Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

fill the whole form and stood erect. “Behold!' some did say, a new spirit hath animated the man, and all things are seen in a new light.' Outer forces did not see the exchange, but the soul who passed into the deserted tenement did not shrink back affrighted, but said, 'My term of imprisonment I will pass in doing all duties well.'

“Oft the lowly in soul do lay aside their burdens and shrink from exposures to the lands of storms. Passing out in manner of the self-destroyer, they are again placed in the furnace heats of affliction, and passages most painful are passed. A soul family, we bind up the wounds of the bruised and solace the afflicted, but the turbulent in spirit we lay aside till the forces are regenerated. Adaptation must be known to produce the highest good. A found land of good fruits is thy own, niy brother. I give thee love for love and hope for hope." - Hosea.

XIX

INDIAN SPIRITS AND THEIR BRETHREN WEST

“ Better trust all and be deceived,

And weep that trust and that deceiving,
Than doubt one heart, that is believed,
Had blest one's life with true believing.”

- Frances A. Kemble.

When on his lecturing tours Mr. Peebles has often indulged his habit of taking morning and evening walks for meditation and interior communion. On these occasions he frequently talks aloud with the spiritual intelligences he feels around him. One evening in California he ascended a terrace in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas. The scene spread out before him was magnificent in the extreme. The wide stretches of San Joaquin Valley presented one splendid panorama, while a soft blue haze settled on the summits of the Coast Range, seventy miles away. The whole scene was peculiarly inspiring, and he felt around him a vast concourse of spirits – spirits of the indigenous inhabitants who once occupied the country. He addressed his concourse, and as his voice resounded through the rocky caverns, the tones were caught by some miners passing that way, who drew near and listened to this strange discourse. Then they went straightway and reported they had “ heard a crazy man on the mountain talking to a ghost!”

In July, 1869, Mr. Peebles, J. O. Barrett, and Dean Clark were the speakers at a mass meeting of about three thousand persons held in Plymouth, Wis.-H. S. Benjamin, president, and E. W. McGrew, secretary. Just as Mr. Peebles had composed himself for a rest of brain, he was suddenly called on to speak. For a moment he felt to murmur and

was about to decline, when a wave of inspiration swept over him, and he distinctly heard the spirit voices:

“James, have we been so long with you, and yet you doubt our presence to aid you? See these hungry souls. Rise and speak.” He obeyed, and spoke with a mighty power, gathering strength and inspiration as he proceeded, and when he took his seat he actually felt rested and refreshed. Blessings,” said he, “ be upon our invisible helpers."

During a visit at the rustic home of Mr. Barrett on the forest shore of Elkhart Lake, near Glen Beulah, Wisconsin, he made a speech to the Indian spirits who in generations gone by lived in that locality. Here Mr. Barrett built a wigwam, which Mr. Peebles thus describes:

"Impressed from the heavenly hunting-grounds' of the Indians, Brother Barrett had been moved, ere we reached those regions, to fashion a quiet and beautiful retreat near the margin of these musical waters, by bending and twisting saplings, shrubs, and larger trees into a crowning cone-form, constituting a wigwam bower of prayer, a veritable temple of inspiration."

One starlight evening, prior to the mass-meeting, the lake, patting the wood-tangled bank with its gentle undulations, several friends having assembled at the wigwam, Mr. Peebles arose, turned his face toward the expanse of water, and addressed the Indian spirits, reminding them of their sufferings, of the injustice meted out to them for centuries, of the bloody resolution of the whites to exterminate their brethren in the West, and of his determination to defend their rights by the establishment of industrial systems of peace. After the Plymouth meeting Mr. Clark was controlled by an Indian spirit who cordially thanked the “ Pale-face" for his "big talk in the wigwam."

Being at a seance with Dr. Dunn as medium, Mr. Peebles asked Powhattan about his earth and spirit home. In poor English he replied:

“Me had, when in my body, one squaw. Some Indians have many.

Me had one pappoose, Kanawaubish, Pretty Water; ' You call my pappoose · Pocahontas.'

“Me still be Indian; me no speak good like white man; me got nice wigwam home by big waters. Me got pretty canoe, and bow and arrow; me hunt, but no kill; me sleep under blue sky; me have for me bed the big spirit hunting grounds. Me blanket be the great blue heaven. Me music is the waving trees and the breath of the Big Spirit, as he blows leaves of the forest. In morning time, the Great Spirit looks out from his window in the east, and the Indian, with dew on his forehead, worships the Great Spirit in the sun. Me now like the white man, and me come with many chiefs, of many tribes, to do him good.”

In the winter of 1868, Mr. Peebles lectured in St. Louis and cities farther west, where his whole soul was stirred to intense action in defense of the Indians, whom the whites in all that region were determined to exterminate. It called down upon him the ire of officials and pseudo-Spiritualists. He had been years before vice-president of the Universal Peace Society, and a most efficient worker. True to his instincts, he went forth on his love-errand. He wrote the following letter to his friend, A. H. Love, president of the society:

Passing down the main street of Leavenworth, I saw a recruiting office; and reaching Topeka, on board the train for Lawrence were four cars loaded with cavalry officers. I saw the whitened tents of the soldiery. The army was awaiting orders to march upon the Indians. Oh, how my heart ached and my soul bled! Constituting myself a peace commissioner, I immediately called upon Gov. Crawford and the State marshal, and protested, in kindness yet in great firmness, against this proposed movement to be conducted by Gen. Sheridan. I went on still west from Topeka, toward Colorado, conversing with Judge Humphrey, Col. Smith, and other army officers. It seemed as though God's angels aided me in thought and speech. These officers admitted the wisdom and beauty of my humanitarian position ; but they were Utopian and impracticable,' they said; and adapted to times a hundred years hence.'

“ Perhaps I am too enthusiastic for the red man, our

brother, God's child. Perhaps I am too enthusiastic for peace throughout the world. But my soul's sympathies are stirred; and now, while I pen these lines, my eyes are suffused with tears.

“Can not there be something done to flank this Western war-movement ? It must start in the East. The extreme West is red for blood.

“I am sorely tried. The Commissioners, save Col. S. F. Tappan, seem inclined to take retrograde steps. It is impossible to get to the Indians now personally: they suspect everybody. If there could be a delegation gotten up in some way, in connection with the ' Peace Commissioners,' having the sanction of Government, I think something might be done; but between now and spring, how many will be shot down by a barbarous soldiery! I sometimes feel like flying away from this Christian civilization, so false to justice and benevolence, and going off alone into the Indian country, devoting my life to their good.”

About this time, reporting his Western experiences to The Banner of Light, he tells the story in these stinging words:

Stopping at the Planters' Hotel, Leavenworth, Kan., a very intelligent gentleman, just from Denver City, informed us, that, in an adjacent village, the citizens of a few weeks previous had 'burned Gen. Sherman in effigy,' because connected with the Indian Peace Commission. He further said, it was the general purpose of the people in that region to kill indiscriminately Indian men, women, and children; for, he added, it takes but little time for 'papooses to make warriors.'

“In several Kansas cities recruiting officers were in full operation. Our train from Leavenworth to Lawrence had four cars filled with cavalry horses, for the coming war of extermination. Just to the northeast of Topeka, in full view, was the tented soldiery of the 19th Kansas, waiting the arrival of other companies for further orders. Inviting a gentleman to accompany us to the Indian country and the Western forts, he refused, because of the nightly depredations of the soldiers tenting near Topeka. Why,' said he, they are stealing every

66

« ZurückWeiter »