Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/106

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Nor is this the only point in which this mighty anti-Christian firm opposes itself to all efforts for the improvement of the people. To all their widely scattered agents one clear direction is given: "Never assist missionaries either by word or deed, but, wheresoever you may find them, use your best influence with the natives to obstruct and exclude them."[1]

It is interesting to find so plain an acknowledgment of the principles which animate so large a section of the mercantile communities in all quarters of the earth. In every case the opposition seems due to the same cause—a covert hatred to the teaching which discountenances immorality of all sorts, including that of exchanging bad goods at fictitious prices for useful products. It matters little whether blue beads and muskets, or opium (with a background of English artillery), be the goods to be disposed of, the principles involved, and the consequent antagonism to every agency for good, are necessarily the same.

How well the agents and shipmasters carry out their instructions may be inferred from such an experience as that of the mission ship Morning Star, which, a few years ago, made her way to the Kingsmill group on the equator. A pilot came out to meet her, and made her anchor three miles from the village, desiring that no one should venture to land without permission from the king. The latter, on hearing that it was a missionary ship, recalled the counsels given to him by the captains of various trading vessels, who, he said, had all warned him that should a missionary ever come to the isles he must on no account be permitted to land, as he would shortly bewitch both king and people. So the wary monarch vowed that no such sorcerer should set foot in his realms; and he accordingly sent a message to the strangers to say, that if they stood in need of anything he could give them, they should have it, but they must go right away, and never come back. Thus the unrighteous counsels prevailed, and the true friends were banished at the bidding of the selfish money-grubbers.

It is unfortunately only too notorious that wherever, as in those

  1. Vide New Zealand Blue-Book, 1874—evidence of Mr Sterndale, late employé of Mr Godeffrov.