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to circulate tracts; &c. Servants can be obtained to attend to domestic concerns. In the establishing of schools it is not necessary to bring the pupils into his family, and to impose on himself the charge of instructing, managing, feeding, clothing, and lodging them, as so many of his own children. If under these circumstances, he is subjected to trials, which often are sore enough, such is the structure of the human mind, when under the influence of grace, that his business of all others is best calculated to sustain him. Being constantly engaged in labours which are immediately of a missionary character, and congenial to the desires of his soul ever since he left his native land, the fire of holy benevolence is kept burning in his bosom.
The missionary to the aborigines of our country leaves his place and society with the same heaven-born desire to point the benighted Indian to the path of virtue, and to guide him in the way to heaven. Relinquishing his business in life, and consecrating himself to labours for the benefit of others, without the hope of any earthly reward, beyond food and raiment, or in other words, the indispensable necessaries of life, he fancies himself to be quitting the busy, perplexing spheres of the world, and to be entering upon a scene of labours which will perpetually accord with the pious breathings of his soul. He, to be sure, expects to encounter many privations and hardships, but these he hopes to bear with cheerfulness, on account of the pleasure realized in the nature of his work.
On his arrival at the field of his labours he applies himself to the study of the language of the natives. He finds himself among a people totally ignorant of letters. Here are no books for his assistance; and twenty chances to one if he finds a person tolerably well qualified for even a common interpreter, much less one who has an idea of the science of language. He is forced to pick up the language as he can find it. He is denied the pleasure of translating, and of circulating portions of the scriptures, and other tracts, for his people have no knowledge of letters. He proceeds to preach to them, but more than half the year they are wandering, partly in separate families; and during the season when most about their villages, he will frequently have the grief to hear that half his congregation are absent, procuring roots and weeds to satisfy the cravings of hunger. Ardent spirits are distributed to them all over their country, and not one of a hundred of either sex is not inclined to use them intemperately. This is a sickening evil to be met with wherever he goes, but is most prevalent during the season that they inhabit their villages. With all these discouragements, his faith and resolution might not fail him, even when mingling with his people in their filthy camps, and impelled by necessity to partake of their homely cookery, could he be allowed to give his undivided attention to these labours, which in themselves are calculated to inspire zeal. But he is not so fortunate. He must turn his attention to agriculture and to the management of a farm, stocked with domestic animals, for the sake of teaching the same to the people of his charge. He must become the superintendent of shops in which are taught mechanic arts. Most persons with ordinary families of their own children, in situations where faithful servants cannot be employed, deem their task in providing them with food, raiment, lodgings, attendance in sickness, and instruction in letters, labour, and morals, far from light. But the missionary has added to the number of dependants on his care ten or fifteen fold, and
these additions are wild from the woods, unaccustomed to parental restraints, and from the midst of a people am
mong whom are commonly practised every thing wrong of which their state is susceptible, from the vilest murders to the least offensive sins.
Even all this could be borne, could he properly keep alive the Missionary ardour of his soul, which invited him into this land of darkness, But the cares and perplexities of the world produce a similar effect on the mind, whether in a civilized, or a savage land. His secular anxieties abate the ardour of holy benevolence, and tend to banish all comfortable religious desires and enjoyments, much the same as similar cares would have done in his native land, and under different circumstances. “ Alas!” he says to himself, “ I had thought of retiring from the vexation of worldly engagements, and of devoting myself to exercises purely religious, instead of which I find myself tenfold deeper in secular perplexities than before I came hither."
I say again, that my observations apply also to the female department, with this difference, that every perplexity which the case involves falls with doubled discouragement upon female missionaries. With them there is less variety in business, and necessarily less of those services immediately of a missionary character, desirable to all, and in themselves calculated to cherish zeal.
In these remarks I am carefully avoiding exaggeration. I am soberly stating facts, and which exist around the place where I write, and at many other missionary stations. The business of a missionary to the Indians is calculated to unnerve the constitution, and to press down into melancholy the finest flow of spirits.
A missionary in this country should possess a tact for being a man of business. There are some men who can scarcely provide for themselves and families a living, in the best of times. Such men are poorly qualified to teach others economy and management in the concerns of common life. A few such persons might be of some service, should they be of a condescending disposition, and always ready to be instructed by others. This, however, rarely happens. Too often, in every place, men are ignorant of their want of qualification for business, until they ruin themselves and others by their bad management.
Indians are men of nature, possessing strong mental abilities. Few people more readily perceive when they are in company of a novice, or a man of slender mind, or more certainly feel contempt for such. I hope my fellow-missionaries will allow a remark, which might be esteemed indecorous in me were I not one of their number, and alike exposed to its application. A mistake, not a little prejudicial to our cause, has too extensively prevailed, that a man of very ordinary abilities would answer for a missionary to uacultivated savages. It is hoped that the time is not distant when the condition of the Indians being understood, the fact will be admitted, that their reformation is opposed by greater and more threatening obstacles than any other heathen people on earth, and that consequently missions in no other country equally require men of talents and business. A missionary should be a man acquainted with human nature, attaching dignity to his deportment, and commanding respect from all with whom he mingles. He should possess energy of mind and be in the habit of governing his conduct by reason, and not by the impulse of feeling. I hardly need add that every acquirement will fail, should there be an absence of religious devotion.
Some of our observations will not apply with equal weight to the southern Indians; and to others to the north, on small tracts of country surrounded by wbite population; these being generally stationary. But while the school and working system is not equally demanded by their circumstances, it is fully believed to be the only efficient mode of missionary operations among Indians of every tribe. It is true, many of those Indians are able and willing to give their children education, but so unfortunate is their situation in general, that it cannot be expected that the rising generation will receive those impressions essential to their subsequent usefulness, unless admitted to the advantages of missionary schools as commonly conducted.
To me it appears obvious that the school and working system cannot be abandoned without endangering success; especially so, since our hopes in relation to these people principally rest upon the rising generation. We all admit that religious instruction is indispensable, and we rejoice in the success which has attended it. But the Author of our holy religion has appointed other means for its promotion, besides that of preaching. We see that in the United States religion flourishes most where society in general is best organized. There was a time when Catholic missionaries, in accordance with the too prevalent opinion of the day, scoured the regions of our lakes on the north, and made thousands of proselytes to their religion, but the condition of the Indians was not perceivably improved. I know it will be said that they were proselyted to forms merely; but admitting many of them to have been genuinely pious, what effect could that fact have produced on the manners of the country? It is not sinful to live in tents and bark huts, and to procure subsistence chiefly by the chase; or to appear in the Indian costume. An Indian may be strictly pious, and yet pursue his native mode of living, without incurring the slightest censure. There is at this moment a living instance by my side. Nevertheless, we cannot expect vital piety to abound while the state of society, if society we may call it, is as it is known to be among the Indians. I include them all, those who are more, as well as those who are less favourably situated.
In the colony, some variation from the school and working system may be expected; but this will occur with safety, merely in proportion to the improved situation of the people. We must carry our present mode of operations into the Indian territory, but happily we shall do it under the impression that it will in time assume the attitude of the free school systems of New England, embracing schools of the higher order. At the arrival of this period, the ministry of the gospel need not be blended with education, &c. as it now is, but may be provided for in the
It will be perceived that we do not distinguish between missionaries who are preachers, and those who are not. "It would be well for every missionary station to be supplied with one minister or more, that the forms of their churches might be properly attended to. But in the matter of instructing Indians in religion, as well in every thing else, a man who is not a minister of the gospel may be as successful as he who is. When the Indians become settled and civilized, as the whites are in our states, ministers may be located among them upon the same principle that “hey now are among us. In the present state of affairs, we deem it inexpedient for missionaries who are ministers, to be required to attend merely on parochial duties. It would be angenerous
in them to ask such a privilege. Imparting religious instruction is the most pleasant part of the whole routine of labour. It is at the same time both profitable and encouraging to the instructor. It is a privilege, and not a task—a privilege which all in their proper spheres should enjoy. I am always grieved to hear societies report distinctions between missionaries, (meaning ordained ministers,) and assistants, school-teachers, farmers, mechanics, &c.; such statements are a disparagement of the latter, who deserve equally with the former. If the minister has not both capacity and disposition to be either a book-keeper, school-teacher, farmer, or mechanic, or a business-man in some line, I fully believe he does not possess the requisite qualifications of a missionary to the Indians.
Address to Missionary Sociсties, on the relation between them and their
There are two evil propensities common to the human family, against which societies should carefully guard in the choice of their missionaries, viz. indolence and avarice; the former we noticed in our last number. Avarice grows up with us from infancy, and often overgrows us in riper years. It is difficult for one whose first impressions received from his parents were, that he was qualifying for business for the sake of acquiring property, to understand what is meant by disinterested benevolence ; still more difficult is it for him to become disinterestedly benevolent. Yet such he must be, or not be employed as a missionary.
The first step in guarding this point is to allow inissionaries no compensation for their services. Should you offer your missionaries pay,a sum of money as their own, which they would be at liberty to add to their own private property, this business, like all others, would assine, in many instances, a mercenary character. It will be said, let the compensation be very moderate. Light wages would not be the least safeguard. You can find as ready market for offices with small salaries as you can for those with higher. There are usually more candidates for a petty office in a county, than there would be in proportion for a seat in Congress.
It may be asked why may we not settle on a missionary a specific salary, in the same way that we do on a minister of the gospel in one of our churches ? I answer, 1st, for this plain reason; your minister is constantly near you, and his labours such as can be defined. When any dissatisfaction occurs, you know how to dismiss bin, and employ another. The case assumes a diferent countenance when you luire a man and send him a thousand miles from you into a wilderness, to do a work which you do not very well understand yourselves, lint? small part of which is really of parochial character. You intend to guard this affair by prescribing rules for his conduct, a departure from which will incur your censure, and procure his dismissal. Theory should always be founded on fact. Now it is a fact, that government has never
been able to enforce the observance of their righteous rules and regulations relative to the intercourse of whites with the Indians. We admit that in the Indian territory these difficulties as they relate to government will be lessened; but even there they cannot, in a short time, be wholly prevented.
2. The case is one of peculiar character, which requires the exercise of the whole man. A man is drowning; you prevail on a broker, whose hands at the moment are filled with bills, to quit his counter and plunge into the water for his relief. At the same time you advise him to hold on to his money with one hand while he employs the other for the relief of the sufferer! When a man has pay coming to him for his services, some attention must be bestowed upon the management of it, and so much of his time and attention are necessarily diverted from the matter which imperiously requires the whole of both. Large salaries would vitiate the better feelings of the heart, and require, and engross considerable time in the disposition of them. The effects of small salaries would be little less objectionable. If you pay them little salaries, your missionaries who can accept them will be men of little minds, proud of a little money, and will require much time to do but little business. What more effectual method could be taken to induce men to neglect the interests of others and attend to their own, than to be perpetually giving them business of their own to attend to? When
you make the comparison between a settled minister in one of your churches, and a missionary to the Indians, you seem to lose sight of what must be the peculiar privations of the latter, provided he be faithful and efficient. If he is a man who, while he wishes to lay by for himself, will be content with small wages, I suppose him to be poorly qualified for a missionary. One whose abilities will secure him a handsome income elsewhere, if salary be a sine qua non with him, will not enter your service. The man whom you ought to employ is capable of making a living, and of securing a good business in any place where others can. Is it reasonable to suppose that this man, quitting a profitable business, and agreeable society, and subjecting himself to the vexations and privations of a missionary to the Indians, would accept the petty consideration of a few hundred dollars a year as compensation for his services !
It has always grieved missionaries to hear it suggested that they ought to be put upon salaries for their services, for the same reason that an honourable man would be grieved were I to offer him compensation for his encountering the inconvenience of cold, wet, and mud, in assisting me to adjust my carriage which had been upset in the public highway. A genuine missionary is prepared to say that he would not be hired to do what he does, and to bear the privations and perplexities of bis situation. But there are men whom you can hire to enter upon this, or any other service, and you can hire a supply with either high wages or low, as you may choose to offer. The seats in Congress hall could as readily be filled at two dollars a day as at eight. When therefore you suggest wages to a missionary, he says you are either iguorant of his situation, or you have a contemptible opinion of his motives and abilities; or perhaps both.
How is it possible for you to secure prompt attention to the unpleasant parts of missionary labour, when they are so far from you, and while each bas his separate private business io attend in conjunction with yours.