« AnteriorContinuar »
change a course of measures, when the most material circumstances which led to that course of measures, are entirely changed. It may be proper in the incipient stages of missions, that some young men should be sent where they can enjoy, for a season, higher advantages than can be at first offered at the missionary stations. And there may be cases, in which individuals may be taken for an education from tribes where no missions are yet stablished. We have numerous academies throughout New England, where a few youths, in these circumstances, might be placed, at an expense not greater than the average cost of maintaining each pupil at Cornwall. It is highly probable, that several young men from Indian tribes may be selected for this purpose, though their number would not be sufficient to authorize a separate institution for their benefit; and possibly some of them may be carried even further, and be fitted for extensive usefulness, as preachers of the Gospel, and translators of the Scriptures, by receiving a thorough academical and professional education, in some of our colleges and theological seminaries. Already several Greek youths have been put upon this course; and there seems no good reason, why a similar plan should not be adopted, with reference to select and promising young men from among the Aborigines of our
2. There are serious difficulties in conducting an institution, composed of young men brought from the wilderness, or from distant pagan countries, and formed into a little community by themselves, while they are more or less exposed to various influences from the surrounding population. If they are very much secluded from society, they learn little of the manners, habits, and modes of thinking and acting among the whites, and derive few of those peculiar advantages, on account of which they were brought into the bosom of a Christian community. In this case, they come in contact with few cultivated minds, learn little of human nature, and, on leaving the institution, have no confidence in themselves, and feel as helpless as when they commenced their education. If, on the other hand, the school should be in a place of great public resort, or easily accessible, the interruptions from visitors, and the exposure to indiscriminate intercourse, would require uncommon skill and management. Not that it would be impossible to establish certain rules of intercourse, and to enforce
them; but the great difficulty would
lie in pursuing such a medium, as should secure some acquaintance with improved and refined Christian society, and should exclude those attentions which would dissipate the mind and prevent suitable application to study. It is extremely difficult, also, to treat these children of the forest in such a manner, as not either to exalt them too high, or depress them too low. The most eligible plan would be, it is apprehended, to place them on an exact equality with youths of our own country. But it is questionable whether this can be done, so long as * are kept in a separate institution. They are objects of great curiosity; especially those of them, who possess good talents, and make commendable progress in their studies. If permitted to visit at all, and to see different parts of the country, they are apt to receive more marked attentions from persons of all ages and both sexes, than any of our own young men, receive, or than we should think it safe and proper that any young persons should receive. At the same time, * are treated, in various respects, as though they were and must be inferior to ourselves. This results not merely from the difference of complexion, but from the hereditary feelings of our people in regard to the Indians. These different kinds of treatment, which result from inquisitive curiosity, mixed with , Christian benevolence, on the one hand, and from established prejudices on the other, make the young men feel as though they were mere shows, a feeling, which is too accurate an index of their real situation. If they have not sagacit enough to see this situation, (thoug most of them have,) they become shorled children, having neither the simplicity of their former condition, nor the stability of men. But it is supposed, that the case will be different, if one, two, or three Indian youths are placed in a school, or a college, where all the rest of the learners are youths of our own country. After a short time, the peculiarity of their situation will have passed awa with its novelty; and they will stand, as they ought to stand, on a perfect equality with their fellow students. There is scarcely any thing more important, in the Fo measures with reference to Indian civilization, than that this feeling of equality should be cherished in the minds of those, who are to exert a prominent influence on their countrymen. To sum up the matter in a few words: The principal use of the Foreign Mis sion School. from the time of its institu
tion to the present day, has been supposed to consist in the means it afforded of aiding missions. Now it is found, that the principal missions from this country cannot avail themselves of its aid. And, with respect to other heathen tribes, various methods can be adopted, by which a suitable number of select youths may be educated, whenever there is a prospect of such a course being productive of benefit to their countrymen. The successful management of a school of youths born in pagan lands, and placed together in the midst of a civilized community, requires a peculiarly happy concurrence of circumstances, with a rare combination of talents, which can hardly be expected. There are many things which strongly indicate, that schools, colleges, and other seminaries, should be set up as quick as possible in heathen countries, where missions are established. But Providence has not yet made great use of young men born heathens, and removed for their education to Christian countries. A large portion of those, with whom this has been attempted, have died in the progress of their education; especially of those distinguished for promising talents and hopeful piety. In §. Britain this has been remarkably the case; and there have been several instances among ourselves.* Although these facts and reasonings leave no doubt upon the minds of the Committee, as to the proper course to be pursued, yet they do not furnish any occasion to regret the establishment of the school, and the continuance of it to the present time. The hopeful conver
... "The Church Missionary Society in England has had several young men from Africa and Polynesia under its care, in London, for the purpose of education. Mowhee from New Zealand, and Wilhelm from Afri. ea, gave evidence of piety; but both died before leaving Great Britain. Some others, who appeared con
- te and serious for a while, o to their people without having fited by the advantages, Wł. they had enjoyed. o: a New Zealand chief, after a considerable, residence in London, has ever since been full of ambitious projects, and has kept the natives in a state of most destructive war.
Five or six youths from New Zealand and the Sandwich Islands have died at Cornwall, and one very promising Cherokee youth. Others have suffered much troin the climate, and have been hurried home, lest their lives should fall a sacrifice.
Some of those, who have returned, have exerted a good influence, and now seem likely to prove perunament blessings to their people; while others have most painfully disappointed the expectations of their patrous and friends.
sion of two or three youths from the Sandwich Islands was the occasion of forming a seminary for the education of these youths and others in similar circumstances. This seminary was an intermediate cause of the mission to the Sandwich Islands; and had it been the cause of no other good, this would be matter of joy and exultation through all future ages. But it has done good in many other ways. . It was, at one period, a strong proof to the more intelligent Cherokees and Choctaws, of the benevolent feelings entertained by the whites toward the Indians. It had a powerful tendency to excite kind feelings toward the heathen generally, in the minds of many among ourselves. It gave opportunity for the display of native talent, in a o degree interesting to all friends of human improvement. It attracted the attention of many to missionary exertions, who would otherwise have remained ignorant of them. And its indirect influence has been salutary in various respects. Still, it is to be remembered, that the permanently good influence of any institution must depend ultimately upon its answering the end for which it was designed; and if, through any change of circum
ment, this end is not answered, the fact
o or any failure in the experi
must be seen and acknowledged, and measures must be adopted accordingly. It is to be considered also, that the | Foreign Mission School cannot be continued without an expenditure of several thousand dollars in the erection of buildlings. This expense must be incurred immediately, as is thought by those, who desire the continuance of the school; and, of course, the money would be nearly lost, in case the experiment should prove unsatisfactory. There are now seventeen pupils at the schoo!; and should it be d speedily, as is contemplated, a part of them will be returned to their friends, o a part retained among us, and
placed at academies, or private schools, where they can be educated at an expense not greater than the average cost of supporting them at Cornwall. It is gratifying to add, that the behavior of the F. during the year past, has been orderly, and commenda
ble, and that there is now an uncommon seriousness among them.
iscontinued. arguments, which it embraces, will be embodied in the following article. The object of the Society has been too often stated in our work, and is too well known, to need specification. The plan of it, however, inasmuch as it has lately received considerable modification, will be described.
A GENERAL, or PARENT Society is instituted, composed of those who were members for life at the time of the annual meeting in May 1826; and of such others as shall hereafter be elected into it by ballot. In this Society is lodged the supreme and ultimate direction of all the concerns of the institution. Its rules and regulations are conformed to by all who are patronized by its funds. Its anniversaries, though heretofore held in the inetropolis of New England, it is expected will hereafter be celebrated in various places as shall be found most convenient or desirable. But for the sake of greater facility, as well as safety, in managing the concerns of the institution, BRANCH SocIETIEs are formed in different states , and sections of the country. Each Branch has, by the constitution, a Board of Directors, whose business it is to superintend that part of the general interest which is entrusted to its care by the Parent Society; it has a special treasury; examines and receives, in concert with the Parent Society, beneficiaries; and appropriates the funds in its treasury to their support. If there is a deficiency of resources, application is made to the General Treasury; or, if there is a surplus, it is remitted to the General Treasury. Thus, every Branch co-operates with the General Society, and acts in subserviency to the same great object. The influence of the General Society becomes co-extensive with that of its Branches. Its funds include all which flows directly into its own treasury; and all which passes into the subordinate treasuries; while the number of its beneficiaries comprehends all those who are placed under the special care of the different Branch Societies, as well as those who are under its own immediate supervision.
pp. 4, 5.
Such a system of organization furnishes strong security for the safety and right direction of funds, while it combines the advantage of concentrated energies with that of an extensive superintendence and expansive influence.
In selecting candidates for the charity of the Society, the Directors are governed by a rule, the excellency of which is evinced by the results of eleven years, during which time aid has been afforded to 557 young men, of whom, with a confidence inspired by accurate inquiry, it has been affirmed, “that an equal number of Christian youth, so variously selected, and placed in circumstances so trying, cannot be found to such a degree consistent and praiseworthy.”
The mode of rendering assistance to the beneficiaries, has undergone several successive modifications, each of which is thought to be
an improvement on the other. It was never the plan of the Society to make grants sufficient to cover all the ordinary expenses of the student, but what they did bestow, was, at first, a charity; afterwards, notes were required for one half of what was received; and hereafter, notes will be required for the whole. The loan, however, is a parental one; being made without a surety; without interest, until a reasonable time after preparation for the ministry is completed; and with the well-grounded expectation, that it will be cancelled by the Directors, in case it should be impossible, or unsuitable, to refund it. A case of this kind may be furnished by a missionary to our destitute settlements, and still more strikingly, it may be, by a missionary to the heathen.—The advantages of a loan upon these conditions, are thus described in the pamphlet under review.
1. It exerts a salutary influence upon the character of the beneficiaries themselves. They cease to be in the strict and proper sense charity students. All those associations which belong peculiarly to ideas of charity, and which have often been observed to have an unhappy effect on the character, are in this manner avoided. Each youth is taught to look to his own efforts as the ultimate ineans of his education, and is permitted to cherish in some degree those feelings of independence which, when properly regulated, exert a wholesome influence on the mind. 2. The system is also fitted to promote economy. Every degree of aid which is received increases a debt for which the beneficiary is responsible Of course there is a strong induceinent to take as little from the funds as possible, and to make that little go as far as possible. , Self interest, the most powerful of motives, is made a continual check to extravagance. The relatives and friends of the beneficiaries experience, also for a similar reason, new inducements to contribute to their necessities, in proportion to their ability. Few parents will withhold their aid, when the smallest gift which they can bestow lessens a burden which is accumulating upon a child. 3. Another advantage of the system is, that it furnishes a better test of character than can be had where the assistance is entirely gratuitous. A youth whose motives are questionable, or, who is #"." wanting in efficiency of character, will be less likely to apply for a loan, than for a gift: and if he should so far succeed in imposing upon the Directors as to obtain access to the funds, they would hold his obligation for all which he might receive, and be in a situation to recover it again, whenever he should have the means of repaying it. At least the encouragement which is held out by a loaning fund to persons of an o character to seek an education, is far less than that which is afforded by a charity, 4. Another important benefit of the system is that it renders the funds more extensively and permanently useful. A single donation of a benevolent person, may afford assistance to a succession of young men; for when one
has had the benefit of it, he refunds it and it is
appropriated to another—and that one does the
same, and it is again appropriated, and thus the
benevolence of the giver is made to extend from youth to youth, and probably from generation to generation, long after he has gone to his rest. 5. Young men who are most worthy of the patronage of the Society will be better pleased with this mode of receiving aid, than with one which makes them entirely dependant on charity. If their hearts are warmed with the same spirit of benevolence, which prompts Christians, many of whom are themselves poor, to patronize them, they will wish to add as little as possible to the burdens which are sustained on their account, and will ask no more than to be assisted till they shall have it in their power to refund what they have received. Certainly they will ask no more when it is considered on what favorable conditions the loans are made to them, and how completely they are guarded from being ultimately oppressed, if they exercise the proper self-denial and do their duty.—If they finish their preparatory course and enter upon their destined profession, they are indulged with sufficient time to repay, before any interest has begun to accumulate;—and if they devote themselves permanently to the service of Christ in the most destitute regions, where a scanty subsist. ence is all which they can ever hope to receive for their labors, or if, in any other way they are deprived of the power of refunding, the Directors will exercise the right entrusted to them, of abating or cancelling obligations at their discretion—pp. 8, 9.
Another change in the financial system of the Society, with which we have remarked a disposition in intelligent minds to become enamored upon a thorough examination of its merits, is that of establishing Scholarships, on a permanent foundation of 1,000 dollars each; which is placed under the care of the Directors, and is subject to such provisions, as the donor, or donors, may think proper, in concert with the Society, to institute at the period of making the foundation.
The reason why the sum of one thousand dollars has been fixed upon is, that the interest of it comes so near to the present yearly appropriation to beneficiaries in colleges, which is seventy-two dollars, that the Directors think it safe to engage to supply the deficiency from their other funds,-p. 10.
Fifty Scholarships were obtained by the present Secretary of the Society, during three months of the past year, in a few of the principal towns in New-England.—To such as may doubt the expediency of permanent foundations of this sort, the following considerations are addressed by the Society.
1. The experience of the best Christians has long decided, that there are some objects of great interest to the cause of the Redeemer in the world, which require the aid of permanent funds, in order to be most successfully promoted. Without attempting to enumerate
invested in buildings, and libraries,
them all, it may be mentioned, with safety, that Colleges, and Theological Seminaries, and, generally, those institutions which are designed to educate the young and prepare them for public life, are of this nature. It is necessary to the success of such institutions that they be permanent; and this every wise man knows they cannot be, without a perma: ment foundation to stand upon. Not only is, it found important to have funds which may be and other similar objects, but foundations are often ossential for "tle support of instructors, and for aiding indigent youth in obtaining an education.” It would be easy to point to more than one Theological Seminary whose success in raising up ministers of the Gospel has occasioned joy to thousands, but which owes nearly all its inéans of usefulness to the assistance of permanent funds: , while other Seminaries, which have been less fortunate in obtaining such assistance, and have been obliged to rely on the yearly contributions of the community, have labored under heavy embarrassments, which have not only circumscribed their usefulness, but threatened their very existence. However great, therefore, inay be the danger that such funds may not be wisely and faithfully managed in párticular instances, in time to come, true Christian prudence demands that they should be established. The cause of truth and piety cannot be successfully maintained without them. At the same time, it would seem as if a faith which can without difficulty trust in God to dispose his people to support public institutions of this nature from year to year, and from generation to generation, might with no greater effort, trust in him to raise up a succession of faithful men, to manage and apply funds, which have been solemnly consecrated to his service. 2. The object of the American Education Society is the same with that of the institutions which have been referred to. It is to educate young men of piety and promise for the ministry, who have not the means of educating themselves. It has not indeed buildings, and libraries, and a local establishment, to give it visibility like other institutions, because, the Directors have wished to scatter their beneficiaries as widely as possible in other institutions, that these might have the benefit of their example and influence; and because, this method is attended with many conveniencies both to the beneficiaries and to the Society. There is no imaginable difference, however, as to the propriety and desirableness of the thing in itself, between giving a scholarship to a College, or a Theological Seminary, and giving it to this Society. The reasons, which justify the laying of such foundations in the former case, justify it in the latter. No matter whether those who are to enjoy the benefit of the funds are educated in a particular college, or in many colleges; under the superintendence of a Poard of Trustees, or of the Board of Directors of the American Education Society, the principle is the same, and a denial of it in one case, involves a denial of it in the other. 3. The American Education Society possesses a decided advantage over any local institution, in the security which it gives for the faithful application of its funds. It is composed of men from every quarter of the country, who stand as high in public confidence
by persons living within a small distance of
each other. The security which the American Education Society holds out for the proper direction of its funds is probably as great as can be given in any oase, and as great as any reasonable man would desire. 4. The plan of establishing Scholarships is exceedingly important, also, as it will enable the Directors to give a much more minute and thorough attention to the selection of beneficiaries, and help them to extend a more salutary supervision over them during the period of their preparation for the ministry. The Directors cannot but think that there is far greater reason to apprehend danger from this source, than from a designed misapplication of the funds by those into whose hands they may hereafter be entrusted. The persons to be patronized are young; often minors, and their character is yet to be formed. In addition to this, they are peculiarly liable to have their ualifications for future usefulness overrated, through the partiality of the friends by whom they are recommended to public patronage. Nothing but the most unwearied attention and vigilance can save the funds from being misapplied on these accounts. But it will be impossible for the Directors, or for any man whom they may appoint for the purpose, to superintend this all-important trust, so thoroughly as it should be, unless they are relieved, in some measure, from the necessity of making such constant efforts to obtain funds as have heretofore been made. There is in this respect a wide difference between the circumstances of the American Education Society, and most other benevolent institutions of a popular kind. The Bible Society has no fear that the precious book which it is circulating through the earth will disappoint its expectations, and prove a source of poison to those who read it; the Tract Society labors under no apprehension, when its pieces are selected, that they will change their character and be converted into something different from what they were originally; and even the Missionary Society has greatly the advantage of this, because it employs men who have been longer on trial, whose characters are in a good degree established, and whose faults, if they commit them, being seen at a distance, are less likely to be blazoned abroad and to excite popular prejudice, than the faults of beneficiaries who are situated in the midst of us. The Directors see no way of obviating these and other difficulties to which the Education Society is, from the very nature of its object, exposed, which promises to be so effectual as that of establishing Scholarships. Should this plan succeed, the public may hope to see the great, the final object of Education Societies accomplished; but if it should not, the experience of every Education Society yet formed, admonishes
them to expect embarrassment and declension, if not entire failure. The Directors would not indeed make the Society independent of the continued charities of the community. They have fixed the amount of a Scholarship so low, that large contingent funds will be absolutely necessary to carry forward the operations of the Society; and for these they must look directly to the yearly contributions of the community. Should the number of beneficiaries increase, as it is to be hoped and expected that it will, the dependance of the Society on the community will increase with it. Of course, it will be necessary to form auxiliary Societies, and to make collections as heretofore; and those who prefer to make donations for present use only, will have opportunity of contributing in the way most agreeable to themselves. 5. It admits of doubt in the minds of some, whether it is right to encourage youth, and especially minors, to contract debts for board and other expenses, the payment of which cannot ordinarily be deferred without injustice to those to whom they are due, when the only means which the Directors have of enabling their beneficiaries to pay these debts is derived from a contingent fund, which one month may be sufficient for that purpose, and another month may be entirely inadequate. Confidence it is true may, to a certain extent, be lawfully exercised in this, as well as in other cases; but unless there are some sources which may be applied to for relief, in the last resort, beside contingent funds, the Institution may sustain frequent injury in its character for integrity and efficiency. 6. Another advantage of the plan of Scholarships is, that it will enable every individual who gives a thousand dollars, and every society which does the same, to educate more ministers for the church in a course of years, than | could possibly be educated with the same sum by giving it altogether for immediate use. Each Scholarship will probably give to the world one minister of the Gospel every seven, or eight years, supposing aid to be granted in the several stages of preparatory study, which will make fourteen or fifteen ministers in a century; without exhausting the principal; while two, or three at most, are all that can reasonably be expected to be educated with the same sum if given for immediate use. It cannot be surprising that those who have the means of establishing such foundations, and who are desirous of perpetuating their charities long after they are dead, should regard this method of appropriation as having peculiar attractions. pp. 15–13.
We have given so much room to this subject, because the American Education Society is one of very great importance, and because the present is an eventful period in its history. Let it receive a patronage proportionate to its value as a moral instrument; or, even, let it be patronized only as it has been in time past; and ten years hence, it will, by its results, strongly urge itself upon the public attention. Already, when driven, by the detractions of enemies, or the coldness of friends, into the ‘foolishness of
boasting.' it uses language like the following.