Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

In many

THE FIELD.

enough to see the power that lies behind a with morality and will never make this people million and a half of Negro ballots, and she better. There are many truly pious people will leave no stone unturned to bring them among them. But in many cases “religious” under her control. That power must not ones utterly repudiate what they stigmatize as fall under Romish influence in a country “ Bible religion," or

white folks' religion," where the Bible and the Protestant religion and hold instead a strange mixture of superform the basis and bulwark of her institu- stition and formalism. tions. Should this ever be the case, then The mass of them are poor, very poor, althe future of these United States, as well as though by no means universally so. that of the Negro, will be dark indeed.

instances they fail to get the due reward of

their labor through the dishonesty of some THE WORK IN TEXAS.

white people. This makes them dishonest in Amid a population of nearly half a million

turn. Many men and some women are steady colored people in Texas, Mary Allen Seminary patrons of the whisky saloon. The use of tois the only institution wholly devoted to the

bacco is wellnigh universal by both sexes. Christian education of colored girls. There

The common school has accomplished very are other institutions under Christian manage

little for this people—nothing whatever morment, as at Marshall and Austin, which receive ally. Their schools are taught-outside of the both sexes and are doing good work, but which larger towns and cities—by utterly incompehave not that special charge and oversight of

tent persons, for the reason that there are not their pupils which prevail here. As a conse

enough teachers well qualified. We are obliged quence pupils come to us from the immediate

to go back to primary work with most of our vicinity of other institutions.

pupils.

DISCOURAGEMENTS. The field is the whole Southwest. The col

The discouragements in such a field are of ored women of this region are in many respects

course many. Among these are the listlessness in a deplorable condition. Uncleanness, lying

and indifference of many who come to us, their and theft are the everywhere-prevailing sins.

slowness of apprehension, their persistence in Yet nearly all of them have religion,” as they evil habits—especially of lying-and general express it, and are members of church and

untrustworthiness. Outside there is the indifmost assiduous in their attendance upon their

ference and even hostility of some of the race services. The first of these sins is rarely a

to the institution and its work. This is culticause of discipline, the last two never, as far as

vated by ignorant and bigoted “preachers," I have observed. Their “preachers" are for and by some whites who are bitterly opposed the most part utterly ignorant even of the first

to our work. While this prejudice is gradually principles of the gospel, and morally no better

yielding, it exists in great bitterness among the than their people—sometimes worse. Their

white women of the South, with some noble sermons, so called, are mere rhapsodies or fur

exceptions. Among these hindrances is also ious harangues, directed wholly to developing

the suspiciousness of the race, the result of a excitement in their hearers, with little sense

long series of impositions; also the little enand wholly devoid of gospel instruction. Many

couragement most of them have to seek to of them are opposed to our work and do all

better their condition. But perhaps the most they can to prevent parents from sending their

discouraging thing of all is the meagre amount daughters to us. The effects of their preaching

of money contributed by the church for a work are often the wildest excitement and extrav

of such vast importance to the race and to the agance among the congregation - especially

country at large. among the women. Nor are these extravagances confined to village congregations. I

ENCOURAGEMENTS. have seen the same in their fine city churches. There is far more to encourage than to disThis “religion” seems to have nothing to do courage. One year ago last New Year's morn. ing my wife, Miss Bolles and I landed in There is yet a greater need in order to sucCrockett. The Mary Allen Seminary was cess in this difficult work. Without the thorplanted in this field. We began with one ough conversion of these girls, and sound trainpupil on the 16th of January. Now our tem- ing in the principles of gospel faith and life, porary quarters are full to overflowing with, our work will amount to but little. We need, for the most part, bright, promising and deeply- above all else, the constant presence and power earnest girls. They come to us from far south of the Holy Spirit upon teachers and pupils and north of us, and are making good progress alike. Will not the church continually rein study, in manners and morals. They catch member us in this great matter? something of the missionary spirit. A girl thir

John B. SMITH. teen years old, on returning home last summer CROCKETT, TEXAS.

. started and carried on a Sabbath-school during the vacation, conducting the devotional exer

NOTES FROM THE FIELD SECRETARY. cises herself and teaching the Bible lessons she

REV. H, N. PAYNE. had learned in Mary Allen Seminary. She

A thorough knowledge of the work carried afterwards gave us a dollar, which helped put

on by the Freedmen's Board in the South-a up our new building. Other pupils are coming,

knowledge that shall be at once comprehensive and the problem is how to care for them in our and minute—is not easily attained. It can be narrow quarters. Many of them are very eager had only by close and patient study. to learn. On the most beautiful site in the A considerable portion of the work has been county a noble building, the Mary Allen Me

examined during the past year, and reports

have been made from time to time to the morial Seminary, has been carried far toward

Board. Visits have been made to the colleges, completion. Local prejudice and hostility are

the seminaries, the academies and the parochial fast dying out. The colored people are waking schools, to the churches and the Sabbathup to an appreciation of the privileges afforded schools, to the homes of the missionaries and them. The teachers are consecrated to their to the humble cabins of their people. In the work. The school has a vigorous and healthy

discharge of this duty 14,550 miles have been growth, and bright prospects for a great work.

travelled, 93 churches and 39 schools visited,

77 sermons preached and 52 addresses made. NEEDS.

In such a work as ours it is to be expected

that instances will be found of lack of adaptaWe need funds for the completion of the

tion, even of inefficiency and unfaithfulness. Mary Allen Seminary building. The walls are

But, after so extensive an acquaintance with up, the rafters and sheathing on, but there is the field, it is a pleasure to record the convicno roof, not a door or window, no floors or tion that our missionaries are, in the main, stairways, nor is there any money to procure

earnest, faithful, patient and intelligent men these things, without which the building is ut

and women, zealously and self-sacrificingly deterly useless. We ought to have at least $2000

voting themselves to the work to which they

have been called by God and the church. for immediate use in completing the building.

THE FIELD. How greatly we need its numerous rooms and airy halls, dining and school rooms! New It is certainly a broad one. It extends from pupils are coming in every week. Already we

the tobacco farms of Virginia to the cotton

plantations of Texas, from the corn fields of are crowded almost beyond endurance. Yet

Missouri to the orange groves of Florida, coverwe refuse no worthy pupil. If the people of

ing an area of nearly 850,000 square miles, and our beloved church fully appreciated the need including a population of more than 7,000,000 of this great work, and our need of the new people of color. building in order to carry on the work, how

THE NATURE OF THE WORK. quickly the needed funds would be forthcom

Throughout this broad domain, and among ing! We need funds for furnishing rooms. these millions, it is everywhere essentially the Forty dollars will furnish a room with accom

It is to make these people, who were modations for four pupils.

only half-emancipated when released from civil

same.

bondage, true Christian freemen; to save them Much as the colored people are attached to from the blight of immorality, ignorance and the places where they grew up, thousands of superstition; to help them to be better men them would gladly go to Arkansas, to Texas or and women, better husbands and fathers, bet- to any other place where they would better ter wives and mothers; to show them how to their condition; but they cannot raise the make their homes so pure and sweet and at- money to emigrate, and must stay and suffer tractive that Jesus will love to come into them where they are. and abide; it is to awaken their long-slumber- Under such circumstances, to expect these ing energies of mind and heart; to stimulate people to support their own ministers and their hopes and aspirations; to prepare them churches is to expect an impossibility. To for citizenship in a great, free, self-ruling withdraw the assistance they are now receiving nation.

would be to take the “bread of life” from When we think of it in this way, as the sal- those who are in need even of "the meat that vation of a people, as the regeneration of a perisheth." race, we cannot wonder that those engaged in 2. Another important suggestive fact is the it grow enthusiastic and think themselves need of the conservative yet elevating influgreatly privileged in having a share in so ence of the Presbyterian Church among these noble an undertaking.

people.

It is said the colored people do not take to THE NECESSITY OF THIS WORK,

Presbyterianism; that they are emotional and Three things prove it:

demonstrative, and are not drawn by our quiet 1. The poverty and dependence of the peo- services. If those who hold this opinion could ple. There are those who were once warm see, as I have, the earnest, thoughtful congrefriends and liberal supporters of the Board, gations that gather in many of our churches, who have lost their interest in its work because and observe their intelligent appreciation of they think the colored people have been helped the doctrine and methods of the Presbyterian long enough; that they ought now to be able Church, they would be convinced of their error. to take care of themselves. Reasonable as this God has verily called us to a work among this view seems, I speak from personal observation people, and he will hold us accountable for the when I say it is not warranted by the facts of manner in which we discharge our trust. the case.

3. Our work is necessary because no one else The poverty of the southern country, to

can do it. gether with the poor crops and low prices that A prominent minister of the Southern Church have so long prevailed, have effected a paral- said to me, “The Northern Presbyterian Church ysis of the agricultural interest. This condi- can do for the colored people in the South what tion of things affects both wbites and blacks, no other church in the world can.” The interbut is felt mostly by the blacks because they est of southern Presbyterians in the elevation are so generally farmers. The “boom" in and salvation of this race is widespread and is business in the South is mostly confined to deepening. They earnestly desire to help them mining and manufacturing interests, in which to a higher, better life; but they often find that the colored people have no share. It is a sad their most effective work can be done by cotruth that the condition of these people in operation with our own church in its work. many parts of the South is becoming worse I desire here to record the cordial, helpful, every year, and that by no fault of their own. brotherly spirit shown toward me and our Many who bought little farms and partly paid church by many of these dear brethren during for them ten years ago have not been able to the past year. It has been a pleasure to meet complete their payments, but have seen debts them, to talk with them of our work, and to increase in spite of their utmost exertions, and share their hospitality as I have so often done. finally have seen their little homes, their stock, In a number of instances they have not only all their possessions, go by forced sale to satisfy given sympathy and encouragement, but imimportunate claims.

portant pecuniary aid, to our churches.

FOREIGN MISSIONS.

It will be noticed by all who read the In the May number of the Missionary Rerecommendations of the General Assembly view it is stated editorially that “the Presthat the children of the Sabbath-schools are byterian Foreign Board (U. S. A.) pays asked to add fifty per cent. to their contri- Mr. Rankin, its treasurer, a salary of $3000, butions of last year, aiming not at $50,000, with somewhere from $2000 to $4000 for but at $75,000. After all, how slight an clerk hire for the one special business of effort would this require! There are at this transmitting funds to its foreign missions." date not less than 750,000 Sunday-school We do not know just what impression it scholars in connection with the Presbyterian was intended to convey by these words, but Church-three-quarters of a million. If to the average reader pot familiar with the these were to contribute each a dime (and financial operations of

financial operations of a board of missions, how small a gift is that for a whole year!), the impression really produced is that the the amount would be made up. There is a work of a treasurer is so simple that any ward school in New York whose pupils merchant in the foreign trade might manage have gotten into the habit of visiting a cer- it in connection with his business, and withtain candy stand daily. An eye witness out charge to the church, since it is merely describes the children as standing in a long the transmission of the funds. Supposably, row, each with a penny, waiting for a turn.

others collect them and send proper receipts : A penny a day, if it were kept up through somebody else looks after the distribution on vacations and Sundays, would be $3.65 a the field, and attends to the accounts of misyear, and that by a class of children who sionaries coming and going, while the treasare mostly poor. Three dollars and over urer simply sends the funds placed in for candy, and ten cents a year for the con- his hands, as Drexelor Brown Brothers version of the world! Surely we need make would do. no apology for urging that in every Sab- Having good opportunities to observe the bath-school and in every home the children routine duties of the sphere, we are prepared will lay their plans at the very beginning to say that few financial positions involve of the year for at least an average dime, greater variety or complexity of labor and which means that those who are able must care than the treasurership of our Board of give many dimes. We hope that this year Missions. The work of receiving and acalso Christmas offerings will be made on all knowledging contributions, great and small, the mission fields. It is an excellent plan does not differ from that of other boards, for developing the self-help of the native except that many special gifts are made, of churches; and surely there is not in all the which distinct account must be kept and world, or in all the history of the world, a notice must be transmitted to local mission more soul-stirring impulse than that which treasurers or to individual missionaries. attends the idea of a world-wide offering for But in the administration of the funds rethe glory of that kingdom which Christmas ceived, the work of our treasurer is most represents.

complex. He must keep accounts with between thirty and forty mission treasuries in

as many different missions, and must so Twelve Cambridge men have been re- thoroughly understand their financial conceived by the Church Missionary Society dition as to suffer no failure of supply. Of since the last anniversary, and altogether course all that belongs to the methods and eighteen university men, the largest number the rates of foreign exchange must be faerer received in one year.

miliar to him; and as the mission treasurers

are sometimes young and inexperienced, titled to draw. He has for thirty-six years special instructions must be given. Aside remitted one-fourth of his allowance, not befrom this, personal accounts must be kept cause he was not entitled to it, but because with nearly all the missionaries in relation to he was possessed of other resources which articles purchased and shipped, or periodi- rendered such a gift possible. If all were cals and papers subscribed for, or to life to deal as liberally with the Board accordinsurances maintained, or the expenses of ing to their means, it could quadruple its children who are being educated in this work at once. country. Under the responsible supervision of the treasurer there is an extensive shipping The recommendation of the General Asdepartment, through which the goods, fur- sembly to raise $1,000,000 during the comniture, books and packages of all missionaries ing year for foreign missions originated with going and coming must pass. Connected the Assembly itself, and not from any sugwith this department many purchases are to gestion of the Board or its representatives. be made, custom-house regulations and vex- The Standing Committee on Foreign Misations are to be met, the best routes and sions was a very able one, not only in its rates of freighting are to be ascertained, as chairman but in its entire body. It took well as the easiest terms for the

passages

of up the work as represented in the report of missionaries to their fields. In many of the Board, and as indicated by the rising these transactions the difference between a spirit of missions in the churches, and reached clumsy and a skillful management might its own conclusions prayerfully and delibersuffice to pay the salary of a treasurer. ately. It should be borne in mind that

The financial reports which are annually during the two or three years of the Board's sent from the missions to the treasurer of the indebtedness the structural interests of the Presbyterian Board would fill a fair-sized missions have greatly suffered. The estivolume. They embrace detailed accounts mates for buildings of all kinds have in alof every form of expenditure; salaries of most all cases been stricken out. This course five hundred missionaries and a thousand has been pursued so long that new structures native helpers, children's allowance, rents, in many fields, including residences, chapels, detailed expense of colleges and schools, the school buildings and hospitals, have become complex accounts of nearly a dozen printing a matter of urgent necessity. One of the establishments in different lands, purchases most touching appeals made in the General of property and the erection or repair of Assembly was that of a missionary on behalf buildings, travelling expenses among the of a co-laborer who has suffered disastrously out-stations, doctors' bills, freights, exchange, from living in a native house poorly adapted together with the large and complex item to the requirements of a foreigner. Many of outfit and passage of missionaries to their similar cases might be mentioned.

. It would fields.

be easy to make good and economical use Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of at least $100,000 in the erection of buildaf real estate is held by the Board in differ- ings which are important; and this year, ent lands, all of which is supposed to be which marks the beginning of a new half under the supervision of the treasurer, by century of the Board's work and is the cenwhom all local laws concerning titles must tennial year of the Presbyterian Church, be understood. On the home side, the laws would seem to be a proper time for bringing concerning bequests and many other legal these

necessary arrears. matters should be familiar to the treasurer Moreover, the question arises whether there of se great an institution, and it has been shall or shall not be any advance in the curthought of advantage that he should be a rent work of the Board and in the enlarge competent lawyer.

ment of its missionary force. What response As to the amount of salary drawn by Mr. shall be made to the wonderful indications Rankin, it is less by $1000 than he is en- which appear in the offering of men, the

« AnteriorContinuar »