Samuel Abraham Walker.

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

. (page 37 of 73)
Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 37 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

and from one till three in the aft;emoon."

These arrangements having been communicated to the mission-
aries, " in order that they might accordingly r^ulate their visits to
the villages for catechizing the persons under instruction," they re-
quested an explanation of the nature and extent of the duty con-
veyed by the term " catechizing," which the Governor frimished to
them thus : —

" The clergymen, European catechists, and native teachers em-
ployed by the Society in this Colony, are to be at liberty to enter any
and all of the schools established in the villages of the liberated Afri-
cans, during the hours allotted for instruction ; examining them in all
the branches of learning taught in the same schools — also to advise
and admonish the teachers, as they may find it necessary ; and to
report to the Governor whatever they may consider as requiring cor-
rection or as admitting of improvement in the mode of conducting the
said schools, and to which they cannot apply a remedy without his

The schools were accordingly broken up, and the children dispersed
among their adult countrymen ; but when the people came to under-
stand that the children were still required to attend school, they said,
''We cannot feed and clothe them if they are to go to school : we want
them to work for us," and so rapid and fatal was the effect of this
system, that on the Governor visiting the Kissey schools on the 20th
of February, he found that they contained but ten girls — not a single
boy — and several of these girls had neither book nor card to learn

T 2

Digitized by



The necessity of another change now became evident, and on the
14th of March, the following notice was issued.

" ffis Excellency the Governor, having approved of the reestab-
lishment of the schools in the different villages of liberated Africans,
the attention of the managers is particularly desired as to the maimer
in which they are to be regulated.

" The hours of attendance pointed out by the instructions of His
Excellency, are to be strictly attended to.

"The dress of the children will be — ^for girls, a petticoat, and a
short jacket of blue and white check, with short sleeves, to be worn
over the petticoat — ^for boys, a pair of check trowsers, and a short
shirt of striped check to wear over the trousers ; these articles will be
issued from the stores of the liberated African department, in each
year, at Christmas and Midsummer, and the clothing due at Christ-
mas last will be ^ven to them immediately. The managers are not
expected to collect all the children, male and female, who were distri-
buted among the inhabitants of the different villages in December last :
but these are nevertheless to be encouraged to attend during the hours
of instruction, by every possible means ; and, at the half-yearly dis-
tribution of clothing, those boys and girls, who are recommended hj
the managers for regularity of attendance and general good conduct,
shall also receive the allowance of clothing, although not residing in
the schools or maintained by His Majesty's Government.

" The gentlemen of the Church lifissionary Society will, it is hoped,
regularly visit the schools at the hours most convenient to themselves :
and examine into the improvement of the pupils, and the capability of
the teachers, as well as the moral and religious conduct of eveiy one
connected with the schools. Any recommendation which these gen*
tlemen may make to the General Superintendant respecting pupils and
masters, and any su^estion which they may consider as likely to im-
prove these establishments as to these points, wiU be read with attention.

*' Half-yearly inspections of the progress of the children will be held,
at which the gentlemen of the Church Missionary Society will be re-
quested to preside in their own district : and selection will then be
made for those children whose inclination and capability to receive in-
struction have been most apparent : and where, either fipom habitual
idleness or from incapacity, but little progress has been made, the pu-
pils, in such cases, will be given out to the most decent inhabitants,
either by indenture or otherwise, for the purpose of being employed on
their farms, and such children will cease to be maintained at the ex-
pense of the Government.

" In all cases of flagrant neglect or ill-usage, on the part of any of
the persons to whom children have been already, or may hereafter be
distributed, the manager will remove such children from under the care

Digitized by



of their adopted parent, and the person so offending, shall never be
allowed again to receive any child from the schools."
By additional regulations it was ordered as follows : —
' " The scholars will be collected, as formerly, in a building adjoining
to tlie manager's residence : and His Majesty's Government will allow
two-pence per day for each from the 1st of March. The managers
are permitted to employ them in their farms, before and afler school-

It was quite evident from the most favourable of these arrangements,
that the authority of the missionaries over the schools, was entirely su-
perseded by that of the managers and sub-managers. Such a result,
and the regulations in which it originated, certainly were not anticipated,
much less conceded, in the agreement entered into by the Society with
Oovemment in the year 1 824. The Committee consequently offered to
Oovemment to take on themselves the whole charge of the schools,
rather than forfeit the position which they had so long occupied as the
Christian instructors of the population of the Colony. Nothing, they
rightly conceived, could more fatally interfere with the course which in
that diaracter they considered it necessary to adopt, than the association
of the children with the native adults around them ; whose conversa-
tion and habits could not fail to have the most .injurious effect on their
minds, and which must entirely neutralize the impressions produced on
them by the discipline and instruction of the schools. The authorities
at home, however, wished to give the new system a fuller trial, but
they expressed themselves as ready to concur with the Society, in
adopting some better-defined regulations on the subject.

Another of Sir Neil Campbell's regulations was more acceptable to
the missionaries : it was that of forming the villages of the liberated
Africans into three divisions, with names descriptive of their locality
viz. — ^The Eastern or River district, comprising fiLissey, Wellington,
Hastings, Waterloo, and two new villages named Calmont and Allen's
town ; these villages lie in a southern direction from Freetown, along
the eastern border of the Colony on the Bunce river and the Timma-
nee country. The central or mountain district, comprising Wellington,
Leicester, Gloucester,, Regent, Bathurst, Charlotte, and a new village
called Granfield. The Western or Sea district, comprising York,
Kent and the Bananas. This division of the Colony was considered
by the missionaries well adapted to its object — the efficient and econo-
mical application of the labour of superintendants and teachers.

By another regulation, the missionaries were relieved from the
office of civil superintendants of the settlements, undertaken by them
at the request of Sir Charles MacCarthy, and which entailed on them
much trouble and inconvenience. Besides this, the Committee re-

Digitized by



quested the Government to reserve the supply of Colonial ChapUdns—
liie time of the rector of Freetown being almost entirely occupied by
the merely official engagements of his situation, to the great hindrance
and disparagement of his missionary character. The Groyemor had
other changes in view, but his death in August, to which we have
adverted, prevented their being effected. We now turn to the more
immediate consideration of the missionary work.

The severe losses which the mission had of late years sustained in
the deaths of its European labourers, induced the Committee to turn
their attention more earnestly than ever to the raising up of a native
agency, to fulfil the obhgations which the Society had taken upon
itself of conferring the blessings of the Christian religion on Africa.
They had therefore "come to a fixed determination/' they said, "of
prosecuting by all means in their power and in any place, • whether in
Europe or Africa, which may ultimately prove most ehgible, the
education of intelligent and pious natives, vrith the view of their be-
coming Christian teachers among their countrymen." To make the
attempt in England, we have seen that they placed two African youths
under the care of a clergyman there : and with the intention of pursu-
ing their object vnth vigor in Africa, they committed the revival of the
Christian Institution to the Rev. C. L. F. Haensel, formerly assistant
at the B&sle Missionary Institution. Mr. Haensel had been admitted to
Deacon's orders by the Bbhop of London, on Trinity Sunday, 1826,
and to priest's orders on Sunday, December the 24tb, in the same
year. Affected by the account of the Society's West Africa missioDi
he had freely offered himself to live and labour in instructing A/Hcan
youths, in order to their becoming teachers of their country-men.

The following b a succinct account of all the youths who resided lo
the Christian Institution from its removal in 1819 from Leicester
mountain to Regent's Town, to its dissolution in 1826.

Of thirty-seven youths admitted, nine accompanied the Institution
from Leicester mountain, and 28 were admitted at Regent. The
causes of leaving the Institution were : sickness 1 — enlisted 1 — ^ran
away 1 — taken away by his parents 1 — ^not known 3 — dismissed for
immoral conduct 1 — ^left when without teachers, or dismissed for dis-
obeying rules and orders 1 1 — married contrary to the regulations 10—
married 1 — ^married, and now schoolmasters 5— died 2. — Of the 35
surviving at the beginning of 1827, the following account was given:
reside in different occupations, at Regent 13, at Gloucester 2, at Leopold
1 — at Leicester mountain 1 — at Freetown 4 — ^up the river 1 — and at
Tambo 1 — ^in the army 1 — schoolmasters 5 — not known or not stated 6.

" While," observed Mr. Raban, " the trying events which have
taken place in reference to those who successively had charge of the

Digitized by



Instituiioii, have necessarily been followed by painftil consequences,
and have led to a derangement of the plans formed for the superintend-
ance of the students, perhaps there has been as much of a pleasing nature
in reference to the conduct of the students themselves, as on a due
consideration of all the circumstances, might reasonably be expected.'*
The Committee were gratified to find from a letter addressed to them
by order of the Governor, that his Excellency highly approved of the
object for which Mr. Haensel had been sent out, and that he expressed
bis opinion of that gentleman's fitness for the office assigned to him as
far as he had an opportunity of forming a judgment.

No site had been fixed upon for the reestablishment of the Institu-
tion. It was found that the buildings at Regent would require repairs
to the amount, at the lowest estimate, of ^1200. The Grovemor sug-
gested several situations, but it was finally determined that Mr.
Haensel should make a beginning in Freetown, when he was required
to assist Mr. Betts in the labours of the ministiy, and to succeed him
on his return home. On the 3rd of April 1827, he received his first
pupil, and at the end of the month two more ; a fourth was added the
following month, but of these four it was found that only one answered
the description given in Mr. HaenseFs instructions, of those who should
be received as students of the Institution. He found it however, im-
possible to act strictly up to these instructions, and admitted the other
three youths on probation. The difficulties which thus beset him at
the threshold of his work, caused him to look with apprehension to
the effect which the new Government system would have on the future
interests of the Institution. '* If," he asks, " even under the former
system, one youth only was formed to a fitness for reception into the
Institution, how is it to be under the new system, which allows us
much less influence over the children at school, because it deprives us
of the appointment of schoolmasters, and takes them altogether from
under our eye, out of school-hours."

Another source of anxiety which the new system suggested, was the
occupation of such youths as should be trained in the Institution to
become native teachers, after leaving that seminary, and before fitted
by experience and judgment to become instructors of others. " Are they,"
asked Mr. Haensel, "to be given over to Government, as the present
system would require, to be subject to the control of the managers and
sub-managers ? " The only reply which it appeared could be given to
this question, was that, " while the missionaries should continue to
have no voice in placing or displacing the schoolmasters, or in appoint-
ing those who were to have authority over them, or to labour under
them ; the Society could never allow youths trained up with assiduous
care to be thus exposed to evil."

Mr. Betts, while labouring as a minister at Freetown, could not help

Digitized by



deploring the almost entire occupation of his time by the merely official
engagements of his situation, and contrasting his employments with
the more spiritual avocations of the Wesleyan Methodists^ of whom lie
speaks in a spirit of disinterested candor worthy of imitation.
" These gentlemen/' he says, " proceed on the principle of not knowing
anything, but to preach Christ and Him crucified. They are resohed
to engage in nothing which shall at all divert them from visiting their
people and preaching constantly : while the Rector of Freetown smks
in the estimation of the more disoeming of the Africans ; who are not
able to account for it, that he does not engage in the same evangelical
duties : he has no time to visit the hospitals, the jail, and the abodes
of sickness, vice and misery : he has no time for social interoonrse
with his hearers ; nor by constantly going among them to evince that
he is their spiritual father and affectionate minister. The Wesleyan
missionaries have such time, and spend it incessantly in these labours
of love : and what is the consequence P They have neat and crowded
chapels, built in great measure by the voluntary contributions of an
affectionate people, whose hearts are attached to their ministers, and
open, through tiie winning influence of tibe private attention which they
receive from them, to the public instruction which those ministers
impart. I rejoice in the good which I trust ihey are doing : I bid them
God speed ; but I lament at the same time, that we are not in pos-
session of like advantages."

Mr. Haensel expresses similar feelings. " While," he writes, "we
are surrounded with difficulties, spending our time and strength in
performing parochial duties, the Wesleyan missionaries add chapel to
chapel — collect congregation after congregation within such a distance
as they can conveniently visit : appoint exhorters as fit men ofier —
keep Sunday schools — ^visit the prisoners and sick in the jail and
hospital — receive the sheep of their ovm flock in their houses, and be-
come intimately acquainted with them — ^and admit to the ordinance
such as they believe to be lively members of Christ's Church."

This testimony to fellow-labourers in the same field, is honorable to
both denominations. Oh that such a spirit among Christians abroad
could be imitated by those at home, so that loving Christ above all
things, the estimate in which we held our fellow-men, without any
reference to this or that earth-born designation, should be regulated
only by the evidences of their love and devotion to Him !

According to the report of the Commissioners of Inquiry, the follow-
ing was the state of Freetown in 1826 as regarded the means of
spiritual instruction enjoyed by the inhabitants, and the accounts of
the different congregations attending the persons officiating as teachers.
The Ust was furnished to the Commissioners by the Rev. Mr. Pigott,
Wesleyan missionary, who says :

Digitized by



*' Of the indiTiduals that officiate, and the number and description of
whom their congregations are principally composed, I have to state as
fi^ows : — ^Bev. John Baban 200, few Europeans ; the Royal Africans
oorps, and a few disbanded soldiers. Rev. W. Pigott 280, few
£uropean8. Maroons, liberated Africans, Portuguese and Congo peo-
ple^ few settlers. Messrs. J. Wise, Stober, and Elliott 350, Settlers,
liberated AMcans, disbanded soldiers, few Maroons. Mr. Colin
Teague 40, liberated Africans and settlers. Mr. Peters 30, li-
berated Africans and settlers. Mr. Gordon 30, Maroons, settlers,
and liberated Africans. Mr. John D. Brian, 30, Maroons and libe«
rated Africans. Mr. Ellis 100, liberated Africans, disbanded soldiers,
settlers, and few Maroons."

The Report of the Commissioners of Inquiry here quoted, con-
tained much valuable information on the subject of the Colony
generally, and of each of the liberated African villages in detail. We
think we cannot do better than avail ourselves of their description of
these villages as far as it falls within our limits, premising that whatever
met their eye in these villages appeared at the period of their visit under
the greatest possible disadvantage, after at all events two years of heavy
calamities, including the frequent deaths and removal of Missionaries,
the cessation of Government works, and the consequent disorder and
depression of the native populations.

*' KissET is three miles from Freetown, it is the only'settlement in
^hich the practice of employing individuals to assist in cultivating
the farms, has been found to exist to any considerable extent ; they
are generaUy the friends and country-people of the fanner ; to assist
whom, they assemble for a period seldom exceeding two or three days,
during which their food is their only remuneration, it being under*
stood that they in their turn, are to receive the like assistance ; in one
instance indeed it was stated by the liberated African Sendawa, that he
hired a man for twelve weeks, to whom he paid four dollars a month,
besides his food ; but, in another case he said he had hired twelve men
for one day, to assist in sowing his rice, and only gave them their food.
From the statement of this man, who appeared to have made greater
progress in agriculture than the generality of the liberated Africans,
some idea may be formed of the difference between the manner in
which they labour when their work is desultory, and when it requires
continued and steady application ; for he states that the twelve men
employed by him sowed four bushels of rice in one day, whOe it re-
quired eighteen days of his own labour to sow the remaining two
bushels, which at the rate at which the twelve men laboured, he
should have performed in six days.

" The houses at Kissey are all of the kind usually occupied by

Digitized by



liberated Africans, with the exception of three stone-bouses beloDg^n^
to masons who had been brought up as apprentices in the engineer de-
partment ; and of two firame-houses : these frame-houses are of one
story, with a gallery on each side ; the stone-houses are upon the same
plan above, but have a half-story below, which is made use of as a
store. The persons to whpm these stone-houses belong appear to be
industrious tradesmen ; they are employed as masons on the pubfic
works at Freetown, to which place they repair before the working bour
every morning. The public buildings consist of a church, a snperin-
tendant*s house, a school-house, and a small house built for a teacher
The church has never been finished, and is now much out of repair ;
this is a large stone building, and it was intended that it should have a
spire, which however has not been erected. The superintendants
house is also of stone, two stories high, with galleries on aU sides ; it
requires some repairs, but is in other respects a comfortable dwelling,
although unnecessarily large.

*' Wellington is situated upon the left bank of the Bunce river, a
short distance above its junction with the river Sierra Leone ; and con-
sequently has the advantage of communication with Freetown, distant
about seven miles.

*' Mr. Macfoy, a man of colour, born and educated in the United
States, is superintendant of the settlement, and his wife has charge of
the female school.

" The only public buildii^s are, the house of the superintendant,
and a store attached to it, both of which are new and appear to be
good ; the house is of stone, two stories high, with galleries on every
side. The girls' school is held in a very inferior wattle-house, where
the girls sleep also ; it is much too small, and in every way unfit for
its purpose. The boys' school is also held in a wattle-house, where
they sleep at night, and where divine service is performed by Mr.

*'The soil in the vicinity of Wellington is a medium between that
of the mountain villages and the more alluvial soil around Hastings.
Many of the villages have extended themselves towards Hastings on
the one side and Kissey on the other, in quest of better or more
retired situations ; in the rear, their progress has been confined by a
considerable hill, at the bottom of which the village of Wellington lies.

" The houses in the villages, superior to those usually occupied by
liberated Africans, are four in number, and all the property of dis-
banded soldiers. There was also an unfinished stone-house belonging
to a man who had been originally a liberated African, but had served
in and been discharged from the African corps ; he was a sawyer by
trade, and stated that, as long as he received wages as a sawyer, he

Digitized by



Applied the surplus to the erection of his house ; but the suspension
of public works having put a stop to his wages, his house was at a
stand, and he continued to occupy his former habitation.

" As Hastings is approached, the soil becomes gradually deeper,
and the situation of the village appears considerably more eligible for
an Agricultural settlement than any other in the Peninsula ; the moun-
tains to the southward are, as elsewhere, covered to the summit with
^wood ; and the village, which lies at the foot of these, has an extent
of several miles good level land stretching to the northward and east-
i0vard, where it is bounded by the Bunce river, which forms a water
communication with Freetown, distant by this route not more than
Tiine miles. The only public building is that intended for the super-
intendant, whicluis large ; and if completed, would be a comfortable
house, it is of stone, two stories high, with galleries on every side ;
but it is quite uninhabitable, the work having been suspended by
Major Greneral Turner. The superintendant, therefore, occupies at
present the building intended for a kitchen, there are one small stone
and two small frame-houses in this village ; the others being of the
usual description : the stone-house was built by a disbanded soldier,
who died before it was completed, and it is occupied in an unfinished
state by his widow ; the finme-houses, though small, are comfortable,
and belong to disbanded soldiers. The boys' school is kept in a wattle-
house, thatched with grass, in which also Divine worship is performed.

" Watbeloo is distant from Hastings about eight miles ; the path-
way, like that to Hastings, is cut through the wood, sometimes along
the sides of the mountains, aud at others over those levels, which,
in the peninsula, are called grass-fields ; at a distance they present the
appearance of such, but on examination are found to be formed of level
beds of porous rock, the surface of which is covered with a spongy
soil of one or two inches in depth, producing a rank and sour grass,
unfit for pasture, although cattle are occasionally turned out upon it.

<< This village is situated on the bank of a creek of the same name,

Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 37 of 73)