The Destinies and Adventures of the Stephanists who emigrated from Saxony to America - pages 79 - 83


Or do your contend that your infallibility and love of truth are so well known that you need only "make a declaration?" Your own congregation might let you take such a stance but the public of this region demands different treatment; it demands reasoning and background.

Your "mere declaration" is not sufficient. Has the public heard or seen the "written and factual" refutations by which you put the acusations in the old fatherland to rest? Nothing of that sort has come before our eyes. The pages of this newspaper have offered you every opportunity to defend yourselves. If you have already responded to hostle German newspapers, then why don't you repeat your response for us since the assaults come from the same source? Doesn't the public of this region, with whom you intend to reside for the rest of your lives, have the same interests and the same right to become acquainted with you as those with whom you will never have dealings again?

Your "mere declaration" is not sufficient. In the three years of its existence the Anzeiger des Westens has never enjoyed such unreserved trust from its public. It choses its sources carefully and the German correspondence, which has been called into question here, comes from a source thoroughly investigated by a very careful man. If this newspaper is not entirely free of error, it is not due to a conscious attempt to deceive or intended malevolence.


Now when five pastors come forward and endorse their bold declarations and that of their superior, the public knowns that they are all keeping house from the same purse and participants in the affair have nothing good to say for themselves. The public of this region believes more in the Anzeiger des Westens than in five pastors and when they say that the editor is a "great lover of European lies" the public will not believe it until it sees the proof.

Your "mere declaration" is not sufficient. It's all well and good for you to say "we are willing to give honest friends of the truth further proof if they want it." Yes indeed, they do want it and this wish has been openly and urgently expressed by more than one party here. However you have neglected to respond for several months now. Perhaps you are waiting for readers in the more remote regions of Missouri, Illinois and Ohio to express their wish for a response as well. Perhaps you are waiting for them to ask for an audience with the bishop? Or perhaps you only call "honest friends of the truth" those people whom you have spoon fed your pablum and who are tied to your purse strings? Such people are easily won over.

Your "mere declaration" is not sufficient. You feel that it is, so you promise "to talk about your emigration in the near future in a neighboring newspaper." The Christliche Apologete [Christian Apologist] in Cincinnati, which you mean here, is a good brother for you. Its readers, who consider you a new phalanx to the great congregation of the "Backward March," will clasp your hands,


turn their eyes and fraternally lisp, "That's good." However the Christian Apologist will not be read here by your public, by the public with whom you wish to live, by the public which assaults you. If you want to influence the opinions of your fellow citizens here, then you should defend yourself here! You have scorned the public and done it well. Sectarians must not call upon the rational public. Comfort yourselves, flatter yourselves, play among yourselves and fortify yourselves within you own ranks. You rejected and damned the rest of the world, which does not follow your path. What do you care about opinions. — Adieu.

_____

In the next issue the deputies came forward for their bishop and we encounter the laughable and untruthful declaration that the malicious rumors spread throughout Germany were manufactured by government influence and coercion of the newspapers. One doesn't know if one should be more amazed by the arrogance or by the evil powers of deception in these men. — Throughout the entire affair the Saxon government showed a considerable amount of liberalness and tolerance, which many sides considered undeserved. On many occasions the authorities saw to it that rumors, which could not be proven in open court, were publically withdrawn and prevented from spreading. Briefly stated, the government adopted a course of action which moderates and fair-minded people deemed appropriate


and which should have garnered the gratitude of the leaders of this group rather than the insults cast against it by the above statement. We give here the entire low-minded piece of work:

               Anzeiger des Westens, May 4, 1839

Protest

For quite some time now vicious rumors have circulated among our new countrymen about the old Lutheran congregation, which emigrated here from Germany. The congregation along with its bishop has already declared in a previous article that it will not bother to refute these rumors. Our spiritual leaders have made a similar declaration regarding these lies, the latest of which was leveled against our bishop, and have issued a simple denial which will not be expanded upon despite challenges from this newspaper. These lies were extracted from the notorious German newspapers which are under state control and once they were circulated in free America they became, to the astonishment of all unbiased parties, a workforce of the oppressive state authorities in this land. — People are always coming back to the idea that a priestly regime exists among us since the Anzeiger des Westens published an article stating that we cannot be considered free and independent men until we cease to allow the priests to have authority over us.

We are not inclined to present our refutations


with the same level of insults which they have used, however we do not want to remain silent regarding each of their accusations and thus give the appearance of agreeing with everything they say.

We will limit ourselves to declaring firmly and concisely that these lies are lies.

Truth lives within this declaration we give you. We do this out of a sense of duty to our consciences and to God because only the truth will suffice. We are duty-bound to our ministers (who - and we swear to this - have not asked us to do this) because they are honest and honorable men worthy of love. And finally we feel a sense of duty towards our new countrymen because they do not know the facts and might be misled by unrefuted accusations.

There is no priestly regime among us. This congregation has come together without limitation upon its free will. Within it there is complete and heartfelt harmony without any form of persuasion or coercion from our ministers. The congregation voluntarily traveled from Europe to America and it chooses to stay together now. Whoever does not wish to stay with us may leave unhindered by us once he repays the cost of passage, etc. to which he agreed by contract. We are an exultant congregation; a congregation which immigrated here to practice its faith, the true and free profession of which was denied us in Germany.


Go to pages 84 - 88


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

Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks