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James T. Cobb Documents
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James T. Cobb Transcripts
(J. S. III Letterbook #2: item #?)
(HHB: P-F 19: Letter #1)
Salt Lake, U. T., 1 Sept., 1884
H. H. Bancroft, Esq.
I regret that I was not at home on Saturday when you [had] Mr. [Richards] , [--- --- the hour to call]. I [also regretted] my inability to meet you at Mrs. Cooke's last week. My wife has lately been confined, & has been, at times, in quite a critical condition, as Mrs. Cooke, with whom I chatted in the street, a few days since, (she is a very old and estemed friend) may have told you. Ever since your arrival at Salt Lake I have felt a strong desire to meet you, having known of you and your great work for years, following your career with very deep interest.
Ideally and theoretically (and so at last, practically & really,) I have solved the problem -- Mormonism. And in this [one]; like yourself, origins are with me 99/100. Could I "solve" Christianity (and resolve that) as well, to my own [mind's] satisfaction, as I have solved [&] resolved Mormonism, there would then be the bigest obstacle out of my path. But I have not been able to do that, and still rate myself a Christian believer; by no means a real Christian.
What a [sep-----] [ ---- ------], what an [altitude]! What opportunities and faculties you have [enjoined]! It may be that you, Sir, look down upon what I look up to -- Christianity. My main problem is, the rationale of inspiration. "There is reason in all things" -- even in concluding that some things [possibly ---- -- --- all -- --- essential] are beyond reason. But for my own [poor] part I must keep my feet on the terra firma of facts, and will, just as long as ever I can. I own but one secular lord in literature, or in life -- that's Bacon.
The [fons or principism] of Mormonism is to be found in the strange brain of Sidney Rigdon. He "made over" the Book of Mormon from the 'Manuscript Found' of Solomon Spaulding. He [gave] all, or nearly all, the Mormon revelations as we have them in the cannonical books of Mormon faith -- not excepting the so-called revelation on celestial and plural marriage. I need to have only the [----s] of reason & common sense to assure me of this. The Mormon problem presents to my [comprehension] no [---- ] 'I nodus dignus Deo' It is quite explicable on the basis of human ingenuity and [---s] [c----]. Do the Mormons (people, leaders and all) believe [this]? I am quite certain they do not believe it. [For] me, I do not separate the Mormon leaders and the Mormon people. Rascals and knaves there are, and always have been, among leaders and followers in the Mormon [craze]' but in the main and in the [-----], I [------] [both leaders and -------] as [honest-minded]. In
[asking] of "leaders," of Mormon leaders, [I] must not, however, [------] to the person of Brigham Young, center & supremacy.
I do not [--------fy] the Biblical Religion. [--] [still ---- --- the ----- ----- -- -----] of Protestantism with Christianity proper.
But more perhaps [upon] these [-----s] [should I] have [the high] gratification [of] personally meeting and conversing with you.
(May I say en passant that one of the most able and incisive articles I have ever seen on Mormonism, [-----ing] some few [----s] and flaws, appeared in Yesterday's Tribune, over the signature, "[---------]."
I just named Bacon. Having solved to my own entire satisfaction the problem of Mormonism, I have, of late years been all [inf----ed] over the Bacon hakespeare proposition. [That] also I have [-----ed] [----] [again]. I try to [pay some] [satisfaction]. That Bacon wrote Shakespeare's [Plays]. [---- -------] as I am that Rigdon originated Mormonism; and feel myself armed and equipped to establish both (rather convoluting) propositions to the [full] satisfaction of every [honest] & [reasonable mind]
I care not of what [ca--- ---] of what recognized status, [--ch] mind [may ----]
In some [-----] I [---- ----] in [compassion] [----] by Nathaniel [Nelson] [---- ------] of Camridge, Mass, the [----] of the [com-------] subject of the Bacon authorship of Shakespeare's [---- ----- ---- ------ ----- ----- ---- ---] and many [---- -----] in matters [----- ----- ----- ] [----- ----- ---- ---] his authorship of [-------] I have [----- ---- ----] many others [-----ing] upon this [-----] from [our] [beloved] [-----] Doctor Oliver Wendell Holmes, and to him have [sent matter] [-----ing --- ---- --- ] a [big] [-----] to H. [W.] Beacher, [George William -----] [Alfred Morgan], and a dozen more --- [---- ----- ----- -----] to all of [those] I have [written to voluminously]. Dr. Holmes sent me, besides his own [likeness] and his [own ----]. [---- ------- ----] distinguished consideration among [them] a copy of Mrs. Henry Potts' Promus issued last year [---- ----]. [--------- ------- ------- ------ ----------- ------- -------]
[etc.] Judge Holmes [---], -- [---- ---] Morgan's, is inconsequent & inconclusive. I spoke of your "altitude," [---- ----]; from mine, I [am --------] all such attempts to establish the real authorship of Shakespeare. They don't know Bacon, the [------] of humankind [he was]. If [ever] human [being] was reasonable, [Francis] Bacon was. [If ever] human creature [was inspired], [---- ---- --- now to --- ] that the [----] are one, "hic labor hoc opus est!" It has been my particular [opus to labor for] some years, to make the leaders in modern thought, some few among them, -- and I design to [c-------] myself [----] more, on the [-----] of the Atlantic see this and, if [h------] and [-----], confess it. I see by the way, the [gentleman's] note in "[The Critic]', New York City, 23d [Aug., 1884].
"Mrs. Henry Pott, with messrs. Appleton [----], R. M. [-----] (a [d------ --] the Shakespearean Editor) and [-----s], has [-----ly ----- ----] London, to [organize] "The Bacon-Shakespearean Society, to be composed of [members] [-----ing in ---- ----] the Shakespearean authorship of [the] plays [major ------]
About one hundred persons were present at the [-----ary] meeting of the Society, which [p------] whole [reg-----] [-------] and present the papers [---] before it/"
I [----] and verily in my [-----] [protest].
[-----] Shakespearean [------- -------]
There cannot be too many Bacon-Shakespearean Societies, nor too few Bacon-Shakespearean Societies.
What's in a name? Much [---- ---- ---], dear Sir, names are or should be things.
Still, the organization of such a society I hail as one of the [signs] of the [--------]. Morgan has been [----ing] me to publish, specially my matter on the Shakespeare [---- ----], and Doctor O. W. Holmes writes, -- "I wish some one who had the leisure and the capacity would review the whole matter in the light[s] of your [alle----]. They contain the results of [so many] thoughts and labor to be lightly dealt with. I may wish I could see them [----] [compressed] for [there some reflections] and some [---- -----] which [m---] bear primary and [-----ted in] the critical [--- ---] Independently of the main question, an [authorative] comparison of all the writings of Bacon with [those of W.] Shakespeare [m---- ---]
most [materials]. Most scholars among [us hear] the [Drama as] much better than the [k------] (if you will permit me for a moment to [----ate B-----]) and it [----] to them, [----], and to have a special notice for a [profound] and [---- ------] of Bacon.
More [lacking] expression of personal [-----tion] I might add here several of the autocrats' letters, but at these rejoice. 'Tis but a question of time, of a [short] time nowm and [----- ---- p-----ing], when this great question will assuredly -- sure as you and I are today alive --as Holmes writes, it [-------] "receive its [questions."] The question can only be [qu------sed] [---- ----] when the [------ -----] of [theinkers] & scholars [shall] know, as I know, that Bacon and Shakespeare are one.
Tomorrow about 11 a, m. I will give myself the great pleasure to call upon you at the Continental, unless [-----] a -----] from you.
With profound respect,
Jas. T. Cobb,
My p. o, box is
(HHB: P-F 19: Letter #2)
Salt Lake, 2d Sept., 1884
H. H. Bancroft, [Esq.]
It is possible that you may not even have heard of the Braden and Lelley debate on Mormonism. It was held in Kirtland, Ohio, Beginning February 12th and closing March 8th, 1884, between E. L. Kelley, of the Reorganized Cgurch of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints (Losephite Mormons) and Clark Braden, of the Church of Christ (Campbellites)
The debate has just been issued in a volume of over 400 pages, double columns, a great deal of matter; and in my judgement, the most important matter [yet] upon Mormonism. Braden himself is [its] publisher - 913 [Line street], St. Louis, [Mo.]
I have been in correspondence with Braden.
during the past half year. He is a very clever man -- rough and Bob Ingersollish, but goes until he [---------]. to the pith and marrow of his subject -- now and again while (like Ingersoll) apt to fly off, for new effect, to [----] essentials, and sometimes (as [------ly] impractical folk are [seen] to be) unfair; merely [of-----s] and [--- -------].
And what writer or speaker is not [---- -----] in heading Christianity? for as [-----] as [critical] Dialectics? [--- -----] Christianity a life, rather than a mere intellectual belief? I know so little and I am so small, that I feel almost ashamed to say anything. This is my [real] [-------] as it is no fortuitous [----] [-----], believe me. We are dabblers all, mere [boys] & beginners in the domain of metaphysics. But, if honest, we must respect the patent palpable facts every time -- not only admit but [inspect] -- But for "Campbellism." so called, there would, there could have been no Mormonism. They have one common origin in Scripture[s] powerful, in a [----] literal and hence mere superficial [------] of the Scriptures.
Here, as everywhere,
"Fools rush in where angels dare not tread." But the originators of what is [------ly] called (cleped) "Campbellism" -- now a very numerous body of respectable religionists -- were at least honest, frank, open-minded and [-------------] as well as quite cultured Christian[s] [------] men; most [------- ---- ---- ---- ---] of [all] [---- --- ---- ] Out of the [---- ----- ----- -----] ever commanded with, in speech or by pen, was [----] [Amos] Hayden, the Historian of the "Campbellites," [now gone to] rest. From him I learned much, [on] the [-----] of [-----] [---- ----] from his pen are among my [------- -----------]. Mr. Braden is a man of [------] and [the] "stripe," or [stamp].
But it is -- I [am] [as sure] as could [-----] (Mormonism seems, as [it] is, a bastard [off------] of "Campbellism," and '[a] Campbellite reformation,") that "Mormonism [-------] [------] its coup de grace [from] "Campbellism." (Mr. Hayden with his [brother] by the way, founded Hiram College in Ohio [---- president --- Ohio -----] resigned for the [-----]) [----] [this] debate is the beginning of the end of Mormonism
N. B. [Braden] [et al.] to the [contrary] and notwithstanding, to me the [most important part] of the Braden Kelley debate is [Mr. B's] showing "the hand that [--------] [is our] Rigdon [& etc.]"
Rigdon, the real though secret organizer of Mormonism, was for some years in intimate relations [with] the Campbellites, father & son, Thomas & Alexander, and with Walter Scott, the three leading spirits in [sh----] was [------] [----] the first [--- ---] [-----] of [------- ----] as the Campbellite Reformation. I call Rigdon the rich [-------] of "Campbellism" and the black [----] of Mormonism. And this is, substantially the fact. Do Mormons recognize it? Can they be brought to see it? If the truth, they will yet be compelled to see and admit it. And in this [line], Mr. Bancroft, is the peaceful and equitable "solution" of the Mormon problem. What says Emerson? "Justice satisfies everybody," and nothing but justice can satisfy everybody.
Though no Shylock,
I stand for justice.
Note. I called to see you at the Continental an hour ago, about eleven, as I supposed. I missed you! [It] was close upon 11:30 when I called. It may be you really do not mind seeing or conversing with one from [-----] I can honestly assure you that I [-----] [-----] can [---- ----- -----]
There is a little too much 'ego' in this and in my other [com.], you will think, and [justly so.] T be attributed in my case, perhaps, (if one may be charitable) to a morbid [exclusiveness ---- ----- of being [----] [--] [somewhat ------h] and [-----] I [-----] no [---- -----]. Shall I call upon you, for [mother] [---] and [for] myself again, say at half past  this evening? I will do so.
Sunday, 7 September.
I could not make up my mind to call on the evening of Sept. 2d, although much of a recluse I am not an affected one. It may be well enough to send these pages for you to read, with the lines I have just added. I was very sorry to miss a second call from one whom I should be [---- ----- ---] [proud] an happy to meet in person. Some time during the present week I mean to see you; but I give you fair warning that "mighty little" of [-------] or of [--------] is to be looked for from one whose many later years have been in shy [reclusion].
I am not an [----usive] person -- far from it. With my Frances Bacon I hold "[half] a converse, here in my"shy parlor," W. 11/ Main street, Salt Lake City; with 'Observer ' of Sunday's Tribune (Col. O. J. H-------- *) and with a few who would fain see this [----- --------[ peacefully, & rightfully adjusted. [I sol----] so, upon [--------] exceedingly [------ ------- ------- ------- ------- ----- -----] and [------] controversy [-----] [------- ------] [--------] upon [-------] I [------] [----] [-----] !
The highest truth seems [c----------se]. Bacon well understood this. He [announced] and [ --------med]; and, [--- ----- ---- ] could take [----able] exception, he was [----- ----- ---] to have any position he took overturned and [---- ----] upon. So it must be with the [-----] [pr------] [-----] [seek--] after the [el------ ----- ----] -- the genuine -- [----- -------- on -------- --------].
A clear achronistic statement is the main thing [we seek]. Hence, among all Americans [------------ -----------] is my American as Frances Bacon is my [------] model and nonpareil -- [-----ly] and [-----] as I follow, or can ever hope [to follow], either. The spirit of controversy was in neither, and is in [----- ----] and [lo-------]. Very Respectfully, Jas. T. Cobb.
* H. has written more purposefully & more [-----] respectfully upon [----- ----- ----- ---- -----]
(HHB: P-F 19: Letter #3)
Salt Lake, 7th Sept., 1884
I take the liberty to present to you two of the most important publications (in my jusgement) which have yet appeared upon the Mormon subject; also a letter I have lately received from Joseph Smith, the present head of the so-called "Josephite" Mormons, whose headquarters are at Lamoni, Iowa. With Mr. Patterson (son of the Patterson to whom Spaulding's "Manuscript Found" was submitted for publication, cicra 1814) with Joseph Smith, of Iowa, and with Clark Braden. I have had extended correspondence with the first two a correspondence of some years -- Joseph Smith is quite a shrewd and intelligent man. I find it taxes my cedulity and my compassion, to the utmost, to conceive how any "shrewd and intelligent" person can "swallow" the Book of Mormon. But I [must] ever [bear] in
mind the Scriptural injunction, "Judge not." I "swallow," possibly, as great absurdities; though I thibk I do think, Mr. Bancroft that glaring absurdities are apt to rtick in my throat like Macbeth's 'amen.' And if this Book of Mormon be not a patent and glaring absurdity, certainly I am unable to conceive what under Heaven could be so called. One need not "judge," exactly but can't one laugh, even in a congregation of [solemnized] Saints -- laugh, I mean, in one's sleeve: Does the Bible forbid that!
I oppose Mormonism, I do not antagonize Mormons. Indeed I quite like Mormons themselves. Love me, love my [foxy], I never could for the [soul] of me see the force of.
But the bother is one can not berate the [foxy] styled Mormonism without the Mormons feeling personally aggrieved and abused. Like Catholicism, this Mormon Joseph's armory seems a very [------ -------].
Very Respectfully, Jas. T. Cobb
Letters to James T. Cobb
(RLDS: J. S. III Letterbook #2: item #?)
Feb 14th, 9
Jas. T. Cobb:
"Time flies," it is true. Eternity is waiting for it.
Yours of the 9th inst. is at hand opportunely. Thank you for the reading of A. S. Hayden's letter. I reenclose it to you. The co-plotters in a bold work of deception -- bothers him and you. The world will be thankful to you if you find it; and so will I. Why be so distressed, and why spend so much time and effort, over so transparent a fraud, so stupendous a folly, as you seem Mormonism to be? Why not leave it to the tender mercies of time that by patient waiting wears out folly, either stamps out or reclaims viciousness, and vindicate truth?
"What have you learned?" That which displaces the corner stone upon which the fabric you are trying to build, rests. Mrs. Emma Bidamon, formerly Emma Smith nee Hale, from visiting whom at her residence at Nauvoo. I have just returned (the 13th inst.), informs me that she was married to Joseph Smith, my father, in South Bainbridge, by a Justice of the Peace, whose name she beleives was Tarbiell or Tarbell; that she was married at the house, or office of the Squire by him, and not by Sidney Rigdon, nor a Presbyterian clergyman. That she never saw, or knew any Sidney Rigdon until long after the Book of Mormon was translated, and she thinks, published. She wrote for Joseph Smith during the work of translation, as did also Reuben Hale, her brother, and O. Cowdery; that the larger part of this labor was done in her presence, and where she could see and know what was being done; that during no part of it was did Joseph Smith have any Mss. or Book of any kind from which to read, or dictate, except the metalic plates, which she knew he had.
Every argument advanced by you in support of the theory, that Sidney Rigdon was the responsible "Black Pope" behind the throne moving upon the pliant mind of Joseph Smith, it seems to me, is defeated by this plain statement. I need spend no time, rapidly [as it] flies, to refute any based upon that proposition.
My mother further states that she knew the Pratts before she knew Rigdon, and it is quite positive that Joseph Smith became acquainted with him through the Pratts, one or both. The precise date when she became acquainted with the Messrs P. P. & O[rson]. Pratt, she does not state, but is certain of the fact, that acquaintance with them preceeded acquaintance one with S. Rigdon.
S. Rigdon may have been at Bainbridge in '26; so may have Napoleon 3rd, but that by no means proves more than an opportunity for an acquaintance between Joseph Smith and him, if it be shown that Joseph Smith was there at the time. My mother states she went to Bainbridge to visit a family named Stowell, that my father found her there; that her folks being opposed to her union with my father, the latter taking advantage of opportunity plead for an immediate marriage, Stowell seconded his persuasions and without any previous purpose, "thinking she would a little rather marry him than any other man she knew" she yielded, and proceeding to the Squire's they were married.
Some other [things] learned by me during my visit, confirm me in the faith that there was no collusion between Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in palming off a fraud upon the people, and also that Joseph had no Spaulding Mss from which the B. of M. was plagiarized. [several lines not transcribed] ...
Well, I am glad to hear from you. I am "coming to see," but not as you continue. I have a terribly perverse mind; and am not afraid of the construction others may put upon what I earnestly write as my belief. No man can be compromised in the final count by human inferences.
J. Smith [Joseph Smith III]
(SHSW-MSs 78: box 2, f. 1)
The Argyle, June 1st 1889
My beloved Brother James,
Oh if you only could have [sent] last evening the [word] I have just [recd] this morning, what a night you would have spar'd your sister Nell! I have worried my very heart out at your mysterious disappearance. -- And never dreamed that you could think of doing such a thing as to go away to visit just as you were, without so much as a clean collar or a brush of any kind.
Oh Jamie people of our class in this civilized land, do not do such things. And altho' all are too polite to let you see it, you do mortify them, my brother. I say it only in the deepest sisterly tenderness, and to rouse you to being one of us once more, as well as with us. In speaking of you, one of our H. relatives said, God "affected["] them very strangely -- Just as if you had been living entirely out of the pale of civilization for years -- & had not seen a human face -- living the life of
a hermit! It was only a more delicate way of saying that in your appearance you so utterly disregarded the commonest usages of society as to toilet &c -- that you seemed to have [collapsed] into barbarism.
It was this that made me cry out at night in an anguished way which I bitterly repented of afterward. "Oh the selfishness of the life you must have been leading all these years! I feared that I had hurt you, my own dear brother -- For you are exceedingly dear to me. -- But how can I be [reconciled]
to seeing the collapse (so to speak) of one of the sweetest & most loveable of nature's as well as the brightest of intellects? To see you in such terrible bondage to your self -- to see you unable apparently, (at least unwilling) to shake off the dreadful habits & desires which must have been yielded to through long years to have acquired such a fearful hold and mastery, --- is to make all who sincerely love you, most miserable.
Not to take daily care of one's person and to regard 'cleanliness as next to Godliness is to [relapse] into barbarism -- And all who see you untidy, unkempt, unshaven, feel it a direct disrespect to themselves. Yet you realize it so little, my brother, that you seem to have a perfect antipathy to water and to pout & act like a naughty little boy -- at 55 years of age! When entreated to use it! Try, dear James, to look on our side and do this, if, for instance, I were to visit you, and appeared with unwashed face -- unbrushed hair -- soiled collars & laces, bonnet put on the back of my head &c, you [must]
feel it just as keenly as I do vice-versa -- But you do not seem to look at it from my side at all. --
But my dearest brother, let me say no more at this time -- Only that I am truly grieved that you should have gone away in such guise, & with no preparation for Sunday at all.
I miss you very very much & feel lonesome without you. Harry [Henry Ives Cobb (1877-1919)?] came he'd passed most of yesterday with me. -- Hoped you would come in every minute. -- --- Two letters from my Mabel
Since her return to Ketling, Throat improving all the time but Fannie didn't dare to take the children down for Sunday lest they might catch the malady & she fee; so much responsibility with their mother across the water.
My love to Cousin Isaac & all our relatives in Providence. Come back soon, dear -- & believe
One ever lovingly your
(SHSW-MSs 78: box 2, f. 1)
Edward A. Strong
134 Summer Street,
May 28th, 1897
My dear Jim,
I do not suppose I should have ever written you again, but for your letter of the 16th, received awhile ago. And, not al all, that I had forgotten the days of our youth nor our old time friendship, which seemed more continuous fabric than many such, surviving boyhood and the many vicissitudes of our separated lives. But I never could understand your failure to respond, at least by a few words. My last letter to you of many years ago, which, if it was not a [octum] in kind, to yours in being in any sense a literary effort, was, if I remember rightly, something of
an appeal for sympathy in mental or spiritual perplexities of my own. My next word from you was this telegram of Oct. 29, 1894. "Case most urgent nature: demand payment $150, Nov. 1, Money expected delayed, please help if possible, home jeopardized - wire - have written." James T. Cobb.
Though never endowed with great shrewdness, so much so that no one who ever knew me could ever call me "smart," I had still sense enough never to send money on a telegram, especially when a letter was on the way.
For did not the despatch say "have written"? I waited for that letter. It never came, and do I force conclusions, when I believe it was never written, nor ever would have been unless I had "wired" that money was sent.
That telegram, Jim, was [---ther] a blow. [But] while I could not respond with money nor a letter, I rather condoned [it] for I felt you must have been hard up, indeed, to try it on an old friend, in that fashion. I feared you were in sad straits & grasped at anything, as drowning men do at a straw.
But I forgave it, gladly & have only thought of you in these years [with] kindness & sympathy, believing you still on the planet for I thought I should have known somehow had you gone. I have hoped as your children grew older they had become helps & would make life easier for you, towards the end. If you are ill & poor & desperate, I grieve. "We about to dir," will salute each other. I must use English. You
seem to be up in Latin. I am not. I am glad to exchange the salutations, iven if it be for once more only. We are growing old. I judge our ages not very different, a few months different perhaps. I was 62 Dec. 10, 1896. I am compassed about with many infirmities, but the deserve no mention neside the multiplicity of my mercies.
I am not poor, though I have a strong [persuasion] that if I live long enough, I may die poor, (is that [------]?) for I find it [mostly] harder to keep money than to make it.
My own immediate family circle is unbroken. I have five grandchildren.
I cannot send you a hundred dollars, but I can try to offer a little help, by a smaller sum of $75 + hoping you will receive it, as a [brother's offering] for your comfort,
in any way except giving it to your sons to put into a mine. That I object to & yet cannot feeling it is what you wanted the $100 for, I may be wrong, of course.
If you answer this, dear Jim, spare me Bacon. I care not a rap for him, though I love Shakespeare still, but seldom read him. Tell me about yourself your family & circumstances & your occupations. I care for little else now, [as] between us. The time is short. Hard as it is to comprehend, I believe with you in the Divinity that shapes our ends.
And He is our God & Father if we will but believe it & He is Love itself. Ever yours faithfully,
Edwd. A. Strong
M. Drft $75
REV. ROBERT PATTERSON, JR.
TO JAMES COBB: 6 SEPTEMBER 1879
Pittsburgh, Sept. 6th, 1879.
James T. Cobb, Esq.
Since my last to you, your favors of Aug. 26th and 28th have come to hand. I had written on Saturday evening (one week since) to Mr. Howe, but on Monday (Sept. 1st) I recd. yours of the 26th ult. & concluded to wait a day or two before mailing; and on the 3rd inst. yours of the 28th arrived, and at my first leisure I will rewrite my letter to him, aided by all that you have told me. In going from Gibsonburg to Painesville, I passed through Cleveland, and by stopping over for another train might possibly have found Thomas J. Clapp.
Would it be worthwhile to try to induce Mr. Howe to meet me in Cleveland (30 miles by rail from Painesville) that we might together call on T.J. Clapp? Or had I better see him alone? In either case, as you are more familiar with all the points to which his attention should be directed, it might be well for you to arrange them fully, clearly, and seriatim, omitting nothing that he might possibly be able to inform us about. (You see I am profiting by Dr. McKinstry's example.)
I scarcely see what more Mr. Howe can say to me than he has already written to you; but I am curious to know what he will think of Hurlbut's remarkable change of base.
Dr. McKinstry writes me from Longmeadow under date Sept. 1st, taking about the same view as yourself of Hurlbut's statement. He says:
"Hurlbut's statement does not alter my belief that he did have "Manuscript Found" in his possession and disposed of it to his own advantage. * * * * His statement that he did not know the contents of the paper he passed over to Mr. Howe seems to me perfectly ridiculous. I can hardly realize that a man interested in the publication of a work, and having in his possession what he must have supposed under the circumstances was of the greatest importance to the value of that work, could have manifested so little interest-- or at least curiosity-- as not to have given it at least a passing notice. Neither can I believe that any man who has the least claim to common sense would accept blindly, without even looking at its contents, a worthless package in place of a valuable MS. * * * *Dr. McKinstry then accounts for Mr. Austin's impression that Mrs. Davison told him she had given the MS to Hurlbut at Monson, on the supposition that she spoke of it as then and there given, just as when a man gives a check or order for money, he often says "I gave A.B. the money."
He closes by saying: "I hardly know what further can be done to unravel the mystery. If Hurlbut disposed of the MS, he of course did not do it openly; and although, like the present race of policemen, we may have a 'theory,' we can do nothing without a clue."
Also, I cannot find your case on the Rigdons in the Com. Gaz. of Aug. 18. Possibly it was in some other Pittsburgh paper?
I return herewith the papers you request, with my thanks for them.
The McKinstry replies are very explicit, but do not help us much, except in illustrating Mormon antipathy to truth.
I scarcely know how to set about investigating the Otsego County part of the Spaulding Manuscript's history. Possibly a line to the Postmaster might elicit some information as to the Clark family. I think I will try it.
I attended the Amity church Centennial Celebration on Thursday, Aug. 28th. It was held three miles from the village, and I was not able to pay a visit to the grave of Spalding, or to see old Mr. Miller. I saw Redick McKee who, after the celebration, visit-ed his venerable companion of former days. He promised to call on me and tell me about the interview, but I have not seen him since. Four sons of Mr. Miller were at the celebration; also Dr. W.W. Sharp. A movement was inaugurated towards creating a monument over Mr. Spaulding's remains.
I am not aware of any `judicial investigation' into the origin of the Mormon Bible, and do not see how there well could be one. I cannot imagine what were Joseph Cook's grounds for such a statement.
Dr. Geo. P. Hays, President of W. & J. College, was present at the celebration. He feels an interest in the investigation, but is taking no part in it that I am aware of.
Am sorry to send you so unsatisfactory a letter.
See P.S. on other side.
P.S. What could Rigdon have meant, in his abusive reply to Mrs. Davison's letter in 1839, by speaking of Dr. Rosa as "alias Hurlbut?" I called, when in Painesville, on the widow of Dr. Rosa, a very lady-like woman, quite venerable in appearance. She could give me no information.
"Wm. M. Darlington, Esq., a lawyer of this city, in a letter dated Aug. 23rd, 1879, (in reply to some inquiries of mine) says:
In the Allegheny Democrat for October 25th, 1825, there is an advertisement of the Dissolution of Partnership of Brooks & Rigdon. Payment by those indebted to be made to Sidney Rigdon at the old stand. I can find no notice in any of the newspapers I have of 1812-13-14 of the "Book of Mormon.R.P.
In a late conversation with Rev. S. Williams (who is always desirous to learn what progress you are making), I read to him that portion of your letter of June 11th relating to the testimonial in Page's pamphlet signed by `David Phillips, Dean of the old regular Baptist Church,' and 4 others, 2 of them named Phillips, and asked him to account for the seeming inconsistency of such a certificate, for such a purpose, with what he had published in regard to `Elder David Phillips' in 1842. He replied that the two names belonged to different men in the same church, one the Elder and the other a Deacon. I do not remember certainly, but I think he added that they were relations.
Mr. Redick McKee states that the pages of Spaulding's manuscript were of foolscap size, and had evidently been torn from the blank part of some old account book, as they were ruled for a/cs [i.e. accounts].
I read Rev. Mr. McNiece's communications as published in the Christian Statesman of Phila., a few months since -- at least the historical part of them; but he takes the evidence just as commonly published.
What is the date of Mrs. McKinstry's birth? Her son says she is between 70 and 80: the Mormon interview makes her about five years old when her father wrote the story and twelve when she used tor read it; and she states that she never saw the MS after they left Amity, which was probably in the Fall of 1816 or in the Spring of 1817.
P.S. On my way to the Post-office, I have just called on Robert Ellis (born 1824); his wife is Nancy Rigdon (born here in 1823): they were married in 1848. Geo. W. Robinson died some years ago; his widow (Athalia Rigdon) is still living. Mrs. Rigdon lives with her daughter Phoebe (now Mrs. Spear) at Friendship, Allegany Co., N.Y. Mr. Spear is in business in N.Y. City and is absent from home a good deal, of course.
Mrs. Ellis is much annoyed at the imputations cast upon her father. She has unbounded confidence in his innocence of the charge against him in the Spaulding matter. In this Mr. Ellis agrees with her; and says that both before and after his marriage, Mr. Rigdon personally and solemnly pledged his word and honor that he had nothing to do with making up the Mormon Bible, & had never heard of the Spaulding MS until after he became a Mormon himself.
We must try to learn more of Dr. Winter's testimony on this score.
REV. ROBERT PATTERSON, JR.
TO JAMES COBB: 12 SEPTEMBER 1879
Pittsburgh, Sept. 12, 1879.
Jas. T. Cobb. Esq.
I mail herewith a letter (rather too long to be sent to so old a man) to Mr. E.D. Howe, with stamped & addressed envelope for reply, so as to give to him as little trouble as possible. I send you (enclosed) a verbatim copy of the epistle. I have put more questions to him than were necessary, after the information you have given me; but I thought I had better not enlighten him as to that, and get him to go over the whole ground of our special research. If he answers, I will let you know at once.
Redick McKee, Esq., called one day this week, but I was out, on the hunt for another Mormon witness I had been told of. The man's knowledge (a nephew of Mrs. Rigdon's) amounted to nothing. Mr. McKee promised to call again. I am anxious to know whether his interview with old Mr. Miller amounted to anything.
I have just recd. Prof. Turner's reply to your letter. It is unsatisfactory on the point you inquired about. I will try to have it copied tonight & mailed to you tomorrow, & will also acknowledge receipt of his letter in a brief line to him.
The mists do not clear away rapidly.
(on verso) "P.S. enclosed you will find a slip from a late no. of the N.Y. Eve. Post which may suggest that Mr. Spaulding's attention may have turned to Indian antiquities whilst he was a resident of Cherry Valley, and the conception of his romance may have antedated his sojourn at Conneaut.
REV. ROBERT PATTERSON, JR.
TO JAMES COBB: 28 FEB 1881
Pittsburgh, Feb. 28th 1881
James T. Cobb, Esq.
I mail herewith Pittsburgh "Dispatch" of this date with your reply to Mr, T. W. Smith. I thought it would receive a wider local circulation in that paper than in ours, would reach the same readers who had perused Smith's article, and also more old persons of all denominations in this vicinity who might possibly know something of Ridon's history. If it elicits any reply, will send it to you.
The Washington County (Pa) Historical Society have fixed upon Sept. 9th, 1881, as the time for the dedication of a monument they propose to erect over the grave of Spaulding at Amity, in attestation of their conviction that the Book of Mormon was derived from his "Manuscript Found." They have asked me to prepare a concise statement of the evidence tending to sustain this opinion, and any circumstantial evidence showing how the Spaulding MS. may have been this perverted. The opportunity seems an unusually favorable one for arresting public attention and confirming this belief; and I will be glad to have your assistance in making out the strongest possible case. Please give me any suggestions that occur to you.
You will notice the usual crop of typographical errors in the Dispatch. The headlines and subheads are the Editor's -- a stranger to me.
REV. ROBERT PATTERSON, JR.
TO JAMES COBB: 29/30 MARCH 1881
March 29th 1881
Jas. T. Cobb, Esq.
Your last (23d inst.) was recd. last night and I hasten to reply. Your previous letter of the 7th inst. came to hand on the 14th, and I made a transcript of the prominent points in `Bro. J.E. Johnson's' reminiscences and the editorial comments, intending to return it at once. But my time is very much occupied, and it is only by snatches that I can carry on my "Mormon" investigations. Discouraging as the results have hitherto been, I have during the last three or four weeks renewed my `walks and talks' among our old residents, to see if happily I may come across someone who can corroborate Mrs. Eichbaum's testimony. Repeatedly I have been assured that such a one is the very person I want, and I follow the new ignis fatuus with the same result as so often before. I have still on my list nearly a dozen names of persons scattered over a tolerably large area, whom I am trying to find time to interview. Thus far I have ascertained nothing new.
I am glad that you are determined to persevere. Will the Spaulding Manuscript mystery ever be unraveled? The theory you advanced in one of your letters, that there must have been, or at least that there were probably two copies, one of which was left in the printing office or was purloined from it, and the other retained by Mr. Spaulding, -- seems the best to harmonize many of the difficulties involved.
I have not yet found time or resolution to write again to Hurlbut -- it seems so hopeless a task; yet no doubt one more effort should be made to induce him either to confess his guilt as char-ged, or to induce him to make a defense against the accusation.
March 30th. -- Have not yet read Mr. Goodwin's (?) article in the A.A. Rev., but will look it up soon.
One thing that is inexplicable in this whole history is Mr. E.D. Howe's seeming indifference in so important a part of his case as the absolute proof of the plagarism. Why should he have rested satisfied with Hurlbut's statement, without any attempt by correspondence with Mrs. Davison or Mr. Clarke to discover where the real "Manuscript Found" could be? At that early day its fate could have been traced with comparative ease. If any of the Clarke family had given the veritable MS. to Hurlbut this important fact could have been indisputably established in a few days' time, whilst the first sheets of Howe's book were passing through the slow hand-press of those early days. If the bona-fide article was really never given to Hurlbut, no time should have been lost in tracing it up, and the probability is that it could have then been recovered. Some curious reader may have carried it off for perusal and then thrown it aside, ignorant of its value, and without any intention of purloining it. A little inquiry by the Clarke family might have recovered it. As this plagarism was the pivotal point on which Howe's demonstration of fraud, even to the Mormons themselves, turned-- why was he at the time so indifferent to it? And why has he ever since appeared so careless in re-gard to it-- even on his own theory that Hurlbut told the truth? To me it is an insoluble conundrum.
I will keep you posted if I hear anything that will be of service.
The asterisks below refer back to their counterparts in the previous article reprint. They are comments added by James T. Cobb to a copy of that article transcribed and sent to him by Rev. Patterson in 1881.
* This accords with my conjecture, that Sid & Joe first met in the winter of 1825-6, someplace.
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