Old News Stories
Missionaries Being Persecuted, 1831
From The Frederick Town Herald
Sept. 24, 1831
PERSECUTION OF THE INDIAN MISSIONARIES
Those who feel an interest in knowing what treatment the missionaries receive at the hands of the Georgia Guard, to whose tender mercies they have been abandoned by the National government, are referred to the following article. With the writer, Mr. Worcester, we once had some personal acquaintance. He is a gentleman of education, talents, and private worth. He would fill any of our pulpits with general acceptance to the people. We learn from the Cherokee Phoenix, that after giving bail for his appearance in court, he has returned again to the Cherokee nation. On the 28th July he was at New Echota.
N. Y. Jour. Commerce.
From The Cherokee Phoenix
We present to our readers this week a particular statement relating to the imprisonment and treatment of the Missionaries. We hope every citizen of Georgia, who may see this statement will attentively consider the measures which the state has thought proper, in its sovereign pleasure to pursue. It becomes, also, the people of the United States to bear in mind that this is the "humane policy" of the general government, and these the measures which the present administration is now openly abetting.
TO THE EDITOR.
Jail at Camp Gihner, July 11.
dear sir:—Transactions of a public nature may be publicly stated. If you esteem the facts contained in this communication as worthy of publication, it is at your disposal.
You already know that I was arrested last Thursday evening by a small detachment of the Georgia Guard, under command of sergeant Brooks. He inquired the state of my family, and, when informed that Mrs. Worcester was still confined to her bed, expressed regret that col. Nelson was not present, to whom, he said, he was under orders to bring me, at Mr. Hick's ten miles distant. When I solicited the privilege of remaining with my family till morning, he complied, leaving two men to guard me. Through kindness I was exempted from a close watch during the night, as I slept in my own room below, and my guard in another above stairs.
In the morning we joined Mr. Brooks at Mr. Tarvin's and rode to Mr. Hick's where col. Nelson with others of the guard, was waiting our arrival. I requested Sergeant Brooks to mention to col. Nelson the state of my family, which he promised to do. Whether he fulfilled his promise I do not know, but I am certain he had not spoken to col. Nelson, when Mr. Thompson inquired of him whether 1 was going on to head quarters, and he answered, yes. Perceiving that the matter was decided; I said no more. After eating, I was ordered behind the baggage wagon. Thus far I had received none but kind treatment nor heard an improper word from either of the guard, except that Mr. Brooks indulged his propensity to profaneness. We had proceeded from Mr. Hicks about three miles, when we met the Rev. Mr. McLeod, superintendent of the Methodist mission and the Rev, Mr. Wells, teacher of the school at Chattoogy. At the request of Mr. Trott, and by permission of col. Nelson, they rode on some distance in our company. In the course of conversation Mr. McLeod inquired of Trott whether he had been chained the prececding night. Mr. Trott answered, yes. Mr. McLeod then asked if it was according to law to chain a prisoner who manifested no disposition to escape. Mr. Trott replied that he supposed we ought not to blame those in whose care we were for such treatment, as they had orders and were obliged to follow them. To this Mr. McLeod replied, "It seems they proceed more by orders, than by law." At this expression some of the guard took offense, and one of them reproached Mr. McLeod for it, who in reply asserted the right of freedom of speech, provided he said nothing amiss, and added, "If I have said any thing wrong, I am in your power, you can arrest me." Several of the guard replied, and a few words more had passed on each side when col. Col. Nelson rode up to inquire what was going on. Being told of the expression which had given offence, he asked Mr. McLeod where he resided. He replied, "In Tennessee." The colonel then, with a curse, ordered him to "flank off." Mr. McLeod, turning his horse, said, "I will if it is your command,'" but added, hastily, as he afterwards said, uYou will hear from me again." He was then riding away when the col. ordered him to dismount, and lead his horse along after the guard, which he did. The colonel then inquired of Mr. Trott if he was "one of their circuit riders," and on being answered in the affirmative, had his horse taken from him, and ordered him forward with us. A tremendous torrent of curses was now pouring upon us chiefly from the mouth of Sergeant Brooks. Others of the guard indeed joined him, in too great a degree, but the profaneness and obstinacy of Brooks' language could not be exceeded by anything which the most depraved and polluted imagination could conceive. Not only the person who had given the offense, nor only the prisoners, but all the missionaries, all ministers of the Gospel, and religion itself, were the subjects of his railing. We were happy in taking to ourselves the consolation afforded by the words, which he tauntingly repeated "Fear not little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." For a short distance Mr. McLeod was compelled by Brook to keep the centre of the road, through mire and through water, but afterwards, with the rest of us allowed more liberty.
Another circumstance occurred during the day, not within my observation, but which I learned from Rev. Mr. Thompson; I have mentioned that Rev. Mr, Wells was in company with Mr. McLeod. When Mr. McLeod was arrested, Mr. Wells took his horse, and was going away in an opposite direction from us when he met Dr. Thompson. He then turned, intending to follow Mr. McLeod, and offer his service in any thing which occasion might require, particularly in case of his being released. After riding a few miles they came up with the guard. When col. Nelson saw Mr. Wells following, he ordered him with a threat, to ride out of his sight, either before or behind. Mr. Wells made no reply, but fell back a little, and followed on. Col. Nelson dismounted, cut a stick, made up to Mr. Wells, and gave him a single blow on the head. Mr. Wells then said that he had a right to travel in the public road, and should do it. Accordingly he persevered, and rode on till he came to a house where he had been requested by Mr. McLeod, through Mr. Thompson, to stop.
When we were within a few miles of our stopping place, Mr. McLeod solicited from Col. Nelson the privilege of riding, on account of severe pain in his hips and knees; but the Col, returned answer, that Proctor thought he could not walk at first but afterwards got along very well.
Near night we arrived at Maj. Dawson's about 22 miles from Mr. Hick's. When about to lie down for the night, the prisoners were chained together by the ancle, two by two.
It may be proper here to state, that Mr. Trott had been arrested on Wednesday at Two-runs, and taken to Dawson's on horseback, thence marched on foot to Hicks' on Thursday, and back again on Friday. Proctor was taken on Tuesday. The first night he was chained by the ancle only. The second and third he was chained by the neck to the wall, as well as by the ancle to Mr. Trott. On the way to Hick's and back to Dawson's he was chained to the wagon. This severity, I suppose, was occasioned by his having made resistance when he was taken, and afterwards attempted to escape. But to return.
Some time after he had laid down another detachment arrived with Dr. Butler as prisoner. He had been arrested the evening before, and had fared worse than any of us. After crossing the river three or four miles from home, a chain was fastened by a padlock around his neck, and the other end to the neck of the horse, on which one of the guards rode while he walked. In this way they proceeded for some time after it had become so dark he could see no obstacle which might be in his way, the horse walking with a quick step, and he liable every moment to fall, and thus dragged by the neck till the horse should stop. When he walked as he supposed between four and five miles after he was chained, he was permitted on representing his danger to ride behind the saddle, his chain being fastened to the neck of the horse. In this situation the horse fell, with both his riders under him, and in such a position that none of them could rise, till others of the guard came, to ascertain their position by the sense of feeling, and roll the horse over. Dr. Butler was considerably injured, but the guard more, having as he supposed two ribs broken. After this Dr. Butler was no more chained to the horse. The rest of the way that night he was suffered to ride, while one of the guards walked. They arrived at lodgings about midnight, 14 miles from Dr. Butler's. After they lay down, Dr. Butler was chained by the ancle to his bedstead. On the next day they had 35 miles or more to travel. The prisoner ws permitted to ride much of the way, while different individuals of the guards walked. He had a chain around his neck, however, fastened to the horse, but at his own disposal. In chaining him the guard professed to act not according to their own inclination, but under strict orders.
On Sunday morning, as we were crossing the river, Mr. Thompson stood on the bank, waiting to speak to us when we reached it. Col. Nelson and sergeant Brooks were in consultation on the side which we had left. Brooks then called across, giving orders that no one should be allowed to speak to either of the prisoners privately, and that no letter should be delivered to them or by them without first being examined.
Proctor was permitted to ride his own horse, what had been made prisoner with himself. His chain was fastened around his neck, and left at his command. Dr. Butler was left unchained. The journey of the day was about 35 miles. When we had travelled a considerable distance, we were permitted, through the kindness of some of the guard who themselves walked in our stead, to ride "four or five miles. For this kindness, we were afterwards told, they were bitterly cursed by Brooks. Afterwards Mr. Trott being about to fall, the Cherokee was dismounted, and Mr. Trott placed on the pony. Towards evening Mr. McLeod's feet had become so sore, that he could scarcely walk, and solicited the privilege of riding, which some of the guards would readily have granted, but Brooks interfered, and with much cursing compelled him to walk on. Afterwards, however, perhaps seeing the difficulty with which he walked, he directed Mr. Trott to dismount, and placed Mr. McLeod on the pony. Col. Nelson was not with us.
We passed the night at Mr. Lay's. All except the poor Cherokee were excused from wearing chains. Corporal Glenn, who had the charge of us, remarked that he had received no orders to chain us, and had not, himself any disposition to do it.
The Sabbath did not give us rest, till we had travelled 22 miles, which brought us to this place. Mr. McLeod, being utterly unable to walk, was mounted on the pony having a blanket and a bag of clothing for a saddle, and a rope halter instead of bridle. On the way Mr. Trott was allowed to ride several miles in the wagon. Dr. Butler and myself were favored by the kindness of two of the guard with a ride of two or three miles. Arrived at camp Gilmer, we were introduced to this house, Brooks remarking as we entered, "There is where all the enemies of the state of Georgia will have to land; There and in hell." Another prisoner, Mr. Samuel Mayes, was introduced at night.
Tuesday, July 12. Our prison when we entered it, presented no very pleasant appearance. The floor was sufficiently dirty, and there was little air or light, and a very unpleasant smell. All these evils we have in good measure remedied, so that our dwelling is comparatively comfortable. The want of air and light we have suplied in some degree, by enlarging some holes already made through the daubing of the wall, and making others new, no man forbidding us. True the floor is rough, but we contrive to sleep on it soundly enough. We have no chairs, bench or table, but these are not indispensable. We have plenty of wholesome food and good water, and a sufficient supply of blankets for the night. We have no chains to wear; Proctor's was taken off on his being put in jail. Under the care of a merciful Providence we all enjoy good health. Though not at liberty, we dwell in peace, and with peace of conscience we are contented.
Yesterday Mr. Thompson and Mr. Wells arrived an requested an interview with us. Mr. Thompson was admitted, but Mr. Wells was refused. The restriction is still maintained, that no person shall converse with us privately, nor any letter be sent away unexamined.
Before yesterday noon Mr. McLeod, had sent a line to col. Nelson, (colonel Sanford is absent) requesting an interview. This morning col. Nelson sent for him, and after a while he was dismissed, but not allowed to return and bid us farewell.
Wednesday, July 13. We remain in the same place, not knowing how long we are to remain, or what is to befall us hereafter. With confidence we commit our cause to Him who judgeth righteously, and cheerfully await the event. I speak of those particularly who are missionaries. If we are, as we think we are in the path of duty, though we suffer here we shall rejoice hereafter.
vI will now close this communication of what yet awaits us I may give an account some future time.
Your affectionate friend.
S. A. WORCESTER.
(After passing through a number of similar trials, these missionaries were finally carried to Lawrenceville, where they were forced to give bail for their appearance at the superior court. The above statement is corroborated under the signatures of the Rev. Mr. Thompson and Dr. Butler.)
Old News Stories
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