Page:Eskimo Life.djvu/392

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346
ESKIMO LIFE

can learn it appears that there, too, the results of the missions are nothing to boast of. African travellers are, I believe, unanimous in declaring that the native converts to Christianity are by no means those whom they prefer to take into their service or to rely upon in any way. And Norway, too, contributes its hundreds of thousands[1] yearly to the missions both in Africa and India! Have we so much superfluous wealth that we cannot employ this money to better advantage at home? The desire to help these poor savages whom we have never seen, and whose needs we do not know, is no doubt a noble aspiration; but I wonder whether it would not be nobler still to help the thousands of unfortunates whose necessities we have daily before our eyes? Since we are bent on doing good works, why not begin with those nearest to us? Then, when all at home were beyond the need of assistance, it would be time enough to look abroad and inquire whether there are not else where others who need our help. 'Charity begins at home.'

I am by no means arguing that all missionary enterprise must necessarily be hurtful; but I am of opinion that in order to be really beneficent it must fulfil conditions which, in our time, are almost beyond attainment. In the first place, it demands

  1. Crowns, the krone being equal to 1 s. 1+12 d.—Trans.