Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Discussion of 'On the Efforts of Missionaries
Among Savages' (S111: 1865)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Third party rendering of words Wallace offered in discussion of 'On the Efforts of Missionaries Among Savages,' a paper by Rev. J. W. Colenso read at the Anthropological Society of London meeting of 16 May 1865. Later printed on page cclxxxviii of volume three of their Journal series. To link directly to this page, connect with:

    Mr. Wallace observed that, after so eloquent and amusing a discussion, there was not much for him to say; but as a traveller he had seen something of the missionaries and their works, and his general impression was that the success attained was due rather to personal character than to doctrine. He was delighted with the bishop's view of the subject; for, in his opinion, nothing but simple teaching could be effective among savage peoples. The Zulus, with whom Dr. Colenso had to do, were considerably higher in intellectual status than, for instance, the aborigines of Australia, who can hardly count above three or five, and are incapable of comprehending that two and three make five. To such people it is idle to speak of religion, they cannot understand what it means. The best effects are produced when the missionary shows that he has no selfish interest--that he seeks only to do good; and this, in the speaker's opinion, would move the people more than aught besides.

*                 *                 *                 *                 *

Return to Home