These Meetings Or Assemblies Are Supposed To
Be For The Transaction Of Business; But Are Not Much Other Than
Soirees, At Which The Ladies And Children Make Their Appearance In
Elegant Full Dress.
One missionary receives his friends at
breakfast, a second at dinner, the third at tea, several equipages
and a number of servants stand in the court-yard.
Business is also attended to: the gentleman generally retire for
half an hour or so; but the greater part of the time is passed in
mere social amusement.
I do not think that it can be easy to gain the confidence of the
natives in this way. Their foreign dress, and elegant mode of life,
make the people feel too strongly the difference of rank, and
inspire them with fear and reserve rather than confidence and love.
They do not so readily venture to look up to people of wealth or
rank, and the missionaries have consequently to exert themselves for
some time until this timidity is overcome. The missionaries say
that it is necessary to make this appearance, in order to create an
impression and command respect; but I think that respect may be
inspired by noble conduct, and that virtue will attract men more
than external splendour.
Many of the missionaries believe that they might effect a great deal
by preaching and issuing religious tracts in the native language in
the towns and villages. They give the most attractive report of the
multitude of people who crowd to hear their preaching and receive
their tracts, and it might reasonably be thought that, according to
their representations, at least half of their hearers would become
converts to Christianity; but unfortunately the listening and
receiving tracts is as good as no proof at all.
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