Letter From A Missionary Of The Methodist Episcopal Church South, In Kansas, To A Distinguished Politician

DOUGLAS MISSION, August, 1854,

LAST week--the Lord be praised for all His mercies

To His unworthy servant!--I arrived

Safe at the Mission, via Westport; where

I tarried over night, to aid in forming

A Vigilance Committee, to send back,

In shirts of tar, and feather-doublets quilted

With forty stripes save one, all Yankee comers,

Uncircumcised and Gentile, aliens from

The Commonwealth of Israel, who despise

The prize of the high calling of the saints,

Who plant amidst this heathen wilderness

Pure gospel institutions, sanctified

By patriarchal use. The meeting opened

With prayer, as was most fitting. Half an hour,

Or thereaway, I groaned, and strove, and wrestled,

As Jacob did at Penuel, till the power

Fell on the people, and they cried 'Amen!'

"Glory to God!" and stamped and clapped their hands;

And the rough river boatmen wiped their eyes;

"Go it, old hoss!" they cried, and cursed the niggers--

Fulfilling thus the word of prophecy,

"Cursed be Cannan." After prayer, the meeting

Chose a committee--good and pious men--

A Presbyterian Elder, Baptist deacon,

A local preacher, three or four class-leaders,

Anxious inquirers, and renewed backsliders,

A score in all--to watch the river ferry,

(As they of old did watch the fords of Jordan,)

And cut off all whose Yankee tongues refuse

The Shibboleth of the Nebraska bill.

And then, in answer to repeated calls,

I gave a brief account of what I saw

In Washington; and truly many hearts

Rejoiced to know the President, and you

And all the Cabinet regularly hear

The gospel message of a Sunday morning,

Drinking with thirsty souls of the sincere

Milk of the Word. Glory! Amen, and Selah!

Here, at the Mission, all things have gone well

The brother who, throughout my absence, acted

As overseer, assures me that the crops

Never were better. I have lost one negro,

A first-rate hand, but obstinate and sullen.

He ran away some time last spring, and hid

In the river timber. There my Indian converts

Found him, and treed and shot him. For the rest,

The heathens round about begin to feel

The influence of our pious ministrations

And works of love; and some of them already

Have purchased negroes, and are settling down

As sober Christians! Bless the Lord for this!

I know it will rejoice you. You, I hear,

Are on the eve of visiting Chicago,

To fight with the wild beasts of Ephesus,

Long John, and Dutch Free-Soilers. May your arm

Be clothed with strength, and on your tongue be found

The sweet oil of persuasion. So desires

Your brother and co-laborer. Amen!

P.S. All's lost. Even while I write these lines,

The Yankee abolitionists are coming

Upon us like a flood--grim, stalwart men,

Each face set like a flint of Plymouth Rock

Against our institutions--staking out

Their farm lots on the wooded Wakarusa,

Or squatting by the mellow-bottomed Kansas;

The pioneers of mightier multitudes,

The small rain-patter, ere the thunder shower

Drowns the dry prairies. Hope from man is not.

Oh, for a quiet berth at Washington,

Snug naval chaplaincy, or clerkship, where

These rumors of free labor and free soil

Might never meet me more. Better to be

Door-keeper in the White House, than to dwell

Amidst these Yankee tents, that, whitening, show

On the green prairie like a fleet becalmed.

Methinks I hear a voice come up the river

From those far bayous, where the alligators

Mount guard around the camping filibusters

"Shake off the dust of Kansas. Turn to Cuba--

(That golden orange just about to fall,

O'er-ripe, into the Democratic lap;)

Keep pace with Providence, or, as we say,

Manifest destiny. Go forth and follow

The message of our gospel, thither borne

Upon the point of Quitman's bowie-knife,

And the persuasive lips of Colt's revolvers.

There may'st thou, underneath thy vine and figtree,

Watch thy increase of sugar cane and negroes,

Calm as a patriarch in his eastern tent!"

Amen: So mote it be. So prays your friend.

Le Marais Du Cygne Lines From A Letter To A Young Clerical Friend facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail