Imágenes de páginas
PDF

ty with true contrition. At his urgent solicitation he was baptized, June 26th, 1763. He received the christian name of John, and his whole demeanor bespoke the regeneration of his heart.— Another Indian, who had formerly been Papunhank's opponent, was baptized after him, and called Peter This man seemed at a loss how to express his joy and said: "that now his heart was easy, and freed from a burden which but lately appeared unsupportable to him."—When the war broke out, John Papunhank came with 21 Indians to Bethlehem to seek protection, and followed from thence his christian brethren to Philadelphia.

Once more at liberty, they all bent their steps to the distant Indian village, where the old huts are still standing, and where they hoped to be far removed from the influence of the whites. David Zeisberger, accompanied them, and was henceforth their faithful guide and firm friend among all the hardships and difficulties, to which they were exposed in their many weary wanderings. After five weeks of great fatigue, Wyalusing was reached at last. Devoting themselves anew to Him who had given them rest for the soles of their feet, they began their labors with renewed courage, and built a regular settlement a few miles below Wyalusing, which they called Friedenshuetten. (tents of peace).

This station continued to prosper for several years until 1772. Meanwhile the persevering Zeisberger had several times threaded the wilderness to the waters of the Allegheny and Ohio to proclaim to the benighted heathen the glad tidings of salvation. In 1767 he made his first visit in Goshgoshunk, (Cush-cush) a Delaware village on the left bank on the Allegheny—now Venango county—where probably no white men had been before; and commenced a mission. Subsequently when hostilities commenced betreen Suncas and Cherokees, the congregation collected in these parts set out in sixteen canoes and passing down the river past Pittsburg to the mouth of Beaver creek and thence to the interior—now Beaver County—a new station was established in 1770, Snd called Friedenstadt (Town of Peace.)

Thus Friedenshuetten on the Susquehanna and Fridenstadt on the Beaver Creek was for a time the favorite spot where the*light of true Christianity might shine, while all around was yet heathen darkness. In the latter place even one of the Delaware chiefs, Glikkikan, relinquished the honors of his station to come and dwell among the people of God. But already new troubles were at hand, which at last forced all the Christian Indians to retire from the Pennsylvania soil.

The land on which Friedenshuetten was originally built, belonged to the Iroquois or Six Nations, who had made a full and unconditional grant to the Christian Indians. Regardless of this act they sold this land by the treaty of 1768 "from under their feet" to the English, and though the Governor of Pennslvaniay promised them protection, it soon became evident that the white people, who coveted their well improved fields, would give them no rest until they had again removed further westward. In 1770 br. Zeisberger became acquainted with Nctawatwes, the principal chief of the Delawares in the west, who offered a tract of land on the MuskingumTuscarawas county, Ohio, to the Christian Indians, assuring them, that it would never be sold from under their feet to the white people. The offer was accepted, and Zeisberger went himself in April 1772 with five Indian families to make the needful preparations. The land selected possessed many attractions, which are beautifully described in the following lines:

Away in the forest, how fair to the sight,
Was the clear placid lake, as it sparkled in light,
And kiss'd with low murmur the green shady shore,
Whence a tribe had departed, whose traces it bore;
Where the lone Indian hasten'd, and wond'ring, hush'd
His awe, as he trod o'er their mould'ring dust.

How bright were the waters—how cheerful the song
Which the woodbird was cheruping all the day long:
And how welcome the refuge these solitudes gave
To the pilgrim, who toil'd over mountain and wave.
Here they rested—here gush'd forth, salvation to bring,
The fount of the cross by the "Beautiful Spring."

Schoenbrunn was the name which Zeisberger gave to this his favorite spot; on which he received, in August, the weary wanderers from Friedenshuetten, 241 in number, who had been accompanied thither by br. Ettwein from Bethlehem. Some time after a great part of the congregation of Friedenstadt also went to the Muskingum, led by br. Heckewelder, and built a settlement about ten miles below Schoenbrunn, which they called Gnadenhuetten.

After a while a third settlement was commenced at Lichtenau, and when in 1780 northern warriors began to molest its peaceful inhabitants, they were quickly resolved, left their beautiful little town, and built another village, Salem, nearer to the former sta^ tions.

The mission on the Muskingum was both internally and externally, as far as man can judge, at the height of its prosperity.— The congregations, far removed from the turmoil of the world, had rest, and prospered greatly. The gospel showed its divine powerin the hearts both of visiting heathen, of whom many were added to the church of God,—and of the members of the church, whose growth in the love and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ gave their faithful teachers abundant cause for gratitude and joy.

But whilst they rejoiced in the Lord, the powers of darkness, were at work; the arrow was being prepared already, which waa to pierce the hearts of these men of peace and their confiding Indian disciples.

Suddenly, on August 10th, 1781, three hundred Wyandot warriors appeared, accompanied by a British officer, and displaying the British colors. They had been sent by the British governor at Fort Detroit, with the order to destroy the Indian villages, and take the missionaries prisoners on the mere suspicion, that they were set as spies to carry on a correspondence prejudicial to the British interest. Zeisberger's and Heckewelder's correspondence with Bishop Ettwein on the religious state of this Indian congregation prejudicial to the British interest ! what an absurdity ! even the heathen half king of the Hurons, the leader of the Wyandot warriors, was soon convinced, that the British governor of Detroit need not apprehend any danger from these men, and that the Christian Indians spoke the honest truth, saying: "We keep peace with all men, and have nothing to do with the war." But the iniquitous counsel of the British officer and the love of plunder prevailed at last. The missionaries, sixteen in number, of whom four were married, were taken prisoners, their houses pillaged, and the Christian Indians commanded to follow them. On the 11th of September this persecuted band of Christian emigrants turned their backs upon their loved homes, to return to them no more. It was a mournful hour. Never did the Christian Indians leave a country with more regret; never did they leave more beautiful settlements. The bare pecuniary loss has been computed at nearly $10,000. They had to leave many of their young cattle, that Were running loose in the woods, with 400 hogs and above 300 acres of corn land, where the harvest was just ripening; all for a mere suspicion of a British officer!

But what gave them most pain, was the total loss of all books and writings, compiled with great trouble, for the instruction of their Indian youth, which were all burned by the savages. Added to this, they had nothing before them but distress, misery and danger. However they could do nothing but possess their souls in patience and go forward even whither they would not. But God was with them, and the powerful sensation and experience they had of his presence, supported their courage.

A troop of savages, commanded by a British captain, escorted them, enclosing them at the distance of some miles on all sides. Thus they travelled on day by day, suffering many hardships, till October 11th, when at last Sandmky Creek was reached and their escort left them—left them in a wilderness where there was neither game nor any other provisions.

After a while the missionaries were ordered to make their ap* pearance at -Detroit before the British governor to answer concerning the complaints made against them. As might be expected, their innocence soon became manifest, and they were honorably acquitted. But the injury done to them and their suffering congregations by the connivance of an officer of the British crown could not be undone so soon, and full ten years elapsed, before the British government took energetic measures for the protection and support of these poor fugitives.

For the present still greater sufferings,—still more appaling trials were in store for these peaceful followers of the Lamb. The fire of affliction was as it were to be heated sevenfold. The winter of 1782 was uncommonly severe, the cold became so intense that the nights were almost insupportable. Provisions were not to be had even for money, and famine soon spread among them. Was it to be wondered at, that they thought of their 300 acres of ripe corn, which they had been obliged to leave on the Muskingum? Was it not quite natural, that a party should start, to fetch a part at least of that which rightly belonged to them? And when a company of Americans, about 160 men, met them and told them they would take them to Pittsburg, where they would be out of the way of any assault made by the English or the savages, why should they harbor any suspicion, knowing that the governor of Pittsburg was their friend?

Alas, alas ! for treachery!

The boasting white man came
With weapons of destruction,

The sword and lurid flame;
And when the poor defenceless ones

Together bow'd in prayer,
Unpitying they smote them

While kneeling meekly there.

The cry of slaughtered innocence

Went loudly up to heaven:
And can ye hope, ye murdering bands,

Ever to be forgiven?
We know not;—yet we raise for you

The latest lingering prayer
That trembled on your victims lips,

Was, "God forgive and spare!"

This massacre took place at Gnadenhuetten. (Ohio.)

The record of this atrocious deed is on high, March 8th 1782. '—Ninety-six persons magnified the name of the Lord, by patiently meeting a most cruel death. According to the testimony of the murderers themselves they behaved .'with uncommon patience, and went to meet death with cheerful resignation. Besides Isaac Glikhikan there were four other valuable native assistants'in this martyr band, of which sixty-two were grown person*, men and women. and thirty-four children. Only two lads escaped to bring the dreadful tidings. Those who were gathering corn in the vicinity of Schoenbrunn providentially escaped, but when they at length reached Sandusky in a far more deplorable condition than when they had set out for the Muskingum, they found their beloved teachers ready to start for Detroit, whither they had been ordered by the British governor.

[graphic]

Our hearts bleed when contemplating the misery and hardships of these simple minded Christians. Betrayed, scorned, forsaken, they dispersed at last in different directions, and this mission seemed at an end. But even in this darkest hour the Lord had not entirely forsaken them, and before long a gracious providence was discernible in this last afflicting event. The same gang of murderers, who had committed the massacre on the Muskingum, marched in May to Sandusky, to destroy the remnant of the congregation—but they found nothing but empty huts. A few days afterwards they were attacked by a party of English and Indian warriors, and the greater part of them cut to pieces.

Meanwhile the missionaries hoped against hope, and at last succeeded in collecting a part of their flock in the Chippeway land beyond Lake St. Clair, now Michigan—where New Gnadenhuetten was established and with difficulty maintained for four years.

Ever desirous to return to their fair lands at the Muskingum where congress (in 1787) had reserved 12,000 acres for their use —the small remnant of only 117 Christian Indians left New Gnadenhuetten in April 1786, and crossing Lake Erie they for a time remained on the Cayuhoga where they called their encampment Pilgerruh. But the weary pilgrims found no rest for the present on American soil. Driven about from place to place, they at last sought refuge on British ground. (1791.)

In the following year a tract of land on the river Thames— Canada—was assigned to them, and in May 1792 Fairfield was laid out.

(To be continued.)

OFFICIAL VISITATIONS.

On Sunday the 3d of Oct at 7 P. M. the ordination of brother Leonhard Rau as a Deacon of the Brethren's Church was performed at Bethlehem, by Bishop J. C. Jacobson in the presence of a numerous assemblage of brethren and sisters and friends.

Br. Rau has been appointed by the Home Mission Board and confirmed by the P. E. C. as a Home missionary at New Haven, Connecticut, and departed on the Wednesday following for his new station. He is a native of Switzerland. Already in his early

« AnteriorContinuar »