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THE stated mission of Rev. Mr. SARGEANT at New Stockbridge has been maintained, as usual, and nothing material has occurred. The jealousy of the Indians, in regard to their lands, has been inquired into, and has at least subsided. Among other instances of encouragement, the missionary mentions three persons, who were very seriously disposed, and applied to him for religious advice. “These three persons,” he observes, “have for some years past been notorious for wickedness, but a great reformation has taken place in their lives for some time past.”
THE grant, made by the Society for the erection of a Schoolhouse for the Indians, has been faithfully applied to that purpose, under the direction of the President and Secretary of the Rhode Island Missionary Society. The building was so nearly completed in May 1812, that the Society then voted one hundred dollars towards the support of a school. Mr. JEREMLAH NILEs was soon after appointed instructer; and, after consultation with the president of the council, opened the school the 20th July. The number of his scholars varied greatly; the largest number was 31. Their attention was principally directed to reading and to moral and religious instruction. “A decided testimony was borne against falsehood, and every kind of profanity; and the social virtues were inculcated.” The tribe, after the first quarter, “manifested a wish that a school might be continued.” Attestations were received of the acceptance and usefulness of Mr. Niles as an instructer, and he was continued in the school; which was kept about two thirds of the year.-The Society, this year, appropriated one hundred dollars to the school; and Mr.SILAs Shores, of Taunton, has been appointed instructer. Near the close of the first quarter, Dr. Patten wrote to the Secretary, that “his number of scholars has not been so great as was expected. But from good information his labors have been successful and very acceptable, and the Indians are desirous that he should be continued another quarter, when his school will be larger, as the boys which were hired out to work in summer will be at home. He appears to have been of use in the religious instruction of the Indians, for though they do not wish for a preacher, they are pleased to have him attend their meeting, and to speak in his turn, and request him to pray.” Mr. Shores is continued in the school.
THE Rev. Mr. BADGER has recently sent to the Society a complete history of the mission at Sandusky. Its compilation was requested while the society was engaged in aiding that establishment, which has at length been relinquished. The information it contains may be of future use. It is a melancholy fact, that the principal obstruction to this mission was from white people. Mr. Badger observes: “this station (Lower Sandusky) has been resorted to by Indian traders, and, I believe, generally of the most abandoned charaeters....The main difficulty in conducting a mission among the Indians arises from the influence of the traders with them. They are wholly opposed to every attempt for the instruction of Indians; and being well acquainted with Indian jealousies, use every device to excite them against the mission....Since the mission broke up, there has been no opportunity of doing any thing with them.”
St. John’s Tribe.
THE Rev. Mr. EASTMAN was, in 1811, appointed a missionary for one month to the Indians on St. John’s river.” The special design of his mission was, to ascertion their number, situation, character, and whether there were any opening for meliorating their condition, especially by religious instruction. The fears and jealousies of the white people, in regard to American missionaries, were found to be inauspicious to the mission. Alarmed with the apprehension of an immediate war with Ameriea, they feared our missionary would alienate the affections of the Indians from their own to the American interest. He was told by the principal agent for the Indians, that nothing could be done in the way of a religious education, while the Roman catholic priests held possession of their minds against all other instruction. “To ascertain the exact number of Indians in the St. John's tribe (he observes) I found it somewhat difficult, as the alarm of war had scattered them in almost every direction. The governor of this tribe with his family had fled to Kennebeck a few days before I arrived; some to Quebec; others hunting and fishing; but, from the best information, I believe the whole number to be about two hundred.”
* He was then in the employment of the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, in that region.
A committee has been appointed by the society, to inquire, whether there be any reliques of these Indians, and, if any, what is their state. The committee (Rev. Dr. Prentiss and Rev. Mr. Greenough) have made a report, by which it appears, that scarcely any remains of this tribe can be found. Three females aged 69 and upwards, one man aged 40, and one lad aged 14, were all the Indians resident in this town; and there are between 20 and 30 who are not residents. “Of these,” the report states, “ some cannot read, and in general they are destitute of property or regular modes of life. Some of them are exceptions from this statement, possessing some property, and a measure of information.”
It being understood, the last year, that Messrs. SAMUEL J. MILLs and JoHN F. SchERMER Horn, candidates for the ministry, were about to make a tour through the western and southwestern parts of the United States, to learn the religious situation of the inhabitants, and occasionally to perform missionary labour; the Society voted them one hundred dollars in exclusive reference to the Indian tribes. A series of questions concern
ing the natives was communicated to them before their depart
ure, to which their attention was particularly directed. They have returned; and we are gratified in stating, that answers to our inquiries will shortly be given in a report, which is in preparation for the Society.
DISTRICT OF MAINE.
The Rev. Mr. MAY has continued to perform the three months’ annual service, assigned him at Brownville and the vicinity, with evident success. Finding his usefulness in the neighbourhood obstructed by certain preachers, he confined his labours for a time more particularly to Brownville, where the people, after various attempts on the part of these men to introduce themselves among them, had shown themselves almost unanimously disposed to discountenance their labours. His account . of the public religious exercises, as conducted under the guidance of these teachers, is truly affecting: “Men and women and children all pray and preach in public, and at the same time; so that those who would, can only feel but not think religiously, and the revival has in general progressed rather by words of excitement than words calculated at once to enlighten the understanding and warm the affections. The Bible is considered by many, and publicly declared by some, to be of secondary importance as a rule of practice.” A letter, written from Williamsburg in April last,“ in behalf of the principal inhabitants of this vicinity,” expresses to the Society “grateful acknowledgments of the favour shown them in the appointment of Rev. Mr. May, to administer to them occasionally the word and ordinances of the gospel ; and in the donations to them from time to time, of such books as their state and situation have peculiarly required.” After strongly expressing their satisfaction in the ministerial labours of Mr. May, they observe: “In a period like the present, when vice and infidelity on one hand, and ignorant fanaticism on the other, are threatening openly to crush, or covertly to subvert the foundation of all religious order, and to confine within the narrowest limits, the dissemination of correct principles and sound doctrine, we look with solicitude to those societies, which the bounty of God has enabled, and his wisdom and benevolence inspired with a disposition, to extend the hand of charity to those whose limited means do not enably
them to procure instruction for themselves, much less for their neighbours.” Mr. May, the last winter, had a school of 25 youth under his tuition, in which he “took great pains to inculcate the love and reverence of the scriptures, and had the satisfaction to see his endeavours blessed in the improvement of the minds and morals of the rising generation.”
The Rev. Mr. Smith, in 1814, performed the three months’ missionary service, assigned him at Temple and the vicinity; and, in 1812, another mission of four months. The maintenance of the ministry in Temple appears to have essentially depended on the aids of the society. We have received repeated assurances of the necessities of the inhabitants, and of their gratitude for the succour we have imparted to them. In the towns or plantations where Mr. Smith rendered his services, he received thankful acknowledgments from the people, and earnest solicitations to revisit them. The society in Temple has this year petitioned for Mr. Smith's reappointment, and for a greater share of his missionary labours.
The Rev. Mr. LovEJoy performed the three months’ service, assigned him at Wassalborough and the vicinity in 1811. The attendance was considerably more numerous than in the preceding year; the importance of regular societies more generally impressed upon the minds of the people; and his labours were crowned with “visible success.” He admitted several members into the church, and administered baptism to 9 children. The congregational society, though small, raised one hundred dollars for the support of the gospel, and expressed a wish for the continuance of Mr. Lovejoy's services. At Fairfax nearly fifty dollars were raised for the support of congregational preaching; and here “things in several points of view appear more favourable than they have done before.” There is some hope that a congregational church will before long be founded here. Mr. Lovejoy performed a mission of three months in the same region, 1812. He “found the people kind and hospitable wherever he was called to labour.” He baptized 8 adults and 4 infants as Wassalborough. The society of this place have made their arrangements for the support of the gospel, and have raised the same sum which has been raised for