Samuel Abraham Walker.

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

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the climate requires — the other is a mnd house, thatched with grass,
and now going to decay : it was formerly occupied hy the Superintend-
ant, and is at present used hy some of the girls hefore alluded to, who
do not find accommodation more to their liking elsewhere. There is,
hesides, a wretched mud house, in which, during Mr. Crerher's residence,
divine service was performed, and in which the hoys' school is now
kept ; it is hy no means in a state to protect them from the weather/'

The new settlement of Allen Town was formed in the latter part of
1826, on a plan suggested hy Mr. W. Allen, after whom it was named.
" It is situated,*' says the 28th Report of the Society, '* near Hastings,
on the stream which flows from the hills through Regent, and which
was formerly called Hogbrook, but now Friends' river. The scenery is
highly beautiful. The inhabitants are about 100; chiefly newly
liberated Africans, and therefore little acquainted with English : there
are 25 scholars. Divine service is established : about 25 attend."

Calmont, another of the new Settlements "which," says the
same Report, "is 19 miles from Wilberforce," consisted, at the end of
1826, of only a few natives ; but at Michaelmas, 1827 there were 2€S
liberated Africans, men, women and children, who had been sent
thither chiefly in the early part of that year. The Headman, placed
here by Government under Mr. Pierce the manager, was John Plague;,
formerly a sergeant in the 4th West India regiment, and one of Mr.
Metzger's most experienced communicants at Wellington ; *' he calls the
people together," writes Mr. Metzger, " twice on the Sunday with
much success. William Tamba, who attended service there on June
1 7th, found the place of worship, which is a te^pporary house, foil of
attendants. The thing we most regret is, that they can hardly tin-
derstand any English ; and it can only be ascribed to the pious exer-
tions of John Plague, that they are at least in the way of being in-
formed both in the language of the word of God, and of its saving

" At Calmont," says William Tamba, " I speak to the people in the
afternoon. Whenever I go, I always find the house quite fnll, and the
people waiting for me : they are glad to hear the word of God ; about
200 people attend, including children."

Grassfield, a third new Settlement, was formed, about three miles
and a half from Charlotte on the Hastings road. It contained at first
about 175 inhabitants, chiefly deserters from the mountain villages.
An attempt was begun this year to instruct them, but Mr. Davey, who
visited them to preach the gospel, could not collect them together, so
strongly were they addicted to their native superstitions.

Mr. Haensel suffered much from fever during the months of
August and September, but the Lord graciously raised him up to con-
tinue his valuable services at this critical period of the mission. Hie

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wiiiiiished state of the Freetown Cburcb had given him much pain,
iNit at Michaehnas he was able to report that a move was made to-
imds snppljing the deficiency that existed in this respect. *' I re-
joke to inform yon," he wrote to the Secretary '* that half the building
erected for a Church, and which has so long stood unfinished, and
lieen appropriated to other purposes, has been partitioned off by a wall
tern top to bottom and is to be fitted up as a place of worship." The
other half was appropriated to a residence for th^ officiating clergymen.
The Rev. J. G. Wilhelm was appointed to the mission Chapel at
Gibraltar town, and Mr. Haensel, as we have already mentioned,
iBMlertook the Sunday services at Freetown until the arrival of a
Government Chaplain.

Little effectual benefit could be expected from the mission in its
present crippled condition — scarcely that of maintaining the ground
already won. At one period the ministerial duties of all the African
villages devolved on the Rev. J. G. Wilhelm and the Rev. G. W. £.
Metzger, and even the former of these was for some time laid aside
by illness. One native teacher, John Attarra, was this year taken
into the service of the Society on probation, and the two clergymen
jost named were assisted by four natives until October, when one
of the latter was suspended for illconduct,* these facts but too pain-
fully disclose the spiritual condition of the Colony during the greater
part of the year 1827.

A favourable change in the state of the mission took place as the
year advanced. Mr. and Mrs. Davey, whose departure home the
previous year has been mentioned, landed at Freetown on their return
to their missionary labours on the 2nd September. Mr. Davey had
during his absence been admitted to deacon's orders by the Bishop of
London, on the 24th of December 1826, and to those of priest on
Trinity Sunday 1827, so that he now proved a peculiarly valuable ac-
quisition to the mission. On his arrival he was placed in the spiritual
charge of the whole Mountain District, assisted by David Noah and
William Tamba, and afterwards by two European schoolmasters,
whose arrival we have yet to notice.

The Rev. Thomas Dave/s manner of supplying, as far as practica-
ble under present circumstances, the wants of the several stations in
his district, is thus related by himself :

" I have endeavoured to supply the various places on a Sunday, in
the following maimer. Regent and Gloucester alternately at ten in the
morning and three in the afternoon : Leicester mountain at one in the
affcemoon ; and Bathurst and Charlotte alternately at ten in the morning
and three in the afternoon ; David Noah, taking the former three one

* All the native schoolmasters and schoolmistresses, formerly in connection with the
Society, were in the beginning of the year taken into the service of government.

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Sunday, and the latter two on the other Sunday ; and myself doingf
the same, with the addition of early prayers at Bathnrst^ and an ei-
hortation in the evening." Of the oommumcantfl of his district
generally, he could not speak with approhation, and of the spiritiial
condition of the villages, he speaks in his reports vrith pain and fcffpet ;
hut what, we ask, would be the condition of the most highly-diadplined
parish in England or Ireland, from which its pastors and means of
grace had been almost entirely withdrawn for three or lour years?
Let those who are disposed to entertain a feeling of disappointment at
the general state of this mission, put this question to themselves.

Six more Missionaries arrived on the 9th of December — two, theRer.
Messrs. Betts and Gerber, to resume former laboars, and fmir, Mrs.
Gerber, Mr. and Mrs. Heighway and Mr. Edmund Boston, to midei^
take new ones. Mr. Gerber, during his visit to the oontinent ci
Europe, had entered again into the married state, and with his new
partner now returned to Africa. The distribution of these ftetb
arrivals was as follows : — the Rev. John Grerber was associated with
Mr. Metzger in the care of the River District, Mr. and Mrs. Gerber
residing at Waterloo, and Mr. and Mrs. Metzger at Wellington. They
were assisted by William Tamba. The Rev. W. K. Betts nndertook
the superintendance of the Sea District, assisted by William Neville,
native teacher. Mr. Heighwa/s services were allocated to the moun-
tain district, where also his wife was associated with Mrs. Taylor in the
care of an infant school at Bathurst ; Mr. Edmond Boston was also
appointed to the Mountain District as catechist.

The number of schools in the Colony at the dose of this year under
the charge of Grovemment, was twenty-one, twelve for boys and mi»
for girls. In these were instructed 659 boys and 445 girls, mdcing a
total of 1 104 scholars. Thirty-six persons, twenty- two males and foar-
teen females, were employed as teachers in these schools. The
Missionaries contented themselves under the new arrangements, with
inspecting the schools during the hours of instruction, though they
felt it very painful to be precluded from all influence over the diildreii
out of school hours. The system of apprenticing African chiWrea
was carried to an extent which the Missionaries greatly deplored, be-
cause the apprentices almost without exception were deprived of ny^
further means of instruction, being sent neither to school nor to
church. Their masters and mistresses seemed to look upon them as
scarcely better than slaves ; and if the scanty clothing with which they
supplied them, would warrant a judgment of the treatment they re-
ceived, their condition seemed far from desirable.

A new and interesting feature in the general education of the Colony
was the opening of an infant-school at Bathurst, by the Rev. ThomiS
Davey. It was attended at the end of the year by seventy-one ^"

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dren bom in the Colony, of the age of from two to seven years. It
bad abready heen attended with perceptibly useful results.

The number of the communicants under the Society this year, was
590, last year it was 605 : no great diminution therefore in this
respect had occurred.

The contributions to the Church Missionary Society on the part of
tbe liberated Africans ceased this year altogether, in consequence of the
Cbristian liberality of the different congregations being directed to the
supply of palm oil for the lighting of the churches for evening service ;
tbe Colonial government having declined to defray any longer the
expence which it had hitherto borne on that account.

Tbe population of the settlements at the close of the year 1 827,
vras as follows — ^The sum includes men, women* and children.

Kissey, 1133— WelUngton, . 1157— Hastings, 1116— Waterloo,
1087 — Leicester, 327— Gloucester, 911— Regent, 1566— Bathurst.
in wbich Leopold is included, these villages having been incorporated,
844 — Charlotte, 891— York, 970— Kent. 837— Bananas, 254— Cal-
mont, 281— Allentown, 94— Grassfield, 175— Total, 11603.

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We have set down the population of all the settlements at the end of
the year 1827, at 11603. To minister to this population in spiritual
things, there were, in the heginning of the year 1828, six dergymen;
three English and three Lutheran, three European and one native
catechist, one native and two European schoolmistresses and three
native teachers ; besides these there were four wives of clergymen, and
the wife of one of the schoolmasters or catechists. A still very inade-
quate provision for the urgent wants of the C!olony.

Even this small number, however, was soon to be diminished. Mr.
Thomas Heighway, whose arrival in the Colony on the 9th of December,
has been announced, proceeded to his station at York. On the followiog
Sunday he was a good deal exposed to the sun, in an attempt before
public service to enforce the due observance of the Sabbath, and when
he afterwards addressed the people who were assembled for public
worship, he over-exerted himself to a degree which could not fail to excite
the apprehension of his European friends. In the afternoon he com-
plained of headache, and found it necessary to take some medicine ;
his indisposition however increasing, he removed to Freetown for medi-
cal advice on the following Thursday; but his case, it was soon
ascertained, was beyond the efforts of human skiU. Though Satan
was permitted to harass him at the beginning of his illness, the
temptation endured but a short time ; and afterwards his mind wa^
sweetly composed and resigned to the will of God ; he remained in
a peaceful fnme until Monday, January 7, when, about four o'clock in
the afternoon, he quietly fell asleep in Jesus.

" He was a man," wrote Mr. Davey, '* of strong faith, ardent seal,
and fervent prayer. I had the privilege to see much of him at Isling-
ton, and after his arrival he remained with me a few days at Bathorst,

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and assisted me in rarious ways, in the schools and addressing the
people of this district* His whole sonl seemed to be drawn out in a
peculiar manner for the eternal welfare of those for whom he had left
bia native ooantry and came out hither to labour."

Mrs. Weeks, who was stationed as schoolmistress at Freetown, had
been prevented by impaired health from taking a part in the female
school of which she was in charge ; and her return to England being
strongly urged by her medical advisers^ she and her husband em*
barked on the 21st of February for England; thus were two more
labourers lost for -the present to the Mission.

Mrs. Taylor was located as schoolmistress at Freetown, where her
presence was of increased importance at the departure of Mrs. Weeks.
So prejudicial, however, was the climate of that place to her healthy
that after suffering severely from illness it was found necessary to re-
move her to the mountain district, where during her residence at
Charlotte she generally enjoyed good health. Accordingly she was
associated with Mrs. Heighway in the infant school at Bathurst, where
her constitution was considerably restored. Her removal, however, and
that of Mrs. Weeks, occasioned much inconvenience to the Freetown
schools, and it was found necessary to unite the two divisions of those
schools which had been formed the year preceding ; leaving the native
teacher, Greoige Fox, in charge of the boys' school, and his wife of
that of the girls.

Added to these disasters among the European labourers was the
severe illness of the native teacher, William Tamba ; he was* confined
for several months with a distressing rheumatic attack, which of
course deprived the Mission of his services, which were always very

The interesting ceremony of opening St. George^s church, Freetown,
took place on the 1 3th of January. The Rev. Thomas Davey read
prayers, and the Rev. C. L. F. Haensel preached on the occasion from
Ezra vi. 16. The following Sunday Mr. Davey preached from Isaiah
Iv. 10, 11. These clergymen undertook to preach on alternate Sun-
days until a Chaplain should be appointed. At first the congregation,
including the mihtary and school-children, amounted to 600. Soon
after, however, this mmnber was considerably diminished. When
the rains commenced, the military were withdrawn, and some of the
young natives ceased to attend ; at the setting in of the dry weather
the attendance amounted to about 300. In spring, Haensel wrote about
the church with great satisfaction :

"Freetown," he said, *'has received an immense benefit by the
church being opened. We hear the church-going bell now every
sabbath, and have if not a complete, nor showy, yet a decent place of

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298 cHumcH mission im sukia uiomb.

worship. I am delimited to see erery Sunday a good many beadies
filled with well-dreflsed and seemingly attentiTe young natires, proba-
bly of the better dass of mechanics, or a step higher ; and I eanesdy
pray that their attendance may be tlie means of oon^eying spiiitosl
good to the minds of this, to me, by far the moat mteraatk^ part of
the congregation."

On the 1 1th of Jnne, Divine Service was held in the ehurch at the
request of the Chief Justice and the other oomnuBsioners, previous to
the opening of the Quarter Sessions. Haensd read prayers and Mr.
Davey preached from 1 Sam. ii. 25. A great many colcNied men, be-
sides a considerable number of Europeans, attended this assize sermon.
''The first," said the Missionaries, ''ever preached in this Colony
within our knowledge."

Many of the native parents b^an at this time to desire for their
children a superior education to that provided in the schools opened
for every dass of children indiscriminately. Those parents could well
afford to pay for sndi an education in the Colony, though as yet they
either had not the means or did not feel disposed to send their childrea
to England for the purpose. Respectable boarding aehools b^an to
be demanded, and the Missionaries greatly regretted that it did
not ML within the business of the Society to supply them. The
demand, however, was indicative of the intellectual as well as socisl
advancement of the Colony. On this subject we have an additional
testimony in the criminal statistics of the period. The Sierra Leone
Gazette thus speaks of Sessions recently held : —

"It is some gratification to know that notwithstanding these
Sessions have been unusually heavy, still, that out of nineteoi prisonerB
in the calendar, only two were liberated Africans; althoii^ this
class of persons forms nine-tenths of the community of the Colony,
and that but one of these was found guilty ; whereas the time of the
court was taken up with the crimes committed by Kroomen, thirteen
of whom were tried for various offences."

The determination of the Committee to carry on the Christisn
Institution effectively, led the Missionaries to look out for better
accommodation for it than Freetovra could afford. A providentisl
opening towards such an end was made at the beginning of this year,
by the sale of land and premises that appeared to offer peculiar advan-
tages in the way in v^iich it was desired to make use of them.
Mr. Haensel thus announces the matter to the Committee : —

" The late Governor Turner's estate on Foursh Bay, in the Sierra
Leone river, is to be sold in small lots as they may be called for ; and
we have a tender of that part of it which includes all the buildings,
and nine acres, one rood, five perches of land, at the price of i63d5. A

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wall or fence, drawn in a straight line from one side of the point of
land to the other, would, with the water on every other side, form a
situation altogether secluded. The buildings consist of the former
dwelling-house, which is a stone building, with a slated roof, oonsidera*
blj out of repair, but which will admit of being fitted up at an expence
of somewhat more than ^6100, and will then answer the purposes of
the Institution, until the number of the pupils shall exceed ten. For
the enlargement then required, provision is partly made by a sub-
stantial stone building, which was erected by Governor Turner,
close by the dwelling-house ; so as to admit of being connected with
the piaEsa of the latter by a short passage ; that stone building will
then have to be fitted up, and will probably afford accommodation for
the greatest number of pupils which the Institution is ever likely to
contain. A well close by the dwelling-house, supplies the estate with
excellent water ; and an out-house will serve for keeping fuel. These
buildings are at the extremity of the neck of land, there are also two
unfurnished buildings at the entrance, which may either be reserved
for future use, or. taken down to furnish materials for a waU. The
farm and garden have been entirely neglected since Governor Turner's
death, and will require to be cleared to bring them again into

" This estate is near the fashionable rides called the Lower Road
and the Race Course ; but it is at a sufficient distance to secure retire-
ment, especially to the houses, which are protected by a part of the
estate which lies between them and the entrance. It is as nearly as
possible in the middle between Freetown and Kissey ; thus affording
easy communication with Freetown, and yet admitting of the Institu-
tion being connected with Kissey, whither the youths would go to re-
ceive the Lord's Supper. A prospect of forming a children's school
does not yet appear, as there are not many houses in its vicinity ; but
if the other parts of the estate should be disposed of in small lots to
black people, that object also might be attained at a subsequent period.'*

The prenoises were purchased by the missionaries for S320 : 1 1 : 6.
The house was situated a mile and a half from Freetown : of the situa^
tion, scenery &c. we must allow Mr. Haensel to speak : —

*' I am highly favoured by the residence which I am at present
occupying with the youths under my charge; we removed to this
beautiful spot on Monday, the 18th of February : and I have hitherto
only been confirmed in my opinion, that a more suitable spot far the
purposes of the Institution could not have been selected. It includes
every convenience which we want ; the well supplying water for the
boys washing their clothes without going to the brook : so that there
is no ordinary occasion for them to leave the grounds, except for going

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to Kissey church on Sunday morning. The house is now a most com-
fortable residence, and has been much admired for its suitableness to
our purposes. The prospect from the south piazza, embracdng the whole
range from Kissej church to Cape Sierra Leone, is beautiful beyond
description : and I doubt whether one superior to it is to be found in
the Colony. The sea-breeze keeps the place so cool, that, for the first
two nights after remoying from Freetown, I could bear a blanket very

At Michaelmas there were six youths in the Institution — Samuel
Crowther, John Harvey, James Jones, John Pope, John Wright, and
William Tamba, son of the native teacher of that name. In the care
and education of these, Haensel laboured assiduously, with good hopes
through God's grace of making them ultimately useftd to their coun-

The difficulties of a sadly defective instrumentality, still pressed
heavily on the mission and the missionaries. European agency to a
considerable extent, was now almost as necessary as ever. Native
teachers had for some time been found useful when acting under
European superintendence and control, but as yet it was considered
very injudicious to employ them alone, for want of that stability of
character and entire freedom from native taint, which alone could en-
title them to confidence. The missionaries were not sanguine as to
a speedy realization of the hopes entertained by christians at home,
of raising up a native ministry, competent to undertake the work oi
instruction and discipline.

" I cannot at present," said Davey, " see any probability of our
having the number of efficient native teachers required : nor have I
even a distant hope, that we shall in our days, fihd such native teachers
as are really wanted, for keeping up regular church discipline. For
want of such, look at the pitiable state of the congregations and com-
municants of Regent and Gloucester. The mountain district requires,
I think, at least two clergymen. You have no idea what an extent of
groimd it occupies ; and how difficult it is, from its being so moun-
tainous, to get from one place to another. While, therefore, we have
not an adequate number of efficient native teachers, that deficiency
must, I think, be made up by a greater supply of catechists. And
the Colony requires seven clergymen ; for we have felt, oftentimes, the
want of one, who should have no regular duty, but be a sort a(
visiting clergyman ; that is, supply the stations during the sickness of
any of the brethren, or take charge of one in the event of temporary
absence on a visit to Europe.''

The feelings of the missionaries, under the discouragements of their
position, as expressed in their communications with the authorities at

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home, were such as became their high and heavenly calling ; and we
most often feel crarselves called npon to adore the supporting grace of
the Most High, for the spirit of cheerful acquiescence with His divine
will, breathed by them in their reports of the many trying visitations,
to which they were subjected in the course of their labours. At the
same time, these single-minded men did not conceal the fact, that the
disturbing causes to which they were exposed, sometimes produced the
effects that might be expected from them, in the case of fallible human
beings : for example, one of them made the following ingenuous ad-
Hussion in one of his quarterly reports to the brethren.

"While I acknowledge and adore the goodness of God, in restoring to
me the bodily strength which my labours require, I feel constrained
to humble myself in stating the very lamentable e£fect which the influ-
ence of the climate has produced upon my mind. Ever since my ill-
ness, there has been an irritability about me, which has led me into

Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 39 of 73)