History, 1838–1856, volume D-1 [1 August 1842–1 July 1843]

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
Page 1542
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1 May 1843 • Monday
<May 1> Monday. I rode out with , and paid him £ 20 for the , which I borrowed of William Allen.
I have seen <insert fac similes of> the six brass plates of a bell shape, found near Kinderhook, in Pike Co. , on April 23 by Mr. R. Wiley <& others> while excavating a large mound. They had found a skeleton about 6 feet from the surface of the Earth, which must have stood 9 feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the Skeleton, and were covered with ancient characters there being from 30 to 40 on each side of the plates.
I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharoah, King of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of Heaven and Earth.
I extract the following from the Times and Seasons:—
“When the Book of Mormon first made its appearance among men, it was looked upon by many as a wild speculation, and that it was dangerous to the interest and happiness of the religious world; but when it was found to teach virtue, honesty, integrity, and pure religion, this objection was laid aside, as being untenable. We were then told that the inhabitants of this continent were, and always had been, a rude barbarous race, uncouth, unlettered, and without civilization. But when they were told of the various relics that have been found indicative of civilization, intelligence and learning; when they were told of the wealth, architecture and splendor of ancient Mexico; when recent developments proved beyond a doubt, that there are ancient ruins in Central America, which, in point of magnificence; beauty, strength and architectural design, vie with any of the most splendid ruins on the Asiatic Continent; when they could trace the fine deliniations of the sculptor’s chisel, on the beautiful statue, the mysterious hieroglyphic, and the unknown character, they began to believe that a wise, powerful, intelligent and scientific race had inhabited this continent; but still it was improbable, nay almost impossible notwithstanding the testimony of history to the contrary, that anything like plates could have been used anciently; particularly among this people. The following letter and certificate, will, perhaps have a tendency to convince the sceptical, that such things have been used, and that even the obnoxious Book of Mormon, may be true; and as the people in Columbus’ day were obliged to believe that there was such a place as America; so will the people in this day be obliged to believe, however reluctantly, that there may have been such plates as those from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
“It will be seen by the annexed statement of the Quincy Whig, that there are more dreamers and money diggers, than Joseph Smith, in the world, and the worthy editor is obliged to acknowledge that this circumstance will go a good way to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. He further states that, “if Joseph Smith can decipher the hieroglyphics on the plates, he will do more towards throwing light on the early history of this continent than any man living.” We think that he has done that already, in translating and publishing the Book of Mormon, and would advise the gentleman. and all interested, to read for themselves, and understand.” [p. 1542]
1 May 1843 • Monday
May 1 Monday. I rode out with , and paid him £ 20 for the , which I borrowed of William Allen.
I insert fac similes of the six brass plates , found near Kinderhook, in Pike Co. , on April 23 by Mr. R. Wiley & others while excavating a large mound. They found a skeleton about 6 feet from the surface of the Earth, which must have stood 9 feet high. The plates were found on the breast of the Skeleton, and were covered with ancient characters
I have translated a portion of them, and find they contain the history of the person with whom they were found. He was a descendant of Ham, through the loins of Pharoah, King of Egypt, and that he received his kingdom from the ruler of Heaven and Earth.
I extract the following from the Times and Seasons:—
“When the Book of Mormon first made its appearance among men, it was looked upon by many as a wild speculation, and that it was dangerous to the interest and happiness of the religious world; but when it was found to teach virtue, honesty, integrity, and pure religion, this objection was laid aside, as being untenable. We were then told that the inhabitants of this continent were, and always had been, a rude barbarous race, uncouth, unlettered, and without civilization. But when they were told of the various relics that have been found indicative of civilization, intelligence and learning; when they were told of the wealth, architecture and splendor of ancient Mexico; when recent developments proved beyond a doubt, that there are ancient ruins in Central America, which, in point of magnificence; beauty, strength and architectural design, vie with any of the most splendid ruins on the Asiatic Continent; when they could trace the fine deliniations of the sculptor’s chisel, on the beautiful statue, the mysterious hieroglyphic, and the unknown character, they began to believe that a wise, powerful, intelligent and scientific race had inhabited this continent; but still it was improbable, nay almost impossible notwithstanding the testimony of history to the contrary, that anything like plates could have been used anciently; particularly among this people. The following letter and certificate, will, perhaps have a tendency to convince the sceptical, that such things have been used, and that even the obnoxious Book of Mormon, may be true; and as the people in Columbus’ day were obliged to believe that there was such a place as America; so will the people in this day be obliged to believe, however reluctantly, that there may have been such plates as those from which the Book of Mormon was translated.
“It will be seen by the annexed statement of the Quincy Whig, that there are more dreamers and money diggers, than Joseph Smith, in the world, and the worthy editor is obliged to acknowledge that this circumstance will go a good way to prove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. He further states that, “if Joseph Smith can decipher the hieroglyphics on the plates, he will do more towards throwing light on the early history of this continent than any man living.” We think that he has done that already, in translating and publishing the Book of Mormon, and would advise the gentleman. and all interested, to read for themselves, and understand.” [p. 1542]
Page 1542