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The map on the first page represents the Choctaw and Chickasaw country and some portions of the surrounding states, with the names and location of the several missionary stations, to wbich the attention of the friends of missions have been directed with much interest during the last thirteen years; where hundreds of heathen children and adults have been taught to read the word of God, and hundreds more have been hopefully converted to God by the preaching of the missionaries, and which are now becoming desolate by the emigration of the Choctaws to their new country lying between the Arkansas and Red rivers, and west of the Arkansas territory.
The following statements are collected principally from communications of the missionaries. Extent of Country and Number and Origin indefinite. They have no conception of a of the Choctaws.
Being purely spiritual. The human soul is The Choctaw country extends from the
not in their apprehension strictly a spirit Tombigby river on the east to the Missis
Nor have they any word in their lansippi river on the west, and from the Chick guage to denote a spiritual existence. asaw country on the north to the settle.
They anciently regarded the sun as a god, ments of the state of Mississippi on the
and ascribed to himn the power of life and
death and their success in war. south, which also extend far up on the
The dwelling of this superior Being they west. Its extreme length is about 150 miles, and its breadth about 140. Its aver
supposed to be somewhere on high. The age extent is much less, embracing about representation of the Choctaws is, that when 7,000,000 acres. Their territory was for
the Creator had made the earth, and its inmerly much larger.
habitants (the red people,) and had given The number of the Choctaws is estimated his place above, and they saw and heard
them their civil regulations, he returned to at about 20,000. Great inroads have been made on their number by sickness and
nothing more of him. other causes. Thirty years ago they proba- edged that a superintending Providence
They do not appear to have acknowl bly amounted to 30,000.
directed their concerns and controlled all Some of the Choctaws have a tradition
events. that they with the Chickasaws, Chokchu- gratitude to him for benefits received
In prosperity they exercised no mas, and Creeks, emigrated from some country far to the west, and settled in their nor in distress, did they apply to him
In' time of drought, they present territory by the direction of a great applied to their rain-makers, who, being prophet or leader. Others believe that they well paid, would undertake to make rain were created out of the ground at a place when the earth was surcharged with in their country called Nunih Waia about four or five generations ago. They are
water, they would apply to their fairdivided into two clans, which embrace the
weather makers for sunshine; and in sickwhole tribe. Members of the same clan
to their doctors for cure; without never intermarry, so that the husband and acknowledging or even appearing to feel wife always belong to different clans, and
their dependence on the great Ruler of all the children belong to the clan of the
They supposed that this Being prescribed
no form of religious worship, and made no Religious Traditions and Opinions. revelation of his will. There appears to be It is difficult acquiring any definite no evidence that they ever offered sacriknowledge respecting their traditions, fices or engaged in any worship. They Neither they por the Indians generally appear to have been emphatically without have any of that accuracy themselves in God in the world.” When the inquiry has respect to events and dals which they have been made, “Did you ever think of God?" been represented as having. Their state. They answer, “How can we think of him, ments are very vague, and those of different of whom we know nothing?" And when individuals are contradictory. Since their the question has been repeated, “Before the intercourse with the whites they have for- missionaries came, did the Choctaws think gotten much that they once knew. They and talk about God?" the answer univerare also very reluctant and perhaps asham- sally has been, that they never thought nor ed to divulge their traditions and opinions, talked upon such subjects. A few aged
They obviously, however, once had some men state, that since they have heard the knowledge respecting the events recorded gospel from the missionaries, they have in Genesis. They retain some faint idea sometimes attempted to acknowledge their of a superior Being; but of his nature, mode dependence on the Father of mercies
, and of existence, and attributes, their notions seek his favor by supplication, but that were, and, until enlightened by Christian until their arrival, they knew nothing of instruction, are now, extremely vague and the duty of prayer. Nor do they know that
prayer, as an expression of love and confi The Rev. Mr. Cornelius, the late Secredence toward their Maker and Benefactor, tary of the Board, visited their nation dura was ever practised by their forefathers. ing the winter and spring of 1817—8, met And that they never did pray, would be the the Indians in council, and opened the way natural conclusion from their belief, that for the establishment of a mission; and the their Creator, at their formation, required Rev. Cyrus Kingsbury, with Mr. L. S. Wil. from them no kind of homage.
lianas, both of whom had been engaged in Not regarding the superior Being as a commencing the mission at Brainerd, among lawgiver, they had no idea of the moral the Cherokees, arrived at the place since turpitude of sin, as against God, and no called Elliot, in remembrance of the Rev. word that signifies it; and it was very diffi- John Elliot, named the Apostle to the cult to give them any notion of it.-— The Indians, on the 27th of June, 1818. It was present generation of Choctaws believe that then an unbroken forest. They were joined the soul, which they call shilup, survives soon by other helpers, and proceeded to the body; but they do not appear to think, erect the necessary buildings, and were that its condition is at all affected by the enabled, though severely afflicted with sickconduct in this life.
ness, and tried in other ways, to open the When a member of a family died poles school with 10 scholars, on the 19th of the were set in the ground around the grave next April. The school increased to more with hoops and vines hung upon them, to than 50 before the close of the year. aid the soul in its ascent. Around these the In the early stages of the mission the surviving members of the family assembled Choctaws manifested much interest in its at sunrise, mid-day, and sunset, for thirty success and several of the chiefs made very days, uttering an inarticulate but distressful liberal donations of money and cattle to aid cry. At the end of thirty days the neigh- it. They also gave in behalf of the nabors were assembled, the poles were pulled, tion an annuity due to them from the gove and the mourning was ended with feasting ernment of the United States, amounting to and drunkenness. They had a class of men $6,000 a year for sixteen years, beginning among them denominated bone-pickers, with the year 1821. This is a far more who used, after the body of the deceased liberal grant than any other tribe of had lain awhile in an appropriate place, to Indians, and probably than any other heaassemble and pick the flesh from them, and then people ever made for introducing put the bones in a bone-house. They began schools and the institutions of the gospel to bury their dead about forty years ago. among them. Surely it should not be said
Witcheraft formerly was believed in by that the Indians are "irreelaimably attached the Choctaws, and occasioned great terror to their savage habits, when they will and the loss of many lives. Most of the voluntarily give so much for a knowledge sickness was attributed to it, and those sup- of the habits of civilized men. posed to occasion sickness in this manner Other stations were occupied and schools were often murdered. They had a kind of opened at them as soon as circumstances doctors who were applied to and were be- would permit; at which the Board have lieved to be able to counteract the power of furnished the gratuitous services of 33 men the witch and restore the patient. and 33 women, whose average term of labor
has been more than six years each. Of tho Establishment and Progress of the Mission. men employed, five were preachers, twelve
were school-teachers, eight were farmers, The Choctaws were heathens, and all of them, with the exception of a very few
seven were mechanics, and one was a phy
Brief View of the Schools. acquainted with very few of the arts and From June 1813, to December 1831, conveniences of civilized life. They had schools have been opened at thirteen stafew good laws and no efficient government tions, and taught for a longer or shorter for protecting life or property. "They were period of time. The name of each station, generally indolent, much addicted to drunk- with the time when each school was open. enness, and consumed much of their time ed, the number of years it was continued, in dances, ball-plays, and other scenes of and the number of scholars during each noisy and corrupting amusement.
year, will be seen in the following table. 1820 1821 1822 1823 1824 1825 1826 1827 1828 1829 1830 1831
80 47 15
20 55 15 22 25 13
Two other stations, Bethany and Boketun- ing the years 1828 and 1829 only one death neh, were occupied for a short period, but occurred in consequence of intoxication, no schools were opened at them.
and that was by accidental drowning. The Besides those pupils mentioned in the people are more industrious, are better fed, foregoing table as attending the schools at better clothed, have better houses and the several stations, large numbers of farms, and a general desire prevails to have youths and adults, within the last three or their children educated, and to obtain four years especially, have been instructed household furniture and the implements of by the missionaries, or under their direction, husbandry. Witchcraft and the corrupting in various Indian villages, and principally scenes of pole-pulling, are almost unknown; from books in their own language. The the Christian form of marriage has been whole number reported as having been in- extensively introduced, and the general structed, during the year ending August, improvement is declared to be very striking. 1830, is 528; of whom 278 were taught at the stations, and 250 in the Indian villages. Organization and Enlargement of the Of the whole 299 were full-blood Choctaws
Churches. and 229 of mixed blood. Of those at the stations 177 were males and 101 females; The first Christian church among the and 176 on an average were boarded in Choctaws was organized at Elliot, the last the mission families. The average num Sabbath in March, 1819, including only the ber attending on instruction was 194; 67 members of the mission family. Churches were new scholars; 17 left school with a
were organized at Mayhew, Bethel, Goshen, good common education; 36 read in spell. and Emmaus soon after those stations were ing lessons, 36 in English reading lessons, occupied. Few persons, however, were 63 in the English Testament, 58 in Eng- added to any of them. Much seriousness lish Reader; 90 spell, and 245 read in Choc- prevailed in the schools and among,
the taw only; 126 read in both Choctaw and hired laborers at Mayhew during the winter English; 51 studied arithmetic, 64 geogra- and spring of 1824, and two natives, three phy, 22 grammar; 57 composed in English, white men, and two black women joined 12° in Choctaw only, 11 in Choctaw and the church. Again in the early part of the English; and 137 wrote.
year 1827 much religious inquiry prevailed The mission has thus furnished board, at the same station, and in Jane nine per tuition, books, and clothing, in part, to sons, two of whom were natives, joined the scholars boarded, during the thirteen years church. During the fall of 1828 a more which the mission has been in operation, to deep and anxious attention to religious in an amount equivalent to 1500 scholars for struction commenced in the vicinity of one year; which at $75 a year for each, Mayhew and in the western district, and would amount to $112,500: and it has fur- during the next year and a half, spread to nished tuition and books to scholars not all parts of the nation. Meetings became boarded, to an amount equivalent to 1000 large, the most solemn attention was paid scholars for one year.
to instruction, the stoutest warriors tremSabbath schools have been taught at all bled and wepi, and many appeared brokenthe stations. At one school of less than 30 hearted and penitent and began to rejoice in scholars 5,055 verses of the Bible in Eng. Christ. Nearly 400 persons have since unitlish and 1614 in Choctaw were committed ed with the churches. Ten were added to to memory in 1831, with 208 stanzas of the church at Elliot. The Mayhew church, English and 187 of Choctaw hymns. The embracing the converts residing near May. progress of the other schools was similar.
hew, Aiikhunna, and Yoknokchaya, has In addition to this, the Choctaw language received on examination, since it was has been acquired by several of the teach- organized in May, 1821, 284 members; of ers and missionaries, its orthography set- whom eight were of African descent, twenty tled, and the words first reduced to writing whites, and 256 Choctaws; 27 of whom by them. Seven distinct books of an ele- have been either excommunicated, or mate mentary and instructive character, among now under suspension for misconduct
. The which are a book of hymns, an abridgment church at Goshen has received about fifly
, of the Gospels, and a book on the Old Tes, and that at Emmaus about forty; only four tament history, have been prepared by them or five of whom have apostatized. The rein this language, and printed, amounting to mainder stand firm, and most of them give 10,000 copies, and 1,180,000 pages.
very encouraging evidence of genuine The civilization of the tribe has advanc- pieiy. All the young and middle aged ed rapidly. Strict laws have been made ihese two churches can read in the Choco against the introduction of intoxicating taw books, or are learning to read, and liquors, and till recently were vigorously many write. The whole number of per enforced. Intemperance received a great sons belonging to the cburches in the check. The first year after the station at Choctaw nation, at the close of the year Mayhew was formed, 20 murders were 1831, under the care of the Board, exclusive committed within a few miles of it in con of the mission families, and those who are sequence of intoxication, and in 1825 ten
under censure, was about 360. The numlives were lost from the same cause. Dur- ber of children baptised is 244.
AMERICAN BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS FOR FOREIGN MISSIONS.
No. IV. July, 1832.
AMERICAN MISSION CHURCH IN CEYLON.
As about balf the members of the Ceylon mission church are youth who have been named and supported in the mission boarding schools and seminary by benevolent individuals in this country, it will be interesting to many to see some connected account of the growth and character of that church, and the names of the individuals composing it.
The missionaries arrived in the district of Jaffna, Ceylon, and commenced their labors in October, 1816; and in one year they began to preach without interpreters in Tamul, the language spoken in that part of Ceylon, and by some millions of people on the adjacent continent. The Roman Catholics from Portugal came to the district two or three centuries before, and the Dutch followed them; but the traces of religious knowledge were slight. Eight missionaries have been sent to this field, two of whom have died. Five stations have been occupied. All the mission families and all the native converts constituted but one church until about a year since, when, in order better to secure the ends of church government, the converts residing in the vicinity of each station were associated together, and thus five churches were constituted. The missionaries organized themselves after the model of a presbytery.
The missionaries have used much caution in admitting members to the church. Inquirers have been thoroughly instructed; and when hopefully converted, they bave been instructed further, and counselled, and watched over, and not received to church-fellowship until the strength of their religious characters had been long tried, and they had given all the evidence which the nature of the case admits that they were born of the Spirit. After assenting to articles of faith, and entering into a covenant similar to what are adopted by evangelical churches in this country, the candidates receive the following as their rules of life. These are so modeled as to meet the various sins that are most prevalent and the temptations to which they are most exposed. Rules of Life.
people call gods; but you must not make Since there is a perfect rule of faith and any offerings to them nor give any thing practice contained in the Scriptures we
for their support, nor rub sandal-wood, dust,
nor ashes; nor use any heathenish ceremoought to examine them and compare one part with another; and, understanding them; ding, a funeral, at the birth of a child, while
nies, enchantments, or prayers at a wedwe ought to live agreeably to them, and not trust to the writings of man.
On this cultivating the land, when going to buy or account, we, the missionaries, being the sell, or when beginning any other work. watchmen of the church members, and
You must not have any thing to do with bound to teach them, by expounding the
such customs, neither can you observe sacred Scriptures, to'shun those things lucky or unlucky days or signs, nor use which they ought'not to do, and to do the soicery, nor consult the shasters: all these things they ought, make' known to the you are bound to leave, and live without members of our church in Batticotta, Tilli- <ihe least leaning towards heathenism.
[Here were inserted the texts of Scripture on pally, Oodooville, Panditeripo, and Manepy which the rule is founded. I the following rules, which are agreeable to We exhort and advise you not to obo the Christian religion. Isaiali viii. 20. serve any distinctions of caste among yourActs xvii. 11-16. John v. 39. Rev. xxii. selves, but to live as the members of one 18, 19. Matt. xxii. 29. 1 Peter i. 20, 21. family. In reference to office and other Neh. viii. 8. 2 Tim. iv. 2–6. 1 Thes. v. worldly distinctions, the inferior are to honor 14. Titus i. 15. 2 Chron. xix. 10. Ezek. the superior, each walking humbly and 1. 18. 1 Cor. iv. 14. 2 Cor. ix. 5. 1 Tim. esteeming others better than himself. ü. 1. Heb. xii. 5.
[Texts.) 1 You are bound not only to leave all
3. Take not the name of God in vain, idol worship, the worship of the saints of nor bear false witness, nor swear by your the Roman Catholics, and what the Tamul head nor any other part of your body, nor
take an oath upon any other name, nor use leave her for the sake of another woman, vain and idle words; nor quote the Bible in except for the crime of adultery, nor interan irreverent manner.
marry with near relatives nor with idolaters. [Texts.]
[Texts.) 4. Remembering you have covenanted 8. We warn you not to steal nor assist a to keep the Sabbath day holy, you must not thief, nor allow stolen goods to be in your only make every necessary preparation for Use no fraud in buying nor selling the Sabbath beforehand, so that neither you, nor cheat in weights nor measures, nor renor your workmen, nor your cattle may ceive a bribe, nor take exorbitant interest, have any thing to do on that day; but both nor forge bonds, nor gamble, neither give you and your family must abstain from all place to any such sins. worldly business, worldly conversation, and
[Texts.) desires after worldly things, nor buy, nor 9. We exhort you not only not to bear sell, nor journey, nor read books on worldly false-witness, but as church members
, not subjects, nor spend the time idly, but read to go to law with each other, nor assert any and hear the Scriptures and talk about thing to be true which you do not certainly them, meditate on the great concerns of the know to be so, nor accuse falsely, nor speak soul and on heaven, go to church and wor insidiously, nor condemn others, nor pubship God, and pray with your family at lish abroad the faults of brethren. home. In this way you are to keep the
10. We exhort you not to covet your [Texts.]
neighbor's goods, nor be envious of the in5. Children ought not only to obey and crease of your neighbor's property, but honor their parents, but when they are old every one to be content with such things to support them. Parents, too, should treat as he has, and be liberal in his feelings. their children kindly. Servants should
[Texts.] obey and honor their masters and masters It is not only a duty to refrain from doing treat their servants kindly and not abuse evil but every one is bound continually to them; wives should obey their husbands, do good. As far as you are able, feed the and husbands respect their wives and be hungry, clothe the naked, administer to the kind to them; each ought to be in subjec- sick and poor, constantly desiring that tion to kings and rulers and at peace and neighbors, children, and friends should live friendly with all.
a godly life. You should make known to [Texts.]
them the Scriptures and exhort them to re6. No one should dare to destroy him. form; pray for them, and in this way conself nor the life of another, nor kill any tinually strive that the glory of God may thing without a substantial reason, nor in be made manifest by the spread of the sport, nor in anger; nor should parents Christian religion. Moreover you should, allow their children to treat beasts cruelly, as the Christian religion directs, set a good so that they may die-nor should any one example before all, and shine as lights cause abortion, nor give place to drunken
among men, considering, that as Christ has ness, gluttony, anger, hatred, envy, malice, bought you at an unspeakable price, you quarrelling, oppression, nor any such pas are not your own but his, and are bound to sion.
serve him with both soul and body, and to [Texts.]
rejoice in his glory, giving diligence to 7. We exhort you not to commit adul
make your calling and election sure. If tery, nor use obscene language, nor learn
you do these things you will not stumble
, bad songs, use indecent gestures; nor asso- but an abundant entrance into the kingdom ciate with unchaste company; nor go to a of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be dance nor such like plays; but each live in administered unto you. love with the wife of his choice and never
(Texts.] The following catalogue gives the name of each person received into the church from the commencement of the mission, till July 21, 1831; together with the time when each was received, his age at that time, and his present standing and employment. Age.
Remarks. Aug. 4, 1816.
Nathaniel Niles, William Dennis, 30 Soldier.
July 15, 1821.
Philip M. Whelpley, 18 Nat. phys., Batticolta.
35 Laborer. Jan, 2, 1820.
Dec. 25, 1821. Philip Matthew, 23 Catechist, Nellore.
24 Laborer. May 7, 1826.
Feb. 24, 1822.
Daniel G. Gautier,
18 Sup. native free schools, April 21, 1822
16 Nat. Preacher, Balticotta,
Aug. 3, 1821.
20 Dutch phys., Madras.
12 Wife of D. Smend. 16 Wise of E. Porter.