To Wish Impossible Things By B. Ripley
......It cannot be asked by them [the pagan Indians] through the hopes of mere temporal improvement without cost on their parts: for our rule is to give nothing without compensation by labor or otherwise. And this has freed us from a nation of beggars, and caused the Indian to respect us. I am happy at this time to testify to the further fact, that I have met with no Methodist Indians from abroad that have not entreated for the Church, instead of the sect into which they have been led by the leaders of this waning Religion......A Romish priest visited Leach Lake last Autumn, but it would appear that this schism and heresy in CHRIST'S BODY is not in good odor with the Indians of these parts. They ask for the Church. Do the brethren ask for more than a sufficiency for their support? We have it not. Do they ask for a sufficiency? They have it. Let them not dream of starvation. By exchange of flour, pork, potatoes, corn or clothing, we can always have abundance of the finest fresh fish or game almost the year round: and in the Spring, maple sugar by the barrel; in the Summer season, berries without measurement,--the whortleberry, the strawberry, the raspberry and cranberry; and in the Autumn, the wild rice by the barrel. We have been kept in these things constantly, and have now, notwithstanding our large family, more than we know what to do with, and wish we could get quantities off to St. Paul for the family there. So that I hope none will fancy the visionary notion of starvation amidst Indians. Another set of principles acted upon by us would make both the Indian and ourselves starve; but now, through labor, every wigwam round about us has abundance of good food, and they are beginning to realize some of the benefits of civilization.
To Wish Impossible Things by B. Ripley
Yours of the 28th ult. and 3rd October have both come to hand, and I wish there was time to congratulate you on the consummation of an event that I would be but too happy to officiate at, as you very kindly invite me to do. But it is impossible. I wish also I could tell you how greatly I admire your selection, for she has long appeared to me to be one that would make an admirable wife for any person, and now particularly for my good Brother, the rector of Christ Church, St. Paul. I beg you to give her my love, as now her brother too; and further congratulations I hope to have the pleasure of making in person, when you visit us, as we have thought that to Kahgeeashkoonsikag would be a delightful bridal tour. When shall we expect you? But we are always prepared to receive visitors.
This letter has been promised so long, that I can wait no more for the arrival of the New Haven Box. I have, however, just learned of its safety, as far as St. Paul; but it may be a full month yet before it reaches the Indian Mission. And then a letter could not reach yourselves, young ladies, before Christmas; whereas I desire particularly to be wishing you a Happy Christmas, especially whilst the Indians are first learning what it is to greet a Saviour born. The children will also then be enjoying your gift to them, the magic lantern which you have so generously furnished them at my request. I do not wish you to understand that this instrument is to be exhibited on Christmas Day, but during the festival season. It will, I am sure, greatly delight them, for it will be something entirely new in their scope of things. But our use of the lantern will not be confined to a mere exhibition of pictures, and to amuse. A far higher motive than this has prompted my asking for this instrument. I believed, and am quite confident still, that it may be used with great success in conveying knowledge to their minds, for they are children, even the oldest of them, and these last may best be taught after this manner. Something appeal-in0' to the senses will instruct, far sooner than words (alone) addressed to the intellect. Thus it is that the white child is first taught. Pictures and picture-books are effectual, as well as attractive, in fixing the attention of the young.?>ut, my dear young friends, you know all this, and I only speak of it, that you may be persuaded at what price we hold your benefaction, and to assure you what great good it may be the means of doing, not this year only, but for years to come. For the Indian, of all people, is mentally the most reflecting, and therefore requires what the Prophet speaks of as appertaining to the dull of hearing: "Line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little, and there a little." So that three or four times a year, at least, may the exhibition be repeated without losing its effect. How often does the child look through its picture-book? A thousand times; and yet delights to do it again! Even so these simple-minded people (for the adult and old Indians are embraced in those whom we would teach, even by pictures), all are susceptible of being taught by frequent repetition. Indeed, I think the Greater Festivals may be usefully marked by some such exhibition, not upon them, but upon a day near them, as the day after. Thus Christmas is first distinguished in the white child's mind by Santa Claus and the stocking full of candies and nuts. But I must now, young ladies, pass on to something more pleasing to you,--the Indian Mission House and its inmates! The Indian Mission and its inhabitants! For this is what I promised in my late letter to the ladies of the Seabury Society. That letter has, I hope, long since come to hand, and its pages were confined to the White Mission. Now this shall in turn be restricted to the Ked field of the Northwest. The Mission family has been greatly enlarged since last Winter. We had then m the female department the matron, Mrs. Welles, only; whereas now she has two immediate assistants, Miss Mills and Miss Allen. These three were unknown to each other personally until they met in Minnesota. The work of Indian conversion won their hearts and made them missionaries, and such in truth they are proving themselves. But our Mission family has yet others in it, who may well be styled missionaries. We are engaged in civilizing as well as Christianizing the Indian. There is therefore necessity for some of the lay officers of life as well as the Ecclesiastical. Hence we have a farmer with his family, viz., a wife and two children. Also, a carpenter and his wife. These are -white folks, and all are members of the Church. The children attend the Mission school. The carpenter is engaged in the construction of the Mission buildings, and in teaching the Indians how to put up their houses. Mr. Parker, the carpenter, is an Englishman, thoroughly devoted to the Church, and to the interests of this Mission. He is an excellent musician, and in this capacity does immense good. The farmer is engaged in attending to the Mission and Indian agricultural pursuits. The wives of these men are fully alive to the interests of the Church in evangelizing these pagans; so that they form altogether a body of Missionaries such as is seldom readily gathered together amidst a pagan people. 041b061a72