William Lyon Mackenzie and the Mormon Connection

Helen K. Warner

Helen Warner, “William Lyon Mackenzie and the Mormon Connection,” in Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History: Ohio and Upper Canada, ed. Guy L. Dorius, Craig K. Manscill, and Craig James Ostler (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2006), 159–176

Helen Warner is a graduate of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, where she studied Ontario history.

William Lyon Mackenzie was one of the most colorful and controversial people in nineteenth-century Canadian politics. He was the first mayor of Toronto in 1834, the editor of numerous newspapers advocating his own brand of utopian democracy, and the leader of the 1837 armed rebellion against Canada’s oligarchical government. He has been variously described as a “grand national mistake”[1] and the “best [hero] we’ve had so far.”[2] An interesting historical sidelight to Mackenzie’s checkered reputation is that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a group that had its own popularity problems, has always remembered Mackenzie as a friend in the early days of the Church in Toronto. This chapter is devoted to exploring whether there is any evidence to support this tradition.

William Lyon Mackenzie was born in Dundee, Scotland, in 1795. He was proud of the fact that both his grandfathers had fought with Prince Charles at Culloden.[3] His mother was widowed when he was an infant, and he was raised in poverty, which continued to plague him all his life. In addition to formal schooling, he read hundreds of books from the local library. He came to Upper Canada in 1820 with the wave of British emigration that followed the War of 1812 between the United States and British North America. He worked in canal building, journalism, and storekeeping before starting his first newspaper, the Colonial Advocate, in Queenston in 1824. Later that year, he moved to York.[4]

Canada was a British colony, and Britain furnished governors and approved local laws. The colony was divided into two provinces with names indicating their location on the St. Lawrence River: Lower Canada, with much of the French-speaking population, had its capital at Montreal; Upper Canada’s capital was York (changed to Toronto in 1834). Eager to retain the institutions of Britain, a ruling elite in York called the Family Compact preserved the privileges of the well-born and discouraged democratic reformers. The official religion was Anglican, and one-seventh of the land was allocated for its support even though its membership represented a minority of the population. More popular was American Methodism, spread by circuit riders from the United States, and Wesleyan Methodism, which was brought by British immigrants.

The Colonial Advocate attacked the Family Compact for its monopoly on government appointments, clergy reserves, and suppression of trade with and immigration from the United States. Mackenzie wanted land reforms and a more equitable system of representation.[5] His attacks against the Tory hierarchy led to the destruction of his press in 1826 by the sons of some prominent local Tories who threw the type into Lake Ontario. The judicial resolution of the case made Mackenzie financially solvent for one of the few times in his life.[6]

He entered politics in 1827 and became a champion for the “underdog—not always with discretion, not always fair to his opponents and not without a touch of personal vindictiveness towards some of them.”[7] His demands and causes varied, and he often changed his stand. While in the United States in 1829, he met Andrew Jackson and became an admirer of his economic policies.[8] As many times as he was elected to the provincial legislature, he was expelled by the ruling party and then reelected by his constituents. His strong personal attacks against opponents and sometimes friends, and his sharp eye for corruption or mismanagement, made him a force to be reckoned with. He traveled to England in 1832 as a representative of the Reformers with a list of grievances for the imperial government, a move that infuriated local Tories.[9]

In spite of being unpopular with the hierarchy, he was elected the first mayor of Toronto in 1834 and later that year was again elected to the provincial assembly, where the Reformers won a majority of the seats.[10] Both sides spoke with intensity. Sir Francis Bond Head, lieutenant governor, called Mackenzie a “low-bred, vulgar man”[11] who sat “with his feet not reaching the ground, and with his countenance averted, . . . with the eccentricity, the volubility, and indeed the appearance of a madman, [who] raved in all directions.”[12] Mackenzie was five feet six inches tall and wore a red wig to cover fever-induced baldness.[13] Mackenzie in turn described Irish Protestant Tory supporters, the Loyal Orange Order, as “infuriated demons,” and their judge as an “orange parizan.”[14]

It was in this fierce climate that Apostle Parley P. Pratt arrived in Toronto in April 1836. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had been organized in New York in 1830, and missionaries quickly crossed into Upper Canada spreading the message of the Restoration. Pratt carried with him a letter of introduction to John Taylor, a Methodist lay preacher. Taylor’s wife, Leonora Cannon, came to Upper Canada as a member of the staff of the governor-general, Lord Aylmer.[15] The Taylors were polite but were uninterested in the gospel. Pratt introduced himself to the clergy of the city but was denied a pulpit to preach Mormonism. His appeals to the sheriff to use the courthouse and to officials to use a public room at the marketplace were refused. Mrs. Walton, a friend of the Taylors, offered a large room in her home for a meeting, and Pratt began to teach the Taylors, Waltons, and many of their Methodist friends.[16]

After two months, Pratt returned to the headquarters of the Church in Kirtland, Ohio, leaving behind a thriving branch of the Church. Converts included John Taylor, who succeeded Brigham Young as third President of the Church; Joseph Fielding and his sister, Mary, who married Joseph Smith’s brother Hyrum; Mrs. Walton; and “many others in that neighbourhood” who “drank in truth as water, and loved it as they loved life.”[17]

By June 1836, Pratt was back in Toronto with his wife and was accompanied by another Apostle, Orson Hyde. Hundreds congregated to hear the message. In one open-air meeting, hundreds came to a religious debate between Mr. Browning, a Presbyterian minister, and Orson Hyde.[18] Baptisms reduced membership in Methodist congregations. One circuit of Egerton Ryerson’s Methodists “lost heavily to the Mormons, the membership declining from 951 to 578 in 1836.”[19]

While the countryside listened to the message of the new religion, political conditions continued to deteriorate and to polarize. On June 1, 1836, Sir Francis Bond Head sent his views to London: “I consider that, in a British colony, British interests should be paramount, and that in the provinces we should foster them by every means in our power, by infusing into the country our redundant population, and by giving nothing to aliens but their bare rights.”[20]

That same month Head dispatched to his superiors Mackenzie’s stand published in the Correspondent and Advocate: “The people of Lower Canada and the Upper Canada Reformers especially direct their views to four important objects, not one of which will be conceded, as I believe, until it be too late. They are—elective Legislative Council; as Executive Council responsible to public opinion; the control over the whole provincial revenue to be in the Legislature; and the British Parliament and the Colonial Office to cease their interference in our internal concerns.”[21]

To counteract the proposals of the Reformers, Head openly campaigned against them in the election of June 1836 “by opening the eyes of the people to the traitorous designs of those who were leading them insensibly to revolution.”[22] The province rallied to the establishment and voted in a Tory majority in the House of Assembly. Mackenzie lost his own seat and was so disappointed that he “wept like a child.”[23] There is no doubt that Head overstepped the bounds of his office by entering the campaign. The Reformers sent a delegate to London to express their outrage.[24]

Mackenzie started another newspaper called the Constitution and became a full-time journalist and agitator. In August, he reprinted an article on the Mormons taken from the Sun.[25]

THE MORMONITES This sect is increasing so formidably in Missouri as to alarm all other religious denominations in the state. We have long been of the opinion that it will eventually become the most numerous sect of any in the western country at least, if not in the whole union. There is an originality and depth of imposture about it, which can scarcely fail to render it more prosperous than any religion that has arisen since that of Mahomet. Uniting like Mohametanism, many of the most interesting peculiarities both of Judaism and Christianity it is wisely sustained by a great number of new and original miracles, which its followers implicitly believe. Its doctrine too, that Christ and his disciples, and most of the Jewish patriarchs descended upon this continent, and propagated their faith among the original inhabitants, gives it great interest in the minds of multitudes of the people, by redeeming the country from that apparent neglect of providence which the superior pretensions of Asia imply. Its miracles too, are very well attested; the visit of the Angel to Smith, its founder, is as positively stated and as fully believed as any of the Angel visits mentioned in the Scripture were believe in the sceptical ages of the Christian Church; and all of its miracles being of a very similar kind of those recorded in the ancient records of our faith, they will probably possess a vigorous influence over the vastly swelling population of the mighty west for many future centuries. No religion ever became very extensively influential which was not founded upon miracles; for in exact proportion as religious pretension exceeds the powers of reason and the probabilities of nature, does it become a fit and favorite object of reverential faith. Hence it is that the faith of the Catholic Church is incomparably more extensive and preserves a far more tenacious hold upon the minds of its people than any other form of Christianity. It has not only all the ancient miracles of the other Christian denominations, but it has been invigorated from age to age with a succession of new ones; and its power of performing them is avowedly perpetual. We have heard no estimate of the present number of the Mormonites (Mormons, as they call themselves) but their great influx from Ohio and Illinois into Missouri has lately called forth several public meetings in the latter state, to arrest their influence, more particularly over the Indians on the frontier. Proclaiming themselves the friends of the red man, and teaching them both by argument and prophecy, that they are destined by Heaven to inherit the land of their fathers in common with the white race, they are believed to have secured the zealous friendship of many powerful tribes.[26]

This treatment by the press was more fair than most of the treatment the Church received, and no doubt Toronto converts were pleased to read the article. But the question arises: do the ideas expressed in the Sun article reflect Mackenzie’s own thoughts in any way? Without any reference to Mormons, Mackenzie wrote similar views on miracles in Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, October 13, 1853:

“BELIEF IN MIRACLES” The London Times should not copy these sever criticisms on Popish miracles of which the following is a specimen. Why cannot the papist be quietly permitted to believe that the robber’s head spoke, or that “hail Mary” frightened the devil? Whose business is it to interfere? Punish no man for unbelief and you have fewer hypocrites. Does not the Christian world believe, that a four footed beast, on a memorable occasion, talked excellent sense, good grammar, and the best of Hebrew? that a cross-grained prophet, at another time, was swallowed up in a storm by a fish, in whose belly he remained three days, in the depths of the ocean, during which he composed a chapter of the bible, and afterwards got ashore alive? that one man lived 969 years? that the world was created in a week out of nothing? that Eve was made out of a rib taken from Adam’s side while he slept? that the Red sea parted to the right and left so that the Israelites might pass dryshod, but proved a trap to catch and drown less privileged Egyptians? that a wicked witch raised from the dead the prophet Samuel? that Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt for looking behind her? that all the folks on the earth save eight were drowned by one flood? and that Daniel and others walked unhurt in the midst of the hottest fiery furnace in all Babylon? Why then quarrel about unbeliefs? All sects believe the above miracles and much more. The Roman Church has a more modern collection—so have the presbyterians and episcopalians—so have others. How the Virgin Mary or the devil can be in so many places, regions, and countries at once, passes our understanding, but it is orthodox at Rome, and why argue the matter? Who shall decide?[27]

Mackenzie’s file on “Biblical Miracles”[28] had three undated newspaper clippings in response to his article. One, from the Montreal Witness, accuses him of denying “in the Sacred volume whatever does not agree with the peculiar form of scepticism he has adopted for himself.” The Montreal Sun urged all “lovers of the Bible to set their faces against this attempt to spread so desolating a pestilence through the land”; and a “Protestant” writing to Mackenzie’s Weekly Message asked if he intended “to class the ‘genuine miracles of the Bible’ in all their sublimity and heavenly characteristics, with the puerile and absurd pretensions of the authorities of either the church of Rome, or Joe Smith of Mormon notoriety?”[29] In rebuttal, Mackenzie wrote: “There is no word of ours which could lead any one who had read the passage with even ordinary care, to imagine that we meant that faith in the bible mysteries justified faith in all other mysteries. They justify us, however, in inculcating, as we did, in the original article, great forbearance on the part of political writers, toward conflicting opinions of religion, . . . leaving to all men the liberty to judge for themselves as to the orthodoxy of commentators, under the rule laid down by the apostle—’try all things and hold fast to that which is best.’”[30]

Along with the positive newspaper publicity, the Mormons had other reasons to highly regard Mackenzie. In September 1836, Mackenzie allowed Pratt to use a large room above his printing office for public meetings.[31] Mackenzie noted the Mormon meetings in his paper, along with others that had been held. He mentioned that the room held about three hundred people, but he does not say that he was in attendance.[32]

After Mackenzie’s election defeat, he saw no hope for peaceful change in government, and his desperation matched that of the country, which was suffering an economic depression and the “financial ‘panic of 1837.’”[33] Economic troubles also afflicted the Kirtland Latter-day Saints, who were embarrassed by the failure of the Kirtland Safety Society, which was reported in the Toronto Methodist Christian Guardian. Mrs. Walton’s brother-in-law, Isaac Russell, a Mormon convert from nearby Churchville, went to the newspaper armed with corrections from several American newspapers in an effort to have the misleading statements corrected. He got no satisfaction and felt it “a matter of doubt with me, whether seeing and hearing would furnish [the editor] with sufficient proof to induce him to publish anything in their favour.”[34] When they refused to publish a retraction, he took the matter to Mackenzie, who published both Russell’s defense and an article from the Cleveland Weekly Advertiser giving the facts.

Russell’s path likely crossed Mackenzie’s at Churchville, a settlement in Peel County, Ontario. A Methodist minister spoke of it once being a “stronghold of Mormonism” and described a “public disputation” he had there with Russell, who, he said, had been a “preacher or exhorter amongst the Methodists” before becoming a “Mormon missionary” and a “crazed fanatic.”[35] Mackenzie wrote of speaking at Churchville and of being attacked by a group of Orangemen armed with clubs, “more like devils than human beings,” until he was rescued by “a great body of defenceless unarmed reformers.”[36] He escaped to the home of Mr. Law, whose family members were Latter-day Saint converts. The town was obviously a stronghold of both Latter-day Saints and Reformers.

In the same report, Mackenzie asked if “the citizens [would] have to form, not only political unions but form armed associations for mutual self defence” and warned “Sir Francis . . . that an opinion is gaining ground that deeds are doing among us, which will have to be answered by an appeal to cold steel. At the eleventh hour, we honestly and earnestly advise him to try to remove the causes of difficulty.”[37]

Earlier that month, the Constitution had reported that “Mr. Smith, a famed chief of the new sect called Mormons, who have suffered much persecution in Missouri, and the great preacher, Mr. Rigdon are in town.”[38] Whether Mackenzie sympathized with Mormon doctrines or not, he could empathize with the persecution the sect suffered.

Other Toronto papers were not as tolerant. The Christian Guardian called the faith a “vile monster”[39] and referred to their members as “Joe Smith[‘s] . . . fanatic followers.”[40] Mackenzie’s tolerance didn’t apply to all, however. Referring to Egerton Ryerson, a Methodist supporter of the Family Compact, Mackenzie wrote, “The Americans have their Arnold and the Canadians have their Ryerson.”[41]

By early winter, Mackenzie’s pent-up frustration was fanned by vocal and discontented Reformers, and by reports of armed rebellion among the French in Lower Canada, and it erupted into violence. Expecting to provoke a general uprising, he led an uncoordinated and poorly planned attack on Toronto. The Reformers were routed by the city sheriff and a small group of guards. Mackenzie escaped with government troops on his trail. Supporters helped him cross the border four days later, where he was welcomed by American sympathizers. He continued to rebel against the Tory government and convinced American volunteers that they would be joined by a discontented populace when they attacked Canada. There were several skirmishes along the border and a multitude of plans for others before Mackenzie was arrested and jailed for violating American neutrality laws.[42] His years in the United States were difficult. After he was pardoned in 1840, he struggled to make a living and to provide for his large family, who had followed him into exile. While he was in jail, his ninety-year-old mother died, and he was not allowed to attend her funeral.[43] Several newspapers he had started failed. He was constantly the center of controversy, often over books that he wrote and also for a patronage appointment he received from President Tyler.[44] He worked as a reporter for Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, and years later he wrote, “I tested and proved the real worth of Mr. Greeley’s character—he was my friend when friends were few—when those for whose welfare I had sacrificed property and country and risked life and all its enjoyments, chose to forget that I was in existence.”[45]

While Mackenzie was in exile, he kept a remarkable filing system. Many of his personal papers from the period before the rebellion had been burned, so he started again, putting together 6,874 different files, each filled with handwritten notes, newspaper clippings, and pages removed from books. One of these files he titled “Mormonism. Joseph Smith, the Prophet.”[46] In the file are newspaper clippings that show that Mackenzie followed the fortunes of the Mormons until his death in 1861. Some of the articles have underlined passages or notes written on them.[47]

The Latter-day Saint converts in Upper Canada joined the body of the Saints in Ohio and Missouri by the 1840s. Other missionaries also led wagon trains of Saints through the Canadian wilderness to Zion. The number of converts in British North America is estimated at two thousand, but by 1851 the official census listed only 247.[48] Historian Richard E. Bennett states that “the overwhelming majority of Latter-day Saint converts were Methodists” and that “Mormonism made little headway among the Anglican and Loyalist populations.”[49]

Since many of the Toronto-area Mormons and the missionaries and leaders who converted them became prominent in the history of the Church, Mackenzie read about them in newspaper accounts. At the bottom of the clipping from the Nauvoo Neighbor containing Willard Richards’s June 27, 1844, account of the shooting of John Taylor and the deaths of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, Mackenzie wrote, “Murder of Joseph Smith of Nauvoo.”[50] There was no written comment on the article reporting the murder of Parley P. Pratt in 1857.[51]

The articles cover the cross-section of feelings that Mormonism engendered. Some were sympathetic: “A man of nearly sixty years of age, living about seven miles from this place, was taken from this house a few days since, stripped of his clothing, and his back cut to pieces with a whip, for no other reason than because he was a Mormon, and too old to make successful resistance. Conduct of this kind would disgrace a horde of savages.”[52] Others reflected an opposite view, as contained in this letter to the editor of the Tribune: “The religion or the irreligion of the Mormons was not the cause of their expulsion.—It was overt crime, and the open defiance of civil authority.”[53]

There are articles defending and explaining the doctrines of the faith, like one written by Joseph Smith at the request of John Wentworth, editor of the Chicago Democrat;[54] others by Orson Hyde;[55] interviews with Brigham Young by both Horace Greeley and Artemus Ward;[56] and exposes on polygamy.[57] Mackenzie kept articles noting the progress across the American frontier by the Mormon pioneers and the cities they left behind.[58] He described the Nauvoo Temple, which was destroyed by fire after the Mormon exodus: “Leaving the body of the building, you ascend to the bell room of the steeple, thence to the clock room, and last to the observatory. The immense structure is a chief d’oeuvre of architecture, and will rank in grandeur with the largest and most costly edifices of modern times.”[59]

When the Canadian government passed an amnesty act in 1849 for those who had been in the 1837 Rebellion, Mackenzie was free to return to Canada.[60] He moved back to Toronto in 1850 and over the next decade served in the provincial legislature for the Haldimand riding electoral district, once defeating Toronto Globe editor George Brown. Mackenzie started another newspaper, Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, and continued to bother government leaders, many of whom had been Reformers in the 1830s, for improvements. He was never content.

Yet he continued to report favorably on the Mormons. In the 1850s, polygamy was the big issue. Although there were diatribes on polygamy from other newspapers in his file, his own assessment was novel, to say the least: “What must be done with the Mormons? is a question to be asked. If they are allowed to settle their domestic institution for themselves, when the population is sufficiently large to demand admission as a State, and come in bringing their ‘peculiar institution’ with them, polygamy will be sanctioned by the Government of the United States, which will place it in a rather equivocal position before the civilized world. The Mormons are rapidly increasing, and Utah will soon be filled up.”[61]

After quoting the St. Louis Intelligencer, Mackenzie continued: “The Mormons are likely to bring the ‘popular sovereignty’ doctrine to a practical test very soon. They have now a population large enough to claim admission as a State. There can be no doubt that there is a large majority in favour of upholding Polygamy. If the inhabitants of the new States have a right as Democratic platforms say they have, to ‘regulate their own institutions without Congressional interference,’ then Congress can no more prohibit wives in Utah, than slaves in Kansas.”[62] The next week, as a follow-up, he copied a lighthearted article from the New York Herald suggesting that since an army was being sent to Salt Lake City to replace Brigham Young, it should be staffed with “defeated democrats” who were in “superabundance” after the last election.[63]

Mackenzie’s health began to fail in the late 1850s, and he no longer received the respect he once had in the legislature. When he resigned his seat in 1858, he despaired of ever seeing Canada follow his vision of government. Biographer Anthony Rasporich wrote that there was “a wildly millenial [sic] and biblical flavour to Mackenzie’s thought. . . . The uprising, as he saw it, would usher in the reign of the saints on earth,—’a government founded upon the heaven-born principle of Jesus Christ’ . . . where Mackenzie hoped ‘the lawgivers of Upper Canada will be found rejecting what is evil, and choosing what is good.’”[64]

The Mormon missionaries, who taught a new world order in preparation for Christ’s millennial reign, must have struck a responsive chord with Mackenzie. Although he never wrote his own thoughts on their doctrine, he treated Latter-day Saints with an interest and respect unique in the Upper Canada press of his time, and he gave the religion a sympathetic hearing in his papers. The harassment he suffered was mirrored in the persecution of the fledgling sect as they searched for a place to build their Zion, where there would be no “rich and poor, bond and free” and where every man would “deal justly one with another” (4 Nephi 1:3, 2). Mackenzie, too, yearned for such a state:

I would like to live long enough to see Canada happy, and deservedly so—her sons united as one man to promote the common welfare, her lovely daughters rearing a young race of manly, mild, yet temperate freemen, and teaching them to hate every form of government through which the human mind is enslaved or enshrouded in mental or moral darkness, her hills and valleys, her hospitable homesteads, towns and hamlets filled with tolerant, kindly citizens, each serving God as his conscience might dictate without the fear of persecution or the hope of recompense, and taking for his guide the Golden Rule. . . . To this millennial state of things the worn-out wandered that now addresses you can scarcely hope to reach, but surely the child is born among you who will see it. We live fast in these times and the ball is rolling in the true direction.[65]

Perhaps it was this common utopian dream that drew Mackenzie’s interest to Mormonism and that inspired him to go out of his way, to look beyond the negative rhetoric, and to offer his friendship.

Appendix: Contents of William Lyon Mackenzie’s File on Mormonism

Mackenzie/Lindsey Collection: MU 1872 # 3275

1. Correspondence of the New York Tribune; article on “New Organization of the Mormons with Emma Bidamon and her son, young Joe Smith”; “Young Joe Smith Becomes Prophet, Seer, and Revelator in Zion.”

2. “The Mormons,” reprint from the St. Louis Republican, May 16; article on a purported successor of Joseph Smith, James J. Strang; includes a letter to Saints in Hancock County, Illinois, from Strang, advising them to sell their lands and come to Voree, Wisconsin.

3. Orson Pratt, “An American Citizen’s Appeal in behalf of the long persecuted and exiled Mormons”; Pratt writes, “Shall eternal shame, infamy and disgrace be indelibly stamped upon the American character? Is the bright star of our country’s glory about to set in eternal darkness?”

4. E. J. McComb (once E. J. McLean), “The Murder of Parley Pratt, the Mormon Elder,” by McLean. “Statement of Mrs. M’Lean, the abducted woman—she exonerates the elder, and testifies against her husband—her elegy on her seducer—she refuses to join her husband”; reprint of a letter originally published in Van Buren Intelligencer, Van Buren, [Ark.], May 18, 1857.

5. Letter by Governor Thomas Ford, Nauvoo, October 31, 1846, to the St. Louis Republican.

6. “The Mormons,” an article on a lecture given in New York on “The Mormons and Their Leader,” by Josiah Quincy Jr. of Boston.

7. “‘Mormon Marriages’: Extracts from Brigham Young’s Speeches,” reprint from the Deseret News, December 30.

8. “Mormon Marriage,” The Seer; a continued exposition of celestial marriage.

9. “Mormon Enormities—The Rules of Mormon Marriage,” reprint from The Seer.

10. 1860 article; not related to Mormons.

11. “The Mormons. Progress and Policy of the Latter-day Saints. Lecture by Elder Orson Hyde, Tabernacle, October 6, 1854, 6 p.m.” New York Herald, Wednesday, February 14, 1855; reprint from the Deseret News, October 19, 26.

12. “Effect of Persecution—Deserted Temple in the West—A Lesson”; article on a visit to Nauvoo, the temple, and a visit with Emma, widow of Joe Smith.

13. “Nauvoo Temple”; gives description.

14. “The Mormon Temple and Its Builders,” reprint from the Boston Transcript.

15. “Pictures of Mormon Life,” reprint from the New York Sun; discusses polygamy.

16. “Utah Territory and Its Laws. Polygamy and Its License. Speech of the Hon. J. S. Morrill of Vermont, in the House of Representatives, Feb. 23, 1857.”

17. “Effects of Mormon Polygamy,” reprint from the London Chronicle, November 23.

18. H. G., “Polygamy,” New York Daily Tribune.

19. “Polygamy in Utah,” May 15, 1859; “N.Y. Herald” is written in ink at the bottom of this article.

20. “Utah. Judicial Charge Against Polygamy—The United States Laws to Be Enforced Against It.”

21. “Mormon Rascalites. Speech by Judge John Cradlebaugh, Judge of U.S. Delivered at Circleville, O”; an article “showing up Mormonism and Democracy in a most abhorrent light”; the date March 1860 is handwritten on the article.

22. “Nauvoo desolate, Mor[m]ons in a pitiable condition,” correspondence of the St. Louis Republican, Warsaw, IL, September 29, 1846.

23. “Nauvoo”; a “description of the public buildings of Nauvoo,” taken from the Hancock [Ill.] Eagle.

24. W. B. Warren, Major Com’g Ill. Vol., “Threatened Outbreak at Nauvoo,” unidentified newspaper, New York, Monday, May 25, 184[?].

25. “The Mormon Battles,” reprint from St. Louis Reveille; an article describing Nauvoo’s “last battle.”

26. Orson Hyde, “Letter from Nauvoo—Course of the Mormons. Correspondence of The Tribune”; written from Nauvoo, January 14, 1846.

27. Report from Quincy, June 29, 1844, signed by Thomas Ford, Governor and Commander in Chief.

28. Charles Laman [sic], “The City of Nauvoo”; extract from Charles Lanman, A Summer in the Wilderness (New York: Appleton, 1847).

29. “More of the Mormons,” reprint from the St. Louis Era and St. Louis Democrat; articles that describe the murder of Joseph Smith when under protection of government.

30. A clip from an article containing a few lines about Nauvoo Expositor; the city marshall burned the press; materials and papers were scattered in the street.

31. William [sic] Richards, “2 Minutes in Jail,” reprint from the Nauvoo Neighbor, Carthage, June 27, 1844; with notation by Mackenzie, “Murder of Joseph Smith of Nauvoo”; author’s name should be Willard Richards.

32. Joseph Smith, “The Origin of Mormonism. By the Great Mormon Prophet.” Smith indicates that this sketch was written “at the request of Mr. John Wentworth,” editor and proprietor of the Chicago Democrat.

33. Letter from an “Illinoisian,” Quincy, March 8, 1845; this letter explains that the reason for Mormon persecution was to give Whigs a majority in the county.

34. “Further from the Mormons,” reprint from the St. Louis Era, June 29, and Quincy Whig Extra, June 28; on murder of unarmed prisoners.

35. “Trial of Joe Smith at Springfield,” Ottawa Free Trader.

36. “Mormonism. The State and Prospects of Utah From The Seer. Second Epistle of Orson Pratt to the Saints scattered throughout the United States and British Provinces. Washington, D. C. October 1, 1853,” reprint from New York Daily Tribune, October 6, 1853.

37. “The Mormons,” reprint from the St. Louis Republican; gives a description of the western trek of pioneers, Mt. Pisgah.

38. From The Journal of Commerce, Friday, September 29, number 5862; editorial against mob violence, urging Governor Ford to deal with Mormons legally.

39. Samuel Raymond, [Letter], reprint from the Hamptsead (L.I.) Inquirer of January 13; letter describing Mormon camp at Council Bluffs.

40. “Eternal Shame to Illinois,” Tribune, November 19; letter to the editor, signed “An Innocent Sufferer,” describing crimes of the Mormons; includes comments by the editor.

41. “The Mormons—Their Persecutions, Sufferings and Destitution”; a letter to Horace Greeley, Esq., written from Fort Leavenworth, Upper Missouri, November 20, 1846, defending the Mormons and Mormon Battalion and citing a U.S. Gazette letter from Far West.

42. Description of three hundred Mormons living on Beaver Island.

43. “The Mormons,” correspondence of the Rochester Daily Democrat, July 8, 1846; reprint from Wisconsin describing the history of Strang, his belief and becoming prophet.

44. Brigham Young, “Governors Message,” Kingston, May 1852, quoting New York Herald, February 8, 1852, quoting Deseret News; letter from “Great Salt Lake, U.T.”

45. Book review of Lieut. J. W. Gunnison, The Mormons: Or Latter-day Saints in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake; reprint from New York Semi Weekly Tribune, August 24.

46. From the Frontier Guardian; a summary of the affairs of the Mormons in the Great Salt Lake Valley.

47. “The Mormons,” St. Louis Republican, October 20; instructions given at October 5–8 General Conference, City of Joseph (Nauvoo, Illinois), to dispose of properties and prepare to move west.

48. October 4, 1851; article listing laws with ordinance incorporating church and a scathing rebuke of “abominable practices.”

49. “Brigham Young on Women.”

50. “Brigham Young on Women.”

51. “Artemus Ward Visits Brigham Young.”

52. “Brigham Young’s Religion, Wealth, Wives, Etc.,” Harper’s Weekly, September 3, 1859; an interview between Brigham Young and Horace Greeley, the editor of the New York Tribune; includes a half-page engraving of Young and Greeley in Salt Lake City.


[1] William Kilbourn, The Firebrand: William Lyon Mackenzie and the Rebellion in Upper Canada (London: Jonathan Cape, 1956), 254.

[2] Rick Salutin, 1837: William Lyon Mackenzie and the Canadian Revolution (Toronto: James Lorimer, 1976), 180.

[3] Kilbourn, Firebrand, 12.

[4] Frederick H. Armstrong and Ronald J. Stagg, “Mackenzie, William Lyon,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, ed. Jean Hamelin and others (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976), 9:496–97.

[5] Lillian F. Gates, After the Rebellion: The Later Years of William Lyon Mackenzie (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1988), 14.

[6] Charles Lindsey, The Life and Times of Wm. Lyon Mackenzie (Toronto: P. R. Randall, 1862), 1:99.

[7] Gates, After the Rebellion, 326.

[8] Armstrong and Stagg, “Mackenzie,” 9:498.

[9] Francis B. Head, A Narrative, 2nd ed. (London: John Murray, 1839), 18–21.

[10] Armstrong and Stagg, “Mackenzie,” 9:501.

[11] Head, A Narrative, 3.

[12] Head, A Narrative, 34–35.

[13] Lindsey, Life and Times, 1:35.

[14] William L. Mackenzie, The Constitution, August 16, 1837, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[15] B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1963), 30.

[16] Parley P. Pratt, Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt, 3rd ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938), 130–39.

[17] Pratt, Autobiography, 152.

[18] Pratt, Autobiography, 151–52.

[19] Fred Landon, Western Ontario and the American Frontier (Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1941), 125–26; see also Richard E. Bennett, “‘Plucking Not Planting’: Mormonism in Eastern Canada 1830–1850,” in The Mormon Presence in Canada, ed. Brigham Y. Card and others (Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 1990), 25.

[20] Head, A Narrative, 105; emphasis in original.

[21] Head, A Narrative, 109.

[22] Head, A Narrative, 110.

[23] Lindsey, Life and Times, 1:382.

[24] Head, A Narrative, 113–14.

[25] There is no record of a Sun in Canada in 1836. It could be the New York Weekly Sun.

[26] The Constitution, August 31, 1836, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[27] Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, October 13, 1853, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[28] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, Public Archives of Ontario, File 2068.

[29] “The Misteries of the Bible,” letter to the Editor, Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, Toronto, January 24, 1854.

[30] “The Misteries of the Bible” (Mackenzie’s comments at end of above letter).

[31] Pratt, Autobiography, 164.

[32] The Constituion, September 21, 1836, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[33] Edwin Brown Firmage and Richard Collin Mangrum, Zion in the Courts: A Legal History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1830–1900 (Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 55.

[34] Isaac Russell’s letter, The Constitution, March 29, 1837, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[35] Christian Examiner 11 (December 1838): 355.

[36] The Constitution, August 16, 1837, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[37] The Constitution, August 16, 1837.

[38] The Constitution, August 2, 1837.

[39] Christian Guardian, December 20, 1837, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[40] Christian Guardian, December 12, 1838.

[41] Colonial Advocate, October 30, 1833, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[42] Armstrong and Stagg, “Mackenzie,” 9:502–4.

[43] Lindsey, Life and Times, 2:260–2.

[44] Gates, After the Rebellion, 108–11, 120–25.

[45] Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, January 12, 1855, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[46] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, Public Archives of Ontario, File 3275.

[47] Complete contents of this file are itemized in the Appendix.

[48] Bennett, “Plucking Not Planting,” 28–30.

[49] Bennett, “Plucking Not Planting,” 30–31.

[50] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275 on “Mormonism. Joseph Smith, the Prophet,” no. 31.

[51] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, no. 4.

[52] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, no. 24; emphasis added by Mackenzie.

[53] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, no. 40; emphasis added by Mackenzie.

[54] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, no. 32.

[55] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, nos. 11, 26.

[56] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, nos. 52, 51.

[57] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, nos. 8, 19.

[58] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, nos. 37, 22.

[59] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, no. 13.

[60] Mackenzie-Lindsey Collection, File 3275, no. 4.

[61] Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, November 3, 1854, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[62] Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, November 3, 1854, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[63] Mackenzie’s Weekly Message, November 10, 1854, microfilm, Public Archives of Ontario, Toronto.

[64] Mackenzie, The Constitution, August 17, 1836, quoted in Anthony W. Rasporich, William Lyon Mackenzie (Toronto: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston of Canada, 1972), 8.

[65] Letter dated “Washington, 1850,” over Mackenzie’s signature, in The Examiner (J. E. Lesslie’s Toronto Examiner), quoted in Jesse Edgar Middleton, The Municipality of Toronto: A History (Toronto: Dominion Publishing, 1923), 1:244.