Letter from Francis M. Higbee, 10 January 1844

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Jany 10. /44
Mr. J. Smith;
Sir
The inconsiderate, the unwarented, and unheard of Attack you made upon my character on the 6th instant before the City Council, impels me to demand an investigation of you, and that without delay before the eclesiastical powers. For if I am guilty, of either of those charges, omitting the guilt of the whole, I most unquestionably am not worthy a name among a people making as great professions as do the people called mormons. It is said I seeke the hours of the midnight assassin to seize my victim, when no one is near to bear witness of the crime or attest the unhollowed deed; that I sympathize with the afflicted and oppressed, that I may devour their vitals; And that I seek the mantle of religion to envelop my Scorpian body, that I may the better practice my nefarius designs;— Then sir, if I am acting in this sphere, am I not acting in the sphere of a hypocrite, and am I not a darke body suffered a place on the <​fair​> escutcheon of our Religion? In deciding this question, or let us not sever the moorings of Christianity, and plunge into the mad sea of revenge? persuade the mariner to sell his compass? or Washington his sword; persuade an inteligent man to pluck out his eyes, to enjoy the unmitigated horrors of blindness? Truth is our compass on the stormy Sea of life; before which wealth, power, authority, talent and genious tremble, as did Felix on his thrown; when Heaven and Earth shall pass away, Truth shall arise like the angel on Manoah’s Sacrifice, upon the flame of Natures funeral pyre, and ascend to her source, her heaven and her home, the bosom of the Holy, and eternal God.
Sir any man so base, so lost to evry principle of honor and virtue, So unmindful of the obligations he is under <​owes​> to his fellow man; And So forgetful of those he is under to his God, as to wrap himself in the habiliments of religion and under the garb of Christianity perpetrate the crimes which you have allidged to me, deserves to die if ever man merited death.
I want you to thouroughly understand, I look upon that Species of crime, as the greatest, the most distructive to human happiness, and the most fatal to all earthly enjoyment. The history of the dark ages warrants me in the assertion, during the days when the “end was thought to Justify the means” when patents of absolution were granted; during the days of Leo X. and Tetzel, Christianity and virtue are emblimatical of that noble independence which always characterizes a man of God.— That man who posesses those envied charms, can Shroud himself in a good conscience [p. [1]]
Jany 10. /44
Mr. J. Smith;
Sir
The inconsiderate, the unwarented, and unheard of Attack you made upon my character on the 6th instant before the City Council, impels me to demand an investigation of you, and that without delay before the eclesiastical powers. For if I am guilty, of either of those charges, omitting the guilt of the whole, I most unquestionably am not worthy a name among a people making as great professions as do the people called mormons. It is said I seeke the hours of the midnight assassin to seize my victim, when no one is near to bear witness of the crime or attest the unhollowed deed; that I sympathize with the afflicted and oppressed, that I may devour their vitals; that I seek the mantle of religion to envelop my Scorpian body, that I may the better practice my nefarius designs;— Then sir, if I am acting in this sphere, am I not acting in the sphere of a hypocrite, and am I not a darke body suffered a place on the fair escutcheon of our Religion? In deciding this question, let us not sever the moorings of Christianity, and plunge into the mad sea of revenge? persuade the mariner to sell his compass? or Washington his sword; persuade an inteligent man to pluck out his eyes, to enjoy the unmitigated horrors of blindness? Truth is our compass on the stormy Sea of life; before which wealth, power, authority, talent and genious tremble, as did Felix on his thrown; when Heaven and Earth shall pass away, Truth shall arise like the angel on Manoah’s Sacrifice, upon the flame of Natures funeral pyre, and ascend to her source, her heaven and her home, the bosom of the Holy, and eternal God.
Sir any man so base, so lost to evry principle of honor and virtue, So unmindful of the obligations he owes to his fellow man; And So forgetful of those he is under to his God, as to wrap himself in the habiliments of religion and under the garb of Christianity perpetrate the crimes which you have allidged to me, deserves to die if ever man merited death.
I want you to thouroughly understand, I look upon that Species of crime, as the greatest, the most distructive to human happiness, and the most fatal to all earthly enjoyment. The history of the dark ages warrants me in the assertion, during the days when the “end was thought to Justify the means” when patents of absolution were granted; during the days of Leo X. and Tetzel, Christianity and virtue are emblimatical of that noble independence which always characterizes a man of God.— That man who posesses those envied charms, can Shroud himself in a good conscience [p. [1]]
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