Baptist History Homepage

American Indian Mission Association
[An essay on the Misuse of Funds]
The Tennessee Baptist, 1853
      This is a benevolent society in whose prosperity and success we have felt a deep interest. The aborigines of our country ought to have the gospel. Nothing but its rich and priceless blessings can either civilize or Christianize the red man of the forest. If we understand the philosophy of obligation at all, American Christians are deeply indebted to the various Indian tribes. We wish that there was a practical recognition of this indebtedness.

      The recent annual meeting of the Indian Mission Association was held in Jackson, Miss., the proceedings of which have been published.

The Indian Advocate, for May is before us, and contains the Treasurer Report for the last year. This document we have read with surprise and sorrow. It seems that the receipts for the last year including $836.17 on hand at the beginning of the year, were $14.030.63. Of this amount $5,597,02 were received from the United States Government, and the Choctaw Nation, for educational purposes, and $100 by bequest. These sums were received of course, without the intervention of the published Agents of the Association, and added to the $836.17 on hand at the beginning of the year, they make $6,533.19. This sum subtracted from $14.030.63 leaves $7,497.34. Of the last amount, probably one half, but we will say one third, was not collected by the Agents of the Board. One third subtracted leaves $4,998.23. Of this sum $1,894.04 was paid to Agents while their travelling expenses with those of the Corresponding Secretary were $283.83 making $2,177.87, and amounting to nearly one half, to say the least, of the collection made by the Agents. Indeed one Agent (we call not his name) is represented in the Report as receiving $85 more than he collected. Is this state of things to be tolerated? Our benevolent operations must be managed better, or they will go to ruin. Who will give the Indian Mission Agent $20 for the Mission, if he believes about $10 of the amount will go into the pocket of the Agent? The fact is there are too many Societies. We are not sure but the Indian Mission Association ought to be appended to the Domestic Board, at Marion, and then if the Marion Board and the Nashville Bible Board were merged in the Richmond Board of Missions, we do not see that any particular harm would be done. One set of officers could transact the bounties of all these Boards. We see that Bro. Walker, who is a very successful preacher in St. Louis, is appointed Corresponding Secretary of the Marion Board, in place of Rev. T. F. Cartis, [who] resigned. We regret this. Why could not some layman fill the place as well? We deplore the prodigal and uncalled for expenditure of ministerial talent for Secretaryships, Professorships in colleges, &c. &c. Let ministers of Jesus Christ consider preaching the Gospel their great business. It is their great business.

      We write plainly, fully aware that what we have said will not be likely to promote our popularity among Agents, Secretaries, Professors in colleges, &c., but it is right, and for some one to speak out, and no one dare to do right. No one but this writer is responsible for these sentiments.


[From The Tennessee Baptist, June 18, 1853, p. 3. Transcribed and formatted by Jim Duvall.]

More American Indian Articles

Baptist History Homepage