Page:A Lady's Cruise in a French Man-of-War.djvu/130

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

to the sole charge of a congregation. Of course only the well-tried men are promoted to the rank of native minister.

The scale of ecclesiastical pay is certainly not such as to induce men to enter the service of the Church for filthy lucre's sake. A house, a certain amount of food, and a small annual contribution in kind, the value of which in no case exceeds £10, and is generally much less, is certainly not an undue share of loaves and fishes, especially as no agent of the mission is allowed to engage in any manner of trade, or other secular occupation, beyond the cultivation of his own garden. The annual contribution of his parishioners consists probably of half-a-dozen mats, value from 2s. to 6s.; 30 to 40 yards of calico, value 6d. a yard; some pieces of native cloth, worth 1s. each; a larger piece of tappa, for a curtain; a shirt, a fowl, a duck, two pigs, and a few nondescript coins of various nations and small value.

I have heard so many unfair and untrue insinuations made by white traders, and quoted without further inquiry by many travellers, to the effect that many missionaries are in reality grasping and avaricious traders, that it may be as well to mention that such false accusations are invariably made by men who find their unjust gains somewhat lessened by the presence of men whose standard of barter is more honourable. If a native comes to work for a missionary, or brings him vegetables or fish for sale, and receives in payment a larger piece of cloth, or a knife—both of better quality than he would receive from the trader—he naturally learns something of the fair value of his work, or his goods.

Moreover, one of the first proofs of vitality given by these island churches (as in every healthy branch of the Christian Church) has always been a readiness to contribute, not only to the general expenses of the mission in their own country, but also to sending forth teachers to the isles which are still steeped in heathenism. As it has been most convenient to make these payments in kind, each district has collected its own offerings, chiefly in the form of measures of cocoa-nut oil; and these contributions have been annually conveyed to the home market by the mission ship on her return cruise. Hence the nickname of "Palm-oil