Wednesday May 28, 1828
Volume 1 No. 14
Page 2 Col. 3b-5b
Mr. Editor.- I have noticed in your paper accounts of missionary operations,
therefore, without intrusion, permit me to solicit in the columns of the Phoenix
a place for an authentic and true statement of the Cherokee Missions under the
superintendence of the Methodist Episcopal Church.
There are four missionary stations, located as follows; Creekpath, Chattooga Courthouse, Oochgelogy and Pinelog. At each of these stations a school is taught, and the children are instructed in spelling, reading, writing, arithmetick [sic] and English Grammar. In these several branches of education, they are advancing with considerable facility. The aggregate number of scholars is about one hundred. The teachers of these schools are preachers, and employ themselves during the week in the business of instruction, and on the Sabbath administer the word of life. None of the stations are permanently fixed, but subjected to be continued or discontinued as may be deemed expedient.
Itinerating [sic] schools of this character are, in my opinion, the best possible means to improve and enlighten, and effectually civilize and christianize the rising generation; for they may embrace every family and neighborhood, and in the mean time not possess national identity with us; and when the whole nation shall have progressed so far in the arts and sciences as to supersede benevolent and charitable auxiliaries, the instructors may withdraw from the field of labor without leaving antiquated permanent establishments with their concomitant appendages. It is not my design in this remark to reflect upon the well meant exertions of other denominations, who have been successful in doing much good among the Cherokees, for I am very conscious there may be correctness of design and error in method.*
There are three large circuits embracing about sixty preaching places, upon two of which the gospel is regularly preached in English, and on the other in Cherokee. These circuits are superintended by the Rev. James I. Trott, the Rev. Greenburry Garret, and Turtle Fields, the last of whom is well known to be a Cherokee. Under the labor of these pious and devotedly zealous men, the prospects of doing much good appear invitingly encouraging. May their labors be abundantly blessed by the great Head of the Church.
There are + seven hundred members of Society. Some of whom are
leading men of the nation, and many families of first respectability.
These united exert a happy influence over their relatives, friends, neighbor's
and nation generally.
The whole work is under the general superintendence of the Rev. William M'Mahan, Presiding Elder of the Huntsville district, Tennessee Annual Conference, and a representative to the General Conference of Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States of America; a Minister of known character, and a man of exalted talents.
Thus I have given you a specific account of our stations and schools, and shall conclude by observing that, with the visible effects of christianity presented to our view on all sides round, it is time that the enemies of Missionaries, should hush their objections and throw down their oppositions, that the gospel might have universal prevalency, and that its benign, salutary and heavenly influence might be diffused through all our social, political and religious institutions.
This is a day of events with us, we are merging from darkness to light.-
Those clouds that have so long hovered over us, and shrouded us in ignorance,
are about to be dispersed forever. May the sun of science in full orbed
splendor shine upon our intellectual firmament, and may his piercing and meridian
beems [sic] chase away the darkness of that night that has so long hung around
our minds. While I contemplate the rapid improvement making among the
Cherokees, from the apex of their present condition, I roll back the curtain
of futurity, and cast mine eyes down the stream of time.- I perceive that it
is at least within the range of possibility, that ere long, from our infant
institutions, will go forth orators with flaming eloquence, defending their
countrymen from the cupidity, chicanery, and deep laid ruin of their enemies;
that men will be raised up to bear the good news, the glad tidings of salvation
to other heathen nations, to carry the rays of the sun of righteousness to the
dark caverns of ignorance, superstition, and idolatry, and to preach the gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ in all its grandeur, and in the demonstration of the
spirit and power of God. May Satan's Kingdom fall like lightning from
the skies; and may the commissioned angels soon proclaim that the Cherokees
have been subjects of saving grace and heirs of Glory.
*We are inclined to think that the writer is here incorrect, or at least, this assertion is not supported by facts or experience. It is not from Schools of this nature that an ignorant child will derive the greatest permanent benefit. In "itinerating School," children may be taught to speak the English language, ( in neighborhoods where the Cherokee only is spoken even this will hardly be acquired,) they may learn to read and write, and perhaps acquire the rudiments of Grammar and Arithmetic, yet all this will but poorly qualify them as instructors to others; for the complete civilization of this people must depend in a great measure, upon the instrumentality of their own Citizens. It can hardly be expected that Missionaries will overrun this Country in order to civilize us-it must be done by preparing our own kindred for the work, whose labours [sic] will be by far more efficient, when properly and judiciously conducted. Itinerating preaching we consider an excellent method of diffusing the knowledge of religion. A preacher ought, however, always to be accompanied by an intelligent interpreter, (whenever such can be obtained,) for those who are ignorant of the English language will derive but little benefit from sermons which they do not understand.- We hope the exertions of benevolence, by means of the different Missionaries in this Nation, will particularly be directed to this, by far, the largest portion of our population.
+ The writer does not mean, we apprehend, by "Members of Society," Church
Members in regular standing, but such as have intimated a desire to receive