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102 The Indian Advocate.
Two facts that favor the work of conversion and civiliza tion are the short distance of their settlement from the capi tal of Ecuador and the comparatively small number of the Indians. The fact is that the natural conditions strongly urge -us to bring the torch of faith among these poor benighted savages. The fertility of the soil and the topography of the country are entirely in our favor, and our observation of the people have filled us with deep compassion for them. But what can a poor priest do, alone and without means? It is true that I do what I can, and sometimes achieve the impos sible at the risk of my life. The government regards the Indian with complete indifference, to counteract which I have begun an active propaganda. I have written to the "Bien Social," the only periodical published in this province, with the aim of calling the attention of the Ecuadorian press to the matter and thereby making it public. During my recent mission in August, September and Oc tober, I baptized eighty Indians and blessed thirty-eight mar riages. All this time 1 remained in the mountains, living among the Cayapas, eating with them, sleeping on the bare ground and sharing their hardships. Having ministered to them I would return to the city for three or four months to get some rest, and thence go back among them, when I would be rewarded by a few dozen baptisms. The language spoken by the Cayapas is truly an infernal tongue. Little by little I am learning enough of it to make myself understood. It sounds a little like the Chinese. Their religion is a species of Sabeism. They believe in a good God (Safra) and in an evil, maleficent God (Malava). It would be impossible to imagine anything more barba rous than their dress. Their customs are frightful. If sev eral girls are born successively, the first and second are pre served; the others are sacrificed. When children are born, of the marriage of cousins, they are condemned to death without regard to sex, the executioner being the eldest in the family.