A fraught voyage with conflicting commands for sea matters and spiritual matters, to which Captain Snow took umbrage.
p. 22: It was originally intended that a missionary clergyman should have gone out with me, but circumstances prevented one being ready in time. He was to have acted, as the Secretary informed me, under my direction and authority in secular matters; doing duty—strangely enough, to my fancy, for a clergyman—“as third mate on board” while I should have nothing to do with his spiritual labours, except rendering him aid amongst the natives. … As the voyage I was bound upon would be one wherein an opportunity might present itself for making various useful observations, I endeavoured to get a few scientific instruments, but failed in an application I made for them. However, with my own limited means I procured one or two, and was thus enabled, as I hope, to do some little good in that department.
p. 23-24: Just before entering King’s Road I thought it wise to receive, in the presence of the Committee, a pledge from all on board that they would, severally and toge ther, at all times, do their utmost towards carrying out the objects of the mission, and cordially support me in the arduous duties it would be my task to perform. I began with the crew, calling over each man’s name, and asking whether he fully understood what he had come to do, and would sincerely act up to that which he had promised when signing the ship’s agreement. The answer of all was in the affirmative. I then put the same question to the artizans, surgeon, and catechist; and their replies expressed unshaken resolution and confidence. No one appeared fearful or faint-hearted, and though, as I intently gazed upon them, I tried to read in their features some indication of the truth in their minds, yet I could perceive nothing that caused a doubt as to the honesty of their fervid expressions to aid me all in their power. I hoped that I had about me those who would really give me every help, even apart from what their mere line of duty required of them. I was, however, often disappointed in this hope; and except one or two of the seamen, I have since found that it would have been better to have had any kind of men than professedly super-excellent ones—men who come with heaven on their lips but not in their heart. I had some who must evidently have been of this description, or else fit only for an asylum; but, as I could not know this until I had learnt it by experience, I assured every one that, as captain of the ship, I would do all in my power to make them happy and comfortable, and would never place them in any unnecessary danger or peril. That both myself and wife, who accompanied me, performed that pledge, I may be per mitted to say none of them can deny—indeed their own letters to me prove it.
p. 34-36, on the island of Ferando de Noronha, a Brazilian penal settlement where he was assigned an interpreter to help in buying food for the ship: The interpreter, I found, was a most intelligent and superior kind of man, speaking and writing very fair English. He was a German by birth, but, as I understood him to say, born of British parents, his father being formerly a merchant of Hull. The name he gave me was Charles Seymour; and he stated that he had been a soldier officer in the Brazilian service at the time some disturbances had taken place a few years back at Maranham; that he had been ordered to fire upon the people,—had refused to do so,—had got himself into difficulty with his superiors, and, finally, was sent off to Fernando as a military prisoner. He had been eight years on the island; was married to a coloured woman, and had two children; but he was so badly off that he would be most thankful for any aid I could give him. He earnestly entreated for some cast-off clothing that my wife would spare for him, or his children, I having incidentally mentioned that my wife was on board. A piece of salt meat, good tobacco, and a few English books, would also be a luxury to him; and these, with whatsoever else I could spare, and thought would be proper to give him, I promised. It was only by snatches that I gathered these particulars from Seymour, for most of the time he was interpreting between the governor and me; nor will I do more here than give the statement, as near as possible, as I heard it from his own lips. There may be many other facts and circumstances connected with his case to destroy the poetry one could not help investing it with; but it was enough for me at the time to find, as a prisoner in a lonely island on the sea, and under foreign rule, one who could claim affinity by birth or immediate descent with my native land. Calling himself an Englishman was sufficient to arouse my sympathies in his favour, particularly when I found he could fluently speak several languages besides my own. Accordingly, I hesitated not to meet his request to the best of my power, and without infringing any of the rules and regulations of the island, so far, at least, as my own common sense told me they must exist. I therefore determined to give to his wife and children whatever I intended he should have, and with this arrangement he was well pleased. He begged of me to accept in return a few old books (some of Miss Edgeworth’s Tales), that he had read over and over again until he nearly knew them all by heart and, to oblige him, I accepted the tattered volumes.
p. 108-09: The services this day on board were conducted by the Doctor and myself. I adapted a portion of the Church service to our especial case; and read a prayer for the Society at home as well as abroad. It may be that some would think I was going out of my especial calling; but not so. As the head of the little family on board it was my duty, as it always is my pleasure, to see the offices of public worship properly attended to, and the worship itself invariably maintained. Perhaps there are no class of men in the world more truly religious than sailors. As a direct proof of this, I might refer to the late Arctic expeditions, and to many of our most noted naval commanders. It is not, however, easily understood. For, to a landsman, the careless, rollicking, light-talking sailor, or the dashing, brave, and perchance stern commander, has little about him of the more sober and strongly marked frequenter of his church at home; yet, it is nevertheless true, that inwardly he is a sincere and stedfast believer in the beauties and consolations of religious faith. I hesitate not to say that our sailors, despite all their outward seeming, and their apparent disregard of well-meant pulpit teaching (often of too high a tone, or too cramped a spirit), are, as a whole, anything but the irreligious class many make them out to be. Where will you find more earnest and attentive hearers when a discourse is given them that they can understand? Where men more ready, by their sympathy, their manly aid, their rough but kind attention, and their ever-open purse, to practically illustrate the heavenly doctrines of the blessed Founder of our faith? But their very nature, and their occupation, are against the appearance of what persons of quieter pursuits alone conceive religion to be; and the same remarks apply, I imagine, to our soldiers, and to many on shore who cannot take up with, or admit the superficialities that unfortunately are too often exhibited by even real followers of religion.
p. 110: At breakfast hour, on deck if possible, there was a portion of the psalm for the day; a sentence or two from the Gospel; sometimes a hymn; and then one of the prayers from a little book of my own, called “Daily Service in the Cottage.” Occasionally this would be varied by something extempore, if the weather was too rough or circumstances required it. In the evening at eight a similar course was pursued; and, from our arrival at Keppel Island until events occurred that prevented me, I personally carried on this duty. At times when the vessel was at anchor, and the work of the day was over, I would have all hands down in the cabin, and from some useful or entertaining book give the men an hour’s reading; and I believe this was a real good to all of us. I never kept too much to one subject; but whenever I found a particular subject hang heavy, or that my hearers were being too much led away by any light tale that I indulged them with, I immediately, after finishing that work, took up another of a different tendency. This was the case, also, with whatever we fell in with that was new or interesting on shore. If it served to illustrate or at all explain any portion of the day’s Scripture, I called their attention to it; as for instance when we first fell in with the herds of wild cattle on the hills of East Falkland, this served to explain Ps. 1. 10, which was the lesson for the day; and so with many other things. On Sundays, in addition to this I performed the morning and evening service, slightly abridged and altered to suit us. But it so happened that no prayer books had been put on board, and had it not been for four or five of my own that fortunately were among my books, we should have been at a loss. However, some months after our arrival at the Falklands, and when on a visit to Stanley, the colonial chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Faulkner, kindly supplied this want. Hymns, according to occasion, and selected from the “Cottage Hymn Book,” were sung on the Sundays; and at morning service I read a short sermon from another book of my own, one I had had on several voyages, and called “Sea Sermons.” These I had also to slightly alter or omit in some parts; and when anything particular required it, I gave either a written or extempore discourse of my own. That no mistake may arise as to what I did say on such occasions I have thus explained my usual course, and can refer to my papers still by me; and it is also right to say that I was mainly indebted to the useful little publication by Captain F. Harding for the Arctic expeditions, and “A Prayer” for the same expeditions, given me by Lady Franklin.
p. 148-49, a description of Snow’s quarters on the Mission schooner: At the fore part of the cabin, above the table, was a portrait of Captain Gardiner [the founder of the Mission]; and swinging from a secure place in another part, was the ship’s barometer, my own being in my private cabin. Against the side of the sky light combings was an excellent timepiece of my own, and suspended from proper places was a glass lamp and a tell tale compass. From the main cabin, two doors, one on either side of the table, led into my private apartments. Both of these rooms opened into each other, were carpeted, and lined with chintz imitating wall-paper. In the right-hand one, many shelves were filled with my books, a collection of my own, and amounting to more than 450 volumes, some of them rather expensive; my nautical instruments ; drawing utensils, tools, and a few pictures, besides my rifle, revolver, double-barrelled pistol, fowling-piece, and sword; the ship’s fire-arms, in an oblong chest, turned into a good seat; an Harmonium, one of Alexandra’s best, a fine musical-box of large size, a concertina, one or two spyglasses, microscope, lenses, &c. &c.; a two-flap Pembroke table, arm-chair, and a sofa, made of another locker or chest, in which I kept the ship’s tobacco and other sundries.
p. 213-14, on approaching the River Plate and Montevideo: It was, however, not my intention to go too far out, neither did I wish to be too close in; for, from everything I had been told or that I had read, I knew that it was necessary to be very careful in entering the River Plate. I had even been written to from home to beware of “the dangerous navigation of the Plate;” and such a caution, coming from the same eminent officer whom I have already alluded to, was not to be despised. But, apart from that, I could tell by my charts and books, that it appeared to well deserve the name given to it by Spaniards, “Mer d’Enfer.” Full of banks, and shoals, and shifting sands; with the coast so low on the south that it could not, in some parts, be distinguished from the muddy water, except where, here and there, a bush, like some curious wart, showed, upon the horizon; with shallow soundings even fifty miles from land; and with rapid tides, and occasionally the hurricane “pamperos,” it needed no warning from others to mind what I was about. I had been kindly advised at Stanley by Capt. Hope of H.M.S. “Indefatigable” to take the northern passage, and not attempt the south one; but even had I meant to have done so, it would have been difficult with the north-east winds we experienced.
p. 390: The difficulty of getting to the westward appeared very great, unless I took time and watched every opportunity. Yet to lay about at anchor in wild and desolate places is almost as bad, in one sense, as being in gales of wind; for, in the latter, you do have something to give employment to your men, whereas, in the former, nothing at all can be done, not even, in most cases, the ordinary work of the ship. As to myself, I was never troubled with ennui. I ever had, in my books and studies, constant occupation; but the case was vastly different with my men. To them a day at anchor in an open roadstead was a day completely wasted, mentally and bodily—nor could I help it. It was therefore anything but desirable to lay too long in one place, even if the only change made was that of going a few miles.
p. 37-38, interviewing a native named Jemmy Button: I now began to question Jemmy; and to try and draw him out. But he was so confused that, beyond disjointed sentences, I obtained, at that time, very little information from him. One important point, however, I did ascertain; and this was as to the language of his people. Taking from my bookshelves Captain Fitzroy’s narrative, I went over several words in the vocabulary, and found that the Tekeenica column was correct. By it, so far as it goes, some communication can be held with the natives in these parts, though not with those in the Beagle Channel or at Banner Cove. The portraits of himself and the his combed hair, washed face, and dandy dress, with the polished boots it is said he so much delighted in: perhaps he was asking himself which, after all, was the best,-the prim and starch, or the rough and shaggy? Which he thought, he did not choose to say; but which I inferred he thought was gathered from his refusal to go anywhere again with us. Of England he, however, spoke with much grateful feeling. “Yes: me know—Ingliss conetree: vary good—you flag, me know (meaning that he had understood the British Ensign that I had hoisted at the main); yes: much good—all good in Ingliss conetree—long way—me sick in hammock—vary bad—big water sea—me know Capen Fitzoy [sic]—Byno—Bennet—Walamstow—Wilson—Ingliss lady, you wife?” and on being told yes, he added, alluding to my wife’s fresh-coloured countenance and at that time healthy appearance, “ah! Ingliss ladies vary pretty vary pretty!” And so it was with many other things, but especially our canary, a splendid songster, which several times elicited from him “vary pretty bird!” I took him into my library, and showed him several of the articles arranged there—wisely, I cannot now say, for it perhaps recalled too much to him: nevertheless I showed him all that I thought might bring back to his mind the past—my books—pictures—instruments—fire arms—toilét materials and ladies’ fancy articles, con cerning all of which he kept constantly expressing his delight, and naming some of them without hesitation, and others after a slight difficulty. A fine musical box gave him intense pleasure; and when I played a Harmonium, one of Alexandre’s, he stood beside me as if entranced. He said it was “oh! vary good—all Ingliss vary good!”
p. 39, on visiting the Mission schooner: He told me about “Matews” the Missionary, and “bad fellow York—gone, long time to other conetree!’ At Woollya he said “sometime plenty fight—‘nother conetryman come there. Now no feels (fields) for eat, but good feels for look.” (Meaning, nothing growing there now, but might be made to grow, as the ground was good, &c.) “He never live there now, only little time. By and by he go over to Woollya and look again.”—“ ’Spose I come p’raps I find him there.” “I tell Bennet—Capen Fitzoy—Mit. Wilson, he member them,—‘Spose Inglis conetree too long way—vary good conetree, but much water—make sick— plenty hammock,” and this he repeated several times. He said “when I show the Ingliss flag, he knew good ship, and he come see.” In reply to a question I put as to any vessel or European strangers having been there since Captain Fitzroy, he distinctly intimated that none had come. “No:—no ship—Capen Fitzoy—you;” but I can hardly believe it possible that he could so retain a knowledge of our language if unvisited by any Englishman during the interval that elapsed since Captain Fitzroy’s last interview with him. But as I repeated the question again and again, and received the same answer, I can do nothing but give it. Perhaps he may have misunderstood the question; yet, as he never hinted of any other visitors having been there, I can now hardly think so; though, at first, so strange was the whole affair that I was for a long time incredulous. He asked my name and my wife’s, also the ship’s; and upon his desiring a book, I gave him two or three, with some particulars of our visit written in one.
p. 149, on encountering two men who intentionally stranded themselves on Keppel Island, and were reluctant to leave their hermitage: Accordingly the next morning I called all hands to me, and, after consulting with my mate, briefly informed the men what I intended to do. “My men,” I said, “I wish you to well understand me. The two persons on shore for whose lives I am made personally responsible are coming alongside, as they yesterday arranged, to get some more provisions. They will be here in the small ship’s boat that I lent them, and which belongs to the ship. Therefore overhaul the boat’s falls in the waist, and the moment they come up to the gang way and touch the ship, you, Griffin, go down into the boat and haul her ahead under the davits; another of you then jump down, and both of you hook on, whilst the rest make a flying run and hoist the boat chock up. But—and mind this particularly—don’t one of you molest or touch with your hands either of them, even though they should molest you. Whether they will or no, they shall not any longer, if I can help it, make me thus responsible. Deaths, either by starvation or by mental aberration, or by any other cause, voluntary or involuntary, shall not again occur in this mission while I have the smallest power to prevent it, even though I should ultimately be made to suffer. So be careful, men, and do what I have told you promptly and steadily.”[It makes an interesting story over the next five pages but the net result was that the two hermits returned to shore apart from any authority of Captain Snow, who dismissed them as “Madmen” (p. 153).
p. 174, on a Mr. Schmid used by the Mission to teach German to Patagonian natives: While I was speaking to Mrs. W—, some one came out from a door behind me, and she said, “Here is Mr. Schmid.” Turning round, I was, I must confess, so amazed and disappointed at beholding the gentleman who had come out under that high-sounding title, that I could hardly speak to him. However, shaking hands, we soon got chatting together on the affairs of the mission; but, poor fellow, I found that the talk was necessarily nearly all on my own side. He knew nothing of the Society’s affairs except that the missionary was to have left England soon after he did, and, therefore, might be daily expected. As I had not then been for my letters, I knew nothing but that this was probable; but in an hour or two afterwards I was undeceived. However, reverting again to poor Mr. Schmid, let me here give an outline of his history, so far as connected with our undertaking, and present to the public another curious picture in the “getting up” of a missionary scheme.
p. 174-75: It was, I believe, at the end of 1854 that Mr. Schmid, a young and perfectly inexperienced person, born in Germany, was in a training college somewhere near Basle. One day he was asked if he would go to Patagonia; and, though he had originally thought of Texas, he, leaving the matter in the hands of his principal, did not hesitate about Patagonia. Well, without any stipulation as to pay, board, or anything else, he was packed off, and, like other bales of goods received by Mr. Secretary, duly arrived at his house, and was installed there as any similar piece of useful furniture. He knew nothing of English, but it suited Mr. Secretary to have him in the house, without pay, teaching him and his children German. At the end of a twelvemonth, when the mission began to flag in interest, it was thought well to put young Schmid forward in his capacity as “linguist and interpreter” to the mission; and, thus placarded and announced, behold he was one day informed that he had been appointed “linguist, &c.,” and he would have an annual salary of 40l per annum, and find himself. This salary, moreover, was not to commence till he had arrived at the mission station on Keppel Island! Even he was startled at this; and though he made no demur, nor asked any questions about the stipend, — I believe he would have been frightened to do so, —yet he did venture to ask the price of provisions abroad, and he was told that for six shillings per week he could keep himself! And, moreover, his expenses to Monte Video being paid, he would be allowed a certain sum to help him on thence to the Falkland Islands, as there was a fortnightly communication between the two places (which I had repeatedly stated in my letters home was not the case), and that he was to make the best of his way to the station, &c., taking Mrs. W—under his charge. I need not repeat all he told me of his mishaps, nor the life he led on board the ship he came out in. Suffice it to say that “Mr. Theophilus Schmid, Linguist and Interpreter to the Patagonian Mission,” was duly despatched, with his instructions, public and private,— the public ones being, of course, all right enough, —the private ones, as he told me, intimating that he should act as a spy upon his brother workers in the mission. In proof, it will be enough to mention that he really did this; and that, on the passage out, he not only opened the sealed letters entrusted to his care for the consul and the chaplain, and one of my crew, but actually read them, and allowed them to be read all over the vessel! His excuse was that his master had bade him study epistolary correspondence, and that he would better please his employers if he carefully observed and noted, and then reported home, all the doings of those with whom he was henceforth to be associated…. Meanwhile I took Mr. Schmid on board, but found, as I said in a letter to the Society at home, that it was like having a baby to deal with. He wanted and expected in that small ship a separate table and lights, that he might study Hebrew and Greek; he knew nothing of the world; was always making lamentable mistakes, and would cry if spoken to by any one.
p. 217-19, on lack of amusements in Stanley, the Falklands: The absence of all amusement at Stanley is, in my opinion, a great drawback to its welfare. As I have once before said, there is fortunately neither newspaper nor lawyer; but if there were a good lecturer, or amateur dramatic company, I believe it would be vastly beneficial. I am not at liberty here, from want of space and other reasons, to discuss the advantages of rational amusement; but I may briefly say that I consider no scheme of education, religious or otherwise, should be without it. A man may study so hard that at last he actually becomes a part of that which he has been studying. How often do we find this the case! and how clearly this explains the monomania one occasionally beholds on particular subjects. What is amusement may be another thing; but my own impression is, that whatever gives relief to the mind without impairing the body is amusement; and such amusement cannot be wrong, no matter what it is. If there were such at Stanley, I have no doubt it would be of vast benefit, providing it were under proper and official control; for, in small and distant communities no good can ever come of people being left to themselves, The necessity for some moral and social improvement was so evident to His Excellency the present Governor on his arrival, that he gave every encouragement to the formation of intellectual gatherings among the colonists. A Reading Room was established, and, I believe, is now tolerably well supported; a Total Abstinence Society was also formed, and speedily had several members; and a Cricket Club attempted, though without much success. With regard to the Reading Room, I need hardly say that I felt it my duty to do what I could in aid of it. In addition to a donation, I sent some books and pamphlets, and did all in my power to help it. I believe its most active supporter—that is, of those who were not of the working classes, for whom it was more especially intended—was Mr. Havers, the Colonial Manager of the Falkland Island Company, a gentleman of rare and varied talent and ability. But as to the other Society, it was mainly established by working men themselves, under the patronage of His Excellency, who liberally subscribed to this, as well as to the Reading Room. For myself, not approving of teetotalism as a principle, though well enough as a possible means to an end, I could do nothing but candidly say so; and, while I forwarded a similar donation to that which I had given to the Reading Room, and even joined with Mr. Havers and Mr. Brooke, the magistrate, in giv ing a lecture for its benefit, besides taking its members in the vessel for a few hours’ trip outside, yet I could never conscientiously say I approved of it. There was, however, one other thing done by the Governor in which, heart and soul, I could cordially join: this was the making a suitable church.
p. 268-69, in Falklands the Chief Constable of Stanley tries to impound Snow’s schooner illustrating the legal and practical importance of ships’ papers: The Constable having now come on board, I again demanded his business; whereupon he began to read, as well as he could,—for he was in this respect very imperfect,—a warrant addressed to some one with a different Christian name to myself, and moreover in other respects informal, as my two mates and myself easily saw. I therefore at once objected, and said, “Chief Constable of Stanley, Her Majesty’s Government here having cleared me for sea, I must request that, unless you want to take a passage with me, you will vacate this vessel, the paper in your hands not being addressed to any one on board of the name there mentioned; and moreover it is informal. Have you any other document or authority to give you power for remaining another moment against my wish on the deck of a vessel I command? ” “You don’t choose to admit this, then?” said he. “You know it is to you; and I tell you I am here to stop the vessel from going to sea.” “No doubt, quite right, Chief Constable,” I replied; “but I must see and have in my possession some better proof of your authority than what you have been reading to me,–as far as I could understand your reading it,—therefore, I must decline to lose this fair wind by longer attention to you. Good-day,”—and then walking forward I cheered the men, who were working lustily at the windlass. … Accordingly I proceeded with the work of getting ready for sea; whereupon Parry came forward in a very flustered manner, and sang out, “I command you, in her Majesty’s name, to stop heaving in the anchor!” At the sound of Her Majesty’s name, I, expecting this, quietly said to the men who still worked on, looking at me for orders, “You hear this, men! In Her Majesty’s name you are ordered by an officer of the Crown to desist. If you take my advice you will instantly do so. It is not my order, for I have nothing legally placed in my hands that would enable me to issue such an order. But it will be at your peril if you resist Her Majesty’s official servant.” It was done! hardly a second elapsed before the men had left off, as ordered by the Constable, and from that moment the ship was in the hands of the civil power!
p. 310, Snow’s diatribe in the Appendix: Before doing this, it is necessary that I say a few words on the subject, generally, of Missions abroad, lest in some things I be misunderstood on both sides of the question. I dislike extremes of any kind. Even philanthropy may be made nauseous by the mistaken, yet probably well meant zeal of ardent votaries in some particular cause. Many persons deem their own course of benevolent action the best; and either rail against, or level quiet sarcasm at that course which deviates from their own. This is conspicuously seen in many of the annual gatherings at certain places; and it is a sad blot upon what under some circumstances would present a fair surface. But the mass of the people are becoming too intelligent not to perceive what is and what is not the true spirit of Christian love and charity. It is a sad and a painful thing to any one who loves what is honest and sincere in any benevolent work to find so much of absurdity connected with it. Excitement is often got up, by some fluent speaker and subtle orator, in order that money may be obtained to support those who have chosen to introduce this new idea. As a writer, now before me, says:—“I would not take away one jot from the respect due to religion, or raise an impious voice against any body of men acting as a society for the good of their fellow men; and we do neither when we say that many of these meetings got up by new societies partake more, in their way of doing business, of the claptrap than the simple method adopted by Christ to benefit mankind; and that the money annually raised by this means, so far from producing to any practical extent even the good intended, serves only to support a set of officers in a genteel style, whose sole and pleasant duty appears to be simply to talk and write about that good.
* * * * Charity is a lovely, and Religion a holy thing; but there is often too much, in some of these meetings, more of anything else than true charity or religion. They are mere exhibitions, in which the speakers, who are generally clergymen, are the heroes; where contributors of the money are the victims; and where, except in a very few of the societies, no one is the gainer save the officers and agents who absorb most, if not all, of the contributions in the way of their salaries.” Thus far what another says; and I regret to add that painful experience compels me, as regards one Society, to corroborate his remarks. But I would not go the extreme length that some do, in speaking against all missionary labour abroad. Much of it is undoubtedly mistaken, or unwisely carried on; but there is also much that is good. One of my main objects in writing this book has been to draw attention to the subject of missionary enterprise both in its real and ideal good: to divest it of the false halo which surrounds it in the eyes of numbers of its admirers, who conceive that anything bearing the name must be pure and estimable; and to elevate it, where sincere, in the sight of those who, on account of that false halo by them easily seen through, can only view it as a medium for much hypocrisy, cant, and spiritual pride. True missionary labour is not what generally goes under that denomination in the present day. For proof of this I would take the example of those who, staff in hand, and scrip by side, went forth by two and two at a time from Galilee, at the bidding of their Master, and taught as they were told to do. I would also take up the early apostles, and, above all, that great practical missionary, Paul of Tarsus, he, the once disciple of the Jew Gamaliel, who laboured with his own hands rather than be a burden to the Church. I would even call forward the much-reviled Jesuits, who, whatever might be their error—if error there be (and God , not man, is the fitting Judge), have gone further and deeper, and more perseveringly than any of their co-religionists, in the work of attempting to humanise their fellow creatures far afield. True missionaries they! With Him they served alone for their guide and dependence, have they not gone where few others—until lately in Africa—have ventured? Have they not patiently, and well and wisely, endured? Have they not unceasingly, and with firmness, borne perils, and dangers, and sufferings, which very few in the present day encounter? If they plant a creed of error according to our ideas, how know we that it may not be for good amongst those who receive it, and who have heretofore worshipped—if they worshipped any thing—but the idols of their own hands, or the hosts of heaven? Unlike the well-paid missionary of some amongst us, these pupils of a creed we so much despise and abuse, go forth, almost penniless, into unknown regions; and by their own labour, or by the chance help of others, strive to implant among the wild people they visit the knowledge they themselves have gained. From place to place they wander, teaching, inculcating, and practically illustrating what they preach; and years gone by, did these Jesuit missionaries travel into lands of the West, and East, and North and South, which until lately were never visited by other civilised beings. I do not say that their acts were always good: I would not hold up their principles and their mode of dealing with their converts as those to be imitated. God forbid! l But I do put them forth as an example of true single-mindedness, of perseverance, of unflinching determination, and patient endurance. And like to these are, I believe, others of a denomination considered almost equally as much out of the pale of the Church of England as they,—the Moravians. Here we have men going forth to earn their daily bread in unknown lands, to toil, to struggle, and to bear, even as they would, and perhaps more than they would at home; and yet doing the work of a missionary also. Different from this, however, is the case of one who, with great éclat, and moneyed help, goes forth with his various servants under different denominations—as surgeon, catechist, carpenters, interpreters, governess for his family, &c. &c., besides his household goods of every kind, in the shape of hundreds of books, pianoforte, &c. &c. This latter may say he is going to do so and so; he may even state that he has done so and so ; and by the false glare which surrounds him he may possibly dazzle the eyes of many; but will not the sober-thinking mind ask the question,—What is it he is really going to do? —and what is it proved that he has done?
p. 317, Snow’s apoplectic conclusion about his mission experience: But this let me say. Reader, whoever you are, and particularly if you are a seaman, I conjure you, as you value one grain of happiness, peace, or fair-dealing, and if you have the smallest regard to your own welfare, go rather to the Sioux Indians, — work, slave, ship as a man before the mast in any trawler, rather than go in the confidence of your heart and trust to a self-styled Missionary Society newly started up; or, if you do engage yourself to such, I conjure you to get the most skilful legal advice you can find before entering into any agreement. Be chary of everything; doubt; examine; hesitate; prove; test; try in every possible manner, even as you would, and more so than if you were engaged with those the world is generally most cautious with. In any agreement you may make, have every possible contingency provided for. Think over it; sleep over it; inquire about it; and again and again read every word, and spell every letter, to be sure you are safe; if not, the chances are that, whenever you are found in the way, you will be tossed, like a stale fish, upon the first bare rock in a distant part of the ocean, and left to get off in the best manner you can,—as I was. A true mission to the Fuegians, however, I warmly advocate; but I must be permitted to say that—from my knowledge of the Society’s past doings—I strongly speak against their plans. For, from the very first moment I had a correct knowledge of their real intentions, I felt myself bound honestly to express disapproval; and a determination, as a British shipmaster, personally amenable to the laws, not to have anything to do with such plans. It will be enough to say that the society not being incorporated, and I the only individual attached to it, recognised by law—being the legal master of the ship—their deeds were but the acts of private individuals, while mine were necessarily official. It was therefore solely because of my “opposition to their plans” that I was made to leave the vessel belonging to the Society.