A Defense of the Saints (3)

[Dan Jones.]

Amddiffyniad y Saint; sef, gwrth-brofion o gam-gyhuddiadau maleis-ddrwg dyn o'r enw Rees Davies, o New Orleans, yn erbyn y Saint.

(A defense of the Saints; refutations of the false and malicious accusations of a man by the name of Rees Davies, from New Orleans, against the Saints.)

Swansea: Printed and published by D. Jones, [1854?].

12 pp. 17.3 cm.

Among the Mormons on board the Golconda when it set sail from Liverpool on 4 February 1854 were two individuals pertinent to this discussion--young Margaret Williams from Aberystwyth and 84-year-old Esther Jones from Llanarth, Cardiganshire.
Shortly after the ship landed at New Orleans on 18 March 1854, Rees Davies, a resident of New Orleans from Wales, went on board. A week later on 26 March he wrote to his parents in Wales, making the following claims:
1. While crossing the sea, the Mormons marry young girls to the oldest men; if the girl is not willing, two elders take hold of her and put her in bed with the one who loves her the most and say, "Now is their love joined together."
2. Many of the girls run away upon reaching New Orleans, but if the leaders know of their plans they tie them up until after they continue their voyage.
3. A young girl from Aberystwyth asked him (Rees Davies) to help her get away from the Mormons; he obliged by taking her to a Mrs. Hughes as her servant girl. When he went back to the Golconda to retrieve her clothes, the Mormons were ready to kill him. William Phillips refused to give him the clothes. Davies felt like drowning "the old _________."
4. Esther [Jones] sent her best wishes to Davies's grandmother in Wales and expressed a desire to turn back had it been possible.
Davies's letter was printed in the 3 August 1854 Gwron Cymreig (Welsh Hero), a widely circulated newspaper in Wales. In the same issue was a follow-up letter from Davies, dated 20 June 1854, along with some introductory comments by the editor. In his second letter, Davies made the following claims:
1. He showed a letter from his father to Margaret Williams, the young girl from Aberystwyth.
2. Margaret requested Davies to write to her mother and tell her that she (Margaret) was very sorry that she had followed William Phillips's counsel instead of her mother's.
3. The Mormons on board the Golconda tied Margaret to her bed to prevent her from going with Davies.
4. Later, as Margaret was leaving with Davies, there were three other girls who also wished to run away, but the Mormons caught them and tied up their hands and feet.
In his refutation of Davies's claims, Dan Jones appeals to the common sense of his readers and states that he knew such actions would not be allowed among the men of good standing on board the ship, many of whom Jones had known for years. He also quotes a letter from Thomas Morris, another passenger on the Golconda, that had been written to a friend in Wales; in that letter, Morris states that Margaret Williams had stayed in St. Louis, a thousand miles upriver from New Orleans. This had to be the same Margaret of the Davies letters, explains Jones, since there was only one Margaret from Aberystwyth on board; consequently, Davies could not have shown his father's letter to her, as claimed, since she was no longer in New Orleans at the time the letter reached him.
Jones uses the last two pages of his pamphlet to quote in its entirety a letter from Margaret Williams to her mother. The fact that she had written her own letter, Jones points out, indicates that she did not need Davies to write for her, as Davies had claimed. The letter is dated 17 March 1854 "on board the ship Golconda" but was finished after landing at New Orleans. In the letter, Margaret bears testimony of Mormonism and encourages her mother to join the true Church and leave "Babylon" to join her in "Zion." She gives a few details about the journey and mentions that Esther Jones, who is "hale and hearty," wishes Margaret's mother were there with her in New Orleans, thus countering the claim made by Davies that Esther wanted to return to Wales.
Jones concludes that Davies is a liar purposely denigrating Mormons and encourages his readers to reach the same conclusion.
It is strange that no mention is made of Amddiffyniad in Udgorn Seion. That the pamphlet was printed in Swansea would put the publication date at September 1854 or afterwards, since the entire printing operation was transferred from Merthyr Tydfil to Swansea in late August or early September 1854. And because Jones normally responded posthaste to such charges as those made by Rees Davies, one would expect Amddiffyniad to have been available by September or October 1854.


Flake no. 9879



Jones, Dan


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