THE year 1885 was, like many subsequent years, occupied by Bishop Smythies almost entirely in travelling, for, with the exception of three months (March to June) in Zanzibar, the whole time was spent in journeying on the mainland, his journeys including the Usambaracountry,Rovuma. and Lake Nyasa. After Christmas and New Year's Day in Zanzibar he crossed to Pangani and visited several places between the coast and Magila, for, as he writes, 'it is impossible to get any idea of the population and geography of the country unless one goes and inspects it oneself.' At these villages, arriving tired with the day's march in the hot sun--it was now the hottest time of the year--he would gather the people around him after sunset and preach to them 'about our objects in coming amongst them. . . . It is not often easy to see people in any numbers unless the villages are visited late in the evening, as during the day they are working in the fields,' At some of these places the accommodation was of the most primitive sort, the huts being so close and smoky that the Bishop found it impossible to sleep in them. At Umba he writes:
We determined to sleep outside under the cocoa-nut trees. . . . The boys stretched themselves on a large piece of matting, and we on our rugs, with a coat or towel for a pillow; the open sky above us only thinly intercepted by the waving leaves of the palms which we hoped would catch the dew. I cannot say I found it very comfortable. The ground was relentlessly hard, and the wind every now and then blew in strong gusts, but we managed to get a fair proportion of sleep considering the circumstances.
After spending some days at Magila, where the cooler air was very refreshing, the Bishop, accompanied by Mr. Woodward, left for Misozwe, distant about three hours. The work at this station was then only just beginning, and the buildings were of the primitive native sort. The beauty of its situation and the receptiveness of the people made a great impression on the Bishop, who writes:
I think I must retract what I said of Masasi, that it was the most beautiful site I had seen in Africa. It may be for a village with a large garden, but for a small station with just a few buildings this certainly is. It is on the top of a hill from which there is a wide view. On three sides are beautiful mountains of very varied outline, with valleys opening out views of distant peaks beyond. On the fourth side a more or less level and well-wooded country sweeps away to the sea. A great many people, hearing I was here, came, and the church was crowded. One of the sides. formed temporarily of sheets of iron, to be used eventually for the roof, was taken down, but even then all the people could not get under the shadow of the church so as to be out of the sun. They all sat quite close together on the floor, and were very quiet while I talked to them. Then, all the morning after, I had to talk to the different chiefs. About mid-day they began to disperse and go home. It looked hopeful for the work to see so many. Archdeacon Farler and Mr. Woodward first thought of planting a station here, because the people sent repeatedly to ask for a teacher, some of them saying they had tried Mohammedanism, but did not find that the teachers of it lived good lives. One marked characteristic of the people is that they will come on Sunday, when there is no one but the native teacher there. Generally, if there is no European they are careless about coming. Again on Tuesday we had a beautiful walk, visiting one or two towns.
On Wednesday we made an expedition which has made a great sensation in the country. Mlinga, the mountain I have mentioned, is regarded with great superstition in the country. The Bondeis think that the spirits of their ancestors live at the top--probably no one has ever been up. A little while ago Woodward visited a chief who lives in a village up a beautiful valley which runs underneath the mountain. Every now and then he sends to say that he has had a dream, that the spirits have come to him and demanded a sacrifice, and a subscription is made far and wide and a bullock is bought and sent to this chief, who sacrifices it to appease the spirits of the Bondeis, or pretends to do so, for it was found that he and his people ate the bullock and sacrificed a goat. Lately he had sent to the people of this district, and they all subscribed, including an old chief who is a catechumen, and sent him a bullock. Under these circumstances Woodward's visit was not much appreciated, the more so as he expressed his intention of going up the haunted mountain. This intention Woodward and I carried out on Wednesday, taking four Bondeis with us. It was a very hard climb; not that the mountain is very high, probably not so high as Snowdon, but there is no path, only a track the first part of the way, and it is accordingly steep and most of the way through a wood. There are two peaks connected by a narrow path, with a precipice on either side. There was really no danger at any point, only the walking was very tiring. I had hoped to get down from the mountain the other side, and to come home by Seng'ombe's village (the chief who gets the bullocks) and the valley, but found that there were precipices on all sides except the one we had come up, so we had to go straight down by the same way. As the peak of the mountain is quite bare and the rise on all sides very abrupt, we got a splendid view of the whole country. Trusting to get on to the villages high up under the hill, we had taken very little water, which made it more tiring, and when we got down I was so tired that, although it was not far from home, we stopped at the first village we came to and had dinner in a new hut not yet occupied. It so happened that it was the day when a very large market is held near Misozwe, and it had got abroad that we were going up Mlinga that day, which caused an immense sensation. It must be remembered that the idea that these people have of Mlinga is not like the floating ideas in England as to this or that place being haunted; it is really part of their religion, which, as we have seen, affects them in a very practical way. Not only had no one ever been up, but no number of Bondeis would ever have dared to go up. If they did they would certainly be expected never to come down again. One idea is that the spirits would cause darkness, so that the invaders of their solitude would wander helplessly and fall over the precipices. The mountain does indeed look so precipitous that it seemed impossible to climb it. When then we were seen by the people at the market, all business was suspended, and our ascent was the one object of interest. These markets are held every nine days, and are the one means of trading. Hundreds of people therefore assemble at them, and no doubt the news was carried far and wide that we had dared to invade the stronghold of the spirits. Some said that if we came down alive they should not pay for any more bullocks to be sacrificed; others said that we must have carried very strong medicine (by which they mean charms) to protect us. [In connection with Mlinga it may be interesting to note that in June 1885 two members of the Mission ascended it and planted a cross on the summit, 3,500 feet above the sea. In February 1897 a party of German surveyors made the ascent with a view to building an observatory on the highest point. Thus Christianity and Science unite in banishing superstition from the mountain.]
It shows how well the air of Magila has made me, that I was able the next day to make another ascent to the other high peak of the district, and that in almost the hottest part of the day. . . . People in England do not know what shade is; 'the shadow of a great rock in a weary land' has had a new meaning to me since I came to Africa. I do not know how it is, but here, however hot the sun is, if you get into real shade, like the shadow of a rock or such a wood as we went through, it is beautifully cool at once. It may be the force of contrast, but I think it must be something more than this. One of the boys at Roath once said to me of a certain hymn tune, 'It is like something nice to eat,' and so one is quite as anxious to seize upon a bit of real shade in a hot walk here as to eat if one is hungry, or, still more, as one is to drink from a stream of water when one is hot and parched. This wood up to Kitulwe was like a refreshing bath, which took away all the fatigue.
On returning to Magila, Bishop Smythies had the unexpected pleasure of meeting Bishop Hannington, of East Equatorial Africa, who had lately arrived from .England to undertake the work of the district occupied by the staff of the Church Missionary Society. Though the missionaries had been some years at work, the diocese had not yet come under episcopal supervision, and in his short visit to Mombasa and Frere Town Bishop Hannington had seen enough to convince him of the difficulties of the task he was about to undertake. One of his first acts was to seek out the Bishop of the Universities' Mission, that he might consult with one who, though not more than a year in Africa himself, had inherited the traditions of an episcopate of a quarter of a century's standing.
The impressiveness of such a meeting can hardly be fully appreciated by those who have only lived in a country where the Church has been settled for centuries. In Africa, where the light of the Christian faith is, as it were, but a little candle set in the midst of a darkness that can be felt, each Bishop bears a weight of responsibility and anxiety which, in his isolation, he can share with no one, and which in times of sickness and discouragement may well-nigh overwhelm him. Such a meeting as this, then between two such men as these, must count as a historical event.
Bishop Hannington had crossed from Mombasa to Zanzibar. Finding Bishop Smythies was absent, he determined to follow him, so proceeded at once to Pangani, meaning to walk thence to Mkuzi. But, though an experienced African traveller, he was apparently unprepared for the excessive heat and fatigue of the twenty-five-mile walk. Half-fainting, he fell on the path, and, had it not been for timely help from Mkuzi, might have suffered more seriously than he did. At Mkuzi he stayed the night, resting under the care of Mr. Wallis, who meantime sent word to Bishop Smythies at Magila. The next morning, as Bishop Hannington rode along the narrow winding path, he saw Bishop Smythies coming to meet him; he knelt and asked his blessing, and together the two Bishops continued their way till they reached the shining buildings of Magila crowning the green hill-top.
It so happened that the following day, Sexagesima Sunday, February 8, Bishop Smythies held a Confirmation, and though at that time the large new church was not completed and the smaller building, since used as a school, was not very imposing, yet the service could not fail to impress all who were present. For such a Confirmation represents an immense amount of steady work on the part of the clergy and teachers; each one of these candidates had probably been a catechumen for at least two years before baptism, and a hearer for some time previously. The profession of Christianity to Africans means so much--a totally new life for which they are prepared and trained with unceasing vigilance, and which, amongst the appalling grossness of their heathen surroundings, it is never an easy matter to maintain. The old words of the Catechism,' Renounce the devil and all his works,' which to some refined Western ears might sound perhaps unnecessarily strong, are in Africa the only words that at all meet the case. And all the stately ceremonial with which, in accordance with ancient traditions, such services are conducted in the churches of the Universities' Mission, only serves to emphasise and enhance the intense reality of what is taking place. Bishop Hannington was impressed by the grave seriousness underlying a ritual with which his bringing up had not made him familiar, and did not fail to note that in each of these young Africans the solid foundations of Christian character had been well and truly laid. His diary contains the following entry:
Next day (Sunday), 6.30 A.M., the Bishop held a Confirmation. Mitre and cope. Address very good. After the services of the day, in the cool of the afternoon, I had a long talk with the Bishop; with all his Ritualism he is strong on the point of conversion, and is very particular about baptism and communion not being administered before conversion, either to heathen or professing Christians. [At Frere Town, in his own diocese, Bishop Hannington notes: 'I have constantly to regret the dissenterish kind of services they have here. ... I want to hear more about saving souls. ... I want to see far more Church order.']
The following day Bishop Hannington was obliged to leave for the coast, and was accompanied a long distance on the road by Bishop Smythies, who writes of this visit:
I am most thankful that Dr. Hannington has come out to superintend the Church Missionary Society's Central African Mission. I am certain that I shall always find in him a sympathising friend, and that, in all matters in which the two Missions are likely to touch one another, we shall be able to work together in perfect harmony. The coming of such a Bishop to superintend the neighbouring Mission cannot but strengthen our hands and be a help to the whole work. May God spare him long, and give him health for the arduous labours which lie before him!
Alas! in less than nine months this heroic Bishop, after enduring perils, hardships, and cruelties untold, was barbarously murdered by order of King Mtesa of Uganda, and his sorrowing diocese was left to mourn one of the most courageous missionaries that ever died for the faith.
Bishop Smythies left the Usambara country about a month later and returned to Zanzibar. Of his journey to the coast he writes:
On Monday night we took advantage of the full moon and started about 8 P.M. I rode for the first seven or eight miles on the donkey and walked the rest, all of us lying down on the roadside to sleep from i A.M. to 2.30 A.M. The lights at the time of sunrise were beautiful, the light of the moon and the first blush of the sunlight blending together. I was surprised to find that the dawn began about one and a half hour before the sun actually rose. As we were walking through the night we heard a lion not far off, and the porters were rather frightened, but a company of men together are quite safe. Unless we had been told we should not have known that it was a lion roaring. It was a succession of short grunting roars. It is very different if the lion is angry and very near, but this I have not heard. At one time, when there was scarcity of water, a lion used to come into the town here, close to this house, to drink at a pool. It did not touch anyone, but some men watched for it and shot at it through a window and wounded it in the shoulder. It was so angry that it threw itself against the wall and tore the window out. The men were very frightened and ran up to the roof. The lion got off, but was found dead afterwards.
Whilst waiting at Pangani, the Bishop wrote home appealing for more workers:
We must have men at all costs, if qualified men can be found to take the place of those who have succumbed. This district in which I have been living for seven weeks might employ any number of men; it is crowded thick with villages, and all the land for a great distance is under cultivation. There is a feud between the people who live there, the Bondeis and the Wadigo. Perhaps if I could send someone to live with the Wadigo we might make peace. This would be a great blessing to the country--now there is constant murdering on both sides. This journey to the coast is never safe for Bondeis--they are constantly waylaid and murdered, but the Digos recognise us, and have never yet touched our people. A coat or a gun of ours seems to be a safeguard.
Returning to Zanzibar before Easter, the Bishop threw himself with energy into the work of the various island stations, taking Confirmations and services, and planning further developments of the educational centres. The importance of industrial training was again insisted on, while the higher education of Kiungani and Mbweni was advanced in every way. Writing in June, after three months in Zanzibar, the Bishop says:
Notwithstanding our disasters and the sad weakness of our staff, I see activity and improvement in every direction. The boys have been extremely nice and satisfactory, the girls' school has greatly improved, and the shamba at Mbweni is being worked extremely well. So God supplies our need, and I never feel disheartened.
On the question as to whether the more promising natives from Kiungani and Mbweni should be sent to England, the Bishop writes:
From the first I have doubted the wisdom of taking Africans to be educated in England, and do not expect a good result from it. Especially is this the case with girls, who marry young and are, I think, unfitted by their English experience for their life here. There may be something to be said for taking very promising boys who are to be teachers until we can give them a better education here; but that is the only case in which I can look for much good from it. However, if those who are interested in any children here ask to be allowed to take a child home with them at their own expense, I make no difficulty, chiefly because I think it is due to them, for their work's sake, to be allowed to use their discretion. But I wish it to be understood that I cannot sanction the employment of Mission funds for such a purpose, nor borrowing from them, nor is any appeal to go forth under my sanction for funds for such a purpose. I feel that there can be no adequate result in the children's lives from the large sum that would be expended. They would probably marry at once on their return, and find an African house a very unpleasant contrast to their English home.
The great event of the year 1885 was the Bishop's first journey to Lake Nyasa. Ever since the foundation of the Universities' Mission, in response to Dr. Livingstone's appeal in 1859 to the English Universities to come forward and help the tribes in the region of this great lake, it had been the goal of the Mission's efforts. Bishop Mackenzie was consecrated in 1861 Bishop of the Mission to the Tribes dwelling in the Neighbourhood of Lake Nyasa; but the inaccessibility of the district, together with war, famine, and fever, baffled the endeavours of the first expedition. The sad fate of Bishop Mackenzie and his companions convinced his successor, Bishop Tozer, that a beginning must be made in a place where Europeans could live, and Zanzibar accordingly became the head-quarters of the Mission. His successor, Bishop Steere, ever conscious of his responsibility towards the lake tribes, established the Rovuma stations as a sort of half-way house, though during his episcopate he was not himself able to reach the lake. In the year 1881, however, a beginning was made, when the Rev. W. P. Johnson settled in solitude at Mwembe and began teaching. But, finding it impossible to continue the work single-handed, he returned to Zanzibar, and gained permission to take with him the Rev. Charles Janson, then working at Masasi. The two friends left Masasi four days after Christmas and started westward. On reaching the lake shore, two months later, Mr. Janson died, and his devoted friend and companion worked on alone for two years, exploring the country and planning future work. Convinced at last that a steamer on the lake would be the quickest and healthiest method for reaching the marshy lake-side villages, he returned to England in the summer of 1884, appealed for a steamer, to be called the Charles Janson, in memory of his dead companion, and was back again in the Zambezi, with his 380 loads of small sections of the steamer, in December of the same year. The romantic story of this famous boat--the rapidity with which over 4,000l. was collected, the steamer made, packed, and shipped to the Cape, its transshipment there, its laborious passage up the Zambezi, the sudden blow that befell the heroic leader of the expedition, smitten with total blindness at Quilimane, and his consequent return to England, the innumerable and, as it seemed, insuperable obstacles that beset the lake party in their toilsome journey--all this can be but lightly touched on here. By the time Bishop Smythies reached the lake the steamer was nearly ready for use.
Leaving Zanzibar on June 20, 1885, the Bishop, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Swinny, sailed southwards, reaching Quilimane on the 30th. After many of the inevitable delays for which the delta of the Zambezi is famous, the party proceeded up the river, the Bishop enjoying for the first time those remarkable experiences of which many travellers have told the tale. Writing on July 15, he says:
Travelling on the Zambezi is very slow. Sometimes the men paddle, more often they pole along, always close to the bank, partly, they said, to keep clear of the hippopotami, whose great heads we could often see above the water in the middle. Often all the men had to get out and drag the boat over sand-banks. Sometimes we seemed going back for some minutes when the current caught the boat. For a long way the river was immensely wide when we got past the mouths into the main stream, but almost all the way full of sand-banks, on which every now and then we saw a crocodile basking in the sun, which slowly slid into the water until the boat had passed. Once we felt a sudden jerk for an instant, quite different from the feeling of striking on a bank, and the men said we had struck the back of a hippopotamus. All the way along we could see the deep roads they had made as they climbed the banks at night to feed. In the early morning we saw their backs, but at other times only their heads as they looked up to breathe.
The latter part of the river journey was made in the Lady Nyasa, a steamer belonging to the African Lakes Company:
On Saturday, July 25, we left Maruru, nineteen days after entering the mouth of the Zambezi, having waited at Maruru eleven days. For the first day after leaving, the banks were flat and low. We passed Shupanga, where Mrs. Livingstone was buried, a pretty, well-wooded place, with a good-sized Portuguese house. For the night we stopped at a house belonging to Dutch traders, who had several stations on the river.
On Monday, July 27, we entered the mouth of the Shiré. There are so many islands in that part of the Zambezi, with wide channels between, that it is rather difficult to know distinctly where the stream of the Zambezi is and where the stream of the Shiré. But when once fairly in the Shiré, it is found to have a very different character from the Zambezi. There are no more sand-banks, and the river becomes much narrower and deeper. Almost all day we saw before us the fine mountain of Morambala, which rises to a height of 4,000 feet, and is wooded in most places to the top. It looks very fine in the evening as the lights and shadows play upon it. We were now getting very near to it, and were almost under one end of it when we stopped at the Company's station of Morambala, which takes its name from the mountain. During the day the boat had passed under a chain of wooded hills, and the country was altogether more interesting.
On Tuesday morning, July 28, the fog soon cleared off, and the mountain stood out clear and beautiful in the morning sun. The river flows under the whole length of it, about seven miles. On the right bank are the outskirts of a large forest of fan palms. All along these palms are seen, singly or in groups on the bank. Many crocodiles lay on the banks, one close to the steamer fast asleep in the sun. Another was shot by one of the men with the rifle I brought with me. It lay as if dead, but managed to get into the water when the boat got close to it. Soon after passing the mountain we entered a large marsh, and had not got through it when we came to anchor at night. In this marsh were large flocks of birds--different kinds of divers, herons, geese, and other waterbirds, and specially flocks of beautiful red birds, with metallic green on the lower part of the back above the tail. They are larger than swallows, but fly very much like them, their bright plumage shining in the sun. When they all settle on a bush or clump of reeds it looks, at a little distance, as if the reeds were covered with red flowers. Every now and then a large fish-hawk was seen, its dark brown back contrasting sharply with its white head and breast. Towards evening and in the early morning, quantities of divers like small cormorants and of the large black and white kingfisher flew out from the patches of high reeds where they roosted. Though the marsh was very flat, we could see mountains of picturesque irregular shapes all day from the different points of view, owing to the windings of the river, which prevented the scenery from being monotonous.
In the morning, Thursday, July 30, the sad news was broken to us that an accident had happened to the engine, and it was feared we must remain till a messenger was sent by land for help, as there seemed no means of repairing it. This was by no means a pleasant prospect, but happily Francis Mabruki, one of the men I had brought with me, had been accustomed to manage the traction engine at Zanzibar, and as it was getting very old and infirm he was experienced in breakdowns. He set bravely to work, and before evening we got off and were able to steam for two hours before we anchored.
On reaching Mandala, the head-quarters of the African Lakes Company, the Bishop was most kindly received by Messrs. Moir, and the following day paid a visit to the well-known Scotch Mission station at Blantyre. Maturing his plans and making inquiries on the spot as to what would be the best method of increasing and consolidating the work already begun by Mr. Johnson and his colleagues on the lake, the Bishop wrote to the Home Committee a few days later the following important proposals, which subsequent events have proved to be well adapted to the needs of the place:
My dear Lord Bishop,--I have now been here for a few days, enjoying the beautiful country and the cool refreshing air. We have been welcomed with the greatest kindness and hospitality by the Moirs of the Central African Lakes Company. I intended to have gone on to-day to join our party at Matopé, but they pressed me so much to stay till next week that, as I probably shall not return here, I have let Mr. Swinny go on, hoping to join him on Tuesday. We are all very well and have enjoyed the journey. I went to see Bishop Mackenzie's grave, and found the cross in good preservation and a space kept quite clear round it. The Scotch Mission station at Blantyre is about a mile from here. With its substantial houses and well laid-out gardens, it reminds me more of home than anything I have seen out here yet. All there are most kind. I think they would say, from what I can gather, that their experience is the same as ours--viz. that freed-slave villages cause very great difficulties, and are a hindrance to the evangelising of surrounding populations. This, of course, does not apply to Mbweni, of which the circumstances are different. I hope the Charles Janson will be ready for work in about a month. Meanwhile, very probably I shall go in the Ilala with Mr. Swinny and Captain Callaghan to select a site for our first and chief station on the lake.
Your Lordship will remember that Mr. Johnson was for some time at Chitesi's, but that he could not advise planting our head station on the mainland, both because of the jealousy of the chiefs and the perpetual raids of the Magwangwara. One of our first objects would be to have a school to which the chiefs would be invited to send children. Their jealousy of one another might prevent their sending them if we were near any particular town, and they would want some security that they would not be carried off by the Magwangwara. This state of fear in which they all live is worse now than ever, so that all along the lake I am assured, by those who have just been there, the people are living in low marshy places which are protected by lagoons, very fertile and productive, but most unhealthy and unfit for Europeans to occupy permanently.. But I understand that four miles from the coast, near Chitesi's, is the island of Likoma, which seems by all accounts' to be high and healthy, and to have a good anchorage. It is under the jurisdiction of Chitesi, and is used by him as a place of refuge in time of danger. I propose to inspect this island, and if we find it suitable as a site for our station, then to negotiate with Chitesi for a site and to establish our school there. From there we could in time establish sub-stations on the mainland, and the steamer would be used to convey missionaries to the different towns on the shore, and also to procure necessary supplies. Bandawé, the Scotch Free Church Mission, is on the other side of the lake, and only six hours off, yet without any fear of clashing. If this plan of building on the island appears feasible, Mr. and Mrs. Swinny will remove there as soon as possible, with the rest of our staff who are here. Of course, after visiting the island we may find reason to alter our plan, but I thought your Lordship and the Committee would wish to know what I propose doing by this post. I myself hope to return to Zanzibar across country by way of our stations in the Rovuma Valley, utilising our men as porters and saving some of the immense expense of sending them home by Quilimane.
At Matopé, on the Upper Shiré, the party of engineers and workmen were busy over the building of the Charles Janson, which was now, after eight months' difficulties and misfortunes, nearly finished. It was arranged that, as soon as the Bishop had completed his tour of the lake and inspection of Likoma, he should return for the launching and dedication of the vessel. Leaving Matopé on August 17, with Mr. Swinny and Captain Callaghan, the Bishop reached the lake, visited Livingstonia and Bandawé, and crossed thence to Likoma, the island which, then untouched by European civilisation, has since become the headquarters of the diocese and has given its name to the See. Writing of this first visit, the Bishop says:
Likoma is protected from aggression from without by being an island. It is in the very centre of the east coast of the lake, just opposite Chitesi's large town; its coast towards the mainland is a succession of beautiful, clear, deep bays, with sandy beaches, any one of which affords a safe and protected anchorage for a steamer; there is, too, on the island a very large population, a village in every bay, the people having been attracted there by the protection it offers from the Magwangwara. All along the coast we saw the evil results of the terror of this tribe. For long distances there was not a house; all the people were collected into a few great towns close to the water's edge. They have chosen the most unhealthy situations, each town having a marsh or water behind it, so that it would be quite impossible for any European to live in any of them with safety.
Mr. Swinny and I explored the inner side of the island, which is six or eight miles long, while the Ilala went round it, and found plenty of goats and cows, although it is not very fertile. The next thing was to go to Chitesi, who had sovereign rights over the island, so we crossed over and saw him on Tuesday morning, the 25th. He seemed to welcome us warmly, and said he knew our words were good, and he could refuse nothing to the white man. There were an immense number of people in his town, and nothing could exceed its unhealthiness. The houses were very close together on the sandy beach of the lake, with low swampy ground behind. We told Chitesi that as soon as the steamer was ready Mr. Swinny would return and select a site in Likoma; we then took him on board the Ilala and gave him the customary present. That night we stopped at Maendaenda's, where Janson is buried; the grave is in the very middle of the town, close to the house where he died, and is kept closed in and respected. The town was just such another as Chitesi's, and the chief, who bore a very good name, seemed glad to see us. What struck us particularly was the immense number of children.
The next day, Wednesday, August 26, we set out to return to Matopé and arrived there on the 28th, but our pleasant journey had a very sad ending. As we came round the corner above Matopé in the Ilala, we saw that the largest of our buildings had disappeared, and when we came on shore we found that all was a mass of smoking ruins. The boiler was just being finished, when a spark reached the grass roof, and very soon the shed, with all the stores and cloth, a good part of my presents for chiefs, the tent with Captain Callaghan's things, the church, and the pastoral staff of the diocese, all were gone. The fire spread so rapidly that there was hardly time to save anything, especially as at first all efforts had been directed to getting a man and boy out of the boiler. The roof over them was blazing and they were in danger of being burnt before they could be got out. All this had happened the day before, and it was a sad scene of desolation on our arrival. The men and boys were busy picking up the bits of iron, screws, knives, and anything that could be saved from the ruins. Fortunately the wind was not towards the steamer, or it would have been far more serious; as it is, I fear that, in consequence of the delay caused by the damage, there will not be water enough for her to get up the Shiré this season.
On Monday, August 31, we held a council to consider what was best to be done. We concluded that, as it was now hopeless to expect that the steamer could be got on Lake Nyasa before the rains, it would be best to get her out of the dock on the river without waiting for the boiler to be finished, so that I might have a dedication service on board before I left. The sun in the middle of the day is becoming hotter, and it is important that I should not delay any longer.
Accordingly, all the men set to work to deepen the inner dock, in which the steamer had been put together, and to clear out the mud which had accumulated in the outer part. By Thursday they had the satisfaction of seeing the dock filled and the Charles Janson afloat. On Friday the dam which divided the dock was removed. The men began to work early on Saturday morning, and very soon the outer dam was gone too, and the steamer safely out on the stream of the Shiré. We had already discovered something which might be of great consequence to us--viz. that she draws very much less water than we expected. . . . The day after the Charles Janson was thus successfully launched we had our dedication service on board. I think we all feel very thankful that the work has been so far accomplished, and that now there seems a possibility of the steamer reaching the lake in two or three months.
This was successfully achieved, and on January 22, 1886, the Charles Janson cast anchor off Likoma Island.
The Bishop left the southern end of the lake on September 10, and set off towards the Rovuma country, determined to avoid the expense of the Zambezi route, to explore a vast unknown district, and to revisit Masasi and Newala. What this walk of forty-five days entailed can hardly be imagined by those unacquainted with African travelling, but the Bishop's unusual strength and powers of endurance enabled him to accomplish what few Europeans would venture to undertake. This was the first of five similar journeys, and in those early days his good health and strength prompted him to write:
Since I have been here I feel greatly the advantage of the same Bishop having jurisdiction here and in Zanzibar. Where there is so much connection in other ways, it is well that there should be this connection too.
Six years later the physical exhaustion caused by his fifth and last journey led him to decide otherwise.
The geographical interest of this first journey was the discovery by the Bishop of the true source of the River Lujenda, a tributary of the Rovuma; and the historical interest, his incidental mention of the authority of the Sultan of Zanzibar in far-distant regions, an authority which, in the subsequent partition of Africa amongst the European Powers, was often denied by them. Allusions to the raids of the terrible Magwangwara are frequent throughout the Bishop's Journal:
The whole country is swept of inhabitants by successive raids of tribe after tribe on those who settle there. We met two caravans, one a large one of some hundreds of people returning from the coast Susi learnt that they had been to Mtamba, south of the Rovuma, in the extreme south of the Sultan's territory. A large number were boys and women; these and probably some men were slaves whom the heads of the caravan had failed to sell. They said that Muscat Arabs used to come to the coast, and that now they did not; probably they were afraid of the measures taken by Seyyid Barghash to prevent slaves being conveyed by sea. A great deal of cloth and powder was being carried by the caravan, probably bought with ivory. They belonged to Mponda on the Shiré, and the other Yao chiefs we had passed. Susi tells me that when he came here with Livingstone all the country on the north bank of the Rovuma in this part was a succession of villages. Now no vestige of them remains; all is swept bare by the Magwangwara. We found that some islands were inhabited, but without careful search it was very difficult to discover it; evidently all their dealings are with the other side, away from the Magwangwara. They were too much afraid to send canoes with food to sell to our people.
On the evening of the 23rd we slept at a Makua village, which I visited last year, and were generously welcomed by the kind old chief. When I arrived before the others, with the eagerness of one pressing towards home, he saw I was tired and hungry, and brought me some bananas. As I had not seen anything of the kind for weeks, it was the most acceptable present he could have brought. The next day another old Makua chief, who years ago acted as guide to Dr. Livingstone, hearing I was passing, hurried after me out of his village and gave me a warm welcome. At last at midday I reached Newala, and felt myself at home, after our long journey, with my friends there.
Meantime these two 'friends' had been most anxiously awaiting the Bishop, who was known to be coming from Lake Nyasa, but of whom no news could be heard. One of them writes as foHows:
It was during this happy year, when we were daily expecting Bishop Smythies' arrival from Lake Nyasa, that a caravan of porters turned up, telling us that Bishop Smythies had died of fever close to Blantyre. They were quite certain about it. Maples was not. He had had too much experience of native rumours to credit them lightly. So he sent down to Lindi, one hundred miles away, to make inquiries of another caravan of porters, who had lately come from Blantyre. They corroborated the report in every particular. The Bishop had died in his hut, two days' march from Blantyre. It all seemed so circumstantial--and the Bishop was already so long overdue--that we made up our minds to believe it. Maples wrote off volumes to the then Secretary at Delahay Street. We opened the Bishop's papers which we had been keeping for him, we sorrowfully ate the delicacies we had been reserving for him. And suddenly there was heard the firing of guns close by as of an approaching caravan. In a few minutes in walked Bishop Smythies, travel-stained and weary, but well enough.
After a visit to Masasi, the Bishop returned to Newala, and there on Sunday, November 22, admitted with some ceremony the influential chief Matola to the catechumcnate. On December 7 he left Newala for the coast, reaching Zanzibar on December 18. Thus, twenty-two years after the sad disasters of Bishop Mackenzie's expedition, the work of the Universities' Mission had been firmly established on the shores of Lake Nyasa, and was under episcopal supervision.