Letter from “Old Fifty,” 15 October 1842

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To the Editor of the Times and Seasons.
Dear Sir: Necessity frequently compels us to resort to means for self defence, which propriety, gentleness, meekness, and honor would gladly omit. It was said by the Lord, after the flood, that “the imagination of man’s heart was evil from his youth,”—and every century’s, every year’s.—yea, every day’s experience, shows the continued reality of his prophetic declaration. Perhaps I am somewhat selfish, when I read the papers of the day and observe such a multiplicity of abuse, low cunning and hypocricy, so lavishly bestowed upon the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints;—when I say that it seems to me that the whole library of the regions of darkness and death was in the hearts of conspiring men to hinder, frustrate, or annihilate the closing dispensation of righteousness. I have a notable case in point, from the Quincy Whig of September 24, or properly speaking, the “Tools” who endeavor to manage that paper for official dignity. I shall have to take up the subject by piece meal, and make such remarks as the nature of the sophistical case may require. The first strain is thus:—
Joe Smith.—The last account we have of this person, he was on his way north, it was supposed for , by the way of , , &c. But we place no confidence in the account; we believe Joe is yet in or about the ‘City of the Saints,’ and occasionally comes forth from his hiding place when he can do so with impunity. He is too cunning for the or any of his officers, and he has deliberately put the laws of the at defiance.”
There is nothing very cunning in the above paragraph, though the sense, probity, and sagacity, &c., of heralding Mr. Smith into , and then, in the next breath, “place no confidence,” in their own statement, are lost, and leaves the minds of reflecting people as vacant of real information, as an unfurnished house is of furniture. Again hear:—
“If he will listen to a word from us, we would advise him to locate his new Jerusalem, away to the far West, in the , and there to build his temple and govern the Saints in his own way. In that case the advantages would be two-fold: for himself and followers, he would procure peace and quietness, for there would be no danger of their molestation in the enjoyment of their peculiar notions in that distant country;—to the Government, the location of himself and followers would be an advantage, because it greatly needs settlers in that region; and doubtless, Government would do something right handsome for Joseph, in the grant of a gift of lands, &c. if he would guarantee the emigration of any number of settlers.”
So much hypocrisy, so barefaced an attempt at wholesale murder, has not even been contemplated by any other paper in the , however servile, mean, debased, or licentious. Locate the Mormons in , only think of it! After the society have lost in some one or two millions of dollars, besides many valuable lives; after they have builded a in , at a cost of sixty or seventy thousand dollars; and after they have commenced a beautiful at an expense of at least two or three millions of dollars, in ; when their numbers in all parts of the world amount to probably between one and two hundred thousand persons, without the least possible chance, under the depreciated state of the currency, and the general stagnation of business, to dispose of any property, but never mind, go to ! Take your journey, men, women and children, on horses, mules and asses, for wagons will not pass over the these many years to come, and a passage round Cape Horn, of twenty thousand miles, would be too long a trip and too expensive; therefore go on horseback and muleback, and those who are fortunate enough to escape famine and flood, will have an excellent chance to fight among the thirty or forty tribes of Indians: and should any get to , there are from ten to twenty thousand, breeds of all nations; Americans, English, Russians, French, Spanish, New Hollanders, Otaheitans, Chinese, &c., who are every thing but refined society, and they will settle the matter of Mormonism forever, and we, the editors of the Quincy Whig and all that believe as we do, will live on the plunder you leave behind, as has our cotemporaries in . Go to , and “doubtless Government will do something right handsome for Joseph.” This probably would take place when the English, Russian and American Governments, after fifty or sixty years negociation, happen to make a treaty, and settle the national right of territory, but nevertheless, as the Latter Day Saints are likely to increase, go to ! Hear again—
“It is becoming more plainly evident every day, that the Mormons cannot live at in tranquility any great length of time—for there is a jealousy growing up between them and their neighbors of an opposite faith, which is rapidly approximating to hatred on both sides, and will eventually lead to popular outbreaks and violations of law. It is hardly to be expected, that a community of men so clannish as the Mormons, and so bigoted and selfish in their religious belief—and so willing to obey [p. 953]
the behests of Smith, whether for good or evil,—will long enjoy the respect of those who are governed by more liberal and Republican notions in both religion and politics, and when this society of men are shown to have practiced all manner of immoral and vicious acts under the cloak of religion, it is not surprising that a feeling of resentment, and a desire to get rid of the society root and branch, should take possession of the entire community. But with all this resentment and detestation of their corrupt practices, we hope no such things as mobs or violations of law, will be resorted to. Let public opinion stamp the men who are engaged in keeping up this religious delusion, with proper condemnation. Let their meetings be held as often as they choose to hold them—but let no man who has any respect for his own character and who detests imposture in every shape and form, keep aloof from these meetings, and the society will soon become a harmless one in point of numbers—the fire will soon burn out for want of fuel. Already have their conversions become ‘few and far between in this country, and their missionaries are compelled to resort to and Ireland, among the ignorant and uneducated class, for converts to build up the new Jerusalem, and the . When the enormities, however, which have been practised at , for the last three years, have been widely spread and known, through both Great Britain and , it is fair to presume, that the society will exist only in name—that is, there will be no more converts, and the backsliders will become so numerous, that none will be left in the society, but those who have their own corrupt ends to accomplish.”
This last paragraph is just in keeping with men that have no respect for law, gospel, virtue, humanity, God, man, or the devil! In 1840 these same conductors of public opinion, held the following language relative to the claim of upon the persons of Smith and ; viz:
“Fudge! We repeat, Smith and should not be given up. The law requiring the Governor of our to deliver up fugitives from justice, is a salutary and wise one, and should not in ordinary circumstances be disregarded, but as there are occasions that authorize the citizens of a State to resent a tyranical and oppressive government, so there are occasions when it is not only the privilege, but the duty of the Governor of the State to refuse to surrender the citizens of his State upon the requisition of the Executive of another,—and this we consider as the case of Smith and .”
I have brought in this candid calculation of these wholesale dealers in human rights, to show their glaring hypocrisy, and shall revert to that significant question of the Savior: Judas betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?
There must have been a great change in the morals of men in the short space of a few years;—sense, feeling, humanity, and kindred consanguinity, as members of a great and growing nation, would once have shuddered at the idea of even supposing, that men, women, and children, on account of the religion of Jesus Christ, should be asked to exile themselves from their happy country, constitutions, rights, and privileges which were purchased by the blood of a Warren, a Wayne, yea, many a noble soul, that escaped in fire to heaven; and which, after seven years struggle, was consummated by a Washington, a Jefferson, and a galaxy of other equally worthy patriots: yea, strange, wild, wicked and outrageous would have been considered a proposition, for one or two hundred thousand people to abandon “allfor a wilderness five thousand miles off, among savages! It seems to me, that nothing but the heart of a beast, would ever have conceived such a mode of extermination, ruin and death; but this much is certain, as said the Apostle of old: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Jesus our Lord”—nor willingly from our homes, unless it comes with a thus saith the Lord, though we may meet the Pharaohs, Nebuchadnezzars, Neroes, and a host of other equally destitute of compassion or mercy.
Old Fifty. [p. 954]