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good resulting to Polynesia from the abolition of this great and prevalent evil ? Who but the missionaries could have succeeded in effecting so serious a reformation?
The literature of missions demonstrates that Christianity is the grand civilizer of man. Enlightened statesmen, knowing little of Christianity beyond its effects, have yet perceived enough of its power to confess the truth of our allegation. Edmund Burke, in his Letter to Dundas on the civilization of negroes in both Hemispheres, utters the following remarkable words:—“I confess I trust more, according to the sound principles of those who have at any time ameliorated the state of mankind, to the effect and influence of religion, than to all the rest of the regulations put together."* This witness is true. The conductors of all missionary societies, and a still more competent class of witnessess, the missionaries themselves, all unite in testifying that civilization is the certain, invariable, and sp?edy result of Christianization. I remember no person who has been more successful in the illustration of this point in a few words than Kahkewaquonaby, the Chippewa Indian chief, who visited England some years ago, and was known as Peter Jones. This interesting man, an excellent preacher of righteousness in the Wesleyan body, records the experiment among his countrymen in the following words :-“The improvements which the Christian Indians have made have been the astonishment of all who knew them in their pagan state. The change for the better has not only extended to their hearts and feelings, but also to their personal appear
* Works, vol. ix. p. 287.
ance, and their domestic and social condition. About ten years ago this people had no houses, no fields, no horses, no cattle. Each person could carry upon his back all that he possessed, without being much burdened. They are now occupying about forty comfortable houses, most of which are built of hewn logs, and a few of frame, and are generally one and a half story high, and about twenty-four feet long, and eighteen feet wide, with stone or brick chimneys; two or three rooms in each house. Their furniture consists of tables, chairs, bedsteads, straw mattresses, a few feather beds, window curtains, boxes and trunks for their wearing apparel, small shelves fastened against the wall for their books, closets for their cooking utensils, cupboards for their plates, knives, and forks: some have clocks and watches. They have no carpets, but a few have mats laid on their floors. This tribe owns a saw-mill, a workshop, a blacksmith's shop, and a warehouse, the property of the whole community. They have about 200 acres of land under cultivation, on which they grow wheat, Indian corn, potatoes, &c. In their gardens they raise vegetables of various kinds; and a few have planted fruit-trees. They have a number of oxen, cows, horses, and pigs; a few barns and stables; a few wagons and sleighs; and all sorts of farming implements. The men now make the houses, plant the fields, provide the fuel and provisions for the house; the business of the women is to manage the household affairs. The females eat with the men at the same table. I have often heard them expressing their thanks to the Great Spirit for sending them missionaries to tell them the words of eternal life, which have been the means of delivering them from a state of misery and degradation.” What a
picture! The government had tried, by munificent offers, to tame this tribe, to fix them down to a settled state ; but nothing could induce them to renounce their roving habits, till the gospel entered among them, when the result was such as we have now seen.
The Martyr's “ Narrative” abounds with illustrations to the same effect, but far more varied and striking. * He sets forth the following table of arts, vegetable productions, and animals.
VEGETABLE USEFUL ARTS.
PRODUCTIONS. Smith's work.
A variety of valuable Goats. House building.
esculents. Ship building.
Pumpkins, melons, Horses. Lime burning.
sweet potatoes, &c., Asses. Pruning.
Cattle and pigs into Sofa, chair, and bed- Oranges, lemons, several islands. stead making.
Turkeys, geese, ducks, Growth and manufac- | Pine apples.
and fowls. ture of tobacco. Custard apples. Sugar boiling.
Cotton. | Indigo.
The country which can boast these arts and animals, has already the means of comfort, and the elements of greatness. The possession of these involves every necessary and fundamental avocation, and will inevitably lay the basis of such as are more a matter of taste and of ornament. Let us hear the missionary's own comment upon the matter :—“In communicating to the people the useful arts specified above, I have spent many hundreds of hours, not merely in explaining and
* Williams, pp. 11, 12, 13, 16, 20, 24, 29, 44, 45, 58, 63, 86, 106, 112, 121, 151, 152.
superintending the different processes, but in actual labour. For this, however, I have been amply repaid by the great progress which the natives have made in many of these departments of useful knowledge, but especially in building small vessels of from twenty to fifty tons. More than twenty of these were sailing from island to island when I left, two of which belonged to the queen, and were employed in fetching cargoes of pearl, and pearl shells, from a group of islands to the eastward of Tahiti. These are exchanged with the English and American vessels for clothing and other articles.
“From these facts it will be apparent, that, while our best energies have been devoted to the instruction of the people in the truths of the Christian religion, and our chief solicitude has been to make them wise unto salvation, we have, at the same time, been anxious to impart a knowledge of all that was calculated to increase their comforts and elevate their character. And I am convinced that the first step towards the promotion of a nation's temporal and social elevation, is to plant amongst them the tree of life, when civilization and commerce will entwine their tendrils around its trunk, and derive support from its strength. Until the people are brought under the influence of religion, they have no desire for the arts and usages of civilized life; but that invariably creates it. The missionaries were at Tahiti many years, during which they built and furnished a house in European style. The natives saw this, but not an individual imitated their example. As soon, however, as they were brought under the influence of Christianity, the chiefs, and even the common people, began to build neat plastered cottages, and to
manufacture bedsteads, seats, and other articles of furniture. The females had long observed the dress of the missionaries' wives, but while heathen they greatly preferred their own, and there was not a single attempt at imitation. No sooner, however, were they brought under the influence of religion, than all of them, even to the lowest, aspired to the possession of a gown, a bonnet, and a shawl, that they might appear like Christian women. I could proceed to enumerate many other changes of the same kind, but these will be sufficient to establish my assertion. While the natives are under the influence of their superstitions, they evince an inanity and torpor, from which no stimulus has proved powerful enough to arouse them, but the new ideas and the new principles imparted by Christianity. And if it be not already proved, the experience of a few more years will demonstrate the fact, that the missionary enterprise is incomparably the most effective machinery that has ever been brought to operate upon the social, the civil, and the commercial, as well as the moral and spiritual, interests of mankind."*
Now, my esteemed friend, what shall we say to these things? They are true, or they are false. If true, who shall estimate their value? If false, is not confutation easy? Thanks be to God, they are true, and none can gainsay them! It is now as clear as experiment can ever make it, that the gospel of Christ is the only remedy for the woes of our world. The proofs of this allegation have been accumulating upwards of 1800 years; and, surely, it is now time that the speculative should give place to the practical ; time that we should
* Williams, p. 152.