For the Tennessee Baptist.
An Appeal For Indian Missions, 1855
By J. M. Pendleton
The following appeal from Bro. Buckner in behalf of Indian Missions is entitled to respectful consideration. It comes from a man of God - a man who has "hazarded his life for the name of the Lord Jesus." The cause for which he pleads is a noble one. It is the cause of the red men of the West. The Indians have strong claims on American Christians and philanthropists. The millions of acres now covered with an abundant harvest, were once the indisputable possession of their fathers. They have been an injured people. Our government has sometimes dealt kindly with them, but oftener cruelly. The best way to repair the injuries we have done the aborigines of our country, is to send them the gospel with its rich and priceless blessings. Read and consider bro. Buckner's appeal - then ACT. - J. M. P.
DEAR BROTHERS AND SISTERS: As the time for our District Associations is approaching, I wish, briefly, to present to you the claims of the Indians. In doing this, I will speak:
I. Of what has been done. During the past year I have received in pledges $8,000, 3,000 of which has been paid, and the remainder is for the support of native preachers, and is to be paid in annual instal[l]ments for five years. In this way I have made provision for the support of the native preachers of the Creek nation, and for one native preacher of the Cherokees, for the next five years.
Secondly. Indian Missions have been committed to the care of the Domestic Mission Board at Marion, Alabama, under the management and control of the Southern Baptist Convention.
This, I trust, is as it should be; and I congratulate the friends of Indian missions upon this fortunate transfer. The Board at Marion is renowned for efficiency, integrity, and punctuality; and no cause that the Baptists of the South deem worthy, will be allowed to suffer. Every dollar that I have collected has been turned over to the Domestic Board, or appropriated to the payment of old debts. I have not kept a single dollar on my own account against the old Board at Louisville. For the satisfaction of those brethren in Georgia and Alabama who contributed specifically for the Creek mission, I will state that the funds which 1 turned over to the Domestic Board are for that special object, and 1 took brother Devotie's receipt accordingly; so that no uneasiness may be entertained on that account.
A HARD CASE. - A few days ago I met with Bro. Samuel Wallace, who has been for five years a missionary to the Indians, and to whom the Board at Louisville owed $600. He had been literally starved out of the Indian country. I have been an eye witness to his sufferings, privations, and patience in tribulation. When he could stay no longer for lack of means, he brought his family on a boat to Kentucky. When I saw him, his family were on a boat at Cincinnati, and he was out in the interior of Kentucky trying to get means to pay his passage up the river, and to remove his wife and children to their old home. The Board could not give him one dollar. I had two hundred and fifty dollars unappropriated, which I gave him immediately, and relieved him from his shameful embarrassment: shameful. I say, not to himself, but to his employers.
II. What we wish to do. - We wish to relieve the cause of Indian missions from all embarrassment. The indebtedness of the former Board, which has been assumed by the Domestic Board, amounts to about $7,000. We want to pay all this the present year, besides making some provisions for the future. This can be done easily, if we will make a united effort, for what are $7,000 among so many?
We wish to re-occupy our former stations, and to extend the field of our operations. Several of the Indian missions have been starved out and have abandoned the Indian mission field, who never expect to return. We must supply their places with brave hearted men. We must re-take the garrison from the enemy, and not that only, but we must push forward to the conquest of other tribes. The Osages, the Camanchees, the Breeblas, and many other large tribes, have no missionaries among them.
I wish to make some provision for myself. When I took this agency I thought, very naturally, that I would first secure my own salary. The Board was in debt to me more than $1,000; and I can safely say that no one had suffered more from affliction and privation. But there is something in my nature that forbids my making myself prominent. I plead the cause of the native Creek preachers. To this every one who has heard me in all the South will bear witness; and have altogether neglected my own wants. 1 have ever given to the native fund the individual presents I have received, save one present from Mrs. B., of Bethel church. As yet, I am not employed by any board or society, to return as a missionary to the Indians; nor as yet have I been paid one dollar of the old debt. The Lord helping me, I expect to return to the Creeks in October.
Should I be spared to reach there, I will be met by old notes and old accounts, bearing ten per cent. interest. But I must go. "A necessity is laid upon me" - "yea, woe is me if I preach not" to the Indians. Nothing but an interposition of Providence can relieve me from solemn pledges to the Creeks; and this interposition must be marked not ambiguous. I am aware that this is to my relatives inexplicable; and to the world foolishness: but to my mind it is the path of duty, marked out by the command and providence of God.
A plan for future operations. Let every Association, church, pastor, Christian, and philanthropist, remember the Indians in their contributions this fall. Let the pastors take at least one collection for Indian Missions after preaching a sermon upon missions; and let these collections be forwarded to the several District Associations, or else directly to the Marion Board, with specific instructions as to their appropriation. It would be well for each contributing body to select one native preacher, missionary, or mission, as the object of its benefaction; and to require a periodical report from such preacher or missionary. This can be done, while at the same time all the funds may be sent through the Marion Board. In this way an interest can be created and maintained which could not be effected in any other way; and the Board be (as Boards should ever be) the servant of the churches. If any church, association, or individual, wishes to contribute aught for my future support, let the amount be forwarded to the Marion Board, marked
"For H. F. BUCKNER."
N. B. My address until October will be Perryville, Ky.
[From the Tennessee Baptist, August 18, 1855, p. 1. CD edition of microfilm copy. Location of the article from Thomas White, Cedarville University, OH. Transcribed and scanned by Jim Duvall.]
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