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
Visit to England--Return--The Seychelles--Port Louis--Mauritius Church Association--Powder-Mills Asylum--Examination--Bishopstowe--Pamplemousses--Tour to Mahebourg--Grand River S. E.--Villebaguo--News from Madagascar--Confirmation at Vacoas--Grove Coeur--Meeting for a New Church--Laying the Foundation--Baptisms--Cholera--Visitation Tour--Mahébourg--Liberal Aid of Miss Burdett Coutts.
THE fact that such a variety of subjects needed attention at once, and that we had to attempt so many churches and schools in so short a space of time, made it necessary for me to visit England, to press on the notice of friends and brethren at home the claims which we had on their sympathy and help. On the 13th of June, 1860, I landed at Southampton on the 14th, I was at a meeting in Paddington; on the 23d of March, 1861, I left England again, having spoken at a meeting at Chilham on the 22nd; and the whole of the intervening nine months was occupied, without a single week's intermission, in advocating the cause for which I had come home. In the Channel Islands, in every part of England, and in several places in Ireland, this work was carried on. The result was very gratifying in the amount of support elicited; and the warmest interest was expressed by many in hearing of the work of the Church of England in what had been to them comparatively unknown lands. My absence from the diocese had barely exceeded eleven months; for I had landed at the Seychelles and discussed some of the matters connected with the Church and Schools on the 12th of May, 1860; and on the 18th of April, 1861,1 was at the same place, settling with the then Commissioner, Capt. Wade, some of the details of the same business.
On reaching Mauritius, I felt the effects of the arduous work I had had in Europe; and on several occasions I was led to fear that I might be compelled to leave my work from failure of strength. In God's mercy this result was avoided, and I was able to attend to the various matters described in the following journal extracts. To make plain some allusions in those extracts, it will be necessary briefly to describe some of the events which had happened while I was absent. A great revival of the Slave Trade had taken place on the eastern coast of Africa, and several dhows, with slaves on board, had been captured by her Majesty's cruisers--chiefly by the "Lynx" and the "Gorgon." Between eight and nine hundred of these, mostly youths of both sexes, had been landed in Mauritius; and more than a hundred had been placed in the Powder Mills Asylum--an excellent institution, founded by the Governor, Sir William Stevenson, in which orphan children of Negro or Indian parents were taken care of, taught, and trained in industrial pursuits. The whole was placed under the charge of the Rev. P. Ansorgé, a zealous missionary, whose long labours in Bengal, and earnest love for the poor Indians, marked him out as the fit person to undertake such an office. Nearly all the children were Indians before I left in 1860; but the arrival of so many Africans made it seem advisable to place some of their number there. It was most sad to find that a great proportion of them died, notwithstanding all the tenderness and care with which they were treated; so that, after a few months, not quite fifty were left.
I must now describe my approach to the islands, on my return. On Monday, April 15, 1861, we were about six hundred miles north of the Seychelles. My journal then begins:--
"Yesterday was a very quiet, soothing day; we had smooth water, a quiet ship, good singing, and attentive congregations. I took in the morning, John, x. 11,--'I am the Good Shepherd;' in the evening, Amos, iv. 12,--'Because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.' There is great comfort in the really extempore method of preaching on such occasions. In the morning it came in quite naturally, when I was speaking of the valley to be trodden at last by us all, for me to tell of the intelligence I received at Marseilles of the death of two young men, one a clergyman and the other a merchant (Mr. Balls, of the Liverpool Collegiate Institution, and Mr. Wilberforce Hodgson). One feels a reality in conversing thus, about facts of everyday life, which makes it comparatively easy to make a plain application of religious truth.
"April 16th.--This has been one of the chequered days which we have at sea: a strong breeze early and a good run of 244 miles; then a stoppage in the machinery, and all our hopes of getting to the Seychelles to-morrow checked. The heat is great, and the breeze unrefrEshing; the sea-water is 86° of heat. I felt much of the tropical sleepy weakness this morning. We are now going at half-speed that we may not come upon Dennis Island in the dark. Last year I left My work on the 12th of May, and this year I am likely to resume it on the 18th of April. This is one advantage of the Seychelles being in the line of route. The heat is very great to-day.
"April 16.--Yesterday was one of those interesting days in which the field of my work is brought clearly to my view in several of its aspects,---some of them suggesting much encouragement, others reminding me how little has been done, in comparison with that which remains to be done. At about eight o'clock in the morning we made Dennis Island, which is one of the few coral islands in the group; and as I looked at the trees, seeming to stand out of the water (the only parts of the island visible for some time), I was vividly reminded of the description which I have given so often, during the last year, of the first appearance of those gems of the ocean. A white coral beach, large tracts covered with thick bushes, and a few cocoa-palms here and there, were the only features of the scenery of the island itself; and then, at each end, there was the long, dangerous reef, over which the large breakers were foaming. We passed abreast of the island in its whole length, and then came upon very different scenery,--Silhouette and Mahé on one side, Praslin and Curieuse on the other.
Lofty mountains, sloping hills, deep valleys, spacious bays, luxuriant vegetation, were all scanned with the naked eye, or by the help of our glasses, with an interest intensely increased from our knowledge of the localities and of the people, and of the work going on amongst them. At one point we had the sea between Praslin and Curieuse well open, and could make out the recess where we had lauded, the mountain we had climbed, and then, after an interval, the palm-grove where the church stands, and the long beach and magnificent valley, which was the scene of our four hours and a-half walk in 1856. As we neared Mahé, and came to the point where several islets appear to be joined to the mainland, we were all struck with that view as the most beautiful of any, the shadows of evening showing us some effects which we had not witnessed before.
There was a little delay in the Medical Superintendent's visit, so that we could not go on shore for half an hour, and we were on board again at about seven; hence our time on shore only extended to about an hour and a-half: but it was very interesting indeed. In the first place, I had time for a good deal of practical conversation with Dr. Pallet on the work of his mission, as well as on matters more especially touching himself, having seen some of his friends in Paris. Madame Pallet we were very sorry to find not well. She was away with friends in the country. The schoolmaster, Mr. Deny Calais, had gone out to meet us in the ship, but we had missed him. The boys, however, found out that I was come, and I wish our friends in England could have seen the way in which, without any teacher, they formed themselves into a little body, and won the golden opinions of all our passengers, by their respectful salutations of them as they'passed. One elderly French gentleman was so pleased, that he came to me to express his pleasure,--"Ce sont la les premiers elements de la politesse," was one of his remarks. A little further on the girls were assembled, and when we got to the school we found strips of ground in front of it planted with roses and other flowers by the children themselves. By this time, many of our friends had come out of their houses to greet us; and when we got to the school, I gave some very pretty reading-cards with pictures, sent from Camberwell for the purpose, dividing them equally between the two schools. Mrs. Ryan gave a few bags, with scissors, needles, &c., to the first girls, two of them being most gladly received by young women from Belombre, who are doing well now that they have a school there, and one bag being taken by the mistress (Madame Knowles), quite as eagerly as by her pupils. These helps to industry had been provided by a friend in Lancaster. A bag from New Brighton, with many useful articles for girls, furnished L. with gifts for many of the other girls. It was a bright hour for them, and they looked greatly pleased. I wish we could have stayed a fortnight, because they so wished it; and there was so much that was interesting and encouraging in what we saw of former pupils of the schools. At present there are fifty-nine boys and sixty-nine girls at Mahé. [Three sisters of some Romish order have now gone to the Seychelles, but have only withdrawn one pupil.] I told them I hoped to come next year for a confirmation, and to stay with them longer.
We passed on to Government House, Captain Wade being with us. The contrast between his present lonely position and the circumstances under which we saw him before was very painful. He was much pleased that I had seen his children in London.
On our way up we had met Mr. Collie and his son, and Mr. Forbes, the Superintendent of the Lepers' Island, who asked me if I had brought the large-type Bible which I had promised him; thus reminding me of one of those omissions which are so easily made, but so inexcusable. I hope to repair the omission when I get back to Mauritius. From him I learned, with much regret, of the death of Prosper, the Negro mentioned in previous journals, who attended to the other lepers in various ways, and had acted as a teacher among them. It is pleasant now to remember that, at my last visit to that island in 1859, I had so fully explained to him the meaning of the lifting up of the brazen serpent. What changes are ever occurring in all the scenes of human action and suffering!
After a few minutes' rest at Government House we went to the Cemetery and to the Flag-staff, the views on all sides being, as ever, wonderfully beautiful. Mr. and Mrs. Higginson were with us, it being their first visit to the Seychelles, which Sir James Higginson had visited alone during his government, and had always expressed much interest in. After looking at a fine specimen of the leaf-fly we visited the church, which is now nicely finished. How thankful I again felt, as I stood within that sacred edifice, to think of the way in which God had prospered our endeavours for His truth in that island! Many of the people had gathered there, and Mrs. Higginson said she was powerfully reminded of the description in the Acts, when they all accompanied us to the boat which was to take us back. The signal-gun hurried our steps. We paid a parting visit to Dr. and Mrs. Brooks, who had come to meet us in the ship, and brought a most acceptable present of excellent oranges from Silhouette, and then, with many parting good wishes (five or six hands being held out at a time, with "Bonne sante, bon voyage"), and hopes that we would stop longer next time, we started. Mrs. Ryan, Mrs. Higginson, and L., with the Captain, Mr. Higginson and the Doctor with me, in a boat pulled along manfully by four strong Seychelles boatmen the coxswain, who is an Englishman, reminding me of my visit in the "Frolic," in 1856. It was moonlight; we went right over the reefs, and could see the sparkling coral bottom for a great part of the way, and we got on board at about seven, with our lemons, some of which the Negro boys had darted into the woods to get for Vincent and Alfred, together with mangoes, cocoa-nuts, &c. It was with a renewed feeling of loving interest in the temporal and eternal welfare of their inhabitants that we left those beautiful islands, to which, in times past, the words of Bishop Heber had often been applied,--
"Where every prospect pleases,
And only man is vile."
April 23rd.--We have just sighted one of the peaks of Mauritius, and one of the islands near it. I am very thankful for this. The last few days especially, I have felt relaxed by the heat. How many mercies are we reminded of by the sight of the land which we left on the 7th of May last year! What an amount of blessing we have received since then! May I return to this arduous post very dependent on that blessing from above!
I must try, before we leave the ship, to finish my journal. On Saturday night I managed to get down to the little praying company. It was a great contrast to some meetings for prayer and reading the Scriptures, and the heat of the small cabin was not very easy to bear; but the refreshment of spirit was truly delightful. I finished Rom. viii. with them, and was greatly encouraged myself. On Sunday it was rough, but we had our services. In the morning I preached on 1 John, i. 7,--"If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another; and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin,"--taking as the heads,--light, fellowship, pardon: beginning with the last, and suiting the address to the Collect for the day.
In the evening I took as my subject Psalm c. The Captain thanked me very warmly afterwards. It was a great relief to me to have ended well the four Sundays and the Good Friday of our voyage. Perhaps I am rather too apprehensive beforehand about these services; but so much might happen to hinder them, that I am very thankful when I have preached and they have listened.
April 24th.--We anchored at about half-past nine last night, but as no doctor came off we went to bed at about eleven; Mr. Bichard having come in a boat, and remained within speaking distance some time. This morning, before daylight, I was roused from sleep by the announcement that Mr. Bichard was on board, and I had a long conversation with him before sunrise. We came on shore with Mr. Wiehe, after meeting many friends on board; visited the church (which is much improved), breakfasted with Mr. Wiehe, and then went out to Pailles, where we found the house quite renovated after the hurricane. And now I have come back to town in order to preach to-night. I am entering on my work with a deep feeling of my need of the prayers which bring down the prevailing grace of God. Some most encouraging facts have been told me already; others are the reverse. One item of intelligence I must not omit. Five sailors from the hospital, on Sunday last, got a boat to go to Mr. Bichard's service at the Floating Church in the morning., and the same in the evening. To a man simply seeking the salvation of immortal souls, such a fact was most encouraging. Captain Harmer is now appointed Superintendent of the Sailors' Home.
April 25th.--This morning V. J. and I were in at eight, having previously had a most refreshing bathe. Prosper does not look so well. All the poor people are delighted to see us, and from various parts Negroes have already been cither to the vestry or to Failles. This morning, as we were driving in, a man with his hat off, bowing and smiling almost under the ponies' heads, proved to be one of my Malegache friends. We hear a most encouraging account of Vacoas. Before the mail goes I hope to send several accounts besides that of Seychelles, for I shall try to get about the country more than I did, and not to come so often into town. Two meetings fall on this day--one of the clergy at twelve, the other of the Mauritius Church Association. How thankful I feel to have such a report to give them!
April 29th.--Yesterday was to me a very solemn day. The expression in the Collect, "the sundry and manifold changes of the world," had a very real meaning and powerful emphasis to my mind. The sad changes of the past year, and the sweeping changes of the last six years, were too much in my thoughts for me to be able to refrain from enlarging on the subject. The greetings in the vestry were congregational afterwards.
This morning, one of my first visits was from a woman of rather respectable appearance, with her two sons. She was fearfully affected with leprosy. Eleven Negroes were here at once just now. I find the elder of the two brothers, whom I so often spoke of--who had been stolen from their homes at different times, and then met in Mauritius, and who had a third brother here--is dead, so that both are gone now. I do not know that, of all the sad and harrowing 'accounts I have heard or read of the slave-trade, any came to my mind with such thrilling effect as Mrs. Stevenson's simple description of the poor children who were placed at the home at Powder Mills, after being rescued from the slave-ship, and whom no one could comfort in their wailing for their mothers, from whom they had been stolen. It is a great relief to feel that, as far as we can, we are now trying to remedy such fearful wrongs.
Vacoas.--On Tuesday, April 30th, Vincent and I rode up to Beau Bassin, to breakfast with Captain and Mrs. Brownrigg, many of whose friends and relations we had seen in England. Mrs. Ryan, L., and A., came on in a small carriage. It is a place which always recals the great mercy which we experienced there in 1855, when Vincent's first solid amendment from Ins dangerous illness took place. Captain Brownrigg could not come on to Vacoas with us, as he had to attend a meeting of the Legislative Council in town, but he kindly sent part of us on in his carriage, and Mr. Wiehe came just before twelve and took the others.
At Vacoas we found many traces of the severe hurricane of February last; amongst others, the wreck of our former Industrial School workshop. But we were cheered by unmistakeablc evidences of solid improvement. An excellent school-room, built of stone, with more than fifty boys present, and more than forty girls, with the usual accompaniment of the parents or grandparents of some of the children, and several of our former scholars. The whole of that building is the work of our Industrial School. Mrs. De Joux and Miss De Joux have been able lately to secure the help of a really efficient master and mistress, and the result of their combined exertions was as gratifying as could be desired--far more so than I could have expected, knowing the difficulties they have to contend with. The decency and neatness of the children's dress, the soft and even melodious greeting from them all, as we entered, in English; their singing, while Miss De Joux played on the harmonium given by Mr. Wiehe; the precise accuracy with which they pronounced the words of the Morning Hymn in English, and afterwards of the hymn, "Louez le Nom de 1'Eternel," in French; their perfect repetition of the Creed and the Lord's Prayer, and their reading in English and in French, and repetition of various parts of Scripture, and then their hearty singing of "God Save the Queen,"--made me wish most earnestly that some of our kind friends at home could have seen them, and heard what we did from their lips. The fact of Miss De Joux's blindness seemed more striking than ever as we witnessed the perfect control under which she had them, and the teaching power which she manifested. The moral and mental progress seemed to be in keeping with the material advancement made; and I have a good hope that, with God's blessing, our work will stand fast, and become a centre of usefulness in every aspect of Christian training--the information of the mind, the discipline of the conduct, and the preparation for useful pursuits.
The hymn just mentioned I will give in this place,--
"Louez le Nom de l'Eternel,
Célébrez Le dans vos cantiques,
Que votre chant soit solennel,
Et vos paroles magnifiques.
Lui seul est grand, Lui seul est saint;
C'est par Lui seul que tout subsists;
A son pouvoir rien ne résiste;
Lui seul aussi doit être craint.
Devant ce Roi de l'univers,
S'evanouit toute puissance;
Il va parlor; terres et mers!
Ecoutez-le dans le silence.
Il enrichit, Il appauvrit,
Il agrandit, Il humilie;
Rappelle-t-il à soi la vie,
L'homme aussitfit tombe et périt.
Ce Dieu si grand, si glorieux,
De nous, Chrétiens, s'est fait le Pere;
Son bien-aimé, des plus hauts cieux,
Est descendu sur notre terre,
Et dans sa grande charité,
Il nous a par son sacrifice,
Aoquis le don de la justice,
La vie et l'immortalité.
Confions-nous en son pouvoir.
Ne craignons point; Il est fidèle.
Son prompt secours nous fera voir
Que sa promesse est éternelle.
Oui, notre Roi garde ses saints
Sous le sceptre de sa puissance;
Ah! remettons en assurance
Tout notre esprit entre ses mains."
An excellent piece of ground is now secured. At one extremity the new industrial atelier is begun--stonework at each end, and wooden in the centre; then conies the school mentioned above; then we hope to have the school and the minister's residence. None but a man of Mr. De Joux's devoted attachment to his work would have remained in such a residence as that which he has now occupied for several years.
Several pleasing incidents added much interest to the visit. First of all, we found Pelagic there. She had recently arrived from Diego Garcia, and on hearing that we were coming to Vacoas, came and took her place among her former school-fellows. She seemed very pensive and quiet. I found that, after my visit to Diego, she had read the prayers, &c. regularly on the Sundays. Her mother's return to Mauritius is the reason of her being here. Mr. De Joux also brought to my notice three little girls, one of whom I had long known as a good and promising child, and on questioning them, I found out the touching circumstances to which he had alluded in one of his letters to me, connected with the dying hours of one of their schoolfellows--a child, I believe, of about eight years old. It seems that they often visited her, and on one night, when the parents were thoroughly exhausted and gone to rest, these little girls remained up with the sick child, and read passages from St. Mark, from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, and the Thessalonians, on the resurrection, &c. None but those who have seen these children in their uncared-for state can rightly estimate the preciousness of such results as these. Another very interesting incident was our visit to Sarradie's caze. We found it now in the possession of his daughter and her husband, a converted Chinese--the parents telling me, with much satisfaction, of their arrangement in the matter. They (Jean Sarradie and his wife) are going to live elsewhere.
A large wooden chapel has been built recently by the Romanists, quite close to our work; but I feel confident that they are now too late. Those who have been raised, by God's blessing on our efforts, from the ignorance and vice in which they were sunk, and who have been taught the authority of the Word of God, and the duties of self-reliant industry, are likely to remain staunch members of the Church through whose instrumentality such benefits have been conferred upon them. Patience, prayer, affectionate effort, and watchful perseverance, are needed to secure what we have already obtained, and to make further progress in the diffusion of light, and truth, and holiness amongst them in the name of Jesus Christ.
May 1st.--Sarradie was with me on Monday evening, and it was indeed a treat to converse with him--to hear the story of his services in the Malegache army, and of his coming to Mauritius; and then to see the earnestness which animated his countenance when I suggested to him the possibility of a return to Madagascar some day. The words "grand plaisir" were repeated four times, with great variety of phrase and intonation of voice; and I was especially pleased to hear the way in which he spoke of "mon pays ça."
Powder-Mills Asylum, May 4th.--Yesterday, Friday, I visited this institution in company with Mr. Wiehe. V. J. was with us. It was indeed an interesting visit, and full of encouragement. On passing the gate of the premises I found, on the right hand, where there was nothing before but a small shed, used as a carpenter's shop, and one adjoining for the blacksmith's, a large new building of three stories, with accommodation on the ground-floor for the residence of two teachers--(deaconesses have been sent for from Kaiserswerth); on the first story, sleeping accommodation for 40 children, and above that again for 25. Beyond this house, a large and elegant iron shed, where vigorous carpentering was going on, and beyond that a spacious forge. Still further to the right, a set of outhouses for the attendants. Between these and the old buildings, a new hospital; behind the hospital, garden-ground, allotted to the children at their own request, nicely fenced in by them, and carefully cultivated. Mr. Ansorgé has cheerfully resigned two of the rooms which had been given for his own dwelling, and all was filled by the increase in the number of the pupils. A body of tailors, and one of basketmakers (boys), filled the verandah; and in the girls' room there were 33 (the larger portion Indian),--all of whom, except the youngest, were employed in sewing. I took upon me to look at the sewing, especially that of the poor little Africans. It was surprising to me to see what they could do, after what I had heard of their savage state when they landed. The singing was most touching, especially "From Egypt lately come," which they sang "From India lately come." The first classes, boys and girls, read well in English, and answered questions admirably. In their Indian language they seemed to read with great fluency and emphasis. I feel truly thankful that such success has attended our kind Governor's and Mrs. Stevenson's earnest and persevering care for those poor orphans. One poor little thing was pointed out to me, whose father is imprisoned for twenty years, for having murdered her mother.
The simultaneous development of the material and the moral progress of the Institution was most encouraging to witness, and the value of such labourers as Mr. and Mrs. Ansorgé very emphatically shown.
But the chief interest of the day was the examination of the state of the poor liberated Africans. The account of the method of the capture of the children, as described by themselves to the interpreter, a man who came here voluntarily some few years ago, was very heart-rending. Until the interpreter came, no one knew what they wanted. "Amai, amai," was their unceasing wail, and it was found the word meant mother. More than forty died, and we saw three yesterday who do not seem likely to recover. But the stronger ones now look happy, and the greatest care is taken of them.
I could not help saying to Mr. Wiehe, as we looked at the place yesterday, that if we had proposed in our conversation six years ago, such appliances--so provided, so prospered--it would have seemed just like a dream. How abundant are the mercies of God to those who strive to do His will, and carry out His purposes of love! What a rich reward to Mr. and Mrs. Ansorgé for all their pity, and prayers, and pains, for poor orphans around them!
So much with reference to yesterday, and now I have to tell of the discovery I have made to-day. Some twelve or thirteen Negroes, men and women, came to pay me a visit this morning. A Malegache employed in selling Bibles also came, and with our own people we had about fifty at our service--singing, exposition, questions, and prayer. After the service I sat down among the people and told them of what I had seen yesterday. They were deeply interested. From their own experience they corroborated what I said about the children's grief, and told me how sacks were put over the head, or flour thrust into the mouth, to prevent crying out--how children were seized on the road, and taken away "as far as Plaines Wilhems from here," into the jungle, and then "papa, maman, roder çimin (chemin) pour zenfants," but did not find them, of course; they were "dans li bois," &c. I questioned them about their country, which they described as a plain without a stone in it, the mountains being in the distance. They described the elephant, the "cayman" or crocodile, and the hippopotamus, and the conversation became most animated. I told them of the interpreter at Powder Mills, and that he was of the Macquoas. "Why," they said, "that is our language!" "Do you remember it?" I asked. "Quite well." "What is the word for mother?" "Mayaga." "Then what is amai?" "That is mother, too." I turned to the Polyglotta Africana, given me by the Church Missionary Society Committee, and under the head "Matatan," I find that mother is either amai or mayaga. This gave me the clue. I named many other words in their language, to which they gave the equivalent Creole; and old Prosper's memory is wonderful, after his long absence. Many of the others evidently remember their language well, and I hope now that we shall be able to learn an East-African language in Mauritius. It is, indeed, a delightful discovery.
Tuesday, May 14th.--I went with Mrs. Stevenson, and Mr. and Mrs. Marindin, to visit this institution, and had time more fully to examine into the progress made by the children. The Indian portion of them gave abundant proof of the care and skill with which they are taught and trained. Their reading, their intelligent answers on the subject before them, the neat writing, and the accurate ciphering, were all in keeping with the neatness and comfort of their appearance, and the order and activity which they showed in the workshops. But, as usual, it was especially in the singing that I was so much impressed with their progress. They sang especially the hymn--
"O'er the gloomy hills of darkness,"
to a complicated but very appropriate and animated tune, which reminded me of the afternoon service at Caldwell, near Stapenhill, and of a zealous member of the congregation there. What an effect it would have upon the supporters of Missions if they could witness such a sight, and listen to the sweet concert of children's voices sounding forth their desires for others to know that Gospel through which they themselves have been brought to the knowledge of God! Oh that, through God's great mercy, some may be raised up from amongst these boys and girls to become teachers to the heathen of the truth as it is in Jesus!
I approached the gallery where the East Africans were gathered with anxious expectation. The Polyglotta Africana was in my hand. I thought I had discovered their language by means of some of our old Negroes, to whom I had spoken several of the words which they readily understood. I began. There was a mass of heavy, inanimate-looking, depressed faces. The moment I pronounced some of the words it was as if an electric flash had passed over them. The glad smile, the glistening eyes, the white teeth, the wondering attention, made us feel that we had the key to their minds. They gave accurately the distinction between the face and the forehead, and with great glee pulled their hair, pointed to the eye, the nose, the ear, &c., as we named the words given in the vocabulary. Their acting was most expressive. At the word "I dance/' one of the biggest got up, and suited the action to the word, to the great delight of the whole gallery. At the word for "a gun," one of them mimicked the act of firing. But when the word for "father" was given, it was most touching to see the eager, grateful looks with which they all pointed to Mr. Ansorgé, and when the word for "mother" was pronounced, they did the same to Mrs. Ansorgé. That hearty, spontaneous demonstration of gratitude and affection from those poor rescued slaves, struck me as one of the very highest rewards that those devoted Missionaries could have for their self-denying labours in the name of Christ. It was amusing to see the air which one of the boys put on when Mr. Marindin pronounced the word for "king." He sat up to his full height, folded his arms, and put on a look of stern gravity, which seemed to imply, "See how much I am exalted above those who surround me!" They were well acquainted with words imported into their language from the Portuguese, such as "kamisa'' (shirt), and they fully understood all about cotton, needles, thread, &c. Mrs. Stevenson was so much pleased with this discovery of the language, that she has taken the Polyglotta to extract that vocabulary, and to have it printed on cards. I should have said, that when we named various tribes, such as Marawi, Muntu, &c., they pointed to boys from their number belonging to them, and Nyassa they all knew. Some, of course, were more familiar with their tribal words, but the vocabulary opposite the name Matatan was best understood. What an opening of preparation for work in Eastern Africa this might prove, with God's blessing--the language and the helpers!
Those who heard my statement in England will remember my account of the Mohammedan who came to me in the vestry, and said that he greatly desired, by baptism, to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ." On Saturday last I had a most satisfactory interview with him;--one that made me thank God and take courage. He brought me a book of subscriptions for an Indian school, set on foot by himself, of which the patron is the magistrate, whom he has served for some time; the treasurer is a planter near at hand, and the subscribers are the gentry around and labouring Indians. What a blessed result! just what we hope and pray for--that those who have received the truth themselves will do their utmost to spread the knowledge of it amongst others. I find that he holds a service, a kind of cottage lecture, among the Indians every Sunday. On questioning him further about his early days, he told me, that when first he heard his own religion decried, he felt very much grieved; but as he did not know his own religion, he had to inquire of his mother, who knew it well. He then described his reading the Koran, the instructions of the Missionaries, &c. I promised to help him in his school after I had visited it, and seen its working, and encouraged him to work on in the cause of that Heavenly Master, who will require of us hereafter an account of our employment of the talents entrusted to our keeping.
Friday Morning, May 31st.--I have just had a deeply interesting visit from Mr. A., the manager of the estate on Ile Fouquet, of the Salomon Islands. His report of John and Onesimus is very touching. John had been very regular, and had made good progress in his prayers and in knowledge of the books I had left. Two or three months ago he was drowned in a tideway, when a heavy squall had produced a sudden current. He was quite close to Mr. A., and had laid hold of an oil-barrel, but it twisted with him, and, as he could not swim, he sank. "La dernière parole sur ses levres, ce fut le nom de Jesus-Christ." How thankful I felt as I heard those words!
Onesimus is dull, but very fervent, constantly coming to Mr. A. and saying, "I shall soon have finished my task, and then you'll have the prayer with me." Mr. A. confesses that sometimes he wearies him with his importunity. What a blessed result of those Whitsuntide ministrations in 1859!
Another individual from those islands, about whom I felt very anxious, as so much depended on him, has gone to his rest, after doing his duty well. This was Paul, the Malegache catechist whom I found on Ile Anglaise. I had sent him, at his earnest request, a French Bible, and strong fears were expressed that it would not reach its destination. I now find that it did, that he had a chapel constructed, and that he had prayers and reading the Scripture every evening, in the face of strong opposition from the manager of one of the islands. Not long ago he was attacked by dysentery, and died. Who shall tell what results may be found in the great day of manifestation, from the journey undertaken with so much apprehension, and carried out with so much weakness? Mr. A. says, "Votre visite a fait beaucoup de bien;" and he is very earnest on the point of having men who can read and instruct the others sent amongst those islands.
Bishopstowe, June 11th, 1861.--We started early in the morning to breakfast at Burnside, and thus the arrangements of the day brought us to the same house to which we went the first day we landed in Mauritius, six years before. At prayers I read the Gospel for the day (St. Barnabas'), and afterwards we went to an Indian school, kept up by Mr. Ireland. A very cheering sight it was, the room beautifully decorated with creepers and flowers, and filled with sixty or sixty-one Indian children, of whom seventeen were girls. [This is the whole number on the books--all were present. Generally about thirty-six attend; some two days in the week, and so on.] Mr. and Mrs. Ansorgé were there. The examination was conducted in four languages--Nagri, Bengalee, Tamil, and English; and when they read the 15th chapter of St. Luke, and answered Mr. Ansorgé's questions, translated from mine, I felt glad and encouraged. Their eager, sparkling eyes, and animated gestures, as they answered the questions about the lost sheep and the Good Shepherd, were very cheering to behold; and I had the happy feeling that a well of living water is indeed opened in the midst of the large resident heathen population around. About fifteen adult Christians came in to see it all. Hymns were sung, and prizes distributed. Jean Sarradie, whom I had brought with me, was surprised, and greatly delighted, at finding that work was being done in other parts besides the Vacoas and Black River districts.
At Pamplemousses we had a very interesting service. About seventy persons were present, of whom between twenty and thirty remained for the Sacrament, eight being clergymen. A missionary from India, Mr. Alexander, successor to Henry Fox in the Telugu Mission, was there. I preached on St. Barnabas, bringing the different descriptions and allusions in the Acts into ore view. It was a very soothing and encouraging subject. In Mr. Wheeler's yard the little school had twenty-two black children under Pierre, a pupil of Philippe from Praslin, and a master was present from Villebague, of the name of Miller.
July 4th.--The public meeting for the relief of the sufferers from famine in India has turned out to be a very important one. The mayor convened it, and all classes were there. I went prepared to say something of the obligations of Mauritius to India, and was indeed surprised and gratified to find myself forestalled by gentlemen of French origin, as well as others, who expressed this in the strongest terms. The act of emancipation was called "l'eternel honneur de notre siècle," and altogether the statements made and the reasons given were very encouraging. The result has been a large collection, which it is hoped may reach 40,000 dollars--showing what the island could do, if only there were a zealous Protestant population here. Our own population has been rather pinched at times from the dearness of rice, but the supply now seems tolerably abundant, and the price rather lower.
I had a delightful service on board the Mariner's Church on Tuesday, when three from the "Norna" and two captains of ships were confirmed. It was truly comforting to feel that, as far as man can judge, they were sincerely desirous of publicly ratifying a covenant really made with God. Requests for a French evening service in the week are made to me, but as yet I must pause. I feel how greatly we need the help of God's grace to enable us to deal with the work before us; and if I often mention this, it is because I so often feel the need of prayer on our behalf.
Yesterday evening, after the service, Mr. Wiehe told me he had had a most interesting conversation the evening before with a Monsieur L., from Madagascar, who gave an account of the rebellion and bloodshed constantly going on in many parts; of the hatred felt against the Hovas by the other tribes, of the perseverance of the Christians (all to a man, he said, Protestants), of the firmness of the Prince, and his efforts for the Christians. The account from Madagascar shows the influence which the Prince has, and illustrates the mixture of barbarism and civilisation which prevails. There seems to be no truth in any of the reports--some of them very recent--of the Queen's death.
July 15th.--Jean Sarradie, the Malegache, is now installed as the guardian and trainer of four Mozambique boys in our grounds, and this morning I had a deeply interesting conversation with him.. In dwelling on the need of persevering to the end, I told him of that part of the Pilgrim's Progress, where one turned aside even near the gate of heaven; and this led him to recount to me one of those remarkable dreams, which in so many cases prove the turning-point of real conversion among inquirers from the heathen. He told me his thoughts about the sermon yesterday afternoon, on the subject,--"Having your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace." He said he had lain awake till one o'clock thinking over that; "for when you said, 'Have your feet shod,' &c., I thought, how can that be, when the Lord told St. Peter to take his shoes off?" (This confusion of persons is not at all uncommon with them). "But then," he said, "I saw it was something to do with the heart, a parable, and it was very instructive." It is very beautiful to witness old Prosper's simplicity and fervency of faith. The keen discernment that he has of the simple truths of the Gospel, as they affect the soul and its standing before God, is most interesting to observe.
Since I came in, a young Negro has been here listening most attentively to the account of the way of salvation. He expressed great surprise when I read of the great multitude in heaven who had come from the sorrows of this world.
July 24th.--This morning we have begun teaching our Negro boys the alphabet. I was so afraid of bringing on anything like sickness, that I have so far left them entirely to out-door occupation. It is beautiful to see our coachman's kindness to them. What a joy it would be to have some of these youths trained and fitted to go to East Africa, to proclaim the Gospel to their perishing fellow-countrymen!
Tour to Mahébourg, Grand River (South-East), &c. from Saturday Morning, August 10th, to Tuesday Evening, August 13th.
August 10th.--We were detained for some time by the settlement of an Indian quarrel before we started, and as the ponies had to go more than a mile beyond Curepipe, Vincent and I walked up the Moka Hills, which was rather hot work. We called to ask after Mrs. Martindale, and heard rather an unfavourable account from her son. As we were going to see Dr. Reid, who had attended Capt. Martindale to the last, we thought it a good opportunity for conveying a message to him. We found the coachman waiting for us at the gate of the churchyard, in sight of the white monument of Mr. Stair Douglas's little child, and of the ground where we buried Capt. Martindale last Wednesday, and where Armand's own little child was buried in our absence. [The coachman.] At the 13th milestone we left the ponies in the road, and went up to call on Mr. Evelyn, whose little one I had baptized not long ago. On the way I measured the stem of a large fern-tree, and was quite prepared to hear of these trees being often found forty feet high, as we were afterwards told by a competent observer, Mr. Clark, of Mahébourg. Passing by our old hotel at Curepipe, which is now shut up, we went on to the establishment of a Monsieur Planche, near the 16th milestone. Several coloured youths were sitting about with guns in their hands, waiting to go to the chasse. Want of success in their last expedition was urged by the proprietor as his excuse for not offering us breakfast. Fortunately, we had a bottle of tea with us, and some bread, and made a very refreshing tiffin. We reached Mahébourg about four, and before six I had seen, chiefly by meeting them, all whom it was my duty to see; viz. Dr. and Mrs. Finnimore, with whom we stayed; Mr. Pennington, the clergyman; Mr. and Mrs. Telfair (my hosts in 1859 at Seychelles); Captain Macfarlane, the military commandant, and other officers. We walked again to the camp, where a company of soldiers were engaged in rifle practice, there meeting several old friends, and returned when it was quite dark to Dr. Finnimore's, having arranged the order of proceedings for the next day.
On Sunday morning early, V. J. and I had a bathe in the sea, and arranged with Dr. Reid about visiting the hospital. I preached at the morning service on 2 Kings, v. 13, 14, and afterwards visited Captain Wray, the paymaster, who has been very ill, and prayed with him. We then took lunch at the mess, where all, as usual, were most kind. I next went to the hospital, and left The British Soldier in India, A Light for the Line, and other books, saying a few words to the men, and then went to Mr. Pennington's till service at four. The Confirmation was in French and English, and I gave an address in each language. A young Romanist came to me just before the service, wishing to be confirmed; but I did not feel confidence enough in his seriousness of mind, though I have had many conversations with him in town.
After service, we (Mr. Telfair, Mr. Pennington, Dr. Reid, V. J., J. Baptist, and I), went to see a Mons. Rosidor, living near the sea, but were a long time getting to him, from heavy squalls of rain. John Baptist, the catechist, had a sad tale of sorrow to tell me,--the loss of two children this year having evidently given a very gloomy turn to his mind. He told me that "all his bones were broken" and used other Oriental expressions, which reminded me strongly of those in the Psalms. After John Baptist's sorrowful account, I could not help going round by the school. His poor wife was very much altered, and sad. We reached Mr. Clark's quite late. Many hymns and pieces of sacred music were sung, and I was most powerfully reminded, as they were singing "Vital spark of heavenly flame," of the last scenes of their dear mother's life. The evening was closed with a Psalm, and a few prayers in French.
Monday morning opened very cloudily: heavy rain had been, and was then threatening; but we got our bathe, and started at about eight, over the Higginson bridge. Between four and five we were at the Post at Grand River South-East, having gone all round the coast, walking and riding, and walking again--very wet, and dirty, and tired. It was a very interesting journey, painfully so in some respects, though there was much that was very pleasant in it. Mr. Clark's kindness provided everything necessary for our transport, and Mons. Cheron received us most hospitably. The first incident which took place after we had walked to look at Dr. Finnimore's house, now in process of construction, was our meeting-three neatly-dressed, intelligent-looking boys, coming from old Grand Port, with their tin boxes, or malles, of books, going to Mr. Clark's school. A couple of miles further on, a coloured man, in answer to our questions, said that there was no school for his children, and for those around; and this was the state of things which we found to exist during the whole of the journey of fifteen or eighteen miles: not a single school after crossing the river, up to Grand River South-East, and then no school there either.
We passed a beautifully-arranged Indian camp, on a rising ground jutting into the bay, but no school or catechist was there. We came to a camp at Belle Vue, where, on inquiry, we found there was one Christian. The men shouted for him, and he came very eagerly, and told me he had books, but no church--no services on Sunday. Mons. Blancard, manager of the estate, promised me to show every attention to any Missionary who might come.
On the next estate, we heard there were several Christians, but they were at a distance at work. Mr. Portal, the proprietor, had been a fellow-passenger with us on board the "Norna," on our journey to England, last year.
On the next estate, no Christians, but a very intelligent man--the guardian of the camp, who said he had a book in Oordoo. I told him to fetch it, which he did, and it proved to be the Gospel of St. John. "A light shining in a dark place," is a very just representation of such a book in a heathen camp, where there are hundreds who know nothing of the way of salvation.
While I was speaking to this Indian I managed to stop a Malegache, who was walking in our direction, and afterwards had a very interesting conversation with him. A simple exposition of the salvation of God, several times repeated to this unbaptized heathen man, who had a very intelligent and inquiring mind, led to many questions on his part, and to a full statement of his previous history and his present circumstances, which made me feel very much interested;--interested both in the missionary work, which I felt I was carrying on indirectly, and in the condition of the man and of his children. No school, and a great desire for a teacher, both for old and young, was the cry here also.
Soon after leaving him, we reached Mons. Cheron's hospitable dwelling, and were received, as on the previous journey, with the hearty welcome of a Christian man. We found that the daughter, who took so much care of the orphans, had married, and was settled on the neighbouring estate in the next bay, where we afterwards saw her and her like-minded husband; being guided thither, and as far as Grand River South-East, by one of the orphans whom Mons. Chéron had protected, now grown up to be a fine, intelligent, and obliging young man. The chief object of my visit was to receive explanations, which were now given me, about the non-establishment of a school on Mons. Chéron's property. The facts were these. After my former visit, Mons. Chéron had written to the Government, offering to build a school at his own expense, and to defray the whole or part of the schoolmaster's salary, if the Government would give him a site on the government land called the Pas Géométriques, near the sea. To this a favourable answer was returned, and a request made for a plan of the ground by a government-surveyor. From that day to the present the surveyor had not been procurable, and there the matter rests. I hope now to set it in motion again. The proposal of Mons. Chéron is, that his daughter, who has long cared for the neighbouring orphans, should have the charge of the school, which is to be built near her present place of residence. Most thankful should I be to see this object accomplished; for the want of all means of moral and religious instruction along the whole of that part of the coast is very deplorable.
Mr. Clark returned from this spot, having sent the ponies which he had lent to Vincent and me on before him. We borrowed an old white mule for Vincent, which I rode a short distance; and, after following the windings of the coast for about two hours more, we arrived at the western side of the embouchure of Grand River South-East, in a very weather-beaten condition. My bag, with robes, &c., in it, which I had left at Mahébourg, to be sent from thence direct to Port Louis, had followed us on the head of a Malabar, and two other Malabars had come with our little hand-packages. Our delay at Mons. Chéron's had given them time to come up with us soon after we left him. They were to have met us long before by crossing the bay in a pirogue. Poor fellows! they looked very tired. The regular ferry-boat was on the other side; and, as the French say, "pas moyen" of making the people hear. So we took shelter in an Indian shop, and waited the arrival of a country pirogue, which was towing a mule across. Into that we got, took leave of our conductors and helpers, and enlisted the help of a good-natured-looking European on the opposite side, who brought a Malabar to take our dripping baggage up to the barracks, where we found a hearty welcome. We were very glad to hear of the interest taken in the books which we had sent for the men.
The next morning we had a very refreshing bathe in the sea, and after breakfast began our journey again. We went up towards the cascade in a pirogue; but the force of the current kept us at some distance. On returning to the village I found that the carriage which was to have been sent had not arrived. A young clerk, of the name of Robert, very kindly offered his spring-cart and mule, and his own services to drive. We accepted his offer very thankfully, and in the meanwhile walked about a mile on, and then turned off to the left, and went down the cliff, close to the waterfall, which was truly grand. On returning to the road we found my European friend of the former day, and it proved that words spoken by me very much at random, as far as his special case was concerned, had been very appropriate to his state, and he left me under the deepest emotion.
We reached the Deep-River Estate, in the Trois Islots district, at near twelve o'clock, and had a very pleasant visit of about an hour, during which I looked over the nice little library of the manager's son, just come from a good school in England. I promised him a Greek Testament, having given a French one to Mons. Robert, who had driven us thus far. After a refreshing meal, we started in another mule-cart, with which we travelled for four hours, sometimes walking, sometimes riding, until we reached the entrance of a long bye-road, leading up to a plantation named Menifay, at the seventh milestone from town, on the Moka road. We walked the last four miles down the Moka hills, and after meeting several of our friends returning from town, reached home just about dark. At about twelve miles from town we had come to a government-school, and the master told me I was the first clergyman he had seen there. I trust the blessing of God will rest on this journey, which has furnished me with many of those facts, by which my own efforts and the co-operation of others have to be stimulated.
August 29th.--Yesterday, V. J. and I started, after our own little service in the verandah, for Pamplemousses and Villebague, and I had a very encouraging day.
As we passed through the large street leading to Pamplemousses, I saw an Indian schoolmaster, with the keys of one of our last-established schools, which he was just going to open; a few paces on, two of the first class of the Royal College, whom I had been examining recently; and about three miles onward, several nicely-dressed Indian boys, with good tin boxes containing their books, on their way to the school at Mr. Ireland's. Their cheery "Good morning, Sir," was very pleasant.
At Mr. Wheeler's, there were twenty-four children assembled in the school on the church-ground. About a mile and a-half beyond, an Indian school, where the children were all most sedulously at work with eye, finger, and voice, at the palmyra-leaf lessons; and a few miles further, Mr. Miller's school at Villebague, where the singing, the examination in French and English, the repetition in both languages, and the quiet, orderly, intelligent demeanour of the children, all gave me very great pleasure.
I afterwards called with Mr. Wheeler on several intelligent members of his Villebague (fortnightly) congregation, and was very thankful to find the Bible in their possession, and evidently an object of very deep interest to them. On my return, I called on some of the members of our church at Pamplemousses; and after dining with Mr. Wheeler, we reached town in time for me to read prayers at our Wednesday-evening service. I was tired, but very much gratified with the day's occurrences.
Sept. 6th.--Yesterday we went to Powder Mills (the school for Indian and African orphans). I snail not attempt any description of that gratifying scene, at which the Governor and Mrs. Stevenson were present, with many visitors filling up one side of the place; among whom were the Procureur-General, the Protector of Immigrants, the Rector of the Royal College, the Inspector of Schools, the Chief of the Police, Magistrates, and Members of the Legislative Council, and about 200 rescued Indian and African orphans, looking healthy and happy, and receiving prizes for progress in knowledge, and for their skill in various industrial works, of which the specimens were exhibited. An aged Christian, the mother of the Organizing Master of Government School?, said, that she could not enjoy it as she would have wished, from the yearning she felt that our friends at home could have witnessed the sight.
It happens that the anniversary of the Institution is the Governor's birthday, and I feel very thankful that it is so, for the pains that he and Mrs. Stevenson have taken about that Institution have been very great indeed. Nothing but a lively interest in the welfare of those poor orphans, and a most hearty sympathy with the efforts bestowed by Mr. and Mrs. Ansorgé for their real good, could have led to such prompt, efficient, and persevering attention as has been given by them from the first, to all the wants of the Institution. The gathering yesterday was too full of satisfaction, and encouragement, and interesting incident, for me to give any detailed account of it. One or two of the incidents were very simple and touching. When everybody was looking on in the crowded apartment to see the examination of the older children, I found a row of about twenty little orphans of very tender years, who were beginning some of the infant-school tunes. I encouraged them, and we had the whole of the hymns, exercises, and other performances admirably gone through, the dear little children looking so very happy.
On distributing the flags to the captains, I found that none of the Africans were captains yet, so I asked for the best among them, and gave him a flag. The look of disconsolate woe which another African boy put on when he found this out, attracted everybody's notice, and the receiver kindly offered to give him the flag. He declined most significantly, and showed what a difference there was in receiving the flag from him and from me; so that I have promised him another. Towards the close I found a group of boys around me, and one bright little Indian looking at me with a most expressive smile, from which I gathered that he wanted to speak to me. I asked him what he wanted: "To go to town to see you." "Well, but," I said, "I am come here to see you." This, however, was not the same thing, and it was most amusing, wherever I was afterwards, there was this little fellow with his beaming smile, and the same request. At last, when I was talking with Mr. Ansorgé, the same lively face intruded again; and I asked Mr. Ansorgé to question him in the Bengalee language, when the same reply came out, "He wishes to go to town to see you." What the real meaning of all this is I do not know, but I shall be very thankful to God if many are found to have the same feeling of affectionate confidence.
It was very sad, the other day, when our Mozambique boys were told of the prospect of their returning to their own people when they knew enough, to hear of their having at once thrown down their tools, and refused to learn any more; because, as they observed very significantly, their country was one where they would be hunted, and sold or killed. What a fearful system is that which destroys even the love of country in the heart of man! By and by, I hope they will feel differently.
Sept. I9th,--At prayers in the verandah, yesterday, I mentioned the opening of Madagascar. After prayer, Sarradie, Prosper, and a Malegache of the name of Jacques, came into my study. Their delight was great when I said that the teaching of many years ago had been hidden, like seed in the earth, while bad weather prevailed, and then sprung into life and verdure. They all rejoiced at the similitude; and old Prosper, after his wont, seized on one thought which occurred to him, and repeated it again and again,--"Ah! l'evangile! li travaille, l'evangile travaille, l'evangile travaille dans tout pays!" The word "travaille" is what they always use for the working of seed in the earth. Sarradie was greatly delighted. "L'evangile travaille comme Chinois sous terre," was his shrewd remark, alluding to the dexterity of the Chinese in underground operations.
Last week, I was told by Mr. Mason that a Protestant schoolmaster, who had married a Roman Catholic, was dying; and that his relations were trying to keep the clergyman from him; and that the wife and mother-in-law had howled and shrieked in the most dreadful manner when he (Mr. Mason) went, and had even said, "Retro, Satanas!" As soon as I could, on Monday morning, I went, and the scene which awaited me baffles all description. There was the helplessly sick man, and there were the women shrieking, and stamping, and making use of insulting epithets: altogether, the sight was a sorrowful and saddening one, only relieved by the poor man's determination to stand fast and maintain his faith. I have made such representations of the matter, that I trust they will now let him die in peace. Mr. De Joux had a similar case, some years ago; but the woman who then behaved so violently is now one of our staunchest friends--most frequent and regular at church, and her eldest son one of our most promising young men, a regular attendant at Mr. Mason's Monday-evening class, and a diligent teacher in our Sunday-school. How cheering is every simple look directed to the grace of God, and its wonderful results! Sept. 30th.--We are getting touches of warm weather, which make cool evenings pleasant, and the thoughts of hotter days formidable. I feel very tired on a Sunday evening, though it is now generally spent at home. Yesterday, I had twenty-six at my early French service in the verandah. In a place like this there is need of constant instruction and training, and the field seems to widen every week. On Saturday, as I was going up the side of a ravine, a fine, strong young negro overtook me. On questioning him, I found he knew nothing about religion, no form of prayer, no anything, and could neither read nor write. He was very grateful for my promise, that when Mr. Banks comes out we shall try, to have an evening school.
Yesterday, I heard the full particulars of the zeal of a little Indian boy at the Asylum, one of the first who had asked to be baptized last year. He requested permission some time back to have half-an-hour every evening to himself, and spent it in teaching a heathen how to read, and the truth of the Christian religion at the same time. When the heathen applied for baptism, he was found to be thoroughly well taught. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings hast Thou ordained strength." I was next told that a poor woman, wife of a former servant of ours, wished to see me. She was very ill. Formerly her husband had asked to be baptized, and she had threatened to leave, with her two daughters by a former husband, and had held long, and sometimes angry discussions, with the Christian servants. Within the last few days she has been baptized, and when Mr. Ansorgé asked her if she remembered all that Jesus had suffered for her, she said with great earnestness,--"What other hope could there be for me?" After I had prayed yesterday, she put her hand on her bosom, and said, very eagerly, "Was that prayer for me?" ("ça pour moi? ça priere la?") And when I said "Yes," and spoke of the mercy of the Saviour, her eyes filled with tears, and the drops rolled down her cheeks. It was a very affecting sight, especially as she had been the most repulsive of all the servants we have ever had, and she had shown great bitterness against Christianity. These instances came with much comfort to me yesterday.
Madagascar is much in my thoughts just now, but no opening yet for me. I pray that we may go to the work, if we are called, with the genuine feeling, "Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name be the glory." A letter was sent from the King of Madagascar to Mr. Le Brun, earnestly asking his assistance, especially towards the building of a large room to be used as a school. A formal message was also sent to the Governor, asking, I believe, for a deputation or embassy. In answer to these, Mr. John Le Brun is gone in one ship, and Colonel Middleton, H.A., Mr. Marindin, E.E., Mr. Newton, Assistant Col. Sec., Mr. Mellish, a banker, and Mr. Caldwell, to take a congratulatory message to the King. They left a fortnight ago. Very deep interest is excited on the subject here. Travellers, naturalists, politicians, merchants, all are on the qui vive, I am anxiously looking out for a favourable opportunity. Thus far the accounts are cheerful and encouraging. The results of the London Missionary's Society's work so many years ago are most encouraging; but the trials and dangers to which the population will be exposed, from the rapid influx of civilisation, are neither few nor light. I trust that many prayers will be offered up in England with special reference to the openings in Madagascar. A handsome Bible, in English, has been sent to the King.
Oct. 17th.--Of all the interesting sights which work like ours brings into view at times, I do not think there has been one which would have been more pleasing to many of our friends, than Prosper acting as my interpreter to the four Mozambique boys, a few mornings ago. The subject was Adam and Eve, Paradise, and the permission to eat of all the trees but one. Their wonder and delight, and Prosper's eager animation, were most interesting to witness, and I felt how God had done for us beyond what we ever anticipated, in making Prosper an evangelist for these youths from East Africa.
Nov. 19th.--Vincent and Alfred went with me to Vacoas; L. accompanying us as far as Rosalie, which is the house now inhabited by Mr. and Mrs. Higginson, next to the church at Plaines Wilhems. There we had prayers in English, and I read Psalm ciii., having had our French service in the verandah before starting.
At Vacoas, we found Mr. De Joux lame from the bite of a scorpion, but he was able to get to the house, which is now nearly finished, and to the schools, with which, as usual, I was very much interested and pleased. It certainly is a most touching sight to see Miss De Joux seated at the harmonium, with all those dark hoys and girls around her, looking as if they were under the command of her eye, although she is totally blind. On our way to the Tamarind Falls we looked into another school, in a very remote part, and at Mr. Moon's saw the curiosities from Madagascar which their friend, Mr. Caldwell, had brought. Mr. M., who had been seriously ill in town during many weeks, was out there for change of air, and spoke in the warmest manner of the benefit he had derived from the Practical Suggestions to an Invalid. Yesterday, I found the same book, the prized companion of a young Englishman, who is very ill in the hospital.
Confirmation at Vacoas. Sunday, Dec. 8tfi, 1861.--Instead of starting too early in the morning, we did not leave Bishopstowe till half-past eight, Vincent and Sarradie accompanying me. I was thus enabled to hold my morning-service in the verandah before going. After reaching the table-land of Moka the air was very fresh, and the scenery never seemed more beautiful. Doubtless, it was partly the feeling of progress in the work of making known the truth of the Gospel which made the plains and mountains, cane-fields and forests, look so beautiful; and Sarradie's account of his escape from Indian robbers, near to one of the plantations which we passed, was accompanied with expressions of gratitude, winch harmonized well with our scenery and our work. The weapon which he dashed out of the assassin's hand is still in his possession.
On reaching Vacoas we found everything ready, and the palisadoed chapel, though evidently unfit to encounter another hurricane, was filled with attentive worshippers. Many of the old ex-apprentices have died since my first visit, but the race was represented by a goodly sprinkling of old men and old women, all with red handkerchiefs on their heads. Their children and grandchildren were there, and the effect of the unwearied teaching bestowed upon them was shown in one most pleasing manner; viz. the full and hearty response to every part of the service, and the hearty joining in the three hymns which were sung. Scholars of former days, now grown up into young men and women, were present also in large numbers; and it was most gratifying to see how the concentrated opposition of the priests, their having built a chapel quite close: to our work, and having sent another abbé to help in their work, has resulted in giving us a strong, because a tried congregation. Now that I know from experience how they move about to different parts of this island, and how they go to different islands in the Indian Ocean, I do indeed rejoice, though with a joy which there is much to temper and to chasten, in the blessing which we are permitted to see.
It was very touching to hear Mr. De Joux afterwards ascribing all to the grace of God, who can prosper the feeblest means: "for here am I," he said, pointing to both his ears, "quite deaf; and there is my daughter, a poor blind girl; and it pleases Him to make use of us." The number prepared for confirmation was forty-one, and thirty-nine were counted, though some could not attend. After the service there were two baptisms of adults, whom I hope to confirm on the morning of the 20th. As I reached Failles, on returning, the congregation were gathering for the half-past-four o'clock service in the verandah, which Mr. Cochrane took, and I came on into Port Louis for the evening service, finishing Psalm xxvii., and taking occasion from the last verse, with its earnest exhortation to "wait on the LORD," to give a strong protest and warning about the idolatrous falsehoods of the Immaculate Conception, that being the day of its celebration. With reference, to adult baptism, I had a very interesting interview with a man from one of the Salomon Islands, He Boddam, the only one where the manager had been not very cordial. This Negro came to me last week, reminding me of my last visit, and asking to be baptized. I found him scarcely ready yet. On questioning him about the Bible which I had sent to the Malegache, Paul, since dead, he told me what I had heard before, how Paul regularly instructed them out of it. "Where is the Bible now?" I asked. "La bas meme," he replied. "But who has got it?" "It is in his coffin; we buried it with him." How affecting the thought, that there was no one else in the island who could read it!
Examination of Miss Fomm's School, Crève Coeur, Dec. 10, 1861.--The weather was very threatening indeed after tropical showers of rain, when L. and I started for Crève Coeur, coming through the town to leave the boys for their examinations. About ten minutes after we left we had a burst of rain, which in less than a minute made me wet through, as I was exposed from driving, but it refreshed the ponies for their twelve miles' pull and back. After leaving Port Louis we had no more rain all day. In Miss Fomm's school we found 30 pupils, 24 girls and 6 boys, and all who were present were exceedingly pleased with the results of the examination. The dress and manner and behaviour of the pupils, their neatly-kept writing-books, their correct reading, and above all, their thoughtful, intelligent answers to Scripture questions, all bore witness to the pains and skill which have been bestowed upon them. If only such a school can increase and continue, it will prove an element of the greatest good in our population. When I had questioned the classes on the chapter which they had read, the Superintendent of Government Schools, who was present with the organizing master and another certificated teacher from Cheltenham, asked me whether they knew beforehand that that chapter would be taken,--they had done it so well? I told him the simple fact, that I had chosen it at the moment from the four gospels, which were given me to make my selection. A large number of texts were repeated well. The proceedings began with a hymn in English, and terminated with one in French.
"C'est Jésus qui me mène,
Car je suis sa brebis:
Et vers le ciel ainsi sans peine,
Ma route je poursuis.
Conduit sur les rivages
Des plus limpides eaus,
Je traverseles pâturages
Les plus frais, les plus beaux.
Jamais soul sur ma route,
Toujours près du Seigneur,
Je lui parle, et jamais le doute
Ne vient troubler mon Coeur.
Que mon voeu, ma pensée
Soit de vivre pour toi,
En suivant la route tracée
Dans ta divine loi!
Toujours donc, je te prie,
Tiens-moi sous ton regard,
Car t'aimer, Jésus, c'est la vie,
Oui, c'est 'la bonne part!'"
The dictation, arithmetic, and geography, were all done well, and my knowledge of the condition in which some of the pupils entered the school a few months ago, enabled me to form an opinion on the pains and skill with which they had been taught. I do trust this establishment may prove the commencement of an Institution for lasting good to Mauritius, and thus an appropriate memorial to the venerated lady in whose thoughts, and prayers, and efforts, this colony had a special place for so many years. [Lady Grey.]
At the other side of Mr. Hobbs's dwelling-house we found a Tamil school, with twenty-five children, and here again were greatly pleased with, the order, and method, and progress which we could observe, even without understanding the language. Mrs. Hobbs has an excellent plan with her teachers. Every Friday she examines the schools, and a book is kept in which the progress made by the pupils from one Friday to another is marked down. By referring to this, she at once sees the limits within which her examination has to be confined. I was glad to find here also texts of Scripture nicely repeated. Thus, close under the crags of Pieter Botte, there are fifty-five children from that beautiful valley, learning in three languages, English, French, and Tamil, the way of salvation and peace; altogether, in the district of Pamplemousses, there are more than five hundred children under our direct influence and teaching. We may well say, "What hath God wrought!"
Dec. 18th.--Yesterday was one of my most busy days. I left Bishopstowc at seven, with the two boys and Mr. Ackroyd, who had spent the evening before with us. The boys remained in town to prepare for their prize delivery, and I went on with an Indian, named William, to Pamplemousses, and thence to Villebague, to visit Mr. Miller's school, numbering fifty-four boys and girls. Several of them were absent, but those who were there answered very nicely indeed. It was rather fatiguing to go through the whole process, but the results and the promise in that school are matter for much gratitude. On our return, I called at the house of the magistrate of the district, and afterwards at the surgeon's, and also inspected an Indian school, one of the first established by Mr. Taylor. There is a very peculiar efficiency in those Indian teachers, and the palmyra-leaf tablets, and the sand on the floor for writing, give one a pleasing idea of cheapness as to appliances. I am very thankful to have received a large case of school-books in Tamil and English, from the Vernacular School-book Society, which has my very strong sympathies. This reminds me of the deep gratitude I felt the other day, at having a Christian teacher well acquainted with the Indian languages, when Mr. Franklin described to me his last night with a young Indian, who was executed recently for a fearful murder. His experience was more like that of the dying thief than anything I remember. The way in which the poor youth seized upon the offers of salvation, made for the first time, and the effect produced on his mind and heart by the reception of the good news, were most touching.
But, to return to my work. Mr. Wheeler returned with us, and we reached town at five o'clock. St. James's School was full, and very nicely decorated. I presided at the distribution of prizes. Then came the distribution of the Sunday-school prizes, and then refreshments, during which I went out for some fresh air; and then, after an exhibition of the magic-lantern, a ride home in the bright moonlight, all very well tired.
Dec. 30th.--Very sad to us has been the subsequent illness and death of Mr. Miller. His anxiety about his wife, who was very ill, added to the excitement of the examinations, I suppose, brought on sudden illness, and he died on the Sunday after my visit.
On the 20th there was a grand day at Vacoas. Many from town, from Moka, &c., were there. On the 24th, Powder Mills presented all the attractions perceived in former visits. One incident struck me much,--An Indian boy, when they were thanking their benefactors, was asked what he meant by "the Governor," and he said, "father and mother." Mrs. Stevenson richly deserves such a testimony to her devoted attention to their wants in every respect. Many prize distributions in town occupied me greatly, and on Friday last I went to Bambou, where I confirmed twenty-one persons, and gave the prizes afterwards to pupils whose proficiency agreeably surprised me.
On Christmas-day we had a very interesting time. At my French Communion, natives of Europe, Asia, Africa and America, were present, and the same at the administration in English. Numbers of Indians attended at their places of worship, and altogether there was much to encourage us. My last Christmas-day visit was to a young Englishman in the hospital, with whom I prayed at about six o'clock, and he died at about seven.
Jan. 14th, 1862.--A meeting in our drawing-room, yesterday evening, of some of the principal residents near us, has been a very encouraging incident in a time of depression. It was to consider about a small church, or a church-room, to be erected on our ground. General Breton, Mr. Sholto Douglas, Mr. John Douglas, Mr. Hellish, Mr. Wildman, Mr. Holloway, Mr. Wing, Mr. Stanley, Mr. Newton, Mr. Marsh, Rev. D. Cochrane, and myself, were present. Commencing with prayer, we proceeded to discuss the character of the building we wanted, and to consider what we could raise. I strongly urged a decent, commodious room, to cost about 200l. This was overruled, for one to cost about 600l.; viz. 300l. from subscriptions, and when that sum is secured, then the Government will give the equivalent. 170l. was subscribed in the room, and I am leaving the matter in the hands of the General as President, and Messrs. Sholto Douglas, Mellish, Stanley, and Capt. Morrison, R.E., as a working-Committee.
Jan. 17th.--On Monday I went to the Morne with V. J., after early prayers with our people in the verandah. We found Mr. Odell at Black River; and Jean Sarradie, who was with us, walked on to the Morne with the order to send a pirogue from Coteau Raffin, from Mr. Latour's. My companions expressed the greatest delight at the exquisite beauty of the view; and afterwards, when we looked back from the Morne, it was very doubtful which view was the more beautiful of the two. The heat was intense, and there was a good deal of walking. At one time we all got under the shade of a palm-tree, and caught the gentle, but most refreshing breeze, that seemed to flutter round the stem. It was very remarkable, that the only time a doctor ever went with me to the Morne, three very serious cases of illness presented themselves. He was most kind, and his recent return from Madagascar enabled him to give most interesting information about that place and people.
The next morning we started for a spot I had never yet seen--the gorge of the Black River; and I walked at least six miles, and the same back, crossing the Black River six times, and reaching at last a hunting-box, or "hangar," belonging to Mons. Geneve. There we walked in the shade, and in the midst of glorious scenery. The gorge is in fact a ravine between some of the highest mountains in the island, the sides of which are covered with timber to the top. While wandering alone in the wood I met two wild-looking Malagasies. They knew a very little of Christianity, but they longed to know more; and when I told them I should try to get them more fully taught, poor fellows! they took off the covering from their heads, and said most emphatically, "Nous bien content." We returned to the Poste, and started for home. Night overtook us before we reached it, and we were very tired; but it was well I had come, for the next morning there were about forty gathered in the verandah for the Word of God and prayer.
Jan. 28th.--The cholera has been some time in the island, but I trust that, through God's mercy, we may be spared a wide epidemic. As usual at this time, there are many cases of illness. By a circular from the mayor all schools are broken up for a week.
Feb. 5th.--Yesterday was a busy day. On visiting the hospital I found poor Mr. Swete's murderer in the cholera ward. I am thankful to say he is better. The accounts were brighter yesterday.
March 1st.--The last month has had none of those journeys which were so pleasant to record. I have not seen Mr. De Joux since I wrote last. The cholera has occupied us all, and our own share of it has been intensely trying; though, through God's great mercy, only for a short period.
The untiring devotedness of the clergy has been a source of great thankfulness and encouragement. The Sunday before last, Mr. Odell was compelled to remain at home. I had the verandah service, attended by between forty and fifty; then (quite unavoidably) the whole morning service; and then received a report of three cases of cholera. I went to Rochebois to visit one of the sufferers, who died the next day. At the prison, I visited another on my return; and that evening, after a full French service, when I preached on the words, "Je suis étranger et voyageur chez toi, comme l'ont été tous mes pères," I officiated at the funeral of the third, at about six o'clock. There have been some most distressing bereavements.
March 6th.--I find I must leave all attempt to send information till next mail, if God permit. The assassin of Mr. Swete has recently died of dysentery. I saw him in hospital, in the cholera ward, and spoke a little to him. His knowledge of English was imperfect, but he understood when spoken to of Jesus Christ. What a blessing to have that saving Name to proclaim everywhere! Our relief fund for cholera is very satisfactory.
March 8th.--I was very sorry to send such hurried letters home by the last mail, and that I had not made some journal memoranda of our days of cholera. The work consequent upon the prevalence of that fearful disease amongst us was of a very arduous character, and some of the cases brought under our notice were very heart-rending. Now it is too late to try to gather up the recollections; they are not sufficiently distinct for writing. We have been very mercifully brought through thus far, and I feel what deep cause for thankfulness and praise I have to my Heavenly Father. That my own attack came before the epidemic was rife, only a few weeks after it first appeared, was cause of much thankfulness. My dear wife's has come towards the close, and a fortnight earlier would have been much more serious in several ways. May we use our renewed health to His glory, "in whom we live and move and have our being!"
The meeting for orphans, &c. was held yesterday, at half-past three o'clock. It was high time we should get up some society, for the cases are far too numerous and pressing for me to undertake them.
March 13th.--Yesterday I took Mr. Ross and Jean Sarradie with me to the Powder-Mills Asylum, which presented, in some respects, a very mournful contrast with the scene witnessed there on former occasions. Two days before there had been quite a panic among the African children. They had all been crying, and almost shrieking, that "Africans get sick, die: Malabar get sick, no die." This arose from the recovery of most of the Indian children who had been attacked with the cholera, while the Africans succumbed almost from the first hopelessly. In consequence of this panic, and the spread of the disease, Mr. Ansorgé had written to ask for a separation and removal for a time. I had strongly opposed this, feeling sure that no extemporised home would have the comfort of their own place; and that, both in respect of food and lodging and care, they were better near the Asylum. Of course my opposition could only be shown in the way of expressing an opinion, as I have nothing whatever to do with the Asylum officially.
On reaching the place, I saw white tents pitched just outside the walls, and felt much relieved by the sight. This partial change and dispersion is just what is wanted. On going in, we saw Mr. Ansorgé, looking worn and dejected. They were just going to nail up the coffin of the chief tailor of the Industrial School, and the grief of his poor wife, who had been one of the pupils of the Institution, was most affecting to witness. She had nursed him with the most unremitting attention, and Mr. Ansorgé said they had loved each other as only a Christian man and woman can do. He had been baptized in the prison nearly six years ago by Mr. Taylor. Mr. Ansorgé said, that for the five years he had known him, his conduct had been in every respect that of a Christian man. His dying experience was of the most consoling character, and he departed in full assurance of faith. When Charles Kooshalee, who watched with him all the last night, asked him if he felt trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, he replied, "How can you ask me that question? Since the day of my baptism I have always had strong faith in the Lord Jesus Christ." It is very delightful to witness the simplicity and strength of the faith of such converts from heathenism. At his own urgent request the Lord's Supper was administered to him. There were several sick in the hospital. One poor man seemed very ill, hut the doctor had hopes of his recovery when he saw him. A few minutes afterwards he was dead. It is a fearful disease for rapidly extinguishing the vital powers of the body. A nice little boy, who had long wished to be baptized, when the proposition to baptize him in the hospital was made, said, "Oh, no! What a place to be baptized in! I want to go to the church when I am well." As he got worse, he sent of his own accord to ask that it might be done there, and now he is gathered to his rest.
The children all seemed pleased to see me, and eagerly laid hold of the Cottager's Illustrated Sheet, and many little books, sent in a box from Sheffield. Mrs. Ansorge seemed greatly sustained in her trying duties, and they are much comforted by the assistance of Mr. and Miss Farmer, from the Training College at Cheltenham, who give such help as well-trained Christian teachers might be expected to do. Jean Sarradie was at once penetrated with a feeling of the deepest interest in the poor sick, and expressed his readiness to go to help if he were wanted.
March 18th.--Our last days in England last year are recalled to us often now. We are still going on well at home, but I am sorry to say that the cholera is rather on the increase again. Yesterday, when I came in, I heard there had been twenty-two deaths on Sunday. Today I looked in at the Military Hospital to see a dying man, of the name of Taylor, and was shocked to hear of the death of the hospital Serjeant, a few minutes before, from cholera. Since my return to the vestry, I heard of the rapid death of Jacob, our former servant, from the same disease. Mr. De Joux has been incessantly at hard work, and I trust he will have been blessed in his deed. What a happy use for his new house to have been put to, to have been made the refuge for the sick, and dispensary of the district!
April 14th.--One little country journey was taken last Tuesday, when Mr. Wiehe and Mr. Jourdain went with me to Creve Co3ur, to examine two or three spots for a site for an Orphan House, which we hope may be placed near the Church Missionary property. Many circumstances combine to make the Lent services solemn and impressive to us all this year. One pleasant difference from other years is, that the clergymen at Moka and Plaines Wilhems and Pamplemousses, instead of helping us, are having services each day this week themselves.
April 28th.--Mr. De Joux is now thoroughly installed in his new house. One cottage we visited with him last Thursday had two most grateful occupants,--a woman and, I think, her grandson. She, cured of a swelling all over, which had seemed desperate, by his vigorous and persevering measures, under God's blessing, and the youth of a bad and obstinate wound in the leg. Her gratitude, first to God and then to Mr. De Joux, was very fervently expressed. The school was flourishing.
One of our Mozambique boys has been, and is, very ill. Sarradie's care of him is most beautiful. By night and by day he is watching him and tending him most carefully, and his report of the boys is truly gratifying. He says none of his work ever gave him such satisfaction. "Even that boy," he says, "in all his sickness, if anything is given him to refresh him, do you think he would take it without breathing a prayer? Oh, no!" Two very old men are in a caze on the grounds, and I was so pleased to hear their account of Sarradie's kindness. They call him "Mons. Jean," and they say they are sure of a visit from him once or twice every day. "Si n'a pas soleil levant, eh bien! li vini soleil couchant. Tous les jours, jamais manqué. Bien bon pour nous."
May 5th.--On Saturday the 3rd we had a meeting which had much of a solemn character about it, on the occasion of laying the foundation-stone of the new church within our grounds. Mr. Mellish, who had done everything in the way of the building arrangement, was kept away by domestic affliction, and General Breton and his daughter will probably never see the building when finished. Old Negroes had come from a distance to see the ceremony, and I hope that some of them will profit by the ministrations within those walls. I hope that the next foundation-stone laid will be that of Vacoas church.
May 30th.--Yesterday (Ascension Day) was one of those bright days of encouragement which leave a happy and strengthening impression behind them. Our own people assembled a good deal earlier than usual in the verandah, and I had a very interesting service with them, taking as my subject the first eleven verses of the first chapter of Acts. I was enabled to hold the French service through Mr. Odell's kindness in taking the service at the cathedral. Mrs. Ryan, the two boys, and I, then went on to Burnside, where we had prayers, reading one of the Psalms for Ascension Day--the 103rd. It is now within a few days of seven years since we first took up our sojourn for a few days at Burnside on arriving here, and in a few days more our kind friends will be following so many others, and going home. At St. Barnabas' church there were seven clergymen present besides myself. Mr. Wheeler, the incumbent, read the morning service to the end of the Psalms; Mr. Cochrane, the Lessons and remaining part; Mr. Franklin directed the choir; Mr. Hobbs read the first part of the Baptismal Service; Mr. Ansorgé baptized the children; I received them into the congregation of Christ's flock, and finished the service, having given them a short address just before they were baptized; Mr. Odell read the Epistle; the Governor and Mrs. Stevenson, and Mr. and Mrs. Ansorgé, were the sponsors: Mr. Bichard took no part, but had to hurry to town directly the service was ended for a marriage.
There were 72 children to be baptized, some from each of the presidencies of India, and a few East-Africans. Their demeanour was reverent, earnest, and devout, and many of the older ones answered well in English, when I questioned them in the course of my address, which was based on the statement that by baptism we profess to belong to Christ. How do we belong to Christ? In two ways,--1. By trusting in Him. 2. By following Him. I then endeavoured to impress on them the reasons for trusting in Him, which are suggested by Christmas-day and Good Friday, Easter-day and Ascension-day; and afterwards instanced as points to be imitated,--1. He "was subject unto" His parents. 2. His hearing and answering questions in the house of God. 3. That He was always seeking the glory of God. 4. That lie was always doing good to man. Hence their need to pray that they might have good thoughts about others, speak good words, do good actions, &c.; and then I recurred again to the Ascension, and the blessed prospect open before all who trust in Him and follow Him on earth, of following Him into heaven. A few remarks in contrast on the misery and the wages of the devil's service were made towards the close, and I felt how well they must have been taught and trained to listen and answer as they did. There was a thrilling power in the expression, "that hereafter he (or she) shall not be ashamed to confess the faith of Christ crucified, and manfully to fight under His banner against sin, the world, and the devil; and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant unto his life's end."
I felt very thankful that the Governor and Mrs. Stevenson were permitted to see such results of their parental solicitude for those poor orphans. May the blessing they have been made the instrument of imparting be largely reflected on themselves! As for Mr. and Mrs. Ansorgé, none but attentive observers and eye-witnesses could at all appreciate what they have done and what they have gone through. My own feelings were of a very satisfactory and hopeful character, because I had seen the Institution, superintendents, teachers, Industrial masters and pupils, under the severe pressure of the visitation of cholera, and had witnessed the fruits of Christian principles and Christian teaching under the most trying circumstances, and had heard the most delightful accounts of the prayerful spirit which had manifested itself among some of the children, and the trust and confidence with which others had passed into the valley of the shadow of death. One of the girls baptized yesterday, a paralysed cripple, was suffering from a severe attack of cholera when I saw her before, and the teacher, Miss Farmer, who brought a little Indian infant in her arms to the font yesterday, was taking a poor little African girl to the cholera hospital when I last visited Powder Mills.
The mention of the African girl reminds me that several Africans wished to be baptized yesterday, and were much disappointed when their request was refused, on the ground of their not yet understanding sufficiently the elements of Christianity. It was mentioned before that the cholera was much more fatal among the East-Africans than among the Indians, in proportion to the number attacked. Their mournful remark was: "Cholera come to Indian boy, lie no die; come to African, he die. Indian boy baptize, African boy no baptize," or something to that effect. I mention this to illustrate the conscientious endeavour to make the service truly profitable, and to prepare them for it, which has marked all the preliminary proceedings in the work.
After the service was over, Mr. Ansorgé baptized six Bengalee adults, and before I left the grounds I had the pleasure of hearing that the Governor had given 50?. towards the Moka Endowment Fund. Mr. Wiehe and Mr. Jourdain joined me in looking over the glebe at Pamplemousses for a site for an orphan-house, and, through Mr. Wheeler's cordial interest in the matter, we were able to select an admirable spot just opposite the entrance to the Botanical Gardens. Thus, various parts of our work were brought before me in an encouraging way, with evidence that a fruitful blessing from God is attending the feeble efforts we are making to do good in His name. One touching incident connected with Mr. Bichard's unwearied labours I must mention. A poor Englishman came to me the other day, suffering from the Madagascar fever, and wanting a ticket for the hospital. Mr. Bichard went himself to get it, and has attended the poor man diligently ever since. This morning he reports him dead of cholera. His testimony about the part of Madagascar he has been in, was, that "if he had been made of Bibles and tracts," or had had ever such a number, all would have been distributed, the people were so intensely eager to get them. I trust his earnest words on that point will not be forgotten by us.
June 2nd.--A painfully solemn interest has been added to the proceedings on Ascension-day, from the death by cholera, that very night, of one of the little girls who had been baptized then. Her name was Bertha. She was in full health and spirits at eight o'clock that evening. Towards morning, Mrs. Ansorgé heard a groan, and went in, and found her struggling in the terrible disease. In a few hours she was gone. How touching this makes our retrospect of the sweet singing of the beautiful hymn that morning,--
"See the Good Shepherd, Jesus, stands," &c.
And especially the two last lines,
"And keep the gate of heaven in view,
Till we shall enter there."
A different case within these few days has been the rapid death, from the same disease, of a poor Indian leper, whose loss of limbs and extreme sufferings made him welcome the messenger who came to. summon him, as we trust, to the place where pain and weeping are unknown. The cholera is still prevailing. Eleven deaths occurred on Saturday. Yesterday, after the service, it was pleasant to find the verandah congregation looking at the walls of the new church, which are rising rapidly. I have found the Ascension-services most attentively followed by our people. Prosper's deep "Amen," when I con- eluded my exposition this morning, seemed to come from the fulness of his heart. Poor old man! He looks very happy. But a very few more years will probably see the extinction of the race that were slaves. We are getting more and more fully into the knowledge of a large number of them. It is very sad, as old age comes on, to see in many of them the results of early ill-treatment. Poor old Prosper and Marie put on mourning directly they heard of the death of Prince Albert.
Journal of a Visitation Tour to Grand River S.E., Grand Sable, and Mahébourg.
June 19th to June 21st, 1862.--Early on Thursday morning, June 19, we started, Mr. Cochrane and I in one carriage, Mr. John Douglas and Mr. Ryley in another. The catechist, Charles Kooshalee, walked ahead, but we missed him on the road, and instead of going to Grand River South-East, he went to Mahébourg, where we found him on Friday evening. In a wild uncultivated spot, about fourteen miles from town, we came upon a police-serjeant, who was superintending the erection of a wooden house, and whom I recognised as the soldier of the 5th who had attended upon Captain Johnson at Lucknow. He thankfully received some little books and tracts, and after a short conversation with him we moved on. A mounted policeman directed us to a new road, and introduced us to the Road Surveyor, whose announcement that there were seven miles of "Macadam," 2 1/2 inches thick, before us, was not very cheering. The road here was extremely beautiful, passing through an ancient forest, with every variety of fern and creeper mingled with the foliage of the different trees, presenting new aspects at every step. Our road then took us through a very fine estate, L'Etoile, close under the Camisard and Bambou (of Grand Port) mountains, with the beautiful river flowing between us and them. When we came to the end of the Trois Hots we turned into Captain Paddle's estate, at Riviere Profonde, where we stayed nearly an hour, and then went on to Grand River South-East. Mr. Ryley and Mr. Douglas stopped at Beauchamp, Mr. Cochrane and I went on to the Military Poste, where an officer of the 24th was in command, named Sawbridge; and though he had only gone down the day before, he made us very comfortable. An engineer on the railway-works, Mr. Higginson, was staying at the Poste, and we spent a very pleasant evening. Books and tracts were given to the Serjeant for the soldiers, and very thankfully received.
It was with very sad feelings that I ascertained, for the third time, the utter absence of all means of education for the children of the labouring classes. For the large fishing-village east of the Poste, for the Grand River S.E. village itself, and for the settlement just across the ferry--no school, no teacher, and the strongest desire for one expressed by the people. Assurances of interest and encouragement were given to me by some of the leading people; and in the many cazes which I visited it was the one story, "No instruction--we should be most thankful for it." Here occurred one of those striking instances of encouragement which are the more valuable, because so utterly unexpected. At one fisherman's caze, to the question, "Have you any children at school?" the answer was given, "Yes, one." "Where?" "At Mr. Nicolo's." "What Mr. Nicolo?" "At the Morne." Now a look at the map will show, that whether the Morne is sought by the coast line, or (which would be much shorter in time) by coming to town, the distance is more than forty miles. The woman was a catechumen of Sarradie's, and having no school at Grand River S.E., left her child at the Morne. How intensely I wished that our Morne school were better! The probable result of my strong representations this time will be the establishment of a Government-school down there.
June 20th.--After a refreshing night and a delicious bathe in the sea we proceeded in a pirogue to Petit Sable, the estate of Mons. Chéron--a visit not to be forgotten. As we passed across the lovely bay, the boatmen showed me a house recently erected, well propped at the four corners, and shut up. Mr. Mahon, a young Irishman, who had brought out excellent testimonials from Lord Londonderry and from the Rector of his parish in Ireland, had just finished the house, and had written to me to tell me of it, when he was struck with virulent cholera, and died in a few hours. His brother-in-law, a young man between 20 and 30, was also seized and died, and a sister-in-law of 16, taken at the same time, also died, and was buried in the same grave with her brother. It seemed a most solemn interruption to our work, which has been so long delayed; and the stillness and beauty of the scene in its natural features, seemed only to impress the more the solemn lessons of death and judgment. The sea was like a molten lake, bounded to the south by the long line of reefs, with white foaming waves incessantly leaping up over them; and on the land side, the tall wood-covered mountains in the distance were reflected in the water; and between those mountains and ourselves there were lower heights covered with sugar-canes, and then the grassy plain down to the coral beach. As we moved on, we came in sight of Mons. Chéron's residence, and heard most happy accounts of his kindness and charity from our native boatmen, who told me what I well knew before, but with a freshness and emphasis which were very cheering to listen to. Then we had to go and see our venerable friend, and to hear of the illness and death of his daughter, who had always been so kind to the poor, and especially to orphans. She had gone to the camp to attend on Indian women ill of the fever, and had caught the fever herself, and when she knew that she was to die, expressed her firm trust in her Saviour,--"Je sais en Qui j'ai era." I have seldom heard anything more touching than the old man's description of the last scene of her life. She was suffering from thirst, and one of those standing near asked her if she would not like a little arrow-root; she said "Yes," but that she would not take it, as she knew her father had to give her medicine in the morning, and she did not wish to go against his directions in anything. "Je ne voudrais pas contrarier papa en rien." He was reclining on a couch not far off, and heard this, though they thought him sleeping, and he at once came up and asked her if she would take some arrow-root, and gave it to her. And after a little soothing conversation he placed her head gently on the pillow. She expressed much satisfaction, and said she was going to "sleep so sweetly, and would awake very brightly." And then the old man's voice failed him, as he tried to say that she did sleep sweetly, and had a good awaking, pointing to heaven. His account of the trials of the cholera was very graphic, their remoteness from medical attendance being great. Madame Chéron was very ill in bed. I went and prayed with her. Another daughter was absent, on account of the illness of her child. In the midst of all this there was the greatest calmness and submission to the will of God, and if any question had arisen as to the source of Mons. Chéron's charity, and his good hopes about the departed, and his resignation in suffering, the answer would have been found in the well-worn Bible which was on his table.
We resumed the question of the School, and I hope now to establish one there on the Grant-in-Aid system, and trust that, if I am permitted again to visit those parts, it will not any more be to explore, but to inspect. It is a great comfort to me to feel that some personal effort has been given on my part to those works for which I ask kind friends at home to give us help.
Very important help was given on that day by Mr. Clark from Mahébourg, who brought his own two excellent horses, and pressed (though that is scarcely the word, where all is so freely lent) the ponies of two of the neighbouring proprietors into our service. I walked most of the way, but rode a little, just to provide against excess of fatigue. A proprietor of the name of Sornay, and another of the name of Portal (the latter a fellow-passenger in the "Norna" in 1860), were very kind; and we sat some time in Mr. Sornay's verandah, having some refreshment, and enjoying the beautiful prospect of the Mahébourg bay, and islands and reefs, which has, doubtless, given it the name of Belle Vue. A very touching incident occurred here. On passing an Indian camp, where I had found on a previous occasion a man who possessed a copy of the Gospel by St. John, I made inquiries, but he was gone, and there was neither Christian man nor Christian book there. I said a few words to them, chiefly with the view of preparing the way for the missionary or catechist, about the excellent religion of Jesus Christ. When we had gone on a little way, a voice suddenly sounded out behind me in Creole, "Is that a religion that Lascars may enter?" A better text could not well be, and I enlarged on it. Presently another of the followers spoke to the man who had questioned me in Bengalee, and he then told him in Creole the excellence and advantage of that religion, ending with "Quand vous fini mort, vous allez case du Bon Dieu la haut, ce bien bon cimin ça," &c. Without laying undue stress on the probable direct results of this, it opens a most comfortable prospect for the man's attention to the missionary who shall be able to go to him, and speak in his own tongue "the wonderful works of God."
At Mahébourg we spent a very pleasant evening at Mr. Clark's; Mr. Pennington, the clergyman, being one of the party. Next day, visits to an interesting convert from Popery, (who expressed his deep obligation to Mr. Bichard), to the gaol, to the churchwarden on business, and to the S. P. G. schoolmaster and catechist, took up the time before our departure. Mr. Clark kindly drove us to the thirteenth milestone from town. On our way we passed an estate famous for the large badamier-trees in front of the house; one branch which I measured was nearly sixty feet, and Mr. Clark measured another fifty-four feet long. There were originally four, but one morning, when the resident manager awoke and looked out of his window, one of them had disappeared--all but the tops of the highest branches. The ground is cavernous, and some great fall had taken place in the night, like that which, a few years ago, took place in a field near Ripon. We walked a good part of the way up the hills near Curepipe, and took the opportunity of drinking some excellent water by piercing the "Traveller's Tree;" by no means so fine a specimen as those described in Mr. Ellis's book. At the plantation of Mr. Evelyn, thirteen miles from town, we found my little ponies; and after enjoying most heartily the hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Evelyn, we came on, just in time to receive the unexpected pleasure of news from England, the mail being early.
June 26th.--With reference to the above, I have taken every measure that I can for the establishment of a Government School at Grand River S.E., and a Grant-in-Aid School at Petit Sable; and I have great hopes that, by the time I return from Madagascar, all will be en train.
July 8th,--The "Gorgon" is arrived. We hope to sail for Madagascar on Thursday or Friday; and it is now likely that I shall be at the laying of the stone at Vacoas before I start. The operations of the Church of England in this diocese have received most encouraging help from the Christian liberality of Miss Burdett Coutts, who has placed the sum of 20001. at my disposal for purposes of endowment, on the condition of help being elicited from local sources. This munificent gift came at a most opportune moment. The ravages of cholera had taxed our energies, and led to a great strain on charitable funds, and produced an amount of orphan distress which seemed imperatively to claim the establishment of a Protestant Orphanage. The demands for pastoral ministrations amongst our own people had steadily increased in proportion to the attempts made to supply them. Three churches in course of erection, and three more urgently demanded, were added to calls for missionary effort j and my mind was beginning to yield to unwonted feelings of apprehension, when a letter from the lion. A. Kinnaird conveyed to me the animating intelligence that we had been so kindly remembered for good. The results are already most cheering. Partly from former exertions made by the Rev. S. Hobbs, and partly from recent efforts, I am able already to report as follows,--
1500l. from Mauritius itself, for the purchase of five acres of ground at Vacoas, on which a parsonage, with an excellent dispensary attached to it, is now built, and an Industrial School, and a school for boys and girls; while a stone church is in progress of erection, to replace one of palisades, which is entirely rotten on the windward side.
Vaooas £1500 to meet £500*
At Plaines Wilhems 250 to meet 250 *
At Moka, the gift of a house, which is to be removed, and an acre of ground on which to build it, and a subscription of 225 to meet 225
At Savanne 200 to meet 200*
At Seychelles (I hope) 200 to meet 200
At Pamplemousses 250 to meet 250
* Those marked with an asterisk are already paid.
Port Louis, Mahébourg, Black River, still uncertain. At Plains Wilhems we have secured three acres of ground, with buildings on them, to be used for materials for a parsonage. This short sketch will show how fruitful the donation of 2000l. is likely to prove.