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Title: Mary and I
Forty Years with the Sioux
Author: Stephen Return Riggs
Release Date: May 25, 2013 [eBook #42806]
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***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MARY AND I***
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STEPHEN R. RIGGS, D.D., LL.D.
Mary and I
FORTY YEARS WITH THE SIOUX
WITH AN INTRODUCTION
REV. S. C. BARTLETT, D.D.
PRESIDENT OF DARTMOUTH COLLEGE
Congregational Sunday-School and Publishing Society
Copyright, 1880, by Stephen R. Riggs.
Copyright, 1887, by Congregational S. S. and Publishing Society.
Electrotyped by C. J. Peters and Son, Boston.
To My Children,
ALFRED, ISABELLA, MARTHA, ANNA, THOMAS, HENRY, ROBERT, CORNELIA, AND EDNA;
TOGETHER WITH ALL THE GRANDCHILDREN GROWING UP INTO THE MISSIONARY INHERITANCE OF THEIR FATHERS AND MOTHERS,
THIS BOOK IS INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR.
This book I have inscribed to my own family. It will be of interest to them, as, in part, a history of their father and mother, in the toils and sacrifices and rewards of commencing and carrying forward the work of evangelizing the Dakota people.
Many others, who are interested in the uplifting of the Red Men, may be glad to obtain glimpses, in these pages, of the inside of Missionary Life in what was, not long since, the Far West; and to trace the threads of the in-weaving of a Christ-life into the lives of many of the Sioux nation.
“Why don’t you tell more about yourselves?” is a question which, in various forms, has been often asked me, during these last four decades. Partly as the answer to questions of that kind, this book assumes somewhat the form of a personal narrative.
While I do not claim, even at this evening time of my life, to be freed from the desire that good Christian readers will think favorably of this effort of mine, I can not expect that the appreciation with which my Dakota Grammar and Dictionary was received, by the literary world, more than a quarter of a century ago, will be surpassed by this humbler effort.
Moreover, the chief work of my life has been the part I have been permitted, by the good Lord, to have in giving the entire Bible to the Sioux Nation. This book is only “the band of the sheaf.” If, by weaving the principal facts of our Missionary work, its trials and joys, its discouragements and grand successes, into this personal narrative of “Mary and I,” a better judgment of Indian capabilities is secured, and a more earnest and intelligent determination to work for their Christianization and final Citizenship, I shall be quite satisfied.
Since the historical close of “Forty years with the Sioux,” some important events have transpired, in connection with our missionary work, which are grouped together in an Appendix, in the form of Monographs.
Beloit, Wis., January, 1880.
Note:—This book, first published by the author, though with the imprint of W. G. Holmes, Chicago, has met with such favor as to indicate that it should be brought out under auspices that would give it to a larger circle of those interested in Indian missions. And to carry on the life of its author to its close, and give a more complete view of the progress of the work, another chapter has been added, making the “Forty Years” Fifty Years with the Sioux.
The churches owe a great debt of gratitude to their missionaries, first, for the noble work they do, and, second, for the inspiring narratives they write. There is no class of writings more quickening to piety at home than the sober narratives of these labors abroad. The faith and zeal, the wisdom and patience, the enterprise and courage, the self-sacrifice and Christian peace which they record, as well as the wonderful triumphs of grace and the simplicity of native piety which they make known, bring us nearer, perhaps, to the spirit and the scenes of Apostolic times than any other class of literature. How the churches could, or can ever, dispense with the reactionary influence from the Foreign Mission field, it is difficult to understand. Doubtless, however, when the harvest is all gathered, the Lord of the Harvest will, in his wisdom, know how to supply the lack.
Some narratives are valuable chiefly for their interest of style and manner, while the facts themselves are of minor account. Other narratives secure attention by the weight of their facts alone. The author of “Mary and I; Forty Years with the Sioux” has our thanks for giving us a story attractive alike from the present significance of its theme and from the frank and fresh simplicity of its method.
It is a timely contribution. Thank God, the attention of the whole nation is at length beginning to be turned in good earnest to the chronic wrongs inflicted on the Indian race, and is, though slowly and with difficulty, comprehending the fact, long known to the friends of missions, that these tribes, when properly approached, are singularly accessible and responsive to all the influences of Christianity and its resultant civilization. Slowest of all to apprehend this truth, though with honorable exceptions, are our military men. The officer who uttered that frightful maxim, “No good Indian but a dead Indian,”—if indeed it ever fell from his lips,—needs all the support of a brilliant and gallant career in defence of his country to save him from a judgment as merciless as his maxim. Such principles, let us believe, have had their day. They and their defenders are assuredly to be swept away by the rising tide of a better