Samuel Abraham Walker.

The Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... online

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happy for every believer, that his own spiritual life is not left in his
own hands. I can speak for myself in that case, that if mine had
been committed to me thirteen years ago, I should have lost it as
many times as I could breathe in that number of years. But no !
blessed be God, it is in Christ's hands ; yea, it is hid in Him.*'

On Mr. and Mrs. During's departure, William Tamba was put in
charge of Gloucester, and Mrs. Renner from Kent, in care of the
females, — ^Mark Joseph Tamba, also taken into the Society's service,
was appointed to assist. At Michaelmas, William Tamba furnished
the foUowiag report to the missionaries : —



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222 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

*' Dear brethren in the Lord,

" I have not much to say to yon, for yon know the feelings and trou-
bles of the mind. I can only say, the will of the Lord be done. I
hare no doubt God wiU carry on His work. I am but a poor blaek
man ; but Grod is no respecter of persons. At present, there are 127
communicants and 14 candidates ; prayer is kept morning and erenin^
at which the people attend r^^ularly. The day-school girls are 80,
and the boys 72 ; the women in the evening-schools 20, and the men
80 ; making in all 252.

** May the Lord carry on his work in our hearts through Jesas
Christ our Lord. Amen."

At Christmas Tamba reported the number of communicants at 135,
and the candidates 14 ; with 198 in the schools. Every Sund^ he
said the church was quite full, the people were very quiet. The vete-
ran Nylander had superintended all.

On Mr. Johnson's separation from his flock, Mr. and Mrs. Norman
were appointed to the charge of Regent, under the superintendance of
During, from whose letter to Johnson, dated June 1 7» it appears that
Norman had succeeded in engaging the affection and respect of the peo-
ple. He mentions with much regret, that four native christians, one
of whom was a communicant, had been found in a state of intoxication ;
this was owing to two men having begun to sell rum secretly. This
painful matter was strictly investigated by Mr. During, and the offenders
were suspended. With this exception, the conduct of the people con-
tinued most exemplary. David Noah had a severe fit of illness, bat
the Lord spared his Suable Ufe for the work to which He had called
and adapted him.

In August, the congregation in the church exceeded 2000 who
were in constant attendance. The schools were considerably reduced
by small-pox, marriages, and the apprenticing of boys out to trades.
At Christmas, the number of scholars in all was 984. The com-
municants amounted to 450.

In the early part of the summer quarter, both Norman and his*
wife suffered severely from sickness ; and during that time, the corpses
of five of the missionary labourers lay in their house. ** Yet," said
Norman, ^4n the midst of these afflictions God has supported us by
His grace ; so that ' as our trials abounded. His consolations did much
more abound.'"

On the 8th of September, intelligence of the death of Messrs. Flood
and Johnson, reached the Colony ; with what effect may be conceived.
It fiUed the residents of all descriptions with dismay. The removal of
Mr. Johnson especially, was a blow for which they were totally unpre-
pared, and it was felt to be as severe as it was unexpected.

The communication of the melancholy event to the people of



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XK. JOHNSON 8 DEATH COMMUNICATED TO HIS FLOCK. 223

Regent, Mr. Johnson's own dear people, devolved on Norman. The
curcvmistances attending the painfiil task must he related by himself.

" In the early part of September," he writes, " I received informa-
tion bj letters firom the Society, of the death, on the 3rd of May, of
oar dear brother Johnson. When the letters arrived, I was engaged
in reading Milner's Church History, with the native teachers, and the
elder boys of the Christian Institution. When I had read the letters,
I informed them that their minister was dead. They were all greatly
affected, and especially David Noah. The information soon spread
over the town, and in a few minutes our house was crowded with weep-
ing inquirers.

" I endeavoured to comfort them by telling them that he was cer-
tainly taken away for his and for their good — ^that he had finished his
work, and had gone to receive his everlasting reward — ^that God would
not even now forsake them, but would still be gracious to them — that
they ought to be very thankful that God had spared him so long, while
many missionaries had been cut off in a short time after they had com-
mem^ their work — and that the only way in which they could tes-
tify their gratitude to God, was by bearing the trial with christian pa-
tience and meekness, and their love to their late minister by attending
to the instructions which he had for seven years given them. I then
told them to go home and beg of God grace to bear the trial as be-
came them, and promised to read the letters to them in the Church at
evening service. They then begged that I would not leave them. I
told them I would not while I was able to stand up to teach them, un-
less they were provided with another teacher.

" In the evening the church was crowded. Before I began the ser-
vice I spoke to them, and begged them not to make any noise, as I
knew it was an African custom to cry aloud when they had lost a
friend. I told them that the christian manner of bearing a trial was
with patience and silent submission to GM, who had a right to do as
he pleased.

" The congregation then sang the following hymn : —

Dear refuge of my weary soul I
On Thee when boztowb rise,
On Thee when waves of trouble roll.
My £unting hope relies.

To Thee I tell each rising grief.
For thou alone canst heal ;
Thy word can bring me sure relief
For every pain I feel.

Hast thou not bid me seek thy face
And shall I seek in vain ?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain ?



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224 cnuacn mission in sierra leone.

No, still the ear of aovereign frnce
Attends the mouroer^s prayer.
Oh ! may I ever find access
To breathe my sorrows there.

Thy mercy-seat is open still.
Here let my sool retreat ;
With humble hope attend Thy will
And wait beneath Uiy fieet.

" The passage of scripture which came in course for our consideration
this evening was, John viii. 12 — 19. I dwelt more particularly on the
twelfth verse. Afterwards I read the letters which had been received.
All were remarkably attentive and quiet.

" We then sang the following hymn, well known and much used
among the people there ; attention having been frequently called to it
by their deceased minister.

In every troable sharp and strong,

My soul to Jesus flies ;
My anchor-hold is firm in Him

When swelling billows rise.

His comforts bear my spirits up,

I trust a faithful God ;
The sure foundation of my hope

Is in my Saviour*s blood.

Loud Hallelujahs I will sing

To my Redeemer's name ;
In joy and sorrow, life and death.

His loTe is still the same.

*' Knowing the strength of African feeling, I was much astonished at
the behaviour of the people. Not a word or sob was heard in the
church after service, but all was silent grief.

'* The Saturday evening after, many persons attended the weekly
meeting— ^ix of them spoke, and in a most feeling manner adverted
to the death of their late pastor. I give the substance of one of these
addresses : —

" With respect to the death of our dear minister Mr. Johnson, I
can say this is a great trial, because I loved him. It was through his
instrumentality that I was brought from darkness to hght ; but God
had a right to take him away when he pleased. We thought too much
of Mr. Johnson, though he was a good man, and God wiU not suffer
us to put confidence in any but the Lord Jesus Christ. My dear hre-
thren^ I think God took him away because we looked more to Mr. John-
son than we did to the Lord Jesus. I hope, my dear brethren, this
trial will make us aU to trust more to the Lord Jesus, for He alone can



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MORE LOSSES TO THE MISSION. 225

ftve US — He alone is the light of the world. Let us go to Him and
l>«g him to sanctify this trial to us^ and let us shew that we do indeed
love our dear minister by doing what he told us."

Norman communicated to the people of Gloucester, the suspicion
entertained that their valued pastor had perished at sea. His infor-
xnation was received with every demonstration of sorrow, and full evi-
dence was afforded of the sincere affection which these christian natives
entertained for one who had laboured so faithfolly and snccessftdly
among them.

Upon the removal of Mr. and Mrs. Bunyer, and Mrs. Yaughan,
!Mr. Vaughan was the only European teacher in the Freetown schools
left. Mrs. Schemel having lost her husband, was afterwards placed
in charge of the girl's school, and George Fox and his wife continued
their assistance as native teachers. The attendance at these schools
varied at different seasons, the smallest being at Midsummer, when
the number was 491, and the largest at Christmas, it being then 527.

The advantages yet enjoyed by these schools were still further di-
minished by the death of Mr. Vaughan, on the 26th of November, he
having survived his excellent wife just five months. He died at Free-
town after an illness of about ten days — prepared to meet his Grod
and Saviour, upon whom his heart was fixed, and in whose service he
laboured with unwearied zeal. While free from intervals of deHrium,
he expressed a longing to depart and be with Christ, evidently feeling
happy in anticipation of the change which awaited him. The
affectionate regret of all his brethren accompanied him to his grave.

Two of the vacancies in the Freetown schools occasioned by death,
were filled up by the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. John Pope, on the first
of December. Their appointment to these schools was agreed on at a
meeting of the missionaries on the 2nd. But while two labourers were
thus added to the mission, two others were withdrawn in the persons
of Mr. and Mrs. Norman, whose confirmed ill health compelled them
to abandon the work for the present, and return home. The embar-
rassments occasioned by the loss of missionaries in the course of this
year were very severely felt. Even before the death of Vaughan, and
the departure of Mr. and Mrs. Norman, Nylander complained of the
deserted state of the mission. He says, in a letter to the Secretaries,
dated Nov. 21, 1823:—

'* Though I have to relate no deaths in the mission, yet I have
to call your attention once more to its distressed state.

** Brother Norman has been dangerously ill, and so has Mrs. Norman.

Brother Norman is ill in bed now, and has kept his bed two days. It

is the united opinion of the medical gentlemen that Mr. Norman should

return to England as soon as possible, and what will then become of

w Q



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226 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

Regent, Gloucester, and the Institution? I have been to R^ent
twice since brother During left ; and each time administered the Sacra-
ment to about 400 communicants ; including the people of Gloucester,
who came to Regent on those occasions. I have also administered the
Sacrament at Charlotte, where the communicants from Leopold joined
us. Once a month I likewise attend the church at Freetown ; so that
I am but one Sunday in the month with mj own people. Brother
Yaughan reads prayers at Freetown on Lord's day ; and then tisoafiy
visits Gloucester, and spends the remainder of the day with the people
there ; but at present even this is prevented.'*

It is not to be wondered at, that under such unfavourable m-
cum stances something Uke anarchy began to manifest itself in the com-
paratively neglected villages. Even Regent — the reader wiU sigh to
learn the fact — Regent shewed symptoms of disorder. With what pain
must that good man Nylander, have penned the foUowing : —

" About 100 men met together at Regent, reftised to work, and ac*
tually engaged in battle ; several were wounded ; and even Mr. Nor-
man received blows with sticks and stones, and was carried home.
They were, however subdued by superior force ; and about ^fty of
them arrested and punished according to law: among these, I am
sorry to say, were some to whom I administered the sacrament of the
Lord's Supper on the Sunday before. I was present at the examina-
tion of the rioters. No blame was attached to Mr. Norman. The
rebels said to the Chief Justice, or before him and the council, * Mr.
Norman is a good man, never done us any harm.'

It was evident that a nursing-father was much needed for these
babes in Christ, who it was scarcely to be expected had yet learned to
walk alone.

Some of the villages were providentiaUy exempted from the disasters
of the year ; for example, Charlotte still enjoyed the pious labours of
Taylor and his wife. At Michaelmas 1823, the pupils in the schook,
both children and adults, amounted to 258. At Christmas, this
number was diminished to 127, the decrease being chiefly owing to
marriages among the elder girls. Of the evening school, toward the
close of the year, Taylor had to complain that he had great difficulty
in prevailing on the adults to attend, nor did they assign any cause,
only they appeared determined not to be taught.

In secular industry the inhabitants could scarcely be excelled. In
three quarters of a year, the sum of ^307 : 10 : 1. had been received
from government for cassada and cocoa, and much more remained to
be sold. " The difference," wrote Taylor, ** in the appearance of the
place in a temporal view, is indeed great. It may well be said, the
wilderness blossoms as the rose. Instead of a large forest, are now
to be seen a large town of about 250 houses, with school-houses for



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SPIRITUAL STATE OF THE TOWNS. 227

both sexes, a large tract of land under cultivatioD, and every con-
▼enience of dvilized life ; and now to crown the whole> a Church is
begun to be erected for the worship of Gcd. Oh that I could say, the
moral aspect was as pleasing to the view of the Christian. Alas ! but
few yet know that Sayiour, whom to know is life eternal.*'

At Kissey, the Teteran Nylander still held out amidst many dis-
couragements arising principally from ill-health, and the distraction of
a diyided superintendance. Kissey, Freetown, Gloucester, Kegent,
Wellington — all enjoyed his solicitude, and claimed his occasional
services. No wonder then, all were indifferently attended to, and all
suffered. The attendance at the Church here, was about 700, and the
communicants numbered from twenty-five to thirty. The schools
were attended by about 880 children, but between apprenticeship and
marriages, they went on, Nylander said, only indifferently. Here,
as at Charlotte, the evening adult-school was in a declining state.
Some comfort, however, was derived from the prayer meetings. " The
Lord," wrote Nylander, '* continues to be vnth us at our Church and
prayer-meetings ; which latter are still held on Wednesday and Satur-
day evenings, and are attended by about fifteen men and twenty-two
women. Some of our communicants, who, like the Galatians ' did
run well,' have left off being wise : and like Demas, have gone after
the things of this world. I hope to admit to baptism next quarter
four promising young men and two women. Our monthly missionary
prayer-meeting is regularly attended, and we collect at it upwards of
£3. per month."

Two native assistants, George Thomas and John Bannah, laboured
here very acceptably.

Hoarding Waterloo, which was attended to by Mr. and Mrs. Lisk
and the native assistant W. Lawrence, Wilhelm vnrote at Christmas :

" I feel thankful in testifying to you, at the close of this year of
pecuharly afflictive visitation in this colony, that the people of Waterloo,
both young and old, have had through the mercy of God, the means
of instruction and of grace and salvation, continued to them. Though
it was a very sickly season throughout this year for us Europeans in
this station as well as in others, yet our sickness did not materially in-
terrupt us in the work of the Lord. The schools have been well at-
tended, especially the boys' school, considerable progress having
been made in reading, writing and arithmetic. The evening schools
are rather in a declining state, most of the mechanics neglecting to attend.
The meetings of communicants I have not kept for the last six weeks,
some unhappy differences having taken place which are not yet recti-
fied ; as however, I can see nothing criminal in the case, I hope that
through the mercy of God, charity and union will be restored
among us."

Q 2



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228 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

On the 12th of Fehruary, the foundation-stone of a stone Church
dedicated to St. Michael, was laid here hy Mr. Reffell in the ahsence
of the Governor. And in the afternoon of the same day a Missionary
Association was formed, when the sum of £5 : 1 1 : 8. was collected.

At Kent, Mr. and Mrs. Beckley (the latter formerly Miss Johnson)
lahoured with effect, Mrs. Renner having removed to Gloucester. The
boys and men's schools were for some time conducted by William
Bickersteth, native assistant, but he was afterwards removed to Regent.
A Missionary Association was formed here on the 8th of April, and
the sum of €3:6:8. collected on the occasion. One of the resolu-
tions adopted at the meeting is worthy of being preserved. It
declared :

** That this meeting contemplating the great change which has
taken place in a few years on this spot, this being once the principal
mart for slave-dealers, cannot but feel grateful to Almighty God, that
now the glad tidings of salvation are freely proclaimed."

Mr. Beckley was enabled to open a new sphere of usefolness at the
Banana islands, which lay off the coast a short distance from Kent.
During the last quarter of the year, he had kept service there^ generally
once a week, and had an attendance of from 60 to 70 persons who
seemed anxious for spiritual instruction.

The work at Leopold under the care of Mr. and Mrs. Davey, con-
tinued to prosper, so that the building appropriated to public worship
was necessarily undergoing enlargement so as to accommodate 1000
persons. No decided marks of a spiritual change had, however, yet
appeared, " Although," said Davey, " there are some, of whom we can
say, that they are almost Christians."

The contributions to the Society from this place, amounted during
the year to ^617 : 12 : 6. and the inhabitants had sold to government
in the same period, 6112 bushels of cocoa and cassada, for which they
received ^6296: 18: 7

The Rev. W. H. Schemel had succeeded William Davis at Bathurst,
and laboured there until his decease, when the Rev. John Gerber and
Mrs. Gerber removed hither from Kissey. They were assisted in the
schools by William Neville, native schoolmaster. When Mr. Grerber
arrived, there were 19 communicants, some of these he foimd it
necessary to exclude, but the others became decided in their Chris-
tian walk.

The number of scholars at Christmas was 97. The Rev. G. W. E.
Metzger and Mrs. Metzger, had attended, with some interruption since
January, to the spiritual concerns of Wilberforce, where heathenish
practices to some extent still prevailed : but Mr. Metzger was concilia-
ting the affection of the people. At Michaelmas, it was thought ad-
visable that he should reside for a season at Kissey, where he would



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BEFLSCTIONS ON THE PAST YEAR. 229

enjoy the matured counsel of Nylander, whose knowledge of all the
peculiarities of the Christian work in Sierra Leone, rendered his in-
structions highly valuahle to recently-arrived laborers. Mr. and Mrs.
Metzger accordingly removed thither, and proved a great acquisition
to the over-worked pastor.

John Sandy continued to be successful at Welluigton. His report
at Christmas was highly satisfactory to Nylander. Several men and
women were said to be under the influence of religion, and some had
applied for baptism. *

The Christian Institution now only remains to be noticed. This
seminary had suffered severely from the loss of European labourers.
Mr. Norman had done what he could, but his services were necessarily
very inefficient. As a temporary resource John Johnson, one of the
senior students, was put in charge of the other youths, and continued
in this office till Christmas, when Mr. Lisk took his place. The num-
ber of scholars had been reduced to thirteen.

The circumstances of the past year, marked as they> were by the re*
moval of so many Christian labourers from this important field, led
the committee to deliberate seriously on some effectual mode of sup-
plying the vacancies which now existed, as well as of securing to the
Mission in future the requisite number of teachers to meet the demand
as it should arise. It appeared to them expedient to propose to
Government that the Society should take on itself the preparation and
support of all the English clergymen that were found necessary for the
serrice of the colony, whether in Freetown or in the towns of the
liberated Africans ; these clergymen to be approved of by the Sovereign
through the Secretary of state for the colonial department, the Society
having the power of placing them, with the concurrence of the
Grovemor, as local circumstances should require ; the stipends of these
clergymen, together with the necessary provisions for their family, if
any should survive them, being supplied by the Society; also the
maintenance of the colonial schools at Freetown and Christian Institu-
tion at Regent ; but that the Government should provide in each of the
country parishes, for the education of its inhabitants and for their civil
superintendence, under the authority and direction of the clergyman ;
and also as opportunity should offer, the requisite buildings for public
worship and schools, and dwelling-houses for the clergyman and other
teachers, with land for garden and sufficient glebe.

A deputation of the Society, consisting of the Bishop of Lichfield
and Coventry, Lord Calthorpe, Lord Bexley, Mr. Parry and the
Secretary, laid this proposal before Earl Bathurst, and some slight
modifications suggested by him having met the concurrence of the
committee, it was after some consideration, acceded to on the part of
Government, and became a law of the Society.



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230 CHURCH MISSION IN SIEBBA LEONX.

On a restrospect of the Tieissitudes attending the West AMca
Mission, a variety of feeling must be entertained : sometimes of an
exultant^ and sometimes perhaps, of a desponding character ; but one
fact must afford unmixed satisfaction, the social condition of the
negro was now far in advance of its original limit, and a great experi-
ment had been tried and with full success ; a heartless, interested
sophism had been abundantly and notoriously refuted. African in-
tellect was found fully equal to aU the demands of dvilization and of
freedom, and African morality had nothing to yield to the pretensions
of what Europe at least had to exhibit on this score. We cannot
illustrate these facts better than by the observations addressed by the
late lamented Chief Justice to the grand Jury of Sierra Leone, a short
time before his death.

*' Ten years ago, when the population of the Colony was only 4,000,
there were forty cases on the calendar for trial ; and now that the
population was upwards of 16,000 there were only six cases on the
calendar ; he congratulated the magistrates and the grand juiy on the
moral improvement of the Colony. There was not a single case from
any of the villages under the superintendance of a Missionary or
schoolmaster."



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CHAPTER VII.



DEATH OF SIR CHABLES MACCARTHT. HIS CHARACTER. CHURCH BUIL-
DINGS. ^ARRIVAL OP FRESH MISSIONARIES. ^DEATH OF MR. BROOKS,

MR. NYLANDER, &C.



The year 1824 was almost ushered in by one of the severest calamities
of a temporal nature, with which the British Settlement on the
western coast of Africa, could have been visited. We allude to the
death of the Governor, Sir Charles MacCarthy, who was slain, as has
been elsewhere related, in an engagement with the Ashantees on the
21st of January.* The reader has had frequent opportunities of esti-
mating the character of this truly philanthropic man, whose unwearied
exertions in behalf of the maligned and illtreated people, whom he
was appointed to govern, will live in the grateful remembrance of a



Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 31 of 73)