Letter to John Thornton and Others, 25 July 1836

  • Source Note
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time which has transpired since its pub lication, you can easily see, that it was  put forth for no other reason than to  correct the public mind generally, with out a reference or expectation of an  excitement of the nature of the one  now in your country. Why we refer  you to this publication, particularly, is  because many of our friends who are  now at the west, were in this place  when this paper made its appearance,  and from personal observation gave it  their decided approbation, and expres sed those sentiments to be their own,  in the fullest particular.
Another charge of great magnitude is  brought against our friends in the west —of “keeping up a constant communi cation with the Indian tribes on our fron tier, with declaring, even from the pul pit, that the Indians are a part of God’s  chosen people, and are destined, by  heaven, to inherit this land, in com mon with themselves.” We know of  nothing, under the present aspect of  our Indian relations, calculated to rouse  the fears of the people of the Upper  , more than a combination or  influence of this nature; and we can not look upon it other than one of the  most subtle purposes of those whose  feelings are embittered against our  friends, to turn the eye of suspicion up on them from every man who is ac quainted with the barbarous cruelty of  rude savages. Since a rumor was  afloat that the Western Indians were  showing signs of war, we have receiv ed frequent private letters from our  friends, who have not only expressed  fears for their own safety, in case the  Indians should break out, but a decided  determination to be among the first to  repel any invasion, and defend the  frontier from all hostilities. We men tion the last fact, because it was wholly  uncalled for on our part, and came  previous to any excitement on the part  of the people of , against  our friends, and must definitively show,  that this charge is also untrue.
Another charge against our friends,  and one that is urged as a reason why  they must immediately leave the coun ty of , is, that they are making or  are like to, the same “their perma nent home, the center and general ren dezvous of their people.” We have  never understood such to be the pur pose, wish or design of this society;  but on the contrary, have ever suppo sed, that those who resided in , only designed it as a tempora ry residence, until the law and author ity of our country should put them in  the quiet possession of their homes in  . And such as had not  possessions there, could purchase to  the entire satisfaction and interest of  the people of .
Having partially mentioned the lead ing objections urged against our friends,  we would here add, that it has not been  done with a view on our part, to dis suade you from acting in strict con formity with your preamble and reso lutions, offered to the people of , on the 29th ult. but from a  sense of duty to a people embarrassed,  persecuted and afflicted. For you are  aware, gentlemen, that in times of ex citement, virtues are transformed into  vices, acts, which in other cases, and  under other circumstances, would be  considered upright and honorable, in terpreted contrary from their real in tent, and made objectional and crimi nal; and from whom could we look for  forbearance and compassion with con fidence and assurance, more than from  those whose bosoms are warmed with  those pure principles of patriotism with  which you have been guided in the  present instance, to secure the peace  of your county, and save a persecuted  people from further violence, and des truction?
It is said that our friends are poor;  that they have but little or nothing to  bind their feelings or wishes to , and that in consequence, have  a less claim upon that county. We  do not deny the fact, that our friends  are poor; but their persecutions have  helped to render them so. While oth er men were peacefully following their  avocations, and extending their inter est, they have been deprived of the  right of citizenship, prevented from en joying their own, charged with viola ting the sacred principles of our  constitution and laws; made to feel  the keenest aspersions of the tongue  of slander, waded through all but  death, and, are now suffering under  calumnies calculated to excite the in dignation and hatred of every people  among whom they may dwell, thereby  exposing them to destruction and inev itable ruin!
If a people, a community, or a soci ety, can accumulate wealth, increase [p. 357]
time which has transpired since its publication, you can easily see, that it was put forth for no other reason than to correct the public mind generally, without a reference or expectation of an excitement of the nature of the one now in your country. Why we refer you to this publication, particularly, is because many of our friends who are now at the west, were in this place when this paper made its appearance, and from personal observation gave it their decided approbation, and expressed those sentiments to be their own, in the fullest particular.
Another charge of great magnitude is brought against our friends in the west—of “keeping up a constant communication with the Indian tribes on our frontier, with declaring, even from the pulpit, that the Indians are a part of God’s chosen people, and are destined, by heaven, to inherit this land, in common with themselves.” We know of nothing, under the present aspect of our Indian relations, calculated to rouse the fears of the people of the Upper , more than a combination or influence of this nature; and we cannot look upon it other than one of the most subtle purposes of those whose feelings are embittered against our friends, to turn the eye of suspicion upon them from every man who is acquainted with the barbarous cruelty of rude savages. Since a rumor was afloat that the Western Indians were showing signs of war, we have received frequent private letters from our friends, who have not only expressed fears for their own safety, in case the Indians should break out, but a decided determination to be among the first to repel any invasion, and defend the frontier from all hostilities. We mention the last fact, because it was wholly uncalled for on our part, and came previous to any excitement on the part of the people of , against our friends, and must definitively show, that this charge is also untrue.
Another charge against our friends, and one that is urged as a reason why they must immediately leave the county of , is, that they are making or are like to, the same “their permanent home, the center and general rendezvous of their people.” We have never understood such to be the purpose, wish or design of this society; but on the contrary, have ever supposed, that those who resided in , only designed it as a temporary residence, until the law and authority of our country should put them in the quiet possession of their homes in . And such as had not possessions there, could purchase to the entire satisfaction and interest of the people of .
Having partially mentioned the leading objections urged against our friends, we would here add, that it has not been done with a view on our part, to dissuade you from acting in strict conformity with your preamble and resolutions, offered to the people of , on the 29th ult. but from a sense of duty to a people embarrassed, persecuted and afflicted. For you are aware, gentlemen, that in times of excitement, virtues are transformed into vices, acts, which in other cases, and under other circumstances, would be considered upright and honorable, interpreted contrary from their real intent, and made objectional and criminal; and from whom could we look for forbearance and compassion with confidence and assurance, more than from those whose bosoms are warmed with those pure principles of patriotism with which you have been guided in the present instance, to secure the peace of your county, and save a persecuted people from further violence, and destruction?
It is said that our friends are poor; that they have but little or nothing to bind their feelings or wishes to , and that in consequence, have a less claim upon that county. We do not deny the fact, that our friends are poor; but their persecutions have helped to render them so. While other men were peacefully following their avocations, and extending their interest, they have been deprived of the right of citizenship, prevented from enjoying their own, charged with violating the sacred principles of our constitution and laws; made to feel the keenest aspersions of the tongue of slander, waded through all but death, and, are now suffering under calumnies calculated to excite the indignation and hatred of every people among whom they may dwell, thereby exposing them to destruction and inevitable ruin!
If a people, a community, or a society, can accumulate wealth, increase [p. 357]
Page 357