Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

God's blessings upon it, if we will persist, when any of us dies, in representing our deaths out here, as they have been both written and spoken about in several instances. It seems to me, that the offering we make to God in coming out here, and trying to do a little for the glory of His Name in the way of work amongst the heathen, should be made as simply as possible, and spoken of as a matter of course and not as a kind of special sacrifice, as it too often is at home. I am convinced that no true view of Missionary work can prevail at home, until missions and missionaries are regarded in a very different light, than in the present halo of romance and unreality, that people will invest us with. However we die out here, the offering is too small to be mentioned outside our circle, and it is a serious drawback, I think, to our work, that people will think it necessary to speak of us at our deaths in language they would never have used had we been called away when at work in some curacy at home.”' These words give the key-note to the spirit and working of the whole Mission.

Mr. Johnson, after spending eighteen months alone about Lake Nyassa, and owing his life more than once when ill to the kind care of the Scotch Mission at Bandawé, on the west shore of the Lake, returned, via Magomero and River Shiré, to England to raise funds for a steamer to ply on Lake Nyassa, his plan being to make the headquarters of the Mission on the Lake itself, healthier than the shore. In 1884, Mr. Johnson's collection prospered so much, that the steamer Charles Janson' was built, and sent out piecemeal, in eight hundred packages, to Quillimane. There he was in one night struck blind by ophthalmia, and had to return to England, where an operation partly restored the sight of one eye. He returned to Africa as soon as he was allowed, and has worked there incessantly ever since.

In 1885 the pieces of the “Charles Janson’ were taken up the Zambesi, carried round the Shiré cataracts, and successfully put together at Matopé. The vessel, dedicated by the Bishop in September, is now plying on the Lake and Shire.

It is very pleasant to notice that the greatest cordiality exists between the Presbyterians and the men of the Universities' Mission; the only unhappy division' we can detect is the seventy miles of stormy lake which keeps Archdeacon Maples and Dr. Laws apart! We have thus looked in upon the two chief fields of the Mission's operations, Zanzibar and Lake Nyassa. The Rev. W. Porter has held his own for a number of

years at Masasi and Newala. On one occasion his Mission Station was burnt down by the Magwangwara, who carried off many of the Christian natives. Few more daring things have been done than the single-handed visits to the marauders' camp, which

,

R 2

were

were undertaken by Mr. Porter on one occasion, and by Bishop Smythies on the other. The journey involved a tramp of several hundreds of miles through unexplored country, and they were partially rewarded by being able to rescue some of the people whom they had lost.

The history of Magila, a colony of released slaves founded in 1875, is one of continual advance under the fifteen years of Archdeacon Farler's influence. He has now been forbidden by his medical advisers to return to Africa. A man of his force will be sorely missed, not only on the station, but amongst those tribes which have from time to time buried their hatchets, as he has taken upon himself boldly to upbraid them for going to war. Amongst photographs before us we see him figured in a group of 120 native Communicants; and in short the advance of Christianity appears now to be marvellous, in spite of all we are taught to believe at Church Congresses. In 1886, the Church of the Holy Cross, large, handsome, and of stone, was consecrated at Magila. One of brick has been built at Umba. Stations have been formed at Mkuzi and Misozwé. The Church at Magila was built by one English mason, who joined the Mission under the same conditions as its other members, assisted only by native workmen trained by himself. One of the most remarkable branches of the work here is the industrial training given to the converts, enabling them to earn their own living: this inay best be described by quoting the following extracts from a letter of Archdeacon Farler's :

*With regard to Dr. Lenz's statement that the converted natives are unfit for manual labour, I can only say that this is an extraordinary mistake, which can only proceed from defective knowledge. I will describe what I have seen as to the good worked by a Mission station in Central Africa, and the public can judge.

• Twelve years ago the station of which I am speaking consisted of a mud hut, the residence of the missionaries, a few sheds, and a small

a iron building used as a church. The natives were always fighting; no man could travel alone safely; they clothed themselves with goat-skins, and their only means of exchange were strings of beads or Americano—i.e., cotton sheeting. Now the excellent granite of the country has been quarried, lime has been burnt, a large and beautiful church, capable of holding seven hundred people, with nave, aisles, and arches, has been built in granite ; a large hospital has been erected, with schools, house for the missionaries, dormitories for boarders, and dining hall—all bave been built by our native converts, in granite, under the superintendence of a young English working mason.

“At this moment, as I write, I see eleven masons, native converts, nine of them being apprentices, hard at work building a large house

for

for sisters of mercy. I see other converts, native carpenters and their apprentices, bringing up the doors and windows they have just made to fix into the new house. I am writing at a table made by native converts. Not far off is a large workshop, well fitted with tools, also a forge and anvil, full of busy native converts learning carpentering and blacksmithing. Around about are many native converts, some bringing planks or rafters, which they have cut in the forest, others working as mason's labourers, others digging; more than we want every morning eagerly pressing for work, lasting from 7 A.M. to 5.30 P.M., under strict supervision, with one hour's rest at noon, for the wage of fourpence a day.

“There is now perfect peace and safety in the land; a child can travel alone. The natives dress now in well-made garments, sewn by themselves after the coast fashion. _All now use pice and rupees, and our wages are paid in money. Trade has been introduced ; a large market has been established close to the Mission station, attended by some two to three thousand traders every market day.'

These words were written in June 1887, and this is one of the stations sorely embarrassed in consequence of the blockade on the coast.

One of the things to be noticed in Africa is the prevailing type of ugliness—not necessarily arising from degraded faces at all -for the variety of feature is infinite. It is then exceedingly instructive to look over photographs such as are lying before us, and which give the portraits of men and women who have become Christians at the various Mission Stations, and in the villages influenced by them. Care makes wrinkles enough upon our foreheads at home; what then is the impress which centuries of African bloodshed and insecurity are likely to have made on the human countenance ! The face of the old chief, when first the white man sees him, is a scowl encased in a network of miserylines, and the mere child seems to have all the cares of his tribe upon him; count the furrows on his forehead, and you come at the proportion which fears bear to joys inside his cranium. Now it is a most remarkable thing that, when we scan a group these converts, whose social surroundings in the villages are not so materially altered, a distinct change in the human aspect is visible. You have ironed the wrinkles out of their faces,' was the comment made by a looker-on, who himself had passed years amongst the tribes, and it is a pity to alter a verdict which appears so exactly to fit in with the evidence.

The history of a Mission like this is, in fact, precisely what we want; it is for the most part the barbarity of the Mohammedan which calls for these strenuous exertions upon

the part of the Church as a counteracting force. As for the natives, it speaks well for them that no missionary in these ranks has

fallen

of

fallen by arrow or spear. The list of killed and wounded is a terrible one, it is true, and sets one thinking that if the climate can decimate men engaged as these are, what are the prospects ahead for the trader in the districts we are dealing with ?

Whilst on this subject of climate and health, we cordially commend to the would-be explorer one or two hints which we find under Dr. Laws' hand. His experience of Central African hygiene is absolutely unique. He states broadly that a chill means fever; this is the first canon of Dr. Laws' faith, and it does not matter whether the chill arises from cold winds, tramps through wet grass, sudden check of perspiration, or injudicious bathing. What he insists upon is that every one in Central Africa shall arm himself with an india-rubber hot-water bottle, which can soon be filled when a shiver comes on, for every native hut affords a cooking pot and a fire. Applied to the back till warmth is restored, the otherwise inevitable attack will often be averted. Temperance, of course, is a necessity of the situation, and there are plenty of healthy Europeans on the Shíré hills who will insist that abstinence from all wine, beer, and spirits, has had much to do with their good health.

We give all prominence to these doings amongst tribes that are now exercising the minds of the Cabinets of London and Berlin, and among which the Universities' men have wandered and laboured for over twenty-five years. Every movement of the blockading fleets, every engagement on the coast, and the pressure put on the Sultan of Zanzibar, inevitably affects Bishop Smythies and his colleagues. As we write, the Universities men are allowed to go to and fro between Magila and the Zanzibar sea-board, passing through an excited and inflamed population, who exterminate every German they can lay hands upon. Archdeacon Farler can well claim to say "circumspice here, for it is due to his labours. The implements which have been pressed into use bave not failed to do their work, in the direction which the plough originally marked out.

We cannot disguise from ourselves, that the future of the Mission must require an unabated display of the devotion which has distinguished it hitherto. None of the stations have been abandoned ; the only work interrupted for a time is that of the ladies at Magila, on the mainland, who have been sent down to Zanzibar. Bishop Smythies is with his men, and each remains at his post. Twelve Europeans have joined during the year 1888, making seventy in all, viz. twenty-six clergy, twenty-five laymen, and nineteen ladies.

If, however, upon the one hand we see the leaven of disturbance at work throughout East Africa, occasioned in the first instance by the German Colonists, who have done all that is rash and nothing that is wise ; if we have to watch Portugal, taking this opportunity to march a horde of savages as her mercenaries into a land, where many years of labour testify that we have an undying interest in it, whilst she has no settlement of any kind involved—we allude to the Shiré highlands and Lake Nyassa—there is, notwithstanding, much that we can turn to with satisfaction. Stanley was certainly safe and well a few months ago, and in this fact we shake off a host of cares. We may anticipate his arrival with fresh stores of knowledge concerning the great Slave-preserve near Albert Nyanza, and also respecting the doings of the Zanzibar Arabs nearer the Congo; all this means surely an impetus to the anti-slavery feeling, which is gaining a foothold on the Continent.

The Imperial East African Company is no emanation of the promoter.'

A remarkable list of names appears at its back, and we may be sure that freedom will be pitted against slave labour with a determined hand. From this point of view we could wish it nearer to the slavers' collecting-grounds, instead of in the Masai country.

But in the meantime an unprepared public is somewhat suddenly instructed, that the moment has arrived for a combined movement against the slave-trade. Many excellent persons, both here and in Africa, dislike any such arrangement; but there are some considerations which should be borne in mind. England has spent millions over the East African slave-trade, since the fathers of the present generation virtually put a stop to that which prevailed upon the Western side. We are spending vast sums still in the same direction; and, if another European Power for the first time offers to bear part of the expense, it is certainly worth while to entertain the suggestion with a little more readiness than has been accorded in the last few months. No doubt Germany has herself to blame, in a great measure, for the scepticism which has been forthcoming. The energy, which has been thrown into the potato-gin trade all round Africa, appears to be incompatible with a new desire to deliver the Africans from themselves. Here again, however, it is probable that the business acumen of Hamburg and Bremen moves in a smaller circle than is generally imagined. It is only fair to recollect that, just as we learn our geography from little wars, so do we imbibe clear conceptions of great evils when disasters happen, which touch either the national pocket or the national pride. Germany has hitherto in all probability been little versed in the ramifications of the slave-trade what interest has she had in it? what expenditure has

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »