Church in the Colonies.
London: The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, March, 1847.
VAN DIEMEN'S LAND, or Tasmania, was discovered by Tasman, a Dutch navigator, in 1642. Possession of it was formally taken by the English in the year 1804, under the auspices of Colonel Collins, the first Lieutenant Governor of the colony. The first emigration to Van Diemen's Land commenced in 1821. The city of Hobart Town is now the capital and seat of government. Tasmania is 170 miles in length, by 160 miles in breadth. It contains 23,800 square miles; 15,232,000 acres of land, of which 146,000 are in cultivation. It is about the size of Ireland.
The population of this Colony at the census taken by the Local Government, in 1847, amounted to 64,179 persons:--42,324 males; 21,855 females.
The persons thus enumerated may be considered under a threefold view; and may respectively be regarded as to their social, their civil, and their religious condition.
1. The social condition of these persons is ascertained to be,
9,059 married men. 33,265 single, men,
8,544 married women. 13,311 single, women.
+ 46,576 = 64,179.
2. The civil condition of these persons is,
25,376 free males. 18,354 free females.
16,948 prisoner males, 3,501 prisoner females.
21,855 = 64,179.
One great source of the evil prevalent in this Colony is the exceeding disproportion in the numbers of the men, and of the women. It will be curious to see from the following table how, in the course of a single generation, this evil will be obviated, if only the error of sending out so large a proportion of male convicts is not persisted in.
RETURN of the AGES of 64,179 Persons, as ascertained by the Census taken on the 31st of December, 1847:--
(MALES FEMALES TOTAL)
Under two years of age 1,790 1,788 3,578
Two and under seven 3,389 3,443 6,832
Seven and under fourteen 3,134 3,001 6,135
Fourteen and under twenty-one 2,804 2,272 5,076
Twenty-one and under forty-five 26,205 9,493 35,698
Forty-five and under sixty 4,078 1,532 5,610
Sixty and upwards 924 326 1,250
Total 42,324 + 21,855=64,179
3, The religious condition of these persons is,
Members of Church of England 44,490
Kirk of Scotland 4,552
Wesleyan Body 2,566
Other Dissenting Bodies 2,186
Church of Rome 9,904
Mahomedans and Pagans 29
The number of Clergy in the Colony is 49.
To assist the members of the Church of Tasmania in their arduous duties of supplying the spiritual wants of the convicts, and of meeting the increasing numbers of free men, there is an especial Fund established under the auspices of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, 79, Pall Mall, entitled, "The Tasmanian Fund." Any subscription or contribution forwarded to that Fund will be faithfully devoted to the instruction of the convicts, and to the maintaining among the freed descendants of the convicts, the principles of the Church of England.
G. F. T.
Feb. 24, 1849.
MY DEAR SIR,
I AM about to perform the promise which I made you previously to my leaving England with the Bishop of Tasmania; that I would send you a short sketch of my proceedings from the commencement of my missionary labours, down to the date of my present letter. You, who for some time have had a cure of souls, will still look back with interest on the scene of your first parochial exertions. The first scene of my ministerial charge was one of England's old line-of-battle ships, fitted up for the purpose of conveying five hundred prisoners to Van Diemen's Land. The huge vessel might well have been called a floating parish; for in addition to the convicts, there were the sailors, who formed the crew; the soldiers, who acted as a guard over the prisoners; and several passengers, amounting altogether to nearly nine hundred souls.
The formation of the ship, the probability of the vessel proving a fast or a slow sailer, the appearance of her bright copper sides, as she gently careened to the swell, the tall spiral masts and cross-yards, were by me quickly examined and dismissed. These wonders to those who first come on shipboard presented no novelty or interest to me. I had in my earlier profession made many a long voyage before; and now other feelings of more anxious moment completely occupied my mind. As I drew near the ship, I found the ports were barred like the windows of a prison house, and crowded with the faces of those unhappy men, to whom I had consented to impart religious instruction during a long voyage of three months.
Some of the events of this period, together with a short account of my duties, after my arrival, as an Itinerating Missionary, will form the subject of these pages. I know that my statements will not prove uninteresting to yourself; but should you be enabled to circulate them amongst the members of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and other friends and subscribers to the Tasmanian Fund, I hope that they will receive them with kind consideration, as coming from one, whose chief desire in making them public is, to strive to keep alive a portion at least of that interest which was so manifestly excited in behalf of the convict population of Van Diemen's Land, two years since, when the Bishop was in England, and issued his appeal in behalf of the spiritual necessities of his Diocese.
The A------ sailed from Plymouth Sound in the beginning of October, 1844. It would be impossible to relate the scenes or to describe the feelings experienced during the first few days of a voyage. These painful sensations, arising from a sense of leaving our native land, and of parting with dear and affectionate friends, were in this instance increased by the sight and sound of a number of fellow-creatures in a state of degradation, with pale and haggard countenances passing up and down the hatchways with their legs ironed; or else at intervals marching round and round the ship, in a continued line, or rather oblong, of three and four deep, to the beat of drum, for the purpose of obtaining the exercise necessary to the preservation of health.
There was no public or general assembling for Divine worship on the first Sunday of our voyage--but on the succeeding Sunday, the second of our voyage, all having recovered from their sea-sickness, were enabled to meet together for public service. The public ministrations on board of a large ship, wherever there is a desire really to respect the Day, are particularly solemn and interesting. In fine weather, the awnings being spread, the sides decorated with flags, the seamen and soldiers previously mustered in their best clothes, the officers in their undress uniforms, the sound of the bell sweeping along the surface of the gently ruffled waters, is a sight and sound to gladden the heart, and to awaken feelings of devotion. The words of the Psalmist would aptly come to the mind at such a time:--"If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."
On board of a large prison ship, such as the A------, the Service might be considered to convey even a still more awakening impression to the mind. The whole of the highest part of the upper deck, the poop, was allotted to the seamen, soldiers, and passengers, forming a sort of gallery, the guard with their bayonets fixed being ranged along the front. This precaution was adopted against any mutiny or surprise amongst the prisoners; as experience has proved that it is generally at the time of performing Divine Service that fruitless attempts have been made by men in this unfortunate condition, to obtain possession of the ship, for the purpose of regaining their freedom. Immediately below the poop, or the quarterdeck, the five hundred prisoners were assembled, with their overseers dispersed amongst them for the keeping of order. In the centre of the first row of the prisoners, on a kind of raised platform or hatch, was a temporary desk, covered with a flag, for myself. When the bell had ceased tolling, I was called, and proceeded to the desk. The general appearance of such a congregation, the guard ranged immediately over my head as I have described; the prisoners closely packed around; their heads shaven, with the degraded pepper and salt coloured dress; the countenances of many having that peculiar stamp of guilt and misery, betokening, it is to be feared, the hardened heart; their legs connected by a chain, which, when they stood up or knelt down, caused a most startling sound, would rather add to, than diminish from that sensation of nervousness which all more or less feel, when newly called upon to minister publicly in the congregation.
There could scarcely, perhaps, have been found a more attentive set of men; but this is, I believe, generally the case. Their very position naturally leads them, for a time at least, to seek comfort and peace where alone true peace is to be found; yet it must with sorrow be confessed, that so deeply laid, in the far greater number, is the evil of their own inbred corrupt nature, fostered by the force of bad example and of bad education, or perhaps of no education at all, that there are but very few who are brought, even by the most pains-taking ministry, to a true and hearty repentance--I mean, to that repentance which results in a change of life and conduct, and ends in the permanent conversion of the heart. Some there are, indeed, who shed tears and show other mere outward signs of sorrow, but if they are exposed to the slightest temptation, they fall; "having no root in themselves, in the time of temptation (they) fall away." From a very interesting document, however, which came into my possession some long time after the voyage was over, and which I copy for your perusal in its proper place, I have every reason to hope that there was at this time the first sowing of the seed of God's word, which it pleased Him to bless to the permanent and real amendment and conversion of one of these poor men. On the Monday following this first assembling for public worship, I commenced the difficult task of classifying the prisoners, for the purpose of placing them in schools, or of forming them into classes, and of choosing out those of the best character and ability to act as teachers. To assist me in this selection, I had access to the gaol and hulk report of each man's character. In this record notices are entered respecting each prisoner's behaviour; whether he can read or write; of what form of religion he professes to be, &c.: and these notices are carried on from the time of each man's conviction to the moment of his disembarkation, in fact, up to the time of his obtaining in the colony a ticket of leave, or of his becoming free.
I also saw each man separately for a few moments, asking him a few questions, making him read and write in my own presence. This engaged me about a week--and having completed my personal examination of the prisoners, I found that they consisted of individuals of all ages, from the boy of eleven years, who had been regularly trained to steal from his very earliest infancy, to the man grown grey in a career of wickedness. They were also of all trades and occupations. One man had, at an early period of his life, held a commission in the army; another had been the chief magistrate of a city and many had received what is termed a liberal education;--and there was one prisoner, a German, who had been a professor and teacher of languages. About one-fourth of the whole number were able to read and to write well. I was enabled out of these to select some few, whose characters and crimes were less heinous than their fellows, to act as teachers. The young were at once separated from the old, and were placed in a school by themselves. The others were divided into four different classes; viz. those who could read and write tolerably; those who could read a very little, and not write; those who just knew their letters; and those who, I might say, knew nothing.
I can only make you understand how these classes were distributed by telling you how the ship was fitted up. The A------ was what is termed a two-decked ship. The lower or gun-deck--we of course had no guns on board, excepting two or three on the upper-deck for signals--was divided into four large wards, running the length of four or five port-holes. These wards were separated by strong iron bars. The afterpart of this deck, called the gun-room, was allotted to the inferior officers in charge of the convicts, the main-deck being appropriated to the seamen and soldiers. The part called the ward-room was allotted to the officers of the guard and the passengers, and the portion underneath the poop was reserved for the captain, surgeon, and officers of the ship. Three of the wards just described, for the greater part of the day, were turned into schools, and were used by the boys, by the adults, and by a general class formed for writing and arithmetic. These classes assembled at nine in the morning, and continued until half-past eleven; and again met from two until four o'clock in the afternoon. As for the greater part of the voyage we were favoured with fine weather, there were but few interruptions.
I had, on my first embarking, asked the captain and surgeon to allow the prisoners, crew, guard, and officers, to assemble every morning on deck, for the purpose of hearing read a short portion of Scripture, and of joining in a brief form of prayer, consisting of the General Confession and a few Collects taken out of the Prayer Book. This proposal was objected to, on account of its supposed interference with the duties of the ship. I was therefore obliged to resort to the inconvenient method of having prayers successively in the different wards I have mentioned.
You would have been much interested to see my schools in full working order. A teacher sat on the side of each port, with his class ranged round him in the form of a semicircle, in each of which were some old and grey-headed men, striving earnestly (perhaps for the first time in their lives) to read and to write. The progress which the classes made was surprising. In the course of a short time Scripture classes were formed; and a choir was chosen, chiefly from amongst the teachers, who assembled in one of the wards every evening to practise for the public service on the Sunday. I also added a full service on two evenings of the week, Wednesday and Friday, at which I read a discourse from some one of our old divines--as Bp. Wilson, for instance. I made the attendance at these evening lectures to be quite voluntary, and the ward was generally filled with convicts. Everything, indeed, proceeded so well, as to exceed my expectation.
The Sunday services were regularly conducted, and the prisoners continued to be most attentive. The irons had been struck off their legs, nor were they again confined in them, excepting in a few cases as a punishment. Some of the convicts were reported to me as kneeling down to offer their private devotions before they retired to rest;--and others used to assemble the young convicts to hear them say their prayers and the Evening Hymn. There appeared, indeed, a general seriousness manifested among the great mass of the prisoners.
The Evil One, however, does not allow his strongholds, which a number of prisoners' hearts might well be likened to, to be assailed and taken without a violent struggle. And so it was in this case. Things had gone on too smoothly; the growth had been too rapid to be lasting. The general seriousness apparent amongst the convicts was construed by some into gloom and melancholy: and it was proposed, therefore, by some in authority, that, in addition to the marchings round the deck and to the other exercises which the prisoners had hitherto been allowed to enjoy, they should be permitted to make a Theatre, and to act a series of low pieces, and to sing songs. Many of these were composed by themselves! from which you may judge of their character. The consequence of the establishment of these theatrical performances was the reduction of the attendance at the evening lectures, from upwards of one hundred down to twenty convicts; and from these few I soon heard complaints of the treatment they received, on their refusing to join in such ungodly merriment.
About the middle of November we arrived at Rio de Janeiro. I shall say nothing to you of this fine harbour, with its odd sugar-loaf mountain at its entrance, and its beautiful scenery, forming one of the finest ports in the world. My object is not to describe countries, but to give a short narrative of events connected with the spiritual welfare of those who were at this time providentially placed under my care. As I faithfully lay these before you, from notes which I have by me, they bring to my mind far more interesting reminiscences than the appearance of the most beautiful countries. We were glad, however, of our visit to this place. A stoppage of this kind always forms an agreeable break in so long a voyage, and in this instance it was absolutely needful to replenish our stock of water, and to allow the prisoners and guard a change of diet, on fresh meat, vegetables, and fruit, of which they here obtained an abundance.
After a fortnight the A------ again proceeded on her destination. The schools were again in full working, and so were the miserable theatres. The opposition and unkind treatment to those who would not take part in them was still more strongly manifested; until, finding that threats and persecutions had no effect, enticements of different kinds were held out by one or two of the inferior officers connected with the prisoners. The opposition proceeded at last to such an extreme, that it became a question whether the evening lectures or the theatrical performances were to be given up. I had, however, at last the gratification to find, that I was to be permitted to carry into effect my original proposal, that all the ship's company, both officers and prisoners, should attend every morning and evening on deck, for the purpose of joining in short daily prayers. From the date of this arrangement the theatres languished, and at last entirely disappeared. The schools continued to be regularly conducted, and much improvement was exhibited. Many, who could not read when they first came on board, were, at the end of the voyage, able to read well; and many who could only read and write a little, were able to read fluently the New Testament, and had so improved in their writing, as to pen a letter to their friends and families whom they had left in England.
On the morning of the 3d of February we made the south-west cape of Tasmania, to the inexpressible delight and thankfulness of many on board. On the following day, having taken in the pilot, we sailed gallantly up the Derwent, and in the afternoon anchored safely off Hobart Town. On the following Sunday I returned thanks publicly in the congregation for having been preserved during so long a voyage, and having been permitted to enjoy so many blessings.
Many reflections occurred to my mind, as I hastily recorded in my journal the different events which took place. What, indeed, I thought, was the narrative of the voyage of this large prison-ship, containing within its bulwark so mixed a multitude of people--baptized, indeed, but the great majority of whom must be converted, and become again as little children, if ever they would be saved--with the rapid spread of God's word among them at the first; with the persecutions and trials of those who were really sincere; but the counterpart of the history of a Church? What is the history of the ark of Christ's greater Church, or of any particular member of that Church, but a journey or voyage:--with its trade-winds to send us at times smoothly and gallantly along; its variables, to make our way against as we best may; its storms, to buffet us and to try our faith; and its calms, to lie still in and to try our patience; its difficult headlands to get round and at last the haven of rest to enter? May God grant that we so pass the waves of this troublesome world, that finally we may come to the land of everlasting life, there to reign with Him, world without end. Amen. I must give you a slight sketch of the appearance of Tasmania. The headlands and mountains in the neighbourhood of the Derwent are grand and picturesque. The forests, however, with which they are clothed give them, at first, rather a monotonous appearance:--the foliage being evergreen, of a colour approaching a dark olive. This, in the winter, is of course far more pleasing to the eye than the naked branches of the deciduous trees so common in England. In the summer, you have the advantage; as the face of the country here has changed its green hue, for one approaching pale brown, mixed with faded green, which, together with the dark foliage of the forests, presents anything but a prepossessing appearance. A love of the country and scenery of Tasmania must be an acquired taste. It is not until you have visited other parts of the world, that you really value its fine mountains, its everlasting foliage, its beautiful scenery. The views as you pass up the Derwent are particularly pleasing. The river is marked by a wide and extensive entrance, formed by Tasman's Peninsula on the one side, and by Bruni Island and the mainland on the other; while in the distance rise Mounts Wellington and Direction, marking the course of the river, whose windings form numerous little bays. As you look upon these bays, you may perceive either the settler's farm-house, or the remains of some old convict-station, with the square patches of cultivated ground extending sometimes over spaces from fifty to two hundred acres, sown with oats, barley, peas, or beans, which present, in the spring of the year, a pleasing contrast to the dark forest from which it has been cleared; or in the summer, still more gratify the sight, by its rich, golden, harvest colour, ready for the sickle, the meet reward of the industry of some hardy labourer. Here and there, too, you would discover the homestead of the farmer, and perhaps, in some more favoured spots, you might trace in the district church, parsonage, and school, and a few other houses clustered together, the rude outline of a future township.
Hobart Town is very prettily situated on an undulating surface, at the foot of Mount Wellington. The best idea I could give you of it, would be by saying it is more like one of our own English watering-places than anything else, only that it is on a more extensive scale. The streets, as they diverge from the heart of the town, lie scattered over a large space, most of them being placed in gardens. The population is about 20,000. There are four Chaplaincies actually within the town, and one immediately in the suburbs. The Church of England numbers 48 churches and chapelries, scattered over different parts of the island. The greater number of these churches are located in what are called townships. The name is a very significant one, in contradistinction to a village. These townships are places laid out in straggling streets, with houses here and there, having the appearance of the skeleton of a good-sized town. They generally consist of a few tolerably well-built houses of brick or stone; and of others, in what is called weatherboard, built out of sawn planks nailed together with their edges lapping over each other. These placed at long intervals along the side of regularly marked-out streets, with two or three good inns, (quite equal to any country inn in England,) police office, and church, make up a Tasmanian country town. The whole looks sadly modern; and we greatly miss in our landscape the English village, with its hawthorn hedges, and neatly thatched cottages. These will, however, appear among us in due time, when our farms become more highly cultivated, and a native peasantry grows up in place of the sad prisoner-race which we have now to bear with.
The population of the whole island consisted, in 1848, of 70,100 persons: viz. 47,800 males, and 22,300 females. [Census taken December 31st, 1818.] Among these are several gentlemen, owning their 5, 10, 15, and 20,000 and upwards, acres of land, with a proportionate number of sheep, cattle, and horses, and occupying a comfortable homestead, in some instances almost approaching to a mansion. These persons, with the clergy, magistrates, professional men, and other public officers, and a fair proportion of tradesmen in the towns, and a few middling-class farmers, form the respectable part of the community. The greater mass of the lower orders are transported offenders, of one sort or other, from the mother country.
The Churches, which I have mentioned, have in most instances a district attached to them, of from seven, to ten and fifteen miles radius; and ofttimes, on the outskirts of these large districts, in some spot more favoured by nature than others, are collected a band of small farmers holding tickets of leave, or, perhaps, having become free, amounting to a population of from fifty to a hundred people. These, by reason of the distance, have forsaken the district church; and the consequence is, that both they and their children are growing up a godless population, and rob and steal from each, other, and from any rich settler who may live near them. The only way to bring the ministries of the Church to such a class of men as this, is to plant a school amongst them, as it is generally found that they are quite ready to take advantage of that Christian instruction for their little ones, which they have themselves forsaken. But here it is that we so much feel the want of that multiplying wheel in the machinery of the Church, the Schoolmaster Deacon. The man we want to locate among this class of people, is one who can not only keep a school, but who might be licensed to read the service, and to assist the District Clergyman in his many arduous and wide-spread duties. He should not preach, unless he was specially licensed thereto; but should be able, from his previous training, to read with good emphasis such plain sermons and homilies as the District Priest might, with the Bishop's approval, from time to time place in his hands.
I shall hope to write to you again upon this subject. I will now proceed with the narrative of my Missionary labours in Van Diemen's Land.
The Bishop, I found, on my arrival, was at Sydney. He soon returned, and appointed to me my post of duty. There were several parts of the Colony which, for a long time, had been deprived of the services of the Church, and more especially in the Rural Deanery of Longford; and I was commissioned by the Bishop, as the first Itinerating Missionary of the Diocese.
My first station was at George Town, at the entrance of the river Tamar. My services on the Sunday commenced there at ten o'clock in the morning; and in the afternoon I officiated, at four o'clock, at Windermere, about thirty miles off) nearer Launceston. There is a picture of Windermere, taken from one of the Bishop's sketches, in the S.P.G. Quarterly Paper, No. 46, for July, 1848. My ordinary residence was at Longford, about thirty miles from Windermere. My other stations were at and near Oatlands, quite in the centre of the island, about sixty-five miles from Longford. Here I performed the service on alternate Sundays. My custom was, to ride forty-five miles to Boss on the Saturday, and the remaining twenty miles on the Sunday morning; I then rode nine miles further for the afternoon service, and returned to Oatlands. I can assure you, I was always satisfactorily tired on this Sunday.
I will now give you a specimen of an intermediate weekly journey which I made on this occasion with the Rural Dean. We started at five o'clock in the morning, and rode fifteen miles to a constable's station, when we breakfasted, and tasted some water from a mineral spring, very like to the Harrogate water. We then proceeded fifteen miles, with a constable for our guide, through a very thickly wooded forest of gigantic peppermint and gum trees (Eucalyptus), when we suddenly came upon a nest of sawyers' huts, built from the bark of the trees surrounding them. These huts were inhabited by about twenty or thirty men, who gained their livelihood by sawing up some of the fine timber that grew around them, in differently sized planks, and by conveying it in bullock-carts to the town. They were mostly prisoners, who had obtained their ticket of leave; and they told us, that, by remaining for some years steadily at this work, they were enabled to realize enough to stock a small farm. The Rural Dean promised them the regular visit, of a Missionary Clergyman, to baptize and catechize their children, and to bring the joyful sound of the Gospel to their own ears, which had been only accustomed to the dull sounds of the axe and saw, if they would build a small bark Chapel for his reception. This they gladly consented to do; and we supplied them with some Bibles and Prayer Books, which we had brought for the purpose; and, ere we parted, addressed to them some few words of warning and of encouragement. At the conclusion of our visit, having regained our horses, which had been tethered to bait on some of the luxuriant grass in one of the sheltered spots by the side of a streamlet, with which the mountains here abound, and having refreshed ourselves with tea and damper (a kind of unleavened cake, baked on the hearth, the universal bush fare), we rode back our thirty miles, and arrived at home about six o'clock, well pleased with our journey.
I mention this visit, because it will bring before you one of many localities which are far away, and out of the reach of the ministrations of the Church; and it is only by an order of men ordained for the purpose of visiting these outlying districts, that her services can be at all conveyed to them. The Bishop, indeed, has applied a great portion of the money which he obtained in England in the purchase of an estate, by which he may provide for the perpetual endowment of a few such men; I say a fern, because the interest of the sum invested will only provide a very limited number.
I continued the performance of these duties of the Itinerating Missionary for fifteen months, only that the George Town station was exchanged for one nearer Launceston; as the ride of thirty miles between the two services was considered to be too much: not that I felt the journey, (for I am blessed with a robust constitution,) but as the road was bad and difficult, if any accident had occurred, it might have caused painful recollections. At the end of this time, the Bishop had occasion to appoint a locum tenens to the Chaplaincy of New Town and the Queen's Orphan Schools; and as there were some Chaplains expected from England with the Archdeacon, the Bishop kindly offered it to me; and the rest which the appointment offered, was, by this time, as welcome to my horses as to myself.
It was just before I accepted this appointment, after having performed service at a small chapel near Oatlands, that I was accosted by one of the class teachers, who came out with me in the A---------. He walked by the side of my horse for some distance, and made many respectful remarks about the voyage: and said that he hoped that it had pleased God to bless to him the instruction which he had received during that period. I must sorrowfully confess that my short ministerial experience had already made me sadly suspicious. This man, however, I remembered as one of the very few whom I had particularly remarked during the voyage, and of whom I had entertained great hopes. I found, on more minute inquiry, that he was now a messenger between two prisoner-stations located on a line of road, and that his time of probation was nearly expired; and that his great desire was to hire himself into my service.
When I took up my abode at the New Town parsonage, Adam Dodd became my servant. I soon remarked that he was always most attentive to his religious duties, and most respectful and submissive to myself. I had, shortly after his admission to my service, occasion to leave home for a few days, and when I returned, I found my poor servant just on the point of drawing his last breath. After the funeral, I looked over his papers, with a friend, and I found amongst them a most interesting journal, giving a short account of his family, and of himself, more particularly during his voyage.
I have heard it brought as a charge against the Missionaries of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, that there is seldom much heard from them, excepting their progress in building churches, cathedrals, and parsonage houses. The saving of souls, it is said, is not sufficiently dwelt upon in their journals. I believe the reason is, (and if we err at all, it is well to err on the right side,) that we scarcely like to mention anything connected with so awful a work as the salvation of a soul, without our having some sure and certain hope whereon to rest our testimony. I should not think of mentioning this man's case, were it not the facts connected with it are so plain and simple, that to keep it back would, I think, be actually wrong. I will copy his journal word for word. You will observe as you read it, that Adam had evidently received a good education.
"I was born on the 25th of June, 1819, at a village called Land's End, four miles from Manchester. My father was by trade a clogger, and very clever at his trade. Being industrious, he placed his family in very comfortable circumstances. On the 3d of September, 1829, he partook of a tea about five o'clock, returned to his employment, and in half an hour afterwards, news was brought that he was dead, having dropped down at his employment, and never more spoke. I hope that the good God who called him at a moment's warning, has, through the merits of Jesus Christ his Son, received him, and pardoned his sin. Of my dear mother, whose name was Mary, I know not what to say to express her good qualities. Her affection to her children was unbounded---nay, I may say, she almost idolized them. She endeavoured, the whole of her life, to impress upon her children's minds the importance of religion, and always showed them the example. I lament, and shall do so till I die, that I did not set more store upon her. Her value I have keenly felt since her death, though I was always affectionately attached to her. She was very industrious, and a pious and devoted Christian. She departed this life in my arms, on the 6th of February, 1842, in her 66th year; leaving every reason to believe that her body is waiting to receive the welcome words of her Redeemer at the resurrection, 'Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.' At my father's death, my mother being anxious to give me an education, got me into the Lancasterian School, at Manchester; at which school I remained until I was fourteen. I then went to another school, where I was an assistant, and remained eighteen months. I then went to the offices of Messrs. Johnston & Son, Land Surveyors, where I remained two years; and then to Messrs. Rowley & Taylor, Solicitors, with whom I remained for the same period. I then engaged myself to Messrs.------& Co., Commission Agents, where I remained nearly four years. After leaving this firm, I went to Mr. Hey wood, in the same business, and only remained with him about half a year. This was the last situation I held in Manchester, or elsewhere.
When I came on board the A------, I was as thoughtless as any one on board; but being soon afterwards made a teacher of a class, I felt myself compelled to attend the evening services. Yet it was more through compulsion, for the sake of pleasing the minister, than for the sake of the profit I might receive. But as the hardened ground will be softened by repeated rain; the repeated appeals made to my heart, and the grace of God working in my heart, I became more sedate, and soon after made resolutions to alter my conduct, and become more serious. Yet all this was depending upon my own strength. The necessity of prayer never appeared requisite. I satisfied myself by occasionally uttering a few words in my hammock; fearing to show any one that I had the least pretension to be religious, although I had received many insults for being teacher in the school. That galling worm, conscience, would not allow me to remain long in this state. Oftentimes was I struck with confusion when the minister appeared to apply his discourse to me as a Christian. When I asked myself the question, whether I really was a converted man; had I experienced any change of heart, the change from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God? I found that when placed in the scales I was wanting. When all these convictions were going on by the grace of God, I well remember the minister delivering a series of discourses on the necessity of practical Christianity, and particularly one on the parable of the Sower, which opened my mind clearly to see that I was one of those who possessed the form without the power of godliness; that the word I had hitherto heard was as the seed on stony ground, only producing momentary resolutions. That good and loving Father whom I now love and adore, opened my eyes to see my awful state by nature, and that an outward change, without the inward and renewing grace of repentance never to be repented of, would lay me more under the judgment of God than open sinners. I then sate down in the greatest mental distress. Taking my Bible, I calculated on the opposition I should meet with; feeling convinced that nothing but the grace of God could enable me to take up my cross, knowing that it is no small matter to become a Christian. In this state I remained some days. Eventually the grace of God enabled me to bow my knees in prayer; and I immediately met with the worst of treatment for several days. I still continued night and morning to supplicate the throne of grace. My mind at this time was much injured by an infidel, who was at the same mess with me. He pointed me out as being mad, a worm, a weak fanatic, and that I changed with the moon, and that a few days would bring me to myself. During all this time I was as one walking in darkness, and saw no light; yet I was wonderfully supported to persevere. My state of mind was very distressing. I could not yet get forward, and to return to the world seemed impossible. I kept continually and anxiously searching my Bible. I looked to the promise, "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." I looked more to the promises of God, and I was led to see the absolute necessity of faith; that it was unbelief in the power of God to save so great a sinner as me. I prayed for more faith, and God in his great mercy and love removed my doubts. The darkness I felt appeared now as marvellous light, and the sufferings I had felt vanished; and I began to have some idea of that peace winch passeth all understanding. In this state I remained some time, praying and reading, and fearlessly yet meekly meeting with every opposition. But this was not to remain long. The zeal and love that I felt seemed gradually dying away, and I was struck with a verse of Revelation, 'Because thou art neither hot nor cold, I will spue thee out of my mouth.' I felt that it applied to myself. I flew to the throne of grace, and ever since I have felt that unshaken confidence and pleasure in reading and reflecting upon the word and goodness of God, scarcely to be credited. But to that God who knoweth the secrets of all hearts I appeal. He knows that I strive to keep his commandments. Thus far have I gone by the grace of God, plucked as a brand from the burning. With an outstretched arm has He saved me from the pit of destruction, where I was fast hastening."
Such was poor Adam Dodd's simple account of himself. I had him buried at the New Town burying ground, and my friend and brother Clergyman chose as a text to place on the headstone, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female, there is neither bond nor free; but ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
I had not been long settled at New Town, before the Archdeacon arrived with his welcome reinforcement of six Clergymen, and I gave up at once the appointment I held, and prepared to follow the; Bishop, who had been compelled by certain difficult circumstances to go to England, and endeavour by his personal presence to effect a satisfactory adjustment of them. I embarked on board the Derwent, a regular trader for Hobart Town, and arrived in London after a remarkably fine voyage, in August, 1847. The greater portion of the five months I remained, was passed at the office of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, in gathering the subscriptions resulting from the appeal issued by the Bishop of Tasmania, in behalf of the spiritual wants of the convict population of his Diocese. The funds thus collected will, I hope, be found to purchase permanent blessings for the Church of this Colony; and the Bishop purposes to send you a statement for circulation, respecting the mode in which he means to distribute and invest it. I only hope that our kind friends in England will bear in mind that there are more Adam Dodds; that his is but an individual case, connected with the experience of an individual Clergyman; and that we have almost a stronger claim than any other Colonial diocese upon the liberality of the mother country. Although there are among us, as I have described, country proprietors with their acres, and flocks, and homesteads, and the Clergy and public officers, and a sprinkling of tradesmen in our two largest towns, Hobart Town and Launceston; yet the great staple mass of the community are transported felons, sent off for the relief of the mother country, which is bound to assist us in our measures of removing their ignorance, and of reclaiming them from vice.
We have already in the Colony two great establishments of education; one, Christ's College, near Launceston, a sort of school and university for the education of the elder youths, preparing for the higher professions and upper walks in life; and the other, Hutchins School at Hobart Town, a good grammar school for the education of boys and the younger members of families: but our chief present want is a Training School, to instruct the children of the lower orders, and to train a set of Teachers from the sons and daughters of the middling class farmers and small tradesmen,--whom we could place among the many little nuclei of population which are fast growing up here and there in the bush,--and who would not only teach the children, but keep up some remembrance of and regard for religion among the older persons, by acting as Catechists or Deacons. There are six of these different oases of population in the district adjoining Broadmarsh, (which is ten miles square, with only one Clergyman in it,) and each little community is spreading as a godless race for want of such a class of Teachers. We have in the Colony all the material to work and to supply such an institution, if we only could raise funds enough to commence it. For want of a proper set of schoolmasters, many families among the middling farmers, and even some of our very parish schools, employ men as teachers who are and who have been convicts and prisoners. Many as are the evils which result from this practice, it is a better alternative than leaving the children to themselves, or entrusting them entirely to be brought up by their godless parents. By collecting them together, and by placing them, in the absence of a good free schoolmaster, under as respectable a prisoner as can be found, the Clergyman of the district is enabled to visit them, and to become acquainted with the rising population of his neighbourhood, in whom must be centered (under God's blessing) all his hopes of future amendment and improvement. I trust that it may please Him to enable us to establish the machinery of this Training School Institution for the poorer members of our community; as a means most likely to assist in breaking up the hardened mass with which we are surrounded.
I accompanied the Bishop, as Chaplain, on his return to his Diocese, early in January, 1848. We sailed in the H------, and soon found her to be both badly ballasted, and badly found. We sailed pretty well considering all things, until off the Cape of Good Hope. Between that place and Hobart Town we sprung both our topsail-yards and a fore-yard, and lost a good part of our bulwark, and one of the quarter-boats. So you may be assured that we were heartily glad and thankful, when the bold and picturesque headlands of Tasmania were once again in sight. We found ourselves off the coast early on a fine June morning (winter with us), and were within the entrance of the Derwent before the evening closed in. A preconcerted signal was hoisted, and very soon after a bonfire was lit; and a blue thread of smoke rose gently up to a great height in the clear atmosphere. By the help of a glass we could see the sail of a small boat push out from under the cliff. The night set in; and a lanthorn was hung over the bow, as a guide for the boat. Presently we heard a voice not far distant, and our old friend Lawrence (who had accompanied the Bishop to the shore on his departure, and the consecration of whose chapel on Bruni Island was the last act of the Bishop, on the very evening on which he set sail for England,) stood on deck to greet us. We found that we had been long expected. The Bishop and myself indeed had encountered perils of different kinds, since we had left the Diocese: but we had never given ourselves up for lost. God's gracious providence preserved us.
The Bishop landed the following morning at eight o'clock, and shortly after repaired to offer public thanks in the Cathedral for his safe return to his Diocese. Congratulations and addresses, written and verbal, were presented to him on his arrival, from all parts of his Diocese.
We have now begun a second campaign. Many blessings surround us in Tasmania, for which we should be thankful. A beautiful and healthy climate--a population, the upper class of whom, for intelligence, and genuine upright Christian feeling, are second to no Colonists in the world--a lower order, who certainly are as bad as they well can be--but with these the Church has to do her work, to wage her warfare. Here it is that the Evil One challenges us, as it were, with greater effrontery than in any other spot, perhaps, in Christendom. But we know that we are sure of the victory even here, in His strength, who has promised never to forsake us. I confidently look forward to the time when we shall have a little Church planted here, with its Bishop and Archdeacon, its Dean and Rural Deans, its hardworking Priests, and Deacons, and Schoolmasters; and I am thankful that I am permitted to take an humble part by God's grace to aid in so good a work. We are but a handful when compared with the hosts in the camp of the spiritual Goliath that now daily defies our little army to the battle. Nevertheless in the end we shall prevail with the simple assistance which, under God's providence, we look to our parent country to afford us. I will continue at times to give you intelligence of the proceedings in our little Colony.
In the meantime I am,
Your affectionate Friend and Brother,
THOMAS HAY FORSTER.
The Rev. GEO. FYLER TOWNSEND,
Honorary Secretary to the Tasmanian Fund.