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XII. An Outline of Sematology: or an Essay towards establish-
pestuous Night. By John Murray, F.S.A.
ART. I.—1. Annales de l'Association de la Propagation de la Foi, Recueil Périodique des Lettres des Evêques et des Missionaires des Missions des deux Mondes, et de tous les documens relatifs aux Missions et à l'Association de la Propagation de la Foi. 8vo. pp. 540. Louvain : chez Vanlinthout et Vandenzande. 1829.
2. Recueil des Lettres des Evêques et des Missionaires des Missions des deux Mondes, publié par l'Association de la Propagation de la Foi, faisant suite à toutes les Editions des Lettres edifiantes. 8vo. pp. 528. Louvain: chez Vanlinthout et Vandenzande. 1825.
THE Conversion to christianity of those communities of mankindunhappily too numerous-which are still immersed in the darkness of idolatry and paganism, must be an object of the greatest importance to every individual, whatever may be his country or his creed, who has the sense to perceive, and a heart to feel for, the greatest of all wants to which his fellow creature can be exposedthe want of that knowledge whereby his eternal welfare may be secured. Societies have been established for this great purpose upon the continent time out of mind. The conversion of infidels forms a leading, though, we believe, not the principal part of the duties of the college long since founded at Rome, under the title "de propaganda fide." A powerful and active association exists also in Paris, having branches in most of the departments of France, under a similar appellation, whose exclusive object is to extend the Christian religion, and to assist, by every means in its power, numbers of missionaries who are dispersed in various regions of the two hemispheres, for the purpose of carrying thither the light of the gospel. Minor confraternities of a similar description are found in Portugal and Spain, the two Sicilies and Austria.
The pious desire expressed by George III., that every one of his subjects should be possessed of a Bible, and able to read it, gave
VOL. XVI. NO. LXV.
rise, directly or indirectly, to the many associations which now flourish amongst us, constituted originally for the noble end which that revered sovereign was so anxious to see accomplished, but long since enlarged upon a more comprehensive scale, embracing, it may be said, the whole of the inhabited world in their views. The institution of missions which would be the means of circulating the scriptures in different tongues, throughout all nations, the neighbouring as well as the distant, became an essential portion of their magnificent scheme. These Biblical and Missionary Associations have been now in operation, we believe, for more than twenty years. They have collected and expended princely revenues. They have agents in all parts of the globe; the remotest islands of the South, Pacific, and Indian Seas, have been visited by their officers. We have heard it more than once proclaimed that idolatry was annihilated, not merely in the small islands,-but that Tartary, Persia, and India itself, were about to acknowledge the triumphs of British exertion, and to adopt the religion of the cross.
It is not our purpose to draw any detailed comparison between the labours of the French and those of the English Associations. We may, however, we hope, without offending persons of any religion, glance slightly at what the former have done, as well as the means by which they have done it; and afterwards shew what the latter have accomplished, or rather what they have not accomplished; and point out the signal failures which they have sustained, especially in India, to which their cares have been long and earnestly directed. It becomes necessary to speak out and firmly upon this subject, which has hitherto been treated in a manner calculated only to deceive the public mind, and to keep up the influx of money, which, from year to year, is expended not merely in an unprofitable, but an absolutely mischievous course of Biblical and Missionary operations. If our views of the results of their measures be incorrect, we may be contradicted, and our arguments may be refuted. But if we be right, it will be for the leaders of those associations to repair, if they can, the errors into which they have fallen, or to abandon the delusive projects which they have in hand, -projects which seem calculated only to benefit the individuals who live by them, to impose in the grossest manner upon the benevolence of this country, and to perpetuate the ignorance of the Pagan world.
We believe that most of the travellers who have visited the less frequented parts of North and South America, agree in acknowledging the attachment which subsists between the French, Spanish, and Portuguese Missionaries, and the native Indians to whom they conveyed the truths of christianity. Even Robertson could devote time to the examination, and eloquence to the praise, of the labours of the Jesuits in Paraguay. Upon the banks of the Maranon, and in some of the wildest districts of Spanish America, the names of the missionaries who planted the cross amongst them are
still sacred in tradition. Where the succession has been uninterruptedly preserved, the missionaries are looked up to as Patriarchs, and beloved as the fathers of the people, over whose welfare they are appointed to watch.
The sphere of the French missionaries in the new world has been confined chiefly to the northern provinces. They have every where experienced the most cordial reception among what we call the savage tribes the Osages, the Ottawas, the Delawares, the Kansas, the Sioux, and many others whose very names have been but lately made known to us. In the reports which the missionaries have given of their proceedings, they occasionally mingle traits and anecdotes of these tribes, which are worth a passing notice. In addressing the Indians, it is necessary to use allegory profusely, but at the same time with the utmost propriety of application. Their speeches are abrupt, and composed of a few sentences. They are remarkably close and subtile reasoners, and in arguing with them, he who has any hope of convincing them, must take care to be strictly consecutive and logical, for if he wander in any degree from his subject, they will mistrust him, thinking that his purpose is not to instruct, but to deceive. They have usually their chosen spokesman, and are never embarrassed for an answer, which is given with an acuteness that sometimes surprises a stranger. Indeed, when perfectly sober, they have little of the savage about them beyond the name and the costume. When a traveller is under the necessity of stopping at their encampments, he is treated with the utmost hospitality.
There are few of the Indian tribes who have not some idea, often certainly rather gross, of one only God, who is sovereign master of the whole universe. They call him the "Disposer of Life," or the "Great Spirit." It is said, upon good information, that several of these communities, although they have never yet seen a white man, pay the homage of their adoration to one God, to whom they offer every morning the first mouthful of smoke which they draw from their pipes, and the first morsel of their food. There are, however, some races who adore what they call the "beautiful star," to which they occasionally, it would seem, sacrifice human victims, who are fattened some time previously for the purpose.
An instance is given in the Recueil des Lettres of the belief which some of the Indians entertain, as to the existence of a God.
Near St. Louis, in Kentucky, one day, a savage, taking by the hand the superior of the missionary seminary established there, addressed him in these terms :
"I know," said the Indian, " that you and your companions are the Ministers of the Great Spirit: that you hold in your hands the papers which contain his mandates, and that you are charged to point out to others by your words and your example, the path which they should pursue, if they hope to reach the presence of the Great Spirit. As for me, I know only that He exists. When I lie down to rest, 1 raise my hands