Loskiel’s mission among the Indians of America.
1815 Catalogue, page 125, no. 167, as above, but reading
History of the Mission of the United Brethren among the Indians in North America. In Three Parts. By George Henry Loskiel. Translated from the
German by Christian Ignatius La Trobe.
London: Printed for
the Brethren’s Society for the Furtherance of the Gospel: Sold at No. 10, Nevil’s Court, Fetter Lane; and by
E99 .M9 L82
First Edition of this translation. 8vo. 3 parts in 1, with separate signatures and pagination, together 332 leaves, large folded
Pilling, page 318.
Field, no. 952.
Jefferson several times expressed his opinion of religious missions to the Indians. On April 7, 1809, in a letter to James
Jay, he wrote: “
. . . the plan of civilizing the Indians is undoubtedly a great improvement on the antient & totally ineffectual one of beginning
with religious missionaries. our experience has shewn that this must be the last step of the process. the following is what
has been successful. 1. to raise cattle & thereby acquire a knolege of the value of property 2. arithmetic to calculate that
value--3. writing, to keep accounts and here they begin to inclose farms, & the men to labor, the women to spin & weave. 4:
Aesop’s fables &
Robinson Crusoe are their first delight. the Creeks & Cherokees are advanced thus far, & the Cherokees are now instituting a regular government
. . .
A letter from Jefferson to Peter Wilson of Columbia College, New York, dated from Monticello, January 20, 1816, concerning
Indian languages, referred to the difficulties of missionaries: “
. . . I think therefore the pious missionaries, who shall go to the several tribes to instruct them in the Christian religion,
will have to learn a language for every tribe they go to; nay more, that they will have to create a new language for every
one, that is to say, to add to theirs new words for the new ideas they will have to communicate. law, medecine, chemistry,
mathematics, every science has a language of it’s own, and Divinity not less than others. their barren vocabularies cannot
be vehicles for ideas of the fall of man, his redemption, the triune composition of the godhead, and other mystical doctrines,
considered by most Christians of the present date as essential elements of faith. the enterprize is therefore arduous, but
the more inviting perhaps to missionary zeal, in proportion as the merit of surmounting it will be greater . . .
George Henry Loskiel, 1740-1814, was born in Russia, and joined the Moravian church while still a student. In May 1802 he was consecrated a bishop
and sailed immediately for the Moravian headquarters in the United States at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. The original edition
of this work in German was published in 1789, and in the Preface (repeated in the English translation) dated from Strickenhof
in Livonia, May 2nd, 1788, the author expresses his obligations to Bishop Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg, to David Zeisberger,
and to several books including Robertson’s
History of America
Travels through the interior parts of America
, and Mr. Leiste’s
Description of the British Dominions in North America
. [The last reference is to Christian Leiste’s
Beschreibung des Brittischen Amerika
, 1778, and not to the anonymous
History of the British Dominions in North America
, 1773, see no. 4008.]
Christian Ignatius Latrobe, 1758-1836, English Moravian minister, was the son of Benjamin Latrobe. In 1785 he became secretary to the Society for the
Furtherance of the Gospel, and in 1795 secretary of the Unity of the Brethren in England. In his account of this book, Field,
op. cit., page 248, states:
. . . Among the subjects, is the narrative of that saddest of stories, the massacre of Gnadunhutten and Salem,--saddest, most
atrocious, most damnable record of human infamy and bloody shame.
A remarkable omission occurs in La Trobe’s translation. A copy of the first edition had been presented to Zeisberger, who
expressed the greatest regrets that the names of Eliot McKee, and other former enemies of the mission had been recorded, as
they had since repented. At his request the names of many who had brought terrible misfortunes upon the missionaries and their
converts, were omitted in this translation.
In addition to this translation Latrobe was the author of other books and of a number of musical compositions.
Sir James Jay, 1732-1815, an elder brother of John Jay, was knighted by George III. He was born in New York City, where he set up practice as a physician after receiving a medical degree at the University of Edingburgh. [
]. For an account of him and his works see the Dictionary of American Biography.