The American Missionary — Volume 35, No. 8, August, 1881 online

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“To the Poor the Gospel is Preached.”

* * * * *

AUGUST, 1881.



PARAGRAPH—The Mendi Mission 225
ILLUSTRATION—Mission Home, Mendi Mission 228
FREEDMEN FOR AFRICA: Rev. Lewis Grout 232


Ga.: Atlanta University 238
Ala.: Talladega College 240
Texas: Tillotson Institute, Austin 242
S.C.: Avery Institute, Charleston 242
Ga.: Lewis High School, Macon 243






GRACIE’S MISTAKE: Mrs. Harriet A. Cheever 248





* * * * *

Published by the American Missionary Association,

* * * * *

Price, 50 Cents a Year, in advance.

Entered at the Post Office at New York, N.Y. as second-class matter.




* * * * *

VOL. XXXV. AUGUST, 1881. NO. 8.

* * * * *

_American Missionary Association._

* * * * *

We publish on the opposite page a map of Africa, upon which is
represented, by crosses, the location of the different Protestant
mission stations of that continent. The Mendi Mission on the West
Coast, and the proposed Arthington Mission in the Nile Basin, are
specially indicated by dotted lines. We give, also, elsewhere a cut
of the Mission Home at Good Hope Station, Mendi Mission.

* * * * *




Much of the mission work in Africa, at least upon the West Coast,
has a basis in industrial work of some kind. Many causes have
conspired to hinder this branch of civilizing work at the Mendi
Mission. Without stopping to specify what these may have been,
no one can doubt that the chief reason why the saw-mill at Avery
has failed to be a source of income to the Association, is the
difficulty of transporting the lumber to market. This mill, with
a circular and an upright saw, with a good head of water during
the larger part of the year, and with timber near at hand, is the
only mill of the kind on the West Coast. There is a good demand for
such lumber as the mill can produce, but the chief market is 120
miles distant. No one in Africa, however much he might want lumber,
would be guilty of going 120 miles for it, nor even 120 rods, if
he could help it. In former times the lumber was taken to the
market in a large boat, propelled by oar and sail; but the climate
and the worms have claimed that boat as their own. Here is a most
potent agency, an attractive centre for goods. The mill might be
producing thousands of feet of lumber a day, and yet if there were
no way to carry this lumber to the point where it could be sold,
its production would only become a burden. What is needed to insure
the best success of the mill, and of all the industrial departments
connected with it, is an easy and quick means of transportation.
This would not only make the mill a really civilizing institution
and a paying piece of property, but if a small steamer or tug-boat
were thus in use, it would more than pay its own way in the
regular trips it would make, and by the incidental services it
could render to other mission stations where similar industrial
work is carried on. There are promises enough to insure the
successful running of such a steamer. It should be adapted to
towing a lumber boat of large capacity to and from Freetown, and
should also be adapted to carrying passengers up and down the
rivers. It would accomplish more work in a given time than any
other project yet proposed on this coast, would dispense with the
small army of boatmen and fleet of boats now maintained, and would
be the solution of the question in regard to the mill. But why keep
up this mill? Why have an industrial department? Simply because the
spiritual interests of the mission are involved in it and demand
it. There must be a physical basis for any successful work upon
the minds and hearts of the people in this part of Africa. This
has been demonstrated in other missions than our own. The people
need a place to tie to, and something to draw them to that place
in order to receive any lasting good. They need to learn habits of
industry along with the Gospel. They need to be lifted out of their
barbarism by increasing their wants and showing them how to supply

These are a few of the considerations that make this industrial
work a sort of entering wedge for the Gospel. The situation of
things at the Avery Station is, however, such as to convince
those who have considered the matter, that the keen edge of this
entering wedge must be the sharp prow of a little steamer. There
can be scarcely a doubt, that the facilities afforded by such a
steamer would give a much needed impetus to the whole work of the
Association upon the West Coast.


Here is now an opportunity to turn to account the latent forces
that lie pent up within easy reach. But how shall the steamer
preach its practical sermon unless it be sent? Some one must send
it. Many hands make light work, especially when they contain the
contributions of willing hearts. Why may not the many little
rills, and springs, and even drops of love for the colored race,
flow together and float this steamer? Why not send, as some one
has suggested, old John Brown, of Harper’s Ferry, in a memorial
steamer over to Africa, to carry forward in a higher sense the work
of freedom which he began here, and which shall never end till
his soul has ceased its marching on? About $10,000 are needed to
furnish such a steamer as is required. Who will take the first $100
share in the steamer “John Brown” soon to leave for the coast of


If we may believe one-half of the glowing accounts which come to us
regarding the high table-lands of the interior, one or two hundred
miles back from the coast, the region is full of rich promises
as the scene of future missionary operations. It is said that
the land is rich, the country wonderfully beautiful and healthy,
the population dense, and cattle and horses abundant. There are
difficulties in the way of reaching this country, but they are
not insurmountable. One of our missionaries (Mr. Williams), well
fitted for the work, has pushed his way back into this region, and
reports very strongly in its favor. He brought back a horse with
him as corroborative evidence of his statements, and there can be
no doubt that in this healthier upland region the natives are more
intelligent, more industrious, and every way superior, while they
are also ready to welcome any who come among them for purposes
of peace. Our present stations upon the coast, three in number,
furnish excellent starting points and bases of supply, and should
be maintained largely as such. But it should be our aim to work
back from the low, malarious coast into these healthier and more
promising highlands just as soon as the proper men and the means
can be found. Starting from the stations already established, it
would seem to be a wise thing to locate a chain of stations within
easy distances of each other, stretching back to the mountains.
At these points the missionaries could reside two by two, with
mutual helpfulness and support. The natives of this region talk
the same general language as upon the coast. They are said to be
remarkably fine singers, and are fond of music. They manufacture
great quantities of cloth and various other articles of a superior
quality. They are, however, reported to be the husbands of many
wives, counting their honors by the number of their wives. The
rivers that drain this region afford an imperfect approach to the
country, but are available for considerable distances. Let the
means and the men be found, and this healthier and more promising
country can soon be captured for Christ. It is only a question of
time. This push for the interior must soon be made, and a larger
and better work must soon be inaugurated.


On Wednesday, March 23d, we sighted the point of Sierra Leone by
early dawn. The country as approached from the sea is beautiful.
The serrated Lion Mountains slope to the water’s edge, covered
with a luxuriance of tropical vegetation. The city of Freetown at
a little distance appears comparatively well built. The public
buildings are large and attract immediate attention, the streets
are wide and regularly laid out; and the whole external aspect
strikes one as much finer than what is naturally expected on this
coast; but a nearer view suggests the truth of the old saying that
“Familiarity breeds contempt.” The stay here was short, but into
the time was crowded a variety of strange and novel experiences.
From this point the mission boat “Olive Branch” carried us to
Good Hope Station, on Sherbro Island, where we landed late in the
evening of March 30th. This trip of about one hundred and twenty
miles occupied three days and two nights, and was, perhaps, the
most trying part of our journey. We experienced several severe
tornadoes on the way, and suffered from the intense glare of the
sun, now nearly vertical, and the difficulty of procuring proper
food. Having reached the mission house, we at once made ourselves
as much at home as possible. Thursday, March 31st, we were all
up at an early hour, and went out before the intense heat of the
day to inspect the grounds and buildings. The fine property of
the mission had evidently suffered in many ways from neglect. All
the buildings stood in need of repairs, and a large portion of
the grounds, including the little cemetery where Barnabas Root is
buried, was overgrown with bush. The spiritual condition of the
church and station seemed also to bear some resemblance to its
outward condition. It was not hopeless, but somewhat depressed.
The grounds in the immediate vicinity of the mission house gave
evidence, however, that the missionaries had neither forgotten to
exercise their taste, nor been wasteful of the small force and
slender means at their command. So, also, the spiritual condition
of the station presented some encouraging features. The warm
reception which Mr. Kemp and his wife received on every side gave
some reason to hope that the church would yet nourish under his
judicious care.


Friday, April 1st, was emphatically a day of calls. It had been
quickly noised abroad that the new missionaries from America had
arrived, and many availed themselves of the first opportunity to
bid them welcome to Africa. Possibly a little curiosity was mingled
with their politeness, but we did not care to analyze too closely,
and were glad to see them all. The people we met were generally
fine looking, of a rich, brown color, and not burdened by any
superfluity of clothing. They talked a broken English, which was
almost as difficult to understand as a new language.

To say that Sunday, April 3d, was a warm day would convey but a
slight idea of the truth. When the thermometer indicates over 90°
in America we are apt to call it rather warm; but a new adjective
is needed to characterize African heat at 90°, for it is something
so entirely different from the summer broils of other countries.
No wonder that this is an unhealthy climate. The land is low, the
water stagnant, the air moist, vegetation thick, and the heat
intense. In the morning I preached in the mission church to an
attentive audience on “The light that shineth in a dark place,” and
was present at a service in the Mendi language at the school-house
in the afternoon. The prayer meeting in the evening was well
attended and full of interest.

On Monday, April 4th, we went in the “Olive Branch” to Avery
Station, on the Mahna River, a branch of the Bargroo, forty miles
inland. The trip took all of one night, the boatmen rowing and
keeping time to their oars with a weird, monotonous singing all the

The inspection of the station at Avery consumed the early morning
hours of Tuesday. We visited the mill, the boat houses, the coffee
farm, the cassada fields, the rice houses, the boy’s department,
the store, the church and school-room, and last, but not least, the
“faki,” or native village, situated on the mission grounds, and
under the control of the missionary. The situation of the mission
house is a fine one, but the adjacent country is wilder than at
Good Hope. The house stands on a high promontory, and commands
a very picturesque view both up and down the river. This river
abounds in fish and alligators, while the banks are alive with

I was up at three A. M. on the 7th to help receive Mr. Kemp, who
arrived from Good Hope Station at that hour. Later we visited the
school together, examined the pupils in their various branches, and
gave them a little talk, which they seemed to enjoy. Some of them
were honored by such names as Wm. E. Gladstone and M. E. Strieby.
Their appearance and behavior were very gratifying. The prayer
meeting in the evening was fully attended, and indicated a marked
degree of earnestness, the leader having some difficulty to bring
it to a close. If hand-shaking is a means of grace, we enjoyed
special privileges at the end of this meeting.

I found oysters growing on trees (April 8th), and plucked a large
branch. Bread and butter also grow on trees in this strange land.
I had occasion to turn doctor to-day, and prescribed some fearful
doses, right and left, with marked results, due probably to faith.

After the ordination exercises at Good Hope (April 10th), a number
of the ministerial brethren of the council went in a boat-load
to attend service at the out-station of Debia, and although a
severe tornado threatened to break up the meeting, we enjoyed an
interesting and precious season together. The work at this point is
full of encouragement, but greater facilities are needed to carry
it on.

* * * * *

The painful news has just been received through Rev. O. H. White,
D.D., of London, of the death of Rev. Kelly M. Kemp at Good Hope
Station, Mendi Mission. Thus one more bright name has been added
to the long list of missionary heroes and martyrs whose dust
hallows the soil of Africa. No particulars have been received,
and we cannot speak confidently as to the cause of his death.
Those who have read the recent accounts of his ordination and
reception at Good Hope need not be reminded of the high hopes
that were entertained in regard to the work upon which he had but
just entered with so much zeal. Mr. Kemp’s earnest consecration
and varied experience and sweet Christian character had not only
endeared him to all who knew him, but had given rich promise also
of great good to the people among whom he had counted it all joy to

* * * * *


—The Sultan of Zanzibar is about to study the organization of the
French navy. He was expected at Marseilles in July for that purpose.

—Dr. Stacker is attempting to explore Lake Tsana in Abyssinia. If
he succeeds in accomplishing this he purposes to push on to Ghera.

—M. Viard, who has already explored the Niger and the Bénvé,
in company with the Count of Semellé, is just attempting a new
expedition for penetrating into the interior, and establishing
there commercial stations.

—Captain Neves Fereira, Governor of Benguela, and some other
officers, have placed themselves at the disposition of the
Geographical Society of Lisbon, for a new Portuguese expedition
from the west to the east, upon an itinerary like that of Serpa

—P. Francisco Autuses, charged with establishing the mission of
Zoumba upon the Zambeze, has set out from Lisbon for Mozambique.
After studying theology and natural sciences at Louvain, he will
devote himself to taking meteorological observations. He will
establish a station for this purpose at Zoumba. In a little
while he will be joined by a number of Portuguese workmen, whom
government will send there to make the necessary buildings for a
commercial office.

—The Portuguese Commission of Public Works has constructed in the
Province of Angola a telegraphic line of 344 kilometers from St.
Paul de Loanda to Dondo and Calcullo. It has already rendered good
service to commerce and the navigation of the Quanza. At Dondo
everything is ready to prolong the line as far as Poungo Andongo.

—The Sultan of Zanzibar has just explored the upper country of the
Loufigi with an expedition, the command of which was entrusted
to M. Beardall, who formerly studied the region of the Rovouma,
and more recently has had under his care the construction of the
Dar-es-Salam road.

—The society formed at Sfax will establish at the most important
points in the rich countries of Haussa, Bornou, Darfour, &c.,
commercial stations, which will be at the same time scientific
stations, and between which will pass regular caravans, well armed,
to which will be joined special men, furnished with all necessary
instruments for making topographical and meteorological surveys.

—Four Roman Catholic missionaries have gone to the Baptist mission
at San Salvador. They were brought by a Portuguese vessel to the
point where the Congo ceases to be navigable, and escorted from
thence to San Salvador by a lieutenant and a detachment of the
navy. They carried with them some holy water, fire-arms, silver
vases and a golden crown, and offered them to the King of San
Salvador from the King of Portugal. The king received them and
returned thanks, saying that it was the most beautiful present
he had ever received. He has promised his protection to the

—Mr. James Stevenson, Esq., has offered £4,000 to the London
Missionary Society and the Livingstonia Mission, provided they
will, without delay, establish stations and maintain them on the
line of road between Lake Tanganyika and Quilimane on the coast. It
is expected that merchandise will be transported over this route
by steamer up the Zambezi and Shiré to the falls of the latter
river. There will also be steamboat facilities on the upper Shiré
and the Nyassa lake, leaving only about three hundred miles for the
transportation of goods by porters or domestic animals in order to
reach the Tanganyika.



The Freedmen, properly educated, will make capital missionaries for
Africa. After a careful study of the race for thirty years—fifteen
on their own ancestral shores, and now fifteen in this land of
ours—such is my conclusion concerning them. They have, naturally,
some of the best traits to fit them for mission work. They are
hopeful, for one thing, as every missionary should be. During all
the long years of their bondage, and then during all the war, how
did they hope on and hope ever that deliverance would come, till
come it did! They are naturally a social people. Getting a new
idea, a new truth, they talk it over, pass it on, keep it going.
The missionary must be social, if he will do the most good. They
are a sharp-minded, quick-witted people. For ability to read
character, make a quick turn, a good use of passing events, or take
a good illustration from nature, the Africans have no superiors.
They are of a tropical constitution, most happy, healthy, and
most at home in just such a climate as that of Africa. It is
their native clime—a fact whose value can neither be denied nor

Now keeping all these natural qualifications in mind, let us
briefly notice some pertinent points in that most unique, varied
experience and divinely appointed discipline through which God, in
His providence, has been causing the Freedmen to pass for all these
years, as giving them a yet more special preparation for the great
mission work He has in store for them.

First, experience in suffering. I know not how it may be with
others, but for myself I have come, long since, to think that
there is no discipline in this world like that of suffering,
rightly used, to fashion us after the image of the Divine. In
this way the Saviour himself is said to have been made perfect
and fitted for His great redemptive work, (Heb. v., 8, 9). And
when, in olden time, God would make choice of a people to be
conservators and propagators of His truth in the world for ages,
how did He prepare them for their mission? Not by sending them to
college, but by sending them down into Egypt; and there, for long
generations, did He keep them in bondage, and then for other long
years in wanderings in the wilderness, till He had fitted them for
His work, and ground into them a character which all the fiction
of the ages has not yet ground out of them. So with the people
of whom we speak—what an experience have they had in suffering!
Surely, God must have in store for them some great and wondrous
mission, for which He has intended this experience to be both
presage and preparation. Then notice the discipline they have had
as soldiers in the camp, on the march, on guard, in the battle,
shoulder to shoulder with our men, sons, brothers, fathers, bravely
fighting for the Union, that they might know what war is, and
what it sometimes costs to secure liberty and save a nation from
anarchy and ruin. See, too, what experience and discipline they
are getting in civil and political life, in the use of the ballot,
in the forming and reconstructing of states, in the framing of
constitutions, in making and executing laws, in all the varied and
complicated duties of citizens, magistrates, judges and rulers,
that they may know how laws, states and nations are made and
sustained, and so be prepared to go and plant these institutions
and principles in the land of their fathers. And then, last and
best of all, what an experience are they getting in the work of
organizing and running Christian schools and pure churches among
their own people, under the lead of our teachers and preachers in
the South, that they may be prepared to do this same blessed work
in that dark land which is so imploringly calling to them, as her
own sons and daughters, to come with the school and the church to
her help.

I love to look at the work of the American Missionary Association
in this Divine light. I love to come up in this way upon these
highlands of God’s movements in Africa, and among her sons on our
shores in this our day, and to get, as I think I can, in this way,
some good look at the sweep and the purpose of His providence
in the otherwise strange revolutions through which Africa, the
Africans, and we ourselves are so swiftly passing.

And now, what is wanting to bring this divinely planned enterprise

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Online LibraryVariousThe American Missionary — Volume 35, No. 8, August, 1881 → online text (page 1 of 6)