Samuel Abraham Walker.

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

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continent, enjoying it is hoped in future ages the fruits of that perse-
vering industry with which he planted and fostered germs of religion
and civilization on its remote border ; and which he was permitted to
see expanding into blossom, if not quite prepared to shed its seed in
the desolate regions beyond it. It is due to the friendship which his
Excellency entertained for the Church Missionary Society, and the
practical interest which he took in its African labours, to embalm his
memory in this history of its proceedings ; for this purpose we shall
here insert an abstract of the address of the acting Chief Justice of
the Colony, delivered at the first Quarter Sessions held after his death ;
especially as this address bears testimony to the moral and spiritual im-
provement of the liberated Africans, whom Sir Charles always committed
to the care of the Society's Missionaries with implicit reliance on their
compe£ency as instructors, and many a grateful acknowledgement of
their previous success. We quote from the Sierra Leone Gazette : —

" The Chief Justice stated that since the court had last met, it had
pleased the Almighty to visit us with the severest dispensation which
could have happened to the Colony, in taking from us our common

• Preceding Vol. p. 25.



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232 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

friend and father ; and thus depriving us of the fostering care of him^
whose days and nights were devoted to our welfare."

"The gentlemen whom he was addressing knew his late lamented
Excellency personally. They had been the spectators, they had been
the assistants, in his valuable labours, and nothing which the bench
could say could give such a picture of his successful exertions for the
good of the colony, and of Africa in general^ as every one now pre-
sent could draw for himself from his own personal knowledge.

" It had always been his great object to advance the commercial and
agricultural importance of the Colony, to raise by the labonr of freemen,
what was in other oountries raised by the labour of slavea ; to extend
British commerce, and to make this the great focus, to which the pro-
duce of this valuable continent should be brought, from its inmost
recesses ; to open paths into its most important countries ; and, by
the well-merited influence of the Colony and its inhabitants for good
faiUi and honest dealing, to enable the native of its farthest extremity
to visit it with confidence and with security. But he had higher views
than these; — ^to bring forward the negro to his proper station in society,
to raise the victim of oppression from the state of the savage to that
of the man, from the slave to* the freeman ; to prove to the world,
not by theory but by fact, not by one example but by thousands, that
the whole human race belongs to one great family of the Creator, that
all mankind are children of the same Father, that one soul animates the
whole, and that the only inequality which exists is the work of man ;
the difference between the debasing effects of ignorance, superstition,
and slavery, and the glorious fruits of light, religion, and Uberty.

" To his success in these endeavours, the gentlemen present could
aU bear witness. They were all personally cognizant of his exertions
and of their fruits. Every one present knew to be a fact, what, if
it could be described as it deserved, would be classed by strangers as
the overflowings of ill-regulated zeal, the outburstings of affectionate
gratitude.

" Gratitude is due to Sir Charles, and will always be paid to bis
memory ; but the appeal at present, is to facts. Look at the state
of the Colony wKen he arrived, and look at it now. Look at the
difference in Freetown, in the inhabitants, in the resources, in the
importance of the Colony ; but above all, look at the Hberated Africans
and their villages. Could the gentlemen present, who have them-
selves seen it, have otherwise believed the change which has taken
place ? To say nothing of the churches, the houses, the cultivated
fields, which are every where occupying what was previously a dark
impenetrable forest, look at the change in the Man. Is the man who,
worshipping his God as a Christian, who daily performs all the duties
of civilized and social Mh, as a duty for which he knows himself



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TESTIMONY TO SIR CHARLES MACCARTHY. 233

mswerable ; and many of whom are now in this room as constables and
as jurymen ; are these the degraded, ignorant beings, scarcely equal to
the brute, whom British philanthropy rescued from destruction, from
the hold of the slaTC-ship, from slavery both of body and mind?
The change has been miraculous ! The finger of God is here ? But
our late lamented Goyemor was the honoured instrument of Almighty
mercy to these poor creatures. And well and faith^ly, through every
difficulty, through every danger, did he perform his duty to its utmost
extent. He has laid the foundation, he has commenced the superstruc-
ture of African civilization, of the improvement of the negro race, of the
extension of Christianity over this vast continent so firmly, that even
his loss, great as it is, cannot long retard it. By the blessing of €rod
they are now so firmly fixed, that with a continuance of our united
exertions, neither the hatred nor malice of our enemies shaU prevail
against them.

" Had he lived to complete the plans which he had formed, he might
have retired to enjoy, in the repose of age, the blessings which he had
been the means of difiiising among hundreds of tliousands of his
fellow-creatures, and, with more justice than the Poet might have ex-
claimed, " Exigi monumentum sere perennius.," As it is, he has left
his memory engraven in the hearts of thousands — ^never to be erased,
while the vital spark exists. Let us raise to him a monument more
durable than marble or brass. Let us shew our regard, our affection,
our gratitude to him, by redoubled exertions to complete the plans
which he was pursuing. Let every one of us, in his sphere of action,
instead of being depressed at the loss which we have suffered, take
fresh courage in the good cause. Let us redouble our determination
and perseverance till the work is completed.

" But the name of MacCarthy will not only be remembered by all
who had the happiness of knowing him ; it will be a rallying-word
for those who shall labour for the good of Africa, when we have all
passed away ; and, when the light of civilization, liberty, and Chris-
tianity shall have over-spread this whole continent, the millions, who
shall then enjoy the blessings which he sacrificed his life in obtaining,
shall hail the name of MacCarthy with affection and with rapture ; as
their benefactor and their fnend."

The return to England of Mr. and Mrs. Norman in January, lefl
the mission in a very destitute condition. The poor negroes began now
themselves, to feel the want of that spiritual food with which they
had jhitherto been so abundantly supplied. " Missionaries and Chap-
lains,'* writes Nylander, *^ are much wanted : as a proof of which, I
enclose a letter sent me from Leicester mountain, begging for Christ's



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234 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

sake to send them a teacher." This letter was from one of the libe*
rated Africans : it was as foDows :

" I humbly beg thee, in the name of Christ, to give us one teacher
for to teach us the way of the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may not
perish as heathens whidi have not the light of the countenance of the
Lord. I hope that my writing may receiTC good encouragement ; and
I know not how to write better , but I hope the Lord will teach m%
better ; and this, master, I would feel obliged."

The fourth anniversary of the Auxiliary Chnrdi MLsaioiiary Society,
was held at R^nt on Tuesday the 9th of March ; the Chief Justice
in the chair. Previous to the meeting, Nylander preached a sermon
from Bom. x. 12. &c. The resolutions were proposed and seconded
by the principal gentlemen of the colony, and die contributions of the
liberated Africans reported to be £US : 7 : 3« or neariy j633. short (^
the sum collected from the same source the preceeding year. Glou-
cester fell short by between two and three pounds of its oontributions
in 1822. and Regent was deficient by more than one half of the
sum which it sent to the general fund on that occasion — ^the difPerenoe
being between ^30 : : 6. in 1823 and ^674 : 14 : 10| in 1822. An
interest in the cause of missions may be called the spiritual barometer
of any Christian community. The depression under which these two
villages laboured, is clearly indicated by the contrast which the two
years exhibit : while on the other hand, Charlotte and Leopold having
nearly doubled their contributions of 1822, and Rissey tripled them,
the spiritual improvement of the latter , villages, to which their ap-
pointed instructors were still spared, was also most satisfactorily de-
clared. There were no returns on this occasion from Bathurst,
Hastings and Wellington, which places contributed about ^20 in 1822.

At the last anniversaiy meeting, which was held at Eassey, one of
the native teachers deUvered a speech of peculiar interest at that
period. The melancholy events which crowded upon us in the record
of that year, obliged us to omit it, together with other speeches and
letters of Christian natives illustrative of the work which was going on
in spite of every discouragment. We embrace the present opportunity
of embellishing our pages with this adjnirable address :

" Christian friends, with pleasure I stand up to tell you what great
cause I have to thank Gk>d for the unspeakable mercies bestowed
upon me.

'* I am a native of the Bassa country, from which it has pleased our
gracious God to bring me, through the horrid slave-trade. My mother
died when I was an infant : and after I had staid with my father
a few years, he sent me, with an elder brother of mine, to one of the
chiefs of the country ; with whom I stayed about two weeks, when he
sent some people to another country to go trading, with whom he



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THE HISTORY OF A SLAVE. 235

also sent me. I did not know that they were going to sell me. We
mralked three days hefore we reached the place, still ignorant of their
iatention.

" The next day I was called for ; and, when I came I heard, by
tbeir conversation, that they had sold me. I cried very much ; but
alas ! as there was no Christian religion there, there was no pity, so I
became a slave. I looked about me, and saw none but strangers — ^my
country-people had aU withdrawn. While I was crying, one came and
told me, that I was only put in pound for one month, and that I
should return to my friends again. But this proved all false : no pity,
no mercy was shown me ; like a beast they began to treat me, though
I was free-bom. Soon a^r they took me to an island, to a white
man named John Mills. To him they sold me. I had been about
three weeks a slave to this white man, when it pleased God to send
Englishmen to deliver me, and many more. About five o'clock in the
morning, five boats full of solders and sailors, landed. We were taken
by the headman into the bush : I and another boy tried to run away,
but they soon caught us, and brought us back again, and John Mills
delivered us to the English, who took us off on board the schooner.
We stayed about one week at anchor, and then sailed for Sierra Leone,
where we were landed immediately.

'' After we had staid about one month in Freetown, we were sent to
Regent — then called Hogbrook. At the first, when we were at Regent
we were surrounded with nothing but bushes, and we did not like to
stop there, but we were forced so to do. I beheve we were at Regent a
whole year without a white man ; and we lived in a most wretched way,
— • without God, and without hope in the world.' After that, Mr. Hirst
came, and he took the trouble of teaching me Lord's prayer ; but my
heart did not delight in it. Mr. Hirst also kept meeting ; but I only
went to make game. In this awful state I continued, until Mr. John-
son came, who caused me to stay with him ; but I did not like to
stop with him at the first, so when he had gone down to Freetown, to
bring up Mrs. Johnson, I went down to stay with Mr. Reffell. How-
ever, Mr. Reffell soon found out that I was good for nothing ; and he
sent me back again to Regent and was glad when he got rid of me.

'' So I went and stayed again with Mr. Johnson, who put me to keep
the rice store.

" I then, with the rest of the people, attended dirine service in the
Church regularly ; and it pleased God soon after, through the instru-
mentality of Mr. Johnson, to call me out of nature's darkness into
His marvellous Hght. I beheld myself wretched and lost, until I
was pointed by Mr. Johnson ' to the Lamb of Grod that taketh away
the sin of the world.' I was encouraged to throw myself at the feet of
Jesns, through whose blood I enjoyed that peace which passeth all



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236 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

understanding. Since that time I have struggled with the world, the
devil, and the flesh : and have been, alas ! too often overtaken b j
these mighty foes. Yet, through the mercy of God, here I am, thua
far He has upheld me, and I am confident He will keep me, by his
mighty power, until the end. * Surely goodness and mercy shall
follow me all the days of my life.' Why ? because it has followed me.
I cannot'ftilly express what I feel, Oh ! when I look back, and con-
sider what I was ten years ago, and behold what the Lord has done
for me and many of my African brethren, I am astonished and con-
strained to exclaim, * What hath God wrought ! '

" Oh ! that God would give me a grateful heart, that I may be
thankful to him who has redeemed, yea, has plucked me as a brand
out of the burning, and be grateful to my benefactors — I mean
Government, which has been the means of delivering me from temporal
slavery, and also to the Church Missionary Society, and its Mission-
aries, who have been the instruments of dehvering me, and I trust I can
say, many of my black brethren and sisters, from the slavery of the Devil.

*' Oh ! what gopd has been effected through the preaching of the
Word of God.

" My African brethren, I beseech you to be thankful. You know
what we were once ; and now behold what great things the Lord has
done for us. Oh ! let us never rest, but be always endeavouring to
make knpwn the great mercies we have received, freely to our poor
benighted countrymen. Thanks be to God oui* Father, who has, and
does give us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen."

The mission was this year deprived of two more labourers by death :
Mr. Pope, schoolmaster, whose arrival in December, 1823, we an-
nounced, and who was appointed to the Freetown schools, he died
on the 30th of March ; and Mrs. Schemel, widow of the late W. H.
Schemel, whose death on the 25th of April, 1823, has been mentioned.
She departed on the 17th of June ; she had since her husband's death,
been in charge of the girlVschool at Freetown. Of Pope, his widow
wrote : —

" He died very happy, and never once regretted that he came to
Africa. Being here by himself, he had a great deal to do : he read
prayers every Sunday morning in the church, went to Wilberforce in
the afternoon, and to the camp in the evening : he was much pleased
with the people in both these places ; and they were becoming much
attached to him. Every minute of the week he was engaged."

Writing of his death, one of the missionaries said : —

*' New comers just arrived with full European strength, think them-
selves competent to greater labour than the climate will allow ; and, in
consequence, expose themselves more than they should do on their



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MR. NTLANDER 8 ILLNESS. 237

first arrival. That has been the case with our dear departed brother ;
he used, after reading the prayers on a Sunday, to ride either to Glou-
cester, or Wilberforce ; and afterward would hold evening service at the
camp, near Freetown — ^a course of labor which required in this climate
herculean strength."

In addition to the actual loss of labourers, some of those who were
spared were so incapacitated for duty by serious and protracted illness,
that their assistance was equally lost to the mission. Poor Nylander
was brought during the summer to the border of the grave. For thir-
teen weeks he was confined to his home, and for a long period, was
unable to rise from his bed vtrithout help. His friends almost des-
paired of his recovery, but it pleased God to restore him to his work.
While recovering, he wrote : —

'* One says that I should go to France, another to Spain ; another
advises me to go to England : but as I am so far recovered and gaining
strength daily, I feel no inclination to embark ; though I intended to
to do so when I was on a sick bed, and was told that the only remedy
for my recovery was to go to Europe by the first vessel then sailing :
but as I find that the same Jehovah reigns in Africa as rules in Eng-
land, I will wait for his command."

The loss and incapacity of missionaries from illness, rendered the
employment of a large number of natives as teachers indispensable, and
we cannot but wonder that considering the previous condition of these
persons, so many of them continued to walk circumspectly in the try-
ing station to which they were raised. Cases of misconduct however
occurred, when the missionaries never failed to exercise a just severity,
which doubtless was of salutary e£Pect. The village of WeUington had
been placed, as our readers know, under the care of John Sandy, native
teacher ; who for some time gave much satisfaction to the missionaries,
and seemed to be carrying on the work of the Lord with earnest zeal
and considerable success ; but the old man in him was not subdued,
and Satan took occasion of his infirmities to injure the cause to which
he was ostensibly attached. Sandy fell into gross sin, and of course
it was determined at a meeting of the missionaries, that he, together
with two of the native assistants, who had also been detected in acts of
criminality, should be publicly dismissed from the service of the Soci-
ety. A very solemn address was delivered to John Sandy on this try-
ing occasion, by the Rev. J. G. WUhelm, minister of Waterloo. Such
an event opens to our view, not the least of the many sources of pain-
ful anxiety, by which the Lord's servants in this and other missions
are oppressed, and furnishes us with a subject which should never be
omitted, in our supplications for a free course to the everlasting gospel
throughout the world.

On the 26th of August, Mr. Metzger, who had often visited this



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238 CHURCH MISSION IN SIBRRA LEONE.

station with Njlander, who seems like St. Paul to have had "the
care of all the chnrches," was appointed its minister, and had a Terj
favorahle report to make of the spiritoal progress of the inhabitants
at the close of the year.

The circumstances of the mission having continued this year mn<:h
in the same state as they were the preceding one, with the exception
of the few changes from deaths and illness already mentioned, no par-
ticular reference to the different stations will be necessary. With one
or two interesting events therefore, we shall dismiss the history of the
year 1824.

The laying the foundation-stone of a permanent church at Char-
lotte, to be dedicated to St. John, was made the occasion of a solemn
assemblage of both Europeans and Africans. The interesting ceremony
took place on the 6th of January, and it was attended by most of the
superintendants of the other viUages, and a considerable number of
liberated Africans ; these were joined by many ladies and gentlemen
from Freetown, among whom were the Chief Justice, the members
of the council, and several of the magistrates. The Sierra Leone
Gazette of the 10th of January, commences its account of the pro-
ceedings thus : —

*' As soon as the ladies and gentlemen had taken their places, the
superintendant, Mr. Taylor, arose, and giving out a hymn appropriate
to the occasion, the v<Hces of the holy assembly burst upon the air in
one solemn strain of holy thank^ving and prayer ; making those
wilds resound with the name of our adored Creator, where a few years
since, nought was heard, save the fierce leopard's howl, or the hoarse
bark of the prowling wolf."

Prayer to God for a blessing on the undertaking was then offered,
and in the absence of Nylander, who was confined to his house by ill-
ness, Mr. T. Davey, schoolmaster of Leopold, delivered a pious and
appropriate address to the persons assembled, after which he requested
the Hon. Joseph Reffell, in the absence of the Chief Governor, who
was then at Cape Coast, to lay the foundation-^tone of the parish
church of St. John. That gentleman then advanced and addressed
himself to the liberated Africans around, he reminded them of the
repeated acts of Uberality performed for them by the British nation,
and called their attention to the corresponding duties, which it was
incumbent in them to fulfil ; after some more observations he expressed
a hope shortly to see them meet together in the church now about to
be built, and there join in one solemn heartfelt thanksgiving to their
Creator, for the numerous blessings which they enjoyed.

Mr. Reffell then deposited some new coins of the reigning
sovereign ; and the immense stone being lowered upon the base, he de-
clared in the usual words, the foundation-stone to be laid, and that the



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CHURCH BUILDING. 239

same WAS dedicated to St. John. The company hftving struck the
stone with the mason's mallet, and returned to their seats, Mr.
Thomas Bsvej again stepped forward and addressed the assembly,
espeaaDy that part of it resident in the town. After which, all
again joined in a hymn, another prayer followed, and the ceremony
ended.

In reference to this interesting event, Taylor wrote on the day of
its occurrence : —

" It was a delightful day to me ; and will, I trust, long be remem-
bered with thanksgiving to God who has spared me to see such a sight,
which I had a long time wished for, but scarcely dared to look forward
to. The church measures 80 feet by 40, with galleries on both sides
and at one end ; and will, when complete, contain upward of 2500
persons.

'* The ceremony was very pleasing ; so also was the consideration of
the change which has taken place here within the last five years : when
I consider these things, I feel thankful to God for what has been done.
Oh that He would make bare His arm, and ' build up a spiritual house
of lively stones/ raised on the sure foundation, even the tried, the
precious corner-stone, upon whom whosoever beUeveth shall not be
ashamed.

*' The difference in the appearance of this place, in a temporal view,
is indeed great. It may well be said ' the wilderness blossoms as the
rose.' Instead of a huge forest, are now to be seen a large town of
about 250 houses, with school houses for both sexes, a large tract of
land under cultivation, and every convenience of civilized life : and now
to crown the whole, a church is begun to be erected for the worship of
God ! Oh, that I could say the moral aspect was as pleasing to the
view of the christian ! Alas ! but few yet know that Saviour, whom to
know is life eternal.' "

Of those few however, Taylor could speak with comfort and confi-
dence. We before produced a few samples of their simple yet pointed
expression of their christian views. We cannot discard the following
which have come in our way : —

•* I hear my master read in God's word, * Not every one that saith
unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.' I say.
Ah that's me ! so I stand, I hear Grod's word, . and cry Lord, Lord,
but I don't believe €k)d's word. I fear very much that I shall be a
cast-away, for I hear Grod's word every time, I am so sinful, I can do
nothing good — nothing but sin. But again I consider that word that
Jesus says, ' Fear not little flock ; it is your Father's good pleasure to
give you the kingdom.' I feel comfort from that word. I hope Jesus
win save me, or I shall be lost ! I cannot tell the mercies of Jesus
which are behind, (meaning those already received), and those before I



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240 CHURCH MISSION IN SIBRRA LEONB.

don*t know them ; but goodness and mercj shall follow me all
the days of my life. I know that Jesus is the Saviour, the only



Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 32 of 73)