A Cunning Device Detected


Quincy Whig Badlam, Alexander

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Badlam, Alexander. “A Cunning Device Detected.” Quincy Whig (Quincy, Illinois) 2,no. 29 (16 November 1839).

[By Request.]


It will be recollected that a few months since an article appeared in several of the papers, purporting to give an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon. How far the writer of that piece has effected his purposes or what his purposes were in pursuing the course he has, I shall not attempt to say at this time, but shall call upon every candid man to judge in this matter for himself, and shall content myself by presenting before the public the other side of the question in the form of a letter, as follows:

Copy of a letter written by Mr. John Haven of Holliston, Middlesex county, Massachusetts, to his daughter, Elizabeth Haven, of Quincy, Adams co., Ill.

Your brother Jesse passed through Monson, where he saw Mrs. Davidson, and her daughter, Mrs. McKinestry, and also Dr. Ely, and spent several hours with them, during which time he asked them the following questions, viz:

Did you, Mrs. Davidson, write a letter to John Storrs, giving an account of the origin of the Book of Mormon? Answer: I did not. Ques. Did you sign your name to it?

Ans. I did not, neither did I ever see the letter until I saw it in the Boston Recorder, the letter was never brought to me to sign. Ques. What agency had you in having this Letter sent to Mr. Storrs? Ans: D. R. Austin came to my house and asked me some questions, took some minutes on paper, and from these minutes wrote that Letter. Ques. Is what is written in the letter true? Ans: In the main it is. Ques. Have you read the Book of Mormon? Ans: I have read some in it. Ques. Does Mr. Spauldings manuscript, and the Book of Mormon agree? I think some few of the names are alike. Ques. Does the manuscript describe an idolatrous or a Religious people? Ans: An Idolatrous people.

Ques. Where is the manuscript? Ans: Dr. P. Hurlburt came here and took it, said he would get it printed, and let me have one half the profits. Ques. Has Dr. P. Hurlburt got the manuscript printed? Ans: I received a letter stating it did not read as they expected, and they should not print it. Ques. How large is Mr. Spauldings manuscript? Ans: about one third as large as the Book of Mormon. Ques. To Mrs. McKenestry, how old was you when your father wrote the manuscript? Ans: about five years of age. Ques. Did you ever read the manuscript? Ans: When I was about twelve years old, I used to read it for diversion. Ques. Did the manuscript describe an Idolatrous or a Religious people? Ans: An Idolatrous people. Ques. Does the manuscript and the Book of Mormon agree? Ans: I think some of the names agree. Ques. Are you certain that some of the names agree? Ans: I am not. Ques. Have you ever read any in the Book of Mormon? Ans: I have not. Ques.

Was your name attached to that letter which was sent by Mr. John Storrs by your order?

Ans: No, I never meant that my name should be there.

You see by the above Questions and answers, that Mr. Austin, in his great zeal to destroy the Latter Day Saints, has asked Mrs. Davidson a few questions, then wrote a letter to Mr. Storrs in his own language. I do not say that the above Questions and Answers, were given in the form that I have written them, but these questions were asked, and these answers given. Mrs. Davidson is about seventy years of age, and somewhat broke. This may certify that I was personally acquainted with Mr. Haven, his Son and Daughter, and am satisfied they are persons of truth. I have also read Mr. Haven’s letter to his Daughter, which has introduced me to copy it for publication, and I further say, the above is a correct copy of Mr. Havens letter.


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