Choctaw Nation, Indian Territory
Bryan County, Oklahoma
For the Tennessee Baptist.
August 28 , 1848.
My mind often reverts back to the precious seasons of communication I had with brethren while in Tennessee, and I feel thankful that I was permitted to form acquaintance with so many brethren from different parts of the State. The interest manifested by them in Indian reform was calculated to win my affections, which absence has not abated. I hope that interest was not from the excitement of the moment, but that it is still felt for the poor Indian, and that it will show itself in action. There are many parts of this nation that are still destitute of reaching and need much labor to bring them to acquiesce in the adoption of civilized and christianized habits.
Though much has been done, still much remains to be done. The schools in operation in the nation are not sufficient to educate more than one tenth of the children belonging to the nation. From the scattered situation in which they live many of them do not hear the gospel once a year, and many never hear it. Frequent invitations are given me to preach at different places, but I am unable to go, my time is so much occupied with the Institution. It seems to be a difficult matter to get one to come to the poor Indian and tell them of Christ and his salvation, whilst many are willing to cross the ocean on the same errand. Why is it so? Have not the Indians as great if not greater claims upon the benevolence and sympathy of American Christians than other nations? Surely none can deny it. Why then this apathy in regard to them? Is it not because we have been taught to look upon them from infancy as a cruel, revengeful and blood thirsty race, and as destitute of all the finer feelings of our natures? Time and again are their cruelties set before the world as of the most aggravated nature, while not one word is ever whispered of the wrongs done to them. Why should they be so misrepresented? It is true they have been cruel, but were they not urged on to it by the wrong done them by the while man? It is even so, they have not been the aggressors; let them no longer be presented to the world as objects of dread, but of sympathy. Surely they who profess the religion of the compassionate Saviour cannot treat them as enemies, for He says, "Love your enemies," bless, and curse not.
They are now stretching forth their hands to their white brethren and asking them to take pity on them. They tell them that the tomahawk and scalping knife are long since buried and their wish is, that they shall never again see the light. They now ask for schools and the gospel. They beg, they entreat that their children may be taught the religion of Christ, that they may be fitted for this life and that which is to come. How can Christians stand idly by and see them sinking into the grave without the gospel? Oh, that they would rally around the friends of the Indians and send them the gospel of Jesus Christ. And I would ask who will come to the Indian land and tell him of the love of God to man, and direct them to the "Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world?" Pray over it and ask have I done all for the poor Indian that God requires of me.
Give my kind regards to all my brethren and may God bless you, prays
Your brother in Christ,
Ramsay D. Potts.
Post Office - Doaksville,
via Little Rock, Ark.
In the Tennessee Baptist, 1844, editor Howell gave a "Report on Indian Works":
Choctaws. - In May Mr. Potts, attended a two days' meeting, a few miles distant from Providence, and baptized five persons besides two at Blue; making the whole number of church members in Poshemetaha and Arkansas district, is from 150 to 160. "Meetings continue to be quite interesting, and his love is greater than the missionary is able to supply."
[From the Tennessee Baptist, September 21, 1848, p. 2. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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