeling of the plover, the chirping of the robin, and the fluttering of the wings of a flock of prairie hens, started up at every half mile of your journey. And then occasionally we saw noble herds of cattle feeding over these vast plains. Such[Pg 118] large, and fat, and noble-looking oxen and cows, I never before beheld, as I saw grazing amid the luxuriant prairies of Illinois. There is no fence to stay them in their course:—they range where they choose amid the ten thousands of acres that stretch unenclosed around them.

I have already intimated that this part of Illinois is as yet but thinly populated. It is rapidly filling up but for some years the first settlers will have to endure many hardships, and submit to many privations and sacrifices, of which we can scarcely form an idea. The following fact will serve to illustrate this remark. While on our way to Chicago, as we stopped on one occasion to change horses, I went in and sat down in the only house in the place. It was a comfortable log-cabin, and all nature looked so bright and sunny without, I was hardly prepared for demure and melancholy looks within: and yet the moment I entered, I saw in the countenance of the good lady of the cabin that her heart was ill at ease. She looked so forlorn and full of gloom, I determined to enter into conversation with her and if possible elicit the cause of her depression. After a variety of inquiries, she was drawn out to give the following sketch of herself, which I will put down as nearly as possible in her own words.

"We came into this country from western New York several years since. We have never failed to be amply remunerated for our cultivation of the soil. In a temporal point of view we have increased in goods. But our children have never been to school a day since we have been here. We used to go to meeting every Sabbath, but here often for months there is no such thing known as public worship. A while ago, there was a minister that used to come once in three weeks, and preach about four miles[Pg 119] from this. But now he is dead, and we have no preaching at all. We have no ministers and no physicians. What made me more contented to reside here, was that my oldest daughter was married and lived my nearest neighbour, about two miles from this. She had three lovely and promising children, in whom all our hearts were bound up. But the grave now covers them! They were all cut down one after another about six months ago by the scarlet fever. We could'nt get any physician to see them, and they all died within ten days of each other. And then we had to carry them ourselves to the grave. We put them into the ground in silence. There was no one to lift up the voice of prayer."

Here the good woman seemed choked in her utterance. She wiped her eyes and ceased speaking for a moment. I remained silent, and soon she proceeded.

"My daughter laid her loss very much to heart. She never after the death of her babes wore a bright countenance. About ten days ago she was confined. Herself and her infant are dead! We buried them about three days since. She had no physician to attend upon her, for there was none within thirty miles. She had no minister to speak to her words of heavenly consolation, for there are none near here. Her husband has a good farm, and the crops look well; but what is all this to him, now that his wife and children are all gone? He appears desolate and broken-hearted."

Having listened to this touching story, I could well understand why the aspect of gloom sat upon her countenance, and while I endeavoured in a few words to direct her thoughts to Him who was "appointed to bind up the[Pg 120] broken-hearted, and to comfort all that mourn," I was led to think of the unnumbered blessings and privileges that we who live on the Atlantic border enjoy, for which we feel little or no emotions of gratitude. How unspeakable are our religious privileges! And yet how little are they appreciated by the great mass of the people! Will not God one day visit for these things?

In our journey we had some singular and rather amusing adventures. We found all along at our log inns, for our refreshment, substantial food, bacon and beans, or fried pork and potatoes, and if we were too dyspeptic to eat these, we could fast, which is sometimes useful. But at night we frequently found ourselves placed under more embarrassing circumstances. A single instance will serve to illustrate a number of analogous cases. I select the second night after leaving Galena. It is after nine o'clock. The strip of moon that is visible emits a few feeble rays. The stars, half obscured, glow faintly in the heavens. Our course is still onward through the boundless prairie. In the distance may be seen the faint outline of a grove. We hope to find there a resting place for the night. As we approach it, we find it is a cluster of trees that grow on either side of Somonauk Creek. Our driver has already plunged his horses into the cool waters of the creek. The farther bank is gained. Our course now is beneath the noble elms that hang drooping over the creek, and spread abroad their branches forming a thick and dark shade over the road. We see in the distance the smoke eddying up amid the trees. It is the place where we are to spend the night—a log cabin, before the door of which is kindled a fire, half smothered with dirt and chips, whose eddying currents[Pg 121] of smoke as they are swept into the house by the evening breeze expel the swarms of musquitoes that for several hours had been making acquaintance with us.

When the weary traveller reaches his resting-place for the night, it is a great comfort to have a bed and room by himself to which he can retire and seek repose. But this is a luxury not to be expected usually by the western traveller. They have here what is playfully called "The Potter's field," a place in these log taverns in which they put strangers—a room designed as a dormitory, in which all travellers, men, women and children are placed to lodge! The house which we had reached at Somonauk Creek had a place of this sort. It was the only room in the house save the kitchen. Two stage loads had already arrived, and other travellers were coming in. I told my friend B—— that we must try to secure a bed while we could. In this Potter's field they gave us a comfortable corner with a straw bed on which to stretch ourselves. We were among the earliest to seek our repose. Fortunately, there was one bed enshrouded with curtains, which was assigned to a gentleman from Vermont and his newly married bride, whom he was bringing to reside at the west.—They went on stowing the beds with occupants, and spreading the floor with couches, till fourteen persons were disposed of, and then they found that every foot of ground was occupied. The landlord appeared to be full of the milk of human kindness. When some of our fellow lodgers cried out, that they were half devoured by musquitoes, he very benignantly replied, "I will open the door and let in a current of smoke, and that will drive them out." We found some inhabitants tabernacling in our bedstead that annoyed us more than the musquitoes. Yet[Pg 122] after all we got some rest, and when we rose to breathe the fresh air we felt that we had abundant cause to thank the Lord for his goodness. However indifferent had been our lodgings, we remembered that the Saviour while here on the earth, had not always so comfortable a spot at night to lay his head as this.

About a dozen miles before we reached Chicago, we seemed to descend to another steppe of land, where the prairie was for the most part from two to twelve inches under water. The grass, thus having its roots continually irrigated, looked very rank; we made but very slow progress through it on our way. Though that part of Chicago which is built up, stands on more elevated ground, the anticipated limits of the city extend into this wet prairie. We saw the lots staked out as we passed, which I suppose have been sold at a very high price. I could not but think of the remark of a fellow traveller, who, in speaking of this and several other places, said, "If each of these places do not become as large as Pekin in China, these city lots cannot all be built upon."

Chicago is truly an interesting place. It has sprung up here in three or four years—a city—as by the wand of enchantment. I had heard much of this place, but must confess I was not prepared to find so large and interesting a town. Its situation on either side of the Chicago river is too well-known to need description. It has quite the air of an eastern town. There is a fine brick Episcopal Church just completed. Our stay was very brief in Chicago. Almost the first sound we heard after our arrival, was the ringing of the bell of the large and beautiful steamboat, James Madison, which was on the eve of departure for Detroit and Buffalo. As we might have no[Pg 123] other opportunity of going by the lakes for the next ten days, with the specimen of land travelling that we had just had, we were not long in making up our minds whether we would avail ourselves of this boat, or direct our course to Detroit through the Michigan woods. We gave Chicago a very hasty survey, took our passage on board the James Madison, and as the shades of evening gathered over us we found ourselves skimming over the waves of Michigan lake.

Mackinaw, July 20th.

We this morning found ourselves bounding over the green waters of the Michigan with the Wisconsin Territory on our left. About nine o'clock, A. M. we landed at Milwaukie. A bar in the river prevented the steamboat from going up to the town, but we found ourselves amply compensated for our long walk by a view of this interesting place from several of its streets and more elevated parts. The whole site of the town, in connexion with the adjacent country, is richly entitled to its Indian name,—"The Lovely Land." Less than two years since there was scarcely a frame house on the spot, and now there is a population of nearly three thousand, with buildings that will compare in stability and elegance with those found in our large eastern towns.

It was towards evening when we approached this picturesque spot—Mackinaw—where the wide expanse of water, and the dark evergreens of the islands, and the thronging multitudes of wild men, gave to this point in my journey a novel appearance. I think this would be a most delightful retreat for an invalid who wanted retirement, a cool, invigorating atmosphere, and inducements[Pg 124] to active exercise. It would be impossible for a man to be here long without having new trains of thought awakened in his mind, or without being led to contemplate the human character under several new aspects. Mackinaw is an island of about nine miles in circumference. There is a fort occupying the elevated parts of the town, which is now vacated, the troops having been withdrawn to be present at the treaty at St. Peter's. This circumstance, in connexion with the great number of Indians now present, has created some uneasiness in the minds of the inhabitants of this place, especially as the Indians are very much dissatisfied with the attempt to palm off on to them goods in part for their annuities, when money had been promised. Already has a council been held among them, and the hint has been dropped that they can bring a thousand warriors into the field. The first object that met my eye on the low pebbly shore, as we approached the island, was the beautiful lodges, and well made bark canoes of the Ottawa and Chippewa tribes. The whole appearance of their encampment in this wild spot is picturesque and imposing. Each family had their bark canoe, which was now drawn up on the beach, and lay beside their lodge or tent. In this canoe, made of the outer rind of the birchen tree, they carry their family, and furniture, and all their worldly effects—children, dogs, fishing-tackle, guns, their tent, cooking utensils, and themselves. Their tent, or lodge, consists first of five or six tapering rods, which are set up so as to form a cone, and then around these are placed a coil of matting, made of reeds or flaggs, and arranged in such a manner as to form a series of concentric or circular covering, each lapping upon the other like the scales upon a fish. In the centre[Pg 125] of the lodge a fire was kindled, a hole having been left in the upper part through which the smoke could pass off. Around the fire were spread the blankets and bear-skins, which furnished both beds and seats. We entered several tents and were kindly received. Almost the first countenance of a white man upon which I looked after reaching the shore, was the bright sunny face of our beloved brother, the Bishop of Michigan. I never had a more unexpected or joyful meeting with a Christian brother. We spent two or three hours in the most delightful Christian intercourse. Bishop McCoskry was on his way to visit Green Bay, Milwaukie, and other parts of Wisconsin. It was only a few hours, before our steamers were again moving forward through the deep green waters, to their several places of destination.

[Pg 126]



Steamboat travelling upon the western Lakes—The waters of Huron—Saginaw Bay—The stormy night—The beautiful St. Clair—Detroit—Bishop of Michigan—Ypsilanti—Ann Arbour—Ore Creek—Bewildered at night in the woods—Rescue—Meeting of friends—Log cabin.

Detroit, July 23d.

We parted with the friend we met at Mackinaw in the night. The two steamers rode off in two opposite directions. Our course, which from Chicago had been to the north, now became southward. There is something exceedingly novel in steamboat travelling upon the great western rivers. But the navigation of the lakes by steam presents scenes to the eye, and furnishes material for the imagination, far more grand, and striking, and magnificent. These lakes are indeed great inland seas. The wind and the storm have mighty power over them. But the well-directed steamer rides proudly over their agitated surface with all her precious cargo of life, and holds steadily on her way to the destined port in despite of wind and waves. This, however, is not always the case. The wind at times blows so fierce and furious that the vessel is driven back some fifty or ninety miles in her course. When a storm[Pg 127] occurs with great and unwonted violence upon these lakes, especially upon Huron and Michigan, where there are very few safe harbours, the expedient adopted is to keep the boat at sea, and let her drive before the gale. We saw, but in one single instance, these waters putting on a wrathful appearance. During the greater part of our voyage, they lay beneath our steamer that swept over them in smooth and placid tranquillity. There is something in the very appearance of the waters of these lakes to wake up poetic conception. They have a sandy or pebbly bottom, which appears white as chalk, while every rippling wave as well as the whole mass of waters that roll beneath you, though so pure and transparent that a silver dollar might be distinctly seen at the depth of thirty feet, everywhere assumes the colour of deep emerald green.

The day after we left Mackinaw, while passing Saginaw Bay, every vestige of land faded from our sight, and we saw nothing around us but one wide world of waters. As the close of the day drew on, the hitherto bright sunny heavens became covered with dark menacing clouds. A wind sprang up, and the waters of Huron, that had previously slept with the tranquillity and hushed slumbers of an infant, suddenly woke to the fierceness and fury of an enraged giant. I plainly saw what an aspect that lake could put on in a storm!

The sun went down. Neither moon nor stars were visible. The curtains of darkness were drawn closely around that whole world of waters that roared and dashed so fiercely. As I stood upon the upper deck, and looked out upon that scene of darkness and wild commotion, and heard the roar of the wind, and the dashing of the waves, and the hoarse rumbling breath of steam from the escapement[Pg 128] pipe, like the suppressed growl of a lion, that told of mighty power to urge onward and to destroy, I felt, in a way I have seldom done before, my entire dependence on God. As I stood there on the deck, with the wind sweeping by me, the waves of the troubled lake rolling beneath me, and the blackness of darkness around me, interrupted and illumined only by the cloud of ignited sparks that streamed incessantly forth from the dark funnels of the steamer, I felt the force and meaning of the 93d Psalm, "The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty. He is clothed with strength wherewith he hath girded himself. The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice: the floods lift up their waves. The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. Thy testimonies are very sure." There I saw my safety. The testimonies of my covenant God were very sure, who had said, "when thou passest through the waters I will be with thee." I slept soundly that night. In the morning the sun shone brightly on us, and all appearance of a storm had gone by. In a few hours we were gliding over the surface of the beautiful St. Clair, and before evening, Detroit, with its neatly built streets, and its noble stream sweeping proudly by it, lay before us. It was with a grateful heart that I stepped on the shore, remembering the many mercies I had enjoyed, and anticipating much pleasure in the eight or ten days that I had purposed to spend in Michigan. I was not disappointed.

Detroit, is an interesting and beautiful town. The parted stream above the city, and the island around which it winds, as well as the view of Sandwich on the opposite side, with the improved country that stretches[Pg 129] around it, are all points of interest upon which the eye loves to linger. The houses in Detroit are generally composed of wood, which are very neatly painted. Several streets running parallel with the river are exceedingly beautiful, especially Jefferson Avenue, which is the Broadway or Chesnut street of Detroit. The Episcopal Church is a very neat gothic building. A second Episcopal Church of a larger size is soon to be erected in another part of the town. The churches and other public buildings in Detroit are certainly highly creditable to the place.

I met, soon after my arrival at Detroit, the Rev. Mr. R——, who had come to supply the pulpit of St. Paul's during the first Sunday of the Bishop's absence. It has always appeared to me that there was great wisdom in the views expressed some years since by our present presiding bishop—that every diocesan should have a parochial charge. His judgment, as delivered at the time to which I refer, was, that all our dioceses should be small, as they were in primitive times; that the mitre should have no worldly splendour or peculiar emoluments connected with it; that each bishop, like the rest of his clergy, should have his own parochial charge, to whom he should look for his maintenance. One reason assigned for this—and that is what I particularly refer to—was that as one of the great duties of a bishop is to preach the gospel, it is infinitely important that his heart should be burning with love for souls; and that he only who had a particular congregation, the charge of whose souls was upon his hands, would ordinarily feel a ceaseless and ever wakeful solicitude for dying sinners; and if he did not feel this he would not preach with the power and unction that become an ambassador of Christ, and the chief pastor of the church. Go[Pg 130] to that man who, as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ, has been spending his days and nights in prayer and toilsome labours to promote the spiritual interests of the flock committed to his care, and then visit him after he has been acting four or five years in the capacity of a professor or president of a college, and see if he does not recognize the truth of this doctrine, see if he does not sigh for that spirituality and burning love for souls, which once bore him on so cheerfully in his labours. However this matter shall be viewed, the bishops in many of our dioceses must have parochial charges, and this will constitute an important portion in the field of their labour. In this department of labour the Bishop of Michigan has been pre-eminently blessed.

One could hardly desire a larger measure of popularity, either with his parish or in his diocese, than Bishop McCoskry enjoys. Every where the highest testimony is borne to the loveliness and excellency of his character, and the faithfulness and evangelical spirit of his ministry. This I heard from all quarters—from clergy and laity, Episcopalians and Presbyterians. Indeed I think the bishop's greatest danger lies in this quarter. May he still have grace as he hath hitherto done, amid all these praises of men, to count himself as nothing, and to sit as a little child at the feet of Jesus. When all our bishops become distinguished for their meekness and simplicity, for the fervour of their love, their spirit of evangelical piety, and their unquenchable zeal to exalt Christ, and rescue dying sinners from the iron grasp of the god of this world, we shall then indeed see a return of primitive days, and evidences of a truly apostolic church.

I was delighted to learn from the Bishop of Michigan,[Pg 131] that in his contemplated visitation through his diocese, he purposed to hold as far as it was practicable, continued services for several days in each parish, like the Rhode Island convocations, or the Pennsylvania and Virginia associations. A clergyman speaking of these anticipated services, remarked, "they will be worth to me in such a place a whole year's labour." In the place to which he referred, the Episcopal Church was just about being organized, and there, as every where, the great obstacle to the establishment of our church was the impression that we were destitute of piety, and that our object was to establish a particular denomination, and not to save souls. Let the missionary go where he will and preach Christ crucified, and the people will rally around him. Let him only make the impression on the mind of any community that he has a message from God to them—that he stands as between the living and the dead to stay the plague—that in his view all other things dwindle into nothing, when compared with the salvation of their undying souls—and he will not want hearers, he will not want materials with which to build up a church. The people are not opposed to an Episcopal form of government—they are not opposed to our liturgy—they are not opposed to our doctrines—but they are opposed to a dead church. Whether these, their impressions in relation to us are well or ill-founded, one thing is certain, these impressions do in ten thousand instances exist, and in my view, that minister of our church, is the best and soundest churchman, who preaches most faithfully the doctrines of the cross, and exemplifies most fully the power of Christianity upon his heart by a holy life. It is not by controversy and argumentation, but by doing their Master's work, by putting forth all their energies[Pg 132] to bring men to repentance and the foot of the cross, that our clergy will remove this impression in relation to our want of piety, and make our Zion a praise in all the earth. And this, I believe, to a very great extent, the clergy of Michigan are striving to do.

Tuesday, July 25th.

I was induced to start this morning for Ypsilanti, by the kindness and importunity of the Rev. Mr. R——, who offered, if I would return with him to his parish, to convey me in his own carriage to the several points I wished to visit in the interior of the state. The pledge was fully redeemed, and my comfort and pleasure greatly augmented by my acceptance of his kind offer. The road for the first twenty miles towards Ypsilanti gave us a fine specimen of the toil and tardiness of travelling in a new country. At one time the formidable slough received us into its cavernous depths, and as we went down, vehicle and horses and all, seemed to threaten to swallow us up in its miry embrace. Then, as we rose from this perilous depth, our carriage went bounding from log to log which lay side by side transversely across our path, deeply embedded in mud, constituting what is expressively called a corduroy road. These were almost the only alternations in our path for the first twenty miles. The land, after you leave Detroit, is, in almost every direction, low, clayey, and wet. It is also heavily timbered, and therefore will not be very rapidly settled. The soil of the farms that have been cleared up is said to be productive, but principally valuable for purposes of grazing.

The last ten miles of our course, as we urged our way on to Ypsilanti, lay through a country of a totally different[Pg 133] character. I almost felt as though I was again travelling through a section of Illinois, though there were more signs of cultivation around me than I any where saw there. Our road now became fine, and we swept along through the oak openings, and by the side of successive fields of beautifully tasselled corn, luxuriant oats, and yellow bending wheat, with a speed which soon brought us to the place of our destination. Ypsilanti is a neat country village, built on Huron river, and contains a population of nearly two thousand.

July 27th.

We started yesterday morning from Ypsilanti, directing our course towards Ann Arbour. We found the country through which we passed, rich and beautiful, and bearing every where incontestible evidence that it was a soil which would remunerate the agriculturalist for every stroke struck upon its bosom.

Ann Arbour also stands on Huron river, and is a very pleasant village containing nearly three thousand inhabitants. There is here an Episcopal Church, which has been recently erected, that stands beautifully embosomed in a grove of oaks. Immediately adjoining the plot of ground on which the church is built, an acre of land which cost one thousand dollars, has been purchased by a gentleman residing, I believe, in Monroe, who purposes to erect upon it a neat and commodious dwelling for the use of the rector, and to convey it to the parish corporation as a parsonage. To this noble act of munificence he was prompted from his love of the Redeemer's cause, and an ardent desire for the success and establishment of our church in Michigan. He saw that if there was a house provided for[Pg 134] the rector, the parish would soon be able to provide the means for his support, and that thus the ministrations of the Gospel would be permanently secured to this people. How many men there are within the bounds of our church, who could in like manner, with the utmost ease, bestow a few thousand dollars, and secure to feeble churches the certainty of future ministrations of the word, while at the same time they would be adding unspeakably to the comfort of a body of men who are wearing themselves out in the service of the Lord, and by their exhausting labours and toil to rescue sinners from death, are preparing themselves for a premature grave! Sure I am, when these opulent men, stand at last before God and the Lamb, and behold the resplendent crown of glory which Jesus has purchased for them by his toil and tears, and sweat and blood—when they look down into the depths of that hell from which he has rescued them, and up to the heights of that heaven to which he is about to exalt them, and when that same Jesus points to such an act of munificence, and says, Inasmuch as ye did it for the least of these my ministers, ye did it unto me, oh then I am sure they will not regret the few thousand dollars they have given to Christ! Would to God that many professors of religion, who have already wealth enough to ruin all their children, and are still holding back their pecuniary means and hoarding them up, refusing to consecrate any part of them to Christ, would think seriously of this, would meditate frequently on the scenes of that day.

Our course from Ann Arbour was towards Ore Creek. The country through which we passed was somewhat[Pg 135] undulating, and upon the whole a very fine agricultural district. No where in the west have I seen better crops. The yellow golden wheat, the bearded and densely standing barley, the luxuriant oats, and stout corn, as they were spread out before the eye in vast fields rapidly succeeding each other, and gently waving in the summer breeze, presented a scene full of interest, and bore indisputable testimony in relation to the excellence and fertility of the soil. The point to which we were directing our course was North Green Oak. We had already travelled some thirty miles, and were now within the limits of this town. Night was coming on, and we were yet some four miles from the place which I wished to reach. As it would be dark before our arrival, and the road was rough, and it was uncertain whether we could all be accommodated for the night at the place to which I was directing my course, it was decided as a matter of prudence, that Mr. and Mrs. R——, who had kindly accompanied me in their carriage, should remain at the log inn which we had already reached, and whose quaint sign was "Call and C," while the driver, mounting one horse, and myself the other, should go on to find the house of my friend. I scarcely need say that we had now reached a very new country. It was with difficulty that we could muster a saddle in the neighbourhood; but at length one was found, and we set out, bidding adieu to our friends for the night. During the first two miles our path lay chiefly through the forest: we however passed in that distance three houses; at the last house, which was on the borders of a lake, we stopped to enquire for the residence of my friend. We were told he lived almost two miles on the other side of the lake, that there[Pg 136] was no road save the track of a wagon, and that as our path was a blind one, it was very uncertain whether we should find the way. We tried to get some one to go with us as our guide, but there was no one at home but women and children. It was already dark, our path was through the thick woods, and as the last rays of twilight were fast fading away, we had no time to lose. We rode rapidly on, and were soon buried in the dense forest. We had not proceeded more than a mile before we lost every trace of our path, but after riding around awhile among the bushes we again struck upon the track, and were able to advance a little further. Soon, however, in consequence of the increasing darkness, we were again at fault, and knew not which way to proceed. We dismounted, and having searched for awhile on our hands and knees, succeeded in discovering the track of a wagon wheel, which we followed till it led us into a small oak opening. We had gone but a few paces, however, on our way, before the path, which had now become more distinct, diverged into two branches, the one leading into the dense forest, and the other descending into a low marsh. It now became a grave question which path we were to take. We were far away from any human habitation; it was doubtful whether we could retrace our steps, even if we attempted to return; the night was dark, sultry, and hot, the deep forest was around us, the musquitoes were biting us most unmercifully, and we had not provided ourselves with the means of striking a light to kindle a fire. The idea of spending the night, therefore, unsheltered in the woods under these circumstances, was not altogether agreeable. What added to our embarrassment was that if we took[Pg 137] either path and were able to follow it, we knew not but we might be going so much farther from the place where we would be. The driver, who was now my only companion, proposed to lift up his voice and halloo, thinking that if any one was within hearing distance, we should receive an answer. But though the woods rung to the shout, and echoed back his voice, no other response was returned.—All was still and silent around us as though we were in some vast and boundless solitude. At length we determined to advance as far as we could trace the track of a wheel through the marsh, and if our path did not lead us to the place where we would be, to return and try the other. We had not proceeded far amid the high grass before we ascended a hill, and again entered the woods. Our road now became more distinct, but whether it was leading us in the right direction we knew not. At length my eye caught the glimmering of a taper; at first I thought it might be only the phosphorescent light of the fire-fly, swarms of which had been hovering around our path. A second look, however, convinced me that it was indeed the light of a taper we saw. I cannot describe the emotions that then thronged around my heart. I thought at that moment of those words of Cowper, and could in some measure understand their meaning, and conceive of the feelings of a lost sinner, upon whose benighted path the first glimmering of hope fell.

"I see, or think I see
A glimmering from afar,
A beam of day that shines for me,
To save me from despair."
[Pg 138]

We now rode on with speed, and were soon by the side of a log cottage. It was the very place which we had been seeking. All anxiety was now at an end, and the glad welcome so cordially tendered, and the well-known face glowing with looks of kind recognition, made all the care and toils of the evening appear as naught. Here was a family around me, consisting in all of some ten or twelve in number, apparently contented and happy in a log cabin. They had a single room below and a sort of garret above it. The last time that I saw them was in an elegant three story house, in East Broadway, in New York. I know not that they appeared more happy then than they did this evening. They expected soon to have a better and more commodious domicil, which they were erecting but even with their present dwelling place they were contented. Truly happiness is in the mind, and they whose hopes are on God, and who feel that they are in the path of duty can be happy in spite of all external circumstances.

The sun was shining brightly the next morning as we retraced our way, and joined our friends at the log tavern. Our course was then towards Pontiac, which we reached just at the close of the day. We passed through a beautiful country rendered truly picturesque and romantic by the chain of little lakes that stretch through this section of the state. The banks of these lakes are high and shaded, affording the most delightful spots for residence. The waters are pure and limpid, and filled with the finest fish. We must have passed during our journey at least twenty of these lakes. Pontiac is as beautiful a village for size as I saw in Michigan.[Pg 139]

Friday, July 28th.

On our way to Detroit we stopped to-day at Troy, to visit our old friend, the Rev. Mr. H——, who is leading a little flock onward in their heavenly journey.

[Pg 140]



The Romanists—Miracles—Indians—Captain M—— The unhappy sailor—Toledo—Cleveland—Buffalo—Niagara Falls.

Detroit, Monday, July 31.

The Roman Church has been supposed to be very strong here, but from inquiries that I every where made, I am still more confirmed in the belief that the papists at the west are making very little impression upon the Protestant population. While they are attempting much, and with sinuous effort endeavoring to identify themselves with every interest, they in fact as yet, with all their marvellous reports to the Leopold Society, have done but very little. That system cannot bear the light. It flourishes best under arbitrary governments, and amid the thick darkness of ignorance. The experiment is now making in this country, whether it can live and flourish in Protestant and republican America without losing its essential and most obnoxious features. The remark was made to me by a highly intelligent man in Detroit, "that the absurdities that were swallowed ten years ago by the Catholics there would be hooted at now." In illustration of this remark, he went on to say, that about eleven years since he was present at the cathedral where the former bishop was preaching, and[Pg 141] endeavoring to prove the doctrine of transubstantiation. Among other evidences to which he referred was the following: "A few years previous," said this mitred prelate, "in a certain city in Europe, a profane person procured one of the consecrated wafers, and with carnal curiosity, after leaving the church, broke it in two, when instantly a stream of blood issued forth, which ran down his clothes, and stained his apparel. He went home in great affright, but the stream of blood still flowed, and ceased not till in haste he returned to the priest, and confessed his sin; then the crimson stream was dried up, and its stain from his person removed." "This," said the bishop, "happened in such a city, and there is such an individual now present who lived in that city at the time, to whom you can refer for corroboration."

"It would be the utter ruin of their prospects," said my informant, "for a bishop or a Roman Catholic priest to make such an assertion at the present time. There is too much light now, even among the papists, to listen to such a ridiculous story for a moment."

There is one point of view in which it is infinitely important that Detroit, and many other towns situated similar with it, should have pervading it a high sense of religious feeling. I speak with reference to the influence which the tone of its morals must, and does exert upon the many hundreds of Indians that annually visit it. These red men of the woods are forming their opinions of Christianity from what they see at Detroit, and St. Louis, and many of our western towns. They see among the white population every thing to lead them to turn away with disgust from a religion, professed to be drawn from[Pg 142] the Bible. Their depraved natures readily lead them to lay hold of the vices that abound among us, and they go back to their tribes, carrying the impression that these are among the fruits of Christianity. It is painful to see how degraded many of them become in their intercourse with what is called civilized society. Intemperance is the vice which they most readily fall into. Under its baneful influence they seem to lose all the natural and noble traits of their character. I saw in Detroit a stout built Indian playing the merry Andrew through the streets, hawking about a lump of ice, as though it were a loaf of sugar, and calling for the highest bidder. As he staggered by I could not but think how different he appeared from the native son of the forest; that manly and noble bearing, that graceful and elastic step, that grave, serious, and dignified look which sat so well upon the native Indian's brow, and marked him as one of nature's true noblemen, was gone and he had become a poor, degraded, drunken outcast and was trying to pick up a few pennies by making himself a laughing stock to a crowd of idle boys! What formidable barriers do the vices that still remain incorporated with Christian communities present, to hinder the progress and extension of the Redeemer's kingdom!

While at Detroit I met with two incidents, which I noted down at the time, and which it may not be improper to record here. The one was an interview with Captain M——, the popular author of several recent novels who is now making the tour of the lakes. The gentleman whose kind hospitalities I was sharing, had met with him on his way from Buffalo, and had also after his arrival at Detroit, called to pay him his respects. It was certainly[Pg 143] civil in the captain to have returned the call, but it was shocking to the feelings of Christian sensibility, that the time selected for this reciprocation of civility, was during the sacred hours of the Sabbath. Capt. M—— could not attend the place of public worship, for the day was to be employed in returning his calls. He appeared to be addressing himself to this in a business-like way. With a friend as his guide, and a carriage to convey him, he was proceeding from street to street, carrying with him his long list of names, and a bundle of visiting cards. All this was done, of course, to show that he appreciated the attentions and civilities he had received. When will men show as much respect to God and his institutions, as they do to the worms of the dust around them?

The other incident was of a still more painful character. On the same Sunday, just at the close of the day, there passed my window, a face that called up the recollection of one whom I supposed had long since been numbered with the dead. My first acquaintance with him was at the commencement of my ministry. His father's residence occupied one of the loveliest spots I had ever beheld on the bank of Lake Ontario. The house and garden, and court yards, all indicated ease and opulence. This young man was then a youth, the only son of his father, and cherishing large expectations in relation to future wealth. He had been reared up under the eye of a fond mother, who "would not let the winds of heaven blow too roughly" upon him. His disposition was naturally amiable and vivacious, and there were many to admire and caress him. But suddenly his prospects were darkened. It was discovered that his father's estate was[Pg 144] covered with mortgages, and his affairs embarrassed beyond redemption. One piece of property went after another, till the beautiful family residence was alienated, and bankruptcy and poverty seemed now staring them in the face. Mr. —— had reserved a single farm unencumbered, which he now promised to give his son. The young man, with a truly noble spirit, determined to accommodate himself to the circumstances around him, and entered with hearty zeal upon the cultivation of his farm with his own hands. He had just become acquainted with some of the more common agricultural operations and began to look forward to humble independence, when the astounding fact was disclosed, that this farm too was under a heavy mortgage. In the straitened circumstances in which Mr. —— found himself, he had been led to forget his promise to his son, and to alienate his last acre of land. The young man's spirit seemed broken. He had unhappily contracted the habit of moderate drinking. On his father's sideboard, while he was yet a boy, there always stood a decanter of brandy, and every visitor who made a morning, afternoon, or evening call, was urged to drink. The father and son, to encourage their guests always drank with them. Thus this young man contracted a love for ardent spirits. It was now the season of darkness and depression with him. The mother who had watched over his childhood, had gone down to the grave. The riches in which they once rolled, had taken to themselves wings and flown away. The fond hopes he had cherished of rising by his own industry, had been crushed. Poverty was staring them in the face. This young man was without employment. Several years passed by, and[Pg 145] the prospects of this family did not brighten in a single particular. At length the father went abroad. His family were left behind to shift for themselves. He never returned. The son became more and more dissipated, till in a fit of desperation he went to New York, and embarked on board of a ship as a common sailor. Many a father and mother who knew this promising young man, and witnessed his career up to this point, when they looked around upon their own infant band, sighed and shook their heads, painfully feeling that they could not tell what their children would come to. Young ---- went to the East Indies, and, it was said, was lost during the voyage. I had never heard of him since. But as I sat by the window at this time, the countenance and form of one that passed by, so strongly reminded me of him, that I sent out a young lad to overtake him, and invite him to come in. There soon entered one in complete sailor's dress, with loose pantaloons, round-about coat, and tarpaulin hat, swaggering along, evidently under the influence of intoxicating drink. He looked at me for a moment, and then uttered my name! What was my astonishment and amazement! Was this the gifted and talented young ——, whom I had first met in the dwelling of courtly splendor—from whose father's hands I had received so many expressions of kindness and acts of hospitality—over whose pleasure-grounds, amid delightful shade and shrubbery, I had so often roamed? Was this that noble, gifted boy, in relation to whom such high hopes were formed, and who had naturally such generous and kind feelings? I had thought the waves of the deep had long since rolled over him! But no, there he stood, a perfect wreck of[Pg 146] what he once was. His eye was glassy, and his breath fetid and offensive beyond endurance. He seemed to be conscious of the degradation he had brought upon himself, and by an evident struggle and effort of will, did succeed in throwing off the symptoms of present inebriety. I found that he had visited every part of the world, and had suffered every thing but death. He had been imprisoned in Chili, and cast away on the shores of western Africa. I spoke to him about his soul. He seemed much affected, and shed tears. After a few moment's pause, he said, "I have been a very wicked fellow, but I have never lost the early impressions I had in relation to my responsibility to God. The little Testament my sister gave me, I have kept when stript of every thing else. I have read it when the other sailors around me were asleep. I knew they did'nt understand my feelings, and they would only laugh at me. I have often prayed, but then I would soon become as wicked as ever. I have thought of you, sir, often, and of the sermons I used to hear. When I sat naked on the burning sand in Africa, I thought of many serious things, which I had heard from your lips, and I tried to pray. Yes, that was an awful time! We were cast away—our vessel was lost—three or four of us got ashore and were saved. But we were immediately stript of every rag of covering, and for three months I wandered over the sands of Africa, naked as when I came into the world, and living as I could snatch a little fruit here and there. I at length found my way to Liberia, and was sent to America by the Governor of that colony."

He then told me that for several years past, he had been on the lakes. I asked him if he was happy. He said[Pg 147] "No, never, except in a storm, when every thing around me seems going to destruction. Then I become excited and feel a sort of mad happiness." I entreated him to bethink himself of his ways, and turn unto the Lord. He said he did not think it would do any good; that he was too far gone, and that if he prayed ever so much, or made ever so many resolutions, in a few days he was as bad as ever. I endeavored to point out where the difficulty lay. He went to church with me that evening, and seemed solemn and affected. Poor fellow, I know not what will be his end! I fear there are many youths of our land going on just in this same path.

Cleveland, August 2d.

Yesterday I took leave of Detroit on board the steamboat "United States" for this place, which we reached this morning. On our way here, we visited Toledo, in Ohio, which stands on the Maumee River, about ten miles from its mouth. This is a place of some notoriety, but although we stopped there several hours, I found very little to interest me. There were not a few indications that it was a place where iniquity abounded. Though a place of considerable size, the institutions of the gospel have found very little foothold as yet. I was told, though I cannot vouch for the correctness of the account, that some time ago, when an effort was about being made to establish some religious society here, a public meeting was called, and they voted that they would have no such thing in their town. I hope they have come to a better mind before this.

Just before we entered the Maumee River, we passed[Pg 148] a light house that had been erected on a bare and barren bank of sand, of about an acre in extent, which had risen up in the midst of the surrounding waters. On this barren spot there is a solitary dwelling, the residence, I presume, of the keeper of the light-house. There is something very striking in this lonely residence, pitched in the midst of a wild waste of waters, and forcibly reminded me of the state of the Christian in this life, whose habitation is often in some desolate place, some lonely spot amid a surrounding moral desert, but always where he can answer some useful end, can tend upon some light-house to direct the path of tempest-tost mariners towards the haven of rest.

We also touched in our way to Cleveland at Sandusky City and Huron. It was my original intention to stop at one of these places, and make an excursion through the northern part of Ohio, taking Gambier in my circuit. I felt an increased desire to visit that place, after learning as I did in Michigan, the important influence the institution there is silently exerting upon the west, but I found it necessary to deny myself this pleasure for the want of time. From what I heard of Kenyon College, I should think that the standard of attainment there was very high, and that they had wisely guarded against the custom too common in the west of hurrying the student through a rapid and superficial course of studies, and conferring upon him a degree at a time when he ought to be regarded as a sophomore. The course of studies at this institution is very thorough, and the faculty able and talented. Kenyon College cannot fail to prove a most powerful auxiliary to the cause of learning and religion in the west, and its influence for the interests of the Episcopal Church will be[Pg 149] more extended than any of us of the present generation can compute.

With Cleveland I have been decidedly pleased. It is principally built on a high table of land, that looks boldly off upon the far-stretching and majestic waters of Erie. It has a population of about eight thousand; its houses are generally handsome and well built. It is separated from Ohio City by the Cuyahoga river, a stream into which the steamboats run up, which stop at Cleveland. Ohio City is a pleasant town, having between two and three thousand inhabitants. They are here erecting a fine stone edifice for an Episcopal Church. This place appears to bear the same relation to Cleveland that Brooklyn does to New York. Unhappily there is no small jealousy between the two places, which it is hoped the experience of a few years will cure. Some of the streets in the eastern part of Cleveland, looking off upon the lake, are beautiful beyond the power of description.

Niagara Falls, August 3d.

In passing from Cleveland to Buffalo over Erie's green waters, we touched at several interesting points, but I omit any description of them or of Buffalo, which has grown up into a large and beautiful city. I have spent the day most delightfully here, silently musing on these vast waters that leap with giant stride over this mighty precipice of rock. I had thought that these falls, when I first gazed upon them from Table Rock, some four years since, possessed all the conceivable elements of sublimity, but I never understood their full grandeur and majesty till I looked at them to-day, and remembered that the water of all those lakes upon which I had travelled more than a thousand miles, was[Pg 150] pouring in one gathered column over that precipice! Then, immediately, I felt that the tremendous roar, that rose deafening around me, was the voice of God! I saw that it was His hand that had gathered those waters, and poured them with such resistless force over that vast precipice, and the thought then flashed upon my mind, "How will he speak to impenitent sinners when he riseth up to judgment? How will they escape from his mighty hand when he poureth out his fury like fire?"

Just then a rainbow met my eye that lay beautifully pencilled on the foaming flood below. I remembered it was the bow of promise; and new emotions of gratitude were waked up in my heart, when, at the very moment I was surrounded with such demonstrations of almighty power, and such vivid proof that God could with the breath of his mouth hurl the guilty down to bottomless perdition, I was reminded by the bow that lay on the bosom of the foaming gulf, that through the mercy of God in Christ there was a way for poor sinners to escape! Oh that they might be prevailed upon to lay hold of the hope set before them, and not rush madly on to the precipice of eternal death!

[Pg 151]



Niagara Falls—Rochester—Canandaigua—Geneva—Seneca Lake—The moonlit heavens—Departed friends—The clergyman's son—The candidate for the ministry—A beloved brother—My departed mother—Geneva College—The Sabbath.

Geneva, Aug. 9th.

Every man who has visited Niagara Falls, that scene of enchantment, remembers with what difficulty he tore himself from the spot. To every mind that has any sensibility—any relish for the grand and sublime, every island and grove, every stone and tree, every green bank and shaded nook around that mighty cataract, is a charmed spot. Go to what point you may, to take your last look at the falls, whether it be on the British or American side—whether you stand on Table Rock or Goat Island—whether you look out from the top of the observatory that has been reared with daring intrepidity on the edge of the foaming current and the brow of the Falls, or look up from the foot of the vast cataract, and see a world of waters plunging in one animated, leaping mass from the heights above, you will feel as you gaze there to bestow your last lingering look, that the hand of some giant power has laid[Pg 152] a spell upon all the scene around you, and chained you to the spot. You may tear yourself from this scene, but it is with the feeling with which you separate yourself from, and bid adieu to the loved one of your heart. Your eye and your thoughts oft turn back to catch another glimpse of that which you fear is fading from your view for ever.

Have you not sometimes in your journeyings, taken your leave with great reluctance from some dear family circle, who gathered around you at the door, and followed you while you could yet see them with every demonstration of kindness and interest? At length a turn in the road shut them from your view, and you went on your way musing on the past, and thinking perhaps you would never meet them more till you met them with the ransomed on high. While you moved on indulging in a pensive train of reflection, your path took another turn, and brought the mansion you left again to view, and showed you your friends still watching your course, whose waving hands and handkerchiefs testified that their hearts were with you, though their voices could no longer reach your ear. It was somewhat so with us, when on Friday morning the fourth of August, we started in the railroad cars from the Falls, bound to Lockport. The course of the railroad for some distance lies along on the bank of Niagara river, every now and then revealing to us the swift and green waters of the stream as it leaps along its deep-worn channel, some hundred feet below. We had proceeded thus a mile or two, when suddenly by a turn of the river, the entire view of the Falls was again brought before us. The eye was now able to take in the whole scene at a single glance, and no view of Niagara appeared more impressive than this. You could distinctly trace the rapids above the Falls, see[Pg 153] the foaming current urging its way on like the angry billows of the ocean, till it reached the dreadful leap, and then gracefully and majestically sliding off from the edge of the precipice to the vast abyss below in one beautiful and vast column of emerald green. Below you saw, as in one great cauldron, the whole river boiling up in white and milky appearance, and then winding off in its deep channel, till at length it again assumed its native hue of green. The islands and groves, and wild scenery that environ this wonder of the world, were all gathered in one rich group distinctly before the eye. Who can look on such a scene and not remember its Creator? What must be the glories which God will reveal to his ransomed and sanctified people in the celestial world, when he allows to linger here amid the defilements and desolations of sin such traces of surpassing beauty and loveliness!

We took Rochester in our way, and thence directed our course by stage to Canandaigua, which, with its tasteful court-yards, and beautiful houses, and elegantly shaded streets, reminds one of a beauteous, gemmed, and highly adorned bride that has retired from the festal scene, and is seeking repose in some rural bower. The country through which we rode from Rochester to Geneva is in a high state of cultivation, and the rich fields of waving grain around one makes him feel at every step that he is passing through the garden of America. We reached Geneva in the early part of the afternoon. There is not a lovelier spot beneath the far-expanded sky for the site of a village than the banks of the Seneca. Though the business part of the village is situated principally on the northwest corner of the lake, by far the most beautiful part of the town stretches along on the western bank which rises some[Pg 154] fifty or hundred feet above the quiet waters of this beautiful lake. Here a street runs along parallel with the lake, and the most delightful residences are built up on either side. Almost every dwelling has before it a fine court-yard filled with shrubbery and ornamented with flowers. And those built on the brow of the lake have gardens terraced down to the water's edge.

The lake is here some three miles wide, stretching off forty miles to the south, and presenting on the opposite side a beautiful and finely-cultivated country. On this street, looking off upon this lovely sheet of water, stands the college. As we recede to the west the land rises by gentle and successive undulations for a mile or two, furnishing on the summit of these successive ridges the most delightful locations for residences, from some of which you have brought within the ken of your eye the whole village and lake, and country beyond. I have already partially described the street that runs along on the western bank of the lake, which is adorned and shaded with trees, and on which the college and principal churches are built. Farther west and running parallel with this is another street inferior in beauty, but peculiarly attractive to me, as at its northern extremity is situated the old burying ground, where sleeps the dust of many, many dear friends.

Memory loves to go back to the past. I well recollect a summer evening of 1820. The day had declined, and the curtains of night were drawn around the green earth. While twilight still lingered in the west, gently fading into darkness, the moon rose in full orbed splendour. I was returning, with a friend from a walk. Our course lay along on the margin of the lake. Never did I see a sweeter or lovelier scene, than was exhibited on the bosom of that[Pg 155] lake, lit up with a flood of splendour streaming down from the bright orb of night. That beautifully-expanded sheet of water lay in unruffled smoothness. The lake seemed like a sea of glass. If a ripple run over that transparent surface, it was so gentle, that it seemed only the rocking of the moon-beams to sleep that played there. The air was bland and balmy, and full of the fragrance which the verdant and flowery earth gave forth. But with myself and my friend, life then looked thus bright and fresh and fair. Our walk terminated at the threshhold of my own paternal mansion. We went in and sat down. Three other persons joined us. We looked out upon the moonlight scene, and talked of future days. There was not one sad or clouded brow there. I can remember every countenance in that happy group as though it were but yesterday night. But now of the five that sat there and enjoyed the delightful converse of that sweet night, I alone am the only survivor. All the rest have for these nine years slept within the precincts of the burial-ground.

One of this little group was the friend of my childhood. His father was the parish priest, from whose lips my infant ear first drank in the sounds of a preached gospel.—I well recollect with what a throbbing heart I first drew near the chancel in an old time-stained church in New England, with a band of children like myself to rehearse to this holy man my catechism. I well recollect the solemn tones of his voice, and the benignant look with which he pronounced a blessing on our young heads. I can never forget the many kind, cordial welcomes I have received under the roof of the pastor of my childhood. The young man to whom I have referred was his eldest son. We were now far from the scene where had past[Pg 156] the sports and frolics of childhood. The good hand of the Lord had shown me that there was something better than the fading vanities of this empty world to occupy and absorb the affections of an immortal being. Often had I tried to lead my young friend to see things as I saw them. When absent I had written to him; but though his affection for me seemed unchanged, he always evaded any coming to the point, in relation to his own personal salvation. Though amiable and moral, he was naturally gay and vivacious, and the world had still an unbroken hold upon his affections. On the evening to which I have referred, he seemed more than ordinarily pensive. In less than a year, though apparently full of vigour and health, he was suddenly laid upon a sick bed. The last night of his life I was with him, and did not leave his room till the dawn of morning. At midnight when all was still, he called me close to his bed-side, and thanked me for my letters that I had formerly written to him, and all my solemn admonitions, and assured me that they had not been forgotten, but had made very deep impressions upon his mind. And then he continued—"I wish to be saved, I wish to give my heart up to God, I wish to be pardoned and have a hope in Christ. Oh that I had sought the Lord in health, and now were at peace with him." Then he fervently called on God for mercy. His mind soon began to wander. The next morning he was an unbreathing corpse.

Another of this company, was one who had been associated with me in study. The home of his childhood was amid the rugged hills of New England. He had contended with a long train of difficulties to push his way onward to the threshold of the sacred ministry. The last obstacles[Pg 157] now seemed giving away. In about a year he would go forth as the accredited ambassador of the King of kings. Animated with this thought, and the brightening prospect around him, his mind on that evening seemed winged with hope, and his conversation was full of life and sprightliness. Just about a year had gone. The day for his ordination was appointed. His friends were anxiously waiting to see him put the sacred armour on. But the hand of disease suddenly seized him, and on the very day he was to have been ordained, he died, and I trust went up to the heavenly court to be made there a "priest unto God."

A third in this group, was a beloved brother, who had been to me not only a brother, but my spiritual father. It was his voice that first directed my feet to the cross of Christ; and it was from his hands that I first received the consecrated memorials of a Saviour's dying love. The cares and toils and anxieties of his spiritual flock were even then wearing away his life. A few years passed by, and my friend—my counsellor—my brother, was borne to that same burial-ground, where his voice had been so often heard, committing "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust." There are those that remember the pastor's counsel, who still go to that grave where his ashes sleep, and water it with their tears.

The last in that group which sat and conversed so delightfully together on the evening to which I have adverted, was one who bore to me a dearer and more sacred relation than any or all of these. Can I ever forget the kindliness of that eye that beamed with such sweet affection on me? Can I ever forget the soft velvet pressure of that hand, which when I was sick was laid so gently on my burning,[Pg 158] feverish brow? Can I ever forget that cradle hymn, that calmed my infant fears, and hushed all my troubles to repose? Can I ever forget the tones of that sweet voice that first breathed into my infant ear the name of Jesus? Can I ever forget the appearance of that dear form, the heavenliness of that look, or even the seat in which she sat, when I was first taught to kneel down by her side, and say "Our Father who art in heaven?" No! Every other image may fade from my memory, but my mother's will be there for ever!

On that evening to which I have referred, no one appeared more cheerful or happy, and no circumstance added more enjoyment to that hour than the presence and conversation of my dear and beloved mother. But a few years only had elapsed, and the charm of our home was gone! Well do I recollect that night when I was called from my bed, and saw the last breath trembling on her quivering lips. Well do I recollect how that brother of whom I have just spoken, as we stood silent around that bed from which a departing saint was about to go up to glory, took her dying hand, and as the last pang was ended, said in the deep solemn stillness that pervaded the weeping group, "The bitterness of death is passed, and she is at rest!" Her grave is in the burying ground. Of all that company that sat and talked and looked out on that moonlight scene I only am left. Oh what reason have I to praise the Lord! What reason to die daily!

The commencement of Geneva College had occurred a few days previous to my arrival. This institution had been struggling for many years with a series of difficulties, most of which are now happily overcome. The corporation have recently received an endowment that will enable[Pg 159] them to compete with any kindred institutions in the country. They have an able and well-organized faculty, at the head of which is President Hale, a man not only of varied and large acquirements, but of most bland manners and devoted piety. There is an influence now gathered around this institution that must very soon elevate it to a high rank among the institutions of our country. It gives fair promise at present of being what one of its originators toiled and prayed and spent many anxious days and nights to make it. Though he has gone to his rest and though he saw gathering over it during his life nothing but clouds and darkness, he will reap the fruits of his labours in eternity.

I spent a Sunday here that strikingly reminded me of former days. The congregation were already gathered. I went in, and sat in the same pew I used to occupy long before I assumed the responsibilities of the sacred office. The place itself was unaltered, but the worshippers—what a change had come over them! Here and there was a well-known countenance, but how many pews were occupied with those who were strangers to me! And then, where was that venerable father—that promising young jurist—that physician rising rapidly to eminence—that blooming, beautiful young bride, that drew all eyes towards her? Where was that mother in Israel—that much respected and hoary headed man, whose voice used to give such deep emphasis to the responses? Where were a hundred others, whose images came up fast before me? Ah! the grave, the grave had swallowed them up! And where too was the pastor whose voice used to echo through this temple? He too was gone! That voice which had so often called upon sinners to turn[Pg 160] and flee to calvary, and urged the heaven-bound pilgrim onward towards the goal, was now hushed in death! On a tablet near the pulpit I saw his name inscribed, but I believe it was written in deeper and more durable characters upon the hearts of some who worshipped with me that morning.

The day was bright and sunny. There seemed that morning to rest on the mind of the assembled worshippers a sweet, holy calm, the emblem of that "rest which remaineth for the people of God." The deep, solemn tones of the service, came that morning with unwonted power on my ear. Every sentence of the liturgy, fraught as it is with the richest vein of evangelical piety, seemed particularly on that occasion to give wings to my devotion, and to bear my soul upward to the very courts of the most high God. It was a sacramental season. The sermon was appropriate, faithful, solemn, and affecting. The communion service began. The bread was broken and the wine poured out. As I went forward to kneel at that altar, I could not but call to remembrance my feelings eighteen years before, when I first bowed there to vow a vow unto God, and receive a token of the Saviour's dying love. The thoughts and feelings of that hour I will not presume to obtrude upon you. There was a rush of sensibilities and recollections that quite overcame me for the moment.

[Pg 161]



A bleak, dreary morning—Bishop of Illinois—Sail up the Delaware—New York Bay—Sail up the Hudson—Unexpected meeting—College friend—Story of his afflictions—Poor African servant.

The sketches contained in the three following chapters were written in 1838.

Fairfield, N. Y., Sep. 21, 1838.

After having passed a day or two in the country, or gone along some two or three hundred miles by stages, steamboats, and railroad cars, in looking back upon the scenes through which you have passed, the company you have met, and the different individuals with which you have been brought in contact, one feels almost astonished to reflect how many touching incidents of human woe have been brought to his notice during this short period. Sorrow and sadness seem to lie every where on the surface of society. You cannot enter a steamboat, or walk through the streets of a large town, or mingle at all in the circles of the living, without meeting with something to remind you, and that most painfully, "that man is born to trouble." Does not this show that ours is a world full of disorder and sin? Does it not show that some great moral convulsion has[Pg 162] occurred here, which has upturned the very foundations upon which human nature was originally built? Surely a God of order and of benevolence would never have created such a world as ours now is! Surely this world is not now what it was when upon its original creation, "the morning stars sang together, and the sons of God shouted aloud for joy!" I do not see how any one can prosecute an investigation upon the subject of moral philosophy, and not come to the conclusion that the Bible is the only book in the world that gives any satisfactory account of the origin and history of man.

It was a bleak and dreary morning upon which we left Philadelphia. The wind blew fiercely, and the waters of the Delaware seemed stirred the very bottom as we entered the steamboat. Notwithstanding the earliness of the hour, and the roughness of the weather, a great crowd was rushing on board. Among the number was the Bishop of Illinois. The last time I had seen him to have any continued conversation with him, was more than a year since, near the banks of the Mississippi, in the extreme northwest corner of his extensive diocese. I was sorry to find on the present occasion, that the bishop seemed a good deal depressed in reference to the prospects of the Church in his diocese, though still looking to the Lord and trusting in his wise government. I could in some measure enter into his feelings, as I had travelled over the vast field of destitution in the midst of which he is placed. Being entrusted with the interests of the Church in the vast and powerful state of Illinois, without funds, without a salary adequate to his own support, with only here and there a single labourer to co-operate with him, how can he carry out the designs of his office? Though a thousand fair[Pg 163] fields lie blooming before him, all promising a rich and luxuriant harvest, how, with his present means, can he take possession of them? He wants a vast increase of missionary men, and pecuniary means to sustain them. The discouragements around him are innumerable. What can be done for the West? What can be done for Illinois? I believe if three or four of our eastern clergy, who have acquired character and standing in the Church, were to go into each of the western dioceses, and there co-operate together, determined to stand by the Church, to sink or swim with it, determined never to leave the ground till the whole western wild should blossom as the rose, this would do more for the cause of religion than any other measures that could be adopted. Are there not in the length and breadth of our Church a dozen men of this character, who will make this sacrifice for Christ and for undying souls? If we had the spirit, and the faith, and the self-sacrifice of Paul, is it not probable that we should see, if not in divine visions, yet in many of our waking hours, and perhaps in the dreams of the night, imploring thousands standing on the banks of the Wabash, the Illinois, and the Mississippi, stretching forth their hands and saying, "Come over and help us!"

Our sail up the Delaware was characterized with nothing new or unusual. The cars took us on at their usual rate. And in due time we were safely landed at the battery in New York. At five o'clock, P. M., we found ourselves again embarked on board one of the North river steamers. As we pushed out from the wharf and gazed over the beautiful bay that stretched around us, studded with islands and whitened with a hundred sails, the thought most forcibly pressed itself upon my mind, that Americans need not be[Pg 164] ashamed to speak of New York bay, even in connection with the bay of Naples, though the latter in the bold shores of Capri, the towering summit of Vesuvius, and the vast, extended, circling sweep of its waters has, doubtless, features of sublimity, which the former cannot claim.—As we passed the palisades, and began to approach the mountain scenery of the highlands, I was more than ever impressed with an idea which I embraced while in Europe, that, take it all in all, there is no river scenery in the world comparable with that of our own Hudson.

While I stood upon the deck of our steamboat, gazing upon the precipitous and rugged sides of the palisades that rise like a wall of masonry above the noble Hudson, a gentleman approached me and said, "I ought to know you; I think we were class-mates in college. My name is W——."

When I first looked at the speaker, the remembrance of him as an old college acquaintance, was like the faded and indistinct recollections of a forgotten dream. But as one and another particular was mentioned, the picture of the past gathered fresh brightness, and stood before my mind's eye with all the vividness of an occurrence of yesterday. More than fifteen years had elapsed since we bid adieu to our Alma mater and to each other. Our class at the time we graduated, consisted of about eighty; my acquaintance with W. during our college course was slight, and as his residence was in one of the remote southern states, I had never met with him before since the day of our graduation. We, however, immediately upon this unexpected meeting, felt our hearts strongly drawn towards each other, by the power of old associations. We sat down and[Pg 165] talked over college scenes, till the shades of evening gathered around us. I was astonished to find how many of our class were already numbered with the dead: and how many among the most gifted and talented of our old associates had fallen victims to intemperance. During the fifteen years since we last met, we ourselves had passed through a variety of scenes, and had each tasted of the cup of sorrow. I became deeply interested in my friend's history, and though the dark summits and lofty mountain peaks of the highlands were around and above us, and at this time rendered still more wild and romantic by the partial darkness in which they were enwrapped, I had no eye nor ear for any thing but the touching tale to which I listened. The outlines of the story were as follows:—

While young W. was still in college, he had formed an acquaintance with Mr. Y——, who then resided in a neighbouring city, and filled one of the highest offices in the state. Mr. Y's. family, for several generations back, had been regarded among the most respectable in the land. Young W. was often invited to share the hospitalities of his house, and soon became a frequent visiter there. There were in this family three young ladies, daughters of Mr. Y., all of them accomplished and interesting. Jane, the youngest, was particularly beautiful and attractive. To her W. felt his heart drawn with resistless power. Himself belonging to a distinguished and wealthy family in Georgia, he did not hesitate to aspire to the hand of the lovely Jane Y. His suit was successful. After having passed through a course of law studies, the happy hour arrived in which he was permitted to stand up and claim Jane as his wedded bride. The evening of the celebration[Pg 166] of their nuptials, witnessed a scene of most brilliant festivity in the old family mansion of Mr. Y. All the gaiety, and splendour, and luxury which are found in the brightest paths and most resplendent saloons of fashion, were that night there. When the next morning dawned, and the family gathered around the table for breakfast, there was an occasional cloud of gloom that every now and then came over the mother's countenance: for that day she was to part with her daughter! Jane was now the wife of a planter in Georgia, and upon that distant plantation was to be her future home. Her young and joyous heart, though for a moment depressed, as she gave the parting kiss to each of the family, soon recovered its wonted buoyancy. Her presence flung an immediate sunshine around the habitation to which she was conducted, and her happy husband thought again and again that he had never before known half her worth. Years passed on, and Jane had now become the mother of two beautiful children. This couple were as happy as this world could make them. They had health and wealth, ease, family distinction, and promising children, and yet they lacked one thing absolutely essential to their happiness. They were strangers to the transforming power of divine grace. Living remote from any place of divine worship, they seldom visited the house of God, and were becoming each year more indifferent to divine things.

At length the following incident awakened Mrs. W—— to a consideration of the things of eternity. There was a female slave on the plantation advanced in years, who was very ill. Mrs. W—— had an amiable and tender heart, and never failed to do all in her power to render the situation[Pg 167] of their slaves comfortable. She visited them in sickness and did every thing to minister to their wants and to alleviate their sufferings. Hearing of the illness of old Peggy she hastened to the cabin to see what she could do to relieve her. As she stood on the threshold of the door, just ready to enter, she heard the voice of this old negro woman lifted up in prayer. She immediately stopped, feeling that it would be wrong to interrupt any human creature while communing with God. The words which this old female slave uttered were very simple, but full of pious sentiment. As Mrs. W—— listened she heard her say, "Oh Lord God, me am a poor sinner, but massa Christ died for sinners, therefore, good Lord, do have mercy upon me, poor dying cretur, for Jesus' sake. My sins many, oh do blot them all out—make me, poor slave, holy—make me fit to enter heaven—and oh bring massa and missa and the little babies there. Save us all for Jesus' sake." As Mrs. W—— listened to these simple words, her heart was touched—the tear fell upon her cheek. She entered the cabin, and found old Peggy stretched on a couch, and evidently struck with death. In haste and with agitation she asked what she could do for her. The old servant replied, "Nothing, nothing—I am now going home." As Mrs. W—— appeared distressed and anxious to do something for her, Peggy said, "Dear missa, don't be troubled about me—you have always been good to we poor blacks. The Lord bless you. You can do no more for me, I shall be gone soon." But, said Mrs. W——, "Are you not afraid to die?" Upon this inquiry, the did woman raised herself up, and clasping her hands, looked towards heaven and said in the most plaintive, touching tone, "Oh Jesus, should me be afraid to come to[Pg 168] thee?" And then her eye sparkling with joy, as she turned to Mrs. W——, she said, "Me love Jesus—me give him my heart; Jesus knows me, and therefore me no fear to go through the dark valley to him: for he says in the good book, 'I know my sheep and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand.'" The old woman was exhausted by this effort and fell back upon the bed with her eyes closed, apparently dying. One or two coloured persons who were in the room, now gathered around the bed, expecting every moment to see her breathe her last. After ten or fifteen minutes she again opened her eyes, and fixing an intense look upon Mrs. W——, said, "Dear missa, do you not love Jesus?" * * * She would have said more, but her tongue was already palsied in death—the muscles around her mouth quivered—her eye seemed glazed—her breath was gone: her soul was in eternity!

Mrs. W—— went home serious and thoughtful. She retired to her chamber and took down her long neglected Bible. She perused the sacred page for a long time. She knelt down and tried to pray. She found her heart was cold, and that there was no love to Jesus there. She called upon God for mercy. The deep fountains of sensibility in her heart were at length broken up, and she wept in agony of spirit over her impenitence and hardness of heart. When her husband came in, he found her bathed in tears and instantly demanded the cause. She told him of Peggy's death, and of the solemn impression made upon her mind, adding, "I have a presentiment that I shall not live long, and I am determined no longer to neglect the salvation of my soul." "Oh," said W——,[Pg 169] who at that time was rather inclined to be skeptical, "do not indulge in such gloomy and nervous feelings or think about such superstitious matters."

Mrs. W——, however, remained steadfast to her purpose. From this time she daily read the sacred Scriptures, and sought divine illumination at the mercy-seat. The Methodist ministers who had officiated on the plantation among the slaves, and by whose instruction old Peggy had been taught the way to heaven, were invited to visit Mr. W——'s house. The voice of prayer was now frequently heard in that dwelling. Mrs. W—— had already become a decided Christian, and was leading her husband on in the same path, when she was suddenly attacked with a violent fever. From the very commencement she felt that this sickness would be unto death. When it was evident that she was rapidly sinking and could survive but a few hours, she begged her husband to sit down at her bed-side and the children to stand by their father, and then calmly addressed him in substance as follows: "Charles, I told you a year ago I had a strong presentiment that I should not live long. Ever since that time I have been looking forward to this hour. I have a hope in Jesus, which is 'as an anchor to my soul.'—Though I love you and these dear children above all earthly things, I am willing to leave you all in the hands of God and to depart and be with Christ which is far better. But, dear husband, will you not join me in yonder heaven? Will you not bring these dear, precious ones with you there? Oh! then seek the salvation of your soul in the atoning blood of Christ, and train up these children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." These were her last dying words. The green grass has[Pg 170] for more that two years waved over her grave. Before her death the decease of her father had thrown a vast increase of wealth into her husband's hands. But that bereaved husband with all his vast wealth, as he looks upon his motherless children, and upon Jane's grass-covered grave, feels that this world is all an empty show, that we look for happiness in vain beneath the skies.

This was the outline of W——'s story. The hour had already become late before our conversation drew to a close. We each sought our respective berths in the cabin below. When we awoke in the morning, we found ourselves in the immediate vicinity of Albany. We were soon on shore moving up State street. * * * *

[Pg 171]



Albany—The Irish mother—Incidents that occured five years ago—The disappointed emigrants—The Little Falls—Rural retirement.

Fairfield, N. Y., Sept. 22.

Our stopping place in Albany was at Congress Hall, which we reached some time before the sun sent his resplendent beams abroad: the morning was damp and hazy, and upon the whole every thing looked dull and gloomy around us. We were, however, occupying one of the most delightful positions in the place—our inn being located on one corner of the beautiful enclosure in front of the capitol or state-house, whence we could overlook almost the entire city. As I sat down by a window which commanded a view of the state-house park, or square, my travelling companion directed my attention to a female, who with tattered vestments and feeble steps, was pacing backwards and forwards one of the gravelled walks in the verdant enclosure before us. She was carrying in her arms a sickly looking infant, some nine or ten months old, and the whole appearance both of the mother and child, seemed to indicate that they were houseless wanderers, and[Pg 172] had passed the night without a shelter. As in her continued walks up and down the gravelled avenue, she occasionally approached near the window where we sat, I saw that she was about middle aged, and had evidently once had a fine and expressive countenance, though the traces of sorrow and grief were now deeply worn there.

We were called to our breakfast: as soon as it was dispatched we hurried away from our hotel to the grand railroad depot, whence we were to take our departure westward. On our way we passed directly by the gravelled walk, where we had seen the poor woman, who had so much excited our sympathy. She now sat on the ground, her infant sleeping in her lap, and herself apparently absorbed in melancholy. She was evidently of Irish extraction, and though her appearance bore evidence of extreme poverty, there were no indications about her of intemperance. I could not but think what a tale of sorrow, of disappointed hopes, and perhaps of cruelly blighted innocence, would that Irish mother's history, if recorded, unfold. My thoughts immediately went back to that beautiful Emerald Isle, over whose green fields I had so recently roamed. Though I had seen some misery there, I had seen much happiness and contentment. I verily believe there is often to be found more real happiness in the mud cottage than in the gilded palace. The Irish have strong and generous feelings, and strong family affection. As I saw that poor Irish mother sitting there upon the ground, so forlorn and desolate, my imagination pictured to me her early home, where she passed her childhood beneath the glad eye of her affectionate parents. They saw her grow up, the pride of their heart, and thought that she would be[Pg 173] the solace of their declining years. But the tempter came—she was lured from her home—she passed over the deep waters, and found herself in a foreign land. Her base husband soon showed himself the degraded victim of intemperance, and after a few years deserted her—leaving her houseless, homeless, in poverty, and broken-hearted sorrow. Perhaps in point of fact there were no lines in the history of that poor Irish mother in correspondence with this picture, but I believe, if the real history of many an emigrant from that green isle were known, we should feel more kindly to that people, and the heart and hand of Christian charity would be more frequently open to relieve the destitute among them. I know not where we shall find on earth such noble elements of character as in the Irish race. I confess I have been charmed and filled with admiration with some specimens I have met of Irish Christian gentlemen. I cannot turn my face away from any poor Irishman who asks alms at my door, unless he be manifestly the victim of intemperance, and begs to procure the means of indulgence in this sin. It is true we are sometimes liable to be deceived. Clothes and money are sometimes procured under false pretexts. But even then they may minister to the comfort of the destitute, and if we have given for Christ's sake, we shall not lose our reward.

I do not mean by these remarks to intimate that I regard it as a Christian duty to give to all without discrimination who ask alms at our hands—but simply to say, that I think it better to give to twenty undeserving objects than to turn our face away from one who is Christ's representative here on earth. (Mat. xxv. 35-46.) Neither do I mean to affirm, that there is not danger of being deceived by[Pg 174] some who make large demands upon us for assistance. In such cases we should undoubtedly proceed with great caution: and even then, after all, we may be beguiled. A case in point now occurs to me.

While residing in New England, on a dull, cold, rainy Saturday afternoon, some five years ago, I heard a ring at my door. As the servant did not immediately appear to answer the call, I myself went to the door, where I found two persons in shabby and tattered dress, standing on the steps, with their clothes dripping with rain. The female was the first to speak, inquiring if I would not render some assistance to a distressed couple, who were extremely destitute, and far from country and home. The tones of her voice were so sweet and gentle, her manners so modest and unobtrusive, and the language which she used so well chosen, and even elegant, I felt convinced that they had indeed seen better days, and I should have done the greatest violence to my feelings, and every better principle of my nature, had I not opened my door and bid them enter. After they had dried themselves by the fire, and partaken of some refreshment, I asked them to tell me their history. The outline of it was as follows:—They were both natives of Ireland, where they had always resided till about four years since. Mrs. S——, the name of this female, and the wife of the man who accompanied her, was the daughter of a clergyman of the Established Church, who was vicar of a parish in Ireland, the name of which I do not now recollect. She was brought up in great tenderness and highly educated, as she was an only daughter. Being a novel reader and full of romantic ideas, she took it into her head to fall in love with a young bricklayer, who was engaged in working upon a house that[Pg 175] was building near the vicarage. She found means of meeting him unknown to her parents, and they were soon engaged to be married. At the appointed time she stole away secretly from home, met her lover at a specified spot, and then they went together to a distant part of the country, where they were married. She then sent home to her parents, confessing the whole affair. They were very indignant, and returned so severe an answer, that she and her husband concluded to embark at once for America.—They soon put their resolution into execution, and after a very long voyage found themselves at Montreal, without any means of subsistence. Her husband succeeded in obtaining some employment, so that they lived along comfortably for nearly a year. About this time she became the mother of a little daughter; and accidentally hearing that the Rev. Mr. ----, who was a brother of her mother's, and had been in this country several years, was residing at Troy, she persuaded her husband to go with her in quest of her uncle. When they reached Troy, they found that there was no Rev. Mr. —— residing there. Here they lived for some time, Mr. S—— hiring himself out to a builder, who was carrying on a large business there. After S—— had earned about one hundred dollars besides his living, this builder unexpectedly failed, and absconded without paying off any of his hands. S—— was again left in poverty, and without employment. A few months before, their little babe had sickened and died. They had recently heard that their relative resided in Boston. They therefore started off with the hope of finding him: having at length reached Northampton in great destitution, they made known their situation to the Rev. Dr. P——, who[Pg 176] relieved them from present distress, and informed them that the clergyman whom they were seeking lived in Philadelphia. With a view of going thither they had come to the place where I resided. The whole story appeared natural, and though they told it to a number of different individuals, they never contradicted themselves. Mr. S—— was rough and uncultivated—just such a man as a bricklayer would be. On the other hand Mrs. S—— was evidently an accomplished lady. She was acquainted with books, played on the piano forte, and sung beautifully. A clergyman bearing the name of the one whom she claimed as her uncle, actually resided in Philadelphia, and had not long since visited England and Ireland, as she said. I could detect no incongruity in any part of the narrative. They remained with us a week—during which time a number of our friends fitted them both out with new apparel, and procured for them the means of travelling with comfort to Philadelphia. I have seldom known so much sympathy to be awakened for destitute strangers as there was in their case. Several individuals accompanied them to the steamboat when they left, and wished them God speed. I sent by them a letter to the Rev. Mr. —— informing him of the facts above related. This was the last I ever heard of them! I saw the Rev. Mr. —— in a few months; he informed me he had never received the letter, that he had no relatives in Ireland, and that so far as he was concerned it must have been a sheer fabrication. My friends and myself, when these facts came to our knowledge, had a hearty laugh over this affair, and though we regretted that this Irish couple had used such deception, at least in one particular we did not[Pg 177] regret that we had fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and sent them on their way with solemn admonitions about the salvation of their souls.

Very little of interest is to be seen on the way between Albany and Schenectady across those sandy plains, save the distant tops of the Cattskill to the south, and the misty summits of the Green mountains to the north. Our course from Schenectady up the valley of the Mohawk was very delightful. The beautiful sylvan scenery up this valley, with its broken sheets of water, and dark rich verdure, reminded me of some scenes in England, which I can never forget. I need not describe the grand and rugged mountain scenery which nature has thrown up in forms of singular wildness around the Little Falls, nor the upland and undulating country through which one has to pass to reach the spot whence I write.

Here then, I am, far away from the strife of tongues, the agitations of business, and the dust and din of the city. The green hills are all around me, presenting a coat of dark rich verdure, which shows that they have not this season felt the blight of the withering and far-spread drought. All amid these retired hills appears full of quietness and repose—a fit place in which to study one's own heart and try to get nearer to heaven. I attended the other evening, what in England would be denominated a cottage meeting. The inhabitants of the neighbourhood were gathered together in a private house, and after suitable devotions conducted by the pastor, the people were familiarly and solemnly addressed on the subject of their immortal interests. These meetings, I understand, are held weekly in different parts of the village, and will, I doubt not, carry[Pg 178] salvation to many a house. What an inexpressible blessing is a faithful pastor, who cares for the flock, and uses every means in his power to guide them in the way everlasting!

[Pg 179]



Fairfield, N. Y., Oct. 1.

Within the last week I have made an excursion into the central part of Western New York. I never fail, while travelling through this region, to be impressed with the conviction, that this is the garden of America! The soil itself has in every field you pass, and upon every hill-side and vale to which you turn your eye, ten thousand witnesses to attest its astonishing fertility. And then there are treasures beneath the soil more valuable than silver or gold, in the vast beds of lime and plaster, and the exhaustless saline springs, scattered at different points over this region. Here, also, you have beautiful scenery in ten thousand varied forms: and if you wish to view nature in one of her more awful moods, you have only to draw near and listen to the tremendous roar of Niagara, and see the collected waters of an hundred lakes, dashed headlong in one great, furious tide, down the vast precipice, to the deep, rocky channel below.

I am sure the traveller who passes along the old post-road from Utica to Buffalo, and sees the hundred beautiful villages, the noble forests, the majestic trees, the rich foliage, the luxuriant orchards, the luscious fruits, the[Pg 180] crops of yellow wheat, the fields of waving corn, the vast enclosures of dark, fertile soil, the peaceful lakes and silvery streams that everywhere meet the eye, will exclaim, The garden of America! And then when he sees all this beautiful region intersected by canals and bound together by turnpikes, railroads, and lake and steam navigation, he will feel that Western New York possesses advantages of a most singular and superior character!

Last year in some few sketches of a tour to the West, a brief description was given of Geneva. This sweet village, take it all in all, I must regard as the gem of Western New York. I cannot conceive of a more lovely place for residence than this beautiful village on the banks of Seneca lake.

It was towards the close of the day that I reached this place, a spot with which so many sweet and sacred recollections were connected in my mind. My destination for the night was a few miles beyond it in the country. The road along which I passed lay through a scene full of sylvan beauty, disclosing every half mile to the eye of the traveller through the opening of the trees a beautiful view of a portion of the lake, that now slept in the sweet evening calm, tranquil as a sea of glass. The house of our friends was at length reached—and there were such greetings and gladness of heart, as they only feel who have been long and far separated from each other, with but little hope that they should ever again meet this side of eternity.

[Pg 181]



Retirement—Seneca Lake—Burlington, N. J.—Brooklyn, N. Y.

The following chapters are made up of letters detailing incidents of travel connected with a tour from Philadelphia to Rhode Island, and from thence into Western New York, during the summer of 1840.

Seneca, July 22.

Although nearly five weeks have elapsed since I left Philadelphia, I have not, till the present time, had an opportunity of redeeming my promise in giving you the sketches I promised. I am now enjoying what I have been sighing for ever since I started on my summer excursion, quietude and seclusion. Here I am encompassed with delightful rural scenery, and passing the livelong day undisturbed by the calls of either friends or parishioners making demands upon my time or services.

I cannot understand, how those who reside in the city and who escape for a weeks in summer from the dust, and din, and heat, and ceaseless cares that assail them amid the scenes of their daily occupation, can from choice fly for recreation to other cities, or to fashionable watering places,[Pg 182] where they are sure to encounter all the inconveniences they have left behind, with scarcely any of their home comforts. To me it would seem infinitely more desirable to seek "a lodge in some vast wilderness—some boundless contiguity of shade." Indeed I must say, I very much prefer a wholly rural district, to the most picturesque country village, in which to spend the few weeks during which I am to seek to recruit my health, and prepare for the duties and labors that await me on my return to the city. In such a situation one has not to make a constant effort to be agreeable. You can sit down and vegetate for a while, without being called upon to make any intellectual exertion whatever. Here one can sit or walk, wake or sleep, lounge or ride, as he chooses; he can read or write, or stroll forth amid the quiet fields, or sit beneath the shade of some wide-spreading tree. There is much in such a scene to hush all stormy passions to repose—to tranquilize one's existence, and to lift up the heart in devout aspirations to God.

My location for a few weeks is in just such a rural district near the banks of Seneca Lake, a beautiful expanse of water, of which I will tell you more hereafter. Around me are scattered farm-houses and orchards, and smiling fields, interspersed here and there with remaining fragments of that once mighty forest, that in the early history of this country waved in unbroken majesty from the shores of one lake to another. Here we see all the beauty of dark, deep, American foliage, and all the light, glowing brightness of American verdure, so strikingly in contrast with the English. On every side of me, I see from the window where I sit writing, the busy scenes of the hay[Pg 183] harvest—the mowers swinging their scythes or pausing for a moment to whet the shining steel—the young lads, full of the life and spring of joyous youth, spreading the new mown grass—the rakers gathering up the hay into winnows, or rolling it into heaps; and the loaded wains creaking under the burthen of the fragrant products of the meadow, slowly moving towards the barn or the rising stack. I look across to another field, and there waves in silent beauty the newly tasselled corn; while in a third, I see the golden headed wheat, gently nodding in the breeze, or bowing before the keen stroke of the cradler, or the more slow, but no less sure onward movement of the reaper. Above this rural scene spreads a cloudless canopy, and upon it the great luminary of day is pouring a flood of brightness. The sky, however, is not always cloudless here—the heavens not always serene—nor the day always bright, as I shall have occasion to relate to you before finishing these sketches.

Having thus informed you something of my present locality, I will return to the commencement of my journey, and if you and your readers will follow me in a tour along a very common-place track, I will endeavor to furnish them and you with such GLEANINGS BY THE WAY as I was able to make.

Our first landing place after turning our backs upon Philadelphia, was Burlington, N. J., where we spent a week in the most delightful manner. Often as I had passed that place by steamboat or rail road car, and much as I had admired its location, a single stroll along the green bank that skirts the Delaware, shaded as it is with luxuriant and full grown trees, convinced me that I had never[Pg 184] appreciated one half of the beauties of this sweet spot. The country seat of one of my parishioners, located on Green Bank, amid the thickest and tallest cluster of those trees which add so much beauty to the whole extent of the river side, was the hospitable mansion where we spent our time—and from which we could look out and watch the changing phases of the river, the passing of the steamers, the garniture of the fields beyond, the glowing tints of the evening sky, and the golden glories of the setting sun. We enjoyed our walks along the verdant bank and over the green lawn—we enjoyed our little excursions across the river in the row-boat—but most of all we enjoyed that sweet Christian converse we were permitted to have with the kind friends beneath whose hospitable roof we lodged.

Strangers in passing Burlington are usually attracted by the singular appearance of one particular mansion that stands near the banks of the river, surmounted by a small cross. Although this is sometimes mistaken for a church, I need not tell you it is the residence of the Bishop of New Jersey. This structure to an American eye, at first sight, has rather an uncouth appearance; but this impression will be corrected in the mind of every one who takes the trouble to visit this Episcopal palace. The interior arrangements are delightful, and exhibit great taste. While traversing its spacious apartments, we were strikingly reminded of some antiquated structures that we saw in England. During our stay at Burlington, the Bishop was absent. The institution of St. Mary's Hall is, of course, one of the things that will be likely to attract the attention of a visitor to this place. I was invited by the superintendant[Pg 185] to attend the family worship of the young ladies connected with this institution on Sunday evening. The evening service of the Liturgy was read; after which, by the request of the superintendent, I addressed a few words of Christian counsel to the assembled group. I have seldom seen a more interesting or intelligent company of young beings than those who then sat before me; and the solemn attention and evident sensibility with which they listened, led me to hope that under the Christian culture they were receiving, in connection with their intellectual training, they would all at last be found among the sheep of Christ's heavenly fold.

Our time passed quickly away while we remained at Burlington, and the hour we had fixed for our departure, came by far too soon. But life itself is like a journey, and to all our bright sunny spots here below, we have to bid an adieu almost as soon as we have reached them. Our next stopping place, after leaving Burlington, was Brooklyn, N. Y., where we were welcomed to the hospitalities of the spacious domicile of a Christian friend, to whom our hearts were knit in strong attachment, when existence with us was fresher than it now is. O, it is delightful to find, in this cold, heartless, fickle world, one who remains amid all the fluctuations of this changeful scene, the same; one, who, after the lapse of years, and who, though borne high upon the swelling tide of worldly prosperity, continues to the end the same simple, warm-hearted friend and consistent heavenly-minded Christian that he was at the first starting point of life. Such was the friend in the bosom of whose happy family we were permitted to abide during our stay at Brooklyn.[Pg 186]

I shall by no means attempt to enter into a detail of the scenes or incidents connected with our visit to New York, or Brooklyn; but there are two things which I am not disposed to pass entirely by.

I was present during a portion of the exercises of the commencement of the New York Seminary, and felt particularly interested in the Address of Bishop Ives to the graduating class. It contained exceedingly well-timed counsel, calculated to produce a most salutary effect upon the minds, not only of those about to assume the responsibilities of the sacred office, but of all those engaged in the exercise of its functions. The subject was the indispensable necessity of humility to the clerical character. There was a pathos and force and unction about the Bishop's remarks, that we think must have gone home to every heart.

Had we among us universally that lowliness of mind and gentleness of spirit which the Bishop so happily pourtrayed and so delightfully enforced, we should soon learn, both laity and clergy, in the great essentials to "be all of one mind; to love as brethren; to be courteous; to be patient toward all men, not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing; but contrarywise blessing." May the Lord speed the happy day when all the members and ministers of our Church may "be clothed with humility"—may have as the controlling principle of their lives, dwelling in them and pervading all their thoughts and actions, "the meekness and gentleness of Christ."

The other particular to which I referred as worthy of some passing notice, I shall have to reserve for my next chapter.

[Pg 187]



Brooklyn—Improvements—Ride—Approach to the Cemetery—Views—Beautiful scenes.

Seneca, July 29th.

In my last I conducted you on my journey as far as Brooklyn, N. Y. My temporary stay there was at South Brooklyn, a portion of that enterprising town which has been but recently built up. Scarcely any thing during my tour has more astonished me than the wonderful growth of this place. From a little rural village, it has grown up, in a few years, to a city, which, though it cannot pretend to rival the mighty metropolis that lies spread out in gigantic dimensions on the other side of the river, can still number its thirty or forty thousand inhabitants. One of the causes that have contributed to the rapid growth of this town, is its vicinity to New York. Gentlemen engaged in business in New York, find it pleasant and healthful to have their residences located upon the hills of Brooklyn, which look off upon the beautiful bay, and are daily fanned with fresh breezes from the ocean. While Brooklyn is thus increasing in population, I was happy to find that a corresponding increase was observable in its religious[Pg 188] institutions and houses of public worship. The temporary edifice occupied by the congregation of Christ Church, of which our friend the Rev. K. G—— is rector, is soon to be abandoned, and a new and beautiful Gothic structure is to be erected for the occupancy of that congregation. I was greatly delighted with what I saw of this congregation. The labours of our brother seem to have been peculiarly blessed. He has gathered around him a most interesting people, and God has sent among them already multiplied tokens of his converting grace. Whereever the Gospel is faithfully, and earnestly preached, and its holy precepts illustrated in the daily walk and conversation of those who "bear the vessels of the Lord," religion will prosper, and the church become like the garden of the Lord.

But I commenced this letter with a view of giving you an account of another matter, referred to in my last—a visit to the Green Wood Cemetery.

The friend with whom I was staying, charged me not to think of leaving Brooklyn without paying a visit to this Cemetery. I had heard something of these picturesque grounds, but had formed no adequate conception of their beauty. Several racy and graphic notices, from time to time, have appeared in the New York papers, as I since learned, of this magnificent ground plot, where is to be constructed a vast subterranean city for the dead. None of these, however, had fallen under my eye, and I therefore did not go prepared to witness the magnificent scene of wild and sylvan beauty, that a ride over these grounds revealed to me. My visit to this spot almost instantly unfolded to me the origin and propriety of its name, Green Wood Cemetery—a large portion of the grounds being[Pg 189] covered with green wood. The great interest of this spot arises from the natural beauty of the grounds in connection with the association of the purpose to which it has been devoted: for as yet not a grave has been dug here, nor a monument reared.

It was a bright sunny morning, while a bland balmy sea breeze refreshed the air, in which we started to visit the Green Wood Cemetery. We rode from South Brooklyn along on the margin of the bay, some two miles or more, till we had passed the little village of Gowanus, before we ascertained the exact locality of this future city of the dead. A short distance beyond the village just named, at a spot signalized in the Revolutionary war as the scene of a bloody engagement, we left the road, and entered a lane leading to the grounds of this Cemetery. This lane, from the gate onward, had all the appearance of wild and uncultivated rusticity, being shut in on either side with a sort of rude hedge, and shaded by forest trees and brushwood. For a while it conducted us through cultivated grounds, and we saw on each side of us, rich fields of grain, and corn growing in all the luxuriance of summer. Soon, however, this lane in its winding and upward course brought us into a scene perfectly sylvan, and woodland in its character. There was a stillness and seclusion around us that impressed us with the idea that we were in the depths of a vast forest,—such as we might expect to find a thousand miles from the great metropolis, whose steeples, and shipping, and scenes of vast activity were visible a few rods from the spot we now occupied. We had already entered upon the grounds of the Cemetery. They consist of about two hundred acres. I never before saw the same extent of territory combining such vast variety of scenery.[Pg 190] There is here forest and field, hill and dale, streamlet and lake in such variety, and singular juxtaposition, that in following the circuitous avenue that conducts you over these grounds in a ride of four miles, one is impressed with the idea that he has been travelling over a very extended district of country. It was not only the grounds themselves, but the views we caught of distant objects, from different points of the winding avenue, that helped to give effect to this whole scene. As we proceeded, every turn of the carriage wheel, either brought to view some new developement of striking sylvan beauty, or opened upon us some new feature of loveliness, or grandeur in the surrounding prospect. At one point we were completely embosomed in trees, where all was stillness and deep repose as though we were shut up in some remote dell, amid the lofty and rugged Alleghanies. Then again we emerged into smiling plains, and sunny fields, and smooth lawns of deepest green. Again our path conducted us into a dense forest, and we directly found ourselves upon the wooded brow of a steep declivity, sweeping off down to the margin of a little silent lake, whose dark shaded waters gave back with more than pictorial beauty, every tree and limb, and leaf whose shadow fell upon their surface: and then soon we again emerged from this forest scene, and found grassy fields, and an extended open country lie stretching around us. The winding avenue which we traced, every few rods brought us to a point of observation, where the surrounding scenery, made up of bays and islands, rivers and mountains, cities and villages, farms and country houses, and forests, put on a new phase, and, like the turn of a kaleidoscope, presented a new and still more beautiful picture to the eye.

The highest elevation of land in these grounds, is near[Pg 191] their centre, and is said to be the highest point of land upon Long Island,—it manifestly is the highest point in this part of the Island. It is called Mount Washington, from a determination already formed on the part of the proprietors of this ground, to erect upon its summit a lofty and magnificent monument to the Father of his country. From this elevated point, a panoramic view of surpassing beauty, in almost illimitable perspective, opens upon the eye. In one direction you see the blue waves of the outstretched ocean, upon which are visible all along the margin of the horizon, the whitened canvass of a hundred receding or approaching vessels; while in the intervening space, are seen the plains of Flatland and Flatbush, covered with grain, and verdure, and orchards, and forests, villages, hamlets, and farm-houses. Turning directly around, the whole bay of New York, with its beauteous islands, and the two magnificent rivers, whose mingled waters form the bay, together with the great metropolis itself, burst upon the view. Or to trace the prospect more leisurely:—at one point, you see in the distance, Sandy Hook, and the Lighthouse; and a little further to the right, Staten Island, the Lazaretto, Brighton, and the Jersey shore: still farther to the right appears Jersey City,—the waters of the broad Hudson, and along its banks, the palisades, and, still higher up, the highlands fading away in the dim distance. At a point in the landscape much nearer us rises to view the city of New York with its canopy of perpetual haze,—its hundred spires, and encircling forests of masts, while in still closer vicinage we can trace the East River, with all its busy show of commerce, and see Brooklyn sitting like a bridal queen upon this shore of the island.

We have often followed the remains of some friend, or[Pg 192] parishioner, to the picturesque grounds of our own Laurel Hill—we have traced each winding walk among the groves and tombs of Mount Vernon, and gazed upon the various monuments, the sculptured tombs, the dark shrubbery, and encircling scenery of Pere la Chaise; but we have no where seen such combined beauties, and natural advantages for a rural cemetery, as in the grounds which we have here attempted to describe. And what will these grounds be some hundred years hence, when art shall have reared up in every vale, around the margin of every lake, and upon every hill-side a thousand marble monuments, and when a larger population shall be ensepulchred here, than the living mass of beings that now inhabit New York and Brooklyn? What multitudes and myriads will those two cities within the next hundred years send to be entombed here! How will the population of this subterranean city go on increasing, till all these acres are covered over with piles of human dust! And what a scene will be exhibited here, when the last trumpet sounds! What myriads will start up here at that call! "For all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth!" And how solemn the truth which the Saviour subjoins,—"they that have done good unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation!"

I have lingered so long about the grounds of Green Wood Cemetery, that I can tell you nothing in my present letter about our excursion to Rhode Island.

[Pg 193]



Sail up the Sound—Burning of the Lexington—Providence—Meeting of old friends—Mr. Emerson—Transcendentalism—Westerly.

Seneca, August 1.

In my last I was principally occupied in giving you some account of the picturesque grounds of Green Wood Cemetery. It was on Tuesday afternoon, the thirtieth of June, at five o'clock, that we started in the well-built and beautiful steamer Massachusetts, on our way upon an excursion to Rhode Island. The scenery along the East River and up the Sound presents evidences of higher cultivation, but possesses features of less native picturesque wildness and rural beauty, than that which opens to view along the pathway of the Hudson. The atmosphere we encountered on our way to the steamboat issuing from every street of the great metropolis we had just left, was like the heat from a burning furnace. In delightful contrast with this, was the cool refreshing breeze that played around the bow of our advancing steamer, as we tracked our way up the river and along through the whirlpools and breakers of Hurlgate, a pass far more formidable, and requiring vastly more nautical skill than the famous Straits[Pg 194] of Pelorus with Scylla on one side and Charybdis on the other. The evening was beautiful, and our sail up the Sound proved truly delightful. The last rays of twilight were beginning to fade away, and the countless stars studding the arched firmament, to twinkle with unwonted brightness, when we reached the spot where we were told the ill-fated Lexington met her disastrous end. I could not but contrast the scene around me at the moment with the events of that awful night. We were sailing along over the tranquil and starlit bosom of the Sound, with the balmy breath of a summer evening fanning us: with no alarms within,—no raging tempest without. But on that fearful night, and aboard that ill-fated vessel, what a scene was exhibited! What amazement and terror and dismay must have seized every heart when the conflagration broke forth in all its fury! What added exceedingly to the excitement, and no doubt tended greatly to bereave many of all self-possession and presence of mind, was that the fire burst out in the central part of the steamer, cutting off all communication between those occupying the forward and the hinder part of the boat. Thus, in this moment of awful peril, husbands and wives,—parents and children, brothers and sisters were suddenly separated from each other by a wall of fire, and deprived of each other's counsel when most they needed it: and thus they were filled with increased alarm, not only for themselves, but for each other. Alas! this was an hour when no man could help his brother,—when the parent could neither save himself nor his children. If they remained on board the burning vessel, they must be consumed. If they plunged into the roaring waves they would sink into the depths beneath, and find there a watery grave: or if they[Pg 195] should escape the fury of the waves by clinging to a bale of cotton, or some floating part of the wreck, the chill winds of winter, and the icy waters that dashed over them, would soon stagnate and freeze to the very fountain the warm current of life. Thus all the elements of nature were armed against them, flame, and flood, and frost, and they could not escape. No imagination can conceive the horror or agony of the scene! I leaned over the side of our steamer, as we passed the spot where this awful scene occurred, and tried to picture to myself some of its outlines. Even the picture which rose before me was too awful to contemplate.

What a lesson that disaster ought to teach us of our entire dependence upon God for safety while travelling by land or by sea! What an admonition ought it to sound in our ears to be always ready for death! We know not the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man cometh! Our death may be as sudden, and as unexpected, as that of any of those on board the Lexington, though it occur in our own dwelling, and in the bosom of our family. If we are truly the Lord's people, and our names are in the Lamb's book of life, it matters little when, or where death meets us: for then the grizly king becomes the friendly porter that opens to us the golden gates of paradise.

The more usual course that passengers now pursue to Providence and Boston is to stop at Stonington, and take the railroad cars from that point. By this means they reach Providence and Boston several hours earlier than they were accustomed to by the old route. But as the steamboat arrives at Stonington long before morning, we were not disposed to leave our quiet berths for the sake of reaching Providence some three or four hours earlier than[Pg 196] we otherwise should, and therefore kept on in the old course around Point Judith touching at Newport.

The time that we spent at Providence in the midst of our old friends, I need not tell you, was passed most delightfully. The church where I once preached the reconciling word, the lecture-room where I saw countenances that called up with thrilling emotions the memory of days and scenes that will be fresh in my recollection through all eternity,—the private circle where cordial greetings, and more than Highland welcomes met us, all these and the countless associations they awakened, seemed to throw around us such a circle of enchantment, that, when the time had elapsed which we had designed to spend there, we still lingered from day to day, as though unable to pass that circle. If there be one draught of enjoyment more delicious than another which a Christian minister is permitted to drink this side of heaven, it is, when after years of absence, he returns to visit the flock from whom in the providence of God he was removed, and with whom his labours were once greatly blessed, and finds those for whose salvation he laboured, and whom he was instrumental in introducing into the fold of the Redeemer, "standing fast in the Lord," and exhibiting "the fruits of the Spirit;" or learns that those who are gone, and are numbered with the dead, departed in the triumphs of Christian faith. St. John could say, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in the truth." And St. Paul, "For now we live if ye stand fast in the Lord." The highest zest of the pleasure I enjoyed in this visit to the scene of my former labours, arose from what I saw and heard of the stability, and increased spirituality of a people with[Pg 197] whom I hope to sit down one day, in company with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God.

You are familiar with the whole topography of Rhode Island, and therefore I need say nothing of the interblending of rural scenery and retirement, with city embellishment and comfort, which so eminently distinguish not a few of the neat and elegant residences in Providence. There is one feature in the moral character of this city, which distinguishes it from most other New England towns. In almost all New England the great mass of mind is educated, and the people upon all subjects think for themselves. Generally, however, especially in the interior, the descendants of the Puritans, cleave in religious matters to the faith of their forefathers, and are opposed to all change. But in Rhode Island, there has always been a more liberal, and free-thinking spirit on the subject of religion than in any of the other New England states.—It was here that Roger Williams fled when his Puritan brethren would not tolerate him in the Bay state. It was through his influence that a more enlightened feeling in reference to religious toleration was made to pervade the community settling at Providence, than was found at that period in any other New England town. And probably there is no place in our country, where, at this time, a more kind and catholic spirit, or a greater freedom from the influence of narrow, sectarian feeling prevails, than here. This tolerant spirit, however, in some minds, manifests a strong tendency to latitudinarianism. Hence, perhaps, there is no community in the world where a new religious sect would so soon gather intelligent adherents as at Providence, and no where, where more sound and able, and fearless advocates would rise up to defend "the faith once[Pg 198] delivered to the saints." I have been led into this train of reflection, from encountering a greater prevalence of the transcendental spirit, at Providence, than I have anywhere before met in our country. This offshoot of German neology, issuing from the same parent stock with Socinianism, finds a congenial soil in a Unitarian community. You are aware that the Rev. Mr. Emerson, formerly a Unitarian minister at Boston, has embraced transcendentalism in all its heights and depths. Whether he be actually deranged, as some suppose, or not, matters very little, since multitudes, and some who desire to be classed among the elite of the land, are ready to gather around him and receive the law of their belief from his mouth. He has recently made a visit to Providence, and developed by means of lectures and conversations, his peculiar views. He is spoken of as a man of genius, and wonderfully attractive. He is a thorough pantheist. He believes that every thing in nature is a part of God—that good men are incarnations of Deity, and that it was in this sense alone, that God is said to be "made flesh" in the person of Jesus Christ. He places Socrates, and Zoroaster and Jesus in the same category, and considers that they differed from each other only in the degree of inspiration which they had. He thinks that the writings of Socrates and Plato, and Zoroaster should be bound up in the same volume with the Bible, and that they are entitled to more confidence, and marked with deeper wisdom than some portions of our present canon of Scripture.

During Mr. Emerson's stay at Providence, having advanced some crude idea, he was referred to a saying of the Saviour, which contradicted his position: when he very deliberately replied, "Jesus was mistaken." On another[Pg 199] occasion speaking of the Saviour, he said: "Jesus was a very good man, I wish he had been better: he had no fun, no humour in his character, in this respect he was imperfect." Such are some of the specimens of gross infidelity, which the abettors of transcendentalism in New England, openly put forth. The charm of this transcendental scheme consists partly in the metaphysical mystification, the sentimental namby-pambyism,—the crazed poetic inspiration, with which the masters of this school speak and write. Then there is much to soothe and flatter the pride of the human heart, in the idea which they would have every man take up that he is a pure emanation of Deity,—a bright scintillation from the divine mind, and that all he has to do, is to follow the lofty inspirations of his own mind, and then he will sparkle forth along the track of being, an incarnate God. One very truly remarked in relation to transcendentalism, that it was no new doctrine,—that it was taught as long ago as when man was in the garden of Eden: even then, the father of lies, said to our first ancestors, eat the forbidden fruit, and "ye shall be as gods."

In the midst of abounding iniquity and multiplying error, it behoves the friends of truth to stand on the watch tower and give the people timely warning. I felt greatly refreshed and truly delighted in various interviews with the clergy whom I met in Rhode Island. My mind naturally reverted to the scenes of former days, when I was so pleasantly associated with them, and when we used to meet at the monthly Convocations as a band of brothers, having one heart and one mind, and labouring together for one simple object, the upbuilding of the Saviour's kingdom and the glory of God. Great changes since that[Pg 200] period have taken place. Some of these brethren have gone to the north, and some to the south—some to the east, and some to the west; and yet the character of the Rhode Island clergy continues the same. Take them all in all, I know of no set of men more thoroughly evangelical or more truly devoted to the best interests of the Church of Christ; or occupying a more elevated stand for piety and learning and talents, than the clergy of Rhode Island.

I passed a few days at Westerly, and could not but remember with gratitude my first visit to this place some six years ago. As I saw the beautiful church—the neat parsonage house—the respectable congregation, and the multiplied tokens of true piety around me, I could not but say, "What hath God wrought!" Never can I doubt that the power of God is connected with Revivals of religion, while I remember the scenes of Westerly—while so many "fruits of the Spirit" remain, of consistent, devoted, exemplary followers of Christ, brought to a knowledge of the truth in a revival. Because men get up imitations of the work of the Lord, as the magicians did of the miracles of Moses, it does not invalidate the Lord's work any more than those magical attempts did the truth of his miracles.

I have room only to add, if the Lord permits, you will soon hear from me again.

[Pg 201]



Rapid travelling—Auburn—Stage coach—Seneca Lake—Summer's sultry heat—Sudden change—Fierce tempest—Imminent peril.

Seneca, August 6th.

In our journey to this place, we had a practical illustration of the increased facilities and greatly accelerated movements of modern travelling. Having left New York on Wednesday evening, the fifteenth of July, at five o'clock, we found ourselves the next evening, before nine o'clock, at Auburn—a distance but little short of three hundred and fifty miles, which was passed over, omitting, in our reckoning, the time spent at Albany, Utica, and Syracuse, in about twenty-one hours.

I cannot now stop to notice the refreshing influence of the broad-swelling tide of the noble Hudson as we sailed up this stream—nor the picturesque aspect of the palisades—nor the more sublime features of the rugged and sombre highlands, throwing their dark shadows upon the moonlit waters below; neither can I now stay to tell you any thing of the improvements in the capital of the great empire state, nor of the improving aspect of the interior city, which stands, as it were, on the dividing line between[Pg 202] Eastern and Western New York—nor yet of the peculiarities of the rising town, which is the centre and the great emporium of the salt trade, and which has appropriated to itself the dignified name of the renowned city where the great Archimides met his fate. Passing by all these, with railroad speed, and all the varied beauties of a magnificent agricultural region, I hasten to give you some account of an adventure in which we found ourselves involved just before arriving at this place. The railroad is completed no farther than Auburn, from which place we were obliged to come on in a common stage coach. The morning was very hot and dusty, and our ride, although only about twenty miles, seemed long and tedious. The driver of our coach, in order to avoid the deep sand between Waterloo and Geneva, took the lake-road, which brought us on to the beach of the lake, about three miles from Geneva. From this point, on quite to the village, we keep along upon the circling margin of the lake, with the waters of the broad Seneca dashing up over the pebbly shore, almost laving with every returning surge the carriage wheels. Here too we see the whole expanse of the lake, which is about three miles wide, together with the beautiful farms that sweep away from the shores back into the country; and are also able to follow the long track of these far stretching waters many miles towards their head. Upon a noble and finely-elevated bluff of land which forms the shore and northwestern corner of this beautiful lake, the village of Geneva, with its colleges and churches, and stores and elegant residences, surrounded with gardens and embowered in shade, lies spread out in one noble panoramic view. We had reached the point where all this scene of beauty opened upon us. We thought we never saw the lake more placid—nor[Pg 203] all nature more quiet. Every thing seemed to be oppressed with the weight of the sultry and heated atmosphere. Immediately around us was a rural district, from the living features of which Thomson might have drawn all the pictures that make up one scene of his Summer. A various group of herds and flocks were scattered around us. Some lay ruminating on the grassy bank; while others stood half in the flood, and "often bent to sip the circling surface." Deeper in the lake drooped the strong laborious ox "of honest front, which incomposed he shook;" and lashed from his sides the troublous insects with his tail. Not a breath of air seemed to shake a bough of the leafy elm, or spread a ripple over the glassy waters. But as we rode leisurely along the sandy beach, a little cloud seemed gathering over the lake, and now and then a faint gleam of lightning played with fitful and flickering blaze over its darkening fold. We had nearly reached the place of our destination, and were congratulating ourselves that we should be in the midst of our friends and under safe shelter before the shower reached us. But scarcely had we thought this, before the heavens began to gather blackness and the wind to rise and roar as though a tempest were coming. And indeed a tempest was coming; for scarcely five minutes had elapsed after the first visible indications of the coming storm before a perfect gale struck us. The waters of the lake were dashed into the wildest scene of agitation—the trunks, and band-boxes, and baggage began to be blown from the top of our coach, and chased along on the ground, "like a rolling thing before the whirlwind." And then the rain began to descend, and to rush into our carriage as though the water had been scooped up from the lake and poured upon us in[Pg 204] a torrent. We had no time to fasten down the uprolled curtains of our coach; we had no time to protect ourselves in any way—our baggage was flying—our horses were frightened—our driver could hardly keep in his seat. And still the storm increased: the wind swept down in a narrow column from the head of the lake with all the fury of a tornado, and blew our horses and coach quite up against the fence, where the rain continued to come in upon us as though a water spout had broken directly over our heads. But this was not our greatest difficulty. Our carriage was now in a position in which it seemed impossible that it should not be upset. The wheels had already become entangled in the fence. One of the huge stakes of the fence was thrust into the window of our carriage which we could not remove, while the carriage itself was rocking, and nearly on its side. The horses all this time were floundering and jumping, and exceedingly restive; but the wind was so strong that they could not move forward. There were three ladies in the coach, of whom I had the care, besides my wife and children, and nurse. Never before did I so fully realize that I was held in the hollow of God's hand, as at this perilous moment. For at least five minutes there seemed to be but a hair's breadth between us and death. But we looked unto the Lord, and he delivered us. In a few moments the storm abated—the rain ceased—the dark clouds rolled away, and the sun came forth as bright and as lustrous as though no mist or dark thunder cloud had ever obscured his disk.

[Pg 205]



Sunday—Sacred worship—The sanctuary recalling youthful scenes—Early plighted vows at the table of the Lord—Retrospect—Mournful reflections—Change in the congregation—Mr. and Mrs. N—— The C——family—Col. T—— Village burial ground—C——The buried pastor—My mother—Palmyra—Early ministerial labours—Lyons.

Fairfield, Aug. 15th.

In these Gleanings by the Way, I have very little plan or method, but send you just what happens to interest me most at the time.

Perhaps there are no two places that we visit, after long years of absence, with so much interest as the sanctuary where we first plighted our vows of allegiance at the sacramental table to Jehovah, and the old, shaded burial place where repose the ashes of many whom we knew and loved in early life. In my late excursion through Western New York, I was permitted to enjoy this pleasing, yet melancholy satisfaction. Upon the first Sunday of the present month, I was permitted to worship in the sanctuary where twenty-two years before I first knelt at the communion table to receive the consecrated symbols of my Saviour's dying love. As I stood within the rail of the altar and[Pg 206] looked around that sanctuary, a tide of thought rushed upon me, awakening in my mind varied and conflicting emotions.

The sacred place with its history called up some pleasing reflections. I could not but rejoice that "the truth as it is in Jesus," continued to be proclaimed there, and that the cross of Christ was perpetually held up as the sinner's only hope. I could not but rejoice to see the increase and prosperity of Christ's spiritual flock; the number of communicants having swelled from fifty to nearly two hundred. I could not but be thankful to remember how mercifully and kindly the Lord had led me through the wilderness for more than twenty years, and how unerringly he had fulfilled all his covenant promises!

But there were also painful reflections called up by what I saw before me. Remembering as I did that here, in this spot my covenant vows were pledged before high heaven, I could not but recollect how far I had fallen short of that entire consecration to God—that separation from the world, and supreme love for Christ, implied in those vows—I could not but recollect what poor returns I had rendered to that Saviour who had laid down his life for my redemption, to that merciful God

* * * * * * that sought me
Wretched wanderer, far astray;
Found me lost, and kindly brought me
From the paths of death away.

Since the hour I had first knelt at that altar to consecrate myself to the service of Jehovah, his covenant promises had been all verified. "Not one thing had failed of all the good things which the Lord my God had spoken concerning[Pg 207] me." During all this period, "his loving kindness he had not taken away, nor suffered his faithfulness to fail." But amid all these unwearied displays of divine faithfulness, alluring me with the sweetness of spiritual joys, and rousing my dullness, as well as rebuking my waywardness with the chastenings of a father's rod, how often had I, like Israel of old, by spiritual declension, and worldly conformity "forsaken the Lord—provoked the holy one of Israel unto anger, and gone away backward!" Most overwhelming, indeed, would have been the review of the past, but for that voice of redeeming love which breathed from the altar on which lay the symbols of Christ's great sacrifice, saying—"the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin." "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." "If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins."

The scene within that sanctuary also awakened other mournful reflections. A large congregation sat before me, but where were the individuals and families that twenty years before filled those pews? Only here and there amid the assembled congregation could be traced a familiar countenance. The great mass had gone! Some had undoubtedly left the place and removed to other parts of the country; but the majority of the senior members of the former congregation, had finished their probation and gone to the Spirit land! How solemn did the place seem as I stood and looked upon the mere handful now remaining of that large congregation that once filled this temple. There were four pews to which my eye was particularly directed.[Pg 208] I recollected distinctly how they were occupied twenty years ago. Each of the families that sat in those pews were among the most respectable and influential people in the place. Regular as the Sabbath morn came, was Mr. and Mrs. N—— with their large and interesting family seen moving up the aisle in a dignified train and with looks of deepest seriousness towards their pew. He was for a long time one of the wardens of the church. He had filled some most important posts of civil duty, and enjoyed the esteem and respect of all. Mrs. N—— afforded in her whole life a most lovely specimen of consistent, dignified, matronly piety. So extensive were the charities of this family, that it might almost literally be said of them, that "they were eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. They delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him,"—so that in truth wherever they went in the neighbourhood of their own home, "the blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon them; and they caused the widow's heart to sing for joy." But those venerable forms, those worthy characters, were no longer to be seen in that pew. Long since they had been borne to the place of the dead, and several of those children that used to sit by them, had also been laid by their side in the grave. Adjoining this pew, was another occupied by a family of great respectability and worth. The head of this family was one who filled a large space in the public mind, and for many years held a seat in the highest legislative council of the nation. I looked for him in that pew, but he was not there! he was numbered with the dead! I was wont to see amid that family group, a young beautiful blooming girl—the pride of her parents' hearts, but now she was not there! She had been married, and[Pg 209] had every thing around her that earth could afford to make one happy. But in the midst of all that was bright and lovely, consumption had fixed its deadly blight upon her, and nothing could rescue her from the grave.

I looked across the church to two other pews, their former occupants, though they were families that had been long residents in the place, and possessed great wealth and respectability, were gone. Not a single representative of either family remained in the congregation or the place. Mr. C——, the head of one of these families, was also long a warden of the church. They had a lovely daughter, who was an only child. I well recollect her appearance in the house of God. She was a delicate flower, and most tenderly was she nurtured by her affectionate parents. All their earthly hopes seemed to centre in her. No expense was spared in her education. Every advantage that was supposed calculated to refine her taste, cultivate and expand her intellect, embellish her manners, and fit her to shine in the world, was placed within her reach. She was indeed a lovely young being. She had already interested the affections of one every way worthy of her. He was highly educated—of an excellent moral character, and belonged to a family of great wealth, influence and respectability—the very family who occupied the other pew of which I am soon to speak. But strong parental affection, high personal accomplishments—the brightest prospects in life, and the warm attachment of a devoted lover, could not shield Susan from the power of disease, or the cold iron grasp of death. The long grass now waves over her grave, and her broken-hearted father lies by her side. Their large estate has been[Pg 210] scattered to the winds—and her mother resides in a distant part of the land a lonely widow.

I have already alluded to a fourth pew in this sanctuary, whose occupants I had some twenty years before so often seen in this place of worship. Col. T—— held a proud place among the distinguished and influential men in Western New-York. He possessed all which wealth and high standing and extensive influence can impart to secure to himself and family the most unalloyed earthly enjoyment. And I trust that he had something better than this, even that hope, which sheds light over the gloom and darkness of the grave. He and his family were regular attendants upon the service of the sanctuary. He had two sons whom he expected would inherit a portion of his property and perpetuate his name in the world. But the youngest to whom we have before alluded, did not long linger upon the shores of time, after he saw the object of his young affections torn from him and swallowed up in the grave. His only surviving brother, in the very midst of life, shortly followed him. And soon his father and his mother were laid by his side. This is a picture—a miniature picture of life! Thus doth "the fashion of this world pass away!" What solemn testimony was before me, that "all flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof as the flower of the field." How emphatic then did the words of the prophet seem—"The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass." Not only had the flock changed—but the pastor was also gone! He who had instructed my youth—who had led me to the Saviour—who had first broken to me the sacramental[Pg 211] bread, and given some of the first impulses to my preparation for the ministry—no longer stood before that altar—his voice was no longer heard in that sanctuary! A simple marble slab placed in the recess behind the pulpit, told the melancholy tale that he too had gone to the spirit land.

The account I have given you of my visit to this sanctuary, is so full of death I need scarcely take you to the village burial ground. It was a place, however, consecrated by the dust of too many dear friends for me to abstain from treading among its grass-covered and heaped hillocks of earth. This burial place, consisting of several acres of ground, enclosed by a neat pale, and shaded by shrubbery and trees, was located in the outskirts of the town, and at present, is seldom used for interments. A solitary walk amid its graves brought up a long train of recollections of the past. How mournful, yet how sacred did I find the satisfaction of brushing away the long grass that had grown over the spot where reposed the mouldered ashes of one who gamboled with me amid the sports of childhood's careless hour, and rushed onward at my side in life's joyous course till youth was ripening into manhood, and then the barbed arrow of death met him, and he fell like a young, vigorous, foliage-clad tree, struck by heaven's bolt, in all the freshness of his existence! How mysterious and inscrutable did the ways of Providence appear to me as I trod down the tall weeds that had grown up around the grave of one who had been associated with me during a portion of my academical life, and who looked forward to the same profession with myself! C—— had one of the warmest and most amiable hearts that ever beat within[Pg 212] the human bosom. He had faults of character, but they were all counterbalanced and lost amid the many excellencies that distinguished him. He had long contended with poverty and discouragements of various kinds, in order to press his way towards the sacred ministry. After years of toil, and sacrifices of every kind, when he had just reached the goal, and was to be invested with the ministry of reconciliation, disease fastened upon his earthly tabernacle, and he sank down in death. No tender mother, nor kind sister was near to close his dying eyes. No family friends were present to follow his remains to the tomb. There he lies in a lone spot, far from the home of his childhood, with the weeds grown up all around his grave, and few that pass by understand the full import of the simple inscription of the marble slab that marks the spot where his ashes repose!

And there too, amid the gathered crowd of the dead, was all that remained of the mortal part of one whose voice had been heard a hundred times amid those grounds repeating the solemn burial service of our Church. But years have passed away since that service was repeated over him. Well do I recollect the melancholy occasion, when the cold icy clod of winter fell upon his coffin, as the affecting words were pronounced—"We commit his body to the ground: earth to earth—ashes to ashes, dust to dust." I could not pass through those grounds without paying a visit to the grave of the buried minister, for he had not only shed spiritual light upon my path, but was united to me by the strong ties of kindred and blood. He was my own brother! The grass was green over his grave; for it had flourished there undisturbed for more than twelve years.[Pg 213]

But no spot in all that ground seemed so sacred, or so pregnant with power to awaken deep emotions and melt my soul into tenderness, as my mother's grave! What a volume of past recollections does every visit to that grave call up! What hallowed thoughts and sacred remembrances stand associated with the dust that slumbers in that narrow house? Can I ever forget a sainted mother's love! Can I ever forget the hour she took my tiny hand into hers and led me to a secret place there to pray for me and to teach me how to lift up my infant voice to the Creator of the skies? Can I ever forget how each night and morning in childhood's happy days I knelt at her side to repeat "our Father?" Can I ever forget how in my childish sorrows her voice soothed my distress, and her bright beaming smile spread a sunshine around my path? Can I ever forget how, when sickness came upon me, and the scorchings of fever sent the blood boiling through my veins, she hung over me like a guardian angel—laid her soft hand upon my burning brow, and night after night sat and watched by my pillow? Can I ever forget that look of holy rapture and unutterable gratitude that lit up her countenance when the constraining love of Christ first led her unworthy child to go forward and take hold of the horns of the altar? And above all, can I ever forget her prayers and solemn counsel, her holy trust in Christ and upward looking towards the summit of the everlasting hills, when the icy hand of death was upon her, and her hold upon life was breaking away? And could I stand by her grave, and not have these recollections come thronging upon me? But I must stop. I had almost forgotten that I was writing for the eye of others. Did I not know that many into whose hands these remarks will[Pg 214] fall, have also stood by a mother's grave, and thought and felt unutterable things, and will therefore appreciate the source and sacredness of these feelings to which I have been almost involuntarily led to give expression, I would immediately erase them from this sheet.

But I have lingered over these scenes much longer than I intended. I had purposed to give you some account of an excursion I made to Palmyra and Lyons, two rising and beautiful villages located within sixteen miles of each other, at different points on the line of the great Erie Canal. The whole range of country from Geneva onward to these villages, and still farther north till we reach the shores washed by the waves of the broad Ontario, which expands before the eye like a great inland sea, is one of the richest and most beautiful farming districts found in our country. This region, fourteen years ago, was the scene of my early missionary labours. It was then comparatively a new country. A change has come over the whole aspect of this agricultural district, and that within so limited a period, that it would almost seem to have been effected by the wand of enchantment. Edifices too for public worship have been raised, and the sound of the church-going bell is now heard in many places where a few years since all seemed like spiritual desolation. The Episcopal Church had neither existence nor local habitation in the county of Wayne fourteen years ago. An effort had been previously made at Palmyra to establish the Episcopal Church, but it proved abortive. Palmyra, Lyons, and Sodus, were the principal points where my early ministerial labours were bestowed. Here we organized churches, and in two places commenced rearing up houses of public worship.[Pg 215] In each of these three places they now have a settled pastor. I spent a Sabbath most delightfully at Palmyra, preaching in the neat and tasteful church edifice erected there. Most deeply affecting was it to see among the serious and exemplary communicants of this church some who during my residence in that place were among the giddiest youth of the village.

At Lyons they are building a beautiful stone Gothic Church—which will be an ornament to the village, and highly creditable to those engaged in this enterprise. I have met with but few men, to whom upon so short an acquaintance, I have felt my heart more drawn than to the worthy young pastor placed over this congregation. His ministerial fidelity, attractive pulpit powers, and lovely Christian character seem to have attracted all hearts towards him. Here too, was I delighted to find among the communicants some whom I had baptized in infancy.

[Pg 216]



The golden Bible—Moral, political, and numercial importance of the Mormon sect—Views of Revelation—Causes that have contributed to spread Mormonism—Martin Harris—Interview with the author—Transcripts from the golden Bible—Jo Smith, the Mormon prophet—His early history—First pretended revelation—His marriage—Chest containing the golden Bible—Attempts to disinter it—Consequence—Delusion of Harris—Translation and publication of the Book of Mormon.

The sketch that follows, detailing some facts connected with the rise and origin of Mormonism, is made up partly of a series of letters written by the author in 1840 for the columns of the Episcopal Recorder, a religious periodical published in Philadelphia, of which he is one of the editors, and partly of facts and documents that have since come into his hands.

The present chapter contains the substance of the first letter of the series referred to.

Palmyra, Aug. 24th.

I proceed to give some account of the rise and origin of the Mormon delusion, as I am now in the region where this imposture first sprung up. In the town of Manchester, about six miles from this place, may still be[Pg 217] seen an excavation in the side of a hill, from whence, according to the assertion of the Mormon prophet, the metallic plates, sometimes called The Golden Bible, were disinterred. A writer in the New York Evening Express, who has been recently travelling in the West, remarks that "the Mormons have assumed a moral and political importance which is but very imperfectly understood." He then proceeds to add in relation to them that, "associated on the religious principle, under a prophet and leader, whose mysterious and awful claims to divine inspiration make his voice to believers like the voice of God; trained to sacrifice their individuality; to utter one cry; to think and act in crowds; with minds that seem to have been struck from the sphere of reason on one subject; and left to wander like lost stars, amid the dark mazes and winding ways of religious error; these remarkable sectaries must necessarily hold in their hands a fearful balance of political power. In the midst of contending parties, a single hand might turn their influence, with tremendous effect, to which ever side presented the most potent attraction, and should they ever become disposed to exert their influence for evil, which may Heaven prevent, they would surround our institutions with an element of danger, more to be dreaded than an armed and hundred-eyed police." It is not, however, in reference to their political, but to their religious influence, that we entertain a degree of apprehension. This sect has been organized only about ten years, and yet they profess to number, in their society, one hundred thousand souls. This undoubtedly is an exaggeration, but it has been stated from a source upon which reliance can be placed, that there are probably not less than sixty thousand persons now professing the Mormon faith. It[Pg 218] is said also that they are putting forth the most indefatigable efforts by itinerant missionaries, both in this country and in Europe, to make proselytes to their creed. These facts show the importance of spreading upon the columns of our religious journals from time to time statements that tend to unveil the trickery and artifice by which this system of imposture was got up and continues to be perpetuated.

There are two or three reasons why the Mormon delusion has spread so rapidly, and which will probably continue to give it more or less currency.

One cause is, that it fully and cordially admits the truth of the sacred Scriptures. Did it discard all previous revelation,—pour contempt upon the Saviour of the world, and set up an independent claim for a revelation wholly new, it would have gained comparatively few adherents. But recognizing the truth and credibility of the sacred Scriptures, and retaining as it does, many doctrines which are held in common by different denominations of Christians, and covering its own absurdities with imposing forms and lofty pretensions, it opens a winning asylum for all the disaffected and dissatisfied of other persuasions, and contains much that is congenial to almost every shade of radicalism, or erratic religious character.

Another cause which has contributed to the rapid spread of this imposture, is, that it appeals strongly to the love of the marvellous,—to that thirst and anxiety, so rife with a certain class of mind, to know more than God would have us know,—to find some discovery that will carry us farther than revelation,—to get some one to come back from the grave, and tell us what is in eternity,—to see with our own eyes a miracle, and obtain some new glimpse of the[Pg 219] invisible world. There is manifestly existing in a certain order of men, in every part of the world, and in every period of time, a strong propensity of this sort. What but this propensity would have given such potent and almost irresistible influence to Joan d' Arc, who, from an ostler maid in an obscure country inn in France, by claiming heavenly inspirations, and pretending to see visions, and to hear divine voices calling her to re-establish the throne of France, and to expel the foreign invaders, rose to such surprising eminence and power, as to be the very pivot upon which the destinies of the whole nation turned!—as to be invested with the military conduct of the French army,—directing and raising sieges,—inspiring the troops with invincible courage, and spreading disaster and defeat through all the ranks of the British army, so that the Duke of Bedford, after all the previous success and triumph of the English arms at Verneuil and Orleans, and with all his tact and ability, could scarcely keep any footing in France? What but this deep-rooted propensity could have prepared men to have received the dreams, and reveries, and pretended revelation of Emanuel Swedenborg, or of Ann Lee; or to have yielded up their reason to a belief in the clairvoyance of animal magnetism? And not to multiply instances abroad, what but such a propensity as the one to which we have now referred, attracted the New Jerusalemites around Jemima Wilkinson, and gave her so much power over a large community of men and women? What but this, opened the way for the monstrous claims set up by the execrable Mathias, who drew after him, as by the power of enchantment, and subjected to his dictum, whole families,—persons of education and refinement, and among the number, several men of intelligence, respectability[Pg 220] and fortune? It is to this same principle, this anxious desire to look deeper into the hidden mysteries of the invisible world, than any mortal has hitherto been privileged to do, that the originators of this "cunningly devised fable" of Mormonism have appealed. While they admit the truth and credibility of the sacred Scriptures, they profess to have obtained an additional revelation, by which new illumination is shed over every page of the sacred word,—all controversies settled, and the obscurity that hitherto hung over many religious subjects dispelled. They profess to bring to light a historical and religious record, written in ancient times, by a branch of the house of Israel that peopled America, from whom the Indians are descended. This record, which, engraven upon metallic plates, lay deposited in the earth for many centuries, not only corroborates and confirms the truth of holy writ, but also opens the events of ancient America, as far back at least as the flood. They pretend that this record "pours the light of noon-day upon the history of a nation whose mounds and cities, and fortifications, still repose in grand but melancholy ruins, upon the bosom of the western prairies." The Mormons not only claim this new revelation, but profess to have still among them the gift of prophecy and miracles. They contend that miracles and revelations from heaven, are as necessary now, and as important to the salvation of the present generation, as they were in any former period, and that they alone possess this privilege of immediate and constant intercourse with heaven.

But that which has given vastly the greatest strength to Mormonism is the violent persecution which its disciples have suffered in the West, and especially in Missouri.[Pg 221] Nothing can be more impolitic, or unjust, or farther removed from the spirit of the gospel, than to oppress and persecute any set of men on account of their religious tenets; and certainly nothing can give them more strength or rapid growth than such a procedure.

The Mormons first located themselves, as a body, in Kirtland, Geanga Co., Ohio. Some difference arose among their leaders on account of certain banking operations which they attempted, and they separated, and a portion of them went to Independence, Jackson Co., Mo. The people in the neighbourhood of that location became unfriendly to them, and drove them away by force, subjecting them to great sufferings and loss of property. They were at last entirely and forcibly expelled from the state of Missouri. They afterward purchased the town of Commerce, said to be a situation of surpassing beauty, at the head of the lower rapids on the Illinois shore of the Mississippi river. The writer to whom I have already referred, and who has revisited these western Mormons this present summer, remarks:—"The name of the place where they now reside, they have recently changed to Nauvoo, the Hebrew term for fair or beautiful. Around this place, as their centre, they are daily gathering from almost every quarter: and several hundred new houses, erected within the last few months, attest to the passing traveller the energy, industry, and self-denial with which the community is imbued. They have also obtained possession of extensive lands on the opposite side of the river, in that charming portion of Iowa Territory, known as the 'Half Breed Reservation;' and there upon the rolling and fertile prairies they are rapidly selecting their homes and opening their farms. As the traveller now passes through[Pg 222] those natural parks and fields of flowers which the hand of the Creator seems to have originally planted there for the inspection of his own eye, he beholds their cabins, dotted down in most enchanting perspective, either on the borders of the timbers, or beside the springs and streams of living water which are interspersed on every hand."

The other portion that remain in Ohio, have erected a stone temple in Kirtland, of splendid appearance and singular construction. The first floor is a place of worship, with four pulpits at each end; each pulpit calculated to hold three persons. These pulpits rise behind and above one another, and are designed for different grades of ministers according to their rank in office. These are the two principal settlements of these people, although there are small societies of them found in almost every part of the United States. In some instances not only members but ministers of orthodox churches have been led to leave their own churches, and identify themselves with the Mormons.

It is time that I should acquaint you with some facts that came to my personal knowledge full thirteen years ago, connected with the rise of this imposture.

It was early in the autumn of 1827 that Martin Harris called at my house in Palmyra, one morning about sunrise. His whole appearance indicated more than usual excitement, and he had scarcely passed the threshold of my dwelling, before he inquired whether he could see me alone, remarking that he had a matter to communicate that he wished to be strictly confidential. Previous to this, I had but very slight acquaintance with Mr. Harris. He had occasionally attended divine service in our church. I[Pg 223] had heard him spoken of as a farmer in comfortable circumstances, residing in the country a short distance from the village, and distinguished by certain peculiarities of character. He had been, if I mistake not, at one period, a member of the Methodist Church, and subsequently had identified himself with the Universalists. At this time, however, in his religious views he seemed to be floating upon the sea of uncertainty. He had evidently quite an extensive knowledge of the Scriptures, and possessed a manifest disputatious turn of mind. As I subsequently learned, Mr. Harris had always been a firm believer in dreams, and visions, and supernatural appearances, such as apparitions and ghosts, and therefore was a fit subject for such men as Smith and his colleagues to operate upon. On the occasion just referred to, I invited him to accompany me to my study, where, after having closed the door, he began to draw a package out of his pocket with great and manifest caution. Suddenly, however, he stopped, and wished to know if there was any possibility of our being interrupted or overheard? When answered in the negative, he proceeded to remark, that he reposed great confidence in me as a minister of Jesus Christ, and that what he had now to communicate he wished me to regard as strictly confidential. He said he verily believed that an important epoch had arrived—that a great flood of light was about to burst upon the world, and that the scene of divine manifestation was to be immediately around us. In explanation of what he meant, he then proceeded to remark that a golden Bible had recently been dug from the earth, where it had been deposited for thousands of years, and that this would be found to contain such disclosures as would settle all religious controversies and speedily[Pg 224] bring on the glorious millennium. That this mysterious book, which no human eye of the present generation had yet seen, was in the possession of Joseph Smith, jr., ordinarily known in the neighbourhood under the more familiar designation of Jo Smith; that there had been a revelation made to him by which he had discovered this sacred deposit, and two transparent stones, through which, as a sort of spectacles, he could read the Bible, although the box or ark that contained it, had not yet been opened; and that by looking through those mysterious stones, he had transcribed from one of the leaves of this book, the characters which Harris had so carefully wrapped in the package which he was drawing from his pocket. The whole thing appeared to me so ludicrous and puerile, that I could not refrain from telling Mr. Harris, that I believed it a mere hoax got up to practice upon his credulity, or an artifice to extort from him money; for I had already, in the course of the conversation, learned that he had advanced some twenty-five dollars to Jo Smith as a sort of premium for sharing with him in the glories and profits of this new revelation. For at this time, his mind seemed to be quite as intent upon the pecuniary advantage that would arise from the possession of the plates of solid gold of which this book was composed, as upon the spiritual light it would diffuse over the world. My intimations to him, in reference to the possible imposition that was being practiced upon him, however, were indignantly repelled. He then went on to relate the particulars in regard to the discovery and possession of this marvellous book. As far as I can now recollect, the following was an outline of the narrative which he then communicated to me, and subsequently to scores of people in the village, from some of[Pg 225] whom in my late visit to Palmyra, I have been able to recall several particulars that had quite glided from my memory.

Before I proceed to Martin's narrative, however, I would remark in passing, that Jo Smith, who has since been the chief prophet of the Mormons, and was one of the most prominent ostensible actors in the first scenes of this drama, belonged to a very shiftless family near Palmyra. They lived a sort of vagrant life, and were principally known as money-diggers. Jo from a boy appeared dull and utterly destitute of genius; but his father claimed for him a sort of second sight, a power to look into the depths of the earth, and discover where its precious treasures were hid. Consequently long before the idea of a golden Bible entered their minds, in their excursions for money-digging, which I believe usually occurred in the night, that they might conceal from others the knowledge of the place where they struck upon treasures, Jo used to be usually their guide, putting into a hat a peculiar stone he had through which he looked to decide where they should begin to dig.

According to Martin Harris, it was after one of these night excursions, that Jo, while he lay upon his bed, had a remarkable dream. An angel of God seemed to approach him, clad in celestial splendor. This divine messenger assured him, that he, Joseph Smith, was chosen of the Lord to be a prophet of the Most High God, and to bring to light hidden things, that would prove of unspeakable benefit to the world. He then disclosed to him the existence of this golden Bible, and the place where it was deposited—but at the same time told him that he must follow implicitly the divine direction, or he would draw[Pg 226] down upon him the wrath of heaven. This book, which was contained in a chest, or ark, and which consisted of metallic plates covered with characters embossed in gold, he must not presume to look into, under three years. He must first go on a journey into Pennsylvania—and there among the mountains, he would meet with a very lovely woman, belonging to a highly respectable and pious family, whom he was to take for his wife. As a proof that he was sent on this mission by Jehovah, as soon as he saw this designated person, he would be smitten with her beauty, and though he was a stranger to her, as she was far above him in the walks of life, she would at once be willing to marry him and go with him to the ends of the earth. After their marriage he was to return to his former home, and remain quietly there until the birth of his first child. When this child had completed his second year, he might then proceed to the hill beneath which the mysterious chest was deposited, and draw it thence, and publish the truths it contained to the world. Smith awoke from his dream, and, according to Harris, started off towards Pennsylvania, not knowing to what point he should go. But the Lord directed him, and gained him favour in the eyes of just such a person as was described to him. He was married and had returned. His first child had been born, and was now about six months old. But Jo had not been altogether obedient to the heavenly vision. After his marriage and return from Pennsylvania, he became so awfully impressed with the high destiny that awaited him, that he communicated the secret to his father and family. The money-digging propensity of the old man operated so powerfully, that he insisted upon it that they should go and dig and see if the chest was there—not[Pg 227] with any view to remove it till the appointed time, but merely to satisfy themselves. Accordingly they went forth in the stillness of the night with their spades and mattocks to the spot where slumbered this sacred deposit. They had proceeded but a little while in the work of excavation, before the mysterious chest appeared; but lo! instantly it moved and glided along out of their sight. Directed, however, by the clairvoyance of Jo, they again penetrated to the spot where it stood, and succeeded in gaining a partial view of its dimensions. But while they were pressing forward to gaze at it, the thunder of the Almighty shook the spot, and made the earth to tremble—a sheet of vivid lightning swept along over the side of the hill, and burnt terribly around the place where the excavation was going on, and again, with a rumbling noise, the chest moved off out of their sight. They were all terrified and fled towards their home. Jo took his course silently along by himself. On his way homeward, being alone and in the woods, the angel of the Lord met him, clad in terror and wrath. He spoke in a voice of thunder: forked lightnings shot through the trees, and ran along upon the ground. The terror which the appearance of the divine messenger awakened, instantly struck Smith to the earth, and he felt his whole frame convulsed with agony, as though he were stamped upon by the iron hoofs of death himself. In language most terrific did the angel upbraid him for his disobedience, and then disappeared. Smith went home trembling and full of terror. Soon, however, his mind became more composed. Another divine communication was made to him, authorizing him to go alone by himself and bring the chest and deposit it secretly under the hearth of his dwelling, but by no means to attempt[Pg 228] to look into it. The reason assigned by the angel for this removal, was that some report in relation to the place where this sacred book was deposited had gone forth, and there was danger of its being disturbed. According to Harris, Smith now scrupulously followed the divine directions. He was already in possession of the two transparent stones laid up with the golden Bible, by looking through which he was enabled to read the golden letters on the plates in the box. How he obtained these spectacles without opening the chest, Harris could not tell. But still he had them; and by means of them he could read all the book contained. The book itself was not to be disclosed until Smith's child had attained a certain age. Then it might be published to the world. In the interim Smith was to prepare the way for the conversion of the world to a new system of faith, by transcribing the characters from the plates and giving translations of the same. This was the substance of Martin Harris' communication to me upon our first interview. He then carefully unfolded a slip of paper, which contained three or four lines of characters, as unlike letters or hieroglyphics of any sort, as well could be produced were one to shut up his eyes and play off the most antic movements with his pen upon paper. The only thing that bore the slightest resemblance to the letter of any language that I had ever seen, was two upright marks joined by a horizontal line, that might have been taken for the Hebrew character ה. My ignorance of the characters in which this pretended ancient record was written, was to Martin Harris new proof that Smith's whole account of the divine revelation made to him was entirely to be relied on.

One thing is here to be noticed, that the statements of[Pg 229] the originators of this imposture varied, and were modified from time to time according as their plans became more matured. At first it was a gold Bible—then golden plates engraved—then metallic plates stereotyped or embossed with golden letters. At one time Harris was to be enriched by the solid gold of these plates, at another they were to be religiously kept to convince the world of the truth of the revelation—and, then these plates could not be seen by any but three witnesses whom the Lord should choose. How easy it would be, were there any such plates in existence, to produce them, and to show that Mormonism is not a "cunningly devised fable." How far Harris was duped by this imposture, or how far he entered into it as a matter of speculation, I am unable to say. Several gentlemen in Palmyra, who saw and conversed with him frequently, think he was labouring under a sort of monomania, and that he thoroughly believed all that Jo Smith chose to tell him on this subject. He was so much in earnest on this subject, that he immediately started off with some of the manuscripts that Smith furnished him on a journey to New York and Washington to consult some learned men to ascertain the nature of the language in which this record was engraven. After his return he came to see me again, and told me that, among others, he had consulted Professor Anthon,[2] who thought the characters in which the book was written very remarkable, but he could not decide exactly what language they belonged to. Martin had now become a perfect believer. He said he had no more doubt of Smith's commission, than of the divine[Pg 230] commission of the apostles. The very fact that Smith was an obscure and illiterate man, showed that he must be acting under divine impulses:—"God had chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, and the weak things to confound the mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised—yea, and things that are not to bring to nought—things that are—that no flesh should glory in his presence:" that he was willing to "take of the spoiling of his goods" to sustain Smith in carrying on this work of the Lord; and that he was determined that the book should be published, though it consumed all his worldly substance. It was in vain I endeavoured to expostulate. I was an unbeliever, and could not see afar off. As for him, he must follow the light which the Lord had given him. Whether at this time Smith had those colleagues that unquestionably afterwards moved, unseen, the wheels of this machinery, I am unable to say. Even after Cowdery and Rigdon were lending the whole force of their minds to the carrying out of this imposture, Jo Smith continued to be the ostensible prominent actor in the drama. The way that Smith made his transcripts and translations for Harris was the following. Although in the same room, a thick curtain or blanket was suspended between them, and Smith concealed behind the blanket, pretended to look through his spectacles, or transparent stones, and would then write down or repeat what he saw, which, when repeated aloud, was written down by Harris, who sat on the other side of the suspended blanket. Harris was told that it would arouse the most terrible divine displeasure, if he should attempt to draw near the sacred chest, or look at Smith while engaged in the work of decyphering the mysterious characters. This was Harris's[Pg 231] own account of the matter to me. What other measures they afterwards took to transcribe or translate from these metallic plates, I cannot say, as I very soon after this removed to another field of labour where I heard no more of this matter till I learned the Book of Mormon was about being published. It was not till after the discovery of the manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, of which I shall subsequently give some account, that the actors in this imposture thought of calling this pretended revelation the Book of Mormon. This book, which professed to be a translation of the golden Bible brought to light by Joseph Smith, was published in 1830—to accomplish which Martin Harris actually mortgaged his farm.

In addition to the facts with which I myself was conversant in 1827 and 1828, connected with the rise of Mormonism, I have been able to lay hold of one or two valuable documents, and to obtain several items of intelligence, by which I shall be enabled to continue this sketch of the rise and origin of this singular imposture. To my mind there never was a grosser piece of deception undertaken to be practised than this.


[2] In the following chapter the reader will find an account of this interview.

[Pg 232]



The circumstances that led to this letter—Martin Harris—His visit to New York—Interview with Dr. Mitchell—Professor Anthon.

A few months subsequent to the publishing of the foregoing letter, the author saw in the columns of the Church Record a letter from Professor Anthon which singularly corroborated the statement that Martin Harris made to him in relation to his having had an interview with that gentleman, when on his first mission to New York in quest of some interpreter who should be able to decipher the mysterious characters of the golden Bible. The cause which drew forth the letter from the learned professor is thus stated. The Rev. Dr. Coit, Rector of Trinity Church, New Rochelle, West Chester county, N. Y., hearing that the Mormons in that place—for there is scarcely a town or village where some of them are not found, "were claiming the patronage of Professor Anthon's name, in behalf of their notions, took the liberty to state the fact to him, and ask in what possible way they had contrived to associate him with themselves." In reply to this inquiry, Professor Anthon wrote the letter above referred to—which we here insert:[Pg 233]

New York, April 3d, 1841.

Rev. and Dear Sir:

I have often heard that the Mormons claimed me for an auxiliary, but, as no one, until the present time, has ever requested from me a statement in writing, I have not deemed it worth while to say any thing publicly on the subject. What I do know of the sect relates to some of their early movements; and as the facts may amuse you, while they will furnish a satisfactory answer to the charge of my being a Mormon proselyte, I proceed to lay them before you in detail.

Many years ago, the precise date I do not now recollect, a plain looking countryman called upon me with a letter from Dr. Samuel L. Mitchell requesting me to examine, and give my opinion upon, a certain paper, marked with various characters which the Doctor confessed he could not decypher, and which the bearer of the note was very anxious to have explained. A very brief examination of the paper convinced me that it was a mere hoax, and a very clumsy one too. The characters were arranged in columns, like the Chinese mode of writing, and presented the most singular medley that I ever beheld. Greek, Hebrew, and all sorts of letters, more or less distorted, either through unskilfulness, or from actual design, were intermingled with sundry delineations of half moons, stars, and other natural objects, and the whole ended in a rude representation of the Mexican zodiac. The conclusion was irresistible, that some cunning fellow had prepared the paper in question, for the purpose of imposing upon the countryman who brought it, and I told the man so without any hesitation. He then proceeded to give me a history of the whole affair, which convinced me that he had fallen[Pg 234] into the hands of some sharper, while it left me in great astonishment at his own simplicity.

The countryman told me that a gold book had been recently dug up in the western or northern part (I forget which), of our state, and he described this book as consisting of many gold plates, like leaves, secured by a gold wire passing through the edge of each, just as the leaves of a book are sewed together, and presented in this way the appearance of a volume. Each plate, according to him, was inscribed with unknown characters, and the paper which he handed me, a transcript of one of these pages. On my asking him by whom the copy was made, he gravely stated, that along with the golden book there had been dug up a very large pair of spectacles! so large in fact that if a man were to hold them in front of his face, his two eyes would merely look through one of the glasses, and the remaining part of the spectacles would project a considerable distance sideways! These spectacles possessed, it seems a very valuable property, of enabling any one who looked through them, (or rather through one of the lenses,) not only to decypher the characters on the plates, but also to comprehend their exact meaning, and be able to translate them!! My informant assured me that this curious property of the spectacles had been actually tested, and found to be true. A young man, it seems, had been placed in the garret of a farm-house, with a curtain before him, and having fastened the spectacles to his head, had read several pages in the golden book, and communicated their contents in writing to certain persons stationed on the outside of the curtain. He had also copied off one page of the book in the original character, which he had in like manner handed over to those who were separated[Pg 235] from him by the curtain, and this copy was the paper which the countryman had brought with him. As the golden book was said to contain very great truths, and most important revelations of a religious nature, a strong desire had been expressed by several persons in the countryman's neighbourhood, to have the whole work translated and published. A proposition had accordingly been made to my informant, to sell his farm, and apply the proceeds to the printing of the golden book, and the golden plates were to be left with him as security until he should be reimbursed by the sale of the work. To convince him more clearly that there was no risk whatever in the matter, and that the work was actually what it claimed to be, he was told to take the paper, which purported to be a copy of one of the pages of the book, to the city of New York, and submit it to the learned in that quarter, who would soon dispel all his doubts, and satisfy him as to the perfect safety of the investment. As Dr. Mitchell was our "Magnus Apollo" in those days, the man called first upon him; but the Doctor, evidently suspecting some trick, declined giving any opinion about the matter, and sent the countryman down to the college, to see, in all probability, what the "learned pundits" in that place would make of the affair. On my telling the bearer of the paper that an attempt had been made to impose on him, and defraud him of his property, he requested me to give him my opinion in writing about the paper which he had shown to me. I did so without any hesitation, partly for the man's sake, and partly to let the individual "behind the curtain" see that his trick was discovered. The import of what I wrote was, as far as I can now recollect, simply this, that the marks in the paper appeared to be merely an imitation[Pg 236] of various alphabetical characters, and had, in my opinion, no meaning at all connected with them. The countryman then took his leave, with many thanks, and with the express declaration that he would in no shape part with his farm or embark in the speculation of printing the golden book.

The matter rested here for a considerable time, until one day, when I had ceased entirely to think of the countryman and his paper, this same individual, to my great surprise, paid me a second visit. He now brought with him a duodecimo volume, which he said was a translation into English of the "Golden Bible." He also stated, that notwithstanding his original determination not to sell his farm, he had been induced eventually to do so, and apply the money to the publication of the book, and had received the golden plates as a security for repayment. He begged my acceptance of the volume, assuring me that it would be found extremely interesting, and that it was already "making a great noise" in the upper part of the state. Suspecting now that some serious trick was on foot, and that my plain looking visitor might be in fact a very cunning fellow I declined his present, and merely contented myself with a slight examination of the volume while he stood by. The more I declined receiving it however, the more urgent the man became in offering the book, until at last I told him plainly, that if he left the volume, as he said he intended to do, I should most assuredly throw it after him as he departed. I then asked him how he could be so foolish as to sell his farm and engage in this affair; and requested him to tell me if the plates were really of gold. In answer to this latter inquiry, he said that he had never seen the plates themselves,[Pg 237] which were carefully locked up in a trunk, but that he had the trunk in his possession. I advised him by all means to open the trunk and examine the contents, and if the plates proved to be of gold, which I did not believe at all, to sell them immediately. His reply was, that if he opened the trunk the "curse of heaven would descend upon him and his children." "However," added he, "I will agree to open it, provided you will take the 'curse of Heaven' upon yourself for having advised me to the step." I told him I was perfectly willing to do so, and begged he would hasten home and examine the trunk, for he would find he had been cheated. He promised to do as I recommended, and left me, taking his book with him. I have never seen him since.

Such is a plain statement of all that I know respecting the Mormons. My impression now is, that the plain looking countryman was none other than the prophet Smith himself, who assumed an appearance of great simplicity in order to entrap me, if possible, into some recommendation of his book. That the prophet aided me by his inspiration, in interpreting the volume, is only one of the many amusing falsehoods which the Mormonites utter relative to my participation in their doctrines. Of these doctrines I know nothing whatever, nor have I ever heard a single discourse from any one of their preachers, although I have often felt a strong curiosity to become an auditor, since my friends tell me that they frequently name me in their sermons, and even go so far as to say that I am alluded to in the prophecies of Scripture!

If what I have here written shall prove of any service in opening the eyes of some of their deluded followers to the real designs of those who profess to be the apostles[Pg 238] of Mormonism, it will afford me a satisfaction, equalled, I have no doubt only by that which you yourself will feel on this subject.

I remain very respectfully and truly, your friend,

Chas. Anthon.
Rev. Dr. Coit, New Rochelle, N. Y.

It will be seen that in the main this tallies exceedingly well with what Harris told the author, in relation to the fact of his interview with Professor Anthon. He kept back in his account of the interview all allusion to the discouragements which the Professor threw upon his enterprise. There can be no doubt but that the person who waited upon Professor Anthon in the manner above stated, was Martin Harris.

[Pg 239]



The origin of the Book of Mormon—The statement of Mr. Isaac Hall, father in law of the Mormon Prophet—Rev. Mr. Spaulding's Historical Romance—Mrs. Davison's statement—The blindness of Martin Harris—Testimony of the three witnesses—The eight witnesses.

The communication which follows is the second in the series of letters referred to in a former chapter.

Fairfield, August 31, 1840.

According to the intimation given in my last, I proceed to furnish you with some further facts in relation to the origin and history of Mormonism. In developing the history of this imposture, and showing the several steps by which it has won its way to the regard, and gained the confidence of thousands, it may seem desirable to furnish some account of what is denominated the Book of Mormon—a volume containing 588 duodecimo pages, consisting of fifteen different books, purporting to be written at different times, and by different authors, whose names they respectively bear. The period of time which these historical records profess to cover, is about a thousand years—commencing with the time of Zedekiah, king of Judah, and terminating with the year of our Lord 420.[Pg 240]

This volume, as I have already intimated, has exerted a most important influence in giving some plausibility to the claims set up by the originators of the Mormon imposture. I am quite confident there never would have been any permanent converts to Mormonism, had not this volume been ushered into existence. The story of the golden Bible, like a thousand previous and no less marvellous tales told by Jo Smith, would have long since sunk into oblivion but for the publication of this book. The origin of this volume—how it came into being—is a grave question. The general impression is that neither Jo Smith nor Martin Harris had intelligence or literary qualification adequate to the production of a work of this sort. Of the correctness of this impression, however, I am not quite confident. The subsequent career of Smith has shown that he possesses great tact, and cunning. The authorship of this volume is a question of some interest. The Mormons say that it is a revelation from God. They claim for it a divine character. They say that the successive narratives spread upon the pages of this volume, are the identical records engraven upon the metallic plates to which we have already referred, and which, like the leaves of a book, were deposited in a box and hid in the earth; that the writing on these plates was in "the Reformed Egyptian language:" that Joseph Smith was directed by an angel to the spot where this sacred deposit lay; and subsequently inspired to interpret the writing, by putting two smooth flat stones, which he found in the box, into a hat, and then putting his face therein. This is the claim set up for the Book of Mormon, and which has seduced many unstable souls.

Had the originator of this fabulous history, called the[Pg 241] Book of Mormon, kept entirely behind the scenes up to the present period, and had there been no clue by which the authorship of this figment of the imagination could be traced, it would still have been abundantly evident to every intelligent person, that it was the product of some shrewd and designing mind, who calculated to find his advantage in gulling the credulous and superstitious. The people of Palmyra, at the commencement of the printing of this book, only laughed at the ridiculousness of the thing, and wondered at the credulity of Harris. As the publication progressed, and the contents of the book began to be known, the conviction became general that there was an actor behind the scene, moving the machinery, of far higher intellectual qualifications than Smith or Harris. Suspicion in some degree rested upon a man by the name of Cowdery, who had formerly been a school teacher, if I mistake not, and was now known to be in some way connected with Smith in preparing this volume for the press.

I will here insert a document which I have in my hands, and which may tend to throw some light upon the origin and authorship of the Book of Mormon, which I found in a little work, entitled "Religious Creeds and Statistics." The author gives a brief sketch of Mormonism, and among other things inserts a letter or statement written by Isaac Hale, the father-in-law of Jo Smith, giving some account of his first acquaintance with Smith. I had, previously to meeting with this letter, felt anxious to obtain some facts in relation to Smith's marriage, in order to ascertain how those facts would agree with the statements made by him to Martin Harris, which I noticed in my last letter. While at Palmyra, I met with a respectable clergyman of the Episcopal Church, who had formerly[Pg 242] belonged to the Methodist connection, that was acquainted with Mr. Hale. He represented him to be a distinguished hunter, living near the Great Bend in Pennsylvania. He was professedly a religious man and a very zealous member of the Methodist Church. The letter to which I have referred, is accompanied with a statement, declaring that Mr. Hale resides in Harmony, Penn.: appended to the letter also is Mr. Hale's affirmation or affidavit of the truth of the statement there made, taken before Charles Dimon, Justice of the Peace; and there is also subjoined the certificate of William Thompson and Davis Dimock, Associate Judges of the Court of Common Pleas in the County of Susquehanna, declaring that "they have for many years been personally acquainted with Isaac Hale of Harmony Township, who has attested the foregoing statement, or letter, and that he is a man of excellent moral character, and of undoubted veracity."

The letter or statement above referred to, is as follows:

"I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr., in Nov. 1825. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called "money-diggers;" and his occupation was that of seeing, or pretending to see, by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat closed over his face. In this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasure. His appearance at this time, was that of a careless young man, not very well educated, and very saucy and insolent to his father. Smith and his father, with several other "money-diggers," boarded at my house while they were employed in digging for a mine that they supposed had been opened and worked by the Spaniards, many years since. Young Smith gave the "money-diggers" great encouragement at first, but when[Pg 243] they had arrived in digging to near the place where he had stated an immense treasure would be found, he said the enchantment was so powerful that he could not see. They then became discouraged, and soon after dispersed.

"After these occurrences, young Smith made several visits at my house, and at length asked my consent to marry my daughter Emma. This I refused, and gave him my reasons for so doing; some of which were, that he was a stranger, and followed a business that I could not approve. He then left the place. Not long after this, he returned: and while I was absent from home, carried off my daughter into the State of New York, where they were married without my approbation, or consent. After they had arrived at Palmyra, N. Y., Emma wrote to me, inquiring whether she could have her property, consisting of clothing, &c. I replied that her property was safe, and, at her disposal. In a short time they returned, bringing with them a Peter Ingersol, and subsequently came to the conclusion that they would move out, and reside upon a place near my residence.

"Smith stated to me that he had given up what he called "glass-looking," and that he expected to work hard for a living, and was willing to do so. Soon after this, I was informed they had brought a wonderful book of plates down with them. I was shown a box, in which it is said they were contained, which had, to all appearance, been used as a glass box, of the common sized window glass. I was allowed to feel the weight of the box, and they gave me to understand, that the book of plates was then in the box: into which, however, I was not allowed to look. I inquired of Joseph Smith, Jr., who was to be the first that[Pg 244] would be allowed to see the book of plates? He said, it was a young child.

"After this, I became dissatisfied, and informed him, that if there was any thing in my house of that description, which I could not be allowed to see, he must take it away; if he did not, I was determined to see it. After that, the plates were said to be hid in the woods.

"About this time, Martin Harris made his appearance upon the stage: and Smith began to interpret the characters or hieroglyphics, which he said were engraven upon the plates, while Harris wrote down the interpretation.

"It was said that Harris wrote down one hundred and sixteen pages, and lost them. Soon after this happened, Martin Harris informed me that he must have a greater witness, and said that he had talked with Joseph about it; Joseph informed him that he could not or durst not show him the plates, but that he, (Joseph,) would go into the woods where the book of plates was, and that after he came back, Harris should follow his track in the snow, and find the book, and examine it for himself. Harris informed me afterwards, that he followed Smith's directions, and could not find the plates, and was still dissatisfied.

"The next day after this happened, I went to the house where Joseph Smith, jr., lived, and where he and Harris were engaged in their translation of the book. Each of them had a written piece of paper which they were comparing; and some of the words were—"My servant seeketh a greater witness, but no greater witness can be given to him." There was also something said about "three that were to see the thing;" meaning, I supposed, the book of plates; and that "if the three did not go exactly according to orders, the thing would be taken from them."[Pg 245] I inquired whose words they were, and was informed by Joseph or Emma, (I rather think it was the former,) that they were the words of Jesus Christ. I told them then, that I considered the whole of it a delusion, and advised them to abandon it. The manner in which he pretended to read and interpret, was the same as when he looked for the money-diggers, with the stone in his hat, and his hat over his face, while the book of plates was at the same time hid in the woods!

"After this, Martin Harris went away, and Oliver Cowdery came and wrote for Smith, while he interpreted, as above described. This is the same Oliver Cowdery whose name may be found in the book of Mormon. Cowdery continued a scribe for Smith, until the book of Mormon was completed, as I supposed, and understood.

"Joseph Smith, jr., resided near me for some time after this, and I had a good opportunity of becoming acquainted with him, and somewhat acquainted with his associates; and I conscientiously believe, from the facts I have detailed, and from many other circumstances, which I do not deem it necessary to relate, that the whole "Book of Mormon," (so called,) is a silly fabrication of falsehood and wickedness, got up for speculation, and with a design to dupe the credulous and unwary, and in order that its fabricators might live upon the spoils of those who swallowed the deception.

"Isaac Hale."

I shall have occasion hereafter to refer to the loss of the one hundred and sixteen pages mentioned in the preceding letter, and to the manner in which they were lost; as this fact will not only tend to illustrate Harris' character, but to throw[Pg 246] some farther light upon the sinuous track which was pursued to palm off the book of Mormon as a divine revelation. Whether Smith and Cowdery were acting alone at the time referred to by Mr. Hale, or were then deriving their illumination from Rigdon, I have no means of determining. It is highly probable, however, that they then had access to a copy of the manuscript written by Mr. Spaulding, of which we shall soon speak, and this copy was undoubtedly obtained through the agency of Rigdon. The true authorship of what constitutes the basis of the book of Mormon, unquestionably belongs to Mr. Spaulding. I cannot think, however, that the Book of Mormon is an exact copy of Mr. Spaulding's "Historical Romance," as Mrs. Davison very properly denominates it. No intelligent or well educated man would have been guilty of so many anachronisms and gross grammatical errors as characterise every part of the Book of Mormon. While Mr. Spaulding's Historical Romance is unquestionably the ground-work of this volume, the christianized character of the work—the hortatory clauses about salvation through the blood of Christ—and the adaptation of the whole to meet the peculiar religious views of Martin Harris, and to tally with the pretended discovery of Jo Smith, are evidently parts of the work added to Mr. Spaulding's manuscript. In farther corroboration of this idea, I will just advert to two facts. First, in this record, some portions of which were professedly written six hundred years before the appearance of our Saviour, the various dramatis personæ seem as familiar with the events of the New Testament and all the doctrines of the gospel, as any preacher of the present day. Now no intelligent[Pg 247] and well educated man would be guilty of such a solecism as that of putting into the mouth of a Jew who lived four hundred years before the birth of Christ, a flippant discourse about things as though they were then familiarly known, when they did not occur till some five hundred years afterwards. Hence I infer that these parts were added to the original document of Mr. Spaulding by Jo Smith, Cowdery, Rigdon, or some of the fraternity.—Another reason, leading me to the opinion that considerable alterations were made in the document referred to, stands in connection with the fact to which I have already adverted—the loss of the one hundred and sixteen pages, which were never replaced. These pages were lost in the following way. Harris brought home the manuscript pages and locked them up in his house thinking them quite safe. But his wife, who was not then, nor ever afterwards became a convert to Mormonism, took the opportunity, when he was out, to seize the manuscript and put it into the hands of one of her neighbours for safer keeping. When the manuscript was discovered to be missing, suspicion immediately fastened upon Mrs. Harris. She, however, refused to give any information in relation to the matter, but simply replied: "If this be a divine communication, the same being who revealed it to you can easily replace it." Mrs. H. believed the whole thing to be a gross deception, and she had formed a plan to expose the deception in the following manner. Taking it for granted that they would attempt to re-produce the part she had concealed, and that they could not possibly do it verbatim, she intended to keep the manuscript until the book was published, and then put these one hundred and sixteen pages into the hands of some one who would publish[Pg 248] them, and show how they varied from those published in the Book of Mormon. But she had to deal with persons standing behind the scene, and moving the machinery that were too wily thus to be caught. Harris was indignant at his wife beyond measure—he raved most violently, and it is said actually beat Mrs. H. with a rod—but she remained firm, and would not give up the manuscript. The authors of this imposture did not dare to attempt to re-produce this part of the work; but Jo Smith immediately had a revelation about it which is inserted in the preface of the Book of Mormon as follows: "As many false reports have been circulated respecting the following work, and also many unlawful measures taken by evil designing persons to destroy me, and also the work; I would inform you that I translated, by the gift and power of God, and caused to be written one hundred and sixteen pages, the which I took from the book of Lehi, which was an account abridged from the plates of Lehi, by the hand of Mormon; which said account, some person, or persons, have stolen and kept from me, notwithstanding my utmost exertions to recover it again: And being commanded of the Lord that I should not translate the same over again, for Satan had put it into their hearts to tempt the Lord their God, by altering the words, that they did read contrary from that which I translated and caused to be written, and if I should bring forth the same words again, or, in other words, if I should translate the same over again they would publish that which they had stolen, and Satan would stir up the hearts of this generation that they might not receive this work: but behold, the Lord said unto me, I will not suffer that Satan shall accomplish his evil design in this thing: therefore thou shalt translate from the plates of Nephi, until ye[Pg 249] come to that which ye have translated, which ye have retained; and behold ye shall publish it as the record of Nephi: and thus I will confound those who have altered my words. I will not suffer that they shall destroy my work: yea I will shew unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil."

This was the expedient to which they resorted in order to avoid replacing the lost pages. Had those pages, however, been transcribed verbatim from Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, they would undoubtedly have re-produced them, and urged the fact of their being able to do so as a still further proof of their divine inspiration. But on the supposition that there was considerable new matter mingled up with Mr. Spaulding's sketches, it would be impossible for them to produce the one hundred and sixteen pages just as they were before, and they would therefore naturally devise some expedient to relieve themselves from the necessity of re-producing those pages. In all probability Cowdery, and Smith, and Rigdon, had all more or less to do in combining these additional parts with Mr. Spaulding's work.

The origin of this work of Mr. Spaulding, to which I refer, and which unquestionably forms the entire ground-work of the Book of Mormon, is thus described by Mrs. Davison, formerly the wife of Mr. Spaulding. This statement of Mrs. Davison was published some time last winter in the Boston Recorder, to the editors of which it was sent by the Rev. John Storrs, the Congregational minister in Hollistown, accompanied with a certificate from two highly respectable clergymen, the Rev. Mr. Austin and the Rev. A. Ely, D. D., residing in Monson, Mass., the present place of residence of Mrs. Davison,—stating[Pg 250] that Mrs. Davison, the narrator of the following history, was formerly the wife of Rev. Solomon Spaulding, and that since his decease she had been married to a second husband by the name of Davison, and that she was a woman of irreproachable character, and a humble Christian, and that her testimony was worthy of implicit confidence.

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

"Rev. Solomon Spaulding, to whom I was united in marriage in early life, was a graduate of Dartmouth College, and was distinguished for a lively imagination and a great fondness for history. At the time of our marriage he resided in Cherry Valley, N. Y. From this place we removed to New Salem, Ashtabula county, Ohio; sometimes called Conneaut, as it is situated on Conneaut creek. Shortly after our removal to this place his health sunk, and[Pg 251] he was laid aside from active labors. In the town of New Salem there are numerous mounds and forts, supposed by many to be the dilapidated dwellings and fortifications of a race now extinct. These ancient relics arrest the attention of the new settlers and become objects of research for the curious. Numerous implements were found, and other articles evincing great skill in the arts. Mr. Spaulding being an educated man and passionately fond of history, took a lively interest in these developments of antiquity; and in order to beguile the hours of retirement, and furnish employment for his lively imagination, he conceived the idea of giving a historical sketch of this long lost race. Their extreme antiquity of course would lead him to write in the most ancient style, and as the Old Testament is the most ancient book in the world, he imitated its style as nearly as possible. His sole object in writing this historical romance was to amuse himself and his neighbours. This was about the year 1812. Hull's surrender at Detroit occurred near the same time, and I recollect the date well from that circumstance. As he progressed in his narrative the neighbours would come in from time to time to hear portions read, and a great interest in the work was excited amongst them. It claimed to have been written by one of the lost nation, and to have been recovered from the earth, and assumed the title of "Manuscript Found." The neighbours would often enquire how Mr. Spaulding progressed in deciphering "the manuscript," and when he had a sufficient portion prepared he would inform them, and they would assemble to hear it read. He was enabled from his acquaintance with the classics and ancient history, to introduce many singular names, which were particularly noticed by the people,[Pg 252] and could be easily recognised by them. Mr. Solomon Spaulding had a brother, Mr. John Spaulding, residing in the place at the time, who was perfectly familiar with the work, and repeatedly heard the whole of it read.

"From New Salem we removed to Pittsburgh, Pa. Here Mr. Spaulding found a friend and acquaintance, in the person of Mr. Patterson, an editor of a newspaper. He exhibited his manuscript to Mr. Patterson, who was very much pleased with it, and borrowed it for perusal. He retained it for a long time, and informed Mr. Spaulding that if he would make out a title page and preface, he would publish it, and it might be a source of profit. This Mr. Spaulding refused to do, for reasons which I cannot now state. Sidney Rigdon, who has figured so largely in the history of the Mormons, was at that time connected with the printing office of Mr. Patterson, as is well known in that region, and as Rigdon himself has frequently stated. Here he had ample opportunity to become acquainted with Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, and copy it if he chose. It was a matter of notoriety and interest to all connected with the printing establishment. At length the manuscript was returned to its author, and soon after we removed to Amity, Washington county, Pa., where Mr. Spaulding deceased in 1816. The manuscript then fell into my hands and was carefully preserved. It has frequently been examined by my daughter, Mrs. McKenstry, of Monson, Mass., with whom I now reside, and by other friends. After the "Book of Mormon" came out, a copy of it was taken to New Salem, the place of Mr. Spaulding's former residence, and the very place where the "Manuscript Found" was written. A Mormon preacher appointed a meeting there, and in the meeting[Pg 253] read and repeated copious extracts from the "Book of Mormon." The historical part was immediately recognised by all the older inhabitants, as the identical work of Mr. Spaulding, in which they had all been so deeply interested years before. Mr. John Spaulding was present, who is an eminently pious man, and recognised perfectly the work of his brother. He was amazed and afflicted that it should have been perverted to so wicked a purpose. His grief found vent in a flood of tears, and he arose on the spot, and expressed in the meeting his sorrow and regret that the writings of his sainted brother should be used for a purpose so vile and shocking. The excitement in New Salem became so great that the inhabitants had a meeting, and deputed Dr. Philastus Hurlbut, one of their number, to repair to this place, and to obtain from me the original manuscript of Mr. Spaulding, for the purpose of comparing it with the Mormon Bible, to satisfy their own minds, and to prevent their friends from embracing an error so delusive. This was in the year 1834. Dr. Hurlbut brought with him an introduction, and request for the manuscript, which was signed by Messrs. Henry Lake, Aaron Wright, and others, with all whom I was acquainted, as they were my neighbours when I resided at New Salem. I am sure that nothing would grieve my husband more, were he living, than the use which has been made of his work. The air of antiquity which was thrown about the composition, doubtless suggested the idea of converting it to purposes of delusion. Thus an historical romance, with the addition of a few pious expressions and extracts from the sacred Scriptures, has been construed into a new Bible, and palmed off[Pg 254] upon a company of poor, deluded fanatics as divine. I have given the previous brief narration, that this work of deep deception and wickedness may be searched to the foundation, and the author exposed to the contempt and execration he so justly deserves.

"Matilda Davison."

The whole mystery of the origin of this book seems to be cleared up by this statement, and I have seen no attempt made to gainsay or deny its truth. The farther, however, Martin Harris went into this delusion, the more he seemed to become infatuated. He had already embarked a large portion of his property in bringing out the publication of the book of Mormon, and though many things had occurred that we should think would have convinced any rational man that he had been made the subject of a deep laid scheme of deception, he still seems to have shut his eyes, and gone on in the dark. As I have already mentioned, at first, Martin Harris was assured that the golden plates, on which this record was engraven, would be his, and that it would be perfectly lawful to subject them to public inspection,—but as the managers of this imposture proceeded they found it necessary to advance with more caution, lest they should put into the hands of others the very elements which would contribute to their own utter explosion. Hence it was revealed to Jo Smith, that he would be authorized to show them only to three individuals who should assist in bringing forward this work, this was a lure to secure the continued co-operation of Harris. To convince Harris that he would be highly privileged, it was foretold in the book of Ether, written[Pg 255] by Moroni,[3] that he that should find the plates should have the privilege of showing them to three persons. The passage referred to is as follows, "Behold ye may be privileged that ye may shew the plates unto those who shall assist to bring forth this work; and unto three shall they be shewn by the power of God; wherefore they shall know of a surety that these things are true. And in the mouth of three witnesses shall these things be established; and the testimony of three and this work, in the which shall be shewn forth the power of God, and also his word, of which the Father and the Son, and the Holy Ghost beareth record; and all this shall stand as a testimony against the world, at the last day."

In order to satisfy Harris, and those whom they hoped to delude, it became necessary that three witnesses should see the plates. And accordingly we find appended to the book of Mormon the following certificate, headed with this caption:—


"Be it known unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that we, through the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, have seen the plates which contain the record which is a record of the people of Nephi, and also of the Lamanites, his brethren, and also of the people of Jared, which came from the tower, of which hath been spoken; and we also know that they have been translated by the gift and power of God, for his voice has declared it unto us; wherefore we know of a surety, that the work is true. And we also testify that we have seen the engravings which are upon the plates, and[Pg 256] they have been shown unto us by the power of God, and not of man. And we declare with words of soberness that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon; and we know that it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, that we beheld, and bear record that these things are true; and it is marvellous in our eyes: nevertheless the voice of the Lord commanded us that we should bear record of it; wherefore to be obedient unto the commandments of God, we bear testimony of these things. And we know that if we are faithful in Christ, we shall rid our garments of the blood of all men, and be found spotless before the Judgment seat of Christ, and shall dwell with him eternally in the heavens. And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God.—Amen.

"Oliver Cowdery,
David Whitmer,
Martin Harris."

To know how much this testimony is worth I will state one fact. A gentleman in Palmyra, bred to the law, a professor of religion, and of undoubted veracity, told me that on one occasion, he appealed to Harris and asked him directly,—"Did you see those plates?" Harris replied, he did. "Did you see the plates, and the engravings on them with your bodily eyes?" Harris replied, "Yes, I saw them with my eyes,—they were shown unto me by the power of God and not of man." "But did you see them with your natural,—your bodily eyes, just as you see this pencil-case in my hand? Now say no or yes to this." Harris replied,—"Why I did not see them as I do that pencil-case, yet I saw them with the[Pg 257] eye of faith; I saw them just as distinctly as I see any thing around me,—though at the time they were covered over with a cloth."

This was the way that Harris saw the plates, Cowdery, another of the witnesses, was one of the prime actors in getting up this "cunningly devised fable." Whether Whitmer, the third witness, was a deceiver, or one of the deceived, I am unable to say, but he and four of his brothers were among the earliest avowed converts to Mormonism. And as he was thus privileged because he assisted to bring forth the work, there can be but little doubt that he bore the same relation to it that Cowdery did. The declaration in the testimony "that an angel of God came down from heaven, and he brought and laid before our eyes, that we beheld and saw the plates, and the engravings thereon," show but too well what sort of jugglery to blind people's eyes, this certificate is. They seem themselves not to have been satisfied with the testimony; and therefore, although it was expressly revealed that only three should see the plates, and that it should be established by the witness of three,[4] yet they immediately subjoin the testimony of eight additional witnesses in the following words: "Be it known unto all nations, kindreds and tongues, and people, unto whom this work shall come, that Joseph Smith Jr., the author and proprietor of this work has shewn unto us the plates of which hath been spoken, which have the appearance of gold; and as many of the leaves as the said Smith has translated, we did handle with our hands; and we also saw the engraving thereon, all of which has the appearance of ancient work and of curious[Pg 258] workmanship. And thus we bear record, with words of soberness, that the said Smith have shown unto us, for we have seen and hefted, and know of a surety, that the said Smith has got the plates of which we have spoken. And we give our names unto the world, to witness unto the world that which we have seen: and we lie not, God bearing witness of it." This is signed by Hiram Page, Jo Smith's father,—two of his brothers, and four of the Whitmers, brothers of the Whitmer, who was one of the three witnesses. They were all persons deeply interested in the success of this imposture, and expecting to make their fortunes by it. As I have before taken occasion to remark, Harris was ready to be duped by any thing which these jugglers were disposed to tell him. He seemed to think at length that he himself was inspired, and that revelations from heaven were made to him in reference to the most minute affairs in life. After the Book of Mormon was published it was revealed to him that he should sell it for one dollar and fifty cents per copy. But as it did not sell very briskly at that price, he declared that another revelation was made to him from heaven, and that he was ordered to sell the book for one dollar per copy. No matter where he went, he saw visions and supernatural appearances all around him. He told a gentleman in Palmyra, after one of his excursions to Pennsylvania, while the translation of the Book of Mormon was going on, that on the way he met the Lord Jesus Christ, who walked along by the side of him in the shape of a deer for two or three miles, talking with him as familiarly as one man talks with another. With a knowledge of the facts that have now been stated, the existence of the Book of Mormon can well be accounted for, and also the success of this imposture.


[3] See Book of Mormon, page 548.

[4] See Book of Mormon, page 548.

[Pg 259]



Denial of Mrs. Davison's statement in reference to the origin of the Mormon's Bible—The truth of her statement corroborated by a letter from the Rev. John Storrs—By another from the Rev. D. R. Austin.

Up to the period, in which the preceding sketch was published in the columns of the Episcopal Recorder, no attempt was made, as far as our information extends, to contradict the statement of Mrs. Davison, or in any way to invalidate her testimony. Shortly after the appearance of the sketch above referred to, a small pamphlet was issued by one of the Mormon ministers, who, we understand, bears the relation of Pastor to one of the societies of that people, established in Philadelphia, who call themselves "The church of the latter day saints."

Although we do not think, that the truth, or falsehood of Mormonism, in any degree turns upon the correctness, or incorrectness of the foregoing statement of Mrs. Davison, for deceit and imposture are enstamped upon every feature of this monster, evoked by a money digger and a juggler from the shades of darkness—still if her statement be correct and is to be relied upon, the facts brought out by Mrs. Davison would seem to be one of those singular developments of divine Providence, by which impostors[Pg 260] are confounded, and their devices brought to nought; and therefore it may be well to look for a moment at the arguments that are offered to disprove, what the writer of the pamphlet just referred to denominates "The Spaulding Story." The pamphlet itself abounds with low and scurrilous remark—just such as we should think would be likely to emanate from a Mormon leader. The principal points upon which the writer rests his argument, are,

First. The worthless character of Dr. P. Hurlbut—who was deputed by a meeting called at New Salem to visit Mrs. Davison and obtain from her the manuscript written by her husband, Rev. Mr. Spaulding.

Secondly. That Mrs. Davison neither wrote nor signed the letter published in the Boston Recorder, but that it was the production of the Rev. Mr. Storrs.

Thirdly. That Sidney Rigdon did not join the Mormons nor have any connection with them, till after the Book of Mormon was published: and did not reside at Pittsburgh at the time he was supposed to have done so by Mrs. Davison.

1. In reference to the first point: this writer depicts the character of Dr. Hurlbut, as made up of dissoluteness, depravity, and crime. He was for a considerable period a zealous Mormon, was ordained an elder, became a distinguished preacher among them, and continued so, until they could endure his vices no longer and cast him out—then he turned against them, and endeavoured to expose their deception and imposture. Whether this be a slander or true testimony, we have no means of ascertaining. But we do not see, that in either case it makes any thing for Mormonism, or in the least affects the truth of Mrs. Davison's statement. We can readily believe that a sys[Pg 261]tem of imposture like that of Mormonism, would have charms for just such a man as Hurlbut is described.

2. The assertion that Mrs. Davison did not write nor subscribe the letter published in the Boston Recorder, furnishes a fair specimen of the Jesuitical tricks resorted to, to keep up this imposture. A letter is inserted in the pamphlet above referred to, written by Mr. John Haven, in which a conversation is related, said to have taken place between Mrs. Davison and the brother of the writer, and which is calculated and evidently designed to carry the impression that Mrs. Davison utterly disavowed the authorship of the letter, published in her name in relation to the Spaulding manuscript. To satisfy myself on the truth of this point, I addressed a letter to the Rev. Mr. Storrs, an extract from which I will subjoin:

"Hollistown, June 28th, 1841.

"The results of my inquiries from Dr. Ely and from Mr. Austin confirm me in the opinion the Spaulding manuscript was the foundation of the foolish affair called the Mormon Bible. This is my opinion though we may not be able to prove it directly. I have never supposed, I have never said that they were one and the same thing. Only that it was the foundation of the Mormon Bible: supposing that its story, its incidents, and names, gave the Mormon leaders the idea of their own book, and supposing that from it they manufactured the book about which so much has been said. So then in using the word 'identical' in relation to the manuscript and Smith's book, it must be understood in a modified sense.

"We may never be able to prove by direct testimony that such was the foundation of the Mormon Bible. But[Pg 262] we have circumstantial evidence enough. The communication made to the world by Mrs. Davison, it seems to me settles the question.

"And then this testimony is not at all invalidated by the letter written from this town by Mr. John Haven, and published in the pamphlet you sent me, entitled "the Origin of the Spaulding Story concerning the manuscript found." And here observe the sophistry of this communication. The questions and answers from the letter are as follows: 'Did you, Mrs. Davison, write a letter to John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon? Ans. I did not. Ques. Did you sign your name to it? Ans. I did not; neither did I see the letter till I saw it in the Boston Recorder: the letter was never brought to me to sign. Ques. What agency had you in having this letter sent to Mr. Storrs? Ans. D. R. Austin came to my house and asked me some questions, took some minutes on paper, and from these wrote the letter. Ques. Is what is written in the letter true? Ans. In the main it is.' The quibbling here is palpable. It is very true Mrs. Davison did not write a letter to me, and what is more, of course she did not sign it. But this she did do, and just what I wrote you in my former letter I supposed she did: she did sign her name to the original copy as prepared from her statement by Mr. Austin. This original copy is now in the hands of Mr. Austin. This he told me last week. But again, mark another and important thing in this catechism. It is the distinct avowal after all, and published by the Mormons themselves that what she had said was true. "Is what is written in the letter true? Ans. "In the main it is." It is just as you or any other honest man under similar circumstances would affirm such a production[Pg 263] to be the truth. In fact she does not as I understand from the questions and answers disavow a single statement made in the communication to which her name was affixed. But she affirms it all as a verity. I must confess my wonder that the Mormons should ever have published the above quotations. It must be that they thought their quibble about Mrs. D. not signing the identical piece of paper sent to me, would cover up the great and important fact that, she affirmed that all that was sent to me was the truth. So then the circumstantial evidence contained in the communication published in the Recorder some few years ago that the Spaulding manuscript was the origin of the golden Bible remains sound.

"But another thing: I expect we shall never be able to lay our hands on the identical manuscript, and thus prove by comparison in the sight of all that one was the foundation or origin of the other. But be this as it may, the very fact that it is lost, is evidence in my mind that the manuscript was the foundation of the Mormon book. Dr. Hurlbut took the manuscript. It is reported in Missouri, that he sold it for four hundred dollars; that the manuscript is not to be found. I must confess that my suspicions are, that a deep laid plot has been consummated to obtain possession of the manuscript, and thus preclude all possibility of its ever being compared by competent men with the Book of Mormon. At least my suspicions will not be removed until the manuscript—and the whole manuscript—is returned to the hands of its owner. I am suspicious that a deep and long game has been played by the Mormons to obtain and destroy the manuscript. Some one has got that manuscript and has got it secreted from the public eye. And if that manuscript cannot be found, in my mind[Pg 264] will be proved that the Mormons have conveyed it away. The burden of proof is on the Mormons. To them it belongs to produce the manuscript. If they have got the manuscript and will not produce it, it is plain they fear its publication to the world will destroy their pretended revelation.

"Your brother in the Lord,
John Storrs."

I also wrote to the Rev. Mr. Austin for information, who returned me an answer from which I make the following extracts.

"Sturbridge, Mass., June 28th, 1841.

"The circumstances which called forth the letter published in the Boston Recorder in April 1839, were stated by Mr. Storrs in the introduction to that article. At his request I obtained from Mrs. Davison a statement of the facts contained in that letter, and wrote them out precisely as she related them to me. She then signed the paper with her own hand which I have now in my possession. Every fact as stated in that letter was related to me by her in the order they are set down. (There is one word mis-printed in the published letter—instead of "woman preacher," on the second column, it should be Mormon preacher.)

"That the pamphlet published to refute the letter should contain false statements is not surprising. A scheme got up in falsehood must be sustained by lies. But the truth of the statements contained in that letter of Mrs. D. will remain unshaken, notwithstanding all the Mormons can do. It gives a very clear, consistent and[Pg 265] rational account of the origin of that abominable piece of deception and fraud.

"Mrs. Davison is now living about twelve miles from this place; is an aged woman and very infirm. Dr. Hurlbut was an entire stranger to her, and obtained her confidence by means of the letters of introduction which he brought from gentlemen in New-Salem. He promised to return the manuscript in a short time. Mrs. D. would only consent to lend it to him. He stated some time after he had received the manuscript that he had made $400 out of it. Mrs. D. has not the least doubt now but that he obtained it in order to sell it to the Mormons. If Dr. H. can be found, I have no doubt but that the manuscript may be traced into the hands of the Mormons—which would be about as satisfactory as to find it. If they purchased it of him, (of which there is no doubt) and refuse to present it, the reason is obvious. I can give no information with respect to the present residence of Dr. H. I suppose light on this point may be obtained at New Salem.

"It is really wonderful how this most palpable delusion has spread. The foundation of it is the most weak and absurd of any delusion ever palmed upon the world. It is remarkable how these manias all tend to one point. Perfectionism, Unionism, and Mormonism, as they have been developed in this region, have all aimed directly at licentiousness. They feed and fatten upon one base passion. Mormonism will doubtless have its day and then die. Something quite as absurd will spring up in its place. There is an appetite in the community which craves such food. If it can be garnished with the name of religion, it will go into more extensive use.[Pg 266]

"This is one of the deepest plots of the devil. He has placed his golden hook under the name of a "golden book" in the nose of these miserable fanatics, and is leading them in the direct way to destruction.

"Yours in the bonds of christian fellowship,

"D. R. Austin."

3. In relation to the assertion, that Sidney Rigdon did not embrace Mormonism till after the publication of the Book of Mormon; and that he did not reside in Pittsburgh at the time stated by Mrs. Davison, we have some remarks to offer in a subsequent chapter.

If Rigdon did not reside there at the time, still in accordance with Mrs. D's suggestion, a copy might have been made of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, which subsequently came into his hands. This copy, even if Rigdon had no hand in preparing the Book of Mormon, and was wholly ignorant of the existence of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, might have reached Smith in some other way. It is enough to know that the one was the foundation of the other, no matter who the agents in the imposture are. Even if it could be proved that Rigdon had no knowledge of the manuscript, and no hand whatever in preparing the Book of Mormon, this would in no respect invalidate Mrs. Davison's testimony, or show that Mr. Spaulding's historical romance was not the foundation of that book. Mrs. Davison merely conjectures that Rigdon must have been the agent—and that from circumstantial evidence—but she knows that the outline of her husband's historical romance is actually the basis—the manifest substratum of the Mormon Bible.

This point is made very clear by her testimony, that,[Pg 267] in some way or other, Smith and his coadjutors obtained a copy of Mr. Spaulding's manuscript, which evidently forms the basis of this pretended bible, and fastens upon it the undoubted mark of imposture.

But were not this the case—had Smith and those associated with him no such basis, on which to build the scheme developed in the Book of Mormon, this would in no way strengthen the claims which this volume sets up for a divine origin. The book itself is full of internal evidence of imposture and fraud.

If the reader can have patience to follow us we will endeavour in the two subsequent chapters to furnish him with an outline of the principal topics contained in the Book of Mormon.

[Pg 268]



According to the intimation given in the last chapter, we proceed to furnish our readers with a brief outline of the contents of that mysterious volume whose origin and history we have already given, and which, as we have seen, has exerted no small influence in imparting a degree of plausibility to the claims set up by this sect, and in gaining for them among the superstitious and the credulous, hosts of converts. I have before me a copy of the Book of Mormon, which I have read through in order to furnish the following analysis. Since reading this volume of nearly six hundred pages, I am more than ever convinced that there were several hands employed in its preparation. There are certainly striking marks of genius and literary skill displayed in the management of the main story—while in some of the details and hortatory parts there are no less unequivocal marks of bungling and botch work.

As I have already stated, this volume consists of fifteen separate books, which profess to have been written at different periods, and by different authors, whose names they respectively bear: all these authors, however, belonged to the same people, and were successively raised up by Jehovah,[Pg 269] and by him inspired to carry on the progress of the narrative, and deposit the record when made upon metallic plates in the same ark of testimony which contained the plates handed down by their predecessors. The first book in the volume is called the Book of Nephi: it contains seven distinct chapters, and opens with an account of Lehi, the father of Nephi. Nephi, the writer of this first book, appears to be the grand hero of this epic. His father, Lehi, resided in Jerusalem—was a devout man, and one that feared God. His mother's name was Sariah—and the names of his three brothers were Laman, Lemuel, and Sam. The narrative commences with the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of Judah. During this year the prophets of the most high God came and uttered such fearful predictions in relation to the destruction of Jerusalem, that Lehi became greatly alarmed for the city and for his people. He was so impressed with the messages which the Hebrew seers proclaimed, that he was led to go and pray with great fervency before the Lord. While in this solemn act of prayer, there came down a pillar of fire and rested upon a rock before him, blazing forth in awful majesty, and speaking to him out of the flames. Awed and terrified by this divine manifestation, he went home and cast himself upon his bed overwhelmed with anxious thoughts and fearful forebodings. While he lay there thus meditating upon what he had seen, he was suddenly carried away in a vision, and saw the heavens opened, and God sitting upon his throne, "surrounded by numberless concourses of angels." "And it came to pass," I here use the language of Nephi, (page 6,) "that he saw one descending out of the midst of heaven. And[Pg 270] he beheld that his lustre was above that of the sun at noon day; and he saw twelve others following him, and their brightness did exceed that of the stars in the firmament; and they came down and went forth upon the face of the earth; and the first came and stood before my father, and gave unto him a book, and bade him that he should read. And it came to pass as he read, he was filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and he read, saying, Wo, wo unto Jerusalem! for I have seen thine abominations; yea and many things did my father read concerning Jerusalem—that it should be destroyed, and the inhabitants thereof, many should perish by the sword, and many should be carried away captive into Babylon." Lehi, after this vision, became himself a prophet, and predicted the overthrow of the Holy City; on account of which he was persecuted by the Jews. While they were plotting to destroy him, he had another vision, by which he was instructed to take his family and depart into the wilderness. He immediately obeyed, leaving his house and land and gold and silver and precious things behind. In his journeyings he came near the shore of the Red Sea, and at length pitched his tent in a valley beside a river of water. His two eldest sons were quite unbelieving, and thought it absurd that their father should leave all his comforts behind, and come to dwell in a tent in the wilderness. But Nephi who was the third son, was piously disposed, and being led to seek the face of the Lord in prayer, had a revelation from God—that he should be led to a land of promise, and become a teacher and ruler over his brethren.

After this, Lehi also had another vision, in which he was commanded to send Nephi and his brethren back to[Pg 271] Jerusalem to obtain "the record of the Jews, and also a genealogy of his forefathers, engraven upon plates of brass." This was a mission attended with great danger, and replete with sundry adventures of a marvellous character. After the three brethren had reached Jerusalem, they cast lots to decide which should go to Laban, who seems to have been the keeper of these sacred deposites, and ask for the records. The lot fell upon Laman. He was received very roughly by Laban, and had to flee from his presence for his life, without attaining the object of his wishes. The two elder brothers now determined to abandon the object of their mission and go back to their father; but Nephi, full of faith, wished still to persevere, and therefore proposed that they should go to their former residence and collect together the gold and silver and precious things belonging to their father, and endeavour to make an impression upon Laban's mind by the offer of all these, if he would give them "the plates of brass." Laban was pleased with the exhibition of their treasures, and determined to slay them, in order to possess their wealth. They fled, however, into the wilderness, and hid themselves in the cavity of a rock. The two elder brothers now became utterly indignant with Nephi, and smote him with a rod, because he had led them into such an adventure. An angel of God, however, appeared, and rebuked them—enjoining it upon them to go up to Jerusalem again, and not to give over the enterprise upon which they had embarked—assuring them that the Lord would deliver Laban into their hands. Notwithstanding this divine reproof, the two elder brothers felt rather sorely towards Nephi, and went up again towards Jerusalem quite reluctantly. When they reached the walls of the city, they positively[Pg 272] refused to go any farther. Nephi, however, offered to go again to the house of Laban. He proposed that they should hide without the walls, and wait till his return. It was night; and Nephi stole carefully into the city, directing his steps towards the house of Laban. As he drew near his residence, however, he found a man stretched out on the ground, drunk with wine. Upon examination, he found it was Laban himself. He was armed with a sword, the hilt of which was "of pure gold, and the workmanship exceeding fine." Nephi drew the sword from its scabbard, and as he held it up, he felt constrained by the Spirit to kill Laban. He had to struggle some time with the natural tenderness of his feelings, but his desire to obey God prevailed, and he therefore "took Laban by the hair of the head, and smote off his head with his own sword." He then stript off the garments of Laban, and put them on himself, and girded himself with his armour, and "went forth towards the treasury of Laban," and as he went, "he saw the servant of Laban that had the keys of the treasury." This servant mistook Nephi, who tried to imitate the voice of Laban, for his own master, and readily took out "the engravings which were upon the plates of brass" and carried them without the walls. When the servant discovered the mistake, he was very much frightened—but at length was prevailed upon to accompany these adventurers into the wilderness: therefore having obtained the object of their wishes, they returned to the tent of their father.

Lehi now examined, at his leisure, the records engraven upon the plates of brass, and found that they contained the five books of Moses, "and also a record of the Jews from the beginning even down to the commencement of the[Pg 273] reign of Zedekiah, and also many prophecies spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah." He also found a genealogy of his fathers, from which he learned that he was a descendant of Joseph.

Here I cannot but remark that it is astonishing that he had not found out before this to what tribe he belonged; and it is not a little remarkable that as the sons of Joseph, Ephraim, and Manassah, were appointed to represent two tribes, in the place of Joseph and Levi, he had not told us from which of these descendants he sprang. We were all along at a loss to know what sort of officer Laban was, but here we are told at this stage of the narrative: "Thus my father Lehi did discover the genealogy of his fathers. And Laban also was a descendant of Joseph, wherefore he and his fathers kept the records." This seems to us quite a non sequitur.

But to proceed. Upon obtaining these plates of brass, Lehi began to be "filled with the spirit, and to prophecy concerning his seed; that these plates of brass should go forth unto all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people, which were of his seed. Wherefore, he said that these plates of brass should never perish; neither should they be dimmed any more by time."

Soon after this Nephi had a very wonderful vision, which he told to his two sons, by way of warning the two elder, Laman and Lemuel, of whom he had great fears—as they were disposed to be unbelieving and rebellious. This vision presented an allegorical representation. Lehi declared that he saw a man dressed in a white robe, who came and stood before him, and then bade him follow him. He did so. The white robed guide led him through a long, dark, and dreary waste. After travelling on for[Pg 274] many hours in darkness he began to pray unto the Lord; and the Lord then led him into a large, spacious field, in the midst of which he saw "a tree whose fruit was desirable to make one happy." He partook of this fruit, which was intensely white, "exceeding all the whiteness he had ever seen." As soon as he had partaken of the fruit, "his soul was filled with exceeding great joy." This led him to wish that his family should come and partake of the same. While looking around to see if he could discover his family, he beheld a river of water, which ran along near the tree of whose fruit he had been partaking. At a short distance he beheld the head of this stream, and near it his wife and two younger sons, and they stood as if they knew not whither they should go: and he called out unto them with a loud voice to approach the tree and partake the fruit thereof, and they came. And then his anxieties were awake for his two elder sons, whom at length he discovered in the distance, near the head of the stream, but he could not induce them to come to him or approach the tree. And then he beheld a rod of iron extending along the bank of the river, leading to the tree by which he stood: and also "a straight and narrow path, which came along by the rod of iron to the tree. And it also led by the head of the fountain, unto a large and spacious field, as if it had been a world, and he saw numberless concourses of people: many of whom were pressing forwards, that they might obtain the path which led unto the tree by which he stood." As soon as those who were advancing entered this narrow path they encountered "an exceeding great mist of darkness," so that many lost their way, while others caught hold of the end of the rod of iron, and pressed forward through the mist, clinging to the rod,[Pg 275] and following it until they came into the light amid which the tree stood, and partook of its fruit. The persons who thus approached the tree, after they had partaken of the fruit, looked around and some of them seemed ashamed. "Lehi also cast his eyes round about, and beheld on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building: and it stood as it were in the air: and it was filled with people both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceeding fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those which had come at, and were partaking of the fruit." This was what caused some who had come to the tree to be filled with shame, and to fall away. He saw continual multitudes pressing forward towards the tree, and others towards the great, and spacious building. With all his persuasion Lehi could not induce his two eldest sons to come and partake of the fruit of the tree, therefore he had great fears in relation to them.

After relating this vision, Lehi began to prophecy in relation to the Saviour, and told very distinctly what is related in the New Testament about him. Nephi, however, became very anxious to see the tree of which his father had told, and at length he was gratified. The same vision was repeated to him, and he obtained also from the spirit of the Lord the interpretation thereof. The spirit commanded him to look. He did so, and first he beheld Jerusalem—then Nazareth—and "in the city of Nazareth, a virgin exceeding fair and white." And then he saw the heavens open, and an angel came down, and stood before him, and said, "the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God, after the manner of the flesh." She was carried away in the spirit, and after awhile she returned bearing a[Pg 276] child in her arms, and the angel said to him, "Behold the Lamb of God, yea even the eternal Father! Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying: Yea, it is the love of God." Afterwards he looked and saw the son of God going forth among the children of men. He then saw in succession all the miracles of Christ—all the events of his life—the scenes that followed his crucifixion—and the whole history of the Christian Church up to the present time—beyond which the deponent Nephi sayeth not.

The tree was the love of God in Christ—the rod of iron leading to it was the word of God—the mist and darkness, that blinded the eyes of those going to the tree, were the temptations of the devil—the large and spacious building was the pride and vain imaginations of the children of men.

After this protracted vision, Nephi returned to the tent of his father, and found his brethren disputing about the allegorical sense of the vision of their father Lehi. He of course was now prepared to enlighten them. They asked him "what meaneth the river of water which our father saw?" and he replied, "The water was filthiness. So much was my father's mind swallowed up in other things, that he beheld not the filthiness of the water, and I said unto them, that it was an awful gulf which separateth the wicked from the tree of life, and also from the saints of God—a representation of hell."

I have neglected to mention that previous to Lehi's vision, Nephi and his brethren were commissioned to go up to Jerusalem the second time, to persuade Ishmael and his five daughters to join his father in the wilderness. The fifth chapter opens with a tender scene, in which[Pg 277] Nephi and his brethren are married to the daughters of Ishmael. Immediately after, Lehi received a command to strike his tent and journey on into the wilderness. And when he arose the next morning and went forth to the tent door, "to his great astonishment he beheld upon the ground a round ball of curious workmanship, and it was of fine brass. And within the ball were two spindles; and the one pointed the way whither we should go into the wilderness." They travelled on "for the space of four days nearly a south east direction." Various trials occurred in their journey. The elder brothers uniformly murmured, and Nephi was uniformly submissive. When in extremity the brass ball was their guide, pointing out the way, and exhibiting, inscribed on its sides, the various intelligence they needed visible at proper times. Ishmael died in the wilderness, where they sojourned for the space of eight years. At length they pitched their tents by the sea shore. Here Nephi was called to ascend a high mountain. There the Lord met him, and commanded him to construct a ship to carry his people across the waters to the promised land. He commenced the construction of this ship in the face of much opposition, and of many difficulties, being quite ignorant of the art of ship-building, and his brethren at the same time ridiculing and opposing him. But the Lord helped him, so that ultimately his brethren not only desisted from their opposition, but united in assisting him to complete it; and then they embarked with all their stock of seeds, animals, and provisions. During the voyage Nephi's elder brothers began again to be rebellious. They bound him with cords, and treated him with great cruelty. They, however, soon encountered a terrible gale, and were driven[Pg 278] back from their course. The brazen ball which had miraculously guided them through the wilderness, and which was now a compass to steer by, ceased to work, and they were in the most awful peril. For a long time their fate seemed suspended, and their destiny doubtful; but the power of God at length softened the hearts of Laman and Lemuel, who released Nephi from his confinement, and then again every thing went on smoothly, and they soon reached the land of promise, which of course was America, where "they found beasts of every kind in the forest, both the cow, and the ox, and the ass, and the horse, and the goat, and the wild goat, and all manner of wild animals for the use of men." And "all manner of ore, both of gold and silver, and copper." Nephi by the command of the Lord made metallic plates soon after his arrival in America of this ore, on which he recorded their peregrinations, adventures, and all the prophecies which God gave him concerning the future destinies of his people and the human race. These plates were to be kept for the instruction of the people of the land, and for other purposes known to the Lord.

The second book of Nephi consists of fifteen chapters. It opens with an account of Lehi's death, who, previous to his decease, calls all his children around him and their descendants, and reminds them of God's goodness in having brought them to the promised land, and gives each a patriarchal blessing, uttering sundry predictions in reference to their future destinies. After the death of Lehi, Laman and Lemuel undertook to destroy Nephi, who thereupon fled into the wilderness, taking along with him his own family, his brother Sam, and his younger brothers, Jacob and Joseph, who were born after his father[Pg 279] went out from Jerusalem, and their families. He also took along with him the plates of brass, and the ball that guided them in their former wanderings in the wilderness by the Red Sea, and was their compass to steer by across the ocean. Being thus separated they became the heads of separate tribes. The Nephites soon grew into a numerous people, and built a temple "like unto Solomon's." They, like their father Nephite, for many generations were good christians, hundreds of years before Christ was born, practising baptism and other christian usages. Nephi here accounts for the color of the aborigines. It was the curse of God upon the descendants of his elder brothers on account of their disobedience. "Wherefore as they were white, and exceeding fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people, therefore the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to come upon them." A curse was also pronounced upon intermarriages with them. Nephi also declares that on account of the curse of God upon them "they did become an idle people, full of mischief and subtlety, and did seek in the wilderness for beasts of prey."

In this book is also introduced "the words of Jacob, the brother of Nephi, which he spake unto the people of Nephi." He predicts the coming of Christ, and the return of the Jews from dispersion upon embracing the gospel. Nephi then takes up the subject, and transcribes several chapters from Isaiah by way of corroboration. This is followed by a long harangue, setting forth all the peculiar theology of the New Testament. He then predicts the appearance of a great prophet, and a marvellous book which he shall bring to light. The book of course is the golden Bible, and the prophet Jo Smith. "Wherefore,"[Pg 280] continues he, "at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it, save it be that three witnesses shall behold it by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered: and they shall testify to the truth of the book, and the things therein." This would seem to be directly in the teeth of what actually happened, for as we have seen in a former number there were eight other witnesses besides the three, who declared that they saw these mysterious plates. To elude this difficulty a saving clause is thrown into this chapter to this effect. "And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few, according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men." The reason is also here assigned why the plates are not spread before the learned—it is to teach them humility! An unlearned man is chosen to transcribe the hieroglyphics, or words of the book, that the learned may read them. The learned refuse to read the hieroglyphics, unless they can see the plates whence they are taken. This God will not permit. He has no need of learned men. He is able to do his own work. He will therefore make use of the unlearned to bring these hidden things to light. The prophet, though an unlearned man, will be competent through the power of God, not only to transcribe but to translate the book.

Nephi discards altogether the idea that our present revelation is complete, or that our sacred books contain the whole canon of Scripture. He predicts that the Book of Mormon will meet with opposition,—that many of the Gentiles would say upon its appearance,—"A Bible, a[Pg 281] Bible, we have got a Bible, and there cannot be any more Bible. Thou fool, that shall say, a Bible, we have got a Bible, and we need no more Bible. Have ye obtained a Bible save it were by the Jews? Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the Lord your God have created all men, and that I remember they which are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea even upon all the nations of the earth? Wherefore murmur ye, because that ye shall receive more of my word? Know ye not that the testimony of two nations is a witness unto you that I am God, that I remember one nation like unto another? Wherefore I speak the same words unto one nation like unto another. And when the two nations shall run together, the testimony of the two nations shall run together also. And I do this that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday to-day and forever, and that I speak forth my words according to my own pleasure. And because that I have spoken one word, ye need not suppose that I cannot speak another; for my work is not yet finished, neither shall it be until the end of man; neither from that time henceforth and forever. Wherefore because ye have a Bible ye need not suppose that it contains all my words; neither need ye to suppose that I have not caused more to be written; for I command all men both in the east and in the west, and in the north and in the south, and in the Islands of the sea, that they shall write those words I speak unto them. Behold I shall speak unto the Jews and they shall write it,—unto the Nephites, and they shall write it,—unto[Pg 282] the other tribes of the house of Israel which I have led away, and they shall write it; and unto all the nations of the earth and they shall write it. And the Jews shall have the words of the Nephites, and the Nephites the words of the Jews. And the Nephites and the Jews shall have the words of the lost tribes of Israel, &c." This we consider one of the most pernicious features of this Historical Romance,—that it claims for itself an entire equality in point of divine authority with the sacred canon. It is not only calculated to deceive and delude the credulous, and marvel loving, but to strengthen the cause of infidelity.

The only remaining thing worthy of note in this second Book of Nephi, is the prediction of the ultimate conversion of the Indians, who are a part of the lost tribes of Israel, or descendants of Nephi, to Christianity, through the influence of Mormonism, and that soon after this event they would change their colour, and become "a white and delightsome people." The period occupied by the events related in this Book of Nephi, is fifty five years.

The next book in course is the Book of Jacob, one of the younger brothers of Nephi; which contains five chapters. This book gives an account of the ordaining of Jacob by Nephi, to be priest over the people, and the particulars of Nephi's death. It also relates the circumstance of Jacob's confounding a man who rose up among them and sought to overthrow the doctrine of Christ; and contains a specimen of Jacob's preaching. One of the arguments by which he endeavoured to reclaim the Nephites from certain prevailing sins, was that if they[Pg 283] did not repent, the curse of God would light upon them and they would become as dark coloured as the Lamanites. Sundry efforts were made by the benevolent Nephites "to reclaim and restore the Lamanites to the knowledge of the truth." But it was all to no purpose. They continued to delight in wars and bloodshed, and cherished an eternal hatred against their brethren. To ward off their incursions, the people of Nephi had to fortify and protect their land with a strong military force.

Jacob, who had brought up his son Enos "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," when he saw his own decease approaching, gave him the plates and left him successor in office over the people of Nephi.

The Book of Enos is short, as is also the two following books of Jarom and Omni, containing little except an account of the transmission of the plates from one generation to another till the time of king Benjamin, about 320 years after the flight of Lehi from Jerusalem. During the latter part of this period, many wars took place between the people of Nephi and the Lamanites; so that Mosiah, then king, was warned to emigrate into a new region, or district of the wilderness—into a land called Zarahemla. After reaching there they discovered that the people of Zarahemla were also Jews who came from Jerusalem at the time that Zedekiah, king of Judah, was carried away captive into Babylon, and that they were also brought by the hand of the Lord across the great waters. The Lamanites at this period are described as "a wild, ferocious, and blood-thirsty people, wandering about in the wilderness with a short skin girded about their loins, and their heads shaven, and their skill was in the bow and the[Pg 284] scimitar and the axe. And many of them did eat nothing save it was raw meat."

But I must stop. I fear the reader is already wearied with these foolish vagaries of the imagination, which the Mormon prophet palms off upon his followers as the revelation of the Most High. To redeem our pledge in giving an analysis of the Book of Mormon, we shall be obliged to occupy another chapter with these details. If the reader cannot make up his mind to follow us, he can skip over the next chapter.

[Pg 285]



The question has been frequently asked, why the sect whose history we have been attempting to sketch, are called Mormons? The answer to this question will be readily suggested to any one who has patience to wade through Mr. Spaulding's historical romance. From the account that we have already given of the Book of Mormon we are led to see the mode by which it is pretended that the records of one generation of the Nephites were transmitted to another, and how the history of each preceding age was preserved. These records were engraven upon plates, and the plates, handed down from one prophet to another, or from one king to another, or from one judge to another—the Lord always having raised up some one to receive these plates, when the person in whose hands they had been previously placed was about to die. Mormon, who lived about four hundred years after the coming of Christ, while yet a child received a command in relation to these sacred deposites. The metallic plates which contained the record of all the generations of his fathers, from the flight of Lehi from Jerusalem to his own time, ultimately came into his hands.[Pg 286] From these plates he made an abriged record, which, taken together, in connection with the record of his own times, constitutes the Book of Mormon. Thus we see why the book bears this title. For Mormon was a sort of Ezra, who compiled the entire sacred canon contained in this volume. He lived at a very eventful period, when almost all his people had fallen into a fearful apostacy, and he lived to see them all destroyed, except twenty-four persons. Himself and these sole survivors of his race were afterwards cut off with a single exception. His son Moroni, one of the survivors, lived to tell the mournful tale, and deposite the plates under the hill where Jo Smith found them. Mormon took his name from a place where the first American church was founded, of which we shall hear directly, and where the first candidates for admission into the church were baptized, some two hundred years before the commencement of the Christian era. He was very distinguished in his way, and quite worthy to be the founder of this new sect, who have brought to light his records, and rescued from oblivion such a bundle of marvels, as no one ever heard the like before.

I am sorry to say I must ask you to follow me through a labyrinth of history, if I carry out the plan of furnishing an analysis of the Book of Mormon.

We have already traced the history of the Lamanites and Nephites down to the period of King Benjamin, between three and four hundred years from the period of Lehi's flight from Jerusalem. The father of Benjamin was Mosiah, who was warned of the Lord to migrate to Zarahemla with all his people, that he and they might not be destroyed by the Lamanites. Zarahemla was subsequently[Pg 287] the scene of much that is interesting in this history. It now became the dwelling place of the Nephites. Benjamin was the king of the land. He was a sort of David. He not only fought nobly, but took great pains to establish true religion among the people. He assembled them together, and addressed to them powerful exhortations, preaching to them "repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ." The people were so much affected that they fell to the earth—were converted, and became firm believers in Christ. Benjamin then thoroughly instructed them in the doctrines of Christianity, and finally died about four hundred and seventy six years after Lehi's flight. His son, Mosiah, reigned in his stead, who was no less eminent in kingly power and righteousness than his father. All these facts are given us in what is termed the Book of Mosiah, which contains thirteen chapters.

In the fifth chapter we have quite an episode introduced. As we have before noticed, the Nephites had left their first residence and gone to dwell in the land of Zarahemla.—Some of their number, however, desired to go back to the land where they formerly dwelt. The first party that went out for this purpose were unsuccessful, having had much dissension among themselves. The second attempt, made under a leader by the name of Zeniff, resulted in their making a settlement in that land, and building a city called Lehi-Nephi. No intercourse, however, having been kept up by this colony with their parent country, the result of their enterprise remained unknown in Zarahemla. In the reign of Mosiah, however, a number of individuals determined to go out on an exploring excursion, and to ascertain what had been the fate of their brethren, who had thus[Pg 288] gone up to the land of Nephi. The leader of this exploring party was Ammon, a man that afterwards became famous among the Nephites. This party travelled a long way through the wilderness. I suppose the wilderness, as the term is used in the book of Mormon in reference to America, means woods or forests. At length they approached the land of Shilom and Nephi. They had not proceeded far before an armed band fell upon them, and having taken them prisoners, bound them and brought them before the king of the land. His name was Limhi, and, as it appeared in the sequel, he was a descendant of Zeniff. As soon as Limhi learned Ammon's origin and the errand on which he came, he released him and his company from their bands, treated them with great hospitality, and invoked his and his country's aid to assist them in extricating themselves from the oppressive power of the Lamanites. Limhi also assembled his people together, and announced to them the character of these visiters. He then brought out the records of his people, and exhibited them to Ammon and his company. Ammon read the engravings upon the plates, which in substance were as follows:—Zeniff, the founder of this people, after leaving Zarahemla, travelled a long way through the wilderness, where he encountered various trials, and at length came to the land of Lehi-Nephi and Shilom. They found this country in possession of the Lamanites. From the king of Laman, however, he obtained by treaty the privilege of occupying this land. The Lamanites, the old enemies of his nation, allowed his people to go on and build cities, and make improvements for many years, and then rose up and sought to bring them under their dominion, that they might bear[Pg 289] the relation of serfs or vassals to them. This attempt was rigorously resisted by Zeniff and the colony he had established. During the whole life of Zeniff, who now became their king, the Lamanites were invariably repulsed, and driven off. After his death the kingdom was conferred upon his son Noah, who proved to be a very bad and depraved man. Iniquity soon began to abound every where in the land, and vice to stalk shamelessly abroad with brazen front. Just at this time the Lord raised up among them a prophet by the name of Abinadi. He was very valiant for the truth. He reproved the people for their sins, and denounced the judgments of God openly against them. This fearless denunciation on the part of the prophet awaked the displeasure of the people, who determined and sought to slay the man of God. But Abinadi fled and escaped out of their hands. After about two years, however, he returned in disguise, so that they did not know that it was Abinadi. But as he continued to reprove them, and denounce heaven's wrath against them they determined to kill him. He however was not at all intimidated, but enforced his bold reproofs by repeating to them each one of the commands contained in the decalogue. This exasperated them the more, and they sought to destroy him at once; but he defied their efforts, declaring to them they could have no power over him till he had finished his message. Accordingly he went on, and preached unto them the coming of Christ, exhibiting the whole plan of salvation as laid down in the gospel. His preaching seemed to make some impression upon the mind of the king, but the priests of the land, who were wicked and who derided the idea of the coming of Christ—succeeded in[Pg 290] getting him put to death. He was accordingly led forth and burned at the stake.

Among those who were present, and heard Abinadi testify in reference to the coming and power of Christ, was a young man by the name of Alma, whose heart was touched by the words of the prophet. Though Abinadi perished in the flames, his spirit lived in Alma, who now became not only a firm believer, but a preacher of the doctrines which Abinadi taught. He, of course, became obnoxious both to the king and priests of Lehi-Nephi.—He, however, persevered in preaching, though he was obliged to do it in a private way. His preaching was attended with great effect. And now it was, that those who believed on him resorted to a place called Mormon for baptism. The record thus states the matter. "As many as did believe him, did go forth to a place which was called Mormon, having received its name from the king, being in the borders of the land, having been infested, by times, or at seasons, by wild beasts. Now there was in Mormon a fountain of pure water, and Alma resorted thither, there being near the water a thicket of small trees, where he did hide himself in the day-time from the searches of the king." Here the people came secretly to hear him. And Alma instructed them in the doctrines of Christ, and baptized them by immersion in the waters of Mormon. About two hundred and four souls were thus baptized. The record having recounted these facts, proceeds to say, "This was done in Mormon: yea, by the waters of Mormon; yea, the place of Mormon, the waters of Mormon, how beautiful are they to the eyes of them who there came to the knowledge of their Redeemer; yea, how blessed are[Pg 291] they, for they shall sing to his praise for ever." It was from this place, and these waters, that the individual took his name, from whom the sect of the Mormons derives their appellation.

Alma and his operations at Mormon, however, soon became known, and created a great sensation. He and his followers were denounced as rebels, and a military force was sent out to cut them off. They had now increased to nearly five hundred souls. Apprized of the designs of King Noah, they immediately fled into the wilderness.

The Lord did not allow the wickedness of the people of Lehi-Nephi to go unpunished. The Lamanites soon came upon them, and reduced them to a state of vassalage.—They were still allowed, however, to keep up the shadow of a government, and Limhi succeeded Noah in the kingdom. They were not only made tributary to the Lamanites, but repeated efforts were made on the part of the Lamanites to cut them off, and this led them to be always in a warlike posture. They were also exposed to assaults continually from a banditti that at times came up from the wilderness, and fell upon them. When Ammon and his party were seized by the armed forces of Limhi they were supposed to be one of these marauding bands. This explains the cause of the treatment which they at first received.

Limhi, having thus explained matters to Ammon, proceeded to tell him that a short time before, a small party, having been sent out by him to search for the land of Zarahemla, missed the object of their search, but stumbled upon a country, filled with the ruins of ancient buildings, the remains of decayed and rust-cankered armour, and the[Pg 292] bones of men and beasts. Here, also, were found the records of this extinct race, "engraven upon plates of ore." These plates, which were twenty-four in number, and of pure gold, they brought away with them, but the writing was in a language which neither Limhi nor any of his people understood. They applied therefore, to Ammon to see if he could translate it, but he could not. Ammon, however, told them that he knew one who could interpret these engravings, "even the king of the people which is in the land of Zarahemla." He remarked, "he hath wherewith he can look and translate all records that are of ancient date, and it is a gift from God. And the things are called interpreters; and no man can look in them except he be commanded, lest he should look for that he had not ought, and he should perish." I suppose these must have been the spectacles handed down with the plates through which Joseph Smith looked to read and translate the book of Mormon. Ammon, in his discourse to Limhi, greatly magnified the office of such a looker: "whosoever is commanded to look in them, the same is called seer. A seer is a revelator, and a prophet also. A seer can know of things which has past, and also of things which is to come: and a gift which is greater can no man have." The preceding quotation will give an idea of the grammatical correctness and style of this book.

Limhi of course was very happy at the idea of having the historic facts veiled under these mysterious characters, constituting the written language of an extinct race, brought to light. In this he was gratified, as we shall subsequently see.

But the great matter, which just at this time weighed[Pg 293] most upon Limhi's mind, was, how he could extricate himself from the iron meshes of the net which the Lamanites had cast over his people. Ammon, however, devised an expedient, by which the whole people could flee secretly from Lehi-Nephi. They watched the opportunity and took their flight and found a secure asylum in Zarahemla, where they were received by Mosiah with joy, who also received their records, and the record which they had found in the country of the extinct people before noticed. Here this episode should end. But appended to this is a sub-episode in relation to the people, which were driven into the wilderness by the people of king Noah.—The followers of Alma, who were organized into a church at Mormon, and fled for their lives, travelled eight days through the dense forests, till at length they came to a very beautiful and pleasant country. Here they pitched their tents, and began to till the ground and erect buildings. They offered to make Alma their king, but he declined the honour, and dissuaded them from the idea of having a kingly government. He was already the founder of their Church, and filled among them the office of high priest. No irregularities were allowed in ecclesiastical discipline, as we are expressly informed that "none received authority to preach, or to teach except it were by him from God. Therefore he consecrated all their priests and all their teachers." The deep secluded glen which they inhabited was at length discovered by the roving tribes of the Lamanites, who immediately subjected them to a bondage that was peculiarly oppressive. They soon contrived, however, to escape from their hands, and fled to the land of Zarahemla, which was now becoming a refuge for the oppressed.[Pg 294] They were there kindly received by Mosiah, shortly after the arrival of Limhi and his people. Thus ends this episode.

All the people of Nephi were now assembled together, and also the people of Limhi and Alma, and in their hearing Mosiah read the records both of Zeniff and of Alma; and the Nephites were filled with amazement and joy.—Alma was called out to address the mighty concourse of these gathered tribes. King Limhi and all his people at once became converts to the doctrines of Alma, and desired baptism. And we are told: "That Alma did go forth into the water, and did baptize them; yea, he did baptize them after the manner he did his brethren in the waters of Mormon; yea, and as many as he did baptize, did belong to the church of God; and this because of their belief on the words of Alma. And it came to pass that king Mosiah granted unto Alma that he might establish churches throughout all the land of Zarahemla; and gave him power to ordain priests and teachers over every church. Now this was done because there was so many people that they could not all be governed by one teacher; neither could they all hear the word of God in one assembly; therefore they did assemble themselves together in different bodies, being called churches, every church having their priests and their teachers, and every priest preaching the word according as it was delivered to him by the mouth of Alma; and thus notwithstanding their being many churches they were all one church; yea, even the church of God!!" The people had generally, especially those who had lived in the land of king Benjamin, become very pious Christians. But many of the children, who were now[Pg 295] growing up to man's estate, being still unregenerate, were full of unbelief; and some of them became awfully depraved. Among the number were the sons of the king, and also a son of Alma, who bore the name of his father. They were not only profligate in their lives, but bitter and scoffing infidels. While this young Alma, like Saul of Tarsus was laying waste the church of God, an angel of God appeared to him by the way, and descending in a cloud spoke to him in a voice of thunder which caused the earth to shake upon which they stood. He instantly fell to the earth, being struck dumb and entirely senseless. He continued in this state for two days and two nights and then rose up a perfectly changed and converted man, and became a most zealous preacher of righteousness. Four of the sons of Mosiah were also converted, and became preachers. These sons of the king were so zealous, that they embraced the idea of going on a mission to see if they could not convert the Lamanites. The plan having been approved by their father, they set off. We shall in due time hear what was the result of their efforts. But years passed away without any intelligence being received of them. Their father was growing old, and he had no one on whom to confer the kingdom. He therefore committed the records of his people for transmission to young Alma, who had now become so pious. He did not do this however, till he had translated the records of the extinct nation found by the people of Limhi, engraven upon twenty-four plates of gold.

These records form what is called the book of Ether, in the Book of Mormon, which is placed by Mormon nearly at the end of this volume. The substance of this[Pg 296] record is as follows: The people who inhabited these regions, were descendants of Jared and his brother, who were among those that were engaged in building the tower of Babel. When Jared and his brother saw that God was confounding the language of all the builders, they cried unto him that he would have compassion on them and not confound their language. He did so. They also besought him to show them into what part of the earth he would have them go. He gave them a satisfactory response, guided them a long way through the wilderness, and instructed them to build barges to cross the sea. These were made air tight. A breathing hole was made in the top. To dissipate the darkness, they were instructed to obtain sixteen molten stones, which were touched by the finger of God, and thus these molten stones became in the dark barges like so many stars to enlighten the passengers. They embarked in these barges and were miraculously conducted over mountain waves to the promised land—which was America. Here they became mighty nations—built cities—cultivated the arts—and finally on account of their wickedness became exterminated by dreadful wars between themselves.

The following description is the account given of Mosiah's mode of translating these records: "He translated them by the means of those two stones which was fastened into two rims of a bow. Now these things was prepared from the beginning, and was handed down from generation to generation for the purpose of interpreting languages; and they have been kept and preserved by the hand of the Lord; and whosoever has these things is called seer."—The[Pg 297] same spectacles, as we have seen, came down as an heir loom to Jo Smith.

We have now reached the five hundred and ninth year after the flight of Lehi. Here the book of Mosiah ends giving an account of the termination of the reign of the kings, and the commencement of a sort of republican government, or what is called the reign of the judges.—This change was brought about because none of the sons of Mosiah would accept the kingdom. Alma was made the first chief judge. The book of Alma here follows, which contains twenty-nine chapters, and occupies nearly two hundred pages of the Book of Mormon. It is principally filled with details of the events that happened under the reign of the early judges of the wars and contentions among the people, of the efforts of Alma and others to establish the church, and an account of a war between the Nephites and the Lamanites. One of the first cases brought before Alma after he sat upon the judgment-seat, was that of Nehor, a very large man, and noted for his great strength. He preached strange doctrine to the people, declaring "that every priest and teacher had ought to become popular; and they ought not to labour with their own hands, but that they had ought to be supported by the people." This was one of his heresies. The other was the doctrine of the universalists, "he testified unto the people that all mankind should be saved at the last day and that they need not fear nor tremble, but that they might lift up their heads and rejoice; for the Lord had created all men, and had also redeemed all men; and in the end all men should have eternal life." Gideon opposed him, and thereupon Nehor became wroth and slew him.[Pg 298] He was accordingly brought before the judgment seat and doomed to die. After about five years Amilici, a cunning shrewd man, of similar sentiments with Nehor, rose up, and tried to lead away the people. He at length was so successful that he proposed himself as the king of the nation. The question whether he should be king, was decided by popular vote, and he was defeated. His adherents however still clave to him, and anointed him king, and immediately hereupon there commenced a civil war. The insurgents were defeated in battle, and fled to the Lamanists, who now came in like an inundation upon Zarahemla. But the people of Zarahemla cried unto the Lord, and went forth in his strength and utterly defeated them. The grotesque appearance of the Lamanites at this time is thus described. "The heads of the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were a skin which was girded about their loins, and also their armor, which was girded about them, and their bows and their armour, and their stones and their slings. And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression, and their rebellion against their brethren."

A season of universal prosperity to the church followed this expulsion of the Lamanites, three hundred and fifty persons having been baptized by Alma during the seventh year of the reign of the judge. At the end of the eighth year there was a sensible decline in spiritual things. So alarming was the state of things, that Alma, who had hitherto held the office of chief judge and high priest, laid down altogether the ermine, and took up the crozier, devoting[Pg 299] himself wholly to the business of preaching, with a view to revive and establish the churches. We have sundry specimens of his sermons, which show that he was a perfect Boanerges, a real son of thunder, with which few modern preachers, however versed in the doctrines of Christianity, or skilled in the tactics of Arminian theology, would venture to compete. Great effects attended his preaching generally in the various cities he visited, but when he reached the city of Ammonihah he could make no impression upon the minds of the people. He therefore gave them up in despair; but as he was departing an angel of God met him and told him to go back, and make another effort. He did so, and Amulek, a young man of some distinction, was converted, who laboured with him in the ministry. But the lawyers opposed them, and tried to stir up the people against them. Alma, however, waxed mighty in spirit, and confounded, and perfectly silenced Zeezrom, the most distinguished of the lawyers. Zeezrom himself was ultimately converted, and suffered much persecution for his new faith. Alma and Amulek were imprisoned, abused and every way insulted, but their prison doors were broken open, and they delivered in the sight of all the people. Among the most prominent topics of Alma's preaching was the speedy coming of Christ. He declared he would appear in this land in America after his resurrection. Before dismissing the subject of Alma and his preaching, who is one of the most distinguished characters in the book, I cannot refrain from transcribing a passage from his address to the people of Ammonihah. "And now, my beloved brethren, for ye are my brethren, and ye had ought to be beloved, and ye had ought to bring[Pg 300] forth works which is mete for repentance, seeing that your hearts have been grossly hardened against the word of God, and seeing that ye are a lost and a fallen people."

We have next an episode, giving an account of the missionary adventures of the sons of Mosiah, in their attempts to evangelize the Lamanites. These four sons most unexpectedly made their appearance in the land of Zarahemla after an absence of fourteen years. After they first reached the land of the Lamanites, they were seized and made slaves in the service of several princes that reigned there. Ammon, whose adventures are related with the most minuteness, was a perfect Guy of Warwick. He could encounter and overcome by his single arm, hundreds of men, all trying at the same time to overpower him. He gave a specimen of his prowess in this way, in protecting the king's flock, which he was leading to water, against the efforts of a band of hostile shepherds who tried to scatter and disperse the flock. The fame thereof came to the king. He was called into his presence. This opened the way for him to preach the Gospel to him. While he was speaking the power of the Holy Spirit was displayed in such a way that the king fell to the ground, and his wife and servants. They were, of course, all converted. Ammon now became a great man, and though he encountered much opposition, and many trials, he and his brethren succeeded in converting all the Kings and Queens, and most of the people of the Lamanites. They seem, generally, previous to their conversion, to have had, what in modern times is called the power. They were most generally struck down under the word, and after remaining insensible awhile, they rose up and began to shout praises to the[Pg 301] Most High, being perfectly transformed. These converted people were called Anti-Nephi-Lehies. Soon the more fierce tribes of the Lamanites who still remained unconverted, made war upon these; and as they seem with these new views to have adopted the doctrine of non-resistance, they were in danger of being exterminated. Hence by the suggestion of the four missionaries, they determined to emigrate to Zarahemla. They had already reached the border of the land, and when the king's sons met Alma, their principal errand was to ask permission for this people to dwell in the land of the Nephites. This request was of course granted.

Alma gave very long lectures or charges to his sons, and especially to Helaman, to whom he committed all the sacred plates, the interpreters, and the director which guided Lehi through the wilderness. To him he also uttered this prediction, "Behold I perceive that this very people, the Nephites, according to the spirit which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall dwindle in unbelief; yea, and then shall they see wars, and pestilences, yea, famines and bloodshed, even until the people of Nephi shall become extinct."

Alma, after uttering this prophecy, disappeared in the same mysterious way that Moses did, and no man knoweth his grave unto this day. At this period all who believed in Christ took upon them the name of Christians. Various wars now raged between the Lamanites and Nephites. The people of Nephi erected many forts and high mounds to secure themselves from the invasion of their enemies.

The Book of Helaman, which consists of five chapters,[Pg 302] opens with the fortieth year of the reign of the Judges. It details sad accounts of dissensions and war, and strange alternations of prosperity and adversity to the church. A man by the name of Nephi, who was now chief judge, imitated Alma, and laying down his civil office, became a great preacher and prophet, performing miracles and mighty wonders. He went even to the Lamanites, and was so successful in converting them, that he arrested the tide of war and restored peace to the land. The earth shook, the heavens were opened, and angels came down at his voice. After Nephi, rose up Samuel, a Lamanite, who predicted that Christ would come in five years, and that on the day he was born, though the sun would go down as usual, there would be no night, it would continue as light as day. This was to be the sign. Another sign to attend his death, which was to take place in the thirty-fourth year after his birth, was three whole days of darkness, in which there were to be thunderings and lightnings, and earthquakes, and the rending of rocks and cleaving of hills. According to the testimony in the next book, at the end of five years the sign of his birth occurred, two days succeeding each other without any intervening night. The Nephites, therefore, knew that Christ had come. They accordingly reckoned their time from this period, regarding it as the commencement of a new era. The Lamanites that were converted now became white as the Nephites. At the end of thirty-three years, the signs that were foretold would accompany the death of Christ, appeared. There was a great tempest, and terrible thunder; the earth shook, as though about to divide asunder. Vivid lightning ran along on the ground, cities were overturned and buried in the[Pg 303] midst of the sea—a terrible darkness came over the land for three days—and a great mourning and howling and weeping among the people. The voice of Christ was heard, amid the awful tempest, denouncing woes upon sinners, and offering grace and salvation to all who would repent and believe. After this Christ made his personal appearance on the earth, coming down from heaven with great glory. There were several occasions on which he appeared, at which times he delivered to the assembled thousands all the instruction, and performed nearly all the miracles recorded in the New Testament, and then he was again taken up out of their sight. He ordained twelve apostles and gave them singular gifts. He instituted baptism and the Lord's supper, blessed the children and healed the sick, but I am obliged to pass over all the details of these, as this chapter is already so long. Now all were baptized in the name of the Trinity. All the Nephites, and nearly all the Lamanites, became converted. For about fifty years the earth was almost a perfect paradise. But then the love of many began to wax cold, and iniquity to abound. Terrible wars ensued. The Nephites apostatized more and more from the faith, till at the end of four hundred years after Christ they became entirely destroyed, and Mormon, as we have said, was one of the last of his race, who committed the records of this people to his son, Moroni, who deposited them in the hill, where Joseph Smith found them. This is an outline of this historical romance, which the deluded Mormons now regard as a revelation from God. In this brief sketch we have been obliged to omit many things that attracted our attention; but I suppose that our readers are exceedingly glad we have reached the end, as the writer certainly is.

[Pg 304]



Since preparing the preceding chapters for the press, there have come into the author's hands several documents, that seem to throw additional light upon the origin and authorship of the Book of Mormon. These documents consist of statements made by Mr. John Spalding, now residing in Crawford county, Pa., the brother of Rev. Mr. Spalding—by Mrs. Martha Spalding, the wife of Mr. John Spalding—by four gentlemen, residing in Conneaut, Ashtabula county, Ohio, the very spot where Mr. Spalding's historical romance was originally written, and by several others acquainted with the facts in reference to Mr. Spalding's manuscript. From these statements we make the following extracts:

Mr. John Spalding, having given an account of the education of his brother, his preparation for the ministry, his subsequent relinquishment of its duties, and his engagement in mercantile business, says, "In a few years he failed in business, and, in the year 1809, removed to Conneaut, in Ohio. The year following, I removed to Ohio, and found him engaged in building a forge. I made him a visit in about three years after; and found that he had failed, and become considerably involved in debt. He then[Pg 305] told me he had been writing a book, which he intended to have printed, the avails of which he thought would enable him to pay all his debts. The book was entitled the 'Manuscript Found,' of which he read to me many passages. It was an historical romance of the first settlers of America, endeavouring 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 two 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. Their 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 recently read the Book of Mormon, and to my great surprise I find nearly the same historical matter, names, &c. 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 the best of my 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."

Mrs. Martha Spalding's testimony is very similar. She says, "I was personally acquainted with Solomon Spalding, about twenty years ago. I was at his house a short[Pg 306] 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 lands, 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 Spalding; 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."

Mr. Henry Lake, residing at Conneaut, gives the following statement: "I left the state of New York, late in the year 1810, and arrived at this place, about the 1st of January following. Soon after my arrival, I formed a co-partnership with Solomon Spalding, for the purpose of rebuilding a forge which he had commenced a year or two before. He very frequently read to me from a manuscript[Pg 307] 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 writing, 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 any thing 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 pocket, carried it home, and thought no more of 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 till I was astonished to find the same passages in it that Spalding had read to me more than twenty years before, from his 'Manuscript Found.' Since that, I have more fully 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.'"

Mr. John N. Miller, residing in Springfield, Pa., who was then in the employ of Mr. Lake, and boarded in the family of Mr. Spalding, corroborates the preceding statement. After having mentioned being introduced to the[Pg 308] manuscript of Mr. Spalding, he says, "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, &c.

"I have recently examined the Book of Mormon, and find in it the writings of Solomon Spalding, from beginning to end, but mixed up with Scripture and other religious matter, which I did not meet with in the 'Manuscript Found.' Many of the passages in the Mormon Book are verbatim from Spalding, 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."

Mr. Aaron Wright, of Conneaut, remarks, "I first became acquainted with Solomon Spalding in 1808 or 9, 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 Spalding, more than twenty years ago; the names more especially are the same without any alteration. He told me his object was to account for all the fortifications, &c. to be found in this country."

Mr. Oliver Smith, of Conneaut, gives the following statement: "When Solomon Spalding first came to this[Pg 309] place, 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 country. He said he intended to trace their journey from Jerusalem, by land and sea, till their arrival in America, give an account of their arts, sciences, civilization, wars and contentions. In this way, he would give a satisfactory account of all of the old mounds, so common to this country. 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 the Book of Mormon related, I at once said it was the writings of old Solomon Spalding. Soon after, I obtained the book, and on reading it, found much of it the same as Spalding had written, more than twenty years before."

Mr. Nahum Howard, of the same place, gives a similar statement. We will detain the reader only by a single additional statement. Mr. Artemas Cunningham, of Perry, Geauga county, relates the following facts: "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 Spalding. 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[Pg 310] had been writing. He endeavoured 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. The Mormon Bible I have partially examined, and am fully of the opinion that Solomon Spalding had written its outlines before he left Conneaut."

With such a cloud of witnesses, commentary seems quite unnecessary.

[Pg 311]



Steps leading to the Mormon emigration to the West—Conversion of Parley P. Pratt—Mission to the Lamanites—Sidney Rigdon—His avowed conversion—Fanatic scenes at Kirtland—Dr. Rosa's letter—Mr. Howe's statement—Smith's removal.

Jo Smith, who aspired to the high character of a prophet of God, was far more successful in gathering early disciples than Mahomet. His own family, and numerous coadjutors, being in the secret with himself, and hoping to build up their fortunes by this scheme, became very zealous converts to the Mormon imposture.

There was not much ground for Smith to hope to make converts in the neighbourhood where this fabrication was got up. In addition to his own family, Harris, Cowdery, Whitmer, and those whom they could personally influence, a few converts were obtained in the neighbouring towns, by the marvellous pretensions which the prophet set up. These, however, were either mere adventurers, or the firm believers in ghosts and hobgoblins. Soon after the Book of Mormon was issued from the press, a person by the name of Parley P. Pratt, passed through Palmyra, and hearing of the "golden Bible," sought an[Pg 312] interview with the prophet, and immediately became a convert. This individual resided in Lorrain co., Ohio, and was very intimate with Sidney Rigdon. Rigdon was professedly a Campbellite Baptist preacher. He resided in the county of Geauga, and but a few miles from Kirtland, which afterwards became the head-quarters of the Mormons. About the time that Pratt visited the prophet, and gave in his adhesion to the Mormons, an expedition was fitted out for the Western Country, under the command of Cowdery, to convert the Lamanites, as the western Indians were called by them. The persons sent on this mission were Cowdery, Pratt, Peterson, and Whitmer. Under the guidance of Pratt, they reached the residence of Rigdon in Mentor, Ohio, the last of October, 1830.—Rigdon at first received them apparently with suspicion, and objected to the Mormon scheme, and the authority of the prophet, but in the course of two days, his objections gave way, and he avowed his conversion to the Mormon faith. He very soon started off in order to have a personal interview with the prophet. Smith of course was prepared to receive him, and declared there had just been made to him a revelation from the Lord in relation to this new convert. This pretended heavenly communication uses such language as the following—"Behold, verily, verily, I say unto my servant Sidney, I have looked upon thee and thy works; I have heard thy prayers, and prepared thee for a greater work—thou art blessed for thou shall do great things. Behold thou wast sent forth even as John to prepare the way before me, and Elijah which should come, and thou knewest it not—thou didst baptize by water unto repentance, but they received not the Holy Ghost; but now I give unto you a commandment, that thou shalt baptize[Pg 313] by water, and fire of the Holy Ghost, by laying on of hands, even as the Apostles of old."

There is great reason to believe that this meeting of Smith and Rigdon was preconcerted—and that the pretended mission to the Indians was devised to form a plausible pretext for Rigdon, to come out openly in favour of the Mormons—and thus to conceal more effectually the hand which he might previously have had in concocting this scheme of imposture.

Certain it is "their plans of deception appear to have been more fully matured and developed after the meeting of Smith and Rigdon. The latter being found very intimate with the Scriptures, a close reasoner, and as fully competent to make white appear black, and black white, as any other man; and at all times prepared to establish, to the satisfaction of great numbers of people, the negative or affirmative, of any and every question, from Scripture, he was forthwith appointed to promulgate all the absurdities and ridiculous pretensions of Mormonism, 'and call on the Holy Prophets to prove' all the words of Smith." A revelation was soon received, "that Kirtland, the residence of Rigdon and his brethren, was to be the eastern border of the 'promised land,' 'and from thence to the Pacific Ocean.' On this land the 'New Jerusalem, the city of Refuge,' was to be built. Upon it, all true Mormons were to assemble, to escape the destruction of the world, which was soon to take place."

Those sent on the mission to the Lamanites having spent some time at Kirtland, succeeded in making a number of converts. After Cowdery and his associates, began to develope the peculiarities of their system, we are told that scenes of the most wild, frantic and horrible fanaticism[Pg 314] ensued. "They pretended that the power of miracles was about to be given to all those who embraced the new faith, and commenced communicating the Holy Spirit, by laying their hands upon the heads of the converts, which operation, at first, produced an instantaneous prostration of body and mind. Many would fall upon the floor, where they would lie for a long time, apparently lifeless. They thus continued these enthusiastic exhibitions for several weeks. The fits usually came on, during or after their prayer-meetings, which were held nearly every evening. The young men and women were more particularly subject to this delirium. They would exhibit all the apish acts imaginable, making the most ridiculous grimaces, creeping upon their hands and feet, rolling upon the frozen ground, go through with all the Indian modes of warfare, such as knocking down, scalping, &c. At other times, they would run through the fields, get upon stumps, preach to imaginary congregations, enter the water, and perform all the ceremony of baptizing. Many would have fits of speaking all the different Indian dialects, which none could understand. Again, at the dead hour of night, the young men might be seen running over the fields and hills in pursuit, as they said, of the balls of fire, lights, &c., which they saw moving through the atmosphere."

Three of the young converts pretended to have received commissions to preach from the skies, after having first jumpt into the air as high as they could. All these transactions were believed to be from the Spirit of God. They very soon numbered in this region a hundred converts. To these converts Rigdon, soon after joining Smith at Manchester, wrote a letter, disclosing among other things that Kirtland was to be the seat of empire—and that they[Pg 315] were dwelling on their eternal inheritance, and that the land of promise extended from that place to the Pacific ocean.

The facts above stated are principally taken from a volume entitled "Mormonism unveiled," sent the author by a most estimable clergyman of the Episcopal Church, residing at Ashtabula, Ohio, with the information that this volume is regarded by all candid and respectable people in the neighbourhood of the Mormon settlement, as a correct and fair statement of facts. It may tend to throw some new light upon some of the actors in this grand drama of deception to insert a portion of the correspondence that led the clergyman just referred to, to forward this volume to the author. The Rev. Mr. Quinan, who now resides in Philadelphia, having formerly lived in the neighbourhood of Kirtland, was requested by the author to open a correspondence with some intelligent person in that neighbourhood, who would be able to give some account of the first emigration of the Mormons to Kirtland, and the line of operations which they had there pursued. Mr. Quinan's letter was addressed to Dr. A. Hawley. Dr. H—— put this letter into the hands of the clergyman above alluded to, who having obtained the following communication from Dr. Rosa, forwarded it to the author, with a postscript of his own appended, as will be seen in the insertion below. Dr. Rosa's letter is dated Painesville, Ohio, June 3d, 1841, from which we make the following extract.

* * * I think the history of Mormonism as published by E. D. Howe—a copy of which can be obtained in our place—contains all the material truths connected with the rise and progress of that miserable deception. There are occasionally new doctrines introduced and incorporated with their faith, such as [Pg 316]being baptized for the dead. This is a common custom here. When a member is satisfied that his father, mother, or brother, or any other friend is in hell, he steps forward and offers himself to the church in baptism for that individual, and when properly baptised the tormented individual will instantaneously emerge from his misery into perfect happiness. There are many such follies which the simple hearted are ready and willing to believe. There is no permanent separation in the society. There were a few seceders a few years since, some of whom left them entirely, and became infidels, and others held to the original purity of the doctrines as they termed it.

As to Martin Harris—of late I have heard but little of him. My acquaintance with him induces me to believe him a monomaniac; he is a man of great loquacity and very unmeaning, ready at all times to dispute the ground of his doctrines with any one. He was one of the seceders, and for a time threatened the Mormons with exposure, as I have been informed; but where he is now I cannot say.

Jo Smith is regarded as an inspired man by all the Mormons.

Sidney Rigdon is at the western settlement; he embraced the Mormon religion in the latter part of October, 1830. See page 102 of the book as published by E. D. Howe, above referred to.

In the early part of the year—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[Pg 317] 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 for 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 neighbour, E. Partridge, and the Rev. Sidney Rigdon were in Waterloo, and that they both had become the dupes of Jo Smith's necromancies: it then occurred to me that Rigdon's new religion had made its appearance, and when I became informed of the Spalding manuscript I was confirmed in the opinion that Rigdon was at least accessary if not the principal in getting up this farce. Any information that I can give shall be done cheerfully.

Respectfully, your obedient servant,
S. Rosa..
Rev. Mr. Hall.

June 5th, 1841.
Rev. John A. Clark, D. D.

Dear Sir:

The above letter I have obtained in answer to several questions respecting Mormons and Mormonism, transmitted by the Rev. Mr. Quinan to Dr. A. Hawley, of this county, from you. This letter of Dr. Rosa's, together with the book, "Mormonism Unveiled" which accompanies it, I send as the best answers to your questions, and[Pg 318] the best expositions of Mormonism which can be obtained. It is believed by candid and respectable people in the vicinity of the Mormon Temple, that Mr. Howe's book—"Mormonism Unveiled"—is very correct. As to the deponents in reference to Spalding manuscript, at New Salem (now Conneaut), I have been acquainted with them for thirty years (excepting Miller), and believe them to be credible and respectable persons.

It is indeed astonishing that so low an imposture should ever have been countenanced at all; much more so that hundreds of English converts should recently have come over to it, and that four hundred more should now be daily expected to take shipping at Buffalo, in order to pass up our Lakes to join the Western Mormons!

John Hall,
Rector of St. Peter's, Ashtabula, Ohio.

In the conclusion of Mr. Howe's book—referred to in the preceding letter—we were particularly struck with the following statement, which seems to account perfectly for Rigdon's easy faith, and to identify him with this scheme of imposture from its very origin. The reader will recollect that Mrs. Davison states that the manuscript was lent to Mr. Patterson, the publisher of a newspaper in Pittsburg, with whose office Rigdon was connected. The author of the volume above referred to, says:—"It was inferred at once that some light might be shed upon this subject, and the mystery revealed, by applying to Patterson & Lambdin, in Pittsburg. But here again death had interposed a barrier. That establishment was dissolved and broken up many years since, and Lambdin died about eight years ago. Mr. Patterson says he has no recollection[Pg 319] of any such manuscript being brought there for publication, neither would he have been likely to have seen it, as the business of printing was conducted wholly by Lambdin at that time. He says, however, that many manuscript books and pamphlets were brought to the office about that time, which remained upon their shelves for years, without being printed or even examined. Now, there is the strongest presumption that Spalding's manuscript, (or a copy of it) remained there in seclusion, till about the year 1823 or '24, at which time Sidney Rigdon located himself in that city. We have been credibly informed that he was on terms of intimacy with Lambdin, being seen frequently in his shop. Rigdon resided in Pittsburg about three years, and during the whole of that time, as he has since frequently asserted, abandoned preaching and all other employment, for the purpose of studying the Bible. He left there, and came into the county where he now resides, about the time Lambdin died, and commenced preaching some new points of doctrine, which were afterwards found to be inculcated in the Mormon Bible. He resided in this vicinity about four years previous to the appearance of the book, during which time he made several long visits to Pittsburg, and perhaps to the Susquehanna, where Smith was then digging for money, or pretending to be translating plates. It may be observed also, that about the time Rigdon left Pittsburg, the Smith family began to tell about finding a book that would contain a history of the first inhabitants of America, and that two years had elapsed before they finally got possession of it.

"We are, then, irresistibly led to this conclusion;—that Lambdin, after having failed in business, had recourse to the old manuscripts then in his possession, in order to [Pg 320]raise the wind, by a book speculation, and placed the "Manuscript Found," of Spalding, in the hands of Rigdon, to be embellished, altered, and added to, as he might think expedient; and three years' study of the Bible we should deem little time enough to garble it, as it is transferred to the Mormon book. The former dying, left the latter the sole proprietor, who was obliged to resort to his wits, and in a miraculous way to bring it before the world; for in no other manner could such a book be published without great sacrifice. And where could a more suitable character be found than Jo Smith, whose necromantic fame and arts of deception, had already extended to a considerable distance? That Lambdin was a person every way qualified and fitted for such an enterprise, we have the testimony of his partner in business, and others of his acquaintance. Add to all these circumstances, the facts, that Rigdon had prepared the minds in a great measure, of nearly a hundred of those who attended his ministration, to be in readiness to embrace the first mysterious ism that should be presented—the appearance of Cowdery at his residence as soon as the Book was printed—his sudden conversion, after many pretensions to disbelieve it—his immediately repairing to the residence of Smith, three hundred miles distant, where he was forthwith appointed an elder, high-priest, and a scribe to the prophet—the pretended vision that his residence in Ohio was the "promised land,"—the immediate removal of the whole Smith family thither, where they were soon raised from a state of poverty to comparative affluence. We, therefore, must hold out Sidney Rigdon to the world as being the original 'author and proprietor' of the whole Mormon conspiracy, until further light is elicited upon the lost writings of Solomon Spalding."[Pg 321]

We proceed, however, with our narrative. Rigdon tarried with Smith in Manchester about two months, receiving revelations, preaching in that vicinity, and trying to establish the truth of Mormonism. But meeting with little success, he returned to Kirtland, being followed in a few days by the prophet and his connections. This happened early in 1831. "From this point in the history of this delusion, it began to spread with considerable rapidity. Nearly all of their male converts, however ignorant and worthless, were forthwith transformed into 'Elders,' and sent forth to proclaim, with all their wild enthusiasm, the wonders and mysteries of Mormonism. All those having a taste for the marvellous, and delighting in novelties, flocked to hear them. Many travelled fifty and an hundred miles to the throne of the prophet, in Kirtland, to hear from his own mouth the certainty of his excavating a bible and spectacles. Many, even in the New England States, after hearing the frantic story of some of these 'elders,' would forthwith place their all into a wagon, and wend their way to the 'promised land,' in order, as they supposed, to escape the judgments of Heaven, which were soon to be poured out upon the land. The State of New York, they were privately told, would most probably be sunk, unless the people thereof believed in the pretensions of Smith.

"On the arrival of Smith in Kirtland, he appeared astonished at the wild enthusiasm and scalping performances, of his proselytes there, as heretofore related. He told them that he had enquired of the Lord concerning the matter, and had been informed that it was all the work of the Devil. The disturbances, therefore, ceased. Thus we[Pg 322] see that the Devil, for the time being, held full sway in making converts to Mormonism."[5]

We have already stated that Sidney Rigdon, previous to his conversion to the Mormons, was a preacher among the Campbellite Baptists, and enjoyed considerable popularity. After his return to Kirtland, with his new companions and new faith, Elder Campbell, the founder of the sect to which he had previously belonged, sent him a challenge for a public debate, in which he would undertake to show the foolish absurdities, shameless pretensions, and manifest imposture of the whole Mormon scheme. This challenge, however, Rigdon very prudently declined accepting.


[5] Mormonism Unveiled.

[Pg 323]



Mission to Missouri—Cause that led to emigration—Settlement at Independence—Change in operations—Gift of tongues—Rule for speaking and interpreting.

Cowdery and those connected with his mission, after having made the converts we have noticed at Kirtland in the autumn of 1830, proceeded on still farther to the west, in order to convert the Indians. They at length set down in the western part of Missouri.

The following extract from the volume already referred to, will explain the cause that led the Mormons to think of emigrating to Missouri.

"The Mormons soon began to assemble in considerable numbers at and about Kirtland, the supposed 'eternal inheritance,' and those who were able, bought land; but the greater part of their dupes had thus far been the poor and needy, and came there with a view of enjoying all things 'in common,' as such doctrine had gone forth. Many, however, found out their mistake after their arrival; and the revelation appeared to be only that the prophet and some of his relations should be supported by the church. In consequence of their inability to purchase lands adjoining head-quarters, they were scattered about[Pg 324] in several townships, much exposed to 'wild beasts,' and subject to have their faith shaken by the influence of reason. Several renounced it. They were daily running to the prophet with queries and doubts which were constantly arising upon their minds. He generally satisfied them by explaining; nevertheless, they annoyed him much and the necessity of withdrawing them from the influences which surrounded them became apparent; hence, their removal to Missouri, where they could, in time, purchase all the land which they should need at a low rate, and become a 'distinct people.'

"As before noticed, Cowdery and his companions, proceeded on to the west, with the avowed intention of converting the Indians, under a command of the Lord. On their way they tried their skill on several tribes, but made no proselytes, although their deluded brethren at home could daily see them, in visions, baptising whole tribes. They finally arrived at the western line of the State of Missouri, late in the fall of 1830, with the intention of proceeding into the Indian country, but were stopped by the agents of the general government, under an act of Congress, to prevent the white people from trading or settling among them. They then took up their winter quarters in the village of Independence, about twelve miles from the State line. Here they obtained employment during the winter. In the following spring, one of them returned to Kirtland, with a flattering account of the country about Independence. About the first of June, the prophet assembled all his followers, for the purpose of a great meeting, at which time it was given out that marvellous events were to take place. Here many new attempts were made by Smith to perform miracles[Pg 325] and otherwise to deceive his followers. Previous to this time, it should be remarked, nearly all the Mormonites had arrived from the State of New York, under a revelation, of course, to take possession of the 'promised land.' There were in all about fifty families. At the above mentioned meeting a long revelation was manufactured, commanding all the leading men and Elders to depart forthwith for the western part of Missouri, naming each one separately, informing them that only two should go together, and that every two should take separate roads, preaching by the way. Only about two weeks were allowed them to make preparations for the journey, and most of them left what business they had to be closed by others. Some left large families, with their crops upon the ground, and embarked for a distant land, from which they have not yet returned.

"On arriving at the village of Independence, they proceeded to purchase a lot of land, upon which the prophet directed Rigdon and Cowdery to perform the mock ceremony of laying the corner stone of a city, which he called Zion. Of the future prosperity and magnificence of this city, many marvellous revelations were had by the prophet and many more marvellous conjectures formed by his disciples. Among others, it was said that it would in a few years exceed in splendor every thing known in ancient times. Its streets were to be paved with gold; all that escaped the general destruction which was soon to take place, would there assemble with all their wealth; the ten lost tribes of Israel had been discovered in their retreat, in the vicinity of the North Pole, where they had for ages been secluded by immense barriers of ice, and became[Pg 326] vastly rich: the ice in a few years was to be melted away, when those tribes, with St. John and some of the Nephites, which the Book of Mormon had immortalized, would be seen making their appearance in the new city, loaded with immense quantities of gold and silver.

"The prophet and his life-guard of Elders, stayed in their city about two weeks. Revelations were had for a part of them to return to Ohio, a part to stay and take charge of the city, and a part to commence preaching 'in the region round about.' Much dissatisfaction was manifested by some as to the selection of the site, and the general appearance of the country. Smith, Rigdon and Cowdery returned to the old head-quarters in Kirtland. Their followers immediately commenced selling their lands, mostly at a great sacrifice, and made preparations for emigrating up the Missouri. All were now anxious to sell, instead of buying more land in Ohio. A special command was given to seventeen families, who had settled in one township, some three months previous, to depart forthwith to the promised land, who obeyed orders, leaving their crop to those who owned the land. Besides a great variety of special revelations relating to individuals, and other matters, a general one was given to the proselytes to sell their lands and other property and repair to Missouri as fast as possible, but not in haste. Accordingly, many went during the year, making sacrifices of property, (those few of them who had any,) in proportion to their faith and their anxiety to be upon their 'eternal inheritance.' In the mean time, thirty or forty 'Elders,' were sent off in various directions in pursuit of proselytes. This year passed off with a gradual increase,[Pg 327] and considerable wealth was drawn in, so that they began to boast of a capital stock of ten or fifteen thousand dollars.

"Their common stock principles appear to be somewhat similar to those of the Shakers. Each one, however is allowed to 'manage his own affairs in his own way,' until he arrives in Missouri. There the Bishop resides; he has supreme command in all pecuniary matters, according to the revelations given by the prophet.

"The next year commenced with something like a change of operations. Instead of selling their possessions in Ohio, they again began to buy up improved land, mills and water privileges. It would seem that the Missouri country began to look rather dreary to the prophet and his head men, supposing that they could not enjoy their power there as well as in Ohio. They could not think of undergoing the hardships and privations incident to a new country. Besides, the people there were not much disposed to encourage the emigration of such an army of fanatics—and their "Lamanite" brethren, under Gen. Black Hawk, were about that time commencing a war upon the whites.

"They therefore, continued to extend their impositions by sending abroad every thing that could walk, no matter how ignorant, if they had learnt the tales and vagaries of their leaders. All that were so sent, were dubbed Elders or High Priests, and furnished with a commission, purporting to have been dictated by the Lord to the prophet. These requisites being added to their credulity, they were of course inspired with all necessary self-sufficiency, zeal and impudence. They were thus prepared to declare that[Pg 328] every thing which they stated or imagined, was absolutely true—for the Spirit had so informed them.

"During the year 1832, considerable progress was made in writing out, and revising the Old and New Testaments, which the prophet pretended to do by inspiration, or by the guidance of the Spirit. In this business, most of his leisure hours were occupied, Rigdon acting as scribe. They say that the Scriptures in their present form, retain but little of their original purity and beauty, having been so often copied and translated by unskilful hands. The whole of the old Bible is now said to be ready for the press, in its amended form, and will be forthcoming, as soon as the state of their finances will permit.

"On the opening of the year 1833, the 'gift of tongues' again made its appearance at head-quarters, and from thence extended to all their branches in different parts. Whether the language now introduced differed materially from those practised two or three years previous, (and pronounced to be of the Devil,) we have not been informed. It appears that this last device, was all that was then lacking to make the system perfect. They had long before professed to be fully endowed with the power of healing all manner of diseases, discerning spirits, and casting out devils. But a succession of failures had rendered them rather stale, and given distrust to many of the faithful. A new expedient was therefore indispensably necessary, in order to revive the drooping spirits of the deluded, and at the same time, insure a new crop of converts. The scheme proved eminently successful. Hundreds were soon convinced of the truth of the whole, by hearing of and seeing the manner in which the 'tongues' were performed, although the trick would[Pg 329] seem more susceptible of discovery than any previous one. This gift was not confined to the elders and high priests, who, in other respects, were supposed to have a superabundant share of 'the spirit;' but nearly all the proselytes, both old and young, could show their faith by speaking with 'tongues.'"

One would think from the following account that the Mormons had been taking some hints from the school of Edward Irving.

Mr. Kilby, who was an elder among the Mormons, but afterwards came to his senses and renounced the delusion, relates some very curious facts in relation to their pretended gift of tongues. Two distinguished Mormon preachers, Mr. Cahoon and Patton, gave a rule for speaking in unknown tongues, and also for interpreting what was spoken by others.

"This rule, they said, was perfect—that as long as we followed it we could not err. And so I believe; it was a perfect rule to lead men astray. The rule, as given by Cahoon, is this: rise upon your feet and look and lean on Christ; speak or make some sound; continue to make sounds of some kind, and the Lord will make a correct tongue or language of it. The interpretation was to be given in the same way." Subsequent to this there was a still greater emigration to Missouri. Soon disturbances of various kinds arose.

We had prepared two chapters containing such facts as we were able to collect, to exhibit the history of the Mormons in their residence in Missouri, and the two wars in which they were engaged. But upon looking over the pages which we had prepared we cannot make up our mind to tax the reader with the details of these[Pg 330] belligerent operations. The result of their last resort to arms was their expulsion or emigration from Missouri into Illinois, and the founding of their new city at Nauvoo where at present is the principal Mormon settlement. There are some few remaining facts to which we shall call the attention of the reader, in order to illustrate still further the folly, and depraved character of some of the prominent actors in this grand imposture.

[Pg 331]



The prophet's attempt at financiering—Mr. Smalling's letter.

Allusion has been made to the attempts at financiering in which the Mormon prophet and his coadjutors embarked, before leaving Kirtland. The facts connected with this are presented in a clear light by Mr. Smalling, of Kirtland, in a letter addressed to Mr. Lee, of Frankford, Pa. An effort having been made at that village to establish a Mormon society, the Mormon preacher at the close of his lecture invited any one, who chose, to ask questions, or offer remarks. Mr. Lee being present arose, gave his views of the new sect, which were not very complimentary, and among other facts presented before the audience a ten dollar bank note issued by Smith and Rigdon, which he declared was a gross fraud, as they had never obtained a charter for a bank, and did not pretend to redeem their notes. Mr. Lee was quite brow-beaten by the Mormon preacher. To satisfy himself and the public, Mr. Lee wrote to Kirtland, and obtained a letter in reply from Mr. Smalling, from which we make the following extracts:

Kirtland, Ohio, March 10th, A. D. 1841.

Dear Sir:

By request, and the duty I owe to my fellow-man, I consent to answer your letter, and your request as to Joseph[Pg 332] Smith, Jr., and the Safety Society Bank of the Latter Day Saints, as they call themselves at the present, or Mormons. The followers of Smith believe him to be a prophet, and he had a revelation that the church must move to the Ohio, which they did, selling their possessions and helping each other as a band of brothers, and they settled in this place. The Smith family were then all poor and the most of the church. I visited them in 1833, they were then building a temple to the Most High God, who, Smith said, would appear and make his will known to his servants, and endow them with power in their last days that they might go and preach his gospel to all nations, kindred tongues, and people. For this purpose they wrought almost night and day, and scoured the branches in the east for money to enable them to build. The people consecrated freely, as they supposed for that purpose, for they supposed they were to be one in the church of Christ, for so Smith had told them by his revelations, and that they must consecrate all for the poor in Zion. Thus many did until they finished the temple, and in the meantime the building committee built each of them a house, Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith, Jr. By this time the leaders of the church, Smith, Rigdon, Carter and Cahoon, I may say, all the heads of the church, got lifted up in pride, and they imagined that God was about to make them rich, and that they were to suck the milk of the Gentiles, as they call those that do not belong to the church, or do not go hand in hand with them. From this you can see they have a great desire for riches, and to obtain them without earning them. About this time they said that God had told them, Sidney and Joseph, that they had suffered enough and that they should be rich; and they informed[Pg 333] me, that God told them to buy goods and so they did, to some thirty thousand dollars, on a credit of six months, at Cleveland and Buffalo. In the spring of 1836 this firm was, I believe, Smith, Rigdon & Co. It included the heads of the church. In the fall, they formed other companies of their brethren, and sent to New York as agents for them, Hiram Smith and O. Cowdery, and they purchased some sixty or seventy thousand dollars worth, all for the church, and the most of them not worth a penny, and no financiers. At this time the first debt became due and not any thing to pay it with, for they had sold to their poor brethren, who were strutting about the streets in the finest broadcloth, and imagining themselves rich, but could pay nothing: and poverty is the mother of invention. They then fixed upon a plan to pay the debt. It was, to have a bank of their own, as none of the then existing banks would loan to them what they wanted and the most refused them entirely. They sent to Philadelphia and got the plates made for their Safety Society Bank, and got a large quantity of bills ready for filling and signing; and in the meantime, Smith and others, collected what specie they could, which amounted to some six thousand dollars. The paper came about the first of January, 1837, and they immediately began to issue their paper and to no small amount: but their creditors refused to take it. Then Smith invented another plan, that was to exchange their notes for other notes that would pay their debts, and for that purpose he sent the elders out with it to exchange, and not only the elders, but gave large quantities of it to others, giving them one half to exchange it, as I am informed by those that peddled for him. Thus Smith was instrumental in sending the worthless stuff abroad, and it[Pg 334] soon came in again. There was nothing to redeem it with, as Smith had used the greater part of their precious metals. The inhabitants holding their bills came to inquire into the Safety Society precious metals: the way that Smith contrived to deceive them was this: he had some one or two hundred boxes made, and gathered all the lead and shot that the village had or that part of it that he controlled, and filled the boxes with lead, shot, &c., and marked them, one thousand dollars, each. Then, when they went to examine the vault, he had one box on a table partly filled for them to see, and when they proceeded to the vault, Smith told them that the church had two hundred thousand dollars in specie, and he opened one box and they saw that it was silver, and they hefted a number and Smith told them that they contained specie. They were seemingly satisfied and went away for a few days, until the elders were sent off in every direction to pass their paper off: among the elders were Brigam Young, that went last, with forty thousand dollars; John F. Boynton, with some twenty thousand dollars; Luke Johnson, south and east, with an unknown quantity. I suppose if the money you have was taken of those, it was to Smith's and their profit; and thus they continued to pass and sell the worthless stuff until they sold it at twelve and a half cents on the dollar, and so eager to put it off at that, that they could not attend meeting on the Sabbath,—but they signed enough at that price to buy one section of land in the Illinois. There was some signed with S. Rigdon, cashier, and J. Smith, Jr. president, for the purpose, as it was then said, that if they should be called upon when they could not well redeem, that they would call them counterfeit, but they had no occasion to call any counterfeit, for they[Pg 335] never redeemed but a very few thousand dollars, and there must be now a great many thousands of their bills out. There was some which others signed pro. tem. that were genuine too, the name of F. G. Williams, N. K. Whitney, and one Kingsbury, all those are genuine.

The church have not now nor never had any common stock,[6] all that has been consecrated, Smith and the heads of the church have got, and what they get now they keep, for to show this I send you a revelation which is as follows:—Revelation given July 9th, 1837, in far west, Caldwell county, Missouri,—O Lord, show unto us, thy servants, how much thou requirest of the properties of thy people for a tything? Answer: Verily, thus saith the Lord, I require all their surplus properties to be put into the hands of the bishop of my church of Zion, for the building of mine house, and for the laying the foundation of Zion, and for the priesthood, and for the debts of the presidency of my church, and this shall be the beginning of the tything of my people, and after that, those who have been tythed, shall pay one-tenth of all their interest annually, and this shall be a standing law unto them forever, for my holy priesthood saith the Lord: Verily, I say unto you, it shall come to pass, that all those who gather unto the land of Zion, shall be tythed of their surplus properties, and shall observe this law, or they shall not be found worthy to abide among you; and behold, I say unto you, if my people observe not this law to keep it holy, and by this law sanctify the land of Zion unto me that my statutes[Pg 336] and my judgments may be kept thereon, that it may be most holy; behold: Verily I say unto you, it shall not be a land of Zion unto you, and this shall be one example unto all the states of Zion, even so. Amen. They left here in a great hurry, as there was many debts against them, for the principal part that Smith had was borrowed, as also the heads of the church in general, and they had to keep the poor brethren lugging their boxes of silks and fine clothes from place to place, so that they should not be taken to pay their just debts, and mostly borrowed money, until they succeeded in getting them off in the night. They were pursued, but to no effect, they had a train too numerous, so the people could not get their pay, and thus they have brought destruction and misery on a great many respectable families, that are reduced to distress, while they live in splendour and all kinds of extravagance. These statements are well known here, and I presume will not be contradicted there, unless by some fanatic that has no knowledge of things as they do exist, or those deeply interested in the frauds of the saints themselves.

I am yours, &c.,
Cyrus Smalling, of Kirtland, Ohio.


[6] Instead of the stock being common, it appears the intention of the ringleaders is to monopolize it, and leave their poor dupes at last to shift for themselves.

[Pg 337]



An interesting public document—The Danite band—Testimony of Dr. Avard—Paper drafted by Rigdon.

We insert the following communications, published in a most highly respectable religious journal.

From the New York Baptist Advocate.


Mr. Editor:

A rare public document of a most interesting character having fallen into my hands, I propose to furnish you several communications in reference to it, and likewise in relation to the people to whom it relates.

The Mormons have been generally regarded as a harmless sect of deluded fanatics, unworthy of any particular notice; and the common impression seems to be, that they have been wronged and persecuted by the state of Missouri. For my own part, having had occasion to become better acquainted with their principles and history than many others, I have for a long time been endeavouring, as opportunity offered, to open the eyes of the community to their character, and to show that mischief lurks beneath[Pg 338] this cover of apparent insignificance, and that there are two sides to the story of the Mormon war in Missouri.

Near the close of the recent session of Congress, a pamphlet was printed by order of the United States' Senate, for the use of the members of Congress, entitled a "Document showing the testimony given before the judge of the fifth judicial circuit of the state of Missouri, at the court-house in Richmond, in a criminal court of inquiry, begun November 12th, 1838." A list of fifty-three individuals is given, as being charged with the crimes of high treason against the state, murder, burglary, arson, robbery, and larceny. Among the number are Joseph Smith, jr., Hiram Smith, Sidney Rigdon, and Parley P. Pratt. A copy of this document I succeeded in obtaining, after considerable difficulty, it not having been printed for general distribution.

The first witness produced on behalf of the state was Dr. Sampson Avard, who had been a special teacher among the Mormons. He testifies that a band at first denominated the Daughters of Zion, but afterwards the Danite band, was formed by the members of the Mormon church, the original object of which was, to drive from the county of Caldwell all who dissented from the Mormon church. Joseph Smith, jr., blessed them, and prophesied over them, declaring that they should be the means, in the hands of God, of bringing forth the millenial kingdom. The covenant taken by this band was as follows, (holding up the right hand:) "In the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, I do solemnly obligate myself ever to conceal, and never to reveal the secret purposes of this Society, called the Daughters of Zion. Should I ever do the same, I hold my life as the forfeiture." This band felt themselves[Pg 339] as much bound to obey Joseph Smith, jr., and his two counsellers, Hiram Smith and Sidney Rigdon, as to obey the supreme God. Joseph Smith, jr., in a public address, told them that they should stand by each other, right or wrong. He declared on another occasion, that all who did not take up arms in defence of the Mormons of Daviess, should be considered as tories, and should take their exit from the county. In reference to taking the property of others, in their expeditions to Daviess county, he told them that the children of God did not go to war at their own expense. He said it was high time they should be up, as the saints of the most high God, and protect themselves, and take the kingdom. On some occasions, he said, that one should chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight; that he considered the United States rotten; that the Mormon church was the little stone spoken of by the prophet Daniel; and that the dissenters first, and the state next, was part of the image that should be destroyed by the little stone. In an address to the forces at Far West, about the time that Gen. Lucas appeared in that quarter with the militia, Smith told them, that for every one they lacked in number of those that came out against them, the Lord would send angels, who would fight for them, and that they should be victorious.

This witness (Dr. Avard) received orders from Smith and his counsellors to destroy the paper containing the constitution of the Danite Society, inasmuch as if it should be discovered, it would be considered treasonable. This order he did not obey, but kept the paper in his possession; and after he was made prisoner by General Clark, he delivered it up to him. The Mormon preachers and apostles were directed to instruct their followers to come[Pg 340] up to the state called Far West, and to possess the kingdom, and that the Lord would give it to them.

A paper was draughted by Sidney Rigdon against the dissenters from Mormonism, and signed by eighty-four Mormons. It was addressed to Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, William W. Phelps and Lyman E. Johnson. Of these, Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer were two of the three witnesses that testified to the truth of the Book of Mormon. This will therefore serve to show how much credit is to be attached to their testimony. These eighty-four Mormons, in the letter, say to the dissenters, (Cowdery, Whitmer, &c.) that they had violated their promise, and disregarded their covenant; that Oliver Cowdery had been taken by a state warrant for stealing, and the stolen property was found in the house of William W. Phelps, Oliver Cowdery having stolen and conveyed it; that these dissenters had endeavoured to destroy the characters of Smith and Rigdon by every artifice they could invent, not even excepting the basest lying; that they had disturbed the Mormon meetings of worship; that Cowdery and Whitmer had united with a gang of counterfeiters, thieves, liars and blacklegs of the deepest dye, to deceive, cheat and defraud the Mormons out of their property, by every art and stratagem which wickedness could invent, stealing not excepted; that they had attempted to raise mobs against the Mormons; that Cowdery attempted to pass notes on which he had received pay; that Cowdery, Whitmer and others, were guilty of perjury, cheating, selling bogus money, (base coin,) and even stones and sand for bogus! that they had[Pg 341] opened, read and destroyed letters in the post-office: and that they were engaged with a gang of counterfeiters, coiners, and blacklegs.

There, Mr. Editor, is the character of two of the three witnesses who testified that they had seen the plates of the Book of Mormon; that God's voice declared to them that they had been translated by his gift and power; that an angel of God laid the plates and engravings before their eyes; and that the voice of the Lord commanded them that they should bear record of it. This is the character of two of the three witnesses, according to the testimony of eighty-four Mormons, and not opposers of Mormonism. To how much credit these two witnesses are entitled, you can judge for yourself. In the course of my communications on this subject, I shall exhibit the character of the other witness, (Martin Harris,) and likewise of Prophet Smith himself.

From the Baptist Advocate.


Mr. Editor:

In my first communication on the subject of the Mormon war in Missouri, I showed, by Mormon evidence itself, that two of the three witnesses that testified to the truth of the Book of Mormon, viz: Oliver Cowdery and David Whitmer, are utterly unworthy of any credit whatever. In pursuance of my proposal in the same letter, I now proceed to exhibit the character of the remaining witness, Martin Harris; and likewise the character of Smith himself, over and above what has already been shown in relation to him.[Pg 342]


Palmyra, Nov. 29, 1833.

Martin Harris is naturally quick in his temper. At different times while I lived with him, he has whipped, kicked, and turned me out of the house. In one of his fits of rage, he struck me with the butt end of a whip, which I think had been used for driving oxen, and was about the size of my thumb. He beat me on the head four or five times, and the next day turned me out of doors twice, and beat me in a shameful manner. His main complaint against me was, that I was always trying to hinder his making money. One day, while at Peter Harris's house, I told him he had better leave the company of the Smith's, as their religion was false; to which he replied: "If you would let me alone, I could make money by it."

There is the character of the third witness of the trio, on whose testimony the Book of Mormon depends for support. Let us now look a little further at the character of Prophet Smith himself.

Fifty-one of Smith's old acquaintances in Palmyra, declare him destitute of that moral character which ought to entitle him to the confidence of any community, spending much of his time in money digging, and being addicted to vicious habits.

Peter Ingersol, of Palmyra, testifies, that Smith acknowledged that he could not see in a stone, as he had pretended.

William Chace, of Manchester, Ontario county, N. Y., testifies, that Smith acknowledged he had no Book of Mormon, and never had any.

Parley Chace, of Manchester, states, that Smith was entitled to no credit whatever; that he was lazy, intemperate,[Pg 343] worthless, and very much addicted to lying, boasting of his skill in it, digging for money, and scarcely ever telling two stories alike in relation to the Golden Bible matter.

David Stafford, of Wayne county, testifies, that Smith used to get intoxicated, on which occasions he would quarrel and fight.

Barton Stafford, of Manchester, testifies, that Smith was very much addicted to intemperance, even after he professed to be a prophet; and when intoxicated, he frequently made his religion his theme.

Henry Harris, of Cuyahoga county, Ohio, testifies, that such was Smith's character for lying, that the jury did not believe him when under oath.

Rev. Nathaniel C. Lewis, of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a relative of Smith's wife, testifies, that Smith's general character was that of an impostor, hypocrite, and liar.

Alva Hale, brother-in-law of Smith, testifies, that Smith told him, that his gift in seeing with a stone and a hat, was a gift from God; but at another time he told him, that this "peeping" was all nonsense. He further testifies, that he knows Smith to be an impostor and liar.

Levi Lewis testifies, that he has heard Smith and Harris both say, that adultery was no crime. Lewis further testifies, that he knows Smith to be a liar; that he saw him intoxicated at three different times, while composing the Book of Mormon; that he has heard him use the most profane language; that he has heard him say he was as good as Jesus Christ; that it was as bad to injure him as it was to injure Jesus Christ; and that God had deceived[Pg 344] him with regard to the plates, which was the reason he did not show them.

Let this suffice on this point. And now we have before us the character of this false prophet, and of his three supporters, on whose credibility the fate of the Book of Mormon depends. Not one word of commentary is necessary, after such an exhibition of their worthlessness and vileness; and I shall, therefore, leave it as it is to speak for itself.

[Pg 345]



The following letter is the last in the series, originally written for the columns of the Episcopal Recorder.

Although I have occupied your attention so long with the history of the origin and rise of Mormonism, I have a few words more to add before closing the subject. Several facts which have come to my knowledge, since commencing these sketches, lead me to apprehend, that the developments we have been attempting to make are not ill-timed. Is there any one who would have formed so low an estimate of the Christian intelligence of this land, as to have concluded a priori that a deception so barefaced, and, withal, so ridiculous, as the pretended disinterment of the Mormon Bible from one of the hills of Western New York, and this—set on foot by an illiterate vagrant hanging on the skirts of society, and of exceedingly doubtful moral character, and backed by the pecuniary means of a man of the most credulous and superstitious cast of character, whose sanity of mind was greatly questioned by all his acquaintance, should have gained in a period of ten years such dominion over human belief, as to be received as the undoubted truth of God by more than sixty thousand persons. We are surprised to hear of the success of this imposture in the Great Valley of the West, although there is material there for[Pg 346] almost every erratic conception of the human mind to act upon. But what shall we say of the success of Mormonism in the Atlantic states,—gathering its converts from orthodox and evangelical churches? Will it not fill intelligent Christians with surprise to learn that the Mormons are establishing themselves not only in many parts of New England, but that they are spreading through Pennsylvania, and that they already have two churches formed in Philadelphia, and that a portion of the members of these churches, have been regular communicants in the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches? Such, however, is the fact. And we shall not be greatly surprised, if this "mystery of iniquity" continues to work, and that those who have dared to "add to the words" of God's finished revelation, shall receive the threatened curse. We shall not be surprised if "God shall send upon such, strong delusion, that they should believe a lie," and that they "wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived."

One thing however is distinctly to be noted in the history of this imposture. There are no Mormons in Manchester, or Palmyra, the place where this Book of Mormon was pretended to be found. You might as well go down into the Crater of Vesuvius and attempt to build an ice house amid its molten and boiling lava, as to convince any inhabitant in either of these towns, that Jo Smith's pretensions are not the most gross and egregious falsehood. It was indeed a wise stroke of policy, for those who got up this imposture, and who calculated to make their fortune by it, to emigrate to a place where they were wholly unknown. As soon as they had arranged their apparatus for deceiving weak, and unstable souls—as soon as the Book of Mormon[Pg 347] was printed and their plans formed, the actors in this scene went off en masse to a part of the country where their former character and standing were unknown, and where their claim to divine inspiration could be set up with a little more show of plausibility than it could have been any where in the state of New York. Mormonism had to grow a number of years in a western soil, and there acquire a sort of rank and luxuriant growth, before it could be transplanted with any success to a point near its birth-place. And even now it keeps very much in the background its grand pecularities. The Mormon preachers, I am told, in this region, generally dwell upon the common topics of Christianity, rather than upon the peculiarities of their system. The object of this is manifest. They wish to strengthen themselves by a large accession of converts, before they stand on the peculiarities of their system. But all Christians should beware of their devices. Their whole system is built upon imposture. They believe Joseph Smith to be a prophet of God, when there is not a man in our Penitentiary, that might not with just as much plausibility lay claim to that character. They believe the Book of Mormon to be a divine revelation, when it can be proved, that the whole ground-work of it was written by Mr. Spalding as a Religious and Historical Romance. They believe that they have the power among them to work miracles, when even "Satan with all" his "power and signs and lying wonders," and with all his deceivableness, has not been able to sustain their claim to in a single instance.

Martin Harris, after he went to Kirtland, Ohio, where, as we have seen, the first Mormon settlement was formed, used[Pg 348] occasionally to return to Palmyra. As one of the three witnesses, he claimed divine inspiration, and is, I believe, to the present day regarded by the Mormons, as one of the greatest and best among "the latter-day saints." In these visits to the place of his former residence he not only endeavoured to proselyte his old acquaintances to his new faith, but used sometimes to edify them with very solemn prophecies of future events. I was informed by Judge S—— of Palmyra, that he came to his office so much and uttered his prophecies so frequently that he at length told him, that he would not consent to his uttering his predictions any more orally, but that he must write them down and subscribe his name to them, or else seek some other place for the exercise of his prophetic gift. Harris instantly wrote down two predictions, attaching his signature to each.

The one was a declaration that Palmyra would be destroyed, and left utterly without inhabitants, before the year 1836. The other prediction was that before 1838 the Mormon faith would so extensively prevail, that it would modify our national government, and there would at that period be no longer any occupant of the presidential chair of the United States. To these predictions he subjoined the declaration that if they were not literally fulfiled, any one might have full permission to cut off his head and roll it around the streets as a foot-ball. Bear in mind that this was one of the pretended chosen witnesses of God, to testify to the truth of the Book of Mormon. I need not say that both these prophecies in their entire failure of fulfilment, convicted him of falsehood, and show how little is the value of his testimony.

Another fact worthy of note in this connection is, that[Pg 349] as Harris, Smith, Rigdon, &c., all expected to make their fortune out of this scheme. The banking enterprise in which they engaged, as we have seen, liked to have proved a ruinous operation to them all. Ultimately this speculation contributed to sever Harris from Smith and Rigdon, who went farther west, and commenced operations in Missouri. Harris, in one of his late visits to Palmyra, remarked to a friend of mine, that Jo Smith had now become a complete wretch, and that he had no confidence either in him or Rigdon. Recollect that this is the testimony of one of the three chosen witnesses by which the truth of the Book of Mormon is to be established.

One fact more. You recollect that it was mentioned in a former No. of these sketches, that Martin Harris' wife could not be induced to come over to the Mormon faith. He consequently abandoned her, visiting her only once or twice a year. She at length declined in health, and was evidently sinking down to the grave. A gentleman of undoubted veracity in Palmyra told me that a few days before her death, Harris returned, and on one occasion while sitting in the room with her, appeared to be very much occupied in writing. She inquired what he was writing? He replied that he was writing a letter to a female to whom he was going to be married when she was dead! And according to his words he was married to her in a very few weeks after his wife's death. What are we to think of Mormonism, when we remember that a man of such feelings and such morality was one of the chosen witnesses to attest its truth.

I have already said, that the Mormons in this region cautiously keep out of sight the peculiarities of their system, and principally dwell upon the common topics of[Pg 350] Christian faith and practice. One proof of this is, the very few copies of the Book of Mormon, that are found among them. I am told that among all the members of the two Churches established in Philadelphia, there are not more than twenty copies of the Book of Mormon. This book I suppose is only for the initiated—for those whose faith is well established.

Another fact in proof of the foregoing position is the effort they use to drop the name of Mormons, and to assume the more taking one of "Latter day Saints"—and when called upon to state their creed, instead of declaring boldly that Joseph Smith is the prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is his word, they rather dwell upon those points of faith which all Christians hold in common.

In illustration of this last remark, I will here insert a written statement given by Joseph Young, of Kirtland, Ohio, an elder of the Mormon Church, while on a visit to Boston to establish his faith in that city.

"The principal articles of the Latter-day Saints, vulgarly called Mormons, are

"1. A belief in one true and living God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, and in his Son Jesus Christ, who came into this world 1800 years since, at Jerusalem; was slain, rose from the dead, ascended on high, and now sits on the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens; that through the atonement thus wrought out, all men may come to God and find acceptance; all of which they believe is revealed in the holy Scriptures.

"2. That God requires all men, wherever his gospel is proclaimed, or his law known, to repent of all sins, forsake evil, and follow righteousness; that his word also requires[Pg 351] men to be baptized, as well as to repent; and that the direct way pointed out by the Scriptures for baptism, is immersion. After which, the individual has the promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit; that this divine communication is absolutely promised unto all men, upon whom "the Lord our God shall call," if they are obedient unto his commandments. This gift of the Holy Spirit, was anciently bestowed by the laying on the apostle's hands: so this church believes that those who have authority to administer in the ordinances of the gospel, have this right and authority, through prayer; and without this authority, and this gift, the church is not now what it anciently was; consequently, cannot be recognised as the true Church of Christ.

"3. That God will, in the last days, gather the literal descendants of Jacob to the lands, anciently possessed by their fathers; that he will lead them as at the first, and build them as at the beginning. That he will cause his arm to be made bare in their behalf; his glory to attend them by night and by day. That this is necessary to the fulfilment of his word, when his knowledge is to cover the earth as the waters cover the seas. And that, as men anciently saw visions, dreamed dreams, held communion with angels, and converse with the heavens, so it will be in the last days to prepare the way for all nations, languages and tongues, to serve him in truth.

"4. That the time will come when the Lord Jesus will descend from heaven, accompanied with ten thousand of his saints; that a mighty angel will lay hold on the dragon, bind him, cast him into the pit, where he will be kept from deceiving the nations for a thousand years; during[Pg 352] which time, one continued round of peace will pervade every heart. And,

"5. They believe in the resurrection of the body: that all men will stand in the presence of God and be judged according to the deeds, or works, done in this life; that the righteous will enter into eternal rest, in the presence of God, but the wicked be cast off, to receive a just recompense of reward; and that, to ensure eternal life, a strict obedience to all the commandments of God, must be observed, to the end."

You see there is not even a remote allusion to what constitutes the gist of their whole system. But I will here leave the subject for the present.