- Dale R. Broadhurst's  SPALDING  RESEARCH  PROJECT -

The Dale R. Broadhurst
"Spalding Papers"

Paper #14:
The Library of Congress
Spalding Manuscript

view pdf files of "Celes" Sect. 1:   pp. 01-10    pp. 11-19    pp. 20-28

see also: "Celes" manuscript pp. 387-405: corrected e-text





From Photographs and a Personal Inspection
of the Original Holograph
on file at The Library of Congress

Spalding Research Project
Working Paper No. 14

Dale R. Broadhurst
January 1983
Rev. 0a: January 1999 (e-text)


In Spalding Research Project "Working Paper No. 11" the following note occurs on page 15:

In a little known letter from Bay City, Michigan printer, Fred Van Campen, to James H. Fairchild, dated June 3, 1885, Fairchild was informed of this alleged Spalding Manuscript; (see Letter in Fairchild Papers, Oberlin College Archives). There is no record of Fairchild ever examining this work or even of his mentioning it in his various writings on Spalding. The manuscript remained in the Spalding family until 1946 when it was donated to the Library of Congress. Its full title reads: "The Romance of Celes, or The Florentine Heroes and The Three Female Knights of the Chasm." It is a religious romance of 498+ pages, probably in the handwriting of Arvilla Ann Harris Spalding. The author indicated on its title page was her husband, Dr. Solomon Spalding (1747-1862), a physician in Lorain Co., Ohio in the early 19th century and a cousin (one generation removed) of Solomon Spalding (1761-1816). The Van Campen letter and the Library of Congress both attribute the manuscript authorship to Solomon Spalding (1761-1816) and internal evidence seems to affirm him as its originator of at least a certain part of the work. What additions and interpolations were added after 1816 is unknown. The work is best referred to as: "The Library of Congress Spalding Manuscript (alleged)."

Dr. Solomon Spalding was born in Plainfield, New Hampshire, in 1797 and moved with his father to Morristown, Vermont, in 1815. About 1822 he evidently obtained certification to practice as a physician in Genesee Co., New York. It appears that he resided in western New York during the 1820s and was a member of the Batavia/Bethany/LeRoy "Olive Branch" Masonic Lodge. Solomon and Arvilla Ann eventually moved to Amherst twp., Lorain County, Ohio -- probably in the late 1830s. They are listed in the 1840 census of that township as having one son between the ages of 5 and 10 years, perhaps born in New York state. This was Lovel Spalding, who in 1860 was living at St. Illwater, Minnesota. For more on Dr. Solomon Spalding and Arvilla Ann Harris, see the notes appended to the text of their marriage announcement, as published in the Rochester Daily Advertiser of Apr. 7, 1832.

The June 3, 1885 Fred Van Campen letter, written to Oberlin College President James H. Fairchild, reads as follows:

Office of Fred Van Campen, Printer...
Watson Block, Bay City, Mich., June 3, 1885

President Fairchild, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
Dear Sir:

In a recent book review in the Detroit Post, under the head of "New Light on Mormonism" by Mrs. Ellen E. Dickinson, is mentioned your name as having published an account of [a] manuscript which you had examined, purporting to be the origin of the Book of Mormon, of which manuscript Rev. Solomon Spalding was the author.

Mrs. L. F. Spalding of this city, has in her possession a manuscript by the above author entitled "A Romance of the Celes, or the Florentine Heroes, and the three Female Knights of the Chasm" with this there is a little book of scriptural quotations and comments.

Mrs. Spalding's husband was a son of Solomon Spalding. Solomon Spalding's widow was a resident of this city before her death which occured in Rochester, N. Y. about eight years ago. The old lady was very fond of reading the manuscript to her neighbors, and several times tried to have it published but could find no publisher who would take it on satisfactory terms. She often told of the manuscript being in the hands of the printer Sidney Rigdon and that he copied portions of it.

Although I know nothing of the Book of Mormon I think this manuscript is as likely to be the "Manuscript Found" as that in the possession of Mr. Rice. It covers about 350 pages of foolscap, closely written on both sides of the paper. Thinking this might be of interest to you I have taken this opportunity of writing and trust that I am not trespassing.
yours truly,
Fred Van Campen

Whatever else might be said about the "Romance of Celes," it is certainly not the often mentioned lost historical novel written by Solomon Spalding of Ashford (1761-1816), and reportedly called "The Manuscript Found." Either Mr. Van Campen, or the daughter-in-law of Arvilla Ann Harris Spalding seems to have conflated the claims regarding the "Manuscript Found" of Solomon Spalding of Ashford and the production of "Romance of Celes" by that man's younger cousin, Dr. Solomon Spalding. Still, it is not surprising that Arvilla Ann Harris Spalding spoke of Sidney Rigdon and of the extended Spalding family's belief that he purloined a certain historical novel, upon which he based the Book of Mormon's story.

The following "Prospectus" documents the claim, that "Romance of Celes" was offered "several times" for publication. The prospectus was apparently printed in Lorain county, Ohio during the 1840s.

page 1d          

The Romance




The Florentine Heroes                        


The Three Female Knights of the Chasm     

By Dr. Solomon Spalding       

       That which hath been is now; and that which
is to be, hath already been: and God requireth that
which is past.. -- Eccl. 3.15

       Printed at * * *


Note: Permission has not yet been secured from The Library of Congress for
web-publication of this manuscript --- only short excerpts are provided.
Please contact the Library of Congress for copies from the original.

            Table of Contents     page 2nd    

Preface page 3d.     Introduction page 5th    

        Chapter 1st,     Section 1st.

Cleveland,  Choryden,  Escape from

Servitude ------------------- page 8th        

Section 2nd. Philander's visit to the

room of Florence. Voyage to Buffalo

Lawsuit &c ---                               page 28th    

Section 3d.     Josephine Undeceived

prosecution of Choryden and Carter,

Philanders extraordinary triumph

                                                    p. 67                            

        Section 4th     Celebration of Philanders

Wedding in the Mountain Cave of

(                 ) *******************

***********************     page 111        

        Section 5th Resignation of Florence and

Lady Wellington and Coronation of Phi-

lander and Lady Josephine in the

Mountain Cave of Esq. Marlborough

                                                    p. 149                            
























If, in presenting to the public, an original romance

of the heavens, the work should prove to be kept within

the rational limits of Scriptural, Astronomical and Philo-

sophical authorities: the author will escape the censure of

all, except certain fastidious critics who cannot believe

bible facts, only as they are communicated in the identic-

al style of Prince James' Bible. -- Most of the prejudices a-

gainst works of the imagination are founded upon the lam-

entable fact, that such works in general have an immor-

al tendency. But who does not know that a lively ima-

gination is essential to genius, in the powers of invention,

as well as sublime oratory and poetry? It is in vain

that the pulpit orator attempts to point us to the golden

city above, unless his rhetorical figures lift our souls up

an the wings of the imagination and carry us away to those

blissful regions: or, in other words, unless he produces ideal

presence and gives us things themselves instead of words: --

Our corporal powers are limited to a very small com-

pass.  Shall this compass circumscribe our mental

powers and chain our imaginations to our own foot-

steps? This would annihilate the intellectual man and

convert him into a brute: -- Fishes swim in the water --

-- birds fly in the air, but spirits ride upon the

wings of the imagination. The author has merely

attempted to draw a picture of what his own im-

agination has conceived to be consistent with those

scarcely revealed notions of angels and blessed spirits who

enjoy a better inheritance than this planet is generally sup-

posed to furnish --..  Philip Dodderidge says  "the visions of John

the Revelator, are merely images that passed in his imagination

at the time"  yet he adds, "they may be aerial *******  spec-

tres formed by divine or angelic power. Thomas Dick has

given us his views of a central throne some where in the



































universe, from whence proceed all power and goodness: and even

in the character of Mediatorial and ministering servants sends

out to numberless worlds, the means of redeeming grace and

mercy -- The author or the present work presumes not to go

beyond the sketch given by Mr. Dick; but merely attempts to

finish the picture by romance, in order to fill up a great

blank that presents itself to almost every son and daugh-

ter of Adam --- By presenting the picture in the character

of real life, he hopes to entertain all readers; to re-

claim lifeless back-sliders: lessen the prejudices of infidels,

puzzle theologians and feast the real christian and

philanthropist who believe in both the justice and mercy

of an all seeing God.. -----

      He has only to regret his want of an extensive li-

brary for [refinesses] and an ability to perfect a work

which in a future day will fill a conspicuous place

in every man's library     It is highly desirable that some

loftier genius: a more mature scholar and metaphysian

will touch the same golden strings with a more skill-

ful text and melt the stoney mountains into plea-

sent and fertile plains. -------------------

The Author                                                                

























To most persons, the vast regions of Western

North America appear like a fruitless waste of

territory, unoccupied by intelligent beings, and wait-

ing with a sort of inert impatience for the coming

of civilised man, to prostrate the sturdy oak and

whispering pine, and convert them into habitations

for the recipients of refinement, taste and literature.

The [ --------- ] of the [age], the plowmans whistle and

schoolboy's sports would form a delightful con-

trast with its present condition: But the God of

Nature is in its mountains, lakes, rivers and plains

and now and then inspires the breezes of Oregon

with the music of heaven. -- The slave of ambition and

the servant of avarice are deaf to its charms:  while to

them the only stimulus is power and wealth. ----

      The contemplative imagination, aided by historical

and geological facts, sees here, one vast burial place

of nations now nolonger known only as they once fell

asleep in the far off abyss of antiquity.. That they do not

all sleep yet, is sufficiently evident from the fact, that

every thing and every creature except man: perfectly sub-

serves the purpose here for which it was created --- Man alone

is exempt from eternal sleep: Being created in the im-

age of God, having powers of imagination by which he can

soar away from all created things, and light upon some

sweet promise of eternal felicity, where fading and trans-

itory things are exchanged for those of an endless duration....

he never sleeps: "Tis but the earthen bowl that fails

And the frail tenement wants rest, while Nature like

a potter faithful to its own, now mends us up again. ---

At Length the vessel breaks and moulders with

the dust, but he who sits above all nature and first

lent the glowing emanation of himself, will never let

the sacred spark in dark corruption rest.. -----------

The Rocky Mountains like a broken bowl, yet





































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