Effects on the people of the attempts made to remove them west of the Mississippi.
The following paragraphs are taken from the conclusion of Mr. Kingsbury's annual report to the Secretary of War, respecting the state of the schools.
In a retrospect of the past year, we find much to excite our devout gratitude to him, through whose kind providence we have enjoyed so many blessings. Though some of our associates have been removed from the field of labor, an account of chronic diseases, yet in no former year have we enjoyed more uninterrupted good health.
During the former part of the year our prospects of usefulness were unusually encouraging. The number of pupils in the schools was greater, and their progress more rapid, than at any former period. An unusual seriousness prevailed, and large numbers listened with solemn attention to the preaching of the Gospel. The Choctaws evidently felt that they were rising, and a desire for improvement in every respect was strikingly displayed in those parts of the nation; where the people enjoyed the means of instruction.
Such was the state of things in March last, when proposition for a treaty were made by a part of the nation. This unexpected movement, and the events connected with it, produced great excitement in some parts of the nation. Many became much incensed against those that had embraced the Gospel, as the proposals for a cession and certain changes in the government of the nation had been made by those chiefs who had taken an active part in promoting religion.
It is not my business to give you a history of the politics of the Choctaws. I could not, however, forbear noticing the above events as they have had a bearing on our labors, and on the general prospects of the nation. In the last report I stated, what I believed would be the unhappy consequences, if the Choctaws, should feel themselves compelled to remove. My anticipations have been fully sustained by subsequent events. From the arduous labors of twelve years, the expenditure of more than $100,000, and the sacrifice of several valuable lives, we were beginning to see a rich harvest of blessings springing up to gladden the hearts of the poor Choctaws. The fruits of these labors and sacrifices are of recent origin, and of too tender an age, to endure the rough handling of a removal to an uncultivated wilderness. Should they be buried and lost amid the ruins of so violent and unnatural a procedure, an immense responsibility will rest somewhere. Our hope is in that all-wise and inscrutable providence, that not unfrequently either arrests the current of human affairs, or so modifies and controls them, as to bring about unexpected results.
Since the report of Mr. Kingsbury was written the agitation and distress among the Choctaws have been very much increased, by the formation of another treaty, early in September. This treaty will be brought before the Senate of the United States for ratification during the next session of Congress. If it shall be ratified and carried into effect, all the Choctaws, except such as choose to retain small reservations and be subject to the laws of the state of Mississippi, are to be removed within two years and a half from the ratification of the treaty. Under state of Sept. 30th, Mr. Cushman, an assistant missionary at Hebron writes-
'Universal gloom and distress pervades the minds of the people. What the end of all these things will be is known only to Him who sees the end from the beginning. The contrast between the Christian and the pagan during the setting of the council was very striking. In the camps of the one all was decorum and Christian sobriety. With the other all was profaneness, intemperance, and confusion.
I have been in the nation nearly ten years. It is three years since we came to this place. The people in this neighborhood were then savage and brutal. We have since found that we had but little idea of the abominations of the heathen. They kept much concealed from us. But we have been allowed to see them transformed into another people. They became sober, industrious, affectionate, and pious, and were going, forward with the full anticipation of soon becoming a civilized and Christian community. But the scene is again changed. This happy and progressive state of society is all broken up. Disappointment and discouragement have taken the place of pleasing hope and animated zeal. I think, dear sir, that you can readily believe that when we call to mind all these things, and also witness the distress of some of the dear members of our church, who literally turn pale and faint, at the bare recital of their situation, our feelings are not to be described. We hope to be of some benefit to the Choctaws while they stay.
In a letter dated in 11th of October, Mr. Kingsbury says, 'it is impossible to describe the confusion and despondency which prevails. The warriors generally, from one end of the nation to the other, are dissatisfied with the treaty. Many of the religious people say they can think of nothing but their country. The nation appears to be ruined.'