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It was on a bleak November,   And the scandal, I remember,
Tickled all the Mormon people  To their Polygamic core . . .


[CARMAN, William Cooper]  . . . THE NEW RAVEN.   ADAM AND THE DEVIL. [caption title; at head: {TRUTH SEEKER TRACTS.   NO. 94.}]

IN:  TRUTH SEEKER TRACTS  Upon a Variety of Subjects, by Different Authors. Volume IV. New York: D. M. Bennett, Liberal and Scientific Publishing House, 141 Eighth Street, 1877.



16½ cm. Various paginations. Original green blind-stamped cloth; gilt-lettered spine. Medium wear. Text uniformly toning but clean and not brittle.

**SOLD**   $ 375

NOT IN FLAKE. Flake [1197] describes a scarce volume of Rattling, Roaring Rhymes on Mormon Utah and Her Institutions . . . credited like the present tract to "Will Cooper" (Chicago, 1874), but locating only the copies at Princeton and the Library of Congress.



This is a volume of various freethought tracts, numbered 78-104 + Scientific Series 9-10, attacking religious dogma and extremes. "They were mostly transferred," explains Bennett in his Preface,

from the columns of the THE [sic] TRUTH SEEKER, and made up for separate distribution, without particular care or arrangement.
  They were not written with the expectation of appearing in book form, and it is hoped the reader will make due allowance for imperfections of style and language. [p. (3)]


"The Theory of Evolution" by Prof. Thomas H. HUXLEY, fifty-six pages, is probably the most notable contribution among the various tracts, but there is also one by R[obert]. G. INGERSOLL, "The Old and The New," a tract of sixteen pages. It is clear from the page layout of this volume that these are not the original, separately-published tracts gathered for binding, but a reprinting of the texts, flowing from one page gathering to the next while retaining their individual paginations and occasional ads for the series.



THE TRACT OF MORMON INTEREST, No. 94, is a parody of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven," credited in the table of contents to "Will Cooper," i.e., William Cooper Carman. It is directed against the presumed hypocrisy of Rev. Henry Ward Beecher's adultery with Mrs. Tilton. The Tilton-Beecher lawsuit drew national attention during 1874-5. The irony of its contrast with aspersions frequently cast upon the Mormons was not lost upon a large segment of the American public and its humorists.

In the 32-page text of THE NEW RAVEN. ADAM AND THE DEVIL, only the first two pages transpire among the Mormons. They are good, however, and Mr. Carman honors the much-maligned Mormons by setting "Canto I" in the city of the Saints. The references to social/sexual theorist and reformer Victoria Woodhull will amuse specialist historians. Here is the Mormon portion in its entirety . . .




        THE NEW RAVEN.


                   CANTO I.


Once upon an autumn dreary,
While I wandered, weak and weary,
Up and down the lofty mountains
Of great Salt Lake's desert shore;
While I halted in fatigue–um,
In the kingdom of old Brigham,
Suddenly, from New York city,
Came a great Woodhullian roar.
While I halted, merely stopping,
Furiously there came a popping,
As poor Beecher got a whopping
From the Woodhull-Claflin corps–
     Nothing less and nothing more.


It was on a bleak November,
And the scandal, I remember,
Tickled all the Mormon people
To their Polygamic core:
"There's your model Christian teacher,
Reverend Henry W. Beecher,
Who has went and gone and done it,
As was never done before;
There's your boasted gentile preacher:
[p. 2:]
There's your bloody Kansas screecher;
Is he better than our Brigham
Whom ye gentiles love to score?"
     Nothing less, and nothing more.


As I listened to their talking,
I got tired of their mocking,
And in genuine orthodoxy–
Old St. Peter like, I swore:
"Sirs," said I, "or madams, truly,
You are getting quite unruly!
Beg your pardon! in this matter
Your attention I implore.
In the Bible–Mormon manner–
And that kind or sort of glamour,
Wasn't all the saints such fellows
In the ancient days of yore?"
     Nothing less, and nothing more.


Back in ancient history running,
Half-way serious, half-way funning,
Long I talked there with the Mormons,
As I never did before.
There was poor old Father Adam,
With his Eve, like Tilton's madam,
Not content with home nest-hiding,
To the Devil went for more.
In his sweet and priestly chidings,
And his tree of knowledge tidings,
Swallowed all the fruit he gave her,
And to Adam gave the core–
     Nothing less, and nothing more. . . .


I have not seen this before; certainly don't expect to see it again!


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