John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott.

An address to the Christian public, especially to the ministers and members of the Presbyterian, Reformed Dutch, and Congregational churches, throughout the United States : on the subject of the proposed union between the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the United Foreign Mi online

. (page 18 of 31)
Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottAn address to the Christian public, especially to the ministers and members of the Presbyterian, Reformed Dutch, and Congregational churches, throughout the United States : on the subject of the proposed union between the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the United Foreign Mi → online text (page 18 of 31)
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1839,

1840,
1841,
1842,
1843,

1844,
1845,
1846,
1847,

1848,
1849,
1850,
1851,

1852,
1853,
1854,
1855,

1856,
18.57,
1858,
1859,



13,611 50




$ 9,699


11,361 18




8,611


12,265 56




7,078


9,493 89


$ 46,732


6,027






12,501 03




15,934


29,948 63




20,485


34,727 72




30,346


37,520 63


114,698


40,337


39,949 45




67,621


46,354 95




46,771


60,087 87




60,474


55,758 94


202,151


66,380


47,483 58




64,157


55,716 18




41,469


61,616 25




59,012


88,341 89


253,157


103,430






102,009 64




107,676


106,928 26




92,533


83,019 37




84,798


100,934 09


392,891


98,313






130,574 12




120,954


145,847 77




149,906


152,386 10




159,779


163,340 19


592,148


163,254


176,232 15




210,407


252,076 55




254.589


236,170 98




230,642


244,169 82


908,649


227,491






241,691 04




246,601


235,189 30




268,914


318,396 53




261.147


244,254 43


1,039,531


256,687


236,394 37




244,371


2-55.112 96




216,817


262,073 55




257,605


211,402 76


964,983


264,783






254,056 46




282,330


291,705 27




263,418


251,862 28




254,329


274,902 21


1,072,526


274,830


301,732 70




257,727


314,922 88




310,607


305,778 84




322,142


310,427 77


1,232,862


318,893


307,318 69




323.000


388,932 69




355,590


334,018 48




372,042


350,915 45


1,381,185


376,419








8,202,512





$ 30,415

113,102

231,246

4. — — — 253,157 _— — 258,068

383,320
593,893
923,129
1,033,349
983,576

10. : 1,072,526 — '■ 1,084,907

301,732 70 257,727

314,922 88 310,607

305,778 84 322,142

310,427 77 318,893

11. 1,232,862 1,209,369

307,318 69 323.000

388,932 69 355,590

334,018 48 372,042

350,915 45 376,419

12. 1,381,185 1,427,051

8,271,425



13

It will be seen, that with only one exception, in each period of four years
there has been an advance upon the receipts of the previous period. But
though there has been, on the whole, constant progress, the receipts have
often fallen below the expenditures, and there have been several seasons of
great pecuniary embarrassment in the operations of the Board. In 1837
embarrassments of this kind occurred, the sad effects of which were deeply
and widely felt. For some years previous to 1836 the means provided had
been sufficient ; the Prudential Committee felt encouraged to enter upon
new and enlarged operations, and the call was specially for men, while the
churches supposed there would be no difficulty in regard to means. At the
annual meeting in 1836, it was announced that 64 missionary laborers were
then under appointment, who were expecting soon to be sent abroad ; but
there was a balance of about $39,000 against the treasury at the close of
the financial year, (July 31,) and that balance was increasing. The voice of
the meeting, however, and the voice of the churches, still was, " let the
missionaries be sent;" and the means seemed likely to be provided. From
October, 1836, to February, 1837, the receipts greatly increased, and in the
mean time 60 laborers, male and female, had embarked for their respective
fields. But now there came a financial crisis, of great severity, in the affairs
of the country. The receipts of the Board rapidly diminished, and the debt
rapidly increased. The Committee felt obliged to stop. Laborers under
appointment were detained, and new missionaries were appointed only on
condition that they would not be sent out, and must be at no expense to the
Board, until the state of the treasury should warrant it. Thus discouraged,
many turned from regarding the heathen world and looked for other fields
of Christian labor. But this was not all. Difficulties still increasing, the
Committee felt called upon, in June, to curtail the appropriations which had
been made in the missions for the year 1838, by $40,000 ; and the missions
were informed of the painful necessity, and required to contract their opera-
tions. With 60 more laborers to be supported, the pecuniary means of the
missions were thus reduced $45,000 below what had been allowed in 1836.
The effect was deeply painful. Every missionary was embarrassed, and
every branch of missionary operations crippled. Schools were broken up or
greatly reduced, and in Ceylon alone, 5,000 children were dismissed from
under Christian instruction "to the wilderness of heathenism ;" the facilities
for preaching were abridged ; the operations of presses were greatly dimin-
ished ; native teachers and other helpers were deprived of employment ;
native Christians were disheartened, and the opposing heathen triumphed.

Still, the influence of this reverse was not simply evil. The missions, the
Christian public at home, and the Prudential Committee, all learned some
important lessons ; and a new impulse was given to missionary eflfort, partic-
ularly in the rural districts of the country, where the intelligence of the dis-
astrous influence of such reduced appropriations was received. The finan-
cial embarrassments were felt, first and most severely, in the cities and larger
towns ; those in such communities who would have given liberally, found
themselves deprived of the means of giving ; the country churches were
thus called upon to come with more liberality to the support of the mission-
2



14

ary work, and in these churches the amount contributed, and doubtless also
the number of contributors, greatly increased.

Such painful consequences of financial difficulty have never since occurred,
and it may yet be hoped and believed, will never again occur in the history
of this Board. The treasury was not fully relieved until 1842. Indeed, in
1841 the debt had increased to $57,000 ; and for five years again, from 1847
to 1851, there was a constant balance against the treasury. In 1848 this
balance was $59,890. But while all proper economy has been used, and the
appropriations to the missions have been limited to the loAvest safe amount,
the operations have been steadily carried forward, and relief has come.
At present, as the friends of the Board well know, the Treasury is again
suffering under serious embarrassment.

Until 1838 the Board had no peraianent building for the accommodation
of its business at Boston, which has ever been the centre of its operations,
and much inconvenience and loss had been experienced from frequent
removals. In that year an eligible site was purchased in Pemberton Square,
and a substantial building erected ; the whole expense being met from per-
manent funds, which could not be used to sustain the missions or to pay the
debts. In addition to this building, the Board now has invested funds, of
which the interest only may be used, amounting to $104,000.

The following is a summary view of the missions, as presented in the last
Annual Report of the Board.

Missions.

Number of Missions, 26

" " Stations, 127

•« " Out-stations 131

Laborers Employed.
Number of ordained Missionaries (8 being Physicians), 170

" " Physicians not ordained, .... 5

" " other Male Assistants, .... 14

♦• " Female Assistants 210

Whole number of laborers sent from this country, . 399

Number of Native Pastors, . . . . .21

" •• Native Preachers, 222

" " Native Helpers, 254

Whole number of Native Helpers, .... 497

•• «« " laborers connected with the Missions, 896

The Press.

Number of Printing Establishments 5

Pages printed last year, as far as reported 41,629,940

" « from the beginning, 1,194,720,869

The Churches.
Number of Churches, (including all at the Sandwich Islands,) . . . 163
" " Church Members, (do. do.) so far as reported,* . . 23,515

Added during the year, (do. do.) 1,279

Educational Department.

Number of Seminaries, 7

•• " other Boarding Schools, 19

" " Free Schools, (omitting those at Sandwich Islands,) . . 313

" " Pupils in Free Schools, (omitting those at S. I.) 7,91 1

" " " " Seminaries 401

«« «• " " Boarding Schools, . . 680

Whole number in Seminaries and Schools, . . . 8,892

* The report rrom the chorchei at the Sandwich Iikndi is defective.



15

The following table presents the more important statistics of the missions
at different periods, separated by intervals of ten years, commencing with
1823, eleven years after the first missionaries were sent out.











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1833


24


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85




44


137


4


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39


1,940


5




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204


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554


56,000


18J3


26


86




131




39


178


14


116


62


20,797


16


442,0S6,185


7


524


22


699


610


30,778


1853


28


111


38


157


1


26


205


39


192


103


25,714


11


958,132,478


9


487


23


645


712


21,993



It is hardly necessary to dwell here upon the present condition and wants
of the missions. The facts may be easily gathered from the late Annual
Reports, the brief Annual Survey published each year, in January, in the
Missionary Herald, and from the correspondence of the missionaries, found
in the Herald.



GENERAL MISSIONARY STATISTICS.

In addition to the foregoing sketch of the origin and progress of the Amer-
ican Board and its missions, it is presumed that many pastors will be glad to
possess at least a general statement of what is now doing by other missionary
societies. Some statistical articles have been published in the Journal of
Missions during the past year, portions of which, with the tables, will be
given here, without much change. The Journal says :

" The impossibility of obtaining accurate and full statistics of existing
foreign missionary operations is often quite perplexing. So defective are the
reports of some societies, and so various are the modes of classifying labor-
ers, adopted by diiferent bodies, that it is not possible to gather from pub-
lished documents even the exact number of missionary laborers now employ-
ed among the unevangelized. Still more entirely defective and perplexing
are returns found to be, when an effort is made to ascertain who among the
laborers are ordained missionaries, who male and who female assistants from
Christian lands, and who, in various capacities, native helpers."

Progress.

" But though full and exact statements as to what the Christian church is
now doing for the pagan world cannot be made, it is easy to ascertain that,
on the one hand, there has been, of late, great and most cheering progress,
and that, on the other hand, immensely greater progress is yet called for.

" Previous to the latest years of the last century, very little of organized,
systematic and persistent effort for the conversion of pagan nations had been
made, in modern times, by any branch of the evangelical Christian church,
excepting the Moravians. Occasional and temporary efforts, some of them
worthy of very high commendation, had been made, — by the church of
Geneva in 1556 ; by Swedish Christians, in Lapland, near the close of the



16

16th century ; by the Dutch, early in the 17th century ; nobly, in the same
century, by Eliot, the Mayhews and others in Massachusetts ; by the king of
Denmark, as early as 1705 ; and by Sargent, Edwards, and above all, Brain-
erd, in the United States, before the middle of the last century. The English
Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts, was chartered
in 1701, but its operations have always had reference, mainly, to the religious
interests of English colonies.

" In 1732 the Moravians sent out their first missionaries. ' Their entire
congregation did not then exceed 600 persons, and of these, the greater part
were suffering exiles. Yet so noble and extensive were the exertions which
they made, and so abundantly were their unostentatious endeavors blessed
by the great Head of the church, that within ten years their heralds had pro-
claimed salvation in Greenland, St. Croix, Surinam and Rio de Berbice ; to
the Indians of North America and the negroes of South Carolina ; in Lap-
land, Tartary and Algiers ; in Guinea, at the Cape of Good Hope, and in
Ceylon.' But though having this example to remind of duty, and encourage,
other branches of the Christian church slumbered still, and scores of years
passed away with so little movement, that when, about the year 1784, Carey
proposed, as a topic for discussion in a Baptist ministers' meeting, ' The duty
of Christians to attempt the spread of the Gospel among heathen nations,' it
excited great surprise, and he was called an enthusiast by his brethren, for
entertaining such a notion ! At length, however, ' the fullness of the time
was come.' In 1792, the Baptists of England formed their Missionary Soci-
ety, and soon, with Carey for a noble pioneer, entered on their foreign work.
It was like the letting out of water. Gradually, but now with comparative
rapidity, the conviction spread that the Christian church should, without
more delay, attempt the evangelization of the heathen. Other branches of
the church moved, other societies were organized, — the London Missionary
Society in 1795 ; the Edinburg and the Glasgow Missionary Societies in
1796 ; the Netherlands Missionary Society in 1797 ; the Church Missionary
Society in 1800 ; the Society for Propagating Christianity among the Jews
in 1808 ; and the American Board in 1810. To the credit of the English
Wesleyans it should be stated, that although their Missionary Society can-
not be named as among those earliest formed, they were a missionary body
almost from their origin, and had been more or less engaged in foreign work
for some years before the formation of the Baptist Society.

" Since 1810, many other organizations, laboring for unevangelized portions
of the human family, have come into being,— as many as 16 in Great Britain,
20 upon the continent in Europe, 2 in British North America, and 15 in the
United States. Nearly, if not quite, every branch of the evangelical Protes-
tant Christian church, is now found to have entered on the foreign missionary
work. Moravians, Episcopalians and Lutherans ; Presbyterians — English,
Scotch, Irish, Dutch, and American ; Established Church, and Free Church ;
Old School, and New School ; Baptist— Northern and Southern, Close-
communion, Free-will, and Seventh day ; Congregationalists and Methodists,
of all classes, have now their missionary boards.

" What means this moving of the waters ? He who has wonderfully, in
modern times, thrown the nations open and prepared the world for Christian
effort, has at the same time moved his whole church to effort ! Has he not
done it with great ends in view ? "

Number or Laborers.

"The number of ordained laborers from Christian lands, now engaged in
the foreign missionary enterprise of tlie Protestant Christian church, cannot
be perfectly ascertained ; but exclusive of those laboring among Jews and
Roman Catholics, and in some of the nominally Protestant countries of
Europe, and classing all the 'brethren' of the Moravian missions with the
ordained, (no distinction being made in their reports,) it is more than 1,500.



17

With these are associated, probably, about 2,000 male and female helpers,
also from Christian lands ; and of native laborers, from among the people
where the missions are situated, more than 100 ordained ministers, and some
thousands of unordained preachers, catechists, teachers, &c.

"Looking at different portions of the world, that we may see how these
laborers are distributed, we find of ordained missionaries connected with
different missions, though not at any time all on the ground, {still including
all the Moravian ' brethren,') in Western Africa, about 116 ; Southern Africa,
163 ; Northern and Eastern Africa, 6. In Western Asia, European Turkey
and Greece, 76. In Southern Asia, — India, Burmah, Ceylon and Siam, 478.
In Borneo and the Indian Archipelago, 36. In China, 87, and Thibet, 3.
Among the islands of the Pacific Ocean, 140. Among the North American
Indians, and in Labrador and Greenland, 171. In the West India Islands
and on adjacent coasts of America, 236.

" It is thus apparent that something is being done. The church is not now
all sleeping, as to so large an extent and for so many centuries it did sleep,
over the condition of the pagan world, doing nothing to enlighten and to
save. Yet let it be considered, that the unevangelized portions of the hu-
man family, including those who, though nominally Christian, stand hardly
less in need of the pure Gospel than the heathen, must number more than
900,000,000. To give one preacher to every ten thousand souls, we need,
not fifteen hundred, but ninety thousand missionaries. What supply is this
— two hundred and eighty missionaries for all the continent of Africa ; four
hundred and eighty for the two hundred millions of men in India, Burmah
and Siam ; and about eighty for the four hundred millions of China ! Six
preachers of the Gospel for the whole population of the United States,
would supply us as well as China is now supplied !

"Enough missionaries from Christian lands to supply the world with
preachers, cannot be sent. Missions must commence the work, and raise up
churches and preachers on the ground, to go forward with it. Still, obvi-
ously, as yet, our missionary work is but commenced. Yet when we reflect
that it has grown to its present magnitude almost wholly within sixty years
— that of all the fields at which we have glanced, sixty years ago but very
few were occupied — we are constrained to say : ' This is the Lord's doing ;
it is marvellous in our eyes.' "

Income of Missionary Societies.

" Small as are, now, the contributions of most churches, and most individual
Christians, for the great work of evangelizing the world ; inadequate as are,
at present, the receipts of most Missionary Societies ; and frequent and
urgent as are appeals for more pecuniary means ; some encouragement may
also be gathered, certainly, from contrasting the present with the past in
this respect. When the American Board was formed, in 1810, the whole
annual income of all the Protestant Foreign Missionary Societies then ex-
isting, probably did not amount to $200,000. The receipts of the English
Church Missionary Society were then but about $15,000 per annum, those of
the English Baptist Missionary Society, not far from $20,000, and those
of the London Missionary Society, perhaps $80,000, The few other then
existing Societies have ever been comparatively small.

" Since that time, while the number of distinct organizations for the pros-
ecution of this work has greatly increased, (amounting now to more than
forty,) the income of the older, as well as of many of the newer Societies,
has also largely increased. For the year reported in the following tables,
the whole income of the English Church Missionary Society exceeded
$800,000 ; that of the London Missionary Society was about $465,000, and
that of the English Wesleyan Society, $645,000. The English Baptist
Society received $130,000, the Foreign Mission Scheme of the Free Church



18

of Scotland, $80,000, and that of the Church of Scotland, $40,000. Thus
the united income of these six Societies, for the year ending in 1859, ex-
ceeded $2,000,000. In the United States, the income of the American
Board, for the same year, was about $351,000 ; of the Presbyterian Board,
$212,000 ; of the Baptist Union, about $102,000 ; and of the Episcopal Board,
$99,000. The receipts of the Methodist Missionary Society, for Home and
Foreign Missions, were about $185,000 ; the expenses connected with their
Foreign Missions, not far from $84,000.

" There is another pleasant fact in this connection. While the number of
contributors has been greatly increasing, some have been learning to give
in much larger sums than formerly. A very considerable number now give,
annually, by hundreds, and some by thousands of dollars, to this single cause.
On making some inquiry, a few years since, it was found that more than one-
twentieth part of all that the American Board had received in donations, the
previous year, was given by sixty individuals. Most of the same persons
who are yet living, probably do fully as much, many of them more, from year
to year now. But a much larger number of individuals might be found, of
fully as much ability as these possess, and who do what they do for the cause
of missions through the same Board, whose united annual contributions would
hardly support, in the foreign field, one preacher of the gospel. At the same
time, it was found that more than one-tenth of the whole amount of the
previous year's donations (or $30,559) came from thirteen churches in Massa-
chusetts, connected with which there were then 5,176 members. Other
thirteen churches in the same State were found, with, in all, 5,170 members,
whose contributions for the same year amounted to $2,643 only ; less than
one-hundredth part of the income from donations.

" It is apparent, therefore, that there is great inequality, and great room for
improvement. But there is, perhaps, ground for hope, and expectation of
future progress, in the very fact that, as yet, so few have learned to devise
liberal things. When all the churches can be induced to do for this cause
as a few are now doing ; still more, when all Christ's disciples can be induced
to do in any good measure as they should, or even as some now do, the income
of our missionary societies may be counted, not by thousands, but by mil-
lions."

The Tables.

" Much time and labor have been expended in efforts to make the following
tables as complete as possible ; yet they must be taken as indications of what
has been attempted, and not, by any means, as finished and satisfactory.
Some of the difficulties encountered in any such attempt to procure accurate
statistics have been already mentioned. The latest reports, also, of some of
the smaller missionary societies have not been accessible. When figures are
given, and there is yet special uncertainty, from any cause, as to their correct-
ness, a mark of interrogation is annexed, designed to indicate this uncertainty.
There are doubtless inaccuracies in cases not thus designated, and, in very
many instances, blanks are left, when it would be very pleasant, were it pos-
sible, to give the facts. In most cases the statistics are from reports of the
year 1858 ; in a few instances, reports of the present year, (1859,) were
available. Missionaries to the Jews, to Roman Catholics, and to some nomi-
nally Protestant European nations, are not included in the tables."

[As now published, the income of nearly all the American, and of the four first
mentioned English Societies, viz., the Church, the London, the Weslcyan, and the
Baptist, is given for the year ending in 1850. Other statistics have not been changed.]



GENERAL VIEW OE FOREIGN MISSIONS.



American Societies.



American Board,

Presbyterian Board, (including Reformed Presbyterians,)

Associate Presbyterians

Associate Reformed Presbyterians, ....

Nova Scotia Presbyterians,

American Missionary Association

Reformed Dutch Board,

American Evangelical Lutherans, ....

Episcopal Board,

Methodist Episcopal Board,

Southern Methodists,

Baptist Missionary Union,

Southern Baptists, J

Free Will Baptists

Seventh-day Baptists,

Baptist Free Mission Society



Total,



European Societies.



English Church Missionary Society,
London Missionary Society, ....
Wesleyan Missionary Society, ....
Baptist Missionary Society, ....

General Baptists,

Church of Scotland,

Free Church of Scotland,

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel,^

Irish Presbyterians,

English Presbyterians

United Presbyterians of Scotland, .

Covenanters,

"Welsh Presbyterians and Calvinistic Methodists,
English Chinese Evangelization Society,

Moravians,

Basle Missionary Society, ....

Netherlands Missionary Society,
Rhenish Missionary Society, ....
French Evangelical Missionary Society, .

Leipsic Missionary Society

Berlin Missionary Society, ....

Berlin Missionary Union

Norwegian Missionary Society,

Gosner's Missionary Society, ....



Online LibraryJohn S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) AbbottAn address to the Christian public, especially to the ministers and members of the Presbyterian, Reformed Dutch, and Congregational churches, throughout the United States : on the subject of the proposed union between the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions and the United Foreign Mi → online text (page 18 of 31)