Mauritius and Madagascar Journals of An Eight Years' Residence in the Diocese of Mauritius, and of a Visit to Madagascar
by Vincent W. Ryan, D.D.
Bishop of Mauritius
Visitation Tour to the Seychelles, 1859-Coetivy--Mahé--Consecration of St. Paul's--Praslin--Four Services--Peros Banhos--Chagos Islands--Salomon Islands--Six Islands--Return to Port Louis.
May, 1859.--Having received letters from Mahé, which announced the completion of the church for the purposes of divine worship, I was anxious to seize the first opportunity of going to consecrate it, as well as to perform the duties of inspection, and to revisit the work which had presented so many features of encouragement in 1856. The Governor was about to send a Commission of Inquiry among the remoter dependencies of Mauritius, and it was arranged that I should proceed in H. M. despatch gunboat "Lynx," with the Commissioners, Captain Berkeley and Mr. Caldwell. The limited accommodation precluded the practicability of making the same happy arrangements as last time, and it was therefore decided that I should go alone. I looked forward to the excursion with comparatively depressed feelings, and felt much the need of that prayer about which I preached on the Sunday evening before I left, from Rom. xv. 30,--"Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."
Monday, May 2nd, was the day fixed for our departure, and I read Psalm cxxi. with the servants and others in the verandah, in French, and gave them directions about their conduct while I should be away. Many came to say "Good-bye" on board the ship, but the wind falling light, our departure was put off till the next morning at eight, and very thoroughly I enjoyed the cool refreshing rest of another night at Failles. I thought it better to come in alone at that hour, and we started in tow of the tug-steamer, Mr. Wiehe, Colonel Cockburn, Captain Wales, and Mr. Mason coming out as far as the Eell buoy. It was very pleasant to have Pailles in sight so long, and to consider the mercies vouchsafed to me there. Our party on board the ship consisted of Captain Berkeley; Mr. Medlycott; Mr. Cooke, master; Dr. Hunter; Mr. Pitt, midshipman; Mr. Morgan, master's assistant; Mr. Pierson, captain's clerk; Mr. Hill, engineer; Mr. Hart, gunner; Mr. Caldwell; Mr. Maule, R.A.; Mr. Marindin, K.E. Nothing could have been more kindly and pleasant than our intercourse during the eight weeks we were together. I suffered very severely from sea-sickness, but found that the swinging bed in the captain's cabin was the means of giving me a quiet night.
Wednesday, May 4th.--Long before daylight I had a most refreshing bathe. Mr. Caldwell's excellent coffee, prepared soon after daylight, was the prelude to many such scenes, when Mr. Medlycott, the officer of that watch, generally joined us, after watching with me from the conning-stool the glorious rising of the sun. I felt much depression, not so much of spirits as of strength, these days, and great irritation of stomach and suffering from sea-sickness.
This season is a very suitable one for recalling all the mercies of my Heavenly Father, for looking at the events of life in their relation to my duties; and, while I count up the treasures which have been so bountifully given to me, to ponder well all the obligations under which I lie to Him who loved me, and gave Himself for me. Many ways indeed there are, of proving the truth of my gratitude in the openings for work in this diocese.
Thursday, May 5th.--A much quieter night. I had conversation during some of the still hours of darkness with Captain Berkeley, chiefly about the Kroomen, and their useful qualities and habits. The sunrise was very magnificent, and I felt how suitable the Morning Hymn was, as the rays of light struck the lops of the rolling foaming waves.
Pontiwn te kumatwn anhriqmon gelasma
"The many-twinkling smile of ocean."
The brightness into which the morning star vanished recalled the beautiful similitude about a good man's death, "Like the morning-star that never sets, but fades away into the light of heaven." I find a very traveller-like sentence in my diary to-day,--"Delicious cup of coffee from Mr. Caldwell." What a trifle to put down, but what real comfort after the exhaustion of sea-sickness!
I was beginning to feel exceedingly unhinged till today, when the sickness abated, though the dulness of impaired energy is very heavy on me. I have been reading in Isaiah all these days, and find the descriptions and the promises very full of comfort and blessing.
Friday, May 6th.--We had a run of 186 miles. I was very much struck this morning with the description of the river of healing waters in Ezekiel's vision, and derived very great encouragement from it. Last night I read a great part of the Book of Esther, and dwelt in thought on the providential interposition of God. Today has been one of the most thrilling days in my life. Before noon we made out Agalega. A tremendous surf was raging on its southern end, and all along a great part of the south-western coast. We stood in to a bay where the land retreated very considerably, in the hope of finding smooth anchorage. My fixed purpose was to go on shore, and I went down to pack up the books and tracts which I wanted. I was expecting to hear the rattle of the anchor-chain, but on coming up found two boats had set off to get soundings; the whaler with Mr. Cook, Mr. Marindin, and four men; the galley with Mr. Hart and six men; and we were standing off to sea. We soon went round, and on nearing the shore, it was thought two boats were seen; but it was soon ascertained there was only one, and the Captain made out, as he told me privately, that the ensign was reversed (a signal of distress), and a shirt on the top of a boat-hook. The cutter was despatched, under the charge of Mr. Medlycott, to meet the galley, and it was ascertained that there were more than her own crew on board. Were they all there? It was a most anxious question. When the cutter reached the galley, she proceeded towards the shore, and the galley came to the ship. There were twelve onboard, but not Mr. Cook. As soon as we could hail the boat we inquired for him, and to our intense relief it was found that he had gone back in the cutter for the capsized whaler. It appeared that in less than an hour from the time of their leaving the ship, a puff of wind had upset the whaler, while rising on a wave. Two of the four men could not swim. The boat, sunken below the surface of the water, rolled about, and slipped from under them when they tried to stand on it. An oar was lashed to the bow of the boat to steady it. Mr. Marindin swam off for the ensign, which was floating away, and it was held up to attract notice. One of the young men who could not swim laid hold on Mr. Marindin, promising to do so softly. Mr. Marindin thought he saw a shark, but very wisely said nothing about it. Presently, after about three-quarters of an hour, the galley passed back, most providentially, sufficiently near to catch sight of the struggling men and the whaler's ensign. They tried to tow the sunken boat, but were obliged at last to let her go, and make for the ship. The cutter afterwards brought her, and her first movement, on nearing the ship, was to go right under her, emerging on the other side; making the whole thing palpably and visibly impressive to us all. It was delightful to see the effect produced on the sailors by Mr. Marindin's calm and resolute behaviour. "That 'ere soldier officer behaved like a brick/' was their expression of admiration.
It was with a thrill of tearful joy that I heard they were all safe. Tearful, perhaps, because I was weakened and depressed in strength; but when I thought of what the sorrow might have been, I felt thankful indeed that the destruction had been averted. Being surrounded by these young officers on the previous days had very forcibly recalled my days of pupils, and I was now reminded of the wonderful escape of some of them, in crossing from Guernsey to Alderney in an open boat, in October 1841; amongst whom were the present Rector of Alby, in Norfolk, the Rev. T. R. Govett; and the Rector of Melling, in Lancashire, the Rev. J. R. Glaze-brook. In that case, too, the coolness of one of the men in the boat had much to do with the safety of the others.
There were circumstances which made the deliverance at Agalega very remarkable. Had I not gone down to pack up, under the idea that they would soon anchor, it is most probable that I should have gone in one of the boats; and had I proceeded to the shore, Mr. Hart would not have been there to rescue the whaler.
It was with very deep satisfaction that I received from Mr. Cook and Mr. Marindin the proposal to have the men together to return thanks. The Captain most readily gave his cabin, and I read some of the verses of Psalm cxxiv. 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,--"If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say .... then the waters had overwhelmed us, the stream had gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth,"--and offered prayers of thanksgiving. Several besides those who had been in danger were there.
Saturday, May 7th.--We stood away during the night. In the morning there was some difficulty in making the land again. We proceeded to the north-west point, and anchored a short time, and Mr. Caldwell went out in a boat with Mr. Medlycott to look for a passage; but there was too much risk of injuring the boat. There were fearful breakers on the reef near the pass. Towards nightfal we stood off, and went on, leaving Agalega. Some men on the shore made signs as if for the boat to come in, and then followed, apparently, a description by signs, of the upsetting that would take place in the breakers. I was very glad when the Captain communicated to me his decision to proceed. He and the boat's crew had worked hard for a day and a half, and the shore was lined with reefs. There is thick but low vegetation on the island. The land air, and relief from suspense, I suppose, enabled me to dine down-stairs for the first time, and I slept exceedingly well. I nope in some other way to get at the inhabitants of Agalega, who may be accessible to our ministrations.
Sunday, May 8th.--This was a most lovely day. There was a gentle, favouring breeze, and we had service twice on deck; besides visits to the sick, and unpacking of the library and lending the books. The Church Missionary Intelligencers were (as on board the "Frolic") very acceptable; also, Adams's Allegories were read with much interest. My morning subject was Matt. vi. 9, "Our Father which art in heaven:" and the evening subject, Gen. xxviii. 15, Jacob at Bethel. I had pleasant conversation with many, and felt it had been a day of religious teaching and preaching, and was very thankful for all the favourable circumstances attending it.
Monday, May 9th.--We had a fresh breeze in a squall, and then calms. We made the island of Coetivy distinctly, and came round the north-west point, a boat being sent to communicate with the shore. After dinner we started, but met the galley, reporting that they had seen no one to speak to, though men were distinctly visible on a brown hill in full view of the ship. [This was the only instance that I remember of a hill on a coral island.] It afterwards turned out that they were labourers returning from the other end of the island to their habitation. It was a most lovely evening scene from the ship's deck. The white coral strand, the beautiful cocoa-palms, and other trees, in some places very densely planted and of towering height; the brown hill standing out of the midst of the green of various shades; the calm sea, and the silvery moonlight, gradually spreading over the whole landscape, made up a very rich and fair prospect; and having been able to visit the sick during the day, as well as to read for a considerable time, the effect of the whole was to give me a feeling of rest and peace.
Coetivy. Tuesday, May 10th.--Just after sunset I am writing on deck these notes of one of the most intensely interesting days I ever spent. I was up at twenty minutes to four, and bad abundant opportunity for quiet remembrance of the day. At that early hour the water poured over me was just like fire, from the phosphoresence. At eight o'clock I started with the Captain and Mr. Caldwell, led by a canoe which had come off from the shore when the manager had made us out. We sought in vain for a passage to the shore, until we came opposite to the Residence. A shark was distinctly seen inside the reefs, with the fin out of the water several times.
The landing is in a quiet bay, near the northern end of the island, with a sandy shore, and luxuriant palm-trees fringing it at high-water mark. At a very short distance from the landing-place is the Residence. As we stood with our backs to the sea the camp was on the left hand, some 300 yards off; and nearer to the house, almost in front, the oil-store, carpenter's shed, &c. To the right of the house is the provision-store, and behind it spacious pigsties with immense animals in them. The place for drying the nuts, and the mill (for which forty-five donkeys are kept), are between the, house and the camp. The Captain's tent was pitched right in front of the house, and for several hours the scene was very animated, as the boats successively arrived, and different parties went off in different directions, mustering again for an ante-breakfast under the tent, and ending with the breakfast itself under the hospitable roof of Monsieur and Madame O------, who were very kind and attentive.
My first duty was to baptize two children; and I afterwards distributed Bibles, New Testaments, a Prayer-book, and tracts. All were most thankfully received, and some of the younger people showed their gratitude afterwards in a very expressive manner. They went and selected some of their finest pigeons and a couple of Muscovy ducks, and had them placed in well-secured baskets, and brought them for a present to me. As I left in a smaller boat I did not take them with me, but the donors watched very carefully the departure of the larger boat, and saw their presents sent off before they would leave the beach.
The island is about seven miles long and one across. A very unhealthy lagoon has been formed just behind the house and camp, and many children have died from its injurious effects. Before the birth of the youngest child brought to us (a labourer's), the mother was sent to another part of the island, and not allowed to return till the child was several weeks old. The necessity of having the stores near the landing-place involves that of having the Residence there also.
On going round the cazes of the people, I was able to see every one of them, about thirty in all, including children. There are six women on the island. I found some who had been baptized by Mr. Banks, Mr. Le Brun, and by Roman Catholic priests, and also several unbaptized. One old man was very anxious to be baptized, and my good impression of him was fully confirmed by the manager, but I could not ascertain that he knew enough of the simplest truths of the Gospel to warrant me in baptizing him. I left copies of the Catechism, translated by Mr. De Putron, and published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, with the earnest and repeated request to Madame O------, with whom I had much
interesting conversation, that she would let her children teach the Negroes from it. I regret to say that one of the most profligate, hardened sinners I have ever met with, was in that camp--a woman nearly seventy years old; but, on the whole, I was very thankful for the kind of opportunity given me of exercising a missionary vocation there. Part of it had indeed been direct missionary work with unbaptized African heathens. Most probably no minister of God's Word had ever landed on that island before, certainly not within the memory of its present occupants. What need for prayer that labourers may be raised up for carrying on such work effectually!
Two points were impressed on my mind at Coetivy, in confirmation of opinions often entertained before; and I have subsequently seen reason to hold them still more forcibly:--
1. That the true way of doing good in all these islands is to work hard for the improvement of the labouring classes, especially the Creoles at Port Louis, and in our other schools at Mauritius, and at Mahé and Praslin. These form the greater part of the Creole population of the islands.
2. That an itinerating catechist--a hardy, zealous, able man, who could go for a month or two at a time to these islands,--would, under God's blessing, render invaluable service in the instruction of the labourers and of their children, in the restraint of immorality, in the preparation for the visits of a clergyman, or of the Bishop. It would be a noble field of usefulness. I should mention the satisfaction which was experienced by one friend at the visit of the doctor of the ship. She had been threatened with paralysis after the birth of her twelfth child some months before, and was still very weak. Her husband was also suffering from long-standing disease of the liver, and they were both exceedingly grateful for the attention and prescriptions of Dr. Hunter.
Wednesday, May 11th.--After the exertions of yesterday, and the tremendous sun of Coetivy, a gentle, easy sail was very pleasant: 2, 3, 3J, 4, 4J, 5 knots was our gradually increasing rate of progress. The account of the Convocation; Vinet's beautiful discourse to a newly-married couple; Napier, vol. iv.; and Creoles and Coolies, gave me diversified matter of interesting reading. Just as we went down to dinner the Ile Platte was in sight, and the evening was again most lovely.
The poor invalid was sinking all day. I visited him several times; and just as I was retiring to rest, Mr. Pierson came to ask me to see him again, at his own request. I had a very satisfactory interview with him, though he was exceedingly weak. The next day he died, just as we were off St. Ann's; and on the following morning I buried him in the cemetery above Government House. I felt very thankful that I was there to minister to his wants, in the rapid passage towards and through the dark valley.
Arrival at Make. Thursday, May 12th.--Long before daylight I could make out Ile Nord, by the help of Mr. Marindin's glass; then Silhouette; then we stood off till morning, and, on tacking, were able to run along in sight of the southern and south-eastern parts of the island, of which we obtained excellent views. There were not only the white coral beach and the cocoa-palm plantation, but also steep hills and mountains behind, forming varied combinations of exquisite beauty. On reaching the roadstead, we saw again the enchanting scene which had so struck me from the "Frolic," and all who witnessed it confessed that it was the view of the day. Mr. Antoine, the pilot, came on board in mourning; and the death on board, and the remembrance of Mr. Griffiths and Mrs. Wade, both suddenly cut off since we were here before, made thoughts of the vicissitudes of human life very natural and impressive.
I met Mr. Dubois and the school-children, with Mr. Adrian Calais and Mrs. Knowles. The new church on the right hand, and the new school on the left, in coming towards Government House, were very cheering tokens of improvement. Instead of the hired dwelling-house, used as a school in the week and as a church on Sundays, here is a really beautiful edifice for public worship, and a commodious, well-arranged school for the education of the young; and all the plans have been formed, the greater part of the subscriptions raised, and the church and school built, since I was here in October, 1856. Perhaps it is well that so much had tended to depress me physically, or I might have been too much elated at all this. On landing with Captain Berkeley, I was kindly invited by Mr. Telfair to take up my quarters at Government House. I saw Dr. and Mrs. Brooks, and also Mde. Fallet; but I found, rather to my dismay, that Dr. Pallet was gone to Praslin. This turned out well in the end. I walked into the country with Mr. Cook, and was received by the people, from their cazes on the roadside, with very earnest demonstrations of good-will and welcome. They seemed to feel more than the facts of the case warranted, as to my part in the improvements which had been effected.
I felt very thankful to have a good walk again, and to find myself thus brought in peace, after a thousand miles of voyaging, to the haven where for the present we would be.
Friday, May 13th.--A. boat was sent off to Praslin for Dr. Fallet. I went down to the schools, gave the children hymn-books, and other books, &c. The girls were sewing very nicely. Took a long walk in the evening to Anse Nord-Ouest.
Consecration of St. Paul's, Make. Saturday, May 14th.--I had the privilege of consecrating the church at Mahé, Dr. Pallet having returned from Praslin in the night. A body of sailors from the "Lynx "were present, and the ceremony was one of much happiness, and pleasure, and hope to me. Several times during the day I felt weak, and rather weary. I thought of some I had left in Port Louis, who would have greatly enjoyed the proceedings of the day. I preached on 1 Thess. ii. 12,--"That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His kingdom and glory." There was a good congregation, though the notice had been short. Mr. Ferdinand Savy, the contractor; Mr. Loiseau, the notary; Mr. Butler, the surveyor; and Mr. Dubois, the responsible agent, who has shown so much zeal, were all with me to-day. I trust this completion of an earthly house of God may prove the means, by His grace, of greatly helping on the work of building the spiritual temple.
Sunday, May 15th.--Three sermons in the new church; the first at eight (French service), on 1 Cor. xi. 26,--"Car toutes les fois que vous mangerez de ce pain, et que vous boirez de cette coupe, vous annoncerez la mort du Seigneur, jusqu'a ce qu'il vienne." There were 108 communicants. The second at half-past ten, in English. Two hymns, Psalm c. and Psalm cxlix., were sung by the sailors. My text was Amos, iv. 12,--"Prepare to meet thy God" (with reference to the death which had taken place during the week). The third at seven, on Matt. vi. 9,--"Our Father which art in heaven."
There were good congregations, and quiet, serious attention, and I felt truly thankful for this opportunity of preaching the Word of God in that church to so many. The satisfaction of being called to do God's work is very great on such days as this, and I enjoyed much communion of spirit with those far distant.
Monday, May 16th.--I had much feeling of sickness and languor on awaking,--probably from the return of weather so much warmer, after the strain of the seasickness, but was better after breakfast, and then had a very busy day.
According to promise, I went to visit the tomb of Mr. Griffiths, which was in nice order, with bouquets of flowers; and I also looked at the ground where the sailor was buried, with reference to the tombstone to be set up, for which a good sum has been subscribed by his comrades. Afterwards I attended at the church, for a vestry-meeting, to arrange the various matters connected with the election of churchwardens, auditors, the fixing of pew-rents, and the kind offer of the Governor and Mrs. Stevenson to present some useful gifts to the church. It was decided that a pulpit and reading-desk were the most essential requisites now wanting, those in use having been transferred from the room formerly occupied as a church.
Afterwards I gave prizes to the boys and girls, which were supplemented on subsequent days during my stay; and then went over Dr. Pallet's house, formerly occupied by Dr. Ford. It is a very commodious, conveniently-situated house, between the church and the school, and in front of Government House; so that a line drawn from the former to the latter would have the church on the right and the school-buildings on the left. It is also near to the police-station and prisons, and in the centre of the town. It would be a great advantage if the house were purchased for the chaplain.
I went afterwards, with Dr. Fallet and Mr. Caldwell, to the Anse Nord-Ouest, and stopped some time with Mr. Green (an old man-of-war's man), who asked for a Bible, and was anxious for a visit from Madame Fallet to his wife. His child was one of six afterwards baptized on one of the days of my stay. We went by a more inland track, and then returned by the main road; thus securing a visit to several cazes, where the people were busily at work, and very civil. They remembered Dr. Fallet, from his visits to a sick man near them. On our return we saw a most glorious sunset over Silhouette, by turning round at a point on the road. There was much to converse about with Dr. Fallet in the many branches of his work, which were suggested by the incidents of the walk, or recalled from the mention made of them in letters. All the day and the evening were occupied, and then we had to make preparations for Praslin to-morrow.
Praslin. Tuesday, May 17th.--We started at eight, under steam, and reached the anchorage about one. The passengers from Mahé were Mr. and Mrs. Telfair, Dr. and Mrs. Brooks, Dr. and Madame Pallet, Mr. Dubois, and Mr. Constant Collie. We went round the southeastern side, as on the former occasion, with La Digue on our right, hut were not so near as then to the Crocodile and Shark rocks. The lovely views presented on approaching the island were the admiration of every one. Recesses thickly planted with cocoa-nut-trees, bays with coral beaches, uplands, hills, and almost mountains behind, caused a variety of combinations of the most enchanting scenery. After anchoring in Curieuse Bay, I went across to Ile Curieuse; Mr. and Mrs. Telfair and Dr. and Mrs. Brooks going there for the night. Captain Berkeley, Mr. Marindin, and the Doctor, were with us soon afterwards. Mr. Forbes, the superintendent, was very hearty in his welcome, and showed me various fine pieces of coral, preserved for me, over one of which he had built a temporary shed. I found that he had been at sea in his youth, and had visited Pitcairn's Island. I promised him a copy of Livingstone, and one of Ellis, as loans, hoping they may be circulated among the islands.
I found several changes among the lepers. The poor woman who was such a sad object last tune, had died, as well as several others. Prosper had been left undisturbed this time in the possession of the Bible which I sent him in the name of the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge. He seemed very happy in the enjoyment of that and his Prayer-Book, and several tracts, to the number of which I added some. I found them all very ready to enter into conversation, and felt it a great privilege to tell them of the love and mercy of Him who died for them.
On returning to the ship we procured a meal., and then landed at Grande Arise under the charge of Amédée, our former pilot and guide, whom I was very glad to see again, and who has gone on steadily profiting by the help of friends who esteem him much; so that he now has a caze, some ground, and a good whale-boat. It was rather late to start, but I felt it important to reach the other side of Praslin that night, and it proved well that we started.
I was reminded every step of the way of the journey three years ago. The desolate heritage of a former proprietor of slaves, and about a mile more of the road up the hill, was all that we had light to see. But as we proceeded, groups of dusky figures were gathered at the turns of the road, and were at last so numerous that I determined on having service when we reached the church. One heavy fall on a narrow piece of wood across a marshy part (of which I had not been warned), shook me a good deal, but on the whole I was not so fatigued as I expected. After the prayers, I read Psalm iv., and preached to the people, with special reference to the services of the next day, from the words of the 5th verse, "Offer the sacrifices of righteousness," while I also dwelt on the other thoughts of that Evening Psalm. The only light in the church was near me, but as the people knew the service and the hymns by heart, that did not interfere with the devotions of the congregation.
After the service, we (Dr. and Madame Fallet, M. Dubois, Mr. Marindin, and I) repaired to the house near the church, which has been erected since my last visit for the accommodation of the clergyman. It consists of two rooms, the smaller a bedroom, the larger an eating and sitting-room. Here an excellent supper was prepared, of which I was too tired to partake much, but had the pleasure of seeing the others enjoy such fowl and duck as are rarely to be met with out of Seychelles. As soon as everything was cleared, Mr. Marindin and I took possession for the night, opening every door and shutter (windows there are none), while Dr. and Madame Fallet, and the others, procured quarters elsewhere. The moonlight in that glorious bay, and on the plains and towering hills behind, made one of those scenes which are to be felt but cannot be described. My own rest was not good; Mr. Marindin's was disturbed by what proved the beginning of a sharp touch of illness.
Wednesday, May 18th.--In the morning, at a quarter to four, I was again out by moonlight, bathing this time in the moonlit sea. When the day dawned, it was most interesting to see the people coming in pirogues, or wending their way along the beach, and through the openings in the palm-groves, and by the time the service began, our friends from the ship and the islands on that side had arrived, when the church presented a most animated and encouraging sight. It was well that I had preached the sermon on the previous night, for there were four distinct services to be performed,--
1. The Consecration Service;
2. The Confirmation Service, at which 59 were confirmed;
3. The Communion Service, at which 112 communicated; and afterwards,
4. The Baptism of several children..
Again the homely table, was spread in the rude but comfortable house, and at half-past three we returned on our homeward route. In the interval, I had called on poor Madame Mouma, who was lamenting her son reported dead at Calcutta when I was here last, and now she was in mourning for her husband. All seemed truly pleased to sec us, and at the time and afterwards gave little tokens of their good-will. The young carpenter, whose caze we had visited, was there with his wife and children. One of Philippe's sons brought me a present, and Philippe himself seemed to me to have made good progress since 1856. In common with many others, he was very anxious for a schoolmaster. The house mentioned above is intended for a school, as well as a resting-place for the clergyman at night. Philippe's great desire for education was chiefly founded on the danger which Popery presents to the uneducated. "When ignorant, they believe all that the priests tell them; when they are enlightened, then they can reason and give an answer." It was with very hearty sincerity that I commended this interesting flock to the blessing of our Heavenly Father.
The first part of our return homewards was exceedingly trying. Mrs. Telfair was carried in a hammock by two Kroomen, but the tide washed right up to the green bushes skirting the shore, so that I was obliged to take off shoes, stockings, and gaiters, and to wade. Several passages in the valley required the same process, and then I enjoyed the luxury of dry shoes and stockings. As the journey was performed by daylight, we saw the towering coco-de-mer trees to great advantage, and on reaching the summit of the pass had very good views of St. Aim's and other bays towards La Digue. The trees loaded with small oranges in our path caused many delays. Mr. Hart and Mr. Hill bargained that the former should climb and get the fruit, and the latter carry the spoil. All united in expressing their astonishment that we should have got over such ground in the dark. The wild-looking flying-foxes sweeping over the crags on the opposite hill-side, added to the grandeur of the scene; and the feeling that we were passing through a forest of such trees as are found in no other islands in the world helped to lighten the fatigue of the road, which was not small. By the time we reached Mr. Adam's the evening had set in. From half-past three to half-past six was the time taken in reaching his house. Heavy sand afterwards made us turn up to the left, and in so doing we came near the Roman Catholic church, quite a small building, and passed close to Mr. Adrian's house, where we had lodged last time. A boat was at hand, and we were soon on board. Mr. Adrien came to me at the other side of Fraslin, and was exceedingly civil. I told him I was glad of the opportunity of thanking him for the use of his house. He afterwards came to me at Mahé, and brought several presents.
On my way through the valley I had entered into conversation with an old Negro, whose expressions at once showed much intelligence. He spoke particularly on the sin of crucifying the Son of God afresh, by giving way to sin after professing to serve Him. This led to my questioning him further, when I found that he had been instructed by Mr. Banks and Mr. Le Bran. The old man came to me afterwards at Mahé with a basket of beautiful fruit, Chinese guavas, limes, and large oranges picked off the trees green, that they might last till we got to Mauritius, for Madame and the children.
Thursday, May 19th.--Finding there was time, I went off again with Amédée to Curieuse, and was very thankful that I had gone. I walked over the Lepers' Cemetery, and was much struck with the care which had evidently been taken of all the graves. There seems to be an understanding among them that the survivors will perform this kindness for those who die. There were one or two monuments to English seamen, dated many years back, and the epitaph on one of the poor lepers was so like the strange compositions of some of our English villages that I felt sure some clever half-educated man had been a resident on the island. My conjecture proved correct. An odd roan, thought to be very learned,, of the name of Donnelly, had framed the verses, which were as follows. After the age, date of death, &c.,--
(Réunissez à son caractère,
Toutes les qualités necessaires,)
A laissé après elle
Des regrets immortals."
"Quam metuendus est iste locus!"
These epitaphs caused remembrances of Europe to mingle with other feelings excited by the view of that burial-ground. The loveliness of the surrounding scenery close upon the coral beach, within hearing of the breakers, and within sight of the bright sea under the light of a tropical sun, contrasted strangely with the thoughts suggested by the graves of such children of sorrow as the exiles from England and the lepers from islands of Africa. It is under such circumstances that the consolations of the Gospel appear in their clearest light.
On revisiting the lepers, I had a pretty good number of them round the door of Prosper's caze. I read to them John,iii. 14-21, and explained the verses, with application to themselves. Some of Prosper's remarks afterwards showed a confusion of ideas which I endeavoured to dispel. He said that he had been told that the Jews were a wandering people to this day, because they despised the brazen serpent on Mount Zion. This gave me a good opportunity of repeating the explanation of the type. I offered a few words of prayer with them, and left them with the Blessing.
It was very satisfactory to myself that I had gone over again, for I saw much more of Prosper, who had known Mr. Denny, Mr. Banks, and Mr. Le Bran.
The whole of our party then set off for the ship, which was already in mid-channel, and went on for La Digue, which we reached at eleven o'clock. This was my first visit to that island. It has a large plain from the shore up to high hills on its eastern side. The vegetation is fine, and the trees immense, particularly filhaos. About a mile's walk brought us to the church, built close to the house of Mr. Mellon, who gave the ground, timber, &c. He was not there, but his son was. The house is spacious and lofty, and close to a remarkable boulder of granite, of great height, which rises out of the plain of sand.
We had the Litany Service, and I read a few of the Consecration Prayers, and then preached on the 100th Psalm. Dr. and Madame Fallet, Mr. Dubois, Philippe and party, had come over in a boat. I preferred licensing the chapel to consecrating it, as the work is in its commencement, and the people were very different from those who have been instructed and trained at Praslin.
It was dark when we reached the harbour at Mahé. There was heavy rain, but we landed safely, after a most interesting trip, between seven and eight o'clock.
Friday, May 20th.--I felt better on rising than I think I have done at all since I left Mauritius, and was very thankful for this with so much work before me.
This has been a thoroughly pastoral day. I sent Prayer-books to the girls through Mrs. Knowles. The confirmation took place at half-past eleven. There were seventy-nine candidates. I addressed them, just before the imposition of hands, from Josh, xxiv., and baptized three children afterwards.
Some bands of young people came up with presents. I took some rest during the afternoon, and read the Blue-book on Mauritius and the Seychelles; and Vinet on "While we have time, let us do good unto all men," came in well before my tour with Dr. Fallet to visit families of the congregation and others. Among the people visited was a poor woman who had called on me last time, whose mother had died of cholera at Mauritius. On all sides I had the kindest inquiries for "Madame et Ma'm'selle et les petits garçons." I was very thankful for the day's work.
Saturday, May 2Ist.--I had a pleasant time by the flagstaff. Now that all my work is done, I feel very anxious to get back. I walked with Mr. Telfair to the new bridge that he had constructed about three miles from the town on the northern side, and I saw how much improvement had been effected by comparison with the state of the road before. On our way out we called on Mr. Cauvin, who showed us his vanilla, pepper, nursery for cocoa-nuts, &c. Then we passed the Hodoul estate, formerly owned by the captain of a privateer. The place in which he built his ships; the rock near which he anchored inside a narrow pass; the remnants of his terraced constructions all up the hill-side; the fine trees near his mansion; flamboyant, cocoa, bread-fruit trees and others, all illustrated the short history told me of his deeds as a privateering captain, and then as an importer of slaves; and now, notwithstanding the fertility of the soil, and the luxuriance of the vegetation of all sorts, desolation is stamped on the place, even in the next generation.
Sunday, May 22nd.--At the first service at eight, I preached on Matt. vi. 9,--"Notre Père qui es aux cieux," at the second (English) on Psalm c.; in the evening on Matt. xvi. 24,--"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me." The congregation was very large, and many French people were present.
Monday, May 23rd.--I walked to Mr. Dubois' with Dr. Pallet, along the northern shore. I hear much of his kindness to the poor. Mr. Cauvin came to breakfast. He was the first who imported cloves to Zanzibar in 1822, and there are beautiful groves there now. "We received tidings of a bark in the distance. I hoped it was the "Tulloch Goram," by which I should probably have to go. (It proved afterwards to be an American bark, coming to land a sick man.) I took a long walk to Belvidere, more than a mile from North-west Bay, calling at Mr. Ross's on my way back. I passed several rivers, or rather torrent streams. More than twenty people assembled among the large boulder rocks, and we went into a caze, where I read a hymn and prayers, and then addressed them on Luke, xv. 1,--"Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him;" and then offered prayer again. I arranged about the school and chapel room, and for one of the girls to be trained in town, and felt truly thankful for this result. I had very pleasant converse with Dr. Fallet about contingent arrangements. Met Savy: on appealing to his religious feelings, I found lie had formerly been a Wesleyan.
Tuesday, May 24th.--The Queen's birthday. I took an early walk near the flagstaff. My usual subject of intercession for Tuesday, the Colonies, Colonial Bishops, and societies and agencies at work for their good, seemed particularly easy this morning, and I read Psalm xx. and Psalm xxi. in prayer for the Queen. I was much touched by a present from old Constant, who arrived from Praslin, of oranges, so arranged as to ripeness that they might reach Mauritius for Madame. Many other visits and presents from the kind-hearted people. I sent for Amédée, to give him a pair of oars for the boat, in which he has done us such good service. There was a levée at twelve. A royal salute was fired from the "Lynx," and the officers were present, while the marines mounted guard.
When all had retired, a body of the Seychelles people came up, and presented me with a nice address respecting the church, and my visit.
I called to see a young American who was very ill, and read and prayed with him; gave Mr. Gardiner, of Praslin, a Reference Bible, and received several visits. In the evening I read for Dr. Fallet, who conducted the catechising service as before, three years ago. The last verses of Mark i. were the subject.
Wednesday, May 25th.--Went down to the school and examined the first class of girls, and was very much pleased with their reading and answers to my questions on Luke, xv. 1-10, the parables of the lost sheep and the lost piece of silver. Then went on with Dr. Fallet and Mr. Dubois to the "Lynx," and breakfasted on board; after which, taking Mr. Maule, we proceeded to St. Ann's, Ile Longue, and Ile aux Cerfs. Melzidor, our boatman, was one of many instances I have met with, of the great value of the instruction in our schools. When I was here last, he was at Silhouette, where he lived several years. He is now the occupant of Long Island (in the Bay of Mahé), with his own family and his brother's: and through his early education, has always had, and now has, books with him, and is fit to receive the exhortation to teach his children their catechism and prayers. His gladness at seeing me at Mahé, and his active zeal to-day, showed how well he remembered the kindness received in our schools. We found St. Ann's a very fine island, with a mansion of the old times, having an enormous tamarind-tree in the front (twenty paces from the trunk to the end of the branches). A few stunted coco-de-mer trees showed how remarkable the soil of Praslin must be which sends them up 120 feet.
The hat and shoes of a former resident, a Mr. Savy, coincided with the description of his height--more than seven feet. The manager was very kind and attentive. I left a bundle of tracts at the house. On leaving St. Ann's we passed close to Round Island, and landed at Long Island, where Melzidor's little dwelling was. Met his brother, baptized by Dr. Pallet, afterwards at Mahé. I spoke a good deal to his wife and himself about the children, and about prayer, and left some tracts with them. We had a very pleasant visit at the Ile aux Cerfs afterwards.
Thursday, May 26th.--I examined the schools in the morning, and afterwards discussed with Mr. Telfair arrangements about them. Some interesting visitors came from Glacis to-day. At Dr. Pallet's service to-night I read, and he gave his usual extemporaneous address on a portion of Scripture, taking 2 Sam. xxiv., on which he made several striking remarks.
Friday, May 27th.--There was heavy rain and wind early this morning. Preparations for starting to-morrow. Just as everything was settled, Mr. Cook came, and reported a bark to leeward beating up. We suppose it may be the "Tulloch Goram." Visits to blacksmith and his family, and others.
Saturday, May 28th.--The ship anchored before daylight, and proved to be the "Tulloch Goram/' bringing no letters for the "Lynx," to the great disappointment of many on board. Dr. Bell, from Johanna, was a passenger in her. I decided on going by her, as all opinions concur in the probability of her being at least two weeks, and perhaps three, or even four, before the "Lynx," at Mauritius. It seems the plain path of duty to seize the first opportunity under my circumstances.
Sunday, May 29th.--The most depressing Sunday, on the whole, that I have known, I think, for many years; so much secular business has almost unavoidably been pressed into it, and so much perplexity has arisen about my movements, that I have been sorely tried in both these respects. The house of God has been my blessed refuge, as often before. The petition in the Collect, that we might "think those things that be good," came with an impressiveness which I never remember on any former occasion. If only I desire and plan what is good, all will be well. At the early service I preached in French, on Matt. vi. 10,--"Ton regne vienne;" afterwards in English, Eccles. xii. 13, 14,--"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." And in the evening on Philip, iv. 7,--"La paix de Dieu, laquelle surpasse toute intelligence, gardera vos coeurs et vos esprits en Jesus-Christ." I thought much of some friends now removed. Much alone to-day, and felt it good to be so. Visited Mrs. Telfair in her sick chamber to-day, and read Psalm lxi. I also went on board the ship, to visit Workman, one of the stokers, who was very weak, and to him also read Psalm lxi. Had a pleasing conversation with Dr. Fallet after church this evening. Read Vinet to-day,--"Les chants et les pleurs."
Monday, May 30th.--Another very trying day. After much delay and various rumours, find that the "Tulloch Goram" is going to take in cargo, which will probably involve a fortnight's delay. If I go on, I shall have the opportunity of acting as chaplain to the crew of the "Lynx,"--seventy souls. I shall be able to visit the Chagos Islands, which are in my diocese; and it is now extremely probable that the "Lynx" will be at Mauritius at least as soon as the "Tulloch Goram." Had there been a good prospect of reaching Mauritius, where there is so much concentrated work, a fortnight sooner by going with Captain Sangster, I should have felt it my duty to go. I was sadly disappointed on going with Captain Berkeley to Mr. Collie, and finding Mr. Dubois and Dr. Bell there, evidently with minds made up about the detention of the ship.
Having decided not to go by the "Tulloch Goram," I went on board to-night to see Captain Sangster, as I was determined not to let any comparison between the ships influence me in my decision; but I did not find him there. Mr. Maule went with me, and on to the "Lynx," where much kind feeling was expressed about my going with them early to-morrow morning. I trust we may be a shorter time than is expected. Probably this is the last day of my sojourn in the Seychelles. How much to stir up persevering prayer, and praise also!
Tuesday, May 3lst.--I was up very early this morning; after lying awake some time, I wrote a little birthday note to L. while the baggage was packing, and left it to go by the "Tulloch Goram." Though it was early when we started, Mr. A. Calais and Mrs. Knowles were accompanied by many of the boys and girls, and there was a goodly number of the congregation down to see me off. I felt much drawn to them, and much comforted by their cordial affection. Reasons for humiliation I mourn over deeply; but I feel that there is indeed ground for most earnest gratitude, and for good hope in the results which have been vouchsafed at the Seychelles. Mr. Telfair and his nice little girl, Dr. Brooks and Mr. Mulloy, came on board with us. Dr. Fallet parted with much feeling. I feel renewed thankfulness for such a man there.
Mr. Antoine piloted us through by St. Ann's and Ile Longue, and we steamed all along Mahé to Point Capuchin, east by south, and I am now writing on the conning-stool, having, I hope, got over the danger of sea-sickness. (This proved a very fallacious hope, for I suffered more severely even than on leaving Mauritius.) I have just read with intense interest some of Mr. Ellis's book. The scenery at Mauritius, the parting at Madagascar, plants, animals, scenery, openings for good, prayers for blessing, link between friends at home and people there, all are most suggestive. The sad part about the ravages of cholera while he was away, shows what our prayers should be now with reference to the cholera at Bourbon, both for them and for Mauritius. Our course brought us close to Frigate Island, which was the first land we made in the "Frolic" in 1856. I thought again of Captain and Mrs. Wade, who were with us there.
Wednesday, June 1st.--Much misery from sea-sickness last night and to-day. The retching was more violent, accompanied this time with spitting of blood, which rather alarmed me from the weakness I felt; hut I have found the swinging-bed invaluable, and we have been much favoured in the weather, having been able, most unexpectedly, to keep our course. The Psalms for the day were the first and second in the morning, and third and eighth in the evening. It is a long time since I had so much leisure for reflection. "La solitude pour le pasteur." Three buckets of water over me were very refreshing early to-day. All are very kind in their sympathy. I had repeated attacks of sickness till late in the evening, but enjoyed my swinging-bed greatly, and have had no sickness while on it at all. Mr. Ellis's book has again to-day been a very interesting companion. None but those who have travelled with Missionary views can understand the narratives, the allusions, the hopes and the anxieties, related in such a book.
Thursday, June 2nd.--I bathed by early starlight, and returned to my swinging-bed, of wrhich arrangement I felt the advantage afterwards. To my great delight I have been free from the sickness thus far to-day. The very movements of the flying fish seemed exhilarating this morning. Our course also interposed all our sails between us and the sun for the whole morning. I had some conversation with Denis, the Krooboy who was with Dr. Livingstone. His account is, that all his people are leaving their grec-grecs and coming to our schools. He mentioned also Mrs. Livingstone and their little boy. Mr. Hart is better to-day. I was able to resume morning prayer--making use of the Collect for Ascension-day. I thought of the happy services on shore at Port Louis and at Mah6, and in many other places, and enjoyed the Psalms and Lessons for the day--a very bright and blessed one. I was able to come down and write in the cabin, and tried to do something in copying out my journal; but was unable to do much, and felt great depression at times. How immense is the comfort of having the Refuge that never fails to flee to and be safe! The heat was intense in the cabin this evening. We are gradually nearing the equator.
Friday, June 3rd.--We have made about 143 miles since yesterday. My night was disturbed with unpleasant dreams, and I was up at four; just in time to bathe and go down again before a squall, with much rain, came on. I felt very incapable all the early part of the day, but was better towards noon and afternoon, and greatly enjoyed the ninth Psalm. We have need of circumstances of external depression to teach us the virtue of the inner springs of consolation. I read on with very great interest Mr. Ellis's book. His description of the ''"bird beloved by cattle," is singularly coincident with what I observed at Coetivy; and his summary of the results of Missionary operation, as observed by him at the Cape, very like what we have to speak of, both in the encouraging and discouraging parts. The "fiddling and arrack" at Madagascar, too, show how the same classes of temptations are besetting people everywhere. Read Vinet on "Soyez toujours joyeux," in the Nouveaux Discours, with eager interest, and translated part of it to Mr. Hart. Nice tunes from Captain Berkeley on his flutina,
Saturday, June Brd.--147 miles since yesterday, but are now in only 2° 55' south latitude. I had very refreshing sleep, and felt uncertain when the eight bells went whether it was for twelve o'clock or four. Not hearing the voice of the officer of the morning watch, I went up to bathe: the starlight was bright, and I feared a hot glaring day, but it has proved very different. The double awning has been most cool and refreshing. Meditated this morning on the security of the heavenly bliss, and the apparent insecurity of earthly pilgrims towards it. Lent Captain Berkeley, Ellis's Madagascar. On the spot where I was sitting yesterday to write, at the foot of the main-mast, and which I thought of making my permanent place, the halyard block and the jaw-rope gear fell, bringing the trysail nearly down. Is it not an admonition for sustained watchfulness and dependence?
Sunday after Ascension. June 5th.--A wakeful night, and I felt much tendency to apprehension about my work in the day, but was, as usual, greatly helped with it. In the early part of the day there was very little wind, and a heaving, uncertain sea, and afterwards a light but pleasant breeze. The men were all mustered at divisions, and I went with the captain and officers over the lower deck. Everything is in most beautiful order, looking thoroughly appropriate for the day. The men were at the service in their Praslin straw hats. I preached on the Ascension from Acts, i. 9-11,--"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly towards heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." I had a long afternoon--was alone and quiet on the deck a good part of the time: looked up the library again, and had converse with several of the men. At about three the sky became exceedingly black, and a strong squall of wind came up from south-south-west. This brought the ship up to her course, south-east; but as there was every appearance of rough weather, we had evening service on the lower deck. This was hot and trying, but I was glad of it for the sick. I preached on Deut. xxxiii. 25,--"As thy days, so shall thy strength be," with special reference to some part of the morning sermon--the need of grace to be kept safe for the inheritance. I felt very thankful indeed at having been able to preach and converse to-day. The sea broke heavily over the ship while we were down at service.
Monday, June 6th.--Our progress to-day was ninety-four miles. I resumed Ellis this morning with renewed interest, and read part of Captain Nolloth's little book on Mozambique, conversing with Captain Berkeley about the descriptions of the latter. It is a great comfort, in various ways, to be surrounded by those who have so much information, and whose education has been so good. I find that some of the crew have been practising the Morning Hymn for our Sunday service. Read Vinet on "Le Principe de l'Egalité humaine." What a cause for the deepest thanksgiving, when the elucidation of such principles is accompanied by the conviction that, through God's grace, they are very precious to my heart: "Man, as man, equal to all other men before God!" How often have I had to contend, and how heartily, for this! I read some of Dr. Livingstone also this evening, and am very glad to see how fully engaged both his book and Mr. Ellis's are on board.
Tuesday, June 7th.--The weather very calm to-day. The thermometer 88° in the shade and the awning very refreshing. I finished Ellis to-day, and feel very thankful that I have had time to study the book, and to let its various descriptions, incidents, prospects and sentiments, enter quietly, and not too quickly, into my mind. Have I not a peculiar interest in all this? Ought I not to know all that may be known of Madagascar, to kindle my interest, and at least to quicken my prayers in its behalf? Ought not the Church in Mauritius to desire and seek for a door of entrance there? And so with Dr. Livingstone's book. Coming just after him in the "Frolic," and now again in the "Lynx;" seeing those who have just left him in his second expedition, and who are able, both officers and men, to tell me so much of the actual work which awaited him; then Captain Nolloth's book on Mozambique and the neighbouring islands and towns; all is most appropriate to the position in which this tour places me, as supplementing so large a part of the map of the Africo-Indian Ocean.
Wednesday, June 8th.--After a very quiet night the wind is light to-day, but in the right direction. We were 140 miles from Peros Banhos at noon. I read the account of the Six Islands in the written report, and examined the chart. I fear there may be delay, and feel the need of prayer that good may be done to souls by my visit.
Thursday, June 9th.--We came in sight of Peros Banhos, and made Moresby Island and Diamond Island before noon, and are approaching rapidly as I am writing this. What a delightful passage we have had, where so much difficulty was predicted from head-winds and high sea! Instead of the twelve days which Mr. Antoine, the Seychelles pilot, said was the least time we could do it in, this is only the ninth day and we have not tacked once, nor gone to the north of the line, as will be seen by reference to the chart. Blessed be God for all his mercies! May His goodness be the incentive and the supply of our service of Him!
Chagos Islands.--In order to understand the account which is to follow, it is necessary to give here a slight account of the groups of islands visited, viz. Peros Banhos, Salomon Islands, the Three Brothers, and Eagle Island, the Six Islands, and Diego Garcia. These groups of islands have been formed by the coral insect on an outline more or less strictly circular. But in no case is the circle or oval complete. Hence the danger of the navigation, and hence also the accessibility of the islands. If the circle were complete, as there is no landing on the seaward side, there would be no access; but the actual state of the case is, that reefs and islands, with passes between them, now make up the round, so that when inside the pass, or part where the coral is not yet heaved up high enough to block up a vessel's passage, you have the most novel and enchanting view all round you. The vessel anchors to the lee of an island covered with cocoa-palms and other trees from end to end. From the stern of the ship you see the same view, with variety of size and shape; and on either side islands, islets, and rocks, separated by foaming reefs or by narrow passes, meet the eye, so that you are encircled by these objects in such a way as not to be able to see the pass by which you entered. The diameter of this circular or oval outline is from four to six miles; but at Diego Garcia, which we visited last, the effect was greatly heightened by the continuation of the land in graceful curves all round the outline, except at the opening, where one or two islets and the pass are found, affording one unbroken prospect of rich tropical verdure.
These groups of islands produce cocoa-nuts in large quantities, and some of them large timber. A manager at each station, sometimes embracing a whole group, superintends a number of workmen, nearly all of African descent. To inquire into their state, treatment, and wages, was the object of the Commissioners; mine, to see what could he done for their spiritual good; and, while much spiritual destitution was brought before my notice, I was also led to find, far beyond what I expected, the fulfilment of the promise, "Cast thy bread upon the waters, and thou shalt find it after many days."
I now resume the account of the afternoon of Thursday, June 9th. We landed at lie du Cour, Mr. Fort, who came out in a boat, giving us a pilot for our boat, whose name was Amedee, and who was formerly one of Mr. Jenkins's pupils in Port Louis--a very intelligent man, tonnellier or cooper to the establishment, on good wages. He was glad to receive a book, and I was much pleased to find my first acquaintance in the island able to profit by the means I had brought with me. Monsieur and Madame H------, at the head of the establishment, were very kind. Monsieur H------was so ill with dysentery that the doctor was sent for to prescribe for him.
Accompanied by Mr. Maule and Mr. Marindin I walked across the island, and found the windward side completely barred against all approach from the sea, by reefs extending far into the sea. The coral was in every shape and of various colours; and it was the first time that I had seen a beach of coral stones, if they may be so called. Nothing but coral in large masses, in the reefs and on the beach, and some of it very beautiful. A house was appropriated to Mr. Caldwell and myself, every door and shutter thrown open, and the sound of the surf was to be heard on both sides, the island being only 360 paces broad.
Friday, Jan. 10th.--Soon after five I went off to bathe, under the guidance of an old Negro, whom I found very ignorant but earnestly docile. The most remarkable catch of fish I ever saw took place near the spot where I had bathed. Several men had a few gunny-bags tied together, with which they made a net. This was seized by a man at each end, taken about ten feet or so into the sea, put down and drawn to shore with the centre part full of fish. On walking up to them I observed what seemed to be a line of sea-weed, a few feet from the water-mark, but on looking nearer I found it was a bank of fish some forty yards in length by two yards or more in breadth. The explanation given of this is, that these fish make their way over the shallow reef just outside the island to avoid the pursuit of the larger fish in the deep water.
I met Amédée on my return to the house, and had the satisfaction of learning from him that a man named Désir from Vacoas was there, and could read well. I saw much of Désir during the day, and borrowed from him a French Prayer-book, given to Henriette Le Bon in November, 1855, when I had to perform the office of baptizing the child of one of their neighbours. I visited the camp four times, and had many opportunities of speaking, teaching, reading, and praying with the sick and others. It was a great satisfaction to be able to take the doctor with me to the sick, of whom there were five, including Monsieur H------. I spoke there, as in the other islands afterwards, with the managers on the duty of teaching the simple elements of Christianity and the Lord's Prayer to these poor people. Mr. De Joux and Mr. Le Brun were the persons named by the Protestants as having instructed them. I have found in all the islands, I believe, men un-baptized and untaught, as well as a proportion of nominal Roman Catholics. Mr. Banks, Mr. Clark, and Mr. De la Fontaine, as well as Mr. De Joux and Mr. Le Brun, were the names had in honour and grateful remembrance by those who could read, generally speaking.
When we got outside the pass, we sailed along by Diamond Island, and the Captain and Mr. Caldwell went on shore to Moresh Island about a prisoner. An immense shoal of porpoises passed ahead of the ship, and played their gambols with very determined energy. While anchored on a bank, a large quantity of fish were caught, and I found myself engaged in the favourite pursuit of my boyish days, with better success than I think I ever had before, hauling up six large fish in a very short space of time. The change was good for the sailors, both in the amusement and in the kind of provisions secured. Another kind of fishing suggested itself to my mind.
Saturday, June 11th (St. Barnabas' day).--Four years ago I landed in Mauritius. How many mercies to review! We began steaming at three in the morning, and made out Salomon's Islands, while the others were in sight. Anchored off Ile Fouquet at about eight. The schooner "Sanspareil" was there. There are only sixteen labourers. Mr. Alard, the manager, remembered me at the hospital in the cholera of 1856. One of his people, named Gustave, had pretty clear notions about the Crucifixion, and I urged him to speak to the others, and left a New Testament and tracts in French. In the evening, five men from the island came on board, and I spoke to them as they leaned against the bulwarks of the vessel in the clear moonlight. Their earnestness was most touching as I spoke of the Saviour's love and compassion.
So many persons have expressed their deep interest in hearing of the method pursued in teaching these men, that I am induced to write it in full, as it illustrates the manner in which the truth has to be broken into small fragments, so as to be profitably received by hearers of that description.
It was with a very strong feeling of responsibility that I began to speak to them. What passage of Scripture should I take? What subject should I try to impress on their minds? At home, the subject not dwelt on to-day might be taken up at another time, but here was one opportunity of imparting to minds that could not take in much, and only during a few minutes, the message of salvation. Which of the parables or statements of the Gospels should I take? After prayerful consideration of the matter, I chose what would perhaps be a very obvious text to most persons--the parable of the lost sheep. I was speaking to labourers from an island where there were neither sheep nor shepherds, and had to find out how far any of them were acquainted with other places, so as to be able to understand my words. I proceeded thus,--"Autrefois ein di monde qui berger . . . Qui ça berger?" After a little while an answer from one of them,--"Gardien troupeau, monsieur." "Ça même," I replied--"Gardien troupeau." "A present li été y enna pour li cent brebis. Qui ça, brebis?" This was followed by some delay; then one earnestly replied, "Moutons, monsieur." "Bien! & la fin de la journée--besoin compter--ein fin manque--combien reste?" This question was answered by one of them, and then I proceeded,--"A present qui li faire?" No answer was given, which I thought honest on their part, for I fear their own plan would have been to do nothing. I then changed the question, and put it thus,--"Si li ban berger, qui faire? li alle dormir?" "N'a pas, monsieur." "Qui done?" And then one of them said, most earnestly,--"Roder çarcher." This is their pronunciation of chercher. I praised that answer, and then dwelt on the pains and toil through which the shepherd went, till at last he found the sheep behind some rock or bush, torn perhaps and wearied; and now, what was he to do? One of them replied,--"Ramener bergerie." Ah, but I said, "Si n'a pas capable marcher? A present, qui faire?'' Then came a very earnest reply,--"Charger sur son zepaule, monsieur." I then told them it was the very thing he did; and that, though he was tired and wearied, he carried that sheep all the way, and never stopped till it was safely in the fold. And when I described him as calling his camarades to rejoice with him, and asked them why he was "si content?" they very quickly replied,--"Parceque li été trouvé son brebis?" By this time they were prepared for the exposition and application of the parable, and seemed to feel most deeply what I told them of our wandering away in sin, and of the tender love of the Good Shepherd in coming to suffer and to die that He might bring us back.
Immediately after the morning work I went across the bay to Ile Boddam, belonging to a different proprietor, and managed by Mr. Hugon. Immense numbers of timber-trees gave the island a very solid and substantial appearance. I found that the man who guided us across the island was a pupil of Mr. Banks, baptized by him, and he told us of Paul, who was on Ile Anglaise. We proceeded thither and found a well-known candidate for work at Vacoas, at a time when we were compelled to close our schools (a Malegache named Paul). A New Testament and tracts were given in several directions on this group, and a promise made of my only remaining French Bible to Paul, which I afterwards sent by Captain Le Fevre, of the "Sanspareil."
Whit-Sunday, June 12th.--Extract from my diary. On opening this book to-night, I saw the text at the beginning, "Cast thy bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after many days;" and it is indeed most appropriate to the events of this day." I rose early in the morning, and while I was preparing my sermon, Captain Lc Fevre, of the "Sanspareil," came for the regulation of his chronometer, and I read to him (a French Roman Catholic) part of my sermon on the Holy Ghost, preached in Alderney in 1842. Captain Berkeley kindly took my suggestion about having service earlier than usual, that we might have a service before starting. I read the Litany and a sermon on Acts, ii. 1--11. After the sermon two poor Negroes from Ile Fouquet were brought to me to be baptized. They were from my audience of the previous evening, and one of them had entreated with weeping that he might be brought. I baptized them by the names of Onesimus and John, feeling very hopeful, especially about the former, who responded most fervently to the exhortation at the end of the service. The young officers kindly gave them some nice clothes afterwards. It was a happy service.
We were well through the pass by twelve, that time of day being chosen because of the light for the patches of coral. I felt thankful, on leaving that group of islands behind, that three of them, the only islands with men on them, Ile Fouquet, Ile Boddam, and Ile Anglaise, had been visited by me in peace, and I trust with a blessing. The Questions on Religion, translated by my old pupil De Putron, were given for all the islands. Preached in the afternoon on the prayer of Jabez. Afterwards there was a most lovely moonlight evening.
Monday, June 13th.--We anchored off Eagle Island, but I did not land. There are sixteen men on the island, and I saw five of them on board. The prospect of a useless wetting in the surf, and not feeling well after a wakeful night, and a tendency to shivering, kept me on board. I thoroughly catechised the three men who remained on board, two of whom were Protestants, and taught them as one would children the verse, "Je suis le chemin, la vérité, et la vie; personne ne vient au Père que parmoi." It was one of the best opportunities I have had. They were natives of Galega, taught by Mr. Le Brun in Mauritius. When the boats came back a Vacoas man, living close to Mr. De Joux, was with them. I gave them all tracts. It was a beautiful sight to watch their little pirogue going through the surf.
Tuesday, June 14th.--Off Six Islands all night, having made them the evening before. We worked quite round them to the pass in the morning, but there was not sufficient water for the ship. In the water near the pass was a large devil-fish. Even when inside the circular reef, in the boat, there was need of great care to avoid the patches of coral, on which the sea often broke on both sides of us. We met the administrator, Mr. Ribault, coming out to us, and took him into our boat, and learned from him that his wife and nephew were ill, and several of the labourers, and that there had been much difficulty at various times in the supply from Mauritius. On landing, I found that the nephew, a man of about forty, knew me well, from having once come to the vestry at Port Louis, and had a long conversation with me. Several people were here who knew Mr. Le Brun and Mr. Banks. I had many opportunities of conversing with the people, and explaining tracts which I gave them. The most interesting incident in the day was the visit to a chapel, built by a Malegache convert, named Celestin Cyriacus, opposite to his own caze, where he intended to gather as many as would come for united worship. Others had spoken to me of him as able to teach, but negligent. He and another Malegache came to me afterwards, expressing their need of books. A desire for knowledge of the right way is wonderfully spread among these poor people. We brought away Madame R------, her nephew, and others.
Wednesday, June 15th.--This morning early, Diego Garcia was on our port bow. We stood towards the Point Maria Ann, then to Minni Minni, the estate on the opposite side. Mr. Mainguy, the manager, came out to meet us, and treated us with the most entire hospitality. He gave me a fine pig, which I sent to the ship's crew, and a basket of oranges and lemons. At three o'clock in the afternoon we had a solid breakfast, but I resisted the urgent and often-pressed invitation to dine at seven.
Mr. Barry, the manager of Point Maria Ann estate, and Mr. Regnaud, manager of South-East Point estate, came over also. There was much expression of courtesy and kindness from them all, and to each other. I went among the people and spoke a good deal with them. One of the slaves captured in the "Lily" was there, catechised by Mr. Banks, and he remembered a good part of the Belief and the Lord's Prayer in English. Several causes tend to produce a bad state of morals among the labourers; though, as far as physical comfort and supply went, they seemed to be remarkably well off. Spent a quiet evening on board.
Thursday, June 16th.--Early this morning I landed at Mr. Mainguy's, with Mr. Medlycott and Mr. Marindin, and then walked to South-East Point estate, about three miles distant. We met near the habitation an old Bombay Malabar, who had been for thirteen years palefrenier in Port Louis, and who would rejoice in a teacher. It was very touching to see his countenance as he called out to me after we parted, entreating me to send him one who could show them the right way.
Monsieur and Madame Regnaud, and their four children, occupied the spacious house, in front of which many mills were at work pressing out the oil. I never met with more cordial hospitality and kindness. Monsieur and Madame Bertin were in a pavilion close by. We were quite prepared by our walk for the excellent breakfast they gave us. Near the house is a nice garden, in front of which there were very large banian and other trees, and in the garden were date-trees, orange-trees, lemons, bananas, and vegetables of many kinds. There are more Malabars here than in any of the other islands. I spoke to several in Creole, chiefly Madrassees. One of them broke into downright laughter when I spoke of the folly of idolatry; describing the piece of wood, part to burn, part carved into the figure of a man, and then worshipped. It was very touching to hear one say, "My father and mother never taught me the right way, and at Mauritius, during nine years, no one ever taught me."
The medium for my tracts at this place was a woman named Eugenic, a former pupil of Mr. Anderson, to whom I gave books and tracts. I baptized a little child, Eugenie and others being present. I was obliged to decline an invitation to dinner, and being rowed to the ship in one of Mr. Barry's boats, found a man who could read well, a pupil of Mr. Jenkins, and gave him tracts and a Bible for the English sailor.
Friday, June 17th--Went off with Mr. Hart and Mr. Pitt, at a quarter-past seven, to the Point Maria Ann estate, about three-quarters of an hour's sailing in the whaler with a fair wind. We had to get into pirogues to be pushed on shore, the water being very shallow. On the way we saw another large devil-fish at the surface of the water, and the men told us afterwards that it sometimes upset their pirogues when suddenly disturbed or struck. I felt the sun a good deal this morning, but had much conversation with the inhabitants of the camp. On landing, I had asked an old Negro on the beach whether any one amongst them knew the right way to heaven. "Y enna de monde ici qui connait bon çimin di ciel?" His reply, very earnestly given, was,--"Ein di monde la haut connait morçeau, mais son soeur li connait beaucoup mieux."--"A man up there knows it a little, but his sister knows it a great deal better." I was truly thankful to find that the man was Eudoxe Le Bon, reported to be a good workman, and that his sister or half-sister, Pelagie Figaro, about twelve years of age, was a well-known Vacoas pupil. She knew me directly and seemed quite pleased to see me. I made her read out one of the tracts, which she did very nicely, and sang the first verse of the Vacoas hymn-book,--
"Accourez tous a la bonne nouvelle,
Car à vous tous le salut est prêché,
Jesus s'est approché;
Il vous appelle;
Tournez donc votre Coeur
Vers le Sauveur."
As I left her caze, an old woman of Mr. Le Bran's congregation came out to me, and on my second visit to the camp I found Pelagic reading aloud the Questions on Religion, translated by my former pupil, the Rev. P. De Putron; the old woman, with her spectacles on, looking over her, and others listening. On a third visit I saw her seated with five other girls around her, and then she wrote a letter for me to bring to her friends here. I had many opportunities of explaining and giving away tracts here. One of the readers had been taught by Mr. Clark and Mr. De la Fontaine.
Some shells were given me by Mr. Barry, in one of whose boats I came off, feeling rather sick. The rude singing of the men, preceded by the blowing of a shell with a deep trumpet-sound, was interrupted at intervals by some descriptions from the narrative in the Gospels about the Lake of Tiberias. Two men, brothers of one on board, whom we had brought from Six Islands, all belonging to Mr. Le Brun's congregation, came to the ship with us. I gave several copies of the "Hymnes de l'Eglise Anglicane."
Saturday, June 18th.--I am writing this out of sight of Diego Garcia, which we quitted about noon. I went on shore early to breakfast with Mr. Mainguy, Mr. Caldwell accompanying me, and had a long walk alone at the back of the house, remembering the first of the Psalms for the day, the ninetieth; and on quitting recollected the next, the ninety-first. I hope this evening to go over that one which I so often read at family prayers on Saturday evening, the ninety-second. I visited the camp again, saw Amélie, and promised her some books and hymns, which I afterwards sent by Mr. Mainguy. Saw several sick persons and others, and repeated the substance of my former exhortations to them.
The Captain and Mr. Hill, and Mr. Maule, joined us at breakfast, and we departed laden with presents. To me, a turkey, six capons, two ducks, oranges and shells, from the managers generally; to the crew, a large pig; and to the captain and officers, baskets of poultry, two turkeys, two turtles, &c. I left them with a very deep impression of their great kindness and hospitality, and in the hope that good seed had been sown, and its growth in other cases stimulated. Another man to-day knew Mr. De Joux and Mr. Jenkins. It is delightful now to feel that we are really on the way home.
Trinity Sunday, June 19th.--At one o'clock this morning Mr. Hart came and woke me, saying the poor gentleman was just dead (Mr. Ribault's nephew from the Six Islands). I found he was not quite dead, and spoke to and prayed with him. About an hour afterwards he died. Who would have thought, when I had a long conversation with him in the vestry some three years ago, that that interview would prove preparatory to my ministering to his dying wants in the middle of the Indian Ocean! His poor aunt and her daughter were sadly distressed. The waves were high and wind strong in the morning. The sermon was on Rev. iv. 3, "There was a rainbow round about the throne," and the funeral was immediately afterwards. In the afternoon, squalls of wind and rain came on so strongly that we could have no service. It is long since I have had only one service on a Sunday.
Friday, June 24sth.--At noon, we were 117 miles from Mauritius, and we made out the light on Flat Island at midnight.
Saturday, June 25th.--We reached Port Louis. The island looked most beautiful and attractive as we approached. Captain Wales and Mr. Wiehe reported all well. Corporal Sealy came with a kind message from the men, and three cheers were very heartily given. I felt parting with them all much. Off to Failles with Mr. Wiehe. Very delicious is the feeling of grateful satisfaction on reaching my home again, and finding all well. They had only heard of our arrival a few minutes before. God be praised for all His mercies!