Rt. Rev. Sir,
Permit me to recommend to your benevolence a young protestant German, who repairs to Germany, wherefrom he hopes to be able to send to his old father in St. Louis pecuniary means, in order to move back to his native country with his whole family. Being distressed they applied to me, as they found no compassion or relief on the side of teir country-men belonging to the same sect of the Stephanites. It would take me too much time to expatiate on the particulars of their affecting history; let it suffice to say, that, for several reasons, charity bestowed on the bearer of this will be of great service to many destitute individuals, and will also benefit the cause of our holy religion. He found assistance but with the catholic priest; I procured him nearly 50 dollars and would do more for him, were he no so much in a hurry to leave for Germany. Please therefore to procure by your mediation further means for the young mn to get across the Atlantic. Some of your wealthy catholics may easily make up a little sum of 20 or 30 dollars, which will be sufficient. —
I am respectfully
Through the gift of Father Lutz and the sale of his dispensible personal items Günther was in a position to commence his journey back to German. He left St. Louis on July 7th and traveled part way on foot, part way by steamer and rail past Louisville, Cincinnati, Wheeling, Pittsburg, Johnstown, Holydagsburgh, Harrisburg, Columbia and Philadelphai to New York, where he arrived on July 27th.
Unfortunately the swift and sudden departure of the American ship, on which he had book passage with the captain, prevented our traveler from making use of the letter of recommendation by Reverend Lutz.
On August 28th Günther landed in Portsmouth and then he took the same ship to London. After a mere 24 hour layover at an English residence he continued his journey on the steamship Neptune to Hamburg. An arduous journey of two months ended as he reached his fatherland on September 7th.
|The well laid out plan by Pastor Stephan and his followers to emigrate to America became a mass migratory movement in the Spring of 1838 after charges had been made against him by the court. The measures taken to spur this man's followers to abandon their happy situations at home are well known. We will render no judgment on whether the majority was moved by the principle impressed upon it "that they could not be holy in Saxony" or whether they simply sympathized with the impure intentions of their leader. However this much is certain - many an honest man made his decision to emigrate based on pious intentions and the best of personal convictions albeit that his unconsidered yielding to the will and leadership of men, who were deaf to the friendly warnings of others, might betray personal weakness. By virtue of their trust in Stephan and their|
willingness to surrender their citizenship in order to follow him, those who were always close to him vouched for Stephan's integrity. — We announce to the world that it would have been difficult for these men to wash away each and every suspicion of being lead by impure motives when they themselves had kept quiet for so long about Stephan and the unfortunate circumstances which fell upon the community as a result.
Indeed the enterprise appears completely uncertain and ill-considered when we communicate the facts, which were as plain then as they are now. Thus it is not necessary to repeat the gossip which circulated before the time of Stephan's departure — the same things occurred in the New World as occurred in the Old World.
The majority of the emigrants made their way from Dresden to Bremen by boat and nothing notable occurred during this journey. In Bremen the group assembled for communal passage.
On Sunday evening, November 4th, the shepherd of the trusting flock arrived in Bremen and everyone celebrated his good fortune to be in the presence of this demigod. — Much was taken out of the community cash fund, administered by three members of the community, for the purchase of velvet and silk, lace and costly linen so that clothes fit for a bishop could be made for the servant of the Lord and the master of his congregation. Church plates, crosses, crucifixes, etc. were made of heavy gold
to adorn the new temple, which would be built. Much of the available cash was squandered. Songsheets were printed up with lyrics indicating that the beloved Saxon land was inhabited by godless hoardes and non-believers. The title proclaimed:
"Songs of Exultation on the Sea. A small contribution towards the spiritual provisioning of those who are fleeing Saxony and traveling to North America as part of the apostolic Lutheran congregation for the sake of their sacred faith with their true servant of God and witness to the truth, Martin Stephan."
Stephan also published a proclamation before the journey as a "Farewell from the Old Lutheran congregation moving from Saxony to North America:"
But before we leave Germany and Europe, we wish to extend one last greeting and farewell to our friends who will remain behind. After many years of slander and persecution we are finally redeemed from the hands of our enemies and we are going in peace to another part of the world, where freedom of religion and profession are not just empty terms and where even the scandalized have the freedom to defend themselves openly. Even though we leave with the painful memory of so many bitter experiences, we certainly do not forget the great benevolence which was shown to us from high and low. Our heart is filled with gratitude towards all who have fervently and generously embraced us in our forsaken circumstance.
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Copy of text provided by the Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks