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The mistakes that have prevailed on the subject of civilization in general ought to have taught us to alter our plans. There is a cry in favour of education, which has produced, and continues to produce, lasting evils. Education is now understood to consist in reading, writing, arithmetic, and knowledge of languages; and by the application of these, we are told that the miseries and crimes which pervade civilized Europe are to be removed ; the people to be made happy; society, in short, to be regenerated.
In this belief the mania for education has seized on all ranks; yet poverty, discontent, and crime seem to keep pace with all our endeavours. If the Indians are to be improved, or civilized, " Why education, to be sure, will do it: that is all that is wanted. But the education must be commenced by a missionary, and this missionary must undergo a certain series of scholastic studies to be fitted for his duty.” Now let us look a little at this, the usual mode of proceeding. To civilize the Heathen, thousands, with the purest zeal, contribute their schemes; but the little success resulting from them all, has furnished the means of triumph to the infidel and deist, occasioned lukewarmness in many who at first were ardent in the cause, and led to a conclusion either that the subjects of such philanthropy are incapable of receiving its benefits; that the Almighty has decreed that the time is not yet come for their condition to be meliorated; or that such attempts are made merely for interested and similar ends. I appeal to all who have had an opportunity of knowing the general character of missionaries, whether the following brief view is not the mode by which five sixths of them have been selected. Sermons are preached; prayer meetings are held avowedly to promote the conversion of the Heathen; a cry is heard, “Who will devote himself to the service of God ?" Mence many of acknowledged weakVOL. I.
ness of intellect, and some whose pecuniary embarrassments lead them to seek for support in this way, offer to undergo perils by land and by water in this, to their heated or interested imaginations, glorious work. These persons are accordingly sent to an academy to learn languages, the capacity for which constitutes a chief ingredient in their qualification. They are then sent forth, at a considerable expense, to evangelize the Heatben; and their great aim is to preach what they call the Gospel to the old, and to civilize the young, by what I denominate, for sake of distinction, "book education.”
That so much failure, nay, that almost uniform failure, has arisen from the employment of such instruments, should surely have been expected; for, while I freely admit that of all undertakings this is among the most praise-worthy, if followed with a single eye to the glory of God, and good of man, I feel convinced that none requires more profound knowledge of human nature, and intimate acquaintance, not only with the passions of others, but with our own. When I read the manner in which the Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples, I find that the doctrines concerning himself and his kingdom were the last things he inculcated, and even then very sparingly. When questions, bearing on the subject, were excited by his conduct and actions, he answered them; but never made the doctrinal the prominent part of his mission. His first public act was in administering to the amusement and festivity of the people by converting water into wine; the next was attention to their sick; on another occasion he provided them with food; and his whole divine life, was spent in going about promoting their bodily comforts, having in ultimate view the good of their souls ; so that the great object was kept, as it were, in the back-ground. See how merciful he was to their offences : how he repressed all severity in judging or condemping; and evermore refused to
be a ruler, assuming only the meck and lowly rank of one that served!
In short, let us carefully examine the means which He, who had the hearts of all men in his hands, and who could turn them as he pleased, adopted for the instruction of mankind, and much lighit will be afforded in all future attempts to instruct those nations denominated heathea or savage. The Moravians, as before mentioned, have been more successful than all other sects put together, in consequence, I conceive, of their having had more regard to the Christian plan as adverted to.
The following hints I offer with humility, as means which, from my observation of man in his natural and polished state, appear, to me at least, likely to succeed :
The Indians, as already shown, are fond of silver aings, collars, and other trinkets, as ornaments of dress ; of music, fishing, and hunting, as sources of amusement; and are by no means insensible to the bodily advantages arising from a store of food and clothing against a time of want.
Upon these, their main desires, I would found my plan.
I would select a blacksmith, provide him with a portable forge, portable scantlings of iron, and all necessary instruments for polishing iron and cop-per. There should also be a man uniting the carpenter's and cart-maker's trades, well furnished with suitable tools. To these I would add one or two persons who could play on the clarionet, flute, violin, or other musical instrument of simple construction. This establishment should be under the superintendence of a man of discretion, divested of gloomy habits and those false views that connect austerity of manners with the essentials of Christianity. He should make allowance for the prejudices and passions of those under his charge, that he might the better give them a just direc
tion; and, especially in the commencement of tiis authority, he should deal tenderly with offences, redoubling his care with regard to the delinquent...
Under the eye of such a person, the operations should begin in a fertile place, in the neighbourhood of such of the tribes as night desire an establishment of this nature ; making the pleasures of music, or the possession of manufactures, the reward for devoting themselves to industry. In this way I would assist them in building houses, so as to induce them to value a fixed habitation ; and the house so built should belong to the tribe to bestow as they pleased. By repairing their tools and instruments of agriculture, assisting in raising their houses, instructing such as wished it to handle the ax for their own benefit, and making the hearing and learning of music the reward for industry, I should confidently hope to induce some few to abandon the migratory life they have hitherto led, which, in my opinion, is the most important point to be gained. After this shall be firmly established, a time will gradually come on when the inculcation of book-knowledge will be highly beneficial; but in our early efforts it is worse than useless. If the Indian can be prevailed on to aid in building a house; if he finds there a solace after his fatigues, and the means of allaying his hunger, I am warranted by all that I have seen and heard, in asserting that the best rudiments of civilization will be immovably fixed.
The above establishment should be capable of being transferred from tribe to tribe. Its members should have their wives and families with them, no man should be sent without his wife on any account.
The party should, moreover, consist of persons duly sensible of the blessings and privileges of the Christian religion, and should at stated times assemble for worship, paying great attention to solemnity, decorum and order, in doing so; yet having especial care to avoid all kind of constraint with regard to
the Indians, or any species of penalty for non-attendance on their part. The Lord's day should nevertheless be truly kept as a Sabbath by all, as far as cessation from worldly labour is concerned. The Indians should be told the reason of resting thereon ; that such rest was first instituted by God to perpetuate the remembrance of his having created the world, and all things therein ; and latterly to keep in the minds of men the memory that Christ arose from the dead on the first day of the week, having completed the work of redemption. The good news of salvation to sinners of all nations, through the atonement on the cross, should be proclaimed with joy and praise and thanksgivivg, and not with those gloomy severities, which are regarded as true piety by many. The Indians would thus be led to inquire concerning God and the Saviour ; when portions of the Bible, descriptive of the attributes of the Most High, and the life of the Lord Jesus, should be read; carefully avoiding to pass from one portion until it should be firmly fixed in their recollection, (of which their capacity is great,) nor until they desired to hear more. These means, always accompanied by kindness and sympathy, I confidently hope Gort would approve and bless.
I by n means desire to be understood as wishing to discourage the efforts of persons who may differ with my views of the subject; neither do I arrogate that those I have set forth are infallible ; but I do conceive that the great qualification of humility, of being and acting as a servant to the heathen, has not been sufficiently tried. Few men can resist the temptation of power, when within reach; and I have proofs too abundant, before me, that many who seem humble before their superiors, are haughty and tyrannical among the Indians. The letter from Red Jacket to Governor Clinton, quoted in this chapter, shows how wide this evil has spread; and I fear the spirit of Mr. Hyde is not so rare as, for the honour