No. 436.
Mr. Smyth to Mr. Blaine.

No. 119.]

Sir: I have the honor to inclose a paper, marked No. 1, just issued by the Hon. G. W. Gibson, secretary of state of Liberia. I beg to call your attention to it, because it marks an important epoch in the history of missionary and other philanthropic operations in this country.

A great deal of money has been spent and many valuable lives lost In the effort to evangelize the natives of this country on the purely spiritual line, but the experience of nearly one hundred years has shown that any effort for the benefit of these tribes, apart from secular agencies, will never be successful. The native must be made a productive man in the region of matter. He must be taught to provide for his material wants. He must be made to engage in improvements that appeal to his comprehension, to his sense of self-interest. This the missionary in past times neglected, and the result is that there is nowhere on this coast any missionary station which has become self-supporting.

Secretary Gibson has himself been engaged in missionary work, and he writes from the experience and observation of years. It is to be [Page 739] hoped that missionary societies will consider the failures of the past, and see whether such practical suggestions as those in the circular inclosed may not help them to solve the problem of dealing successfully and efficiently with the work of African evangelization and civilization.

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I have, &c.,