Wednesday, January 21, 2009

He Love Black Man All Same White Man

A selection from a letter by Maggie Paton, wife of missionary John Paton, to a friend back home in Stirling, Scotland, about some of their first impressions of the New Hebrides. The letter was written on October 17, 1865.

I remember seeing a number of Natives assembled on the deck-house one Sabbath for Service, which Mr. Paton conducted in what is here termed Sandalwood English—a sort of peculiar broken English, which traders use with the Natives all over the Islands. I was amazed to see how he had gained the attention of all, when not above two or three of them knew the same language. They were looking earnestly into his face, and evidently drinking in every word. I crept nearer, and, listening attentively, heard such sentences as the following: Jehovah very good. He love Black Man all same White Man. He send Son belonga Him. He die for all Man.

Letters and Sketches from the New Hebrides, by Maggie Whitecross Paton, printed by Reformation Heritage Books and Sprinkle Publications, 2003, pp. 6-7.

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