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but I am sorry to be obliged to say, that I fear that many of them are unworthy of the name they bear, being given to drunkenness in the last extreme. This is their besetting sin ; and, on account of it, some are reduced to a most miserable state.” This, therefore, is the report of the state of this Mission; the oldest attempted by the Societies estabJished in England.
With regard to the tribes that did not emigrate, and that remained in the United States, the only account that I have been able to find of them is from a work published in America a few years back, by the Rev. Dr. Morse, in which he says, “ It is one hundred years since the rite of matrimony has been at all used among them; and, consequently, they are living more like wild beasts than civilized men.”
Now, I am willing to acknowledge, that within these four or five years there has been, to all appearance, a most important change in this part of the Missionary district, in consequence of the work having been undertaken among some of the tribes, especially on the Mississipi, by an individual at least half native-one of the parents being of that tribe, the other being English-and in consequence of his having had the benefit of European education, together with the confidence of his own fellow-countrymen. It is the Wesleyan Missionary Jones. It is certain that he has succeeded in bringing a considerable number of individuals to the profession of Christianity; and it is the first instance, I may say, in which the labours of any Missionary has been successful. But what I was going to observe is, here are these persons, situated, as I remarked, in the midst now of the English, their hunting grounds almost completely taken from them, and obliged, necessarily, to settle down into that only form of life which is suited to their present position, and which they see followed by all those around them. What has been done has not been merely to present to them Christianity; but it has been giving to them the advantages of civilization—it has been presenting them with the means of settling themselves in a comfortable and reputable
The government has even built houses for them; it has given them all the necessary implements of agriculture; it has presented them with the means of cultivating the ground; and the consequence is, they have adopted Christianity, if I may so say, as a portion of the civilization to which they have been brought-not that I wish to find fault with this not that I wish to say it is not right that civilization should go hand in hand with Christianity ; but I mean to say it is not the fair. experiment of the principle proposed, when it is upheld, not merely by advantages, but absolutely almost by the force of necessary circumstances, which made, as it were, no alternative between receiving Christianity and refusing civilization. Now, even here, I must observe, however, that experienced persons have remarked, that what is now doing is only what has been before, and a late Traveller in India, one very
especially attached to the Protestant religion, went to visit this settle. ment, and expresses his extreme satisfaction with what he had seen : but adds his regret to find experienced persons, and persons who perfectly understood the Indian character, did not go with him to the extent of his satisfaction, because they said, that precisely similar effects had been seen before, through the energy-through the particular influence of individuals ; but, as he says, all these effects were lost, and they had always been proved to fall back again into their former state as soon as the band which guided them had been withdrawn. Consequently, it may be considered as a state of experiment—that is to say, we have to see as yet bow far this people hold the religion they have received, and how they will continue the profession of Christianity after the individuals to whose influence it bas been attributed by every one shall have been removed from them.
There are a number of secondary Missions, at least comparatively of small interest to us, of which the history is very much the same throughout. For instance, in 1765, a Mission was founded for the Calmucks, under the special protection of the Empress Catherine of Russia, at Sarepta, by the Moravians. Now, Dr. Henderson, in another mission visited them, and, in his Christian Researches in Russia, bas given the result of his observations. It is, that after fifty-six years they bave not succeeded in making one single convert (adults I mean to say ); all that they have done is, they have baptized a few children who gave encouraging hopes, but among the grown natives there has not been an instance of conversion. I might say the same of many other Missions of the Moravians. Between 1735 and 1758 they established seven Missions in different parts of the world; one in Saxony totally failed; one in Prussia, one in Ceylon, one in Georgia, and one or two others; but not the slightest trace is to be found of them; and I believe no one exists in the present day. Before leaving the Missions of the Moravians, I may say that several travellers - I will mention two, Klaproth, a celebrated traveller, and Gamba, have both of them remarked, particularly the first, that all these establishments, wherever they have taken place, end at last in being nothing more than mercantile communities, which are chiefly occupied in trafficking with the natives, and, though exceedingly inoffensive, they do not answer in any way the purpose of proselytism, or gaining the natives to Christian truths. In 1802, Messrs. Brunton and Pattison opened a Mission among the Cossacks, however, the same conclusion is acknowledged by Dr. Henderson, it totally failed, as well as one attempted by Mr. Blythe, and at last the Emperor Alexander would not allow it, put an end to it, and forbade its being prosecuted; but before that they are acknowledged not to have produced any fruit.
Now, before leaving this subject, speaking of Missions in general, not
in one corner or another, but all over the world, I will quote one authority, “ We should lay aside,” he says, “ this history of the propagation of Christianity among the heathen with some mortification and despondency, if our hopes of the diffusion of our religion depended on the success of such undertakings as the present work has recorded,” that is to say, the attempts made by different Societies to propagate Christi. anity chiefly among the Indians of America.
There is another Mission, which may appear at first sight to have been attended with considerable success, and that is the Mission to the Sandwich Islands, undertaken very nearly with the same advantages, or, indeed, greater—as I described regarding the native tribes of America. It is a very singular fact, that it is the only instance perhaps on record of a nation having been led, by its own individual observation, to desire Christianity to be presented to it; and, consequently, be willing to receive it under wbatever form it should first come. It is a known fact, that it was the Natives of those Islands, in consequence of seeing the great superiority of the traders with them from Europe, principally from America, which led them to ask for Missionaries to propagate Christianity among them. This at once, therefore, forbids our considering the establishment of Christianity there as the result of any principle of faith which was presented to the acceptance of the Natives. It was, manifestly, their own desire, before they knew anything of the doctrines of Christianity; they conceived Christianity to be a better system than their own, because it gave men a manifest superiority of mind and character over them; and, with exceeding good sense, no doubt they deternined upon embracing it. But it cannot be considered, therefore, as a fair specimen of the success that Protestant doctrines will have, when preached to Pagan or Heathen nations.
I should be sorry even to enter into the history of this Mission, on another account. Having acknowledged thus much, that there has been all that can be called outward success—that is to say, that an immense number of Natives have embraced Christianity, and having excluded them from the object which I have in view, wbich is, to try the strength --the power of the principle on which the different systems of Christianity are preached, I say I should be sorry to enter into the bistory of this Mission, because it seems to present one of the most lamentable examples of the effects of misguided zeal that probably can be conceived. I have with me extracts from writers, describing the state of these Islands after they had been, not converted, but subjugated by the Missionaries; after they had made themselves masters of the whole temporal dominion, after they had made the king and the people there subjects, after they had deprived them of all that simplicity of character which they before possessed ; and I am sure that you would not believe it possible that any men, under the shelter of the Word of God, profes
sing to preach the doctrines of Christianity, could have reduced any country to such a state. The persons who have visited the Islands have said, that instead of having been a blessing to them, it has been their total ruin; that the system of Christianity forced upon them has been such as totally to render them, instead of an active open hearted race, to render them crafty, indolent, treacherous : so that immense tracts of country, which formerly used to be seen covered with most beautiful crops, were afterwards found in a state of total barrenness; that the culti. vation of their most important plant, the bread-tree, was becoming so neg. lected, that there was great danger of its becoming extinct in the Island; that there had been feuds, and quarrels, and disputes, and that at length one of these persons, one of the most intelligent of the princes of the country, one who was the first to embrace Christianity, and to receive and cherish the Missionaries as friends, fitted up an expedition to emigrate with some of his subjects from his own country, because he could not bear the severity of their temporal dominion over it. These are facts which have been published in this country. I shall have, perhaps, to return to say something of this Island in my next discourse, when I enter upon the Missions which have been established there by the Catholics within these few years.
But such, however, seems to be the result of the Missionary system, as bitherto tried, in every case ; and I am not conscious of having concealed anything—of having overlooked any testimony which appeared to go against me. I have carefully weighed all I have stated; I have extracted, in almost every instance, from original reports; I have only given you balt, nay, scarcely half of the materials which I have put togetber in examining the subject, and the result seems to me satisfactory beyond anything, that hitherto the attempts made to preach the gospel to the heathen upon the Protestant principle, upon that of presenting to them the evidences of Christianity, without any sanction of authority, has in every instance, almost without exception, failed.
Now, there is another point to be examined. I have met constantly, in the Reports of Societies, and in other publications, an account of many persons being converted; and I bave not been able to help noting certain criteria, which I think of great importance in estimating the character of the conversions which I slated, In the first place, we must not allow ourselves to be lcd away by those reports wbich speak of the immense number of copies of the Bible, and of the New Testament, which have been distributed among the Natives of different communities among the heathen; and we must not suppose that these are in proportion to the conversions, or that we have to conclude that, because an innumerable quantity of Bibles are given, that therefore, at least the same large number of conversions are made. For, in the first place, it is well known that these Bibles are sent out in cargoes; that they sometimes
accumulate in warehouses; that often they are distributed to persons who make no use of them at all, or make them serve for any purpose, as you will see by the examples that I shall give you just now. For instance, General Hislop, in his History of the Campaigns against the Mahrattas, says, “These Missionaries think that the distribution of the Gospel in Chinese, Japanese, Sanscrit, Hindostanee, and Malayee, among this people, is sufficient to obtain their purpose ; and so they send out these books to English agents and residents in various places, so that they count the number of their converts, and the fruit of their labours, in proportion to the copies distributed. We ourselves have known many residencies of the Agents of the East India Company towards the East, where a vessel never arrived without a case or bale of Chinese Bibles for distribution. The resident sent them in every direction, by hundreds at a time. The Chinese looked at them, and said that they had more beautiful histories in their own literature; so that they had not the slightest idea whether they were sent them for amusement or instruction. But, after having read them, they threw them aside entirely, and the resident could distribute no more. copies; but the ardent zeal of the Missionaries at Malacca, by one vessel after another, sent him new ones in heaps, so to speak, still they were accumulated in his offices, and at length he was obliged to place them in a warehouse out of his own dwelling.” “ This is the Missionary," he continues, " of whom the English papers have said, not long ago, that he had written to the Missionary and Bible Societies, that they might send him millions of Bibles.” “ In this way,” he adds, “it would be easy to distribute them.” I have seen a letter, and I quote it, though it is of Catholic authority, written by the Vicar Apostolic of Siam, in which he relates precisely the same circunstances. He says,
66 Two English Missionaries have arrived, and have been distributing Bibles in every direction.
The people have used them to wrap or fold up merchandize in shops, and that” he says, “is literally the only use made of them. Some of then, however, bring them to us that is, to the Catholic Missionaries. He then remarks,“ In this way reports are sent over, reckoning the number of conversions made by the number of Bibles distributed; but I know” he says, “ from my personal knowledge, that not one single conversion has been made by these Bibles.” In the Paris Asiatic Journal we are assured, upon the intelligence of a letter from Macao, that the copies of Dr. Morrison's Bible, which had been introduced into China, had been sold by auction; and that the greater part bad been bought by manufacturers for different purposes, but principally by the makers of slippers, with which they used to line them.” It is painful, and disagreeable, and perhaps hardly becoming the solemnity of this place, to mention such circumstances; but, however, they are important, for the purpose of undeceiving those who fancy