The Destinies and Adventures of the Stephanists who emigrated from Saxony to America - pages 59 - 63


however I bet that within a year these people will adjust themselves to fit in with the current setting.

Going back to the external conditions of the Saxon congregation, let me say that it is only a love of truth derived from individual observation which prompts me to write this letter and it is for this same reason that I must tell Mr. H. Koch I consider him an idle scribbler who has not provided any proof that his (??) feather is guided by neither "prejudice nor ignorance to the facts." I would also like to remind him that it's just possible these people, who were unjustly persecuted in Germany by those in civil and religious authority, may be advised to bring suit in the courts for libel and slander. In this case all would have to bring their proofs before the court. If these proofs cannot be provided this group may be advised to sue for damages, usually a hefty sum,in addition to those charges filed by the judge for slander (and libel.)

So, Mr. H. Koch, the truth and nothing but the truth!

               St. Louis, March 13, 1839,
                                       Dr. H. Gempp.

_____

This well-intended defense received little approbation and the honorable doctor later had to admit that in the end he too, like so many, had been deceived. In the next issue


there was an exposition of arguments, which we have here:

               Anzeiger des Westens, March 23, 1839

In the last issue of your newspaper Dr. H. Gempp listed his complaints against me in defense of the Old Lutheran congregation and its leaders. He calls me a literary claptrapper; in return I would call him a dark agent of an Old Lutheran congregation and I would gladly take up the fight against this archaic hero in order to earn my spurs. He doesn't come to me as a noble knight but rather as a servant carrying a lance on which is posted his list. He has come to do battle with unworthy opponents. Thus I take no further notice of him because in Dr. Gempp's article I do not perceive the language skills of an educated man. He is completely lacking in the power to express himself and render judgment with clear understanding and sensitivity.

In the future I will try to avoid conducting vengeful literary battles, but for now, since I have been dragged into this, I will take a good look at Dr. Gempp's article and do him the service of illuminating the following points.

1. The reasonable public.

"If the reasonable public could hope to, etc."

Gempp's article displays a particular attitude, especially in his references to poverty, whereby he only considers those with money


members of the reasonable and unbiased public, or at least he gives that impression. It might be appropriate to ask what it takes to be counted among this public. Is there a standard scale against which one might determine whether his inquiries "provoke" reasonable men and should he be dismissed by others as "baying at the moon?"

2. Acts of Kindness

"Individuals supposedly rent themselves out for 25 cents."

This sentence is not refuted, merely confirmed and marvellously masked to conceal the shame of some individuals being rented out by others, as occurs among slaves and vagabonds, and the shame of taking their hard-earned wages. The shame does not fall upon the Stephanists alone but upon the whole German population. Cloaking the situation does not help, dear Doctor; the public at large judges according to the facts. The German population, especially the craftsmen, have seen a significant reduction in their trade as a result and they have developed a justifiable resentment towards this malicious practice and we suspect, not without reason, that the American and Irish craftsmen are beginning to show the same resentment. It's not difficult to predict the most likely outcome. Unfortunately lynch mobs are not uncommon in this country and they might meet up with both the renters and the rented.


What act of kindness are you performing, dear Doctor, in disguising the shameful practice of human rental by the Stephanists; what act of kindness are you performing for the German public when at any time someone could be lynched and the German public would have to bear the guilt?

3. Beggars

"It's also possible that other people are begging in the name of the congregation, etc."

Up to this point, thank God, we and probably Dr. Gempp have seen little evidence that German beggars are bothering the public of this city. How is it now that all of a sudden there are beggars taking advantage of the congregation's arrival to ply their trade? This false allegation is poorly chosen because anyone encountering a supplicant would refer him back to the rich coffers of the congregation and the evangelical benificence of his pastors. Do you see, dear Doctor, the ludicrous nature of this loophole? Perhaps you have not sufficiently considered the lamentable situation this creates for the rest of the German public. Whatever lofty reasons you have for saying the Stephanists are "praiseworthy," should you consider the good name of the rest of the German population any less "praiseworthy?"

4. The Word

"Concerning the reference to meat which cannot be sold at the market, I can give you my word, etc."


And even if it were the word of the prophet instead of his physician, it cannot be a proof of the negative. I, Heinr. Koch, give them my word that Stephanists have purchased meat outside the city, which cannot be sold at the city market, and used it for their meals. — Pah!

5. The Error

"I myself have yet to see a Saxon woman tethered to a cart, etc."

Did Dr. Gempp think that these women, who brought wood from the Mississipi island in carts to their homes while their husbands applied their strength to pushing the carts from the rear, were Apache squaws? That would be a strange error for an educated man.

6. A Learned Man's Eccentricity

"That his (??) feather is guided by neither prejudice nor ignorance to the facts."

I owe a debt of gratitude to this learned man's eccenticity for the two question marks, which I consider my merit honor of achievement. The learned Doctor has expressed doubt that the article came from me. It's the kind of remark one would not expect from a tradesman. For my part I will give the Doctor his due and publically declare I harbor no doubt that Dr. H. Gempp, former physician to a German prince, is the author of the famous letter to counter mine in the 21st issue


Go to pages 64 - 68


Copy of text provided by the Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks