Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 301 pages of information about Alfred Russel Wallace.
the languages of the countries they are going to at Penang or Singapore.  In China there are near a million Catholics, in Tonquin and Cochin China more than half a million!  One secret of their success is the cheapness of their establishments.  A missionary is allowed about L30 a year, on which he lives, in whatever country he may be.  This has two good effects.  A large number of missionaries can be employed with limited funds, and the people of the countries in which they reside, seeing they live in poverty and with none of the luxuries of life, are convinced they are sincere.  Most are Frenchmen, and those I have seen or heard of are well-educated men, who give up their lives to the good of the people they live among.  No wonder they make converts, among the lower orders principally.  For it must be a great comfort to these poor people to have a man among them to whom they can go in any trouble or distress, whose sole object is to comfort and advise them, who visits them in sickness, who relieves them in want, and whom they see living in daily danger of persecution and death only for their benefit.

You will think they have converted me, but in point of doctrine I think Catholics and Protestants are equally wrong.  As missionaries I think Catholics are best, and I would gladly see none others, rather than have, as in New Zealand, sects of native Dissenters more rancorous against each other than in England.  The unity of the Catholics is their strength, and an unmarried clergy can do as missionaries what married men can never undertake.  I have written on this subject because I have nothing else to write about.  Love to Thomas and Edward.—­Believe me, dear Fanny, your ever affectionate brother,

ALFRED R. WALLACE.

* * * * *

TO HIS SISTER, MRS. SIMS

Macassar.  December 10, 1856.

My dear Fanny,—­I have received yours of September, and my mother’s of October, and as I am now going out of reach of letters for six months I must send you a few lines to let you know that I am well and in good spirits, though rather disappointed with the celebrated Macassar....  For the last fortnight, since I came in from the country, I have been living here rather luxuriously, getting good rich cow’s milk to my tea and coffee, very good bread and excellent Dutch butter (3s. a lb.).  The bread here is raised with toddy just as it is fermenting, and it imparts a peculiar sweet taste to the bread which is very nice.  At last, too, there is some fruit here.  The mangoes have just come in, and they are certainly magnificent.  The flavour is something between a peach and a melon, with the slightest possible flavour of turpentine, and very juicy.  They say they are unwholesome, and it is a good thing for me I am going away now.  When I come back there will be not one to be had....—­I remain, dear Fanny, your ever affectionate brother,

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Alfred Russel Wallace: Letters and Reminiscences, Vol. 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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