Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

more than two and a half or three miles per hour. Whilst on the path, to use an African phrase, you must consider your waggon your home, and must carry with you your beds, food, cooking apparatus, and whatever else you may require; and very comfortable and independent you may be. Providing you are favoured with genial weather, African travelling is, after all, pleasant and agreeable.

The waggon hired for us was the property of a Dutch boor; and, having packed at the bottom of it our trunks and boxes, we placed our mattress on the top of them, and taking with us a supply of bread, tea, sugar, coffee, and other articles, together with pots, kettles, pans, &c., we started on our journey in company with our brethren, each one having a separate waggon. Our route lay first over an extensive flat, on which we observed several salt lakes, (zoul pans,) the waters of which were as strongly impregnated with salt as the sea itself. A little to the left of our road, though we did not go near enough to see it, is a lake of this kind nearly three miles in circumference, from which the native inhabitants of the Mission station called Bethelsdorp, not far distant, collect large quantities of salt, which they convey to the colonial markets for sale. These lakes probably owe their origin to springs issuing from beneath. They are found in various parts of the country, sometimes at a distance from the coast of several hundred miles. Hence they cannot be supposed to have any immediate connexion with the ocean.

After crossing the Zwartkops-River, and ascending a steep and rugged declivity, we encamped for the night, and, the evening being fine, kindled a fire, and prepared a repast, of which we partook with more than an ordinary relish. We then committed ourselves to the gracious protection of the Most High, and retired to rest. I dare say we all anticipated being disturbed by the noise of the wild beasts of the desert ; but we heard nothing, save, perhaps, the distant howl of the hyena, and certainly we slept far more soundly than we could have supposed that in a waggon it was possible. The next day was the Sabbath. It was our intention, therefore, not to proceed, but, holding divine service among ourselves, spend the day in quietness and peace. But, whilst we were at breakfast, there approached us a person with a very sullen mien, who somewhat unceremoniously told us that we were trespassing on private property, and that we should not be allowed to remain. We therefore, though reluctantly, proceeded on our way.

Our journey occupied six successive days. On the second we forded the Sunday-River, (Zondag-Rivier,) which takes its rise in the Zneeuw-bergen, or Snow-Mountains, in the Graaf-Reynet district of the Colony, and, after pursuing a course of one hundred and thirty miles, empties itself into the sea in Algoa-Bay. I have heard that the name was given to it by the old Dutch colonists, because beyond its eastern bank the Sabbath was unknown. It should no longer then be called the Sunday-River ; for now that day is both known and reverenced three or four hundred miles beyond. After crossing this river we entered a jungle, or forest, called the Ada-Bush. Here numerous species and genera of trees, plants, and shrubs, indigenous to the soil, attracted our attention; and, had we been botanists, I know not how long we might have been tempted to remain. Among others the beautiful mimosa, or thorn-tree; the spikboom, said to be the principal food of elephants; the yellow-wood tree, (Taxus elongatus,) together with the aloe, the cactus, or prickly-pear, and the Shelitria regince, were most abundant. This bush was formerly tenanted by large herds of elephants; but there are several European habitations in the neighbourhood ; and wherever civilized man fixes his abode, the wild beasts of the desert disappear. We thought the bush would prove interminable; but at length we came to the end, and, after ascending a steep and difficult hill, which our oxen seemed very loath to climb, we found ourselves on an extended flat, formerly abounding with quaggas, at the extremity of which we could discern an elevated ridge of hills called the Zuurbergen. Beyond this ridge our journey was to terminate.

The territory through which we passed was formerly occupied by the Gonaaqua, and other Hottentots, or Quaiquæ. Concerning this branch of the human race, together with the Namacquas, the Korannas, and the Bushmen, who are all one family, much has been written, and many singular opinions have been advanced. Whence came they? what is their origin? are they kindred with the human species, or are they, as Gibbon supposed, “the connecting link between the rational and the irrational creation," a step in advance of the monkey and baboon? These are questions of considerable interest, some of which are still involved in much obscurity. The theory of Gibbon, however, has long been exploded, and I presume that few will now have the boldness to maintain it. True, the Hottentots are a degraded people, and the Bushman race especially is degenerate in the extreme ; but their claim to be ranked with the human family has been established, on philosophical grounds, by Dr. Prichard,* and others, and is confirmed by the fact that, as the result of Missionary effort, they have in some instances become partakers of the blessings of the Gospel, and have been raised to a more happy and enlightened condition. Of the Gonaaqua Hottentots, the Namacquas, and the Korannas, many have embraced the truth; and I have seen individuals of all these tribes, who, though once in a state of the grossest ignorance, having no knowledge of a Supreme Being, and no religious notions of any kind, have, after their conversion, exemplified in their lives many of those virtues which adorn the Christian character. Let us hear no more then of the sceptical notions above referred to. It is now too late to class these hapless beings with the brutes that perish. Wretched as they are, they still are men; and noble is the enterprise, to whatever extent it may succeed, of attempting to train them in the duties of religion, and in the modes and habits of civilized life.

Their origin is another question. They are entirely a distinct people from the Kaffir and Bechuana tribes, being lighter in complexion, smaller in stature, and very dissimilar both in form and visage. Barrow traced in them a resemblance to the Chinese ; and later travellers have agreed with him in opinion that they are more like that people than any other nation in the world. Professor Vater thought that they had made their way from the North, along the western side of Africa ; but the more probable theory is, that, having entered the continent by Egypt and the Red Sea, they descended to the South, along the eastern coast, through Nubia, and Abyssinia, &c. There can be no doubt that they were the very earliest tribes that peopled the southern extremity of Africa, and that the Kaffirs who succeeded them made encroachments on the territory in which they had established themselves. Their language, which consists of several dialects, very dissimilar one to another, is exceedingly harsh and discordant, (stridor, non vox,t) consisting of a variety of hissing, nasal, and

* See his Researches into the Physical History of Mankind, vol. ii. + Pliny

clicking sounds, the latter of which are formed chiefly by striking the tongue upon the roof of the mouth. The Rev. Mr. Elliott, of the London Missionary Society, has discovered an affinity between this language and the Mongolian ; a fact which goes far to confirm the idea that the Hottentot tribes descended from that great branch of the human family.

When the early Dutch colonists became occupants of the Cape, the Hottentots were a numerous and powerful people. Kolben gives a list of eighteen nations or tribes, who at that time inhabited the country which now forms the Cape Colony, together with parts of the territory adjoining. But many of these nations have disappeared. Oppressed and enslaved by the Dutch settlers on the one hand, and frequently assailed by their warlike neighbours, the Kaffirs, on the other, they are now no longer a people as they once were ; but, with the exception of the Korannas and the Namacquas who reside towards the north and north-east of the Colony, are scattered through the length and breadth of the country, “their hand being against every man, and every man's hand against them.” Considerable numbers of the Gonaaqua Hottentots, and perhaps a few others, live in the Colony, and are employed as servants and labourers; but many of them are addicted to habits of intemperance, and are indolent, filthy, and improvident in the extreme. Some of them, however, having been instructed in our Mission-schools, and having come under the gracious influence of the Gospel, are rising into a state of social happiness, and beginning to partake of the blessings of civilized life.

But I must now resume the narrative of our journey, and bring this paper to a speedy close. After five days' travelling we came to one of those wild and rugged mountain-passes so often described by African travellers. The scene was remarkably bold and picturesque, and gave one the idea of the occurrence, at some distant period, of a convulsion of nature. A range of hills of considerable elevation rose abruptly on either hand, towards the bases of which a series of sandstone rocks projected over our path, covered with a variety of beautiful shrubs and plants. Through this ravine, or poort, I have often ridden since, but never without feelings approaching towards awe. The road was wretched, and it was hard work for our oxen to pull the waggon up the long, steep hill we had to ascend. After half-a-day's toiling, during which the Dutchman used his whip, as we thought, somewhat severely, we reached the summit, from which Graham's-Town, embosomed in a range of sterile-looking hills, presented itself to view. The sight was cheering, and most gratifying was it to us all, to receive, on our arrival, a most cordial welcome from the Rev. W. Shaw, and many others, who, though strangers then, afterwards became our very intimate friends.

(To be continued.)

CREATION GROANETH. “ Tue whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” Set and shrined (as it were) in an epistle the most replete with the very strictest peculiarities of the theological creed, do we find this striking image ; the creation in a state of big and general distress, giving token of some pregnant, but yet undisclosed, mystery wherewith it is charged, and heaving throughout all its borders with the pains and the portents of its coming regeneration. This was the aspect which our present system of things bore to the eyes of the Apostle ; and it is its aspect still. The world is not at ease. The element in which it floats is far from being of a tranquil or a rejoicing character. It has somehow gone out of adjustment, and is evidently off the poise or the balance of those equable movements, in which we should desire that it persisted for ever. Like the stray member of a serene and blissful family, it has turned into a wayward, comfortless, ill-conditioned thing, that still teems, however, with the recollection of its high original, and wildly gleams and gladdens in the hope of its future restoration. It hath all the character, now, of being in a transition-state ; and with all those symptoms of restlessness about it which the brooding insect undergoes ere it pass into the death-like chrysalis, and come forth again in some gay and beauteous expansion, in the fields of our illumined atmosphere. Meanwhile, it is in sore labour; and the tempest's sigh and the meteor's flash, and not more the elemental war than the conflict and the agony that are upon all spirits; the vexing care, and the heated enterprise, and the fierce emulation, and the battle-cry, both that rings from the inferior tribes through the amplitude of unpeopled nature, and that breaks as loudly upon the ear from the shock of civilized men ; above everything, the death, the sweeping, irresistible death, which makes such havoc among all the ranks of animated nature, and carries off, as with a flood, its successive generations; these are the now overhanging evils of a world that has departed from its God !-Chalmers on the Romans.

GREEK LEPERS.

When at daybreak we put out to sea, we were startled by hearing voices in a creek not far from that in which we had slept, and, on rounding a rocky point of the island, saw the speakers ; and a melancholy sight it was. There sat, drenched and shivering on the bare shore of this desolate islet, seven human beings in every stage of virulent leprosy. Three were far gone in the disease, a woman and two men, apparently old. The men had lost their sight, and one was speechless; and all had lost the use of their extremities, which, indeed, appeared to have been eaten away. Two others had not lost the use of their hands; but their toes were gone, and they could scarcely walk. A fine young man, and a well-grown rather handsome girl, remained, and at a distance appeared unharmed; but on nearer approach, the bandages on one foot of the female, and over one eye of the youth, told that the plague-spot was upon them too. Their tale was a short one. They were a family of lepers, Greeks, from the island of Syme, who wandered from port to port in their boat, fishing and collecting alms. In the storm of the day before they had been driven ashore in this little bay, and their boat lay much damaged on the beach. They had no means of lighting a fire, and no provisions. We gave them a light, and as much food as we could spare, which we placed on a rock, to be taken away by the younger and least afflicted of the party; adding, what they seemed to prize even more than food, a quantity of tobacco. Promising to inform their countrymen and others at Rhodes respecting their misfortunes, and to procure for them assistance if possible, we sailed away from this sad interview with the victims of one of the most hideous and incurable afflictions of humanity; with many blessings from the poor lepers, and thankful for having been the means, through the accident of a storm in which we had nearly perished ourselves, of relieving, and possibly saving from a lingering death, these miserable people. Eventually, we had the pleasure of hearing, in Rhodes, that they were enabled to get their boat once more afloat, and to leave the desert rock on which they had been cast.-Travels in Lycia in 1842.

WESLEY PAPERS. No. XXXIV. ORIGINAL LETTERS TO MR. EBENEZER BLACK

WELL, OF LEWISHAM, FROM THE REVS. JOHN AND
CHARLES WESLEY.

(COMMUNICATED BY THOMAS MARRIOTT, ESQ.)
1.- LETTER FROM THE PEV. CHARLES WESLEY.

Dublin, December 15th, 1747. MY VERY DEAR FRIEND,Go on, be it ever so feebly and slowly, yet go er, and you shall see the utmost salvation of God. I often rejoice in hope of it, both for myself and my friends. There must needs be a marvellous change in you and me, when we are

“Above all fear, all anger, and all pride !” Yet, is anything too hard for God? We believe (and that too is a great blessing) that with God all things are possible; and he will exert his omnipotent love in our salvation.

You cannot comfort me more than by informing me of your own and your partner's resolution to go on in the narrow way, and save your own souls at all hazards. If it were not for this hope of meeting you, and all our companions, on Mount Zion, we were of all men the most miserable. But God is faithful, and shall by Jesus Christ bring his many sons unto glory. We sent forth a Preacher last week into the country, about forty miles from Dublin ; who sends us news, that the word of the Lord runs very swiftly among them, and there is a promise of a glorious harvest. * You will not forget the labourers, your faithful and loving servants, for Christ's sake. We stand in need of all your prayers.

In the beginning of the spring + I shall begin to look towards England; but this people will not let me go, unless you send my brother in exchange. I live in hopes of seeing you then, and our two beloved friends in ChangeAlley. My namesake I salutes you much in the Lord. He is an helpmeet for me ; and shows me continually how I ought to preach by my life. The Lord Jesus be your peace, and your life, and your portion eternally!

C. WESLEY. To Mr. Blackwell, in Change-Alley, London.

11.- FROM THE REV. JOHN WESLEY TO MR. EBENEZER BLACKWELL.

Dublin, July 21st, 1750. DEAR SIR,--Although I expect very shortly to leave this kingdom, yet I cannot help writing a few lines ; and the rather, because I may possibly find it needful to visit Cornwall before I can see London. I have had so

* In his Journal, under date January 14th, 1748, he says: “I heard more good news from the country, whither we had sent some of our Preachers.” (“Life." vol. i., p. 480.)

+ « March 20th, 1748, he embarked for England, and next day landed at Holyhead.” (See Jackson's “Life of Charles Wesley,” vol. i., p. 487.)

Charles Perronet.

« AnteriorContinuar »