Previous chapter Table of Contents Next chapter
Vol. III, No. 10] KIRTLAND, OHIO, JULY, 1837. [Whole No. 34.
The following letter we publish, because we deem it of importance to the Saints, not only here but elsewhere, that they should be possessed of accurate information relative to any, and all points concerning the location and the improvements our brethren are making in the west.
We might give a flattering description of the country, but we deem it unnecessary. Most of our readers are acquainted with the geography of the country from reading, or from the oral accounts of travellers [travelers] of their own private acquaintance. We therefore give the letter entire, except a clause of a private nature and our readers can judge for themselves.
FAR WEST. May 7, 1837.
DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD,
Permit me to drop you a few lines to show you our progress temporally and spiritually. A multiplicity of business has prevented me from writing much the year past, but the greatness of our doings and the importance of the occasion require a recital to you for your consolation.-Monday the 3d of July, was a great and glorious day in Far West; more than fifteen hundred saints assembled in this place, and, at 1/2 past 8 in the morning, after a prayer, singing, and an address, proceeded to break the ground for the Lord's House; the day was beautiful, the Spirit of the Lord was with us, a cellar for this great edifice, 110 long by 80 broad was nearly finished: on Tuesday the fourth, we had a large meeting and several of the Missourians were baptized: Our meetings, held in the open prairie, or, in fact larger than they were in Kirtland when I was there. We have more or less to bless, confirm and, baptize every Sabbath.
This same day our school section was sold at auction, and although entirely a prairie, it brought on a years credit, from 3 1/2 to $10,20 an acre, making our first school fund $5070!! Land can not be had round town now much less than $10 per acre.
Our numbers increase daily, and, notwithstanding the season has been cold and backward, no one has lacked a meal, or went hungry. Provisions to be sure have risen, but not as high as our accounts say they are abroad.
Public notice has been given by the mob in Davis county, north of us, for the Mormons to leave that county by the first of August, and go into Caldwell. Our enemies will not slumber, till Satan knows the bigness of his lot.
Our town gains some, we have about one hundred buildings, 8 of which are stores. If the brethren abroad are wise, and will come on with means, and help enter the land and populate the Co. and build the Lord's House, we shall soon have one of the most precious spots on the Globe. God grant that it may be so. Of late we receive but little news from you: and we think much of that is exaggerated.
W. W. PHELPS.
N. B. Please say in your Messenger: "A Post office has been established at Far West, Caldwell County, Missouri. Our brethren will now have a chance to write to their friends."
The following extract which we have taken from Milner's Church history, will show, the propensity of mankind to deviate, from that course which the God of heaven has pointed out for his servants to pursue, if they would secure his approbation. Our heavenly Father has revealed his will to the children of men so repeatedly, that no one, who has attentively read those divine communications can plead ignorance of his will, or of the gospel which he has caused to be promulgated for the salvation of mankind. He so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that the world through him might be saved. Our Savior made his appearance in the flesh, ordained his apostles, and after preaching and instructing them in the principles of his religion during three years, suffered crucifixion, and ascended to heaven. His apostles zealously propagated the religion they had embraced, notwithstanding the opposition they met and the sufferings they endured, were all
pointed out to them by their Master before he was taken from them.-Their lives were but a continued warfare, and what the apostle of the Gentiles said near the close of his earthly career, might with little or no variation be said by all the others. I am now about to be offered and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.-But what we particularly notice in the history of which the following is an extract, is that even in the first century, while those eminent men were yet living who received their instructions from the great head of the church, and held communion with the unseen world through the medium of that Spirit which was promised them, to lead them into truth, the great proneness in mankind to apostatize, or substitute something for religion, or some of its ordinances which the God of heaven never accepted. The great apostle of the Gentiles when he came to Miletus before he went to Rome called the elders of the church of Ephesus and charged them as follows. "Take heed therefore, to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers to feed the church of God which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your ownselves shall men arise speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them." The history of the church subsequent to that period fully verifies that prediction. We therefore recommend the candid perusal of this extract, and hope our readers may profit by the instruction contained in it.
Such were the perversions of the doctrine of the incarnation and atonement of the Son of God. Nor did the doctrine of justification by faith only, which St. Paul had so streneously [strenuously] supported, escape a simular [similar] treatment.-In all ages this doctrine has been either fiercely opposed, or basely abused. The epistle to the Galations [Galatians] describes the former treatment: The epistle of Jude the latter. The memoirs of these heretics, short and imperfect as they are, inform us of some, who professed an extraordinary degree of sanctity, and affected to be abstracted altogether from the flesh, and to live in excessive abtemiousness [abstemiously]. We find also that there were others, who, as if to support their Christian liberty, lived in sin with greediness, and indulged themselves in all the gratifications of sensuality. Nothing short of a spiritual illumination and direction can indeed secure the improvement of the grace of the gospel to the real interests of holiness. At this day there are persons, who think that the renunciation of all our own works in point of dependence must be the destruction of practical religion; and they are thence led to seek salvation "by the works of the law:" while others, admitting in words the grace of Jesus Christ, encourage themselves in actual sin. A truly humbled frame, and a clear insight into the beauty of holiness, through the effectual influence of the divine Spirit, will teach men to live a sanctified life by the faith of Jesus.-The Gentile converts by the Gnostic heresy, and the Jewish by that of Ebion, were considerably corrupted toward the close of the century. The latter indeed of these heresies had been gradually making progress for some time. We have seen, that the object of the first council of Jerusalem was to guard men against the imposition of Mosaic observances, and to teach them to rely on the grace of Christ alone for salvation. But self-righteousness is a weed of too quick a growth to be easily eradicated. The Pharisaic Christians, we may apprehend, were not immediately advanced to the full size of heresy. But when they proceeded to reject St. Paul's writings we may fairly conclude, that they fully rejected the article of justification.-A separation was made; and the Ebionites, as a distinct body of men, deserved the name of heritics [heretics].
St. Paul indeed, who, with an eagle's eye, had explored the growing evil, was now no more in the world.-But the HEAD of the Church prolonged the life of his favorite John to the extreme age of a hundred: and his authority checked the progress of heretical pravity. He resided much at Ephesus, where Paul had declared, that grevious [grievous] wolves would make their appearance. Jerome says, that he wrote his gospel, at the desire of the bishops of Asia, against Cerinthus and Ebion. Indeed such expressions as these, "the
passover, a feast of the Jews,"-and "that sabbath day was an high day," seem to indicate, that the Jewish polity was now no more, it not being natural to give such explications of customs, except to those who had no opportunity of ocular inspection. I cannot but think, that Dr. Lardner, who is no friend to the vital doctrines of Christianity, has betrayed, in his attempts to shew [show] that St. John in his gospel did not intend to oppose any particular heresies, his own predilection for Socinianism. In truth, there are various internal proofs which corroborate the testimony of Jerome. The very beginning of his gospel is an authoritive [authoritative] declaration of the proper Deity of Jesus Christ: The attentive reader cannot but recollect various discourses to the same purport: The confession of Thomas, after his resurrection, stands single in St. John's gospel: The particular pains, which he takes, to assure us of the real death of his master, and of the issuing of real blood and water from his wounded side, are delivered with an air of one, zealous to obviate the error of the Docetæ: Nor can I understand his laying so grhat [great] a stress on Jesus Christ's coming in the flesh in any other manner.
While this apostle lived, the heretics were much discountenanced. And it is certain that Gnostics and Ebionites were always looked on as perfectly distinct from the Christian church.-There needs no more evidence to prove this, than their arrangement by Irenæus and Eusebius under heretical parties. Doubtless they called themselves Christians; and so did all heretics, for obvious reasons: and, for reasons equally obvious, all, who are tender of the fundamentals of Christ's religion, should not own their right to the appellation. Before we dismiss them I would remark,
1. That it does not appear by any evidence which I can find, that these men were persecuted for their religion. Retaining the Christian name; and yet glorifying man's righteousness, wisdom and strength, "they spake of the world, and the world heard them."-The apostle John in saying this, had his eye, I believe, on the Docetæ particularly. In our own times persons of a similar stamp would willingly ingratiate themselves with real Christians; and yet at the same time avoid the cross of Christ, and whatever would expose them to the enmity of the world. We have the testimony of Justin Martyr, that Simon was honored in the Pagan world, even to idolatry. What stress is laid on this circumstance in the New Testament, as an evidence of the characters of men in religious concerns, is well known.
2. If it be made an objection against evangelical principles, that numbers, who profess them, have run into a variety of abuses, perversions and contentions, we have seen enough, even in the first century, of the same kind of evils to convince us, that such objections militate not against divine trnth [truth], but might have been made with equal force against the apostolic age.
3. A singular change in one respect has taken place in the Christian world. The two heretical parties above described, were not much unlike the Arians and Socininans at this day. The former have, radically, the same ideas as the Docetæ, though it would be unjust to accuse them of the Antinomian abominations which defiled the followers of Simon: The latter are the very counterpart of the Ebionites. The Trinitarians were then the body of the Church; and so much superior was their influence and numbers, that the other two were treated as heritics [heretics]. At present the two parties, who agree in lessening the dignity of Christ, though in an unequal manner, are carrying on a vigorous controversy against one another, while the Trinitarians are despised by both as unworthy the notice of men of reason and letters. Serious and humble minds will, however, insist on the necessity of our understanding that certain fundamental principles are necessary to constitute the real gospel. The divinity of Christ,-his atonement,-justification by faith,-regeneration-these they will have observed to be the principles of the primitive Church: and within this inclosure [enclosure], the whole of that piety which produced such glorious effects has been confined: and it is worthy the attention of the learned men to consider whether the same remark may not be made in all ages.
IV. Thus have we seen a more astonished revolution in the human mind and in human manners, than ever took place in any age, effected without any human power, legal or illegal, and
even against the united opposition of all the powers then in the world: and this too not in countries rude or uncivilized, but in the most humanized, the most learned, and the most polished part of the Globe,-within the Roman Empire,-no part of which was exempted from a sensible share in its effects.-This empire, within the first century at least, seems to have been the proper limit of Christian conquests.
If an infidel or sceptic [skeptic] can produce any thing like this effected by Mahometanism, or by any other religion of human invention, he may then with some plausibility compare those religions with Christianity: But, as the gospel stands unrivalled [unrivaled] in its manner of subduing the minds of men,-the argument for its divinity from its propagation in the world, will remain invincible.
And, surely, every dispassionate observer must confess, that the change was from BAD to GOOD. No man will venture to say, that the religious and moral principles of Jews and Gentiles, before their conversion to Christianity, were good. The idolatries, abominations, and ferocity of the Gentile world will be allowed to have been not less than they are described in the first chapter to the Romans: and the writings of Horace and Juvenal will prove, that the picture is not exaggerated.-The extreme wickednes [wickedness] of the Jews is graphically delineated by their own historian, and is neither denied nor doubted by any one. What but the influence of God, and an effusion of his Holy Spirit,-the first of the kind since the coming of Christ, and the measure and standard for regulating our views of all succeeding ones,-can account for such a change? From the Acts of the Apostles and their Epistles, I have drawn the greater part of the narative [narrative]; but the little that has been added from other sources is heterogeneous.-Here are thousands of men turned from the practice of every wickedness to the practice of every virtue: many, very suddenly, or at least in a short space of time, reformed in understanding, in inclination, in affection; knowing, loving, and confiding in God; from a state of mere selfishness converted into the purest philanthropists; living only to please God and to exercise kindness toward one another; and all of them, recovering really, what philosophy only pretended to,-the dominion of reason over passion; unfeignedly subject to their maker; rejoicing in his favor amidst the severest sufferings; and serenely waiting for their dismission into a land of blissful immortality.-That all this Must be of God is demonstrative:-but the important inference, which teaches the divine authority of Christ, and the wickedness and danger of dispising [despising], or even neglecting him, is not always attended to by those who are most concerned in it.
But the Christian Church was not yet in possession of any external dignity or political importance. No one NATION as yet was Christian, though thousands of individuals were so;-but those chiefly of the midling [middling] and lower ranks. The modern improvements of civil society have taught men. However, that these are the strength of a nation; and that whatever is praise-worthy is far more commonly diffused among them, than among the noble and great. In the present age it should be no disparagement to the character of the first Christians, that the Church was chiefly composed of persons too low in life, to be of any weight in the despotic systems of government which then prevailed. We have seen one person of uncommon genius and endowments, and two belonging to the Imperial family, but scarce any more, either of rank or learning, connected with Christianity. We ought not then to be surprised, that Christians are so little noticed by Tacitus and Josephus: These historians are only intent on sublunary and general politics: they give no attention even to the eternal welfare of individuals.-Nor is this itself a slight exemplification of the genius of that religion, which is destined to form men for the next life, and not for this.
In doctrines the primitive Christians, agreed: They all worshiped [worshipped] the one living and true God, who made himself known to them in three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: Each of these they were taught to worship by the very office of baptism performed in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost:-And the whole economy of grace so constantly reminded them of their obligations to the Father wo [who] chose them to salvation, to the Savior who died for them, and to
the Comforter who supported and sanctified them; and was so closely connected with their experience and practice, that they were perpetually incited to worship the Divine Three in One. They all concurred in feeling conviction of sin, of helplessness, of a state of perdition: in relying on the atoning blood, perfect righteousness, and prevalent intercession of Jesus, as their only hope of heaven. Regeneration by the Holy Ghost was their common privilege, and without his constant influence they owned themselves obnoxious only to sin and vanity.-Their community of goods, and their love-feasts, though discontinued at length, probably because found impracticable,-demonstrated their superlative charity and heavenly-mindedness. Yet a gloomy cloud hung over the conclusion of the first century.
The first impressions made by the effusion of the Spirit are generally the strongest and the most decisively distinct from the spirit of the world. But human depravity, overborne for a time, rises a fresh, particularly in the next generation. Hence the disorders of schism and heresy. Their tendency is to destroy the pure work of God.-The first Christians, with the purest charity to the PERSONS of heretics, gave their errors no quarter; but discountenanced them by every reasonable method.
The heretics, on the contrary, endeavored to unite themselves with Christians. If the same methods be at this day continued;-if the heretic endeavor to promote his false religion by pretended charity, and the Christian stand aloof from him, without dreading the charge of bigotry, each act in character, as their predecessors did. The heretics by weakening men's attachment to Christ, and the schismatics by promoting a worldly and uncharitable spirit, each did considerable mischief; but it was the less, because Christians carefully kept themselves distinct from the heretical, and thus set limits to the infection.
It has been of unspeakable detriment to the Christian religion, to conceive that all who profess it, are believers of it, properly speaking. Whereas very many are Christians in NAME only, never attending to the nature of the gospel at all. Not a few glory in sentiments subversive of its genius and spirit. And there are still more who go not so far in opposition to godliness; yet, by making light of the whole work of grace on the heart, they are as plainly void of Christianity. We have seen the first Christians individually converted: and, as human nature needs the same change still, the particular instances of conversion described in the Acts, are models for us at this day. National conversions were then unknown; nor has the term any proper meaning. But when whole countries are supposed to become Christians merely because they are so termed; when conversion of heart is kept out of sight; and when no spiritual fruits are expected to appear in practice;-when such ideas grow fashionable, opposite characters are blended; the form of the gospel stands, and its power is denied. But let us not anticipate:-These scenes appeared not in the first century.
THE perpetual vicissitude that prevails in the system of the universe, and in the conduct of Providence, is adapted to the nature, and conducive to the happiness of man. The succession, of day and night, alternate labor and repose, the variations of the changing seasons lend to each other, as it returns, its peculiar beauty and fitness. We are kept still looking forward, we are ever hovering on the wing of expectation rising from attainment to attainment, pressing on to some future mark, pursuing some yet unpossessed prize. The hireling, supported by the prospect of receiving the evening's reward, cheerfully fulfills the work of the day. The husbandman, without regret, perceives the glory of summer passing away, because he lifts up his eyes and "beholds the fields white unto the harvest;" and he submits joyfully to the painful toil of autumn, in contemplation of the rest and comfort he shall enjoy, when these same fields shall be white with snow. It is hunger that gives a relish to food; it is pain that recommends case. The value of abundance is known only by those who have suffered want, and we are little sensible what we owe to God, for the blessing of health, till it is interrupted by sickness.
The very plagues which mortality is heir to, have undoubtedly their uses and their ends: and the sword may be
as necessary to draw off the gross humors of the moral world, as storm and tempest are to disturb the immorral [immoral] stagnation, and to chase away the poisonous vapours [vapors] of the natural. Weak shortsighted man is assuredly unqualified to decide concerning the ways and works of infinite wisdom; but weak, laboring, wretched man, may surely repose unlimited confidence in infinite goodness.
During the dreadful time when there was no king in Israel, the whole head was so sick, the whole heart so faint, the whole mass so corrupted, that an ocean of blood must be drained off, before it can be restored to soundness again. Not only one rotten limb, but the whole body is in danger of perishing, and nothing but a painful operation can save it. The skillful, firm, but gentle hand of Providence takes up the instrument, cuts out the disease, and then tenderly binds up the bleeding wounds. Relieved from the distress of beholding brother lifting up the spear against brother, from hearing the shouts of the victor, and the groans of the dying, we retire to contemplate and to partake of the noiseless scenes of domestic life; to observe the wholesome sorrows and guiltless joys of calmness and obscurity; to join in the triumphs of sensibility, and to solace in the soft effusions of nature; to "smile with the simple, and feed with the poor."
The calm, untumultuous, unglaring scenes of private life, afford less abundant matter for the pen of the historian, than intrigues of state, senatorial contention, or the tremendous operations of the tented field, but these supply the moralist and the teacher of religion with more pleasing, more ample, and more generally interesting topics of useful information, and salutary instruction. What princes are, what statesmen meditate, what heroes achieve, is rather an object of curiosity than of utility. They never can become examples to the bulk of mankind. It is when they have descended from their public eminence, when they have retired to their private and domestic station, when the potentate is lost in man, that they become objects worthy of attention, patterns for imitation, or beacons set up for admonition and caution.
For the same reason the meek, the modest, the noiseless exhibition and exercise of female excellence, occupy a smaller space in the annals of human nature than the noisy, bustling forensic pursuits and employments of the other sex. But when feminine worth is gently drawn out of the obscurity which it loves, and advantageously placed in the light which it naturally shuns, O how amiable, how irresistible, how attractive it is! A wise and good woman shines, by not seeking to shine; is most eloquent when she is silent, and obtains all her will, by yielding, by submission, by patience, by self denial.-HUNTER.
SUMMARY OF THE NEWS OF THE DAY.
Accounts from foreign prints announce the death of Wm. IV the King of England: and give particulars of the splendid funeral arrangements. Arrangements are making for the new Government under the reigning Queen.
Another strugle [struggle] will ensue at the election for the ascendancy in power: indeed so important is considered the election that on its event depends, the particular cast of the Government for a series of years to come.
Spain still remains in a state of intestine warfare. The armies of Don Carlos are mostly successful, and it would be no matter of surprise if he should get seated upon the throne, although there is no probability he would long remain in quiet possession of it.
The Government of Buenosayres [Buenos Aires] has declared war against Peru, for the alleged crime of promoting anarchy in the argentine confederation by consenting to and aiding the military expedition, which armed in the territory of Bolivia, have invaded the Republic:
All the Republics of South America, except the Banda Oriental and the old Republic of Columbia, are mingled in the strife.
Our relations with foreign powers, remain unchanged since our last, we believe they are all of a friendly nature. Mexico has manifested some little uneasiness in consequence of the part some of our citizens have taken in behalf of Texas, which Mexico considers in the light of revolted subjects. We believe humanly speaking, we have nothing to fear from Mexico, but we hope and trust our Government will be as ready and willing to mete out justice to Mexico as to England
France or Russia. Texas appears confident she shall maintain her Independence, and is prepared and preparing to resist any and every aggression of her rights.
Our domestic concerns do not essentially differ from what they were one month since. Trouble and distress are the topics of conversation amongst politicians, merchants, mechanics and demagogues; money, banks and bankruptcies are reiterated by some, while others contend there is no distress other than that caused by overtrading.
Our travels and observations warrent [warrant] us in saying that crops are very good almost universally through our own country. The public prints for the most part go to establish the same fact.
Crimes misdemeanors and casualties, continue to occupy a space in all public journals.
Transgression is prevalent, sin abounds, time rolls on, with its accustomed velocity, the world is in commotion, and every circumstance, with every evidence to our senses, show that the adversary of all righteousness is not yet bound.
FROM ELDERS ABROAD.
Since the publication of our last we have received very few communications from the travelling [traveling] elders.
Brother Joseph Rose writes us under date of July 27th from Huntersville, Tippacanoe Co. Ia. where he has been laboring some time. He writes us that he has baptised [baptized] 13 in that place, or its vicinity. Brother R. complains of some ill health, and says that he has more calls for preaching than he can fill, and expresses an earnest wish that some good faithful elder from this place or elsewhere, would come to his assistance.
Elders who have travelled [traveled] alone, and preached the gospel among friends and foes, and have labored under any bodily infirmity, know, at least, how to sympathize with brother Rose.
We earnestly wish the Lord would inspire some elder with courage and confidence to go and assist him. It would be a relief to him, and we trust, would subserve the cause of truth and righteousness.
We have also recently received a communication from a member of our church in Medfield, Massachusetts, wishing an elder to call in that town and preach, giving the opinion decidedly that good might be done in that place; adding that no one of our elders had ever preached there.
Elder Geo. A. Smith and M. F. Cowdery have written us from West Carrol Co. Ohio, expressive of their faith and perseverance in the cause.-They express their gratitude for the kindness shown them in many instances, as well as the abuse they have received in others. May the Lord assist our young brethren by his Spirit, continually.
Messenger and Advocate.
W. A. COWDERY, Editor.
KIRTLAND, OHIO, JULY, 1837.
It is a well known and established fact, that in the latter part of the year 1836 a bank, or monied institution, was established in this place denominated the "Kirtland Safety Society Bank." Plates were engraved in Philadelphia, paper struck, and the bank commenced discounting in the early part of the present year. It was considered a kind of joint stock association, and that the private property of the stockholders was holden in proportion to the amount of their subscription, for the redemption of the paper issued by the bank. No charter was obtained for the institution, which operated as one cause to limit the circulation of the bills, destroy public confidence in them, and stimulate the holders of them to return them again to the bank and demand the specie for them. Other banks which had been at the expense of procuring charters, refused the bills of this bank in payment of any debts due their respective institutions. This stand taken by other banks operated as might be reasonably supposed, to destroy the currency of these bills with men of business who had deal with the banks already chartered and established by law.
By a clause in an act of the legislature
of the State of Ohio passed January 28th, 1834 no bills issued by an unincorporated bank can be collected by law, neither can the bank, banker or bankers collect any note bond or bill taken for the payment of bills of such unincorporated or unchartered bank. We will here insert the clause for the benefit of our readers who have not ready access to the Statute,
It can be found on the 450th page Ohio Statute; and reads as follows:
"That no action shall be brought upon any notes or bills, hereafter issued by any bank, banker or bankers, and intended for circulation, or upon any note, bill bond or other security given and made payable to any such, bank, banker or bankers, unless such bank banker or bankers, shall be incorporated and authorized by the laws of this State, to issue such bills and notes: but that all such notes and bills, bonds and other securities, shall be held and taken in all courts as absolutely void."
Under these unpropitious circumstances the managers of the bank began its operation. There was a fair amount of specie in the vault to commence business, and friends enough who were ready to take the bills, carry them at a distance, and make exchanges for paper of other banks or specie, and return them to this place. But the unpopularity of our religion, together with the institution being an unchartered one, tended to render the circulation, as we before remarked, limited. At that time and a few weeks afterward, specie was promtly [promptly] paid for the redemption of the bills when they were presented at the bank. It may here be proper to remark, that nearly all the specie had been drawn out of circulation, and most of the bills of specie paying banks to fill the vault, and make a safe basis for the redemption of the paper of this bank. When we say this, we mean, in this vicinity. We can also remark, that the banks generally had been limiting their issues for several months and the general cry was, that money was scarce. But real estate began gradually to decline, and every article of food to rise in price.
The great scarcity of money operated upon community to make every one anxious to have the new bills in circulation. There were two classes of people and both appeared equally anxious, but they were actuated by diamatrically [diametrically] opposite motives. The one part were anxious to pay their debts, supply themselves with food, and build up the place: the other being enemies, had our ruin in view, and were willing to receive the bills, come and demand the specie on them, and when the notes become due that were given for bills at the bank, avail themselves of that clause of the statute which we have quoted to avoid payment, still the officers of the bank continued to redeem, their paper when presented. Previously to the commencement of discounting by the bank, large debts had been contracted for merchandize [merchandise] in New York and other cities, and large contracts entered into for real estate in this town, and adjoining towns, some of them had fallen due and must be met or incur forfeitures of large sums.-These causes, we are bound to believe, operated to induce the officers of the bank to let out larger sums than their better judgements [judgments] dictated, which almost invariably fell into, or passed through the hands of those who sought our ruin. Our enemies foresaw, and every man might foresee without the gift of prophecy, the down fall of the institution, as plainly as Belshazzar saw the hand that wrote his doom on the wall of his palace. The bills, as might be expected, were at this time rather rising in the estimation of unprejudiced men abroad, having assurances when they received them that they were good, and should be made good to the holders. Hundreds who were enemies, either came or sent their agents and demanded specie till the officers thought best to refuse payment. This fact was soon rumored abroad as
upon the wings of the wind; some returned their bills with curses, and some with entreaties for their redemption according to the character, temper and disposition of the holders. Some contended that the bank was down and refused to take its paper, others contended that it was yet good or would soon be made good, and continued to use it and buy land and all kinds of property with it. Holders of the bills from abroad came and purchased property of people, in this place and paid in bills of our own bank, while others residing here were actively engaged in recommending the paper, and purchasing property abroad. Speculators and others continued to trade in the bills without any fixed marketable value, sometimes at one rate of discount and sometimes at another, till there was no reasonable hope that it would ever be all returned to the bank.
About this time the two first officers of the bank resigned, sold out their interest and withdrew from the institution. All banks throughout the country, one after another suspended specie payment. Some of them were as illy able to continue when they stopped as was ours, but they had charters, were popular and waited till it was popular to suspend payment, and then they could do so with impunity whether they had five dollars or five thousand to redeem their paper. It is unnecessary to say that confidence has failed in all paper money, though we would not be understood to say that it has failed equally with all. Gold and silver has risen in value in a direct ratio with the depreciation of paper. Many of the monied institutions are thought to be unsound, and from the best evidences that can not be obtained, will never be able to redeem their bills. The public begin to look upon them as privileged monopolies, whose sole object has been to amass wealth at the expence [expense] of the best interests of the honest and industrious part of community. They have expanded their circulation, and flooded the country with their paper, while the public was impressed with the belief that it was good, and convertible into the precious metals at the will of the holders. Confidence in them is now impaired just in proportion to the current price of Gold and silver above the nominal value of paper.
The marketable value of all articles of trade is unsetled [unsettled] and fluctuating in consequence of the deranged state of the currency: credit is destroyed, confidence impaired, and every human appearance of a worse state of things instead of better, until a new system of trade or a complete revolution takes place.
Such must inevitably be the effect of all monopolies sooner or later, they give privileges to some, withhold them from others, make the rich richer and the poor poorer. We care not what the Government of a country may be, whether it be a monarchy or representative democracy: give one class of citizens in it facilties [facilities] for making money faster than others and on a fictitious capital, and it is but indirectly giving them power to oppress the other class.
Here we will remark, that all past history goes to assure us that privileged orders and institutions, with all the checks and balances that can, or we will say have ever been imposed on them by the wisest legislatures, have always found means to transcend the bounds marked out to them by their creators and abridge the real liberty and vital privileges and interests of the citizens.
Privilege is but a legal right, to one class of citizens to make money faster, and in a way that others may not take. It in fact gives many of them more than compound interest on, not only their real capital, but on a fictitious capital, and converts the fictitious into a real
capital at the expence [expense] of the non privileged class of citizens. The two grand objects are wealth and power. Money we all know is power, and he who possesses most of it, has the most men in his power. If we give all our privileges to one man, we virtually give him our money and our liberties, and make him a monarch, absolute and despotic, and ourselves abject slaves or fawning sycophants. If we grant privileges and monopolies to a few, they always continue to undermine the fundamental principles of freedom, and sooner or later, convert, the purest and most liberal form of Government, into the rankest aristocracy. These we conceive, are matters of history, matters of fact that cannot be controverted. Well may it be said, if we thus barter away our liberties, we are unworthy of them. The sirene song of liberty and independence, is but an empty name, and he who does not allow himself to think, to speak, to reason and act only as his wealthy landlord shall dictate, has virtually resigned the dignity of an independent citizen and is as much a slave, as if the manacles were upon his hands. His boasted liberty is a deception, and his independence a phantom. We will here remark, (although a little digressing from the subject under discussion and the particular object we had in view when we commenced this article,) that whenever a people have unlimited confidence in a civil or eclesiastical [ecclesiastical] ruler or rulers, who are but men like themselves, and begin to think they can do no wrong, they increase their tyranny, and oppression, establish a principle that man, poor frail lump of mortality like themselves, is infallible. Who does not see a principle of popery and religious tyranny involved in such an order of things? Who is worthy the name of a freeman, who thus tamely surrenders, the rights the privileges, and immunities of an independent citizen? He who barters liberty for gold exchanges the authorities of man for that which is but glittering dust or a shining toy without them. He who vainly supposes man infallible, may as well admit him independent and not accountable to the God that made him, for one is as consistent as the other, and if we would go thus far we can hardly conceive that we would violate any command in the decalogue to worship such an one: for most assuredly, there is nothing in the heavens above or earth beneath like unto him, of which we have any account. But to return from our digression.
Intelligence of the people is the only guarantee against encroachments upon their liberties, whether those encroachments are from the civil or eclesiastical [ecclesiastical] power. All chartered companies privileged orders, or monopolies are more or less dangerous to liberty, and destructive to a free Government. Intelligence then, that such is the fact is necessary, that the people may appreciate their rights and guard them with that vigilence [vigilance] that prudence dictates to prevent any infraction of them. The great object of all privileged classes is money and power, and the universal undeviating course of all who possess both, is to add to both at the expense of the liberties and best interests of their fellow citizens.
From a review of what we have written we remark.
1st Relative to the paper, purporting to be bank bills issued in this place, we say there is much of it in circulation, but not much in this place. It has been bought up here and elsewhere, sometimes at one rate of discount and sometimes at another, and carried to a distance: we have frequent rumors from different places respecting its currency; in some places reports say it is good and current as other bank paper,
but here and in other places it is not. We are aware that the currency of any paper circulating as money, depends on one simple fact, to make it so.-The public mind must be impressed with the belief that it can be converted into the precious metals, to the same amount that is stamped on the bill or bills; so long as the current of public opinion goes to establish that point, just so long and so far, any paper will be current and no farther. If there are but five dollars in the vault of the bank that issued the paper, while the public mind is satisfied that it is perfectly solvent and good, the currency would be no better were the same vault the depository of half a million. What then is our duty under existing circumstances? Shall we all unite as one man, say it is good and make it so by taking it on a par with gold and silver? We will answer no, for the simple reason that we are few in number, compared with the world of mankind by whom we are surrounded and with whom we must necessarily have intercourse, though we may give and receive it, still it must be confined in its circulation and par value currency, to the limits of our own society, and that society small, dependent, comparitively [comparatively] speaking, and of consequence subjected daily to the imperious necessity of a dead loss, or a total failure in prosecuting the necessary avocations of life or procuring the bare means of subsistence. Shall we then take it at its marked price for our property? We answer no. Our enemies far out number us, and as we have before hinted, we are measurably dependent on them, and if they receive any of our paper they receive it at a discount, and return it upon us again as soon as may be, and if we received it at par we give them, voluntarily and with our eyes open, just that advantage over us, to oppress, degrade and depress us, that our paper differs in par value from other current paper, or gold and silver. Thus we see it is abundantly evident to the most obtuse intellect, that all the wealth, and industry of this people, would soon be wasted and exausted [exhausted] in building up our enemies and we be left in a state of complete mendicity.
Our brethren ought so far to inform themselves on this subject and the subject of the currency generally as not to become the willing dupes of their enemies. It is a duty they owe to themselves, and their families to provide for, and sustain them, and it is directly in accordance with the laws of God and man, to do so by industry and good economy, and good economy must consist in a fair reciprocity in trade.-The principles of trade and commerce have long since been settled in the main, and will be pursued, and the zeal for our religion, or our bank should not be suffered to eat us up and destroy us; and we believe, the God we worship, the God who made us, and our little ones, requires no such thing of us.
2 Respecting the management of our banking institution, much has been said, and various opinions and conjectures offered by friends and foes. We are not bankers, bank stock holders, or financiers. We believe that banking or financiering is as much a regular science, trade or business, as those of law, physic or divinity, and that a man may be an eminent civilian, and know nothing of consequence of the principles of medicine. He may be a celebrated divine, and be no mechanic no financier, and be as liable to fail in the management of a bank as he would in constructing a balloon or the mechanism of a watch if he had never seen either.
We are not prepared in our feelings to censure any man, we wish to extend that charity to others, which under similar circumstances we should claim
at their hands. We believe in that "charity that suffereth long and is kind" and we further add, "which thinketh no evil." Permit us also further to remark, that it is no more consistent with our feelings and our wishes, than our duty, to say who under the then existing circumstances would have done any better. Other men under far more propitious circumstances, possessing knowledge, skill and experience, and backed by the strong arm of the law, have failed. Thousands and tens of thousands have failed, and it is easy to see, when the deed is done, the die cast and the time gone by, where there were errors, but we are not now to judge any man. They may have been errors of the head and not of the heart: we should impugn no one's motives, but as far as truth and reason can go, exercise that grace, "that thinketh no evil."
3 Relative to currency generally, we have few remarks to make. We all know that the paper circulation, is unsound, fluctuating and precarious.-We believe that, from present appearances it will be more so, and that our brethren as prudent men, should not exchange real estate or any other property for it, other than according to their currency, in market, and then only so far as is to be laid out and expended for immediate use and present benefit. Although bank bills, nominally may pass for the price stamped upon them, still it is a notorious fact, that they have in reality fallen in value, and that brokers and bankers will pay a premium on gold and silver above its marked or estimated value, while the best of paper is below it. We have made these remarks because we have considered all monied institutions at the present time unsound and precarious.
4 Relative to manopolies [monopolies] generally we are unfriendly to them, any farther than their privileges tend to foster a spirit of improvement, in labor saving, in the facilities of procuring means of subsistence for a greater number of inhabitants, and are identified with the best interests of the people. But to those monopolies or companies with exclusive privileges of making money and oppressing the people, and that too, with a fictitious foundation, we are opposed as they are generally conducted, toto cúlo. They arm one class of people with the legal power of oppressing the other. They are in fact, armed with power, as we have heretofore said, to make the rich, richer, and the poor poorer: and we will further add, with all the checks and balances that have ever been imposed on them, it is contrary to experience and past history to say, the power has not been exercised, transcended and abused, the poor, been oppressed and made poorer, the line of distinction between rich and poor, become more and more visible, the poor sinking into a state of dependence and vassalage, while in a direct ratio, the rich were rising into a proud haughty, bloated aristocracy.
5 We had intended to point out in a distinct section of this article, the effects of monopolies on trade, and commerce, but our circumscribed limits, and what we have already anticipated in the preceeding [preceding] section must suffice.-We therefore recommend to our brethren to be good and peaceful citizens of that Government which protects them and guard all their present rights, and privileges with a vigilant eye. We ask you, we entreat you, to continue, in a sound, righteous and constitutional manner, to exercise the right of bold, free, and independent citizens, in the fear of God.
Respecting what we have said relative to the independence of this or any people, we will here remark, that the perpetuity of it, depends on two points, (viz:) virtue and intelligence. Virtue
is power, and so is intelligence, and without these no government can be good, nor can rulers or ruled be happy. The faithful pages of history are full on these points and they are now held up as beacons and way marks to light us through the chequered [checkered] scene that surrounds us.
It would be folly in the extreme to suppose that that cause which once existed and produced certain effects, will not produce the same effects now, under similar circumstances; so in like manner will men abuse power when clothed with it, and we should as soon look for the whole order of nature to be reversed, as for the effect to be otherwise. All our reading, all our experience, yea and almost fifty years, close observation as we were capable of making, are all vain and worse than vain, If we are not now prepared to say we know these things to be true.
7 We therefore, in conclusion, say to our brethren, let your time be all judiciously employed. Set a part a suitable portion for the service of God, acts of devotion and the study of his word, a portion for the study of the science of our own governwent [government] and the current news of the day, that we may be able understandingly to exercise our rights as free citizens, and a portion for refreshment and sleep.-No man or set of men are worthy of liberty unless they so appreciate it as to endeavor to perpetuate it. Neither are we worthy, nor can we enjoy the peaceable fruits of righteousness, unless we are exercised thereby.
"Behold therefore, the goodness and severity of God: on them that fell severity; but toward thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou shalt be cut off.-And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again."-Romans 11:22,23.
It is too plain to become a matter of controversy among men of sense, both from our text and context, that the writer alluded to the two classes of mankind, under which he ranked all at that period, (viz:) Jew and Gentile.
The Jews, in contradistinction from the Gentiles, were in their own estimation, at least the favorites of heaven. To them the King of heaven had revealed himself, and unto them he had sent prophets and wise men rising up early, and sending them, and last of all the Savior himself, made his appearance among them, and plainly says that he was sent to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel;" and, when he sent out his disciples they were expressly directed not to go into any "cities or villages of the Samaritans, no not so much as to eat bread, but to go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Unto them was the law given, and with them were the covenants made. No people, no nation can claim any written revelation from God, with any authority compared with that which was received by the Jews or their ancestors. The Savior as we before remarked came to them, "he came to his own and his own received him not." The apostle after being endowed with power from on high, went forth and preached and reasoned with his brethren the Jews, out of the scriptures, showing them that Jesus was the very Christ, the true Messiah, and they had suffered all manner of evil and persecution falsely, for the name of Christ. One among them observed, "seeing ye judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life lo we turn to the Gentiles." Notwithstanding the apostles had turned to the Gentiles, and the Gentiles believed their testimony and many of them embraced the gospel, yet from reading the chapter, of which our text forms a part, we see there was then, and is still a hope that they (the Jews,) would be persuaded of their error and embrace the gospel.-They were broken off by reason of their unbelief and the Gentiles were grafted in, in consequence of their belief, but were admonished not to be high minded but fear, and were plainly told that the Jews or literal descendants of Israel, if they abode not still in unbelief, should be grafted in again.-Here we learn, notwithstanding, the law, covenants and all the revelations were given to that people which the Lord was pleased to call his chosen people, yet he has plainly said he was no respecter of persons. So then we
see the propriety of the expression.-Behold the goodness and severity of God, on them that fell (or disbelieved) severity, but on thee, (the Gentiles) goodness if thou continue in his goodness otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. It is also evident that the time will come, when they shall believe, though they are now cut off, but God is able to graft them in again. Paul reasons upon the subject in the following manner. If the casting of them away be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be but life from the dead? Has he cast them away that they should finally be lost? or have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: We see that in addressing his Roman brethren, he has made the matter plain. I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness [fullness] of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion [Zion] the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Those parts of the apostles' predictions that have not yet been fulfilled remain to be fulfilled, and will no doubt be accomplished as literally as any prophecy penned by the sacred writer. But we again remark that the law, the covenants and promises, were to Israel, and the Gentiles as such, had no claim in any promise that had been made.-Our readers may ask what promise, hope or encouragement have we, who do not claim our descent through the loins of Abraham. We answer, First because God has said that he has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on all the face of the earth. Second, because he has said that he is no respecter of persons but he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted with him. Third, because he also said, shewing [showing] the claim the Gentiles could have: "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christs' then are ye Abrahams' seed and heirs according to promise." Here then we rest our claim and our hope. On these assertions and these promises we depend, although they were not made to us or to our forefathers according to the flesh, for we cannot trace our pedigree back through the loins of Abraham; yet we do rely on the word of God, having the testimony of that, and his Spirit, and having, as we trust, obeyed his commands, by being baptized into Christ we put on Christ, become entitled to all the privileges of Abrahams' seed and, in fact, heirs according to promise.
We will now examine the claims of Israel aside from any compliance with the requisitions of the gospel. Paul asks the question; "What advantage hath the Jews? or what profit is there in circumcision? Much every way, chiefly because unto them were committed the oracles of God." Unto them were committed the law, the revelations were given unto them: Their ancestors were eye witnesses of the miracles that were wrought in the earlier ages of the world. The prophets were of their own brethren, raised up among them, and among them the Savior made his appearance: still they were not ready to receive him or his gospel. Were they then benefitted [benefited] by their superior advantage: certainly not, unless they yielded obedience to the requirements of heaven. Here says the apostle they are not all Israel, which are of Israel, nor are they all heirs according to promise. Only such then as are of faith, are blessed with faithful Abraham.
We here remark that nothing but strict justice ever characterizes the dealings of God with the human family: with the utmost propriety his servants might say he was no respecter of persons, and that he only "that feared him and worked righteousness would be accepted with him."
Again in reviewing the subject, we remark, that all the signs, wonders and miracles that were wrought among the children of Israel and in presence of the Jewish nation, did not produce that conviction, that lasting conviction on their minds, that was necessary to induce a belief, a universal belief, that they were of divine authority. As a nation we know they were far from believing any such thing.
Again, how often do we hear it said,
do this or that miracle and we will believe: but we are sure if they could be gratified, they would be no more ready to believe and obey than they now are. They would be as ready as were the Pharisees, to ascribe the power of doing what they could not do, to Beelzebub, or to any other power but that of God. No man's declaration on that subject can be taken as proof that he would obey the gospel were he to see a miracle, since thousands have been wrought anciently among learned Jews, Greeks and Romans, and yet few, comparatively speaking, who saw them embraced the truth or even ascribed the power to God. Can we then suppose that if men were to witness the same things now they would be any more ready to believe than they were anciently? certainly not. Then we see the propriety of the Savior's conduct when he refused to give a sign or work a miracle to gratify his enemies. Surely he knew it would not make them believe, or induce them to become his friends. When any thing was done which they were obliged to acknowledge was miraculous, they either ascribed the power to the Devil or tried to suppress the publicity of the fact.
Again, on reviewing our subject we notice the great goodness and mercy of God, in pointing out to mankind the way of life and salvation, not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles. History both sacred and profane are full of facts duly authenticated, that mankind always treated the messengers of God who were sent to expostulate with them, with disrespect, they always rejected them. Notwithstanding they urged upon them the commands of the Omnipotent Jehovah and the absolute necessity of a compliance with them, to secure their own salvation. But "he so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that the world through him, might believe and be saved.
We also learn that he is no respecter of persons but even his covenant or chosen people were rejected when they rejected him, his servants and his gospel.
Again, we learn, that the Gentiles were received only on condition of their compliance with his requirements, becoming heirs with him, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to an inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled and fadeth not away. They were cautioned not to be high minded but to fear; they were admonished that they stood only by faith: That if they were baptized into Christ and had put on Christ, they should so walk in him, that they should be entitled to the benefit of the promises to Abrahams' seed.
When we review the dealings of God with both Jew and Gentile we can but exclaim with the author of our text, "Behold the goodness and severity of God, on them that fell severity, but on thee goodness, if thou continue in his goodness, otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.
ANCIENT HISTORY. No. 6. GREECE-CONTINUED.
About eighty years after the taking of Troy began the war of the Heraclidae. Herecules [Hercules] the son of Amphitryon, sovereign of Mycenae was banished from his native country with all his family, while the crown was possessed by a usurper. His descendants after a period of a century, returned to Pelopeunesus, and subduing all their enemies took possession of the States of Mycenae, Argos and Lacedamon.
A long period of civil war and bloodshed succeeded, and Greece was rent in factions and divided among a number of petty tyrants, who were equally oppressive and cruel.
The government of Greece for a long time was monarchical, but the Athenians at length becoming weary of monarchy, determined to try the effect of a popular constitution. Medon, the son of Codrus was elected first chief magistrate with the title of Archon. This was the commencement of the Athenian Republic, about 1068 years before the advent of our Savior.
About this time the Greeks began to colonize. The tyranny and oppression which many of them suffered at home forced them to leave their native land & seek a refuge elsewhere. Twelve cities were formed in the Lesser Asia, of which Smyrna was the most considerable. A troop of Armenian exiles built Ephesus, Colophon, Clazomene and other towns, giving to their new settlements, the name of their native country, Ionia. The Dorians set off colonies to Italy and Sciliy [Sicily] founding, in the former Tarentum and Locri,
and in the latter, Syracuse and Arigentum. The mother country considered the colonies as her emancipated children. These speedily attained to eminence and splendor, rivalling [rivaling], and ever surpassing their parent States: The example of their prosperity was attributed to their more liberal Government and incited the States of Greece generally, to abandon the regal form by which they were oppressed by a number of petty tyrants, and try the effect of a popular Constitution. Athens and Thebes set the example in these revolutionary movements, and were soon followed by all the rest.
A new scene arose in consequence of a change ftom [from] a regal to a popular Government; a new code of laws appeared to be necessary, and an entire new system of legislation adapted to their wants and their new form of Government. It was necessary that some one or more in each State, who had sufficient learning, ability and popularity, not only to devise but to introduce and carry into effect the system which he should recommend, should undertake the task. Such were the Spartan Lycurgus and the Athenian Solon.
"THE most serious businesses of human life make but a sorry figure when they come to be recorded. Interesting to the individual, and for a moment, they awaken no general concern, and become to the parties themselves, when the moment is past, 'trifles light as air.' The avidity with which fresh journals are read, is a perfect contrast to the indifference with which they are treated on the second or the third day. Let a man sit down to write the history of his own life; let him be the best and most important of personages, and what has he got to relate? A meagre [meager] account of the miles he taavelled [traveled], of the bargains he drove, of the spectacles he beheld, of the viands which covered his table, and of the guests who surrounded it. Into this little measure shrink the achievements of the great, the splendor, pomp, and pride of kings, as well as the short and 'simple annals of the poor.' When the pageant has passed by, it is a vision of the night, it vanishes into air, it leaves no track behind. The hand of time eraces [traces] the inscription, shakes the fabric, crumbles it into dust. In vain does history promise to save from oblivion, and to confer immortality. The author, his work, his subject, the very language in which he wrote, all perish."
DIED, on the 20th of June last Elizabeth Orton, consort of Amos R. Orton aged 43 years.
The deceased was a member of the church of Latter Day Saints, a tender parent, an affectionate companion, but she is gone, "to that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveller [traveler] returns." She has left a husband, five children, and a circle of friends and relatives to mourn her loss.
DIED, on the 15th of this present month Corydon Olney of Portage Allgany County, N. Y. aged --
He was a youth of considerable promise; endeared to his parents and relatives by acts of kindness and reciprocity, and to all his acquaintance by the urbanity of his maners [manners].
His faith in the truth of the gospel which he had embraced remained unshaken, while life lasted.
A Conference of elders and members of the church of Latter Day Saints will be held in West township Columbiana Co. Ohio, on the first Friday, Saturday and Sabbath of October next, commencing at 10 o'clock A. M. on Friday the 6th, elders and members from the branches of our church being in the vscinity [vicinity] are respectfully invited to attend.
MESSENGER AND STAR,
Bound together, or in separate volumes can be had at this office.
THE LATTER DAY SAINTS' MESSENGER AND ADVOCATE, Is published every month at Kirtland, Geauga Co. Ohio, by WILLIAM MARKS, PROPRIETOR.
$1, per an. in advance. Every person procuring ten new subscribers, and forwarding $10, current money, shall be entitled to a paper one year, gratis. All letters to the Editor must be
----> POST PAID. <-----
No subscription will be received for a less term than one year, and no paper discontinued till all arrearages are paid, except at the option of the publishers
Previous chapter Table of Contents Next chapter