Samuel Abraham Walker.

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

. (page 69 of 73)
Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 69 of 73)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


longer bear them ; he immediately put them off ; and soon after he
bad done so, trusting only in God, he went down to Freetown, to his
customer, from whom he received a more favourable reception than
ever ; for which he acknowledged that God was the only giver of all
good things."

We have mentioned the departure from Sierra Leone of the Mission-
aries appointed to Abbeokouta on the 18th of December. They em-
barked in an American vessel called the " Adario," which happened to
be in the harbour of Freetown. A frame house constructed for Mr.
Townsend in England, and another prepared for Mr. Gollmer in Sierra
Leone, together with other necessary supplies, were put on board.



Digitized by



Google



551 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

Previous to their departure, Mr. Townsend received a letter of in-
troduction from the Lieutenant Governor to Sodeke, chief of Abbeo-
kouta, and another to the native chief, who stiled himself the Eng-
lish Governor of Badagry. The Missionaries were also furnished with
a letter to the king of Dahomey by Commodore James of her Majest/s
ship " Penelope." Mr. Warburton adds :

'* Immediately before going on board we assembled together in the
Mission-house, Freetown, and commended each other to the care and
blessing of God. The season was solemn and profitable. Several of
the brethren accompanied them to the ship, and continued with them
till the anchor was weighed and they were proceeding out to sea, when
we heartily bade them God speed."

The Mission lost two of its female laborers this year, Mrs. MuUer,
wife of Mr. J. C. Muller, Catechist of Kissey, who died in that
village of fever on the 9th of May, after a few days illness, and Mrs.
Smith, wife of the Rev. J. Smith, who sunk beneath the same fatal
disease at Freetown, on the 26th of December, having only reached
the Colony in company with her husband and Mr. and Mrs. Peyton
on the 3rd of the same month. In reference to the first of these losses
the Rev. J. Warburton wrote :

^' May 9, 1844. I heard with deep regret, this day, of the death
of Mrs. Miiller, and followed her remains to their resting-place in the
burial ground at Kissey. By this solemn providence the Society and
the Mission have been deprived of a cheerful, active, and pious
labourer. While, however, we sorrow for the loss we have sustained,
I would notice, with gratitude to our heavenly Father, that this is the
only death, by the country fever, that we have had for about* two
years and a half, during which period eight new comers have joined
the Mission."

The Rev. J. Smith writing of his departed wife, observed :

" She oflen said that the place and the people far exceeded her ex-
pectation. She would sometimes say, 'We have every thing to en-
courage us to proceed with our work. Surely God has greatly owned
and blessed the work among this simple-hearted people. I only wish
that those kind Christian ladies in England, who feel so much interest
in the welfare of their sex in heathen lands, could see with their own
eyes these dear children in the schools : I am sure they would feel a
double interest for the future.' And again with reference to the
Sunday school of adults at Gloucester, she said, ' There appears to be
so much simphcity, mingled with so much sincerity and affection, that
I did not expect to find here.' "

Notwithstanding these two cases of disease and death, the mission-
aries had occasion to speak in grateful terms of the increased heathiness



Digitized by



Google



LAYING THE FIRST STONE OF THE FOURAH BAY INSTITUTION. 555

of the Colouy. At the quarterly meeting of the missionaries in March,
not one of the twenty-three European clergymen and catechists com-
posing the mission was absent.

" How diflFerent," says Mr. Warhurton, " was the first meeting of
the kind which I attended on my return to Sierra Leone in 1835, when
only seven persons were present^ and that small number included all
the clergymen and catechists, European and Native, then in the mis-
sion ! Truly the Lord of the harvest has sent out labourers. May a
rich harvest be reaped by them ! "

Of the Timmanee mission this year there is little to be said : the
missionaries, the Rev. C. F. Schlenker, and the Rev. D. H. Schmid,
continued to labour in faith, not being as yet allowed to see any fruit
of their ministry. During part of the year, the Ali Kali was absent
from Port Lokkoh, and no opportunity was then afforded of addressing
the natives in their own language on the Lord's day, but the English
services were regularly held at the missionary premises. There were
thirty-eight boys, and ten girls in the schools, twenty-seven of these
were now able to read, and their progress in learning was represented
as satisfactory.

The year 1845 will hereafter be a remarkable one, in the annals of
the West African church, for the planting of the first offshoot of the
christian mission, which now for forty years had been struggling into
maturity amidst perils and disasters which nothing but such an en-
terprize of grace and mercy could have withstood. We are called upon
now to accompany the favored men, to whom the formation of the
Abbeokouta Mission was entrusted ; but before doing so, it will be
well to give a brief space to the affairs of the parent Church, during
the former part of this year.

The first matter which we shall notice, is the erection of new
buildings for the Institution at Fourah Bay, the dilapidated state of
the old ones, as was mentioned before, rendering such a step indis-
pensable.

" The first stone," says the forty-fifth report of the Society, " was
laid on the 5th of February by His Excellency Lieut. Governor Fer-
gusson. The Missionaries met together for prayer at the house of
the Rev. J. F. Schon, and afterward proceeded to Fourah Bay. When
the ceremony was concluded, the Lieut.-Govemor addressed the as-
sembly ; but he was unable to repress his feelings when he referred to
the fact, that on the very spot where they were preparing to erect a
building from whence it was hoped that spiritual freedom would be
imparted to many Africans, there stood, forty years ago, a Slave
Factory."

The Christian natives throughout the Colony, took much interest



Digitized by



Google



556 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

in these new buildings, and many of them contributed out of tbeir
«mall means towards the expense incurred in their erection.

The opening of the grammar-school to which we shall presently
adyert, relieved the Christian Institution of the care of fourteen oi
the younger students, who were transferred to that seminaiy. This,
and the appointment of two native schoolmasters from the InstitutioD,
reduced the number of students there to ten, who appear according to
the Rev. £. Joneses report for September 1845, to be engaged in a
curriculum of studies such as it is probable few public schools in
our own favored land impose upon their youthful alumni. Mr. Jones
writes:

*' The students have gone over, verse by verse, the first eighteen
Chapters of St. Matthew's Gospel ; have read through Parts I. and
II. of Home's Compendium, on the genuineness^ authenticity, inspi-
ration, literary history, and interpretation of the Scriptures ; and
have committed to memory the whole of the Articles of the Church of
England* referring to other works bearing on the subject. The Greek
class have read Valpy's Grammar, through a portion of the Syntax,
with the first twenty pages of his Delectus. With two exceptions,
their progress is very encouraging. In Geography, the portions
relating to Africa and British North America have occupied the class.
The text-book, is Ewing's, and they possess a creditable knowledge
of it. Euchd and Algebra have been taken up by them with some
earnestness. They have gone over the first thirty Propositions of the
First Book of Euclid, and through Involution in Algebra. In general
History, with Keightley's Outlines as a text-book, the history of
Home has been proceeded with, from its origin to the commencement
of the reign of Diocletian. English Grammar and composition may
be truly called' our ' questiones vexatse.' There is, however, a slow
but manifest improvement. On the whole, I must say that their pro-
gress and dihgeoce have been praiseworthy."

"With these books of secular instruction, the reader will easily
believe the " Book of books," was closely and honestly assodated.
Two of the students were this year admitted to the Lord's Table, and
every exertion was made to render the religious exercises of each day
practically subservient to personal piety and growth in grace.

Suitable premises having been obtamed for the Grammar School
in Regency square, Freetown, it was commenced in March, under
the superintendance of the Rev. T. Peyton, who thus reports the
results, which were obtained after the school had been six months in
operation.

" The number of pupils is now thirty. Ten are educated and
maintained by their friends, six by the native Agency committee, and
fourteen by the Church Missionary Society. The whole are divided



Digitized by



Google



EXAMINATION OF THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL. 557

into two classes. The course of instraction pursued by the first
division embraces English Grammar and composition, Greek, Mathe-
matics, Geography, Astronomy, with the use of the Globes and
Mapping, Bible history, the thirty-nine Articles, English history,
writing, and recitation ^om the English Reader, and music.

" The second class follows the same courses, with the exception of
Mathematics and Greek.

** On the 30th of September, six months haying elapsed since the
commencement of the Grammar School, an examination of the pupils
took place, when the majority of the members of the Mission were
present. The subjects of the first day were. Geography, Bible
history. Mathematics, English history, Greek, and recitation of pieces
from the English Reader. The Rev. E. Jones examined the students
in the three branches last named, and the other subjects were taken
by myself. The examination gratified all present: the demonstra-
tions in Euclid and Algebra were very satisfactory.

" The subjects of the following day were, English Grammar, com-
position, and Arithmetic."

Evidences of true piety were not wanting, and Mr. Peyton had ihe
happiness of adding :

" Nine of the students are candidates for the Lord's Supper, and
two are communicants. On the 14th of September I had the pleasure
of admitting two of the youths into the Christian Church by Bap-
tism."

Besides this seminary for boys, a girls' institution of a similar
character was determined on, and Regent selected for its location.
This female school when established, was entrusted to Miss Morris,
who, however, in consequence of her union with the Rev. J. Smith,
was obliged in a short time to resign her charge, and Mrs. Denton
undertook to render what services she could until the arrival of more
help from England.

On the subject of education as we have already mentioned, there was
a growing intelligence among those members of the liberated African
class, who by industry and good conduct had risen to independence,
and they were not a few. To meet the demand for education of a
higher grade than the village schools supplied, the institutions to which
we have referred were opened. Respecting them the governor of the
Colony thus expressed himself, in one of his despatches to the home
Government :

'' Boarding-schools, for the education of children of both sexes,
have been established, under the auspices of the Church Missionary
Society ; and so far the scheme promises well. It will, at no remote
date, be the means of establishing a new, most important, and influ-
ential grade in the society of Sierra Leone ; among which the hus-



Digitized by



Google



558 CHURCH MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE.

bands, the wives, aud the domestic intercourse, of the middle classes
of England, will, for the first time, find representatives in Western
Africa. It may be taken as neither an unfair nor nnfiivourable crite-
rion of the position in the social scale at which the people have arrived,
that these establishments are at length acknowledged to have become
necessary; and that the pecuniary means, of many of the more
industrious and successful of the people, are now such as to enable
them to avail themselves of the advantages which they afford.

** There has been an increase, in the total number of children
educated in the schools of the Colony, of 1528 scholars over the
number of last year. The cause of education has assuredly borne
its full share in the generally progressive advancement of the Colony.

*' The progress, has not, however, been confined to mere numerical
increase. Along with that, measures have also been adopted for
affording to the children of the Colony, that which the progressive
prosperity of its people has now made a desideratum, viz. an educa-
tional course of a higher character than that which merely qualifies
for the labourer and the tradesman, wherein the principle of either
total or partial charity is to be abandoned."

The Missionaries of the Society were not slow to avail themselves
of every opportunity afforded them of elevating and expanding the
African mind ; far from supposing that there was anything in general
literature unimical to the power of Gospel truth, they gladly added to
their character of Missionaries that of lecturers on scientific or other
subjects of general interest, whenever occasion served, or as they ac-
countered intellects capable of deriving pleasure from such studies.
For example, the Rev. T. Peyton, principal of the grammar-school
says, writing in September 1845 :

*< I have, during the quarter, given a few simple and explanatory
lectures in the evening on the air pump and Astronomy — illustrated
by the Phantasmagoria lantern — and instruction in English Grammar.
The young men to whom I have given these lectures and instruction
have given me, for the benefit of my school, the sum of five pounds ten
shillings, which I have already appropriated to philosophical purposes,
with another contribution which one of our Missionary friends has
made for the same purpose.*'

The opening of the grammar-school gave occasion to the formation
of a new Sunday school in Freetown under the most encouraging
circumstances. Mr. Peyton says of it shortly after it was opened :

*' This school continues to afford every encouragement. It is well
attended, and scarcely a Lord's day passes but I am under the pain-
ful necessity of refusing to admit many persons, in consequence of not
having sufficient room in my house for those already received. The



Digitized by



Google



INCREASED DEMAND FOR CHURCHES. 559

number on the books is now 321, with an average attendance of 204,
Of those on the books, 211 read the Word of God, and the know-
ledge which they possess of Scripture truth is truly pleasing. On the
27th of July, I opened a subscription in the Sunday-school, toward
the erection of a new Church at the West-end of Freetown, and
furnished all the teachers with Missionary boxes for that purpose.
Twelve of them are now filled with the small contributions of the
people. I am not prepared to state the amount collected, as the boxes
have not yet been opened."

The students of the Grammar-school assisted Mr. and Mrs. Peyton
in their Sunday school labors.

Thus the leadings of Divine Providence were pleasingly exemplified,
and His servants had reason to rejoice that '*in ways which they knew
not " He was opening up to them plans of usefulness, resulting from,
and in acknowledgement of, the steady faithfulness with which they
went forward in His work.

The demand for Churches and school -houses was becoming every
day more general. The Rev. N. C. Haastrup mentions a written ap-
plication to this effect from some communicants at Allen's town, where
the people began to complain of their distance from Wellington, where
they attended divine worship on Sundays and Thursdays. The same
inconvenience, and the increased number of Church-attendants, led this
year to the erection of a humble grass-house at Moco town, in the
neighbourhood of Waterloo, which served both for school-house and
Chapel ; and the Rev. J. Warburton had the pleasing task of report-
ing, that an Infant school-house was opened in Gloucester under circum-
stances highly illustrative of the value attached by African Christians^
to an early acquaintance with the word of life. He writes :

*' April 14. We occupied, for the first time, the Infant school at
Gloucester, which has been erected at a very small expense to the
Society. To assist in building it, the sum of ^25 was granted by the
Local Committee, together with boards for the floor, ironmongery, and
paint from the Society's store; but £5 : 12 : Id. of the grant of money
has not been wanted. Most of the labor has been supplied gratuitously
by a number of the people : the masons building the foundation ; the
carpenters doing the wood work ; the labourers performing their part
of the business in bringing lime from Freetown, a distance of three
miles, and in assisting the masons and carpenters -, some of the women
and children bringing sand to mix with the lime ; and my servant,
Henry Cyprian, painting and glazing it. To purchase lime, timber,
boards, and shingles, others gave a subscription in money, amounting
to ^5 : 13 : 5., 10s : 7. of which was subscribed by the inhabitants of
Leicester. In this manner a neat substantial frame building, with
shingled roof, twenty-four feet long and sixteen feet wide, has been



Digitized by



Google



560 CHURCH MISSION IN SIEKRA LEONE.

erected. I am happy to say, that what was done, was done cheer-
fully. The school is also useful as a place in which to meet classes of
persons who statedly receiye religious instruction."

The children of the several schools, were now in the habit of con-
tributing their thank-offerings to the funds of the Society, under whose
fostering care, their young hearts were being trained for heavenly
enjoyments. On this subject the Rev. C. T. Frey wrote at Midsummer :

" The schools under my charge are on the increase, and have been
regularly attended by the children. The collections received by me
this quarter surpass all previous efforts, the amount being ^9 : 9 : 6."

The collections also, among the adults, went on prosperously. Mr.
Haastrup mentions a sermon preached for the Society at Wellington to
upwards of 705 liberated Africans, after which a collection was made,
amounting to £2 : 14 : 2. The Rev. J. U. Graf has introduced into
his journal a case of grateful acknowledgement, which is worthy of re~
cord. He says :

" Sept. 7. One of the women churched to-day, one of my former
school-girls, brought me a thank offering of 6d., which is the first
money of the kind ever received by me. It gratified me the more, as
the thought of doing so entirely originated with the woman and her
husband."

Several members were as usual added to the Church this year by
baptism. In June, the Rev. J. U. Graf baptized two men and three
women at Hastings. The Rev. C. T. Frey admitted to the Church in
September, nine men and ten women at Benguema ; some of whom
belonged to Cosso town, and at Regent, the Rev. N. Denton in May
administered baptism to eleven men and twelve women. On this occa-
sion, the sermon was preached by Mr. Graf, who thus alludes to the
event in his journal :

'' Having never had an opportunity of witnessing the state and
behaviour of other congregations on the Lord's day, I was glad to as-
sist Mr. Denton in the duties, which were rather heavier than usual,
owing to the baptism of twenty-three adults. The Church was quite
filled — indeed some were outside — with an intelligent and lively con-
gregation ; the singing and the responses being load and general, and
the attention during the sermon intense and uninterrupted. I could
not help thinking of the first batches of wild, naked, liberated slaves,
collected at this place thirty years ago, by the late Rev. W. B. John-
son, when the station was first taken up by the Society. What a great
and good change has Regent undergone when compared with that first
beginning ! "

The name of the devoted servant of God here introduced, was still
mentioned with reverence at Regent. Traces of his work yet re-



Digitized by



Google



DECLENSION OF IDOLATRY. 661

mained, although much of it had followed him into the presence of
the Lamh. The foUowiiig interesting case enables us to enjoy the
gratification of making mention of him once more. Mr. Denton writes
in his journal under date of May 28 :

" This morning I visited three sick persons, to whom I administered
the Lord's Supper in their respective dwellings. In my former visits
they had expressed a desire once more to partake of that Sacrament
of which they had been so long deprived. One who has been a cripple
for many years observed, when I was exhorting her to submit with
patience to the will of God, that her heart would ^ not sit down some-
times,' when she saw her neighbours moving about in health ; and
when she heard the )>ell ring, and saw the people going to Church,
especially on the Sacrament Sundays, she could not but cry because
she could never go to Church nor receive the Sacrament. While she
said this the tears rolled down her face. There is, however, an air of
resignation about her which becomes the Christian. She is one of
those who were baptized by the late Mr. Johnson ; and, from all I can
learn, has maintained a Christian character ever since."

The names of other ono red servants of the Lamb, who had long
since gone to their rest, were sometimes found useful in recalling to
the minds of professing Christians past visitations of love and chastise^
ment. Thus Matthew Harding, the native catechist, informs us in his
journal :

*' June 2 — This evening, at Gloucester, I read a few passages res-
pecting the West- Africa Mission, from one of the Missionary Registers
for 1816. After the service was over, a man, who had been a servant
to the Rev. Leopold Butscher, came to me and said, * White people
have good knowledge : all what you read about this evening I know
when I was with master : the same way you read, so the same ^the
things were done.' "

The spirit of idolatry still lingered amidst its accustomed haunts, as
in the early ages of Christianity, but its day was gone by in Sierra
Leone, although it struggled hard to retain a spot of ground here and
there. Nothing, however, could withstand the vigorous efforts which
the children of Ught were making, to illuminate every corner and crevice
of the favored spot committed to their charge. The name of Jesus
was rising above every name, and the demons of Afriom superstition
fell down tremblingly before His servants, and shewed their deeds — >
acknowledging their commission, and retreating as these advanced.
Writing from Regent at the latter end of the year, Mr. Denton says :

'* An interesting circumstance has come under my observation this
quarter : I have seen the heathen casting their idols to the moles and
to the bats. The Christian Visitor informed me that he had been

w 2 o



Digitized by



Google



562 CHURCH MISSION IN SIBR&A LEONE.

requested to go to the house of an idolater to fetch awaj his idoIs» and
cast them into the hrook. The man had heen ^ck for some time» and
the Visitor had freqnentlj called on him» telling him that his idols
could not help him, and exhorted him to trust in the Liviiig Gvod.
The man, not getting hetter, sent for the Visitor, requesting him to
take his idols, for that he could not trust in them any longer. I di-
rected the Visitor to hring them to me, which he shorUj after did, tied
up in a mat. There was a calahash, and two unsightly figures ; s
gloomy and truly-pitiaUe sight, from the known fact Uiat men had ac-
tually fallen down to the earth to worship them. One of the figmes,
the principal one, was a country pot with a long netk to it. Into this
the worshippers had east their offerings, which had long since filled
the pot, and now rose aboye it hi^er than the pot itself. The ofifer-
ings are, for the most part, presented in the shape of masticated food,
cooked yegetables, and animal blood and flesh. As these accumulated
from time to time, it enabled the offerer at length to mould a very rvde
figure of a man's face, out of whose head, by the way of ornament,
projected the claw of a large rat. The second figure was only a conical
piece of earth taken out of the black ant's nest, with a piece of iron
and a feather, coyered with blood, stuck in at the top. Beside these,



Online LibrarySamuel Abraham WalkerThe Church of England mission in Sierra Leone: including an introductory ... → online text (page 69 of 73)