Translator's Note: To date I have been unable to find Volume 16, No. 1 - 6 or 8 - 12. This issue comes from the A. R. Wentz Library, Historical Periodical Collection, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pa.
of the origin, emigration, settlement and ecclesiastic development of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church or Congregation, which emigrated from Prussia between the years 1839 and 1843, now known as the Buffalo Synod.
The following letter shows the real reason for the reluctance of these people, namely the pietistical oppression of conscience. I pointed this out at the time.
To Brother von Rohr!
To show you, beloved brother, just how far these poor souls have been seduced away from all godly order (Act 15) and driven from the church by the devil's cunning to date, let me tell you of an incident which occurred today (May 4th.) At 10 AM I went to the school and entered the first class where organist Müller teaches. Deeply troubled, he related to me that around 8 AM a man named Wiesener from Silesia had his daughter, a student, bring in the old Saxon catechism.
The girl relayed her father's comment that the catechism was false and she (the daughter) would no longer come to the school. The sectarians of the region are responsible for this. They do not respect pastor office, the assembly of elders or the synod. By his own admission Wiesener, like all sectarians, is a man of limited knowledge when it comes to doctrine. This is why it's so difficult to root them out of the devil's weed patch. It occurs to me that it's necessary to give you an overview of the origins of the Silesian gang.
In June 1839 I came to Hamburg. The elder counsel was deliberating on the case of the Silesians. At the first assembly it was decided that Schulthess had negotiated for passage to Australia without proper authority, the Silesians were free to travel to America and they were under no obligation to Mr. Angas in accordance with God's word. In the next two assemblies where Schulthess produced the powers of attorney and his correspondence it was decided that in accordance with God's word they (except Bierosch and Meyer) were all obligated to negotiate a proper settlement with Angas before they traveled with us to America. To our way of thinking the
proper lay in telling Mr. Angas that:
a) According to the testimony of their deputy, Schulthess, they had accepted the terms for assistance, which he [Mr. Angas] had offered them for passage to Australia.
b) They misrepresented quite a few facts concerning their number and their finances.
c) Mr. Angas should inform them if they will receive financial support for passage to Australia and from this they will learn God's will on whether or not they should go to Australia.
If they would send the letter to Mr. Angas, the assembled deputies and elders would assure them financial support from our emigration passage fund and they could go to America if Angas told them that he could not give them financial support for passage to Australia. A few of the Silesians stepped forward, refused to sign the letter and declared they had nothing to do with Angas. However they would sign the letter if it was added that they intended to go to America with us. We were opposed to this because they hadn't even considered going with us at the time they accepted the assistance in getting to Australia. (N.B. Favorable reports had arrived in London concerning Kavel's congregation.) Furthermore if it is God's will that the Silesians travel to North America with us, then He would influence Angas' heart — as it happened, Angas declared that he could not take them to Australia but the true God had worked upon his heart. Angas was prepared to send them 808 Reichs Dollars in financial support for their journey to America.
Without a doubt here was a test of the Silesians' faith.
Those, who refused to test their faith, declared they had always intended on going to America, so they would not sign the letter. We showed them that this was the sin of injustice. Previously it had been proven that they had wanted to follow the will of God, they had not rescinded brother Schulthess' power of attorney and they had accepted the offer of financial assistance for passage to Australia. They should embrace righteousness and come to a proper settlement with Angas. Then we would take them with us as Christian brothers and pay for their passage out of our cash fund. However if they would not be just, we would have to consider them sinners and if they persisted in their sin we could consider them brothers in Christ.
Bierosch and Meyer gave an account of themselves, stating that they had not accepted the offer of financial aid for passage to Australia, so they were acquitted. However, avoiding notice, they traveled on and are still traveling to this day along with several others with whom they have formed a sect, which is most particular in its contempt for me. To date I have heard nothing from Bierosch concerning his situation.
When I arrived here and started the church, there were a few individuals attending church services, who soon after came to the erroneous conclusion that the services were not Lutheran! They stayed away from the church, however two of them attended a congregational meeting and spread baseless gossip. No one except Schmiedel and Lomparth agreed with them.
They maintained that they had wanted to come to america and had nothing to do with Angas. They also declared that Captain von Rohr had been fair with them in Buffalo and
they had paid their own money in traveling from Hamburg to America.
Angas sent a letter to Hamburg stating that he was deeply saddened to see he was dealing with people more interested in business than faith. — If the negotiations had been handled the way you had thought they were in your letter, dear brother, or if they would have remained as originally set in place, then Angas would not have written such a comment concerning the Silesians' sense of honor. For our part we consider these Silesians dishonorable people and in accordance with the old church orders the pastor should not administer the sacrament of the alter to such contrary sinners. They certainly have not asked for it from me and they have stayed away from open church services in a most arrogant, smug and defiant manner. Their gang has sent me two insulting letters, which I have not answered. The members of the gang are Meyer, Faude Sr. and Jr., Grotke, Amrey and Keller. The latter has supposedly set up an opposition school. Faude is supposed to manage church affairs.
Your brother in Christ,
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Copy of text provided by A. R. Wentz Library, Historical Periodical Collection, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pa..
Imaging & translation by Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks