ftr-Ov ' ss-dit^Sfto^W -""
SSL *S%4CT i %-52iHp
^avvc. 3?^^P' >-
The South African Mission Field as it is to-day (I. .M.S. stations
" UPAT ^"'
. *>' C..C-
LMS Missions underlined
See Chapter IV.
for collecting the sum of
for the New Year
Offering for Ships
THE SOCIETY'S FLEET.
The Society's Fleet consists of the following vessels
(1) JOHN WILLIAMS (Steamship). Headquarters, Sydney.
Serves the South Sea Islands and Papua.
(2) TUASIVI (Motor Launch, Samoan Islands).
(3) HANAMOA (Lugger, Fife Bay).
(4) AINAUIA (Fife Bay)
(6) MALARA (Port Moresby) M ^ T ,,^ h^
(7 TAMATK (Akd Delta) Mot H r t ^ T ^
8 MAMARI Kwato) I and t , th % boats
(9) ADA (Daru) | g * he Pa P ua "
(10) PIETI (Hula) coast -
ii) DABA (Mailu) }
iaj MARDIE (On the delta of the Ganges).
BLAZING THE TRAIL
Frontispiece.] [See page 93.
At the edge of the crater of Kilauea.
BLAZING THE TRAIL
Some L.M.S. Pioneers of 1816
A. H. CULLEN
Ot Heaton Mersey, Manchester
With tbitty-four Illustrations (four coloured)
and four Maps
LONDON MISSIONARY SOCIETY
16 NEW BRIDGE STREET
VERY many of those who read this
book will be young shareholders in
the John Williams that small ship
about which He says to His disciples that it
should wait upon Him. There is always
and everywhere a welcome at her coming and
a God-speed at her going ; for she links up
many groups of islands in a comradeship of
service and goodwill. White missionaries,
many, and coloured missionaries, very many
more, have watched the stars from her deck,
and have counted days to the port for which
they were bound as messengers of Jesus:
and isolated English men and .women have
looked eagerly for her coming with news of
the land they left, and with supplies for
school or home.
Years and years ago a small boy went
with his mother, and his " ship-card," to
call upon a good old lady. They came away
with half-a-crown. It was the first thing he
had ever done for the London Missionary
It is that small boy who has written these
stories of some of the great men who left
England in 1816. He wants you to know
that a whole book might have been written
about any of them, and that there were
others who were just as splendid as these
men were. Also, he wants to congratulate
you, and, if he may, to thank you all as
comrades of his for helping to keep full
steam ahead on the good ship John Williams.
I FROM CABIN-BOY TO MISSIONARY 9
II ON THE ROAD ..... 22
III MIDNIGHT AND DAYBREAK ... 34
IV THE CHRISTIAN KNIGHT COURTEOUS . 45
V "WAFT, WAFT, YE WINDS, His STORY" . 56
VI MASTERING DIFFICULTIES ... 69
VII How PLANS CHANGE THEMSELVES . . 87
VIII IN MADAGASCAR 101
IX TlNTWISTLE TO TAHITI . . . . 115
X AN UNCONQUERABLE SOUL , 133
XI THE ADVENTUROUS APOSTLE OF THB
PACIFIC ...... 159
XII THE GREAT CHIEF VIRIAMU . . . 175
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
At the edge of the crater of Kilauea (coloured) Frentis.
Robert Moflfat 14
The cottage at High Leigh 15
" The fanner flung him down " . . .20
" He is here," said Moffat . . . . .21
The Moffats rescuing a child . . . .28
Travelling by wagon ...... 29
The wagon driver looking at two lions ... 36
Kuruman Mission station ..... 37
Bible Class at Kuruman ..... 44
Townley House, Ramsgate .... Page 55
In the streets, Calcutta ..... 62
" Four columns of water careering about " . .82
Malagasy making mats. . . . . .102
The persecution of Christians .... 103
Ambatonakanga Church . . . . .104
The old Gate, Tananarive ..... 105
Travelling in a palanquin ..... 106
Christian fugitives ...... 107
Rev. William Roby 118
The harbour at Eimeo . . . . . .127
Tintwistle Chapel ..... Page 132
" It all depends on those two " (coloured) . . 142
The dangerous launching of Platt and Mai (coloured) 148
" The glass answered him back " . . . .154
John Williams . . . . . . 159
" John said he was quite ready to sign " (coloured) 164
The home at Raiatea . .... 174
On the island of Rarotonga
Landing place, Mangaia
A Samoan chief .
Martyrdom of John Williams .... 189
Maps of South Africa, India, Madagascar and Poly-
nesia ...... End papzrs
From Cabin-boy to
5 HE was a small trading vessel of a little
more than a hundred years ago.
Year in, year out, she was up and
down the east coast of Scotland from Wick
in the north to Leith in the south, carrying
goods that, for the most part, would go by
train in these days.
She had to keep a sharp look out all the
time, because England and France were at
war, and a French privateer might be sighted
io ROBERT MOFFAT
at any time. Then it meant a run for the
nearest harbour, and sometimes it was all
rather exciting. But the captain knew how
to manage his ship, and he and his crew were
proud of the way she behaved herself.
The most important person on that ship,
as we look at things to-day, was the cabin-
boy a lad of ten years, with a mass of black
hair, and with dark piercing eyes. His
name was Robert, and, in the first instance,
he had run away to sea.
His father was a customs officer who had
to examine the cargoes that ships brought
into Portsoy, in Banffshire. Robert had lived
amongst the shipping, and, after hearing
sailors' yarns, had often wanted to go to sea.
What must it be like to be on one of those
ships that he saw go out of harbour with
their sails all set ! He does not tell us how
he managed it, but one day he was missing
from home, and was out at sea.
Robert was a great favourite with the cap-
tain, and next time they were in Portsoy
the father was persuaded to let him go on
being a cabin boy. After that he took
CABIN-BOY TO MISSIONARY n
many voyages up and down the coast. But
it all came to an end before he was twelve.
By that time he was tired of the sea. His
parents had removed to Carronshore, up the
Firth of Forth, and Robert was sent to school.
Once more you can see him on board ship.
He is again, for the time being, a sailor,
and he is eighteen years old.
If you wanted to get from Inverkeithing,
on the Firth of Forth, to High Leigh, in
Cheshire, you would go by train, and do it
all in the day. But a hundred years ago
there were no trains, so Robert had to take
ship up the east coast of Scotland and round
the first great corner, and down the Caledonian
Canal to Greenock on the Clyde. It took
them twelve days to get as far as that. Next
morning they sailed again for Liverpool ; but
they ran into some very rough weather, and
had to take refuge in Rothesay Bay, where
other ships and a man-of-war were shelter-
It so happened that there were two blue-
jackets on the man-of-war who thought that
12 ROBERT MOFFAT
a dark night and a rough sea gave them just
the opportunity to desert that they had been
looking for. They got into the water without
any one seeing them, and tried to swim ashore.
One of them soon discovered that the sea was
too rough, and cried out to be rescued. A boat
was lowered at once, and though the drowning
man was not found, the other one was caught
and brought back. So the man-of-war was
one man short.
That would have been the end of it in these
days ; but in those days any sailor from any
ship could be compelled to join the King's
service if he was wanted. And next morning
a boat "was alongside Robert's ship, and an
officer came on deck saying, " I want one of
your men." He looked round and said
which man he would take, and the man had
" I happened to be in bed, and keepit
there as long as they were on deck," said
Robert afterwards. But the end of it was
that the captain asked him to take the place
of the man who had gone until they reached
Liverpool. That was why, starting as a
CABIN-BOY TO MISSIONARY 13
passenger, he became a sailor before the
voyage was over.
It took them another eight days to get to
Liverpool, and then Robert had a walk of
twenty-six miles before he got to the end of
his journey at High Leigh.
A tall young fellow is striding along the
six miles between High Leigh and Warring ton.
He has done a good day's work. He always
did do a good day's work from the time he first
became a gardener-apprentice some six years
before this. Then he was up at four each
morning. But he is strong and lithe, and a
walk of twelve miles on a summer evening,
after the day's work, does not trouble him.
He is an under-gardener, with men under
him, on a large estate, and he has been there
It is a glorious evening, with a perfect
blue sky, and just a streamer of cloud slowly
passing over the sun's face as it sinks down
into the west. Trees and fields and hedges
are all fresh and green, and he is a man who
can enjoy these things. Because he is a
i 4 ROBERT MOFFAT
Christian he is remembering that this is
God's world ; and he walks with God in the
cool of the day.
He has " done very well," as they say,
since he came to High Leigh. What else
would you expect from a lad who was always
ready to learn anything he could, from Latin
grammar to the New Testament, and from
blacksmithing to playing the fiddle ? He
has done very well, and he has an offer of
promotion, and he is going to use whatever
promotion comes as a Christian should
so he is telling himself as he walks and thinks.
One of the first things he notices as he
comes into Warrington is a poster on the
wall announcing a missionary meeting. It
seems to fascinate him, and he reads it all
through once and again. It is an old bill,
and the date of the meeting is passed, but
the word " missionary " sets him thinking of
the almost forgotten stories of Greenland
and Labrador that his mother used to tell
him as a small boy.
He goes and buys what he came to Warring-
ton for ; but coming back, he stands and reads
Robert Moffat, of Kuruman.
From a Baxter print.
CABIN-BOY TO MISSIONARY 15
the bill again, and then goes home with a
new set of ideas in his mind, and a new am-
bition in his heart though how the ambition
can possibly be realized is quite beyond
But, some twelve months later, Robert
Moffat, just under twenty-one, was climbing
on to the stage-coach that left Manchester
for London at four o'clock in the afternoon
of September 13, 1816. For the next fifty-
four years he would be a pioneer of the
Kingdom of God in Africa.
A little more than a hundred years ago a
certain native chief was the terror of South
Africa. People spoke of him with fear and
hatred. In lonely farmsteads the women-
folk would tremble if they were left alone,
or thought of him in the night. The Govern-
ment had put a price upon his head. There
was a hundred pounds for any one who would
bring him in alive or dead.
It came about in this way. Years before,
Africaner and his small tribe pastured
16 ROBERT MOFFAT
their flocks on the hills and valleys within a
hundred miles of Cape Town. But white
men pressed into the country, pushed their
way farther and farther north, and gradually
turned all the ground that Africaner and his
people had wandered over, into farm lands.
Those were evil days for Africaner's people,
and, as time went on, their numbers dwindled,
and they became very poor.
There seemed nothing to be done but
become the white man's servants. This,
for a while, they did. But though they were
useful servants shepherds, herdsmen, and
the like they were badly used so badly used
that they had to live on the poorest food,
and their very lives were not safe.
At last things became so bad that they
could be borne no longer. The people pro-
tested, and struck work. One farmer sum-
moned them all up to his house. But when
the chief came up the steps of the house the
farmer flung him down again headlong
amongst the people. That was more than
could be borne, and one of the chief's brothers
shot the farmer dead.
CABIN-BOY TO MISSIONARY 17
That was the spark that put things in a
blaze. The house was ransacked, all the
fire-arms were seized, and the tribe hurriedly
moved north. They reached the other side
of the Orange River, in Great Namaqua-
land, before the scattered farmers could get
together and pursue them.
So Africaner and his tribe became raiders,
cattle-stealers, the terror of the Dutch farmers
to the south of them and of the native tribes
around them : for many of them were dead
shots with a rifle.
This went on until the missionaries got
hold of Africaner and persuaded him to be a
The rumour of it passed down country,
but nearly every one thought it a quite im-
possible story. And when it was known
that Robert Moffat was to go to Africaner's
tribe many people thought it very rash and
foolish. One old lady said to him that it
would not have mattered so much if he had
been an old man, but it was a grievous pity
that a young man such as he was should
become the prey of a monster like Africaner.
18 ROBERT MOFFAT
But Moffat had no fear. And though,
when he arrived, he found trouble in the
tribe, so that the missionary who was there
had to leave at once, he himself won the
hearts of the chief, and the chief's brothers,
and the whole tribe : and he stayed with them,
as friend as well as missionary, for just over
As for Africaner, from being a pitiless
warrior he became a thoughtful, kindly
Christian, always trying to make peace where
there was trouble, and once nursing his
missionary through a sharp attack of fever ;
while Moffat himself during all that time
never saw an Englishman, or beard a word of
the English language.
Then Moffat went to the Cape to get
married, and he proposed to Africaner that
he should go too, and make friends with the
Government. Africaner hesitated, and you
cannot be surprised, for he was still an outlaw,
even though the Governor had said more
than once that he would like to see him.
But in the end he agreed, and a start was
CABIN-BOY TO MISSIONARY 19
They travelled by bullock wagon a huge,
heavy vehicle with about six couples of
oxen to draw it going about two and a half
miles an hour for about seven hours in the
day : and, besides Moffat and Africaner,
there were several men to look after the
Houses were many miles apart ; but
they called at each one as they came to it,
and they had some strange experiences.
Sometimes they wondered if they would be
able to get Africaner through all the Dutch
farmers, if once it became known that he
was there, because the farmers could not
forget what he had been, and some of them
refused to believe that he was any different
They came to one farm where a good
man lived who had been kind to Moffat
when he went up country more than a year
before. Moffat went up to the house by
himself and nearly scared the farmer out
of his wits. He had heard that Moffat was
dead, that Africaner had killed him, that
some one had actually seen his bones ; so
this must be his ghost. When he realized
that this was actually Robert Moffat in
the flesh they got talking of Africaner, and
the good man could scarcely be made to
believe that now the raider chief was a Chris-
tian. " If that is so, it is a miracle/' he said,
" and, though he killed my own uncle, I must
see him before I die. I will go up country
with you when you return/'
The two had been walking towards the
wagon, and just then they reached the
place where Africaner himself was sitting.
" You can see him now/' said Moffat, " for
he is here." The good farmer was amazed ;
but he bore no grudge. Instead he gave
God thanks on the spot; and he gave his
visitors many things to help them on their
But, knowing very well that every one
would not be as kind as this farmer, they
hurried forward lest it should become known
in the district that Africaner was there.
The ex-raider made a great impression at
the Cape because of his " strikingly gentle "
disposition : think of it I He had an inter-
The farmer flung him down again headlong.
[See page 16.
44 He is here," said Moffat.
[See page 20.
CABIN-BOY TO MISSIONARY 21
view with the Governor, and saw many other
people. And when he went back to his
tribe, the hundred pounds, which had been
offered as a reward for his head years before,
was spent by the Government in useful
presents for him.
On the Road
THREE large African wagons are out-
spanned on the further side of the
Orange River. Thirty or forty oxen
are wandering lazily in the scrub searching
for something to eat. A tent is pitched : a
wood fire is blazing : a dozen or so dark-
skinned men are moving about.
Here are John Campbell, who is visiting
the missionaries in South Africa, and Robert
and Mary Moffat. They are on their way to
Lattakoo, afterwards called Kuruman.
They are 600 miles from Cape Town, and
the journey so far has taken them seven
weeks. They have come through lonely
barren country, under a scorching sun, when
it was often 96 in the shade ; and they are
all tanned as brown as gypsies. They have
ON THE ROAD 23
seen no grass worth speaking of for a fort-
night at a time, though there is more here
in the neighbourhood of the river. And for
ten whole days they only saw one house.
At one farm where they called they were
told that sixty lions had been killed in that
neighbourhood in the last six years ; but so
far they have seen none.
It has been weary travelling, but they
are quite well and in .good spirits. Robert
and Mary, who are both twenty-five, are
delighted to be with one another, and to be
beginning what they hope will be many years
of work together for Christ and Africa.
Because it has been so dry the rivers are
all low, and they have been able to get
across them quite easily. They wondered
what would happen when they came to the
Orange River, for in wet seasons it can
fill its wide, high banks with water thirty
feet deep, but they have found only a small
stream in the middle of the broad stony
bottom, and they got all their wagons over
in half an hour. They were the more pleased
about this when they heard later that Mr.
24 ROBERT MOFFAT
Hamilton's wagon had waited there ten
weeks the year before. Nine weeks it stood
on the bank, sometimes in drenching rain,
and one week was taken in actually getting
across ! l
Three days more, forty miles, and they
will be at Griqua Town, just a small collection
of shanties, where they will have to wait for a
few weeks. After that they will be travelling
four long days, because water is scarce on
that stretch, and one short day, a hundred
miles altogether, and they will be at Lattakoo,
where James Read 2 and Robert Hamilton
1 In 1836 Mary Moffat, on her way to Port Elizabeth
to see her children at school, had to wait a month to
get across. By that time eighteen wagons had come
up. The river was in flood, and ultimately each wagon
was emptied and taken to pieces as far as possible and
ferried across on a huge raft where the river was eighty
1 Jas. Read sailed in the Duff, on her second voyage,
in 1798, as missionary to the South Seas. The ship
was captured by the French, and the missionaries,
after great difficulties, found their way back to England.
Read then, in 1800, went to Africa. His son and grand-
daughter were missionaries in Africa ; his great grand-
daughter and great grandson are missionaries in Africa
ON THE ROAD 25
have begun the mission. James Read is to
come away and Robert Moffat is to take
his place. But Robert Hamilton and Robert
Moffat are to begin thirty years of friendship
and service together.
"THEY LOOKED ON THE SUN, WITH THE
EYES OF AN Ox ! "
" You FOUND us BEASTS, NOT MEN "
No idols, no temples, no idea of a God who
made anything, no thought of any life
beyond this, no religious customs, unless you
count witchcraft, no notions of right and
wrong, except that you could be more or less
clever in lying and stealing how was a
missionary to begin with people of this kind ?
They were indescribably filthy, clothing
themselves in goat skins that were worn
until they were rotten ; their bodies, never
washed, were often rubbed with rancid
They could be indescribably cruel, having
no respect for human life, leaving people
who were old, or sick, or maimed, and there-
fore useless and burdensome, to the wild
26 ROBERT MOFFAT
beasts, and burying little children with the
mother who had died, because no one would
be troubled with them. 1
They had no written language, had never
seen a book, and were mentally tired as soon
as they began to think about anything
unfamiliar. And many of the things the
missionary told them seemed so absurd to
them that they laughed loud and long.
Except fighting and hunting and watching
the cattle, the men left work to the women.
It was they who built the huts, made the
fences, carried the firewood and looked after
the gardens, often with a baby strapped to
Robert Moffat soon took in the situation.
These people could not understand why
the missionary should have come at all,
and it would be some time before they did
Meanwhile the two things to be done were,
first, to learn the language thoroughly, and,
1 Robert Moffat rescued two such children and had
them in his house for years. He called them Ann
ON THE ROAD 27
second, to sit tight and wait, putting up with
everything, and just being as patient and
kind and useful as possible.
To be patient when your things spoons,
knives, tools, sheep, and anything else handy
were continually stolen was no easy thing.
Hamilton once ground some of his little
stock of corn between two stones with no
little labour. He then made and baked a
wholemeal loaf that was to last him a week.
It was successfully done and put on the
shelf while he went out preaching. He
came back expecting some good bread for
supper ; but the loaf was gone. Some one
had squeezed in through a very small window
and had taken it. He was a greater sufferer
in some ways than the Moffats, because his
house was often left empty, and he would
come in and find a stone in the pot instead
of the meat he had left there.
Moffat once laid down his jacket while
he was preaching. His knife was in the
pocket, but it was not there when he took
the jacket up again. He complained to the
chief ; but all the chief said was " Why
28 ROBERT MOFFAT
don't you go back to your own land ? If
your land was a good one, or if you were not
afraid of returning, you would not be content
to live as you do, while people devour you."
NOTICE TO QUIT !
Rain had been scarce for years. Pastures
were burned up. Gardens would grow no-
thing. Cattle were dying of hunger and
thirst. And there seemed no sign of anything
better. What was to be done ?
A council was held in the chief's courtyard,
and it was decided to send for a celebrated
rain-maker. It was doubtful if he would
come ; but by promising great things they
secured him. Great was the rejoicing. Now
everything would be right. And, sure enough,
as he was welcomed into the village with
loud shoutings there were the first big drops
of a thunder shower.
But that shower came to nothing. It was
the same with other showers. Indeed, the
clouds persistently passed over without break-
ing. At first it did not matter. The people
had the fullest faith in their visitor, and were
Robert and Mary Moffat rescuing a child from living burial.
[See page 26.
ON THE ROAD 29
prepared to wait any reasonable time ; the
while, he fed them well with promises, and
they fed him well on meat. He said there
were hindrances in the way ; they must catch
a baboon that should not so much as have
a scratch. They actually brought him a
baboon, an almost impossible thing to catch
alive ; but he declared it was not perfect.
They must get him the heart of a lion. They
were actually able to do this by a happy
accident ; but still there was no rain. Weeks
went. The rain-maker was getting anxious.
He was outwardly friendly with the Moffats.
They had been careful not to quarrel with
him. Now he came to try and pick up a