Journalist vs. Missionary
Theosophist, May, 1880
Some weeks ago, the Times of India, in a moment of rancorous spite towards the Invalide Russe, which it had caught, mirabile dictu! in a political fib, denounced the Russian nation as “all born liars.” The insult was, no doubt, more than Russia—Gortchakoff, Nihilists, and Gendarmes included—could bear. The Times having “set a mark” upon the Northern Cain, henceforth every Russian ought to feel himself like one branded and estimate death, nay, even the unpleasantness of being blown up by the Nihilists, as less terrible than such a public blowing up by the Times of India. One thing may, however, assuage their woe, and offer a kind of consolation, and this is that they have been most unexpectedly thrown into a most saintly company of “liars.” This is what the world-famous Archibald Forbes writes of the Christian missionaries, in his letter to the Scotsman:
“I regard missionary enterprise as simply a gross impertinence; and, did I chance to be a straightforward and self-respecting heathen, I would kick the interloping missionary who should come canting around me, seeking to pervert me from the faith of my fathers.”
Not content with the expressed desire of “kicking” the holy payees, Mr. Forbes seeks to prove—and justice forces us to admit, with no mean success—the position of the missionary as “inherently false and illogical,” and clinches his argument with the rather irreverent remark—“my experience of missionaries is, that they are mostly LIARS.”
In a letter to the Pioneer, intended to pulverize the Theosophical Society and its General Council, the Rev. Mr. Scott, bitterly recriminating against Mrs. A. Gordon’s article—“Missions in India”—published in the January number of the Theosophist, spoke of it as “an ignorant attempt at making it appear that missions are a failure.” We wait with interest to learn what the reverend polemic will have to say now. Prone as they are to fly into the Theosophists’ faces for every quiet and polite remark in their organ, what will they answer to this bitter denunciation by the “light of newspaper correspondents,” as some journalists call their fiery confrére, who has encountered the missionary in every land? And to think that this Armstrong shell should have been fired from that heavy gun, the Scotsman, which is mounted in the very citadel of the bluest Presbyterianism!