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They heard me with cold indifference, and showed no tokens of shame or sorrow.
"They then urged their request with the offer of a bribe; but what I would not do for kindness, I would not do for money; and refused them, not because they had injured me, but because I would not enable them to injure others, for I knew they would have made use of my credit to cheat those who should buy their
"Having resided at Agra till there was no more to be learned, I traveled into Persia, where I saw many remains of ancient magnificence, and observed many new accommodations of life. The Persians are a nation eminently social, and their assemblies afforded me daily opportunities of remarking characters and manners, and of tracing human nature thorough all its variations.
"From Persia I passed into Arabia, where I saw a nation at once pastoral and warlike; who live without any settled habitation; whose only wealth is their flocks and herds; and who have yet carried on, through all ages, an heriditary war with all mankind, though they neither covet nor envy their possessions."
(TO BE CONTINUED.)
SMILES WILL LIGHTEN DỤTY.
Are you weary of the long and rugged road,
Men have found the surest way of lightening the load
Hearts still hold the most of love that most their love bestow
On lonely lives of those who are forlorning;
Roll the stone from out the path where tired feet must go,
Touch your lips with gladnesss, and go singing on your way,
Just a little word of cheer may span a sky of gray
With hope's own heaven-tinted bow of beauty.
LIBELS OF HISTORIANS.
BY JOSEPH F. SMITH, JR., ASSISTANT CHURCH HISTORIAN.
It is not altogether surprising that so few out of the many writers of American history have been brave enough to tell the truth about the Latter-day Saints, in the face of the universal prejudice and hatred that are shown towards this people; but one would suppose that out of a sense of honor, historical writers would prefer to avoid the subject entirely rather than record as truth that which is false, and positively known to be such.
There have been quite a number of histories of the United States published in recent years. Mary Sheldon Barnes' Studies in American History, published by D. C. Heath, in 1897, and Allen C. Thomas' History of the United States, published by the same company, in 1901, both of which were written for public schools and academies, are exceptionally fair in their brief treatment of the "Mormon" people, and for that reason can be recommended for general study among the Latter-day Saints.
On the other hand, two histories published in 1905, for use in the colleges and universities of the country, and for general study, have been extremely unfair in their treatment of the "Mormon" question. I refer to Henry William Elson's History of the United States, in five volumes, published by the Macmillan Company, and Albert Bushnell Hart's Essentials in American History, published by the American Book Company. Mr. Hart is professor of history in Harvard University, and is reputed to be one of the leading historians of the United States. There is no valid reason why such a writer and educator as Mr. Hart is, should not be informed on the essential points of "Mormon" history, and willing to record the facts. In Harvard hundreds of "Mormon" students
have attended, and many are now attending school; they are clean morally, and physically and mentally the equal of any students in that institution. From them much of the truth could have been obtained, and from original records much more could have been learned. However, of the "Mormons" Mr. Hart has this to say:
The most remarkable communal society was the Mormon church, founded by Joseph Smith of Palmyra, New York, in 1829. In 1830 he published what he called the Book of Mormon, which he alleged to be a miraculously preserved account of the settlement of America by the lost tribes of Israel * * This region [Utah] had been settled by the Mormons, who were forced to abandon Nauvoo in 1846. Under their new prophet, Brigham Young, they reached Great Salt Lake the next year, and set up what they called the independent State of Deseret, * * To their great disappointment, the Mormons found themselves in the United States by the Mexican cession of 1848; but when Utah Territory was created, in 1850, it was thought expedient to make Brigham Young governor. The overland traffic to California disturbed the Mormons, who wanted to be let alone, and always made trouble for their federal officials. In 1857, Buchanan appointed a new territorial governor, but Brigham Young refused to give up his office, called out armed men, and when fifteen hundred troops were sent, forbade them to come into the territory. * * * * When the government proposed to send out a larger force, the Mormons yielded sullenly. (Essentials in American History, pages 341 and 394-5.)
The essential parts of this brief excerpt are absolutely false. To the readers of the ERA, it will be needless to refute the many errors it contains; nevertheless, they may be briefly mentioned here. They know that the Book of Mormon does not purport to be a "record of the lost tribes of Israel." They know that under Brigham Young the Latter-day Saints did not "set up what they called the independent State of Deseret," and were not disappointed when they "found themselves in the United States, by the Mexican cession of 1848." And while the "Mormon" people "desired to be let alone" in their liberties and their rights, they did not "make trouble for their federal officials," nor rebel against the authority of the United States, but extended to all men the same privileges they rightfully desired for themselves.
They helped to build the overland route under the direction of their leader, Brigham Young; and the troops sent by President Buchanan, known as Johnston's army, came without warrant or excuse. The trouble was caused through the lying reports of enemies of the Latter-day Saints, who reported to the President that
Utah was in rebellion, and that the public records of the territory had been burned. All this was false, as subsequent developments proved. Nevertheless, the President, without investigating the charges made, sent the army to suppress the "Mormon rebellion," which did not exist. At the time, the people in the territory were living in peace, but the action of the government officials forced them to act on the defensive in the protection of their rights. When the truth was learned, through the efforts of Col. Thomas L. Kane, U.S. A., the President was humiliated, and the event today is known as "Buchanan's Blunder."
There is not a more patriotic people in the United States than the Latter-day Saints, for they have been weighed in the balance and not found wanting. One of the first things the pioneers did, on entering the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, was to unfurl the Stars and Stripes from Ensign Peak, and take possession of the land in the name of the United States, this country at the time being at war with Mexico. Even while the exiled Saints, who had been forced from their homes without one protecting word or action from the government in their behalf, were on their westward march, in the depths of poverty, they raised a battalion to serve in the Mexican war. These troops loyally and cheerfully volunteered, and performed their labors faithfully and well. Of their eventful march from the Missouri river to the Pacific coast, their commander, Philip St. George Cooke, has this to say of them:
History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry, nine-tenths of it through a wilderness, where nothing but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for the want of water, there is no living creature. There, with almost hopeless labor, we have dug deep wells, which the future traveler will enjoy. Without a guide who had traversed them, we have ventured into trackless prairies, where water was not found for several marches. With crowbar and pickaxe in hand, we have worked our way over mountains which seemed to defy aught save the wild goat, and hewed a passage through a chasm of living rock more narrow than our wagons.
And these are the people accused of disloyalty and rebellion. It is in order for Mr. Hart to explain how a people could feel "disappointed" at finding themselves in the United States after taking the land they possess in the name of the federal government, and sending a battalion to fight that country's cause.
All these things are matters of history, and the truth can be
found in Whitney's History of Utah, Bancroft's History of Utah, Tyler's History of the Mormon Battalion, History of the Church; and many other records.
Mr. Elson in his history makes some statements similar to those made by Mr. Hart. He calls the Book of Mormon The Golden Bible, and declares that it was copied from manuscript written by Solomon Spaulding, and taken by Sidney Rigdon from a Pittsburg printing office, "as the weight of evidence clearly indicates." Further he says: "Smith had his "Three Witnesses,' who solemnly declare that an angel had revealed to them that the new religion was the true and only religion; but these men afterwards quarreled with Smith, and declared that their testimony was false, and the whole scheme a fraud." (Elson's History, vol. 4, p. 80.)
These are a few of the falsehoods published as historical truths about the Latter-day Saints and their religion. How men can so far forget themselves, or be so dense as to accept such silly trash, and attempt to palm it off as history, is most astounding. It is the duty of the historian to record the unadulterate d facts, so far as lies within his power, and there is no reason why such a writer should go out of his way to incorporate in his story falsehoods of the darkest hue. Some writers color facts to suit the prejudices of the people; their stories are made to sell, and not for the public good. While history should be written with the desire to create loyalty and patriotic feelings in the hearts of the readers, it is manifestly unjust to sacrifice truth and right, and belittle the characters of those about whom the history is written. It is wrong to prepare historical matters with the idea of satiating public clamor; yet this has been done universally by anti-"Mormon" writers.
In the degree that a writer of history departs from the truth, to that extent his writings become worse than fiction, and are valueless. The chronicler of important events should not be deprived of his individuality; but if he wilfully disregards the truth, no matter what his standing may be, or how greatly he may be respected, he should be avoided. No historian has the right to make his prejudices paramount to the facts he should record.
For such a writer, to record as truth that which is false, and