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MEMOIR



OF THE



KEY. WILLIAM SHAW.





'. from a F ,



MEMOIE



OF THE



REV. WILLIAM SHAW,

LATE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF THE WESLEYAN
MISSIONS IN SOUTH-EASTERN AFRICA.



EDITED EY



HIS OLDEST SURVIVING PRIEND.



WITH PORTRAIT AND VIEWS.



NEW EDITIOX.



LONDON :

WILLIAM NICHOLS, 46, HOXTON SQUARE.
1875.



STACK 5126814



PREFACE TO NEW EDITION.



THE present edition is not a mere abridgment or con-
densation of the former one ; but contains exactly the
same matter, with the exception of a few pages of docu-
ments, and of the Sermons and Charge, &c., which formed
the Appendix.

In the Preface to " The Story of my Mission in South
Eastern Africa," (I860,) Mr. Shaw justly remarks, "The
following narrative is to some extent an Autobiography,
containing an account of my personal labours in this great
work." As such, it was not only desirable, but absolutely
necessary, to embody much of " The Story " in the present
volume, desirable, because no one could tell the history
of Mr. Shaw's life better than himself, necessary, because
scarcely any other material was available for the purpose.
From the narrative of sundry journeys in South Africa,
and from a few memoranda which have escaped destruction,
it has been barely possible to compile a consecutive history
of the outward life of my old friend. Of his inner life we
know little beyond the fact of his conversion, and his sub-
sequent uniform, consistent walk with God. When all
other sources of information were wanting, I have here
and there furnished a few lines or pages as connecting
links ; and as this portion of the volume is in a distinct
type, no one need confound Mr. Shaw's own narrative
with my supplementary remarks.



IV PEEPACE.

The Illustrations are from drawings taken on the spot,
by the Rev. Thornley Smith. The Portrait is from a photo-
graph, and is undoubtedly the best likeness of Mr. Shaw
extant. All his portraits are like him, as it was impossible
for any artist to miss the peculiar kindly, yet dignified,
expression of his features. It is remarkable how little his
countenance changed between youth and age. The face
which I saw for the last time on the evening of Novem-
ber 25th, 1872, was much the same, and very little
changed, from that which cheered me for the first time
on the 10th of February, 1830.

W. B. B.



CONTENTS.



CHAP. PAGE

I. EARLY LIFE, 1798-1819 VOYAGE TO ALGOA BAY, 1819-1820... 1

II. PROGRESS OF THE ALBANY SETTLEMENT, 1820-1823 36

III. EELIGIOUS PROGRESS OF THE ALBANY SETTLEMENT, 1820-1823 56

IV. THE KAFFIR MISSION, 1823-1830 94

V. ALBANY BEFORE 1834 CAUSES OF THE KAFFIR. WAR 140

VI. KAFFIR WARS AND THEIR BESOLTS 160

VII. THE INTERVAL OF PEACE, 1837-1843 175

VIII. JUBILEE OF THE COLONY THE SECOND KAFFIR WAR
MISSIONARY JOURNEY, 1844-1848 192

IX. CONDITION OF THE FRONTIER STATIONS IN 1850 COMMEMO-
RATION CHAPEL OPENED 208

X. MISSIONARY JOURNEYS, 1853-1855 220

XI. MR. SHAW'S DEPARTURE FROM THE COLONY, AND ARRIVAL IN
ENGLAND, 1856 246

XII. MARRIAGE, AND PLANS FOR THE FUTURE MANAGEMENT OF
THE SOUTH AFRICAN MISSIONS 272

XIII. MR. SHAW AS AN ENGLISH SUPERINTENDENT AND PRESI-
DENT, 1860-1866 279

XIV. CIRCUIT WORK IN CHELSEA AND YORK, UNTIL HIS EETIRE-

MENT AT THE HULL CONFERENCE, 1866-1869 303

XV. ACTIVE SUPERNUMERARY LIFE OF MR. SHAW, 1869-1872... 319

XVI. THE LAST DAYS... .. 349



ILLUSTRATIONS.

PAGE

POKTEAIT ..... To face Title

SALEM IN 1848 ....... 57

GRAHAM'S TOWN IN 1842 ..... 77

WESLEY CHAPEL, SCHOOL, AND MISSION HOUSE, GRAHAM'S TOWN 91

BUTTEEWORTH IN 1842 ...... 203

COMMEMORATION CHAPEL, GRAHAM'S TOWN . . . 217



LIFE OF THE

REV. WILLIAM SHAW.



CHAPTER I.

Early Life, 1798-1819 Voyage to Algoa Bay, 1819-1820.

OF the early life and parentage of William Shaw we have
few particulars to record. His father, a man of highly
respectable character, held an appointment of trust in the
North York Militia, which was for some time stationed at
Glasgow. Here the subject of this memoir, the eleventh
child of the family, was born December 8th, 1798. Mr. and
Mrs. Shaw were members of the Established Church, and
brought up their large family in the fear of God, giving
their children the best education within their reach, from
which their youngest son especially profited. Mr. Shaw,
senior, retired from the army in 1812, leaving, however, his
young son William under the care of his elder brother.
From the education and general ability of his younger son
he had some reasonable expectation of being able to procure
for him in due time a commission in the regular army.
This scheme was frustrated by his conversion, and con-
nexion with the Methodist Society, in November, 1812, at
Harwich. Persecution, not favour, was now the order of
the day. The regiment was removed to Ireland in 1814.
At Newry, the Kev. Samuel Alcorn, the Superintendent of



2 CHAPTEE I.

the Circuit, aware of the zeal and competence of the young
volunteer, urged him to commence preaching. His letter is
worth preserving as a specimen of the style of the Minister
of that day. It is dated " Newry, 5th December, 1814."

" MY DEAE BROTHER,

" I RECEIVED your highly esteemed favour, and have only
to say, that on the very important subject of preaching, I
am fully satisfied you ought to preach. Show this to the first
preacher who conies to Dundalk, and he will no doubt
publish for you ; or show it to any of the Leaders, and
they will publish for you. Many of your friends here
are sorrowing after you and many of your dear brethren.
Eead much, study, and pray, and live for God. He has
something for you to do. My love to Brother Pearson
and all the brethren and sisters. Farewell.

" I remain, your affectionate brother,

"SAMUEL ALCORN."

In an unfurnished room in the barracks, Mr. Shawpreached
his first sermon from Eev. vi. 17. He had for some time past
been in the habit of exhorting in the prayer-meetings, the
first attempt having been made in Scotland, when he was
" constrained by a great love for souls to speak a few words
by way of exhortation to the people." On July 10th, 1815,
the regiment was disbanded, and William Shaw returned
to Wisbeach, where his parents then resided. Having
brought recommendatory letters from Ireland, he was
immediately placed on the " Local Preachers' Plan." Lay
agency, in the shape of Local Preachers and Class Leaders,
is essential to the carrying on of the work of Methodism.
Every Minister must first have been accepted as a Local



EAKLY LIFE. 6

Preacher, in which office he has the opportunity of employ-
ing and cultivating his preaching talents. Fastidious
hearers, who affect to think lightly of the services of the
local ministry, instead of thankfully endeavouring to
benefit from these gratuitous and self-denying labours, are
ignorantly doing what they can to destroy Methodism.
Men of good taste had rather listen to plain, easy, cha-
racteristic speech, though occasionally rude, than to the
more verbally correct common-places by which the
pulpit is occasionally lowered. Much kindness and
Christian love were manifested to him by the Methodist
people at Wisbeach. As he had been well trained, and
was in every respect competent as a teacher, he was re-
commended by Mr. Bacon, one of the Ministers of the Circuit,
to commence a school at Long Sutton. The school opened
in January, 1816, and succeeded beyond all expectations,
financially and otherwise. In this village Mr. Shaw became
the prop and stay of the small Methodist Society.

At this time Mr. Shaw was powerfully impressed with a
desire to engage in the Missionary work, and his views
were seconded by the Ministers of the Circuit, Messrs.
Millman and Bacon. After passing, according to Methodist
usage, through the Quarterly and District Meetings, he
was proposed as a candidate for the foreign work to the
Conference of 1817. The proposal was, on his part,
accompanied by a condition, which at that time could not
be complied with. Mr. Shaw, having entered into a
matrimonial engagement with Miss Ann Maw, stipulated
that if sent abroad he should go as a married man,
although willing to conform to the rule which very wisely
enjoins a single life on all probationers labouring in

B 2



4 CHAPTER I.

England. The President, the Eev. J. Gaulter, rather
summarily decided against the reception of Mr. Shaw into
the Mission work on such conditions. Supposing that hi&
name had been placed on the list of reserve for the home
work, Mr. Shaw decided upon waiting until after Christmas
of that year. The appointed time came. No call to a
Circuit reached Long Sutton, and on inquiry being made
of the President, he declared that he had no such name as
William Shaw on his list. Our fathers, with many excel-
lencies, were not all of them exact men of business. Under
these circumstances, preparations were made for the
marriage, and all the arrangements completed, when at the
last minute a letter arrived from a Minister, calling upon
him to supply a vacant position, with the sanction of the
President and Missionary Secretary. This letter had been
delayed ten days, by a strange blunder of a village post-
master. Had it arrived sooner, the marriage would have
been deferred, and Mr. Shaw would in all probability have
remained in the home work. But it was now too late : the
marriage took place on the 30th of December, 1817.

The rule which defers the marriage of Methodist Ministers
until the period of probation is passed, has been the
subject of much discussion. It is pleaded that no other
Ministers are similarly restricted. This is true ; but while
Curates in the Establishment and Congregational and
Presbyterian Ministers are in this respect free to act as
they deem proper, it must be kept in mind that the
congregations by which they are supported take upon
themselves no responsibility in the matter of the support
of a wife and family. The stipend of the Curate, of the
Congregational and Presbyterian Minister, is not of necessity



EARLY LIFE. 5

increased in consequence of the marriage of the new
preacher. Neither do the congregations enter into any
engagement as to the support and education of their
Ministers' children. Such being the case, they have no
claim to interfere with the domestic position of their Minister,
and pecuniarily it is a matter of indifference to them
whether he marry or remain single. It is a point which
with them is very properly left to his own prudence or
imprudence (in some cases). The Methodist economy is
otherwise; it provides, after the period of probation is
passed, a home or lodging for a married Minister, with a
moderate allowance for each child, and also educational
allowance for each child for six years ; hence it is financially
necessary to regulate the period of the marriage of its
Minister. Considering the youth of the majority of
probationers for the ministry, the delay of a few years is on
the whole a great advantage, not only to our young
Ministers in the home work, but to those who are stationed
in the Mission field. And, so far as the churches are
concerned, they are decidedly benefited by the rule which
saves their Ministers generally from the temptation to form
hastily unsuitable connections.

Mr. Shaw's early marriage would, in the case of most
men, have been an imprudent step ; but it must be borne
in mind that the bridegroom, though young in years, was
never, strictly speaking, a young man, and the bride was
some years his senior. Both of them were prudent,
steady Christians, constitutionally cheerful, yet with
minds free from all the illusions of romance, looking
forward complacently to a life of labour, supported by the
sense of duty, and by the consciousness that whether that



6 CHAPTER I.

life was to be spent in the care of a school or in the more
important labours of the Christian ministry, they would
be working for Christ. It is unnecessary to state that
the union was a very happy one. Mrs. Shaw was, in every
respect, fully equal to her position as the wife of a man
whom, in after years, colonists and colonial governors-
delighted to honour. Of Mr. Shaw's religious experience
we have little to record. Like many men of deep and
eminent piety he was very chary of speaking of himself,
though on suitable occasions he never hesitated to testify
to the power of Divine grace in his own experience. With
him Christianity was a life : he walked with God, and he
walked wisely towards them that are without : his uni-
formly happy, yet serious, deportment left upon all asso-
ciated with him the impression of a noble God-fearing
and God-like character. After an intimacy of forty-four
years I can unhesitatingly state, that I never heard him
speak a hasty, unadvised word, or give expression to any
feeling contrary to the royal law of love.

Mr. Shaw did not remain long in the sphere in which
he appeared to have tied himself by his marriage, and
consequent inability to enter the home ministry. Mean-
while, he continued his acceptable labours as a Local
Preacher, and in the course of his journeys to distant
localities he had two narrow escapes from serious accidents.
His mother had been dead some years, and after Mr.
Shaw's marriage the aged father died. Two children
were born to the young teacher, and, humanly speaking,.
he bade fair to be a fixture at Long Sutton. But events
were in progress in reference to a distant part of the world
which, in a short time, removed him from his quiet home



EAKLY LIFE. 7

and narrow sphere, and placed him in the position in
which he was, above all men, most qualified " to serve his
generation by the will of God." To these events we must
now turn our attention.

The termination of the Continental wars in the year
1815, which enabled Great Britain to disband her large
military and naval armaments, restoring to other countries
a portion of the commerce and carrying trade which she
had almost exclusively monopolized during the long-
protracted contest, threw out of employment a very large
portion of her population, and effected throughout the
United Kingdom extensive and almost general distress;
for, however triumphant and glorious the close, it was
dimmed by intense suffering, which continued with
unabated force to the beginning of 1819.

At this juncture, too, political questions of grave im-
portance aggravated the difficulties of the Administration.
A loud and deep demand, long pent up, arose for Parlia-
mentary Eeform, both from the enlightened and from the less
informed classes of society, which the Tory Government of
the day resisted. Public meetings began to be held
throughout the land, especially in the manufacturing
districts, where distress more particularly prevailed, and
where designing men, taking advantage of the troubled
times, inflamed the minds of the ignorant by exaggerated
statements of their sufferings, and of the tyrannical disposi-
tion of the Government. Seditious papers and insurrec-
tionary speeches led to covert military training ; and an
unwise yeomanry interference with a Eeform meeting held
at Manchester, resulting in death and injury to several of
the populace, gave such an impetus to the spirit of dis-



8 CHAPTEB I.

affection and irreligion, that demagogues such as " Orator "
Hunt, of " Eadical white hat " notoriety, Dr. Watson, and
others, with one E. Carlisle, who opened a shop in the
leading thoroughfare of the metropolis, whence he vomited
forth reprints of republican and blasphemous tendency
such as Paine's "Age of Eeason," "Eights of Man,"
" Toldoth Jeschu," and more modern attacks upon Chris-
tianity, found ready and willing votaries to their wild
schemes of what they called social regeneration. The
ministry unfortunately fanned the destructive flame by its
violence towards the friends of the people, who deprecated
unconstitutional methods of repression ; while the passing
of the celebrated " Six Acts " appeared to fill up the vial
of popular indignation. A revolutionary crisis, and the
break up of all the time-honoured institutions of the
country, seemed impending, and everything betokened a
dissolution of society, which the near approach of a much
dreaded reign rendered more than probable.

It was during the height of the hurricane that " on the
12th of July, 1819, being the last day of the session, Mr.
Vansittart, Chancellor of the Exchequer, made that far-
famed speech which was the leading cause of the embarka-
tion for the Cape of Good Hope of more than four thou-
sand settlers of various descriptions. Lord Sidmouth, in
the House of Lords, harangued to the same purpose, and
fanned the deluding flame which had been lighted up in
the Commons. Mr. Vansittart is reported to have said,
' The Cape is suited to most of the productions both of
temperate and warm climates, to the olive, the mulberry,
and the vine, as well as to most sorts of culmiferous and
leguminous plants; and the persons emigrating to this



EARLY LIFE. 9

settlement would soon find themselves comfortable.' The
considerate and grave character of two ministers, so at
war heretofore with everything like fancy or fable, caused
their statements to be received with full credit and confi-
dence, and they were regarded as a warrant of success. It
is strange to relate such to have been the infatuation, that
those who disagreed on all other subjects agreed on this
alone." On the representation of the minister, the "faithful
Commons" at once and unreluctantly voted a50,000, fa
cany the emigration into effect. The promulgation of the
governmental scheme was received with avidity by the
public, and the applications for permission to avail them-
selves of the facilities offered were numerous beyond
expectation. The number to be accepted was restricted to
four thousand souls, and the disappointment of the unsuc-
cessful candidates, amounting to above ninety thousand,
was bitter beyond conception. The utmost care was
employed in the selection of the emigrants. The regula-
tions issued from Downing Street required certificates as to
character from the Ministers of parishes, or some persons
in whom the Government could repose confidence ; offered
passages to those persons who, possessing the means,
would engage to carry out at the least ten able-bodied
individuals above eighteen years of age, with or without
families ; that a deposit should be made of W for every
family of one man, one woman, and two children ; others
beyond this number to pay 5 each, &c. ; so that, notwith-
standing an ungenerous sneer of the " Civil Servant "
" that it was the wish of the ministry to get rid of the
dangerously disaffected," Government had reserved to
itself the right, and exerted it successfully, to prevent the



10 CHAPTER I.

emigration of such useless and ill-assorted characters for
its new settlement.*

In the Government proposal provision was made for the
supply of the religious wants of the settlers. Parties of
not less than one hundred families, uniting to form a settle-
ment, were entitled to take a Minister of whatever denomi-
nation they might prefer. To this Minister the Govern-
ment guaranteed a salary of 100 per annum. A number
of Wesleyan families, chiefly connected with Queen Street
Circuit, London, and others, not Wesleyans, united for
this purpose, and wisely resolved to take out a Wesleyan
Minister with them. They advertised for a Minister, and
of course found out that no respectable, accredited preacher
would be willing to go out, unless duly sent and in con-
nexion with the authorities of the Wesleyan body at home.
Mr. Shaw, justly viewing this as a providential opening to
a field of labour, missionary in its character, corresponded
with Mr. Wynne, the then manager of the affairs of the
Queen Street party, and expressed his willingness "to accom-
pany them, provided they would consent to receive him in
the capacity of a Wesleyan Missionary, appointed by, and
in connexion with, the Missionary Committee and Method-
ist Conference in England."f The Missionary Committee
received the proposal at first with some disfavour. Why,
it is difficult to say. Missions to English Colonies had
been the rule since the first Missionaries were sent out in
1769 to New York, followed in due time by Missionaries to

* See " History of the Cape Colony." By the Hon. John C. Chase, M.L.C.
8vo. Cape Town, 1869. A valuable and fair narrative, which it is much to
be regretted has not been reprinted in England.

t " Story of my Mission." By William Shaw. 12mo. 1869.



EARLY LIFE. 11

what is now called Eastern British America. To these
Missions, and to the West Indian Colonies, Dr. Coke's
labours had been mainly confined. After due consider-
ation, however, the Committee adopted the Mission, and
accepted Mr. Shaw as their Missionary, influenced in a
great measure by the advice of the Eev. George Morley,
Superintendent of the Queen Street Circuit, who was
interested in many of the emigrants, and especially soli-
citous for their spiritual welfare.

Mr. Shaw's own narrative will now furnish the most
succinct and interesting record of this critical period of his
history ; a period identified with the beginning of a new
colony, which introduced into Southern Africa a spiritual,
intellectual, and commercial life, of which we see, par-
tially, the results in our day.

Having returned from London after my examination and
appointment, I began to prepare for the departure of myself
and family. But a letter from the late Eev. Joseph Tay-
lor, Resident Secretary at the Mission House, Hatton Garden,
hurried us away. He stated that it was requisite we should
immediately go to London, as the vessel in which we were to
sail would be ready in a few days. On Sunday, November
21st, 1819, I preached a parting sermon, to a crowded congre-
gation, in the old Methodist cbapel, at Long Sutton, Lincoln-
shire ; and our numerous friends gave us many tokens of their
regard and good wishes. It would not interest tbe general
reader to detail particulars of our most affecting parting with
our near relatives and friends. Many tears were shed, and
many kind words of sincere love and gratitude were inter-
changed. Our greatest trouble, bowever, was, that the only con-
dition on which the aged Mrs. Maw would consent to part with



12 CHAPTEE I.

her daughter was, that we should leave our first-horn child,
then an infant, with her and his aunt ; so that if we " perished
in the sea, or in the deserts of Africa," they might at least have
this relic of a lost family remaining, to whom they might show
kindness and love for our sake. We were induced, from various
considerations, hut mainly from deep sympathy for our aged
mother's feelings, to comply with her request, although this
formed the most painful portion of all our parting experience. *

We finally took leave of my aged father, and other friends,
at Wisbeach, on the evening of November 24th ; and, after travel-
ling safely all night in the stage-coach, arrived in London next
morning, when we proceeded at once to the house of the Eev.
George Morley, from whom, and his kind-hearted and excellent
wife, we received the most affectionate and considerate atten-
tions during our residence in London.

I had only arrived in time for my Ordination, which had been
fixed to be held that very evening, November 25th, 1819, in
St. George's Chapel in the East, together with that of the Eev.
Titus Close, a Missionary, just about to proceed to Madras.
This Ordination Service had an unusual interest attached to it,
as a considerable number of the intended settlers, with their
friends, from various parts of London, attended to witness my
dedication to the office of the Ministry for their future benefit.
The Ministers engaged in the service were, the Eev. Messrs.
Charles Atmore, Samuel Taylor, George Morley, Joseph Tay-
lor, and Eichard Watson. The Eev. G. Morley addressed the
people, specially referring to those about to emigrate ; and the
Eev. E. Watson delivered the charge to the two young Minis-
ters. It was a solemn service. I had never witnessed a Wes-
leyan Ordination, and scarcely knew what was expected from
me on the occasion. When called upon, however, I spake in

* This child is now the Eev. William Maw Shaw, M.A., Vicar of Yealand-
Conyers ; who has recently published a sermon on " New Testament Abso-
lution," which is worthy of the name he bears.



EARLY LIFE.

the simplicity of my heart, reciting an outline of the circum-
stances connected with my early conversion to God, and the
reasons \vhich induced me to believe that I was moved hy the
Holy Ghost " to take upon me the office, duties, and responsi-



Online LibraryWilliam ShawMemoir of the Rev. William Shaw : late General Superintendent o f the Wesleyan missions in South-Eastern Africa → online text (page 1 of 29)