Memories of Solomon Spaulding - 1886
Naked Truths About Mormonism – Reprint from December 1988
1753 Rhode Island Avenue.
WASHINGTON, D. C. Jan 25, '86
A. B. DEMING, ESQ.
When in this city a few days ago, you informed me that you were en route to Pittsburg, Washington County, &c., to collect some additional testimony about the origin of the Mormon Bible for a book you were intending to publish on the subject; that you had seen old Mrs. McKinstry -- the daughter of Solomon Spaulding -- and obtained a statement of her recollections and now called to request a similar statement from me, to include incidents of my early and later life, leading to my present matured opinion about Mormonism. I sympathize in your design, but to comply fully with your request would extend this communication to an undesirable length and require more time than I can at present command.
Besides the bulk of said incidents would be more in the line of autobiography, than that of direct testimony on the points which you wish me to prove. I shall therefore cite only a few incidents of my early life, unexpected removal from Pittsburg, and acquaintance with Solomon Spaulding, of whom more anon.
I was born at McKeesport, Pa., Dec. 7, 1800. My father, who was the founder and proprietor of that town, died in February 1807, and soon afterwards my mother and family removed to Pittsburg. Until eight or nine years of age I was in very delicate health and not expected to reach maturity. Having had only about four months of school education, I acquired, principally, the first rudiments of education in reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic &c., at my mother's knee. She was a lady well educated in her youth and a devoted Christian: a prominent member of the Presbyterian Church.
A few years residence in the country with an uncle, named McCoy, and the exposure and labor of farm life gave me with God's blessing, good health and a vigorous constitution, which prepared me for the diversified events of subsequent life. In my 12th year I returned from the country and was employed in the extensive mercantile establishment of Messrs. Hugh and James Jelley. I had a taste for the business and made rapid progress in becoming familiar with the quality, purchase, and sale of general merchandise. At the end of the first year I was advanced to a third clerkship with increased salary. I felt then and still feel under many obligations to two of the senior clerks for their kindness in giving me instruction in arithmetic, book-keeping &c. My experience has proved that a good practical business education may be acquired otherwise than by going to a regular school. What knowledge I have, has been acquired chiefly by reading books of travel, history &c. behind the counter; from observation, attendance at Sunday school, and in public lectures and from the newspapers of the day.
Early in 1814, upon the urgent advice of Messrs. John and Wm. [Chambers] my employers determined to establish a branch or country store in the village of Amity, Washington County, Pennsylvania. For several months they were, however, unable to fix upon a suitable man to take charge of it, Neither of the older clerks wished to leave the city; and, finally, a wholly unlooked for proposition was made to me to take charge of the adventure.
occasioned very serious consideration and consultations with my mother, my
brother, his partner -- Mr. Peebles -- and other friends of the family, as to my
assuming the responsibility. At first we all agreed that the risk and
responsibility was too great to be assumed by one so young. At length, however,
I was advised to accept the position, and, towards the end of October selected
from the stock on hand, and goods purchased from other houses, making a very
complete assortment for a country store; amounting in value to some $5000 or
Late in November the goods were sent off in two large wagons. A day or two after I followed by stage to Washington (Pa.), spent the night with the family of my Aunt Redick, and the next day, in company with Mr. Wm. Chambers, proceeded to Amity, a village ten miles from Washington on the road to Waynesburg in Greene County. It was near the 10 mile Creek, surrounded by rich farming lands, occupied chiefly by a sober and industrious population, mostly from New Jersey. I was introduced by Mr. Chambers to a number of citizens; confirmed the arrangement, made for a store-house; then went to the hotel or public-house and was introduced to the landlord who proved to be Mr. Solomon Spaulding. He received us courteously; expressing the hope that I would find the little [town] a pleasant residence, and that while the store would be a great convenience to the town and neighborhood, it would prove profitable to its owners. There I spent my first night in Amity. Next day the wagons having arrived, the heavy packages were stowed away and some of the boxes containing dry goods &c., opened. In the evening Mr. Chambers returned to his farm a few miles distant, and I was left alone among strangers. My sleeping-room was at the rear of the store; and that night ( a few days before I had completed my 14th year) a feeling of lonliness and responsibility came over me which lasted not a little while. Though but a boy in age, my stature, manners, and general knowledge of business led the public to suppose I was 18 or 20 years old; and I took especial pains not to undeceive them.
I had frequent calls from the Messrs. Chambers, Mr. Spaulding and Ziba Cook, Esq.; and through them became acquainted with many others, who called from curiosity or to make purchases.
My business increased and continued to increase during the whole time of my stay in Amity -- nearly two years. During all of this time I was a boarder in the family of Mr. Spaulding, and became quite intimate with him.
He was afflicted with a serious rupture which prevented him from taking much exercise in the open air, but in good weather he called at the store almost every afternoon. I regarded him as a gentleman of the old school; affable in manners, and very instructive in conversation. He was about six feet in height, with a large frame though much reduced in flesh, and weighing only about 150 pounds. He was well posted in the current news of the day, in Europe as well as our own country. He gave me much interesting information about our late war with Great Britain, its causes and its progress until happily concluded by the treaty of Ghent. He deprecated the cowardly surrender of Detroit by General Hull; applauded the bravery and success of our fleets on the northern lakes, and particularly the brilliant victory of General Jackson at New Orleans. This battle was fought after the treaty had been signed. There were no steamships or telegraph wires at that day to bring the news earlier.
since learned that Mr. Spaulding was considered the most learned man in
Ashtabula County, Ohio, and that he was both a versatile and a prolific writer.
In Amity I know he was a moral man, a strict observer of the Sabbath, and an
attendant upon public worship; and I had no cause to doubt his being a true
believer. As an evidence of my confidence in his integrity, I invariably left
the store in his charge when I was absent a day or two from the village at
Washington or elsewhere. On my return he gave me a detailed account of his
transactions, but, with the exception of a few presents made by me to his wife
or daughter, would take nothing in the way of remuneration for his services.
When the weather was inclement I occasionally visited him in his room, and almost always found him at his table, reading or writing. One day when I called he was writing upon foolscap paper, taken from some old account book. My curiosity was excited, and I said to him, that if he was writing letters I could furnish him with more suitable paper. He replied that he was not writing letters, but at another time when I had leisure he would tell me more about it.
Shortly after this I called again and the conversation about his writing was renewed. First, he told me of his removal from Western New York to Conneaut, Ashtabula County, Ohio, (where his brother John had property and afterwards resided) expecting to engage in some active business. He said that in connection with Mr. Henry Lake he built a furnace for the manufacture of iron or iron wares. This proved unprofitable and resulted in a failure, which left him liable for debts to a large amount. After the failure he had much leisure time, he said, which he had employed in examining the Indian Mounds that abound in that neighborhood; and it was about them he was writing when I first called. He told me also about his other engagements at this time.
But touching these I will give below his daughter's (Mrs. McKinstry's) recollections, recently narrated by her to me, which I think more full and explanatory than my own. This lady is still residing in Washington, D. C., with the family of her late son-in- law, Col. Seaton of the Census Bureau, in remarkably good health for a lady of her age. She corroborated her father's statement about his removal to Conneaut in 1809, his examining the Indian mounds &c., and distinctly recollected that he wrote two or more stories in support of the theory that the Indians of North America were lineal descendants of the Jews from Palestine. In the first of these he brought the Jews from Palestine to America via Italy during the reign of Constantine, and set forth that at Rome they engaged shipping to convey them to some place in Great Britain, but encountered stormy weather and were finally wrecked somewhere on the coast of New England. What became of the manuscript of this story she did not know with certainty but understood that it was published in some Eastern review or magazine.
This romance he afterwards abandoned and set about writing a more probable story founded on the history of the ten lost tribes of Israel. She thought her father must have had wonderful powers of imagination and memory, great command of language and facility of description. Many of his descriptions were of a historical and religious character. Others were grotesque and ludicrous in the extreme.
She remembered that in one of them, touching the mode of warfare in that day, (being hand to hand or man with man) he represented one of the parties having streaks of red paint upon their cheeks and foreheads to distinguish them from enemies in battle. This story he called "The Manuscript Found." It purported to give a history of the ten tribes, their disputes and dissensions concerning the religion of their fathers, their division into two parties; one called Nephites the other Lamanites; their bloody wars, followed by reunion and migration via the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean; their residence for a long time in China; their crossing the ocean by Behrings Straits in North America, thus becoming the progenitors of the Indians who have inhabited or now live on this continent. This was the story which her Uncle John, Mr. Lake, Mr. Miller and other neighbors heard him read at Conneaut on different occasions. They were all much interested in it and advised him strongly to have it published. Such was not his intention at first, but he finally acceded to their advice, in the hope that from its sale he might obtain money to pay, at least, a portion of his indebtedness. He revised it accordingly.
that there was a publishing house in Pittsburg he made preparations for removing
to that city. To effect this he sold his furniture and some of his books, and,
further assisted by his brother, made the journey, arriving she thought, early
in 1812. She also recollected that he wrote for her own amusement and
instruction, a story called: "Frogs of Wyndham," which she retained for some
years, but afterwards lost. She reminded me of many incidents that occurred at
Amity and afterwards, which had escaped my memory. For the first year or two
after arriving at Amity her father seemed to be benefitted in health, but in the
last year of his life was occasionally very ill and confined to the house. He
was fond of reading and writing; was a strict observer of the Sabbath; was
intimate with Dr. Dodd -- our minister -- and had frequent conversation[s] with
him on religious subjects. Both were well acquainted with the Greek language of
the New Testament as spoken in the days when our Saviour was on earth. She also
remembered Mr. Joseph Miller who lived near the village, as a frequent visitor,
who attended her father in his last illness and was with him at his death; very
kindly superintending his funeral and afterwards assisted her mother in settling
up the business preparatory to their return[ing] to Western New York.
Mr. Spaulding told me that at Pittsburg he became acquainted with the Rev. Robert Patterson who, then in advanced life, was keeping a bookstore with a publishing department attached. He had prepared a copy of his manuscript for the printer and left it with Mr. Patterson for examination. About its publication they had frequent conversation. Mr. P. thought favorably of the printing, but his manager of the publishing department -- a Mr. Engles or English -- had doubts about its being remunerative and thought the author should either deposit some money to pay the expenses, or, at least, give security for their payment. This was a damper, as he was unable at the time to meet either of the requirements, and the manuscript was laid aside in the office for further consultation.
About this time he was informed by a friend that Amity was a healthy and inexpensive place to live in; that a public-house there would shortly be vacated and be for rent at a moderate rate. After consideration and further inquiry he concluded to remove his family to that village, and did remove in October 1814, rented the hotel and opened it, as a public-house, but without a bar. Mr. Spaulding told me that while at Pittsburg he frequently met a young man named Sidney Rigdon at Mr. Patterson's bookstore and printing-office, and concluded that he was at least an occasional employee. He was said to be a good English and Latin scholar and was studying Hebrew and Greek with a view to a professorship in some college. He had read parts of the manuscript and expressed the opinion that it would sell [readily].
While the question of printing was in abeyance Mr. S. wrote to Mr. P. that if the document was not already in the hands of the printer he wished it to be sent [out] to him in order that he might amend it by the addition of a chapter on the discovery of valuable relics in a mound recently opened near Conneaut. In reply Mr. P. wrote him that the manuscript could not then be found, but that further search would be made for it. This excited Mr. Spaulding's suspicions that Rigdon had taken it home. In a week or two it was found in the place where it had originally been deposited, and sent out to him. The circumstance of this finding increased Mr. S's suspicions that Rigdon had taken the manuscript and made a copy of it with a view [to] ultimately publishing the story as the product of his own brain. Whether the manuscript was amended and returned to Mr. P. he did not tell me, but it probably was.
A few days after Mr S's death the firm of Patterson & Lambdin failed in business and it may have been purchased by Rigdon at the public sale of their assests, or, by some printer who removed it with the other appurtenances of the office to some town in the neighborhood; or, it may have been destroyed with other rubbish in cleaning up the room. It was certainly not the document discovered by Mr. Rice at Honolulu, nor the one found by Mrs. Davidson after her return to New York in an old trunk containing his manuscripts or sermons, essays, &c. For, this must have been the original or rough draft of the story. The Mormons at Conneaut, a year or two after the publication of the Book of Mormon, heard of the discovery made by Mrs. D. and immediately determined, if possible, to get possession of the document so found, lest its publication might expose their theory. To effect this they employed the talented money-loving and unscrupulous D.P. Hurlbut to go to Monson, Mass., to obtain, if possible, the document referred to. He made the journey and by subtlety and lying obtained an order from Mrs. D. on her brother -- Mr. Sabine -- for it, promising that it should be returned to her in a short time. This promise was never fulfilled. Returning to Conneaut, he obtained a certificate from several gentlemen that it was in the handwriting of Mr. Spaulding, delivered it to the Mormons, got his pay -- some $400 or $500 -- and went his way. What eventually became of this manuscript is not known, but it was probably destroyed. So the whole matter remains to a great extent a mystery yet unsolved.
Much has been written on the subject of lost manuscripts, "Who wrote the Book of Mormon?" &c.; but I think conjectures on these points are not of any vital importance in forming an opinion as to the true character and intent of the Mormon combination. "A tree is known by its fruit." The organization of the Church of Latter Day Saints in Western New York; the publication of the Mormon Bible; and the belief in the miraculous endowment of Joe Smith as a prophet of the Lord, were followed by their belief in the doctrines of polygamy, or free love &c. Their subsequent history in Missouri, at Nauvoo, Council Bluffs, Mountain Meadow[s], and their final settlement in what is now the Territory of Utah, satisfied me that it was a dangerous element, not only in the population and civilization of the West, but in direct opposition to the Constitution and laws of the whole country, and should therefore be suppressed.
It was during my residence in Virginia and on the Pacific Coast, (many years after I left Amity) that Mormonism was invented and had its growth, but until my return to the East in 1867, I paid little or no attention to the subject, and for some time considered it a harmless delusion, like other heresies which have sprung up, had their day, and passed away. Seeing in the newspapers frequent reference to the names of Solomon Spaulding, Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Miller revived my recollections of early life at Amity, my intimate acquaintance with Mr. Spaulding and Mr. Miller, and what the former told me about his having written in Ohio a romance or historical novel called "The Manuscript Found," his suspicions about Rigdon &c., I was thus led to examine the publications made at that time, particularly, a work written by Prof. Turner, letters of Mrs. Davidson -- formerly Mrs. Spaulding -- and by Mrs. McKinstry -- her daughter -- the testimony of John Spaulding, Henry Lake and others, all tending to prove that the Mormon Bible was a fraud and imposture, not a second revelation of the Will of God, as claimed, but taken from or founded upon a romance or novel written by Solomon Spaulding. This was public sentiment at the time and I believed it to be correct.
About this time also my attention was called to a letter or statement of Joseph Miller published in the Washington Reporter, and in 1869 I wrote to the editor [of that paper] that Mr. Miller was an old friend of mine at Amity in 1815-16, and corroborated his statement in relation to what Mr. Spaulding told him about his book, his suspicions of Sidney Rigdon &c.; for, I had heard from Mr. S. myself, many of the same things. I wrote also to Mr. Patterson at Pittsburg to the same effect. After this I read in the History of Washington County, an able and impartial paper on the Mormon controversy by Mr. P., entitled "Who Wrote the Book of Mormon?" I see by my diary, that on August 28, 1879, I left McKeesport for Washington, Pa., and on the 29th by special invitation of the Historical Society attended the Centennial Anniversary of the origin of the Presbyterian Churches of Upper and Lower Ten Mile Creek.
The weather was very fine and this great meeting of 2000 or more, was held in a beautiful grove near the upper church. Addresses were made by Dr. Brownson, Dr. Allison, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Hayes -- President of the Allegany Seminary -- and others. Reference was made to S. Spaulding as a member of the Amity church, and I was called upon to give my recollections about him and the book he had written called "Manuscript Found," or some such name, and believed to have been the origin of the Mormon Bible. In compliance I addressed the meeting in a short speech.
close I was driven in the carriage by J. F. Miller to the residence of his
father -- my old friend, Joseph Miller -- on the road to Amity. I found Mr.
Miller to be in remarkably good health for a man in his 88th year (some eight or
nine years my senior), and spent the evening and most of the next day in
pleasant conversation about our intercourse and occurrences at Amity 64 years
before. He had read the Book of Mormon carefully and was convinced that it was
founded substantially upon the work written by Mr. Spaulding in Ohio.
He was a particular friend of Mr. Spaulding, who died
in October 1816 -- a month or two after I had left the village. He told me that
he attended Mr. S. in his last illness in company with Dr. Dodd -- the pastor of
the church; superintended his funeral, and afterwards settled up his business,
He said that Mr. S. suffered greatly at times by reason of the rupture, but
appeared submissive, and peacefully passed away;that he thought him a sincere
Christian and his death a great loss to the community.
Mr. Miller had been a ruling elder in the Cumberland Presbyterian Church for over forty years, and what is remarkable, three of his sons were also ruling eiders, one in Pennsylvania, one in Ohio and one in Indiana. All three had come now to visit their father and to be present at the Centennial meeting. I mention this that you may judge of the character and credibility of Mr. Miller as a witness.
In the afternoon we bade each other an affectionate farewell, not expecting to meet again this side of the river, and I was driven by his son some three or four miles to Amity, where we were kindly entertained by Dr. Sharpe. The village was improved in appearance by several brick houses, but my old storehouse and the Spaulding tavern were still standing. I met several old gentlemen who recollected Mr. Spaulding and myself when they were young; but, all of my old acquaintances had passed away and gone to join the great majority beyond the flood. We went to the meeting-house and visited the grave of Mr. S. Several pieces loosened by time from his headstone I secured, and have them now. It was expected that the Historical Society of Washington County would, ere long, erect a monument over the grave.
Having already given you the incidents which led to my unexpected removal to Amity and intimacy with Mr. Spaulding in 1814, I will now parenthetically and briefly remark that I removed from that village in 1816, unexpectedly, under the following circumstances. Mr. Hugh Jelley -- senior partner at Pittsburg -- died in the summer of 1816, and knowing that a settlement of the firm's business would be necessary, and having learned all that pertained to the management of a country store, I wrote the surviving partner that I wished to resign as soon as he could find a suitable successor. In about a month I was relieved by Mr. Wm. Douglass -- a nephew of Mr. Jelley's -- and, bidding farewell to Mr. and Mrs. Spaulding, Mr. Miller and other friends, returned to my old city. I may be pardoned for adding that I was congratulated by my friends on my healthy and improved appearance, and, especially on the success of my administration at Amity, which they said was profitable and highly satisfactory to my employers, and creditable to myself. Refraining from any further details of a biographical nature, I will make no mention of the events of my subsequent busy life, but merely remark, with gratitude to the Almighty, that in all my varied experiences and exposures "by flood and field" during the more than seventy years since I lived at old Amity, a kind of Providence has preserved me in good health, free from any serious illness or bodily disaster.
The Mormon Bible was published in 1830 or '31 and had a wide circulation in northeastern Ohio. After reading it, John Spaulding, John R. Miller, Henry Lake and others at Conneaut unanimously agreed that it was a fraud and imposture, and publicly denounced it as such, finding in it whole chapters but little altered from what they had heard Mr. Spaulding read from his story of the ten tribes some twenty years before. In short, that it was really founded upon Mr. Spaulding's romance. Many striking passages had so impressed them that they could not be mistaken.
Their exposure and the reasons that justified them in making it, were considered truthful and satisfactory by all who knew them. A number who had joined the Mormon Church withdrew from it, acknowledging that they had been deluded, and the newspapers of that day,
told, report that at least nine-tenths of the people [of ------------ read]
[the] statements of the gentlemen above named and held, with them, that the
whole Mormon theory was a cunningly devised scheme of Satan, the Father of Lies,
to delude and ruin the many, and afford a sort of refuge for the more
enlightened few, who were ambitious to acquire wealth or notoriety, as the
public advocates of the new theory of religious belief.
In the late publication by Mrs. E. E. Dickinson, I have found much that is interesting, both as to the past history and present status of Mormonism, and recommend its perusal. On the other side I have read the studied vindication of Mormonism by President John Taylor and ex-Congressman George Q. Cannon.
Also the argument, by Joseph Smith Jr. (III) about the reformation of the Church (leaving out polygamy); and the pamphlet printed at Lamoni, Iowa, containing (together with several letters from Dr. Fairchild and others), a copy of the manuscript found by L. L. Rice in Honolulu, and by him transmitted to the college at Oberlin. This only proves that the story now published was not the one on which the friends of Mr. Spaulding relied as the foundation of the Mormon Bible, but one founded upon an entirely different subject. On an early page there is written "Manuscript Story -- Conneaut Creek," not "Manuscript Found." If this is deemed important testimony by the Mormons, they must, I think, be thankful for "small favors." I have seen nothing in any of these papers to change my opinion on the general question as expressed above.
I have recently read a letter of Dr. Hyde of Honolulu addressed to the Boston Congregationalist, July 30, 1885. In this he reviews what had been written by others about Mormonism and refers to the manuscript lately found by Mr. Rice. The way in which it was found after forty years seclusion may be interesting to your readers. A friend of his -- Dr. Fairchild -- had compared it with the Mormon Bible and concluded that it could not possibly be the foundation of that book. In this conclusion Dr. Hyde coincides, but goes further in assuming that it was the only story written by Mr. Spaulding, and the one on which his friends relied. In this he was wrong, as well as in two other matters. First: In pronouncing unworthy of belief -- "wholly unreliable" -- the testimony of John Spaulding, Henry Lake, Mr. Miller and others, respecting their public assertion that the Mormon Bible was a fraud and imposture, and the reasons which led them to that conclusion. In this he does great injustice to gentlemen, who in their days, were considered as credible as himself.
He was evidently ignorant of [the] high opinion which the public entertained of these gentlemen at the time and of the fact that the Mormons, realizing the state of public opinion consequent upon their exposure, soon afterward sold off their property, shook off the dust of Ohio from their feet and left the state to seek a new home in Missouri. And, second, he was wrong in assuming that Sidney Rigdon -- then a Campbellite preacher -- had no acquaintance with Joe Smith till after the publication of the Mormon Bible, though living in the same neighborhood.
This [ --- ] could not be true if the history of their lives in the 4th chapter of Mrs. Dickinson's "New Light on Mormonism" is reliable. No one acquainted with Smith when he was a young man believed him to possess native talent or education sufficient to qualify him for composing or compiling such a work as the Mormon Bible, unassisted. His deluded followers believed his impious assertions that he acted under Divine inspiration in translating the hieroglyphics found on the alleged golden plates and writing them out at length. The anti-Mormons held this to be unreasonable, and knowing Sidney Rigdon as a highly educated man, thought he was really the author of, or, at least, the assistant of Smith in compiling the Bible. In doing this they assumed he had used the copy made by him of the Spaulding manuscript found in the printing-office at Pittsburg.
At an early day Joe Smith alleged that he had a vision which foretold the great increase of the Church in numbers and piety, which would enable its members to control the municipal, political and religious affairs of towns, counties and states, where they might reside.
their settlement in Utah, having greatly increased in numbers, they supposed
they had gained their final destination, and looked for the fulfillment of this
prediction at an early day.
For many years they have tryannically ruled the Territory of Utah in almost utter disregard of the rights of their Gentile neighbors. Brigham Young also had visions at various times and announced authoritatively that Heaven approved their doctrine of polygamy, and that although the privilege had hitherto been conferred only upon the high officers of the Church and of the military, it was from this time the privilege of every member of the Church to marry as many women as he thought he could support. Brigham had at this time nineteen wives himself. He also announced, that women feeling concerned about the salvation of their souls, could obtain peace in this world and happiness in the next, by uniting in marriage with any saint who might offer them love and protection. Marriages, or, as they were called "spiritual unions," now greatly increased in number, and these immoral doctrines are still believed, and the practice continued. There is no cause for wonder therefore, that the public opinion of all Christendom condemns Mormonism.
Many of our politicians seem to have been afraid to commit themselves, but public opinion at last required that the subject should be no longer ignored. The last Congress thought it imperative to take some action in the matter, and passed the law known as the Emunds Act, as a remedial measure. While it was under consideration the Mormon leaders and the newspapers under their control in Utah evinced the most violent opposition to the bill, stigmatizing it as a cruel and tyrannical attempt to interefere with their religious belief and their right to manage their own domestic affairs.
As soon as the President had signed the bill and appointed commissioners to administer the law, their wrath broke out anew in the use of most vituperative language, declaring their determination to resist it to the bitter end. The commissioners were not, however, intimidated, but organized and proceeded to administer the law in regard to registration of voters &c. Meanwhile proceedings were begun in the United States court against some of the most prominent violators of the law prohibiting polygamous cohabitation. Several of these had secreted themselves or left the territory, but others were apprehended, and after a fair, open trial, were found guilty and sentenced to pay small fines and suffer light imprisonment. At the end of their imprisonment some of them were escorted to their homes by Mormon friends, who honored them as martyrs that had suffered in a righteous cause. Although the law has not been entirely successful, some good has been done and the present Congress will probably amend it so as to reach them down to the root of the evil.
Many of the Mormons are said to be sober, quiet and industrious citizens, and not polygamists; who, if they desire to remain without obstructing the enforcement of the law against its violators, will doubtless remain undisturbed, the Government leaving it to time, the influence of our free school system, and the preaching of correct doctrines to cure their prejudice and fanatical ideas. But the leaders, remaining incorrigible offenders against the law can expect nothing less than to be arrested, tried, and if found guilty, sentenced to imprisonment until they obey the law or are forced to leave the country. To this result I think public sentiment is rapidly tending.
In dictating this letter to my amanuensis, I fear I have exceeded the ordinary bounds of length, and been somewhat discursive in its style and arrangement; but the interest of the general subject and the value you have been pleased to place upon my reminiscences and investigations and upon my long-matured opinions derived therefrom, must be my apology for the unexpected volume of this response to your pressing request.
original of Redick McKee's letter is preserved in the A. B. Deming
papers at the Chicago Historical Society Library. McKee died in West
Virginia eight months after he wrote the lengthy letter to Deming.
Robert Patterson, Jr. printed a notice of McKee's death in the
Presbyterian Banner of Sept. 22, 1886. That obituary is reproduced in
the next column of this issue.
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CATHOLIC CHURCH INDEX