OSM BENJAMIN MORTIMER TO MEIGS
(Confidential) Goshen near New Philadelphia,
Ohio State 1 August 1812
Being stationed here as a missionary of the Church of the United Brethren, among the Indians I beg leave at this time very respectfully to solicit your especial protection, in behalf of these who reside at this place. The present time of war, and the draft that is now making of the militia, appear to occasion much uneasiness in this part of the country. The most serious fears, I am informed, are expressed by many, that the Indians will soon begin to commit murders on the frontiers, that here the will find an asylum among those of their own color and that in consequence, the inhabitants of this county especially, during the absence of a part of the militia, will be exposed to imminent danger, Hence it is now unreserved- ly recommended, and loudly spoken of, that before another detachment of the militia marches, the settlement here must be destroyed, and the Indians killed. So shocking an outrage to humanity, which it seems is purposed to be committed on a few people, who are at same time universally acknow- ledged to be peaceable and harmless members of Society, merely because they are Indians, I hope to God will never disgrace that State of Ohio. I do not suppose that if even the tomahawk was lifted up on our frontiers, that any Indians who had evil designs against the settlements, would venture to approach a place like this is, where every individual is well known among the whites, where there are only seven Indian men actually residing, where it is the general opinion among all the Indians who have ever been here, that the missionary communicates every material occurr- ence among them to the white people, and where they must be sensible they would receive no support or countenance in the execution of any purpose subversive of the public peace. -- Alarms respecting the war have prevailed in this neighborhood for a considerable time past; but I had expected that the pea ceable disposition evinced by the Indians at Sa dusky, at Green & Jerome's town, and here, and especially Brigadier General Hull's proclama- tion on his landing in Canada, would have sufficiently tended to dissipate them. It is only since the present militia draft is making, that I re- ceive repeated messages from my friends in different place, plainly stating that the Indians here areseriously threatened, that they are in danger not only of being molested, but also of their lives, and that the constituted authorities here -- it is feared -- will not be able to keep the peace. I should have been glad, had time permitted, to have procured the corroborating testimonies of some magistrates to the facts stated above, but the case appears to be so urgent, that I thought I ought rather to hasten this communication to Your Excellency per mail. -- The Indians are as yet unacquainted with their danger; -- & if they were apprized of it, where should they fly to, to escape it? For their own sakes, and for the reputation of the State of Ohio, I should hope that they might be pro- tected in safety where they are; and shall have the fullest reliance to this end in any means which Your Excellency may think proper to adopt.
I am most respectfully Sir, Your Excellency's most obedt. servt.
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