David Zeisberger: A Life among the Indians

By Earl P. Olmstead; David Zeisberger | Go to book overview
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10
The Philadelphia Incident, 1763-1765

ALTHOUGH THE situation on the frontier was explosive, in Philadelphia little planning had been done to receive the Moravian contingents from the missions of Wechquetank and Nain. Most of the pressure on the young governor to confine the Indian converts was coming from the dissatisfied western pioneer counties and the Quaker-controlled assembly. All of these parties were primarily concerned with political considerations that had little to do with the welfare of the Indians.

Back in Bethlehem, Nathaniel Seidel, Spangenberg's replacement, dispatched his assistant, Frederick von Marschall, to follow the Schmick party to Philadelphia.1 Marschall arranged the legal defense of Renatus and, aided by the Moravian attorney Lewis Weiss, presented a plan to the governor that would protect the refugee converts now living at Nain and Nazareth. William Logan placed the plan before the governor's council, but it was quickly rejected for an alternate arrangement calling for the disarmament and removal of the converts to Philadelphia. With little dissent, the letter plan was approved by the assembly.

Governor Penn sent a messenger to Bethlehem directing the converts to make immediate preparations to move. Though distressed at the thought of being confined in the city, the converts obeyed the order with aston

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