« AnteriorContinuar »
derived from the new relations on which he has entered as a man and a British subject, he also becomes a partaker of the imperishable blessings of religion : then, but not until then, will he possess all that his best friends ever desired or sought on his behalf.
No person who has paid attention to the great subject of negro emancipation, or watched the progress of a cause so important in its bearings on the interests of the Redeemer's kingdom in the world, can be unacquainted with its history since the 1st of August, 1834, when absolute slavery was declared by an Act of the Imperial Legislature to have ceased for ever in the British Doininions, and the modified system of negro apprenticeship was introduced into the colonies as a preliminary to the unqualified freedom of the coloured labourers. The act referred to provided for the liberation of the non-prædial apprentices on the 1st of August, 1838, but their number was small compared with that of the prædial labourers, whose release from compulsory servitude was nevertheless to be protracted until 1840. This arrangement lay open to most serious objections from the beginning, and subsequent events having served at once to confirm and multiply them, the friends of the negroes were gradually led to the conclusion, that the retention of one class of apprentices in a state of deeply oppressive bondage for a period of two years after every other class was made free, would be utterly at variance with the claims both of justice and humanity, and equally incompatible with the true interests of the colonies in which this unjust, unequal, and unnecessary mode of treatment was to be adopted. To the motives arising from these considerations are to be ascribed the great public movements made since the commencement of the present year, to obtain the simultaneous enfranchisement of the prædial and non-prædial apprentices. The British Legislature refused to exert its power in favour of the measure ; but the influence of public opinion emanating from this country, was felt and acknowledged in that part of the world where the captive waited to be unbound, and there the work of mercy was commenced, and has, it is believed, been completed. The termination of the apprenticeship on the 1st of August was resolved upon by the Jamaica House of Assembly, early in June ; this act was preceded and followed by similar measures in nearly all the lesser colonies ; and there is a strong presumption, that it has likewise been imitated in the extensive colony of British Guiana.
The negroes have been pronounced worthy of freedom from quarters whence such a declaration could have been least expected ; and among those who have long espoused their cause, a cheering persuasion is felt that their future conduct wi be such as to justify that opinion. All of them have been prepared by their past sufferings to value the boon which has been bestowed ; and many, owing to the moral and religious instruction they have received, are also in a state duly to improve it.
The London Missionary Society has united its efforts with those of kindred institutions, to render the possession of freedom a substantial and lasting blessing to the negro ; and, in harmony with the results which might be expected to flow from such labours, several of the Society's devoted Missionaries in Jamaica, and in British Guiana, have communicated the pleasing information, that the native churches and congregations under their care intended to set apart the 1st of August, as a day of solemn thanksgiving and devout acknowledgment unto God, for the great mercy they were about to receive. At home the religious celebration of the day among the various bodies of Christians has been almost universal, We trust it has been accompanied by an adequate sense of the increased responsibility in which the new and critical situation of the negroes has involved us.
If slavery, on the one hand, so paralyses the soul, as to render it almost incapable of religion ; freedom, on the other, requires to be placed under the salutary influences which religion only can provide, in order that it may prove a blessing to its possessor.
Vigorous exertions must therefore be made to repair the deep injuries which have been inflicted by the nation on this long-degraded race of men, to secure what has already been accomplished in their favour, and to promote by all suitable means, their elevation in the scale of society, and the advancement of their spiritual and eternal interests.
Among the means of usefulness now in operation, we present the following notice of the Mission School on the west coast in Demerara.
The station designated Ebenezer Chapel, situated on the west coast of the Demerara River, was commenced in 1814. Our brother, Mr. Scott, arrived at the station in January, 1832, and at that time the negroes and their children who attended for instruction on the Sabbath numbered about 250. The efforts commenced by his predecessors in Sabbath-school instruction, were vigorously pursued by Mr. Scott, assisted by Mrs. Scott, who was eminently qualified for the delightful office she sustained. Shortly after their entrance upon the work, Mr. Scott was enabled to make this pleasing statement :-.“ The elementary truths of Christianity, and the outlines of Scripture history, are as well understood amongst our scholars, as in most schools in Great Britain. Our success in this department of our work calls forth our gratitude to the Father of mercies, as we trust it will in the minds of the Directors, and our Christian friends generally.”
In March, 1835, an infant-school, containing at first 25 children, was established by Mrs. Scott, who, until within a few months of her lamented decease, pursued those labours on behalf of the young, the value of which, as well as the devotedness with which they were discharged, are held by many in lasting remembrance.
Mr. and Mrs. Murkland, to whom the charge of the schools is now committed, arrived at the station in June, 1837, and have continued to fulfil this important duty with exemplary zeal and assiduity. In addition to the infant and Sabbathschools before noticed, two other schools have been established, namely, a dayschool, and an evening-school; and the number at present receiving instruction in these schools is, collectively, about 500. The day-school contains about 125 boys, whose general progress in knowledge, and especially their moral and religious improvement, are highly satisfactory.
In connexion with this school, the gratifying circumstance depicted on the preceding page has been communicated by Mr. Murkland. His Excellency the late Governor of the Colony, Sir James Carmichael Smyth, whose death will long be a subject of deep regret to every friend of the negro race, is represented in the performance of one of those acts of benevolence for which he was so emi. nently distinguished. The Mission schools received a large measure of his favourable regard. He often visited them personally, and encouraged the parents and children by thus publicly showing the importance he attached to education, Towards the close of last year, the day-school at Ebenezer School was favoured by a visit from his Excellency, when the pleasing scene occurred, which is thus described by Mr. Murkland :
“ The Governor, Sir J. C. Smyth, visited the school on the morning of the 28th of December, 1837. He examined the children in reading, writing, geography, and catechised them on the Lord's prayer; after which he heard them repeat and sing several hymns. At the close of the examination, which lasted about an hour, he presented ten of the monitors with handsome medals ; one side of the medal represented a boy in the attitude of prayer, encircled with the well-known words, 'Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth;' his own address was inscribed upon the other. The Governor himself attached the medals to their homely garments, at which the sable countenances of the children thus distinguished beamed with delight. It was also gratifying to us, and I fondly entertain the hope that on the great day of examination many of these youths committed to our care will be found amongst that number upon whom the Great Judge and Saviour shall bestow a crown of glory."
At this station an excellent schoolhouse has been erected, which, from the extended accommodation it affords, will greatly facilitate the work of instruction among the negroes, and qualify them as they are now free, to become intelligent, industrious, and honourable members of society.
NAVIGATORS ISLANDS. In late numbers of the Missionary Magazine, the circumstances and progress of the highly favoured Mission which the Lord has enabled our brethren to establish in these islands were presented at considerable length. The communications of the Missionaries, from which these pleasing statements were derived, have been followed by others of an equally encouraging character. The intelligence from Mr. Heath, under whose care have been placed a part of the island of Upolu and the whole of Manono, comprehends a view of his labours and proceedings during a period of six months ending in December last, the period at which he forwarded his letters to England. From this gratifying record of Missionary exertion, we feel the highest satisfaction in offering for perusal the subjoined portions of information respecting the field of labour in which Mr. Heath is engaged, and on which, through his diligent and zealous instrumentality, the gracious influences of the Divine Spirit appear to be copiously descending. After a brief allusion to some minor topics, our brother proceeds to describe
The first Missionary Meeting in Samoa. locks and loose white dress gave him a On our arrival at Falelatai, a district of
very patriarchal appearance. He made 7 villages, containing 1000 people, we hap
several judicious remarks, alluding, as all pened to mention to the chief, To'oa, an
the speakers did, in affecting terms, to intelligent man, that in about a fortnight the
their present advantages compared with great Missionary Meeting, “le Me,” (May)
their former darkness. He said also, that would be held in England, and that, per
at first they threw away the word of Je. haps, such meetings would, some time, be
hovah, but that now they had “made oath held in Samoa. He asked whether we could
to him ;'' that formerly the land was as if not have one this year? for “great was his
buried with large stones, but that now it desire." I doubted and hesitated for
was made smooth, a while, because no arrangement had been
He was followed by Olavasii, the aged made with the brethren ; but seeing the
orator of the district, dressed in cotton company had caught the enthusiasm, I garment of several colours and a necklace agreed that, for our district at least, we
of shark's teeth. He gave an account of would begin. The news spread like light.
their former opinions as to the formation of ning, and, though the weather was bad, we
the world, origin of man, &c.; and comhad a congregation of nearly 3000 people
pared the Missionary to the bird “Tuli," to attend the first Missionary Meeting in
the daughter of the great god Tangaloa, sent Samoa, about 12 hours before the great an
down to form the land, where before there nual meeting of the Society in Exeter Hall. was nothing but sea.
After prayer, I preached from Ps. lxvii. To'oa, chief of Falelatai, quoted Hosea, 2, 3. Addresses were then delivered by se
“ Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but veral chiefs and native teachers. For up
in me is thy salvation, and said that was wards of two hours the speeches were con.
just the case in Samoa. tinued, and the attention of the people
Matetau, the chief of our village here, showed no relaxation.
dwelt on the peace of Samoa now, as con. Pea, our great chief here, (who has now
trasted with their former frequent and assumed the name of “A servant of Christ,'')
bloody wars. was the first speaker. When we came he
Taegogo, a young chief who has become was a heathen; he now appeared “clothed a preacher, recommended the prayer, “Send and in his right mind." His grey long
forth more labourers," &c.; and said that
before the teachers came they cared only those parts of Aana which were the principal for the body, whereas now they knew how scenes of bloodshed and devastation in the to take care of the soul.
We have several large congregations In the afternoon we had a public baptism, on the very spots which were in flames at and after that the Lord's-supper, at which the time of the first visit of Messrs. Barff those admitted to church fellowship united, and Williams, in 1830. in number about 40. Such a meeting would I had the pleasure of preaching the Goshave been interesting in any country; here pel in the house formerly inhabited by Tamait was peculiarly so. In the course of the fainga, whose merciless tyranny exasperated following week our friends at Savaii had a the people until they rose against his power similar meeting.
and killed him, and to avenge whose death
the war was undertaken. I had also the District of Aana.
gratification of placing additional native Falelatai is one of the sub-districts of teachers among the people, and of baptising Aana, the latter being one of the three large several. This part of our field of labour is divisions of Upolu. It is the district which undergoing a twofold renewal; the one of was conquered in the last war, and is still a most interesting moral character, the other held in subjection, although treated much physical. The lands, long desolate, are more leniently than it would have been, if again under cultivation, and everywhere the Christianity, with its humanising and ele- young breadfruit is seen springing up from vating influences, had remained unknown. the stump or root, which was all the en
Soon after the May meeting, I visited raged warriors left undestroyed.
After describing the Samoan Fono, or parliament, at one of whose meetings he attended, and having briefly noticed the details of his first visit to Savaii, whence Mr. Heath returned to Manono, our brother relates the following incident, which occurred soon after he reached the latter island :Pleasure of contributing to the preservation house, and their appearance fully confirmed of life.
their report, that they had been at the To Mrs. Heath and myself the 23rd of point of death. The boat had been righted August was a day of intense excitement once, but turned over a second time, and and interest, occasioned by the upsetting of
could not be again got up. The waves a boat in which were Mr. and Mrs. Wilson running and strong, our friends were of the Wesleyan Mission, and their attend. several times under water, and had the ants. About eleven o'clock, my servants greatest difficulty in clinging to the keel of told me that a boat was approaching the
the boat. We did what we could for their reef, and that it was Mr. Turner's (the Wes- comfort, and they sustained no material leyan Missionary.) We looked out. We injury. could not discover whom it contained, but I have called ours a pleasure, but no supposed it probable it might be Mr. and terms can convey the full sense of that feel. Mrs. Wilson, because we knew they had ing which thrills through their breasts who been at Savaii. Seeing they had not yet are able to contribute to the rescue and prearrived at the entrance through the reef, servation of the lives of fellow-beings. we returned to the house for some minutes ; but I felt an unusual inclination to watch
New Chapel opened in Upolu. the boat, and took my spy-glass for that On the 25th of October, we opened a purpose. Mrs. Heath also again went to neat new plastered chapel in the district of look ; and we had not stood a minute when Mulifanua, capable of accommodating 500 the sail disappeared, and we concluded that people. The brethren, Mills and s. Wilthe boat had upset. This was nearly a mile son, myself, and some of our native teachers, from our beach. Fortunately, our canoe was
officiated. Not only was the chapel crowded at hand, and our servants about; I instantly to excess, but nearly twice the number despatched them, and a second party quickly
were unable to obtain admission. We had followed. I was amazed at the apathy of
therefore a double service, one within and many of the natives on this occasion, but I one outside the building. Mr. Mills and believe it merely arose from the fact that myself conducted the services in the chapel, with them the upsetting of a canoe near
and Mr. S. Wilson without. land is treated as a mere trifle. Directing In the afternoon I baptised between 30 my glass again to the spot, I could see se- and 40, and we concluded by uniting in the veral heads above water, and our canoe participation of the Lord's-supper. nearly at the spot. In a quarter of an hour more we had the pleasure of receiving Mr. Mr. Heath concludes by stating that the and Mrs. Wilson (of the Wesleyan Mission- number of people in his district, all of whom ary Society) and their little boy to our profess the Christian name, is nearly 6000; that the number of baptised natives was 587, and that those united in the fellowship of the church were 83. He likewise states that all, except the oldest people, can read, and many of them have learned to write. In common with the other brethren, he earnestly urges the Directors to send forth
additional labourers; and, viewing the magnitude of the work before him, entreats the continuance of fervent prayer on behalf of himself and his brethren, by all who have at heart the spread of the Redeemer's kingdom in the world.
BERHAMPORE MISSION, NORTH OF INDIA. IN few parts of India has greater opposition and enmity to the Gospel of Christ been experienced than at Berhampore, the station occupied, in connexion with Moorshedabad, by the Rev. Messrs. Hill and Paterson. For several years after the arrival there of our brother, Mr. Hill, whenever he attempted to preach the tidings of redeeming mercy, he was hooted and hissed by the people, his voice was drowned in tumult, clapping of hands, and shouts of "hurree bol;" and men would even pursue him with clubs to do him personal injury. But through mercy our beloved brother has been preserved; the Lord has graciously strengthened and sustained him. Undeterred by the difficulties and dangers of his holy enterprise, he has continued to preach the word of reconciliation, to invite the weary and heavy-laden to the fountain open for sin ; and, though hostility and prejudice have not wholly ceased, he has been at length favoured to behold a general salutary change effected in the native mind. We rejoice to perceive, among the multiplying tokens of good for India at the present time, the growing impression of the value of Missionary labour on the part of a numerous class of the Europeans residing in the country. With this improved tone of public feeling, the friends of the Missionaries themselves are also becoming more numerous, and their personal claims to affection and esteem are increasingly noticed and acknowledged. The Calcutta Christian Observer, for December last, contains an interesting and comprehensive account of Berhampore and Moorshedabad, furnished by a correspondent who had lately visited this quarter of the Bengal Presidency, and by whom the following honourable testimony is borne to the character of the devoted brethren at these stations, and to the zealous and persevering manner in which, with the valuable assistance of Mr. Cussons who is stationed at Moorshedabad, they pursue the great object of their Mission. The writer observes :
Mr. Hill, with his able and amiable co- tives, without even the protection of a adjutor, Mr. Paterson, is assiduously occu- chatah (or umbrella.) This is a qualifica. pied in the humble and unostentatious, but tion few Missionaries possess. Of active arduous and important, sphere of Missionary habits and vivacious mind, this excellent toil.' Mr. Paterson has been only a few Missionary is indefatigable in his holy callyears in the country, and is of course not ing, preaching frequently not fewer than yet sufficiently acclimated to bear the same four and five times daily, besides superinexposure as his senior. The latter, indeed, tending (in conjunction with bis able fellow. seems to possess á constitution of iron. I labourer) a school on the Mission premises have been with him (but unable to do like for native Christian boys, and conversing him) when, under a raging sun, in the early and late with inquiring natives, many hottest period of the day, he has stood for of whom come from considerable distances
hour or more addressing a crowd of na- to discuss religious topics.
We deeply regret to add, that the communications from Mr. Hill, for some time past, convey a less favourable view of his health than is presented in the above pleasing statéinent. Our brother informs us that he has of late suffered much from bodily indisposition, induced, we doubt not, by unceasing exertion in the burning climate of the East ; and this is confirmed by Mrs. Hill, who is now in England, having herself been obliged for a season to leave her honoured husband in India, and return in quest of health to her native country,