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Saturday, November 7, 1818.
Report of the Directors to the twenty-fourth General Meeting of the MISSIONARY SOCIETY OF LONDON, May 24, 1818.
(Concluded.) WEST INDIES.
The accounts received from Mr. Davies, Mr. Elliot, and Mr. Smith, who labour in different parts of this extensive and populous colony, are peculiarly gratifying. Several thousands of the negro slaves, as permitted, in rotation, by their masters, attend on Mr. Þavies, at George Town, on Mr. Elliot, on the West Coast, and on Mr. Smith, at Le Resouvenir. These people gladly hear the word, and in many cases, it is believed, with the best effect. We are grieved to find, that the opposers of Missions have defamed our brethren in the public newspapers; on which account they have judged it necessary, in vindication of their character, to appeal to the justice of their country. We are persuaded, however, that their blameless conduct, and the good effects of their instruction on the slaves, will finally prevail against the unhappy prejudices entertained by some of their owners, whose interest, we are confident, would be best promoted by the universal instruction of the negroes.
The congregation at Le Resouvenir, formerly under the care of Mr. Wray, has been much revived and increased. The chapel built by Mr. Post, is now insufficient for those who desire to attend, and a larger, in a more eligible situation, is about to be built; the negroes have offered all the assistance in their power towards its erection. Great attention is paid to catechetical instruction; and the negroes are very diligent in learning the catechisin. It is peculiarly pleasing, that those who learn of the Missionaries, take pains to teach others who cannot personally attend; so that the knowledge of divine truth is rapidly and widely extending. Mr. Smith bas baptized 70 or more negroes, after due examination, and upon receiving a recommendation from their respective masters, who readily acknowledge the good effect of religious instruction, apparent in their diligence and the improvement of their morals.*
The success of our brethren in this colony, and the earnest desire generally expressed by the negroes to be instructed, have induced the Directors to determine on sending two more labourers into this promising part of the vineyard, one of whom is to be stationed at Mahcica, where the people have long enjoyed occasional instruction. Mr. Smith says, "the poor slaves bless, and pra, for the Directors and friends of the Missionary cause."
* While some of the masters are apprehensive that the religious instruction of the slaves will prove injurious to their interest, and forbid their attendance, others are fully satisfied that religion will make their slaves more docile and useful. A pleasing instance of this kind is related by Mr. Smith: “ There is a slave, of the name of Gingo, whose master gives him, as he does many others, task-work. When this is appointed, he says, “Now, Gingo, when you have done this, you may go and pray. Gingo replied, “Me glad massa know religion had not spoiled him, my
BERBICE. The laborious efforts of Mr. Wray, in behalf of the slaves of this colony, promised much usefulness. Many of the slaves on the crown estates, on which he resided for some time, had been taughi to read; and not a few of them appeared to have received the truth in the love of it. Many of them had been baptized, and admitted into the visible church of Christ. These estates, however, having been restored about two years ago, by a special convention, to the Dutch Company, to whom they had formerly belonged, Mr. Wray was soon wholly excluded from them by the new managers; and the poor slaves were not crly deprived of the benefit of his personal instructions, but the Bibles, hymn books, and other good books he had given them, were forcibly taken away, and all communication with himn prohibited.
Since this painful occurrence, Mr. Wray has been engaged in the instruction of a large body of slaves, about 300 in number, who belong to the British government, and reside in the town of New Amsterdam, where they are employed chiefly as mechanicks. In the pursuit of this object, he has hitherto enjoyed the countenance and aid of the British government; and the Directors are led to hope that these will be continued to him. Some very embarrassing and perplexing difficulties, however, have been thrown in his way, by persons on the spot; and, with a view to their removal, he has been induced to visit England. He will shortly return to Berbice, and resuine bis labours, where Mrs. Wray, during his necessary absence, has continued to instruct, with great assiduity, the young and female part of his congregation. The situation in which Providence bas placed him is highly important; for besides the Crown slaves already mentioned, among whom he labours with the direct sanction and encouragement of the British government, his preaching is attended on Sundays by a number of other slaves, by many free people of colour, and even by some whites. Divine service has bitherto been performed by Mr. Wray in a large room; but it is intended that a chapel shall be built for the accommodation of the congregation.
Mr. Adam continues in this island, and statedly preaches in the town of Port of Spain, where there are some who attend very seriously; and among whom, during the past year, he has seen some pleasing instances of conversion. The unfounded apprehension of
dat pray do every ting." The death of this valuable slave, who used to lead the singing in the chape!, is much lamented by his sable brethren.
A planter, who complained that one of his slaves was too religious, admitted, however, that “in every other respect he was a good servant, and that he would not sell him for 4,000 guilders," above £100; a sufficient proof that
dianger from the meetings of negro slaves, which prevails in the West Indies, has induced his Excellency the Governor to impose peculiar restrictions upon the labours of the Missionaries in Trinidad, to which Mr. Adam thought it his duty respectfully to object; but the result we have not yet heard.
Mr. Adam meets with more encouragement at a place on the coast, which be frequently visits, where the word appears to make very powerful impressions, and where the planters bave proposed to support a preacher. The Directors have therefore acceded to the earnest and repeated request of Mr. Adam, and in February last sent out Mr. Niercer, who was for a tiine under the instruction of the Rev. Mr. Newton, at Witham.
A few months ago, Mr. Adam, in an excursion into the interior of the island, had an opportunity of paying a visit to a new settlement, consisting of upwards of 600 negroes, who were formerly slaves in North America; but having been taken prisoners in the late war, by the British, were brought to Trinidad, where they were made free, and had land assigned them, which they cultivate for their support, assistance being afforded them until that could be accomplished. These people, some of whom had acquired the knowjedge of the gospel in America, now occupy ten or twelve villages, where they maintain, as well as they are avle, the worship of God. They are well reported of as quiet, sober, and industrious people. Mr. Adam was greatly delighted with their appearance; and they were highly gratified by his friendly visit, and his preaching among them. He is desirous of establishing schools, and procuring a minister for them.
BRITISH NORTH AMERICA. From the brethren who went to various places in British North America very little has been heard during the past year. Mr. Spratt remains, we believe, at Quebec.
Mr. Smart informs us that he is about to build a chapel in Brockville, and intends to come to England for the purpose of soliciting subscriptions towards the expense of its erection.
Mr. Pigeon, who has resided for some years in Prince Edward Island, has accepted the charge of St. Peter's parish, which is extensive and populous. He expresses his hope that the expense of the Society, in sending bim out to that part of the world, and lis own labours and bardships, will now be amply rewarded.
Mr. Sabine, who succeeded Mr. Hyde, at St. Jobn's, Newfoundland, is under the necessity of removing to the United States, on account of the inability of the congregation to support his large family, in consequence of those dreadful conflagrations which took place in that town in the commencement of last winter. The Directors, taking into consideration the importance of continuing the mivistry of the gospel at St. John's, and the liberal contribution which the congregation afforded some years ago to this Institution, bave voted £100 towards the support of another minister.
IRKOUTSK, IN SIBERIA.
(About 4000 miles east of St. Petersburg.) At our last Annual Meeting, Mr. Stallybrass, a Missionary, intended for this distant and imp rtant station, had an opportunity of taking leave of the Society, and requesting their prayers for his success. Soon after that day he embarked, with Mrs. S., for St. Petersburg, where they safely arrived; and Mr. S. applied himself with ardour to the acquirement of the Russian language, as well as to the preaching of the word among the English residents, to many of whom, we trust, his ministry was not less useful than acceptable. Many persons being desirous of hearing the gospel, Dr. Paterson has been induced to preach to them; and another minister, who may also promote the Missionary cause, in connection with the Missionaries already sent to Irkoutsk, will soon depart from hence, and reside, at least for a time, at St. Petersburg.
While the Directors were anxiously inquiring for a second Missionary to unite with Mr. Stallybrass in his great undertaking, they were highly gratified by the generous offer of a pious and well established clergyman, the Rev. Cornelius Rahmn, of Gottenburgh, who on the representation of this interesting subject to him by our ya'uable liiend Dr. Paterson, on his return from England to St. Petersburg, and on our earnest invitation, readily relinquished all his respectable connexions and pleasing prospects, to devote himself to the service of Christ among the Heathen. These brethren, having received all possible encouragement and assistance from Dr. Paterson and other friends, and aided by the officers of government at St. Petersburg, left that city on the 3d of January last, and arrived at Moscow on the 15th. Ilis Imperial Majesty having expressed a wish to see them, they had the honour of an interview with the Emperor, who received them most graciously, and conversed with them freely on the object of their journey, which he warmly approved. His Majesty assured them, that every possible facility should be afforded them on their journey, and that his prayers should ascend to God on their behall
. After taking leave of his Excellency Prince Gallitzin, who bad promoted their interest with the most friendly and pious ardour, and of his Excellency M. Papoff, who had also been their zealous friend, they proceeded on their journey towards lrkoutsk on the 19th. By a letter which has been received, dated 27th Feb. we have had the satisfaction to learn that Mr. Stallybrass and his companions had, on the preceding day, Teached the city of Tobolsk in Siberia.* They had accomplished
* From St. Petersburg to Moscow is 530 English miles. Moscow to Perm
- 979 Perm to Tobolsk
- 607 Tobolsk to Tomsk
- 777 Tomsk to Irkoutsk
From Irkoutsk to Pekin, in China, about 1,500 miles.
rather more than half their long and arduous journey, and through the preserving care and goodness of their Divine Protector, with much less fatigue and inconvenience than, considering the season of the year in which they travelled, could have been expected. Every thing that human care and kindness could effect, had been done for them by order of the most excellent Emperor of Russia and his Government, and they were received and treated with the utmost respect and attention by persons in authority throughout their route. They were looking forward earnestly to the intended place of their labours, at which, we trust, they have, ere this, arrived.
The Directors have lately granted one hundred pounds, in addition to the three hundred sormerly given, in aid of the Moravian Mission to the Calmucks, of the Torgutsk tribe, where the brethren Schill and Huebner, having now acquired their language, are beginning to preach the gospel; and from whoin very agreeable communications, holding out pleasing prospects, have been received,
SEMINARY. It is with a high degree of satisfaction that the Directors are enabled, by the report of their deputation, who lately visited Gosport,* to state, that the Seminary under the direction of our venerable brother Dr. Bogue, now assisted by bis son Mr. David Bogue, is in a very prosperous state. We transcribe a part of the Report. “ Your deputation has great pleasure in reporting
the encouraging state of the Missionary Seminary at Gosport. Of the assiduous attention of the respected theological tutor to the formation and improvement of the minds of his pupils, they cannot speak too highly. His mode of lecturing on theological subjects, appears to them peculiarly adapted to impart information, to meet and vanquish objections, to excite talent, and to direct every accession of knowledge to the great purpose of preparing the young men for the arduous employment before them." They speak also in terms of commendation of Mr. David Bogue, of his qualifications for the classical-branch of education, and of his useful method of teaching; and they observe, that the superior attention now paid to the languages, promises to be of great advantage to those students who may be required to translate the Holy Scriptures into the language of the heathen.
The Deputation, together with the Tutor, report very favourably also of the students—as to their acquisition of knowledge, the correctness of their doctrinal views, and of their decided piety and devotedness to the work of God.
* The Deputation consisted of the Rev. Dr, Winter, the Rer. John. Hum. phrys, and the Rev. George Collison.