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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY. Eight Missions of the Society, passing
THE Committee of the Church MissionarySociety commenced theirTwenty-first Report with a few pages of remarks; in which, among other points, they acknowledge the services of various friends of the institution; they urge the formation of new associations, wherever practicable and expedient, and the donation of standard books to the libraries of the Society's Missions; they state that the receipts for the year had been 31,000l., and the disbursements 32,000l.; that two hundred persons were employed by the Society in its benevolent objects, and not less than ten thousand children were under instruction under its anspices; that out of many persons who had offered their services to the Society, eleven had been accepted, three of whom were studying at Trinity College, Dublin; and that William Bowley, of Chunar, and Abdool Messeeh, of Agra, had been ordained Lutheran ministers. The Committee then proceed to survey the
from Western Africa, by the Mediter ranean, to the Northern, Southern, and Western Missions of India; and returning, by Ceylon and Australasia, to the West Indies. Our abstract in the present Number, will be confined to the first of these stations; namely,
THE WEST-AFRICA MISSION.
In reference to this sphere of the Society's exertions, the Committee allude to an Act lately passed, to abolish the African Company, to vest its possessions in the Crown, and to annex these possessions, and all others which may belong to his majesty between the twentieth degree of North Latitude and the twentieth degree of South Latitude, to Sierra Leone. All the British possessions on this coast, scattered throughout forty degrees of latitude, will be thus placed under the colonial administration of the Governor of Sierra Leone, at present Sir Charles MacCarthy, who has manifested a uniform determination to employ his power for the destruction of
the Slave Trade, and the melioration of conceive the difficulties which have Africa.
The Banana Islands, which lie off the south-western coast of Sierra Leone, have been transferred to the British Crown. The family of the Caulkers, the native chiefs to whom they belonged, have considerable possessions and influence in the Sherbro, and are ready to give their best assistance to the improvement of Africa, and would willingly receive and countenance Christian teachers. An opening for the ex-. tension of the Society's labours much further down the coast had also been suggested; namely, at Fernando Po, an island a little north of the line, and on the neighbouring shores of the conti.
Colony of Sierra Leone.
This colony had made considerable advances in population and strength. Its cultivation and its commerce are rapidly increasing; and it bids fair, from its augmenting intercourse with the interior, to afford the best opportunities for ascertaining the condition of those unexplored regions, and for communicating to them Christianity and its attendant blessings.
From the returns it appeared that to the 9565 inhabitants at the beginning of 1819, there were added, up to July the 8th of 1820, 2944; making a total of 12,509, exclusive of the military and their families. This increase consists of liberated Negroes, and discharged native soldiers with their families. The addition of four settlements of Negroes to those previously formed in the colony was stated in the last Report. The number of parishes was, at the last returns, fourteen. The object of the Governor, in this increase of settlements, was not only the accommodation of the new inhabitants, but the extension of cultivation. It was his design also to make provision for the reception of those natives, whom the vigilance of his majesty's navy seemed likely to rescue, in increasing numbers, from their oppressors.. From January 1, 1819, to July 6, 1820, there were in the colony, 455 marriages; 571 births; and 1261 baptisms of adults and infants; and, at the latter date, there were 2097 children and adults under education. The total number of marriages celebrated in the colony amounts to 1374.-Sir George Collier bears strong testimony to the great improvement of the colony. "It is hardly possible," he remarks," to
been surmounted in bringing the colony of Sierra Leone to its present improved, and still very improving, state. Roads are cut in every direction, useful for communication: many towns and villages are built; and others, as the Black population increases, are building: more improvement, under all circumstances of climate and infancy of colony, is scarcely to be supposed. I visited all the Black towns and villages, attended the public schools, and other establishments; and I never witnessed in any population more contentment and happiness. The manner in which the public schools are here conducted reflects the greatest credit on those concerned in their prosperity; and the improvement made by the scholars proves the aptitude of the African, if moderate pains be taken to instruct him. I have attended places of public worship in every quarter of the globe; and I do most conscientiously declare, never did I witness the ceremonies of religion more piously performed, or more devoutly attended to, than in Sierra Leone."
The Chief Justice also expresses the delight with which he had witnessed the worship of the liberated Negroes at their establishments in the interior of the colony; and congratulates the Society on the success of its exertions to diffuse the light of the Gospel over the darkness of Africa.
The influence of religion is also widely extending itself within the colony. We shall extract a few particulars on this subject, from the reports received from different parishes in the colony in which the Society's agents are located.
From Freetown, the late instructress wrote, a short time before her death;— "We have now 137 girls in the school. I never found children in England more teachable, or so anxious to learn. They seem much attached to me, and I feel great love to them." The whole num. ber of scholars in the schools at this place, was about 500. The attendance during the rains was more regular than usual; there being occasion to omit school only three days on account of them. A Sunday-school had been opened, and about 120 boys, girls, and adults, attended. A Missionary Association had been formed among the boys, who had begun to collect about 10l. per annum.
At Kissey, another station for recaptured Negroes, the number of boys in
the schools had varied from 60 to 66, and that of girls from 55 to 60. Some of the boys had been put to trades, and several of the elder girls had married. Cultivation is rapidly advancing in this parish. Sir Charles MacCarthy states, that the whole of the country round Kissey is in a state of very good cultivation. There are, in every direction, extensive fields of rice, in a very forward state. The cassada and ground. nut fields also promised an abundant harvest. The parish would not only supply sufficient produce to meet its own wants, but would furnish its neighbours, it was expected, with every de. scription of produce at present culti vated in the peninsula. The church, school rooms, and rector's house were in a state of forwardness: the church is a handsome building, and will afford accommodation to one thousand persons. We must pass over many pleasing statements from Waterloo, Kent, Charlotté, Leopold, Gloucester, and Wil. berforce, to collect a few particulars respecting the state of Regent's Town.
The native assistants of the mission at this place, William Tamba and William Davis, improve themselves in the day, and in the evenings and on Sundays visit their countrymen in the neighbourhood. David Noah renders great assistance to Mr. Johnson in the schools and in visit. ing the sick.
A connected view of the progress of this mission during the last year, is given in Mr. Johnson's reports to the meetings of chaplains and missionaries, The following are a few passages from these reports.
"The communicants are going on better than perhaps could be expected, As far as I can ascertain, they are generally growing in grace, and in the know. ledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are some whose conduct is not altogether consistent; but there is nothing unaccountable in that. When a child first begins to walk, it will frequently stumble. There is, however, not one of these people but will, when detected in his weakness, express deep sorrow on account of his inconstancy. Three have been excommunicated, until their conduct shall agree with their profession. One died in the faith last Sunday: the last words which I heard him speak were, I depend on nothing else save the blood of Jesus!'"
A few months after, Mr. Johnsou writes
"It has pleased the God of all grace' to carry on the work of mercy, which demands our praise and gratitude.
"The number of conimunicants, which amounted to 254 on the 26th of March, has increased to nearly $00. On the first Sunday in July, I baptized 16, and on the first Sunday of this month,' 23 adults; who, so far as I can judge, are partakers of Divine grace. Since then, about 80 persons have made application for baptism: these I examined, and received 36 of them, who are now under a course of instruction, and will, if it please God, be baptized at a future period.
"The whole of the inhabitants of Regent's Town attend Divine worship very regularly, except two or three families, which still reside at a distance on their farms, and live in their country fashion but it is to be hoped that they, like many others, will, through the grace of God, come and hear the Gospel. They have promised to build at Regent's Town, when the rains have abated.
"All the communicants continue to attend the Lord's Supper every first' Sunday of the month, unless sickness' prevents them. Their general conduct is more consistent: more peace and harmony are exercised and experienced. A few were reported by me as having backsliddeu; and three or four have since fallen into errors and sin; but I am happy to say, that most of them have returned with deep humility."
"Three communicants have put off this mortal, and have put on immortality. I trust I can say that they died in the faith. When the hour of dissolution drew nigh, they expressed their firm belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Last month the half-yearly meeting of the Benefit Society was held. This Society consists of noue but communicants. The contributions and donations for six months amounted to 11. 7s. 11d. of which 117. 4s. 6d. were expended for the sick and for women in their confinement.
"The school-house for the girls (a stone building, two stories high, 73 feet by 30, the piazza included) is finished; and one of the same size, for the boys, is in a state of forwardness. The inside of the church, and part of my house, are also finished.
"As respects cultivation, much has heen done. Cassada, cocoa, Indiancorn, &c. we have in great abundance: 8352 bushels of cassada were sold to
Government this last quarter, and issued, in lieu of rice, to the different towns in the mountains; and a considerable quantity remains yet to be sold. The payment for the cassada amounts to 5221. sterling; besides Indian-corn, &c. which has been sold in the markets at Regent's Town and Freetown.
"Several of the people are preparing to build permanent houses, with the money which they have received for the fruit of their industry. Three have commenced already."
A few months after, Mr. Johnson reports
"I stated in my last, that we had 36 candidates for baptism: 34 were baptized on the first Sunday in November; and continue to walk, so far as I know, agreeably to the Gospel.
"There are a considerable number who are candidates for baptism; and, if their conduct should continue to be consistent, will, if it please God, be baptized at a future period. About 300 have attended at the Lord's Table every month. Since the rains have abated, the scholars in the evening school have increased. The number of scholars is 473.
"I am happy to state that 50%. have been collected, this last year, among the people of Regent's Town, in aid of the Church Missionary Society; and 71. in aid of the British and Foreign Bible Society. More cassada has been sold to Government."
Mr. Johnson elsewhere writes"Our present population is 1216. Of these, 525 are under rations from Government: the remainder maintain themselves. Only boys and girls, mechanics, and such as are infirm, receive support from Government. At present we issue half rice, and the other half cassada, which we buy from those who maintain themselves. As we have more cassada than we can consume, I solicited his excellency to allow us to supply either Bathurst or Leopold. He granted my request, and our people now supply Gloucester and Bathurst with half provision, as also those of Regent's Town who receive rations. I must confess, that, when I inspected our farms, I was agreeably surprised, as the progress of our agriculture far surpassed my expectation. What is this but the fruits of the Gospel?"
The testimony of various witnesses entirely accords with the represent ations here given of the rapid pro
gress of this settlement. Sir Charles MacCarthy assured the Committee of the Society, in reference to Mr. Johnson's labours at this station, that the effect of them had been under-rated in his communications, rather than too highly coloured as some might imagine. His excellency stated, that the Foreign Commissioners now resident at Freetown on the Mixed Commission for the adjudication of slave vessels, once attended public worship at Regent's Town in his company, and all expressed their surprise and gratification at the state of the congregation.
The opening of the Christian Institution with 20 youths was stated in the last Report. Owing to the want of teachers, the instruction of these youths had very much devolved, in the midst of his other labours, ou Mr. Johnson. Seven of the most promising of them, with William Tamba, William Davis, and David Noah, were receiving instruction from him, twice a day, on such subjects as were likely to enlarge their minds. He had also two classes, containing 18 youths, under special instruction, chiefly in English Grammar. At an examination, which took place before the chaplains and missionaries, their writing indicated great improvement: they appeared fully to understand the English Grammar; and their answers to the questions put to them on various parts of Scripture afforded great pleasure to all present. Mr. Johnson writes" I hope that some will very soon be able to conduct a school; but we will not part with them, till we can send them away with safety."
It is the wish of the Society, gradually to place the schools in Freetown and in the country towns, on such a footing as to afford an education to the children of the colony adequate to all the purposes of the labouring and trading classes of this rising community; and, from these schools, to select, as opportunity offers, youths of sound principles, good character, and promising talents, to receive, in the Institution, the advantages of Christian education. Such an institution may thus become the head-quarters of teachers, sent out on excursions among the heathen, who might return and repose for a while, and then renew their journeys, till prospects of permanent usefulness should open before them. Natives in anthority, in different places, who might wish for schoolmasters, might be
supplied from such an Institution: and these schoolmasters might read the Scriptures to the people, and prepare the way for missionaries. Such are some, of the pleasing prospects which appear, to be unfolding upon Africa, by means of the invaluable labours of the Church Missionary Society.
(To be continued.)
NORTH-AMERICAN INDIANS. An interesting narrative has lately appeared in the Missionary Register, of an extensive journey among several of the Indian tribes of North America, by Mr. Hodgson, a gentleman of Liverpool, from which we shall select a few passages descriptive of the religious state of the natives, and of the missionary settlements of Elliot among the Choctaws, and Brainerd among the Cherokees, which the writer inspected in the course of his route.
The first of the Indian nations visited by Mr. Hodgson was the Creek, respecting whose moral condition we learn the following particulars.
"My host regretted, in the most feeling terms, the injury which the morals of the Indians have sustained from their intercourse with Whites; and especially from the introduction of whiskey, which has been their bane. A murderer is now publicly executed; the law of private retaliation becoming gradually obsolete. Stealing is punished, for the first offence, by whipping; for the second, by the loss of the ears; for the third, by death-the amount stolen being disregarded. My host remembers when there was no law against stealing; the crime itself being almost unknown-when the Indians would go a hunting, or frolicking,' for one or two days, leaving their clothes on the bushes opposite their wigwams, in a populous neighbourhood, or their silver trinkets and ornaments hanging in their open huts. Confidence and generosity were then their characteristic virtues. A desire of gain, caught from the Whites, has chilled their liberality; and abused credulity has taught them suspicion and deceit. He considers them to be still attached to the English, although disappointed in not having received greater assistance from them in late wars. This, however, they attribute, rather to the distance of the British, which renders them less valuable allies than they expected, than to a treacherous violation of their promises. What
ever the first glow of British feeling may dictate, on hearing of their attachment, enlightened humanity will not repine, if, under their present circumstances, they are becoming daily more closely connected with the American Government, which has evinced an active solicitude for their civilization.
"Our recluse told us, that they have a general idea of a Supreme Being; but no religious days, nor any religious rites, unless, as he is disposed to believe, their Green-Corn Dance be one. Before the corn turns yellow, the inhabitants of each town or district assemble; and a certain number enter the streets of what is more properly called the town, with the war-whoop and savage yells, firing their arrows in the air, and going several times round the pole. They then take emetics, and fast two days; dancing round the pole a, in the township are then extinguished, great part of the night. All the fires and the hearths cleared, and new fires kindled by rubbing two sticks. After this they parch some of the new corn, and, feasting a little, disperse to their several homes. Many of the old chiefs are of opinion, that their ancestors intended this ceremony as a thank-offering to the Supreme Being, for the fruits; of the earth, and for success in hunting or in war.
"The more reflecting of the Creeks think much, but say little, of the change which is taking place in their condition. They see plainly that, with respect to their future destiny, it is a question of civilization or extinction; and a question, the decision of which cannot be long postponed. They are therefore become very solicitous for the establishment of schools; and the introduction of the various arts, from which the Whites derive their superiority. In some of these, they have already made considerable progress; and the nation, at this time, exhibits a very interesting spectacle of society in several of its earlier stages."
Mr. Hodgson next visited the Choctaw nation, of whom he says
"The law of retaliation is still almost in full force among the Choctaws; the nearest relation of a fugitive murderer being liable to expiate the offence. An intelligent Indian told me, however, that the Choctaws are becoming more anxious than formerly that the offender himself should suffer; and that his family and that of the deceased generally