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Historic Diaries: Marsh, 1834

Appenoose Hears Marsh's Proposal

Editor's Note:

Marsh appears to have forgotten to indicate the date, at the start of this entry.

The complementary nature of the chief's actions seems to have been lost on Marsh. The missionary wants to explain Christianity to the his host and encourage him to understand its value; Appenoose, likewise, takes the time to explain his religion to Marsh and encourage him to understand it better.

The two of them will engage in more "theological" discussions over the next day or two.

The manuscript becomes rather disjointed at this point, with extraneous notes and observations that appear to have been entered at a later time interleaved with the daily entries.

[August 9, 1834]

After I returned from my morning retirement, I found the chief quite sober. They had commenced another sacred feast, and he told something of its design. The songs he said, only a few words of which were mentioned, were to bring to mind the traditions delivered to their ancestors by the gods, and a speech which was made at the end showed the meaning.

The following is a translation of one which they were singing as he gave it to the interpreter.

"Go, and you shall have two horns on your forehead, and when you shall return, your horns shall be blue like the sky."

The meaning he said was this: "Go among the beasts of the earth, and be Master. I will give you knowledge equal to the flight of the birds." For he had given to the hearts of the beasts of the field hair and fur, and to birds wings and feathers, and taught them how to live, but man he sent into world naked and as a compensation he gave this power and knowledge.

Their Meshaum, says he, is the same to them when they open it as the Book (bible) is to white people, for by it they learn what the gods delivered to their ancestors to be handed down from generation to generation. This son, he said, would go in and learn the songs and when he grew up he would know and understand it, and when the father died the son would receive his father's Meshaum etc.

At first he said that the gods made eight persons and promised them two horns, but sometime after, the Gr. Sp. or the gods saw them and they had only one.

Today I have at length succeeded in bringing the subject of establishing a mission amongst this band before Ah-pen-oose. But in consequence of drinking last eve he would hardly listen long enough to hear it properly laid before him, altho he was sober.

He inquired if I was sent there by a priest and by the approbation of the Pres[ident] also, but few other inquiries of importance. It seemed by what I could learn from the interpreter that he was less inclined than when he first returned: liquor it appears to me has made the change.

Towards eve he called a council and set it before them, and they informed me that they would give an answer the next day. Whilst assembled I retired and anew lifted up my soul to G. in prayer. But have felt much darkness or depression of spirits today, perhaps however in consequence of being broken of my rest last night. Yet have felt as I hope some cheerfulness and confidence too, in commending this momentous subject to God in prayer...

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