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.1) online

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pelled the premier to break up their establishment. This
utterance of nationality led to new complications with
France and to the resultant fall of the Hova state.
Whom, however, the gods would destroy, they first make
mad. Hence the Jesuit insanity, now so destructive to
Protestant and, especially, to Congregational interests
in Madagascar, will yet, perhaps quickly, recoil in ruin
upon its authors. In 1898 the French governor-general


professed himself convinced that British missionaries
have no political plans or relations, and promised to
change entirely his policy toward Protestant missions.
We shall see. Meanwhile four thousand children, taken
from evangelical schools by the Jesuits, and three thou-
sand members driven from evangelical churches have
returned. Hence the outlook is characterized as espe-
cially encouraging!

The London Society made the Dutch and Portuguese
unable to maintain that the Khoi^^Khoin are a race of
apes incapable of Christianization. You can no longer
find written over church-doors in Cape Colony: "Dogs
and Hottentots not admitted", as when Vanderkemp
fought for the rights of down-trodden natives. None
could to-day agree with the French governor who called
to the first missionary for Madagascar: "So you'll
make the Malagasi Christians? Impossible! They are
mere brutes and have no more sense than irrational
cattle". In Dr Philip, its representative at Cape Town,
who, though not always temperate or wholly wise, de-
fended the native against the colonist, English Congre-
gationalism gave Africa another Philip the Evangelist.
It was he who sent Huguenot missionaries among the
Sutu, and pointed the Berlin and Rhenish Societies to
the best openings. Livingstone who proudly traced his
spiritual ancestry to the Puritan accomplished more for
Christianity and civilization in Africa than any other man
in history. Thirteen centuries before, Scotland had re-
ceived Christian missions; now she paid her debt through
giving Livingstone to Africa. From first to last Living-
stone was a missionary; first as an evangelist, last as an
explorer, though more in behalf of missions than of sci-
ence ; but always a missionary. He not only enlisted
recruits for missions, but inspired them with enthusiasm.


Not even Charles Simeon, during a long residence at
Cambridge, won more missionaries for India than Liv-
ingstone in a visit to British universities interested for
Africa. Evangelistic, industrial and medical missions
each received impulse through Livingstone. He made
some mistakes. He was not wholly blameless in the
Zambezi expedition of 1860-65. But he was Africa's
providential man. Whether he made converts among
Africans is immaterial, for he converted Stanley. The
cry of Livingstone's life was: Who will open Africa?
The career of Stanley answered the prayer. Stanley
was in 1886 reported as saying: "What has been
wanted, what I have been endeavoring to ask for Afri-
cans, has been the good offices of Christians ever since
Livingstone taught me. In 187 1 I went to him as preju-
diced as the biggest atheist in London. But there came
a long time for reflection. I was away from a worldly
world. I saw this solitary old man, and asked myself:
How does he stop here? Is he cracked or what? What
inspires him? For months I simply found myself listen-
ing, wondering at the man carrying out all that is said in
the Bible: Leave all things and follow me. But little
by little his sympathy became contagious. My sympa-
thy was aroused. Seeing his piety, gentleness, zeal and
earnestness, and how he went quietly about his business,
I was converted, though he had not tried to do it". The
probabilities favoring the genuineness of this interview re-
ceive confirmation from the unquestionable authenticity
of Stanley's conversation with Charters in 1889. Char-
ters quotes Stanley as uttering this avowal: "If Living-
stone were alive, I would take all the honors, all the
praise men have showered upon me, put them at his
feet, and say: They are all yours' \


1634= 1898


Is it right to keep the gospel to ourselves ?










The Lutheran was probably the first Protestant mis-
sionary to Africa, for Heyling of Luebeck worked in
Abyssinia during 1634=36. Yet in 1664 Welz of Austria
had to ask the Lutheran church whether it did right in
taking no thought for spreading the gospel; and even in
1898, nearly two and a half centuries later, this great
body is, apparently, represented in Africa only by
twenty^eight intermediaries. Lutheranism in its atti-
tude toward missions is a sleeping giant. It claims that
as early as 1662 Lutheran clergymen from Denmark did
mission-work on the Gold Coast; and that Protten, a
Guinean mulatto whom a Danish pastor took to Copen-
hagen in 1726 and baptized and whom the "Moravians"
afterward truly converted and sent as a missionary

♦After the completion of this chapter Dr. E. F. Williams published Christian
Life in Germany. The chapter on foreign missions, pp. 84-114, is invaluable.



(1736), worked under Dano-Lutheran auspices. A Dan-
ish society for missions that originated in 182 1 thought
of opening one in Danish Guinea, and in 1826 obtained
governmental permission to do so. But as this organ-
ization timidly feared that it would be too weak to carry
the mission, it introduced the Basel Society into this field
(1826*27). The first African missionaries of this Ger-
man-Swiss organization received Lutheran ordination in
Denmark; Lutheran Danes were among its later workers
in Guinea; and when the discouraged authorities at
Basel thought of quitting the field, it was Riis who stood
to his post, encouraged the society by his steadfastness
and turned the- tide. To this Danish Lutheran is due
the human origin of the prosperity and success of the
Basel Society in Guinea. Perhaps Lutheranism is also
entitled to share the credit of "Moravian" missions,
Francke the pietist who inspired Zinzendorf and the
Unity being a spiritually^minded Lutheran, During the
first half of the nineteenth century German Lutheranism
gave many African missionaries to Anglican societies, its
gift of Gobat and Krapf affording eminent instances of
such support. But it was 1829 before Lutheranism inde-
pendently entered Africa. The bulk of its African
achievement is due to Germany, the Lutheran of Amer-
ica and Scandinavia, in comparison with his German
brother, having accomplished next to nothing; at least
not on the African continent itself.

The Ansgar Union of East Gothland, Sweden, sent a
missionary to the Galla in 1887. The acquisition of
German possessions gave birth (1886) to the German
East Africa Mission-Society. Its original purpose was
to aid missions through hospitals, to erect which in Dar*
es^Salaam and Zanzibar it spent the greater part of
$30,000. It has but recently begun to found missions


proper. The Leipzig Society has assumed the Bavarian
missions at Chimba and Mbanqu near Mombaz, whose
field lies among the Kamba. The Neukirchen Mission,
chiefly supported by the Rhenish provinces, bases itself
at Witu amidst the Pokomo and holds the station of
Ngao among the Galla north of Tana River. The Berlin
Ladies' Committee for the Christian Education of Fe-
males in the Orient sends money to help the mission of
Christian women in South Africa. The Woman's Mis-
sion^Society of the American Lutherans supplies the
matron of Muhlenberg mission.

American Lutherans were thirty years behind their
German brethren in carrying Christianity to Africa, the
mission^society of the General Synod not entering
Liberia earlier than i860. The government granted one
hundred acres for a mission-farm, and two hundred more
were reserved for actual settlers. Rescued slave-chil-
dren were indentured to the Lutherans by the Liberian
government, named after well-known persons, and
formed into a Christian colony. One of them became
the pastor of a native church, itself self-sustaining. The
work is evangelistic, educational and industrial. Com-
municants are very few, but a number of Negro laymen
hold services in inland towns as opportunity offers.
With each church are connected schools whose graduates
constitute a civilizing force among the pagan. At the
same time that the boys and girls are educated and con-
verted, they are trained to manual labor. A carpenter^
shop, machine-shop and smithy are features of the indus-
trial department. The cultivation of coffee, rice, sugar
and vegetables adds largely to the income. But Liberia
is soaked in spirits, and the European liquor^traffic is the
greatest possible obstacle to the success of Muhlenberg.
Far and tiny Finland also sends her sons to the chil-


dren of Ethiopia. Tlie last northern land to accept the
Christ (1157-1279) was the latest Scandinavian country
to share Christianity with Africa (1866). Seven centu-
ries after Eric the Holy, the first Finn entered Southwest
Africa. Though assigned to a station of the Hermanns-
burg Society, a German body, the Finland Mission^Soci-
ety sustained this mission. Two years later the Finns
opened a mission of their own among the Dama or
Ovambo, and in 1892 the Rhenish men came to the same
region. The difficulties were enormous. Portuguese
slave=traders harassed the missionaries. Fever lurks in
the swampy plains. Traveling adventurers prejudiced a
chief against them. Jesuits are accused of intruding in
this Lutheran sphere of interest. The absence of peace
and settled government rendered progress slow, for the
twelve native tribes fought unceasingly. The mission-
aries prepared the educational literature for the natives
in Finnic! A quarter^century dragged away before the
first convert came, and aftergrowth has been but slow.
Since 1883 the mission has made fair advance, but the
German annexations between Kunene and Orange Rivers
beset the missionaries with as many embarrassments as
they remove.

The Swedish Lutherans became African cross^bearers
when the Evangelical National Society attempted the
evangelization of the Galla (1865). This mission was
begun on the advice of no less authorities than Krapf
and Gobat, but the great sacrifices and enormous exer-
tions it has cost have not met with proportionate results.
The difficulties did not rise from the people, for they
have for centuries stood as a wall against Muhamma-
danism and have on several occasions shown sympathy
for Christianity. The difficulty lay in their unreachable-
ness. The northern door, that through Abyssinia, was


closed by its Christianity being a petrified perversion hos-
tile to missions. The door from the east still remains
barred, since on that side live the Somali, hereditary
enemies of the Galla. The southern entrance was then
blocked by the Masai. The first missionaries did not
reach the Galla at all. They were obliged to remain
near Massawah on the Red Sea, over five hundred miles
north. But the tide has turned. The Italian advance
toward Shoa, however fruitless for Italy, and the forward
movement of the British through Ibea are loosening the
bolts of the prison-gates. The missionaries have con-
verted and educated Galla refugees at their Abyssinian
stations, and since 1880 one of these Galla has taught
his people.

The second African mission of Sweden is not, like the
former, the outcome of a free and spontaneous movement
among the people. It is the legal and official organiza-
tion of mission=work into a function of the state-church.
At the instance of Schreuder the Norseman the Swedish
church purchased an estate in Natal at the Zulu frontier,
and opened a mission (1876). This is still too young to
have accomplished much, its principal feature being the
establishment of homes for native children.

The African missions of Norwegian Lutherans origi-
nated, not with their state=church, but with the laity. The
Norse MissionsSociety is thoroughly democratic in
organization. Its pioneer was Schreuder, who in 1844
went among the Zulu, and won their chief's favor by
medical mission-work. They proved a difficult but, after
the first hindrances were overcome, a promising field.
Not till 185 1 could Schreuder begin work. Not till 1858
was the first convert, a girl, baptized. Not till 1888 did
the cessation of wars allow missionaries a fair chance.


During the war on Ketchwayo most of the British and
German missions were disturbed if not destroyed, but the
Zulu chief had too much respect for Schreuder to touch
his station. The society still cultivates part of this
field with energy and success, but in 1873 Schreuder
transferred his services to the state=church of Norway.
Though he had served the Norse Mission-Society for
thirty years; though his few words to the church in 1842
had illumined its conscience as if a mighty lamp had
been lit; and though the success of this Zulu mission
had been due to his eminent energy, exalted enthusiasm
and powerful personality, — it was ever his wish to
represent, not an association of individuals, but the
church of the Norwegian state. The Norse church ac-
cordingly formed a mission=committee to which Schreu-
der brought one of the stations of the Norse Mission-
Society. The work has progressed peacefully, but is
still in the day of small things. Both the church and the
society avail themselves of native agency.

The triumph of the Norse Society has been won in
Madagascar. This mission at its beginning (1867) was
directed by Schreuder. It soon assumed large propor-
tions, now including not only the Hova inland but (since
1879) the Sakalava (Wild^Cats) on the western coast and
(since 1888) points on the southeastern shore till then
unvisited by Europeans. When the Hova government
introduced compulsory education, the Norwegian schools
received thirty thousand children. In 1892 the society
relinquished four stations in favor of the United Nor-
wegian Lutherans of America. The results included
over five hundred schools, among them a normal and a
theological seminary, forty thousand scholars, a regi-
ment of native evangelists, preachers and teachers, and


fifty thousand adherents. Near Sirable is a hospital for
lepers. At Antananarivo Hospital Malagasi physicians
were educated.

Twelve independent societies, excluding the quasi
Lutheran "Moravians", represent German Lutheranism
in Africa. One works in the north, one in the east, three
in the south. Half of all missionaries in South Africa
are Germans. Most of these belong to the Hermanns-
burg Society, the fewest to the Rhenish organization, an
intermediate number to the Berlin body. But in adher-
ents Berlin takes the first place, and Hermannsburg
stands at the foot. After a glance at the north, we will
begin our examination of the south with the first society
to enter.

The St Chrischona mission originated in Spittler's
idea that in the Basel Society life was not unpretending
enough. He intended to found a chain of twelve sta-
tions, embracing Egypt, Nubia and Abyssinia. In his
behalf Krapf established and directed this remarkable
pilgrimsmission which, had it succeeded, would have
been a fulfilment of his great plan for a series of reinforc-
ing missions across Africa. He, however, had looked to
planting posts from east to west. Spittler named the
line "Apostle Street between Jerusalem and the Galla
in Abyssinia". The stations included Cairo (1861), Alex-
andria and Assuan (1865), Khartum and Metamneh, and
were to be bases for missions in Abyssinia. But the
southernmost posts cost many lives, the full number of
stations was never attained, and the attempt to penetrate
the interior by this north-and-south route failed. Of the
missions actually founded some declined. In Egypt it
was recognized that the American United Presbyterians
were sufficient. Since 1868 the Chrischona mission there
has devoted itself to a successful school in Alexandria.



German forces are still active in the Egyptian metropo-
lis, and there are Kaiserswerth deaconesses with hospi-
tals of their own. Among the Galla at Silwah are forty
nominal Christians for whom the Chrischona mission
still toils.

The Rhenish Society entered Cape Colony in 1829,
but distributes its energies between this and German
Southwest Africa. The latter is covered with a web of
Finnic and Rhenish posts, forming quite as full and
systematized a mission=^sphere as any in Africa. The
missions in the former field are better developed and are
self-supporting, though the converts are very far from
moral capacity for self-government. The colony bestows
lands on schools with a given number of pupils and with
an inspector's certificate. Consequently the schools are
crowded and the missionary is not only pastor but em-
ployer. In German Southwest Africa missions among
the Herero and Nama encounter still greater difficulties.
Intertribal wars caused the destruction and abandon-
ment of stations. The language is so impracticable that
the missionaries could not preach without interpreters.
The Herero, though dull and slow, hold tightly what
they once understand. Despite the almost insurmount-
able barrier raised by the language, considerable suc-
cess was attained in educating native helpers. But the
rivalries between the British and the Germans, with the
introduction of rum by the former, seriously hampered
the mission. In 1884, however, the society found itself
so rich in missionaries that it was enabled to open new
posts. It claimed sixteen thousand adherents in 1886,
and to=day perhaps possesses as many. The entire
south of Namaland will, twenty-five years hence, have
not a single professed pagan.

South Africa also calls forth the principal activity of


the Berlin Society founded by Neander and called
Berlin I. This spends nine times as much money here as
in China. Entrance into Orange Free State was effected
in 1834, into Kafraria in 1837, into Cape Colony in 1838,
into Natal in 1847 and into Transvaal in 1848. The
field, formerly divided into conferences, has since 1875
been organized into synods. These comprise the dis-
tricts already named, except that the South African Re-
public falls into two synods. North and South Transvaal.
In this Boer commonwealth the latest mission has be-
come the most flourishing mission, and the founding of
Botchabelo and the Sikukuni persecution (1864) make a
romantic episode. Every synod has a superintendent
to advise and assist in the several departments of work.
While the Kafir is hard to evangelize, the Sutu (Ba^Suto)
is impressionable and clever. From him have come many
able native assistants who owe their training in part to
the two educational institutions of the society. The aim
of making the stations self-supporting is kept in view.
This is effected through the beneficence of the converts
and by profitable enterprises within the limits of the sta-
tions. Annual expenses average $50,000, of which the
natives contribute half. The missions have always been
greatly harassed by the brawls of the Negroes and the
conduct of the colonists and their governments. Prog-
ress has been slow, but success sure. At the end of
sixty years the stations numbered fifty-five, half of them
in Transvaal, and the baptized forty^five thousand, in-
cluding nearly fifteen thousand communicants. In Cape
Colony the stations, it is claimed, have actually become
parishes of baptized blacks. The society has added
Kondeland (1891) on the northern or German shore of
Lake Nyasa, Rhodesia (1893) and Urambo, a former
and isolated London mission, to its African fields (1897).


The Hermannsburg Society demands special atten-
tion*. The North German organization became more
of a Calvinist or Presbyterian than a Lutheran body.
Many men offered themselves for missions who were
rejected as uneducated peasants. The Christian church
could not afford such loss. Hence the Hermannsburg
Society, whose Lutheranism and spirituality have deep-
ened Germany's inner life. From the first the German
peasantry have sustained it. The earliest missionaries
consisted of artizans and farmers. Good public-school
training is the sole educational qualification required for
admission to its mission-institute, but in churchliness
the society out-Luthers Luther. The course extends
over six years and includes carpentry, farming and other
industrial and practical features. Colonization was
until 1869 united with evangelization; Christianity and
the arts of civilization introduced hand-in-hand; and
Christian communism practiced. The stations are
largely self-supporting, and so far as feasible have a
complete ecclesiastical and political organization.

In 1854 the first missionaries and colonists, the party
consisting equally of religious and secular agents, arrived
in The Candace^ possibly the first of mission^ships proper,
off the Galla country. Such difficulties and hindrances
developed that the party settled in northern Natal.
Four years later another attempt was made to reach the
Galla, but with equal ill=success. The Natalese station
remained until 1883 the center from which the whole
field was managed, although the plan was to press across
the border as soon as possible, and it is still the head-
quarters of the Zulu mission, the residence of the super-
intendent and the seat of a school for educating the
missionaries' children. Entrance into Zululand was

*See Fleming Stevenson's Praying and Working,


gained by making a wagon^house for its chief. After vain
waiting for results from their toil, the Germans tried
an experiment. Natives cultivating mission=land were
required either to send their children to school, to pay-
rent or to quit. The first they would not, the second
they could not, the third they did do. Consequently
the mission had to allow them to return. The estab-
lishment of a seminary for training native helpers proved
a less unsuccessful scheme. From the entire field came
pupils whose presence and example finally roused the in-
terest of the Negroes. Community of property became
impracticable, for the mission-farmers disliked to be
destitute of property while unattached farmers were
acquiring it. So long as the colony consisted only of
bachelors, for none others were sent, communal life
could be maintained; but marriage brought the family
and the home. In the division of labor, friction broke
out constantly between the missionaries and their colo-
nists. These demanded more assistance than those were
inclined to grant, and missionaries made offensive asser-
tions of superiority. The appointment of division^super-
intendents, an administrative feature adopted at an early
date, also caused ill:=feeling. Finally the society, though
never swerving from high Lutheranism, has been obliged,
in order to adapt its churches to African converts, to
modify the confession, government, liturgy and ordi-
nances of the Lutheran church.

The principal expansion of the Natalan mission has
been northward into Zululand and southeastern Trans-
vaal. The character of the natives and the frequency of
interruption through political emergencies have caused
numerical success here to be of the slightest.

The career of the Chwana mission has been far more
prosperous. From a chief came a call (1857) that the


society undertake work in western Transvaal. This en-
treaty was emphasized by a letter from Dutch authori-
ties. Mission^colonies were here discarded. Gradually
a net'Work of stations overspread the entire west of
Transvaal and the east of British Bechwanaland. These
districts had been occupied by British Congregational
missionaries whom the Transvaal Boers had expelled.
Yet within five years the rulers of the latter joined with
a blackamoor in requesting missionaries. Sometimes the

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.1) → online text (page 24 of 38)