Times and Seasons (, Hancock Co., IL), 15 Oct. 1842, vol. 3, no. 24, pp. 943–958; edited by JS. For more complete source information, see the source note for Letter to Isaac Galland, 22 Mar. 1839.
JS, assisted by and , served as editor for the 15 October 1842 issue of the Times and Seasons, the twenty-fourth and final issue in the third volume. It is highly unlikely that JS played any significant role in writing editorial content for this particular issue, because he spent much of October in hiding in Henderson County, Illinois. Nevertheless, as the newspaper’s editor, he was ultimately responsible for its content. This was the last issue published under JS’s editorship.
Editorial content in this issue included commentary on biblical history, a rebuttal of rumors that JS had fled to , and criticism of published comparisons of the Bible with the writing of William Shakespeare. Additional editorial content included a defense of JS’s decision to hide from law enforcement officials who were seeking his arrest and his extradition to ; a passage countering opinions that the Latter-day Saints should flee , Illinois, in order to avoid future persecution; and an article presenting evidence for Christianity’s general falling away from the primitive church described in the New Testament. Furthermore, the editors included comments on reports of ’s lectures in , a description of a pamphlet wrote about the church written in German, an introduction to a brief history of Australia, and a request for church members to renew their subscriptions to the newspaper.
Note that only the editorial content created specifically for this issue of the Times and Seasons is annotated here. Articles reprinted from other papers, letters, conference minutes, and notices, are reproduced here but not annotated. Items that are stand-alone JS documents are annotated elsewhere; links are provided to these stand-alone documents.
Great Gale at Havana.—We learn that a very heavy gale of wind was experienced at Havana on the 4th instant. Several small Spanish vessels were sunk at the wharf, and most of the other vessels in the port received more or less injury. The Catharine, from Charleston for was lost in the same gale, a short distance from Matanzas—vessel and cargo totally. Capt. Rose has reached Matanzas with nothing but what he stood in. The steamboat Natchez, which left Havana on the 4th for Matanzas, with a great many passengers, was also supposed to have been lost in the same gale, having left on the day of the gale. She had been out four days, when the Colonel T. Shephard sailed, and no intelligence had been received of her. The barque Rapid, Ward, from , was towed into Havana, after the gale, by a steamer, dismasted and considerably wrecked. The gale was supposed to have been very disastrous along the coast of Cuba. In Matanzas it was equally bad. On Sunday the 4th, an English ship, loaded with sugar, went ashore on the south shore of the Bay, and three-quarters of her cargo lost or badly damaged. A schooner and several launches sunk—sugars wet by the overflowing of the rivers—fences, trees, and small buildings blown down—the barque Velasco driven to sea, but returned in safety. By arrivals at Havana and Matanzas, many wrecks were reported along the coast, and many vessels dismasted trying to gain a port. It is said to be a more severe storm than in 1821.
The second editorial selection preceded a reprinted article from the , Illinois, Advocate titled “The Mormons,” which reported several false rumors about JS and the that were circulating in various newspapers in the eastern . The rumors included a story of an 1841 conflict between the and the state militia in which sixteen church members were killed and a report of the alleged permanent disappearance of JS from following his kidnapping by a group of Missourians and people from surrounding Illinois counties. The editors of the Advocate did not look kindly upon the growth of the church in Illinois, but they nevertheless chastised the eastern newspapers for spreading such false rumors and urged them instead to depend on the Illinois newspapers to circulate accurate details about the church and its members. The editorial commentary prefacing the reprinted article celebrated the acknowledgment that other newspaper editors often inaccurately covered news of JS and the church.
We take pleasure in laying before our readers, the following very just remarks, on the common practice among newspaper editors, of abusing vilifying, slandering, belying, and degrading the Saints at . May God reward every person that honors the truth, and speaks evil of no one till proved guilty. A press ought to be a messenger of truth, but many of the presses of the present day, are like the old Jewish whited sepulchres—full of “dead bones:” or what is worse, wind, lies, unreasonable tales, and vain speculations upon innocence. But to the article:—
From the (Ill.) Advocate
The Mormons.—These unfortunate beings—unfortunate in the estimation of the newspaper scibblers—are perhaps the subject of more notoriety than almost any thing else that has for the last year agitated our mundane sphere. All sorts of stories are afloat reflecting on their alleged wickedness and the dangers to which the citizens of are constantly exposing themselves by permitting them to hold an asylum on our territory. We saw it stated not long since—in the N. Y. Commercial Advertiser we think—that there had been a skirmish between the militia of the State of and the Mormon forces, in which the latter were severely beaten, sixteen lives lost and property confiscated by the ruthless mob who had collected from the neighboring counties, and the opposite side, . Another New York print states that Joe Smith has been kidnapped and taken, no one knew where—that the greatest disorder and excitement pervade the . These stories, got up by the scullions of the press, may all do very well in the East, were alone a morbid taste for mystery and a delight for evil seems to be coeval with their existence. But it is passing strange to us how any well informed editor—Col. Stone for instance; can give publicity to these “idle tales, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Here, in our own , where Mormonism rears its bold front, these vague rumors and strange disclosures, only excite the ridicule and contempt they so justly deserve. Would it not be as well, if the eastern press would desist from their course, and bestow their sympathies upon the more charitable subjects who are the immediate causes of so much misery in their own vicinities? We think so.
An editorial in this issue titled “Turned into Fables” criticized a newspaper article’s recent comparison of the writings of William Shakespeare to the writings that compose the books of the Bible. While the editors of the Times and Seasons expressed appreciation for the writings of men such as Shakespeare, they interpreted such comparisons as disrespectful to religion. The editors recollected with some uncertainty that the article making the comparison had appeared in the New York Tribune, and they excerpted the article in their own newspaper, but the article does not appear in any extant issue of the Tribune. It is unclear what paper originally featured the article.
“TURNED INTO FABLES.”
The last attempt, as a perversion of the bible, to be met with in these last days, is a comparison of the profligate theatrical writer, Wm. Shakspeare, with the inspired writers of the Holy Scriptures, published, if we mistake not, in the N. Y. Tribune. We love to see quotations from the sacred writings, and have no objections to observe gleanings from profane writers, but to set up in a parallel comparison, Shakspeare with the prophets, apostles, and even Jesus Christ, shows a want of veneration for religion, and introduces a practice, in this (so much boasted) enlightened age, at once calculated to place vice before virtue and vanity before sanctity. Such a light minded course, put the Christian behind the [p. 948]