Frederick Perry Noble.

The redemption of Africa; a story of civilization, with maps, statistical tables and select bibliography of the literature of African missions (Volume v.2) online

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Story of a Diamoiid for information, unavoidably omitted here, as to her
momentous work. "Miss Whately's mission", it is claimed, "stands first. It
has reached the heart of Islam. The Scriptures are now read in Mecca and
Medina; the authorities can not prevent it; and this is well known throughout
the East". Miss Whately at least once received proof that a Bible given by her
reached Jiddah the Meccan port.


to the emancipation of the Negro woman, and laid stress
on special training for native workers. Her principles
and procedure as well as those of other women find ex-
pression in the following words of their commission as
missionaries : You?- work shall have special reference to the
Christianization and elevation of the homes of the [colored]
people. Though the Christian schools of the Baptist and
Congregationalist, the Episcopalian and the Methodist,
the Presbyterian and the Roman are accomplishing
much, they are comparatively few and can not reach the
submerged nineteenths. Among these neglected masses
are one million children and youth outside of school.
These can be touched only through the home; and Bap-
tist women have struck out some original paths toward
the seizure of this citadel.

The first of their methods consists of house-to-house
visitation. In this the missionaries teach everything
that the need demands, everything that opportunity ren-
ders practicable. These Christian ladies teach their
black sisters godliness and then cleanliness and home*
making. A feature of this is the fireside school.
Fathers and mothers are encouraged and helped in edu-
cational fellowship with their children, and expected to
pursue a regular course of reading, which includes the
Bible. A third agency is the industrial school ; not the
large, rare, well^equipped school, but the inexpensive,
small school that may be organized wherever there is a
properly qualified woman to take charge. Each week the
children are gathered in church or home or school for
several hours, and taught not so much the simpler indus-
tries as the nobility of labor. The kindergarten, the
kitchen^garden, manual labor and sewing are employed,
and instruction in ethics and social culture is given.
Out of these schools have already come excellent arti-


zans, house^servants, ministers, missionaries and teach-
ers. A system of industrial and model homes has also
been inaugurated. Not only has this made a successful
beginning but the spiritual side is encouraging. The
importance of Scriptural study receives recognition in
the formation of scores of Bible^bands. From these are
recruited the majority of workers in industrial, mission,
Sunday and temperance schools and most of the elect
for local training^classes. A sixth agency for helping
the southern Negress is the mothers' meeting. This
explains itself. Seventh comes the training=class for
Christian workers. This consists of women able to
spend time outside of the home in personal mission^work
for the vicinage. The teachings of the Bible and the
means of applying them are taught, and they are then
sent to give what they have received. Such normal
training for Negro women is growing into great propor-
tions. In addition to The Moore Training-school and to
an increasing number of classes the Baptist women sus-
tain departments at Spelman Seminary and Shaw Uni-
versity for training Negro women as missionaries in
Africa no less than in America.

A single instance of the application of several of the
above principles will illustrate their practical effect.

In Indian Territory a Christian woman visited the
Negro settlement of Sodom. Ignorance, immorality
and pauperism held carnival. The missionary began
quietly. Week after week she entered loathsome cabins
in order to make friends with their inmates. After an
interval she could question them. "Do your children
go to school?" "No, honey". "Why not?" "Isn't no
school". "Why not?" "We's too poor". "Do you
use snuff?" "Yes, honey". "Do you use tobacco?"
"Yes". "Do you drink beer?" "Yes, honey". "What


does your snuff cost, your tobacco, your beer? Don't
you see that you pay more for these than to pay your
share of a teacher's salary and educate your children?
Which do you love best: tobacco, snuff and beer or your
little ones? Can you give up these harmful things for
your children?" Some could and did. The town set an
old cabin apart for a school and secured a colored
teacher from a Christian boarding=school. In less than
a year the men hauled lumber and erected a new school.
This also served as meeting-house. The women cleaned
the cabins, and some of the Negresses actually put in
small windows. Finally all became ashamed of the name
of the town, and Sodom became Pleasant Grove, with
church and school, progressive homes and people.

Testimony as to the beneficent results of such endeav-
ors is emphatic if not unanimous. In one southern city
a white man said to the leader of an industrial school:
"I can always tell the children who go to you; they have
cleaner and brighter faces, their clothing is neater, their
tones gentler, their conversation purer and their conduct
better than that of children not under such influence".
Of the effect of the Bible^bands on Memphis a Negro
editor and pastor wrote: "The quietude that prevails is
remarkable. Many minds that had gone wild over Baal=
worship have settled, and the people are living and
thinking better". A worker "sees steady progress all
along the line. In the country there is a wonderful up-
rising of women". Another notices a much deeper
interest among the older people in children and youth.
A Tennessee Negress, educated, refined and successful,
speaks of white southern women recognizing their black
sisters more and more. She "believes the key-note
struck that will eventually harmonize the terrible disturb-
ance in our land. ... As she goes among her


people she teaches Roma,7is xii with application to the
race=question, emphasizing verse 14: Bless them which
persecute you; bless, and curse not". In many districts
of the south Baptist women note a slowly widening but
hopeful break in the Chinese wall of racial prejudice. In
some localities white southern ladies of good standing in
church and society are not only participating in Negro
education and evangelization but asking assistance of
the missionaries whom formerly they ostracized.

In 1 7 13 Ann Bradstreet, widow of the late governor
of Massachusetts, freed Hannah her Negro slave. This
act of an American Congregationalist forms one of the
earliest emancipations of black men and women, and was
a prophecy of the participation of Congregational women
in the evangelization of African peoples. Madams Ellis,
Kennedy, Livingstone, Moffat, Moult, Mullens, Smith
and Wardlaw from the United Kingdom; Madams Abra-
ham, Lindley, Lloyd, Mellen, Robbins, Rood, Tyler and
Wilder from the United States; and many unnamed and
unmarried women have redeemed this pledge of Congre-

Livingstone in 1843 entered his mission^station of
Mabotsa or Marriage^Feast. The name inspired a
prayer that "many might thence be admitted to the mar-
riage-feast of the Lamb". It also became the omen of
an earthly marriage. Till 1844 Livingstone had thought
it better to remain independent. Then he met Mary, the
daughter of the Moffats, and she revolutionized his
ideas. My life-work, he argued, — so little can men
dream of God's plan and their place in His purpose — will
duplicate Moffat's. Mabotsa will be substantially an-
other Kuruman. For influencing its women and children
a Christian lady is indispensable. Who so likely to do
this well as the child of missionaries, herself born in


Africa, educated in England, familiar with mission^life
and gifted with the helpful, ready hand and winning
manner essential to woman?

So thought, so done. The lady to whom Livingstone
wrote: "Let your affection be toward Him [God] much
more than towards me. . . . Whatever friendship
we feel toward each other, let us always look to Jesus as
our common friend and guide", was one in heart and
mind and soul with her lover. Soon the maid and the
man solemnized marriage and made a Christian home in
the mission-hamlet of the marriage=feast.

Livingstone had erected a house of which he was both
architect and builder, and declared it "pretty hard work,
almost enough to drive love out of his head; but it was
not situated there. It was in his heart, and wouldn't
come out unless she so behaved as to quench it!
She must get a maid to come with her; she couldn't go
without one, and a Khatla [native] couldn't be had for
love or money". The last statement gives an idea of
the difficulties of house-keeping and of the hardships the
two had to endure. For a long while they used a
wretched infusion of Kafir corn for coffee, but the ex-
haustion of this obliged them to go to Kuruman for sup-
plies. When they arrived, to hear the old women (who
had seen the wife depart two years before) exclaiming:
"Bless me, how lean she is! Has he starved her? Is
there no food in the country to which she has been?"
was more than Livingstone could bear. What home
meant to the lonely, toiling missionary may be inferred
from a letter to his mother after a brief experience of
married life. "I often think of you' ; , he wrote; "per-
haps more frequently since I married. Only yesterday
I said to my wife when I thought of the nice, clean bed
I enjoy now: You put me in mind of my mother; she


was always particular about beds and linen. I had had
rough times before".

At Koloben, the third and ultimate station of the
Livingstones and the sole permanent home that they
ever had, the better half employed all the morning in
culinary or other work. The family rose as early as
possible, generally with the sun in summer, and had wor-
ship, breakfast and school. Then came incessant man-
ual labor. At the same time it was endeavored to carry
systematic instruction so far as practicable; but the
pressure on the energies was so severe that little time
was left for more missionary work. This was a sorrow;
and likewise the fact that Livingstone "generally was so
exhausted that in the evening there was no fun left.
He did not play with his little ones while he had them;
and they soon sprang up in his absences and left him
conscious that he had none to play with". Well tired by
dinner-time, the mother sometimes took two hours' rest
but more frequently went without respite to teach the
native children. School was popular with the young-
sters, and their attendance averaged sixty but might rise
to eighty. She managed all household affairs through
servants of her own training; made bread, butter and
clothing; educated her children most carefully; and
kept an infant and sewing=school that had the largest
attendance of any which the husband and wife opened.
"It was a fine sight", Livingstone wrote after the death
of his help^meet, "to see her day by day walking a
quarter of a mile to town, no matter how broiling the
sun, to impart instruction to the heathen Ba^Kwain.
Ma-Robert's name is known through all that country and
eighteen hundred miles beyond. ... A brave, good
woman was she". Nor did these labors exhaust the sum
of her tasks. Every visitor enjoyed boundless hospital-


ity and kindness in the humble mission=home. The wife
accompanied the husband on his missionary travels,
being with him and their squad of infantry at the discov-
ery of Lake Ngami. On such journeys she was the
queen of the wagon and the life of the party, sustaining
all hearts and directing all arrangements. Her presence
and that of the children were of no little advantage to
the missionary; they inspired the natives with confi-
dence and promoted kind relations and tender feeling.
Mrs Livingstone must also have had rare self-control;
for in 185 1, while on the way to Sibituani, the party was
without water for four days. The idea of the children
perishing before the very eyes of the parents was terri-
ble; and it would have been almost a relief to the father
had the mother reproached him; but not a single syllable
of upbraiding was uttered, though her tearful eye told of

The year 1852 brought a long and painful parting.
Providence sent Livingstone to the Zambezi on behalf of
missions and Mrs Livingstone with the four children to
England. To the directors of his society the father
wrote in reference to the vile speech and ways of the
pagan: "Missionaries expose their children to a con-
tamination they had no hand in producing.
None of those who complain about sending children
home ever descends to this. . . . Again,
no greater misfortune can befall a youth than to be cast
into the world without a home. In regard to even the
vestige of a home my children are vagabonds". To his
wife he confessed among utterances too sacred for repe-
tition that she had been a great blessing and that the
longer he lived with her the better he loved her. Much
of the honor for the lowly, self-sacrificing missionary's
marvelous march to mid=continent, to the Atlantic and


thence to the Indian Ocean ought to be awarded to Mrs
Livingstone. The wife, poor soul! — Livingstone
pitied her — proposed in 1850 to let her husband go
while she remained at Koloben; and he wrote that the
directors of the society "were accustomed to look on a
project as half^finished when they had received the co-
operation of the ladies". For the wife the years of
separation were years of deep anxiety, often of terrible
anguish. Letters were repeatedly lost, none so fre-
quently going astray as his to her. She was a stranger;
homeless, invalided, poor, with the burden of wee bairns
on hand and heart, yet through great stretches of time
without tidings from the wanderer. The strain was so
strenuous that sometimes her harassing apprehensions
proved too strong for faith. Those who knew her in
Africa could hardly have recognized her in England.
She never knew an easy day nor passed a dreamless
night. When her husband was longest unheard of, her
soul sank utterly; but before announcements of his
safety arrived, prayer restored tranquillity. She actu-
ally put the matter of his lengthy detention playfully,
pretending a "source of attraction".

, Livingstone reached home in 1856, but a final peril
on the Mediterranean obliged him to write beforehand
in explanation, saying: "I'm only sorry for your sake,
but patience is a great virtue. Captain Tregear has
been away from his family six years, I but four and a
half"! Mrs Livingstone in the fond hope that she need
never again part from her husband wrote verses of wel-
come in which were lines athrob with feeling. The fol-
lowing one proved prophetic: "I may tend you while
I'm living, you will watch me when I die". Mrs Moffat
in congratulating her daughter on Livingstone's return
did not forget the shadow that falls over the missionary's


wife when she must forsake her children and renew her
foreign work. Mrs Livingstone, the mother wrote, had
had a hard life in inner Africa and endured many trials;
but if she spent her remaining years in the wilds that
Livingstone had penetrated, she would suffer manifold
privations. Nothing daunted the wife. She justified
the faith of the husband in writing from the Zambezi in
1855 that whoever stayed behind she as well as he would
go there as a missionary. At present, however, she en-
joyed a richly deserved public recognition. The Royal
Geographical Society received Dr Livingstone, and sci-
entists and travelers hasted to express heart=felt grati-
tude to the wife, who was present. The London Society
gave a reception for its missionaries, and Shaftesbury the
philanthropist thus acknowledged Mrs Livingstone's
worth: "She endured all with resignation, patience and
joy, because she surrendered her best feelings and sacri-
ficed private interests to the advancement of civilization
and the great interests of Christianity". When it became
known at a public dinner to Livingstone in 1858 that
Mrs Livingstone was to accompany him to Lake Nyasa
and the Zambezi, no announcement received more en-
thusiastic applause. It is, Livingstone declared to the
guests, hardly fair to ask a man to praise his wife; but
she "had always been the main spoke in his wheel and
in this expedition would be most useful. She was famil-
iar with the languages. She was able to work. She was
willing to endure. She knew that one must put one's
hand to everything. The wife must be the maid of all
work, the husband the jack of all trades. Glad was he
indeed that he was to be accompanied by his guardian

Alas! Man proposes, God disposes.

On the voyage Mrs Livingstone's health declined to-


ward fever. Obliged to stop at Cape Town and to go
with her parents to Kuruman, she was unable to advance
to the Zambezi before 1862. This was a great trial both
to husband and to wife, and could she have gone, she
would have rendered invaluable service. From Kuru-
man she returned to Scotland that she might be near the
children. Though many friends were kind, the time was
not a happy one. The lonely woman longed deeply to
be with her strong Captain Great^Heart. She felt that
in the shadow of his stalwart faith her fluttering heart
and shrinking spirit would regain steadiness of tone.
The letters to the husband reveal spiritual darkness; the
replies to the wife are replete with earnestness and ten-

In January, 1862, escorted by the Reverend James
Stewart, now of Lovedale, whom the Free Presbyterian
Church of Scotland had sent to ascertain the possibility
of founding a mission, even then, on Lake Nyasa, Mrs
Livingstone arrived off the Zambezi. When the Gorgon
encountered Livingstone's Pioneer it signalled: "Wife
aboard". Livingstone signalled back: "Accept my
best thanks", thus concluding what he called his most
interesting conversation for many a day. The wife was
still more thankful for this happy end to three and a half
years of separation. She had been sadly disappointed
when the Pioneer failed to appear, and speculated
anxiously as to the cause of absence. When Stewart
perceived Livingstone and said: "There he is at last",
Mrs Livingstone brightened at the news more than the
good doctor had seen her do any day for seven months
before. But a long detention on the deadly coast ensued

— at the deadliest season, too, when fever was at its height

— and sowed the seed of catastrophe. On April 21st
Mrs Livingstone became ill, and on the 27th her spirit


returned to God. The husband who had faced a hun-
dred deaths and braved a thousand dangers wept like a

From Griqua-town to Shupanga was but a brief life-
journey of forty years (1821=62). Yet through what wil-
dernesses! The careers of Mary Moffat and Mary Liv-
ingstone, pulchra filia, pulchrior mater, probably afford
as adequate illustrations of the trials of a woman^mis-
sionary as do the lives of any women. The mother had
one work to do, the daughter another; the former was
more active, the latter more passive through the compul-
sion of circumstance; but who shall say which suffered
or wrought the more? "They also serve who only stand
and wait"; and the soldierly mother strung by strife to
glorious endeavor deserves hardly more of praise and
reverence than the heroic daughter who endured cruel
inaction and suspense. Mrs Livingstone was more a
Martha than a Mary, her mother writing that "though
Mary could not be called eminently pious, she had the
root of the matter". In this she was the child of her
father, an idea confirmed by the fact that Livingstone
and Stewart were struck with the identity of her face
after death with the father's expression and features.
"A right straitforward woman was she, no crooked way
ever hers, and she could act with decision and energy".
She experienced clouds of religious gloom, followed by
great elevations of faith and reactions of confiding love,
and among her papers was found this prayer: "Accept
me, Lord, as I am and make me such as Thou wouldst
have me". To a friend she wrote: "Let others plead
for pensions, I can be rich without money; I would give
my services from uninterested motives; I have motives
for conduct I would not exchange for a hundred pen-
sions". It is fit that the mortal frame of her whom


England gave to Ethiopia should rest in Afric soil, for
as really a missionary as her father and as truly as her
husband a martyr was Mary Moffat Livingstone.

The first Zulu convert of the American Congregation-
alists was a woman. She was an African Hannah and
her son a Samuel, for he was afterwards ordained pastor
of the church she thus founded. The devoted wives of
the missionaries established kraal-schools for the lowest,
station-schools for the children of Christians and the
boarding-and-industrial school. The Zulu whether
Christian or pagan loved and trusted these women im-
plicitly. Several of them spent between thirty-five and
forty years in Zululand. Mrs Lloyd, daughter of Doc-
tor Willard Parker who defined medical missions as clin-
ical Christianity, after the husband's death carried his
work single-handed for several years. Thoroughly edu-
cated and wealthy, she gave herself gladly for the re-
demption of lost souls.

The Congregational women of America have two fe-
male seminaries in Natal, one at Inanda and the other at
Umzumbe. Nearly a hundred girls attend Inanda,
some having walked seventy miles to reach it. Fre-
quently maids have run away from the kraal in their
anxiety to enjoy teaching. As the Zulu father values
his daughters highly, on account of the dowry in cattle
that they bring when marriageable, a stern chase en-
sues. It would remind some Americans of their at-
tempts to enforce the fugitive-slave law — and other
Americans of their success in resisting it. The majority
of the scholars come from heathenism, without prepara-
tion. Sewing, home-making and gardening are the
industrial specialties. The Inanda gardens are solely
cultivated by the girls, who, if denied outdoor life, could
not be happy or healthy. At one plantingsseason an epi-


demic occurred. The pupils were sent home. It seemed
as if there could be no harvest. But so firm is the hold
of the school on the neighborhood that the natives came
fifty strong, with twelve plows and seventy oxen, and
broke and planted nearly seventeen acres. Later, the
women weeded the crops. A few years ago a shirt made
by the Umzumbe girls won the first prize at an interco-
lonial exposition in London. Graduates of this school
are exerting salutary influence on heathen homes. From
both seminaries come Christian motherhood, female
church*membership, many invaluable assistants in higher
grades of the mission=schools, Sunday-school workers,
teachers of elementary schools and wives for helpers and
pastors. Some students each year become Christian com-
municants. Revivals have been enjoyed, and graduates
who are not confessing Christians are rare. Not every
stone proves a gem, but the drift and tenor of the
schools are toward elevation and spirituality. They are
aiding in the formation of a new sentiment among the
Zulu as to woman. Without suggestion the native
church legislates in her behalf. One congregation or-
dained that "no polygamist should be allowed to become
a member" and that "any who sell daughter or sister,
treating them like horse or cow, can not be received into
the church".

To handle the freedmen's work of American Congre-
gational women would exceed limitations; but they an-
ticipated those of other churches, employ substantially
the same methods and surpass all in the gift of them-
selves and their means. Since 1846 over three thousand,
five hundred Congregational ladies have educated and
evangelized the southern Negro*. The Woman's Board

* The Anmial Report of the Bureau of Woman's Work (1897); A Plea for
Colored Girls ; A Plea for Woman 's Work; Fifty Years of Woman's Work; I
Didn't Have No Chance; A Negro Seaside School; Our Work in the Black


of Missions of the Disciples, a Congregational commun-
ion independent of the Congregational churches, revived
the men's Jamaican mission, which had fallen into decay.

Online LibraryFrederick Perry NobleThe redemption of Africa; a story of civilization, with maps, statistical tables and select bibliography of the literature of African missions (Volume v.2) → online text (page 10 of 31)