where the tradesmen will be situated. The "scholars' city" prevails in the distance on the 200 foot high bluff. This is where the congregation's public buildings and the church will be constructed.
A proposal to publicly auction off pieces of land in the commercial district to anyone regardless of whether they were members of the congregation was rejected because it caused many quarrels. The New York contingent of the congregation, by far the most experienced and practical group, did not want strangers in its midst and would withdraw from the enterprise even though this would be detrimental to the welfare of the other members of the congregation.
For the most part confusion and chaos prevail resulting in discouragement and depression. While people are making grandiose plans to establish a city and a seminary, they neglect to take the necessary actions to provide roofs over their families' heads. Of the 500 people living there, some live in a few farm houses - these privileged few include the pastors, the congregation administrators and the overseers. Some live in shelters with roofs but no walls. Others live in cloth tents and a portion live under the cover of trees at the shoreline. The scarce food supply is rationed out to families, mostly bacon and rice. Able bodied men work mostly at clearing the land * and putting up fences **
** A fence is an enclosure erected to keep cattle and grazing horses from roaming the open range and the cultivated fields. [Remainer of footnote from page 120] Naturally these structures must be fairly high and they are quite costly and time consuming to build. Return to text
but not much is accomplished because they lack experience, skilled leadership and above all else, draft animals. There are 50 or so supervisors and managers, who do nothing themselves and who generally contradict each other. Epidemic disease has not yet broken out however exhaustion and depression are widespread due to the unusual work, the unaccustomed climate, the lack of food and bad housing. The weather is damp, the insects plague them and the terrain is treacherous.
There have been many changes in the leadership but this has done nothing to improve matters or offer greater hope and security for the future of the congregation.
Every so often Bishop Stephan comes over from the other side of the Mississippi and approaches portions of the congregation to seek financial assistance in order to make himself more comfortable. He is considering going to court to reclaim his property, which he asserts was forcibly taken from him by illegal means. He will find support among some of his American neighbors, who think he is a personage of distinction. They are also intrigued by the story of one of his concubines, who after receiving church penance from the congregation sneaked off to rejoin her lord and master.
The near future will show to what extent these chimeric plans are fulfilled. However for now only constant work, stringent frugality and complete halting of all unnecessary spending will guarantee the colony a sustainable existence. Unfortunately under the current circumstances we see little hope.
One must see the many impediments and difficulties to land clearing before they grasp the concept of how costly and time consuming the undertaking is. The settlers might enjoy the fruits of their labors in a year or so but until then they still have to sustain themselves. When we take into account the number of elderly people, women and children in the congregation who are incapable of undertaking such difficult work, when we add the number of ministers, candidates, etc. who do not work and yet must be fed, and when we factor in the sad state of their finances, we arrive at the tragic conclusion that their continued existence under the current conditions is an impossibility. It produces staggering disillusionment which saps the settler's spiritual and physical resources. People filled their heads with thoughts of the second Canaa. Now they do not even have a quarter of the possessions they had in the familiar and dispised homeland that they abandoned. They left everything behind to follow a man who enticed them. Now this man stands before them as the most dreadful and sinful of creatures. The dream has disappeared and harsh reality fills their disillusioned vista. Most assuredly this situation
will not fortify these unfortunate people to face unknown hardships and strengthen them to make unaccustomed sacrifices.
It is our sad duty to inform the reader of the worst tragedy of this entire disasterous enterprise. It is the unfortunate fate of the ship Amalia, whose end we can scarcely doubt. The ship sailed from Bremenhafen with the Olbers but had not arrived at its final destination by the end of July. Even now no one has heard a word about its passengers and people are becoming ever more certain that the Amalia sank off the coast of France during a storm which raged between November 28th and 30th of 1838. Further reports we have received tend to support this conclusion. The crew of the Olbers investigated during its return trip from America and no information was found concerning the Amalia. When they communicated with the marine authorities in London it was reported that they had received no signals from the ship when it would have passed along the English coast. It's assumed they met up with disaster.
We list here the passenger manifest of the Amalia (with 58 passengers):
We close with the wish that this narrative will not pass into obscurity but serve as a warning to everyone of how false and perverted religious zeal may lead people astray and how dangerous it is to believe the word of pious hypocrites, especially when they
act as servants of God. Furthermore may this small tract show how dangerous pietism can be when it works hand in hand with deception to lure näive people of faith into its nets. This nest of vipers never rests in its dark business. It is the sacred duty of every friend of religion to expose these stealthy toads wherever he finds them before they inject their poison into the hearts of their victims. It is the sacred duty of every friend of religion to confront this evil brood with the torch of reason and the sword of truth so that the Augean stable may be cleaned before it continues in its gradual attempt to infect the realm of healthy faith.
However when our readers look back with displeasure to the head of the congregation and his helpers' helpers, when they can find no pardonable motives in the sinful initiatives of these seducers and can only deem their actions with horror and distain, they will most certainly feel sympathy and regret for the unfortunate victims who were innocent of any wrong doing!
Page 37 line 13 from the top. In mentioning the New York congregation 2 names were switched. Instead of "Brother Spröde and a man by the name of Rudloff" it should read Brother Rudloff and a man by the name of Spröde. The same mistake occurs on line 14 from the bottom. Where it states "the elder Rudloff" replace the name with Spröde. It was this latter man who took the trip to Germany. Return to text
This is the conclusion of The Destinies and Adventures of the Stephanists who emigrated from Saxony to America , completed February 16, 2008.
Copy of text provided by the Concordia Theological Seminary Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
Imaging and translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks