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Location of the Mission.—The island of Mackinaw, or as it has been written JMichillimackinack, is situated in the straits which connect lake Huron with lake Michigan. The original name means Great Turtle, which, from its sinlar conformation, it not a little resemles. Its circumference is about seven miles, through nearly the whole of which the island rises precipitously from the waters of the lake to the height of a hundred or a hundred and fifty feet; leaving generally only a few rods and in some places not even that extent, of pebbly beach at its base. This is the elevation of the main body of the island; but the central part is raised about a hundred and fifty feet more, by a similarly precipitous ascent, and presents on its top a table of a few acres, elevated about 300 feet above the surrounding lake. This is the highest land in the vicinity and is seen at a great distance by the approaching voyager. The island is principally a mass of rock, and its surface is full of stones of all sizes with little earth between, and only small portions of it are capable of successful cultivation. Potatoes and garden vegetables are raised on the arable portions in great perfection. Most of the surface is covered with small trees and shrubs. On the southeast side of the island there is a small crescent-shaped indentation of the coast, which constitutes the harbor, and around which, on a narrow strip of land, gradually rising from the lake to the foot of the first bluff, is the village, embracing about a hundred buildings, and, including the men in the garrison, about 500 or 600 inhabitants. At the eastern extremity of the harbor, immediately at the foot of the bluff, is the mission-house and premises; a little west of it and near the water is the meetinghouse; near the centre of the curve bounding the harbor, are the house and ardens of the United States’ Agent for ndian affairs; and on the brow of the bluff back of this, still further west, is the fort. The scenery presented on entering the harbor is altogether unique, and highly romantic and beautiful. Population of Mackinaw.—The population consists principally of Canadian French, and a mixed race descended from the French and Indians, nearly all of whom find employment in connection with the fur-trade and fishing. Besides these there are a few other fins. residing here connected with the fur trade, and others still who are engaged in commercial pursuits. A large portion of the
Polo are Roman Catholics, who ave a church and a resident priest. The great importance of the place, and perhaps the reason why it is inhabited at all, is derived from the fact that it has been made the centre of all the fur trade of the northwest. The principal agent of the American Fur Company has resided here; and here all the gentlemen engaged in the trade among the Indian tribes, from beyond the sources of the Mississippi river to lake Superior and lake of the Woods, together with many of their clerks and men, are congregated every summer, for the purpose of delivering over their furs and obtaining articles to enable them to carry on the trade during the ensuing winter. Many persons from various parts of the United States are also brought here at the same period for trade or other purposes. Indians, also, from nearly every tribe on the northwestern frontier, and between the head waters of the Missouri to the lake of the Woods, also resort hither or pass this place in great numbers during the summer, giving to the village a very crowded and bustling appearance. Sometimes not less than 1,500 or 2,000 may be seen encamped on the island; some of them sheltered by their canoes turned upside down, and others by tents of mats or skins; all of them nearly destitute of clothing, except their blankets, and exhibiting almost every mark of poverty and wretchedness, as well as of intellectual and moral degradation. Here may be seen the Indian in his native character, manners, and dress, as much as on the Rocky Mountains or at lake Winnepeg, wholly unchanged by any meliorating influence of Christianity or civilization, engaging in his dances and songs with all the wild and savage airs which characterized the inhabitants of these forests two centuries ago. The Christian feels himself to be in the midst of a heathen population of the very lowest character; one, too, which he sees exposed to great temptations from the community with which they are thus brought into contact; ready to barter all the little which they possess for intoxicating drinks. Though these Indians may be said to belong to some tract of country within which they spend most of their time, yet they have no fixed and permanent dwelling places, where they lay up for themselves the necessaries for their subsistence and comfort. They rove about from place to place, frequently suffering the extremest want, and often, during the winters, perishing in great numbers by starvation. They start on these long journies, often of from 1,000 to 2,000 miles, by whole families or clans, men, women, and children, travelling on the lakes and rivers in their canoes, depending for subsistence almost entirely on what they may catch or beg on the way. Commencement of the School—Mackimaw had been entirely neglected by the friends of Christianity and human improvement, till nearly the time when the mission-school was commenced. There was no school and no Protestant worship. The Sabbath was wholly disregarded in the course of business and amusement, and was said not to have “travelled up so far.” The first Protestant sermon ever heard there, is said to have been preached by the Rev. Dr. Morse, who visited the place in June 1820. Rev. Dr. Yates visited the island and preached there the following summer. These are believed to be the only Protestant sermons preached on the island previous to the arrival of the first missionary, Rev. William M. Ferry, in June 1822. In consequence of the statements of the gentlemen just named, the Northern Missionary Society, instituted in the State of New York, sent Mr. Ferry into this important field. He was very kindly received by the residents and traders, and after making some preliminary arrangements during the following fall and winter, he returned to make report of his labors and prospects; and having been received under the patronage of the United . Missionary Society, he again proceeded to Mackinaw with his wife in October 1823; and commenced his school with twelve Indian children on the 3d of November. Within a year the number was increased to 50, most of whom were boarded in the mission family, and might have been much larger, if the accommodations had been sufficient. In July 1824, the mission family and a small school which had been sustained three or four years near Fort Gratiot, at the southern extremity of lake Huron, were removed to Mackinaw and united with that mission. Plan of the Mission.—Mackinaw, furnishing the means of intercourse and influence with the Indians all around the three great lakes, Huron, Michigan, Surior, and beyond, north and west, to udson's Bay and the Missouri, and being the place of their common annual rendezvous, children could be almost as easily obtained from a distance of many i. miles, as from the immediate vicinity. It was therefore selected for a
central station, at which there should be a large boarding-school, composed of children collected from all the northwestern tribes, who, it was intended, should remain under the care of the mission a length of time, not only sufficient to acquire a knowledge of the branches of a common school education, but also of the various kinds of labor appropriate to their situation. For this purpose mechanics’ shops were erected and furnished, and land was obtained for cultivation, in connection with which the boys were to labor a portion of the time; while the girls were to be instructed in the various household employments suited to their sex. In connection with this central station, the plan embraced small stations among the several bands of Indians in the interior, at which should reside a preacher, a farmer and mechanic, and a teacher, laboring for the improvement of the particular tribe where they were located. Around these, the youths who might leave the Mackinaw school, would be induced to settle; and while they would be watched over and preserved from relapsing into their former habits, they would aid by their example and otherwise, to introduce a knowledge of the arts of civilized life and of (iii.; among their benighted countrymen. On this plan the school continued to advance, securing the confidence of the residents at Mackinaw and the vicinity, and of the traders and Indians from remote parts of the continent, many of whom manifested much generosity in aiding to support it. Children were brought from the shores of lakes Huron, Michigan, and Superior, from the head waters of the Mississippi, and even from the Red river, lake Athabesco, and Hudson's Bay. Some were brought from tribes not less than 2,500 miles distant, embracing the Ottawas, Ojibwas, Pottawatomies, Winnebagoes, Menominies, Kinnistenas, Sacs and Foxes, and Sioux. The number of pupils rose sometimes as high as 170 or 180; of whom about 120 were clothed, fed, and lo. by the mission family. The others belonged on the island, or were taken care of by friends residing there. Most of those from abroad came in a most destitute state, covered with filth and rags, entirely unacquainted with the English lanuage, and untutored in their manners. hey were generally, however, easily subdued, became docile, and amiable, and made good proficiency, in their studies, and in the various kinds of labor in which they engaged. Annual examinations have been held every summer, in the presence of numerous residents, traders, and visitors, who have expressed high approbation—The whole number of pupils educated in this school during the ten years since it went fully into operation is about 300; about three-fifths of whom were boys. More or less knowledge of agricultural employments has been imparted to all the boys, and a considerable number of them have become pretty well versed in some mechanical art. All the girls have been diligently employed in household labors, in which the older ones exhibit a good deee of skill. Some of both sexes have een well qualified to act as teachers, and have been successfully employed to some extent in this manner. About twenty have become hopefully pious. Religious Influence of the Mission.— As has before been stated, no public worship had been held by Protestants previous to the arrival of Mr. Ferry. It was not known that there was any Protestant professor of religion on the island at that time. Public worship on the Sabbath and at other times was immediately commenced by Mr. Ferry, and has been continued regularly up to the present time. The Spirit of the Lord accompanied the means used, and numbers were born into the kingdom. The mission was permitted to rejoice over the first convert from among the Indians during the summer of 1824; and in the following year, one of the pupils, a very intelligent and interesting girl of fourteen, embraced the Savior. From that time the church continued to grow, and numbers were added to it, and, as is hoped, to the Lord from year to year. Various classes of persons have been brought into it; among whom were full Indians, previously the most savage and debased, who assumed, in some good degree, the lamb-like character of the Master whom they now began to serve; also Indian pupils in the school; residents on the island or in the vicinity; officers and soldiers in the garrison; and agents and other gentlemen engaged in the Indian trade. Seasons of special religious revival have been enjoyed at the mission; at one of which about forty persons were hopefully born again. The whole number received to the church, exclusive of the mission family, is about eighty, thirty of whom are of Indian or mixed descent, and twenty of these have been members of the school. Interesting accounts of the religious sentiments of some of the Indian con
verts are given in the Missionary Herald for 1829 and 1830, and republished in Missionary Paper No. 7.
The religious influence of the mission, both at Mackinaw and extensively on the northwestern frontier, has been very great and salutary. Many persons of much respectability and influence have been converted to God. The Sabbath is as sacredly observed at Mackinaw as in almost any village in our land; a neat and commodious house of worship has been erected, principally at the expense of the residents and the traders, where from 200 to 300 meet to worship God; religious and benevolent societies have been organized, which contribute with great liberality; a large portion of the children are brought under the influence of Sabbath and infant school instruction; and vice and immorality are generally frowned upon. A most happy change, and one most auspicious in its bearings on the introduction of Christianity among the interior northwestern tribes, has been witnessed among the gentlemen engaged in the fur trade. Numbers of them have become hopefully pious, others are seriously inclined, and disposed to exhibit a strictly moral example. The Christian form of marriage has been introduced extensively among those connected with Indian women; travelling on the Sabbath, during their long annual journies to and from Mackinaw, has been to a great extent discontinued; and the use of ardent spirits as a drink, or as an article of barter with the Indians, almost wholly abandoned. For these fruits of missionary labor at this remote post the Christian community will give thanks to the great Lord of the harvest. The ultimate and complete success of the general plan of this mission, as well as of all efforts to convert the migratory tribes of the interior of this continent, will depend, under God, on the fact whether men can be found in sufficient numbers, possessing the piety and self-devotedness of Brainerd, coupled with the enterprise and perseverance of Ledyard and Burckhordt, to follow the Indians in all their wanderings and minister to them the bread of life.
Within the last two years the plan of the school has been in some measure changed; and the number of the pupils reduced to about fifty. At the same time the other part of the contemplated work has been begun, and four small stations have been commenced among the Indians in the interior, between lake Superior and the Mississippi.
May 24, 1834. A very venerable old man made us a visit to-day. He is a relative of the consul, and although blind, appears to be better acquainted with the Scriptures than any native I have seen. IHe would readily direct to the various passages which he desired to have read, and always listened with the greatest attention, stopping the reader to make his remarks, and correcting him, if he made a mistake. Without any clear or evangelical views, he appeared to be ve, and even devout; and having the amp of life in his hand, and much of it in his heart, I hope he has sought and found the God of Abrahain, Isaac, and Jacob. I love to look upon those patriarchal dwellers in Judah; their very appearance carries one back to olden times, when prophets and apostles walked the earth and taught the way of life. The long beard corresponds admirably with the flowing drapery of oriental dress, and when “silvered o'er with age,” is truly the glory of the old. I have of late become quite an Arab myself. I sit, or try to sit, cross-legged on the mat, smoke a pipe with a stem five feet long, sip coffee hot from the fire, in small china cups with brass or silver holders, and without either cream
or sugar—sop my bread in the dish, and eat meat, rice, and lebben with my fingers. In all these accomplishments, however, I am far from being a proficient; and am still less perfect in their numberless compliments. It is not so difficult to learn all the forms, as to know how, when, and which of them to apply. In determining these weighty points, I frequently make lamentable, or rather laughable, mistakes. Eating or drinking, smoking the pipe or sipping coffee, rising up or sitting down, going out or coming in, at all times, Hoff on all occasions, you may be sure that there is an appropriate or appropriated compliment, besides an .# number . all along the tract of conversation, like illuminations in their sacred manuscripts. I should feel but little objection to the if the name of God was not combine with nearly all of them. Perhaps this was one reason why our Savior forbid his disciples to give or receive the salutations of the day, when he sent them to preach. At least, it would be a good reason now; because by means of these indispensable, ever-returning compliments, his “holy and reverend name.” dwells perpetually on unhallowed lips and thoughtless tongues. Indeed the people, even the most respectable, are awfully profane.
Some of their customs are sufficiently strange. If a person leaves the room and returns twenty times an hour, the compliments of the day are given and returned each time. When a respectable person enters, all rise from the floor, and remain standing until the “compliments” are passed to each individual; then all take their seats, and the “compliments” are passed round again. I have seen this done several times before you engage in any conversation. Pipes,
sherbert, and coffee are brought, after which, with a flourish of “sweet words,” }. may enter upon your business. . I ave often asked my dragoman why he could not talk plain words and right forward as we do? But he says it is impossible, “we must sweeten it a little.” If you order a light in the evening, the person bringing it will never fail to bid ou “good night,” though he has not een absent one minute. The servant brings you a glass of water, and when you hand him É. the glass, he kisses your hand, puts it to his forehead, and then to his lips again—the company all say “Anean,” like “Health to you,” to which you must reply “God give you health.” People who know me, when we meet, kiss my hand, press it to their forehead, and return it again to their lips, as they do to their own priests; and a priest once objected to my dress, “because it is different in nothing from the common dress; how will the people know whether to kiss your hand or not?” It was a sufficient reply that we not only did not wish, but would not permit, the people to pay us that mark of reverence. Here, however, I have wearied myself in endeavoring to prevent it, and now generally . my hand a passive recipient of their omage. Spent a considerable portion of this morning in a large soap factory, and saw the process of making it. They use gallnuts, ashes, lime, salt, and olive-oil. It is made hard, cut into blocks, and transported in sacks to all parts of the country. This manufactory furnishes a market of consumption for the vast oliveyards around Ramla, and is the only trade of the place. Our consul has grown wealthy by it.
Baptism of a Greek Infant.
25. Sabbath. Invited to attend the baptism of a Greek child. Was first conducted to the house of the parent, where we had nuts, arreck, (a kind of spirit of which I did not partake,) pipes, and coffee handed round. After these ceremonies were duly gone through, we set out for the church, in an irregular procession, each one with a long wax candle in his hand. A choir appointed for the purpose chanted all the way, “Christ hath died and rose again,” which was repeated as often as necessary with an ay-ay-ay-ayeay as a turning point. As soon as we reached the church, the priest in his appropriate robes began to chant the baptismal service, which he hurried over with all possible expedition.
The child was presented by the godfather and mother, and the priest at the proper place made the sign of the cross on its body three times, and breathed over it three times, saying, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost!” The god-mother then stripped the child naked, while the priest prepared the font, by chanting a service over it, smoking it with incense, making the sign of the cross and breathing over it as over the child. He immersed the body three times, stopping each time to repeat the form and make the cross. Previous to the immersion, the body was anointed with common oil, and immediately after with the holy oil, called chrism, a most precious part of the ceremony. It is put on in the shape of the cross in different parts of the body. The child is then dressed, the priest tying the girdle, after which it is brought again to the font and marched three times round it, with the smoking censer swung continually before it. The priest then comes round and offers incense to the whole company, when the ceremony is finished for the present. The child is now taken home and guarded with great care. As before his baptism he was not to be
kissed, so now, he must not be touched .
for three days, nor by any means undressed, or washed. He has the holy oil upon him. At the end of three days the priest comes, unties the girdle, and washes the child with great particularity; and the water is thrown into the sea, if near; if not, it is buried. The Greeks, it will be observed, are mostly trinitarians. They use three fingers in making the sign of the cross; three times the priest made that sign over the child; breathed over the child three times, over the holy oil three times, and over the water in the font three times; made the cross with the child's body over the font three times; three jars of water were poured into the font, and three lighted tapers stuck on it; thrice they carried the child round the font; thrice they stopped each round, and at each pause the priest waved the smoking censer in the child's face three times; after three days the child is to be undressed and washed. This long ceremony would not be worth noticing, except to show where men will wander to, when they become vain in their imaginations, and daringly attempt to add to the perfect institutions of Christ. We should beware how we depart from gospel simplicity, even in small matters. The design of this simple and affecting institution is lost sight of, in the midst of the bustle and pomp