INCUMBENT OF HOLY TRINITY, DICKER COMMON, SUSSEX.
MY DEAR SIR,
I gladly avail myself of your permission to address you, as holding office in the Church Missionary Society, as a staunch friend of that holy cause which the Church Missionary Society endeavours to promote; and especially as having yourself personally rendered essential service to that particular Mission on whose behalf I am now writing. I believe that whenever the God of Missions is about to pour out some especial blessing on the whole or any portion of that field which His labourers are occupying, He does, by His Spirit, put it into the hearts of His servants, one here and another there, to advocate His cause and to urge on His work, in every way, and by every means that He has placed within their reach, until the Missionary spirit which is abroad be called forth into lively exercise, and produce its genuine effects in enlarged operations and increased success. My heartfelt desire is that it may be so in the present instance nor is that desire unaccompanied by a fervent hope--I might almost say a realizing belief, [1/2] that such is indeed the ease. I hail the interest which has been taken, and the exertions which have been made, in the cause of the Mission I am advocating, especially when I view them in connection with the great things which God has been doing by His servants in the West and in the South, as a token of increased and still increasing good to the continent of Africa. And I think too, we ought to view them thus in connection with each other; for however the three Missionary fields of Eastern, Western, and Southern Africa, may at present appear like oases in the desert, isolated and alone, I firmly believe that the day is coming, when it will be no longer possible to distinguish their limits, and, when looking back on their past history, and comparing it with their then present condition, we shall have to say that the three are become one. I trust that this connection will, in some measure, be explained and illustrated by the remarks which I am about to offer, though they will have a principal reference to the extension of the East African Mission, towards the centre of the continent.
And here, perhaps, it will be right for me to add, that the subject is not one of my own choosing, but that I have been induced to lay it before your notice by the special request of our invaluable Missionary in that untried field of labour, Dr. Krapf. [2/3] It is a subject very near to his heart, and one concerning which he, of all men upon earth, has the best right to be regarded as competent to judge. The considerations which I am about to lay before you, are for the most part gleaned from the researches which he has lately been conducting amongst the various tribes inhabiting the country inland from Mombas. And the object which I have in view is to advocate, from these considerations, the formation or establishment of a continuous line of Mission stations from the one end of Africa to the other. To this end I wish to consider the necessity and the practicability of such a plan, together with the encouragement which God's promises to Africa afford.
The very mention of the name of Africa excites in the bosom of every free-born and free-hearted Christian a feeling of righteous indignation and of holy burning zeal, a desire to do his part to redress the wrongs of the oppressed, to loose the bonds of slavery, and to introduce into that house of bondage, the glorious liberty of the children of God. Africa seems to have lain long as it were under a withering curse, and the Christian's ardent desires for Africa are that the curse may be changed into a blessing. Was it not the expression of this desire which connected the flame of Africa so peculiarly, so emphatically, with that Society of which [3/4] we are members? In the very title of our Church Missionary Society we read the feelings with which the Christian marks those outrages upon our common humanity that have so long been the curse and the blot of Africa. Man-stealing, and human traffic, and the barter of blood, called aloud for redress, for cure, in the ears of God and man, directing our missionary fathers to send help first where help was needed most, and to name their benefit-society the Church Missionary Society for Africa.
Such reflections as these are suited to introduce the subject of the necessity of a Mission-line extending from shore to shore of this unhappy continent, as the only effectual remedy for its multiplied and complicated miseries. This necessity is based upon a two-fold proposition,--first, the experience of failure in all merely human plans for the amelioration of these evils;--and, secondly, the revealed truth, that to the African, in common with every other child of fallen man, there is and can be no salvation in any other way than by the Gospel. With regard to the first of these propositions, we may assert in general terms, that that misguided philanthropy which seeks to better the condition of mankind without employing the direct agency of the Gospel, must be doomed to failure. And that such has been, to a great extent, the case with [4/5] regard to the efforts made for the amelioration of the woes of Africa, is, I think, palpable and evident. Far be it from me to disparage in any measure the noble and manly stand so long maintained by a small body of pious and benevolent men in England against the slavery of the negro, so long maintained in spite of scorn and contumely, in spite of discouragements and obstacles. It was a high and a glorious aim which those devoted spirits ever kept in view; it was worthy of their country, and to this day forms one of the most lustrous jewels in her crown. They looked on Africa, and beheld it a dark and dreary wild, affording no shelter from the storm of tyranny, no refuge for the victims of oppression. This should not be, they said, whilst England had the power and will to bring succour to the friendless. They raised a little sanctuary on the very shore of that land of rapine, so that in the heart of slavery itself there should be a hallowed Freetown, inaccessible to the lawless trafficker in human flesh, guarded by the majestic and terrible Lion of England, couchant there upon his own Sierra. It was a noble and a glorious effort, and so far it succeeded. But if we look for a specific in this quarter against the ills of Africa, we shall look in vain.
Slavery has not been abolished. Great as has confessedly been the check which it has met with [5/6] through the efforts of our gallant cruisers, and considerable as has been the diminution in the number of slaves annually exported from the coast,--still, notwithstanding these praiseworthy exertions, we are constrained to allow that the nefarious traffic is even yet, to a very large extent, unblushingly pursued. And even had England carried her power still further, and asserted her right to an exercise of authority, in which she would have been fully justified--that of declaring all slave-dealing piracy,--and, on that ground, inflicting summary and unflinching justice on the master and the supercargo of every detected vessel,--even had this right been claimed, still we may not doubt the utmost vigilance would have been evaded. And so, I believe, it will continue to be, until we are more habituated to regard our maritime police as an auxiliary to the Gospel, not efficient in itself to cure the evil we deplore, but imposing a restraint upon that evil, till the Gospel shall have time to undermine its firm foundations. If then in speaking of the attempt to cure the ills of Africa, I venture to assert that the movement for the abolition of slavery by the strong hand of power alone has failed, I trust I shall not appear to identify myself in any measure with those who have recently advocated the withdrawal of our Squadron. Nothing can be further from my purpose: I believe such a measure would be a foul [6/7] blot on the fair fame of England, and all but a death-blow to the further progress of Missionary work itself in Africa; and thankful I am to find that the Church Missionary Society has lifted its voice in protesting against the proposed withdrawal. My argument is only designed to prove that in itself, if not followed up by Missionary efforts, the restriction laid on the Slave-trade by force of arms is wholly inadequate to the desired result.
Nor can we say that better success has attended the more recent endeavour to abolish slavery by negotiation. True, we may argue on behalf of this last attempt that it had not a fair trial. I admit it gladly: for in this case, as well as in the former, I view the attempt as a grand conception, glorious to the country and the government which formed it, and a most legitimate and worthy exertion of that power and influence which the God of nations had accorded in His wisdom to our land. I admit then, gladly, that supposing this endeavour had not been frustrated by those untoward circumstances which lay wholly beyond man's control, but which an all-gracious and all-wise Providence permitted for the trial of our faith, it might,--nay, we have every reason to suppose it would,--have effected much. Still, even in this case, we may venture to assert that the effect would never have been permanent, unless followed up by Missionary [7/8] exertion and the introduction of the Gospel message. And this assertion, on good grounds, is all we wish to make for the clearing up of our first position. For what was there which this effort, even if in the first instance successful, had to rely upon for durable results and permanent efficiency? Nothing but the bare word of a wild unfettered savage, which the clashing interests of Haussa, Foulatah, Egbarra, or Bornou might in a moment scatter to the winds, observed so long, and only so long, as it seemed to bring advantage to the self-interested bargainer. For when were treaties ever known to bind those who possessed no principle of honour to guard the sanctity of oaths and promises?
To whichever then of these two schemes for the alleviation of the woes of Africa we turn our eyes, we perceive that in themselves they were necessarily insufficient to secure the end proposed. And in so saying, I trust I do not in any measure undervalue them. On the contrary, I allow that in connection with Missionary efforts they are both invaluable; and gladly would I hail a repetition of the second. All that I assert with reference to them is, that in themselves, without the Missionary, without the Gospel, they are failures. And this is all we need to prove the necessity of extended Missionary operations in order to confer substantial good on tins unhappy continent.
 Such is the first proposition on which we base our argument for their necessity,--viz. the experience of failure in all merely human plans for the good of Africa.--Let us for a few moments turn our attention to the second,--the revealed truth,--that, to the African, in common with every other child of fallen man, there is, and can be no salvation in any other way than by the Gospel. We who believe in that Gospel, can safely challenge the whole world to shew any other cause,--I will not say fully adequate, but any other supposable or possible cause, for that amount of civilization and prosperity, which has so long characterized the continent of Europe in contradistinction to the barbarism and degradation of Asia and of Africa. The Gospel is the only regenerator of nations as well as of individuals. And we doubt not that it is destined to do for those dark corners of the earth what it has already done for others, which in the days of their ignorance were equally dark and gloomy. For the proof of this we have only to look at those parts of Africa where the experiment has had fair trial. We have only to look at the improved and improving social condition of our Sierra Leone colony, and at the peaceful congregations of Moravian Hottentots meeting for public prayer at Gnadenthal or Groenekloof at Elim or Enon. Where shall we find an instance in the [9/10] whole world of the exertion of Gospel influence more rapid or more hopeful than that exhibited by the history of our own West African Mission, from the baptism of Simeon Wilhelm to that of Hannah, Samuel Crowther's mother? We may well triumph in the power of the Gospel when we contemplate the little seed sown in the heart of that slave-boy growing up into perfection, and yielding produce a thousand-fold in the promise of spiritual regeneration to whole peoples and nations and languages on the banks of the Niger. Africa too was the scene of the greatest Gospel-triumph, the most wonderful, the most God-glorifying, in the way of individual conversion to God, that has ever been witnessed in any land from the one end of the world to the other. I allude to the case of Africaner, the fierce and bloodthirsty Namacquan robber. When we hear that scourge of the desert say to his people, "My former life is stained with blood; but Jesus Christ has pardoned me, and I am going to heaven. Oh, beware of falling into the same evils into winch I have frequently Ld you; but seek God, and He will be found of you, to direct you!"--what may we not hope for from an agency which has been known to produce a result like this? Is the African a wild savage? the Gospel can change the lion into a lamb, for it converted the Namacqua chieftain. Or is the African mind the most [10/11] degraded upon earth? the Gospel has power to enlighten it; let the case of Esther the Coranna speak to this. "When she made her first appearance among us," says Kicherer, in his account of the Mission to the Hottentots, "I could scarcely persuade myself she was of the human species. Her whole carriage denoted brutality in the extreme. Her kaross, or sheep-skin garment, was the most filthy I ever saw or smelt. Many a time have I thought, Surely it is absolutely impossible that such a being should ever be converted. But where sin and wretchedness abounded, grace was still more to abound. Soon did her penitential tears begin to flow, under the hearing of the word of peace, and when asked why she wept, the reasons she assigned were always so pertinent and proper, that I was convinced her understanding was far superior to what I had supposed. For more than a year she continued to be uneasy, under a sense of her sins; but at length the Lord comforted her soul; she was baptized, and is become one of the most active, industrious and useful members of my congregation." If the Gospel of Jesus could do this, then we may confidently say it is the remedy for Africa, Or again, do we thank God for the cessation of hostilities with the savage tribes of Kafirland, and the comparatively small amount of injury sustained from those hostilities,'--let us [11/12] gratefully confess how much we owe under our gracious God to those devoted Wesleyan Missionaries, who, going forth with their lives in their band, have proclaimed the Gospel of the grace of Christ to Amaxosa and Amatembu warriors at Bathurst, at Mount Coke, at Butterworth, and at Clarksbury. These instances are but a few out of many, to show what the Gospel can effect, as the moral regenerator of individuals and of nations. And if these instances are duly weighed, they will, I am confident, prove to us the necessity, not only of maintaining previously established Missions, but of extending our Missionary operations on every side, if it be our heart's desire, to heal the wounds and to promote the good of Africa.
The above remarks are designed to be applied, in the present instance, more especially to the extension of our East African Mission inland, towards the centre of the continent. And therefore having, as I humbly conceive, established the necessity of such extension in the minds of those who have the good of Africa at heart, I proceed to consider my second point, which is the practicability of such a scheme. The consideration of this point will necessarily lead me into more minute details but in entering into these details, I trust that you will bear with me, knowing the importance which you attach to all Missionary efforts. The practicability [12/13] of this scheme is based upon the peculiar condition of the African nations west and south-west from Mombas. This may be viewed in relation to their language, their manners and customs, their religion, their form of government, the physiognomy of their country, and their mutual intercourse and for the sake of precision and perspicuity, I shall proceed, with your permission, to take each of these points separately, and discuss the bearing which they have upon the matter in hand.
First, then, let us take a brief survey of these African nations with regard to language. Dr. Krapf's own words, in relation to this point are, they "all speak one language, ramified into various dialects, which by the Missionary might soon be mastered." If we consider it, and justly so, as an evident opening in the providence of God for the dissemination of His holy word in China, that that vast empire reads one written language, so that wheresoever the book is carried throughout the length and breadth of the land, it is patent to every eye and to every understanding;--surely we ought in reason to consider it a token for the good of Africa, in regard to the preaching of the Gospel, that the languages of all the tribes south of the Equator, are referrible to one common stock, and are (to say the least) so nearly connected, as to abridge very considerably indeed, the labour and difficulty [13/14] of acquiring them and of reducing them to writing. It was this particular which first arrested my attention, and directed my thoughts to the encouraging circumstances connected with our East African Mission. It is now more than two years since, in prosecuting my enquiries on the subject of the Missionary work in Africa, my eye fell upon the following passage in Boyce's introduction to Archbell's Sicuana Grammar, which, notwithstanding its length, I trust I may be permitted to transcribe, as it bears so materially upon the point we are considering, and also gives the most concise account of African philology, which, as far as I have yet seen can anywhere be met with. "In the present state of our information," he says, "it appears probable that all the languages of South Africa may be classed under two divisions or families. The first and most ancient, which was probably that spoken by the earliest inhabitants who found their way to this extremity of the globe, comprehends the dialects spoken by the Namacquas, Bushmen, Koranas, and Hottentots. These dialects (all of which, though differing from each other, are radically the same) were once spoken throughout all South Africa, as far as the Kei River; but now within the old Colonial border, Dutch has almost entirely supplanted them; and beyond the old border of the Kei, the Kaffirs having conquered that country [14/15] from the Hottentot tribes, no trace of the Hottentot language remains, unless it be that the Kaffirs have adopted the disagreeable clicks from their Hottentot predecessors, together with various words now naturalized in the Kaffir language. Along the Northern frontier of the Colony, the Namacqua, Korana, and Bushmen dialects are yet spoken by a numerous, although scattered population. These dialects are entirely different in grammatical construction from the Kaffir and Sechuana language they abound in those peculiar and barbarous sounds called "clicks;" and from their harshness, and the limited nature of their vocabularies, appear to be barriers in the way of religious and intellectual culture, and as such doomed to extinction by the gradual progress of Christianity and civilization.
"The second division or family of the South African languages comprises the sister dialects spoken by the Kaffir and Bechuana tribes, to the East and North of the Colony. That the relationship subsisting between the Kaffir and Sechuana, is that of descent from a common parent, is evident, not only from the many words common to both, but from an almost perfect identity in the leading principles of grammatical construction. Yet each dialect has peculiarities of its own, sufficient to oblige the learner to consider it, for all practical purposes of speech and composition, as a distinct language. [15/16] Thus the Kaffir, as spoken on the Colonial border, has adopted the Hottentot click, which is unknown in the Sechuana dialects, except the Sitlokwe, which most nearly resembles the Kaffir. The sound represented by the letter r is never heard in Kaffir, but is quite common in Sechuana. The most striking peculiarity of the Kaffir and Sechuana family of languages, is the euphonic or alliteral concord. With the exception of a few terminations in the cases of the noun and tenses of the verb, the whole business of declension, conjugation, &c., is effected by prefixes, and by changes which take place in the initial letters or syllables of words subject to grammatical government. In the languages spoken in Congo, Angola, and Loango, the same peculiarity was noticed by some of the Romish Missionaries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, though they profess to regard it as an unaccountable philological vagary, defying all rule. The Grammar of the Bunda language spoken in Congo, acknowledges the existence of an extensive alliteration, produced by what we term the euphonic concord, though the principle itself, and the rules for its application had not been discovered.
"Of the two sister languages, the Sechuana appears to prevail in the interior, while the Kaffir is principally confined to the Amaxosa, [The x in this word is not to be understood as possessing the power of x in any European language it is the character employed to denote the click, which is called lateral, being articulated at the sides of the mouth.] Abatembu, [16/17] Amapondo, and Amazulu tribes, extending from the Great Fish River as far as Delagoa Bay. A dialect of the Kaffir, as spoken by the Amazulu, is also the language of that small portion of the Amazulu, which under the chief Matzilikatzi, wasted, a few years ago, the vast plains of Central Africa, near the Kuruman and Kurrichene. Kaffir and Sechuana, comprising a variety of dialects only slightly differing from each other, appear to be branches of an extensive language spoken through all Africa, from the Northern boundary of the Cape Colony as far as the equator. On the West Coast of this extensive territory, the Damaras, a tribe visited by Mr. Archbell at Waalvisch Bay, and again by the way of Great Namacqualand, speak a dialect of Sechuana. In Congo, Angola, and Loango, the languages spoken are evidently of the same class. The natives of Delagoa Bay, the Makooa tribes, extending from 170 to 4° South Latitude; the Sowauli or Sowaiel, who dwell beyond the Makooa, as far as 20 North Latitude; the Monjou, who are supposed to be so far in the interior, as a two or three months journey North West from Mozambique, speak languages only slightly differing from the Sechuana spoken near the Cape Colony. An Arab, who had travelled for [17/18] commercial purposes from Mombas to Mozambique at some distance from the sea-coast, gave the writer of this (Mr. Boyce) some specimens of the languages spoken among the tribes through which he had passed, in which Kaffir and Sechuana words were easily recognized. Natives conveyed from the interior to Mozambique, and from thence taken to the Bechuana country, have found no difficulty in making themselves understood; sufficient proof this of a radical identity of language. From 2° North Latitude, the dialects of the Somauli, Galls, &c, are quite distinct from the Sechuana, and exhibit manifest proofs of an intimate connexion with the Ethiopic and Arabic languages."
I trust, as I said before, that the importance of this long quotation will be deemed a sufficient excuse for its insertion amongst these remarks. It goes far to prove the universal spread of one family of languages over the whole of Africa from sea to sea, between the Cape colony and 2° of North Latitude. The truth of these observations Mr. Boyce proceeds to confirm by a few specimens of the vocabularies of the tribes, whose languages appear to resemble Sicuana and Kaffir, taken from Botelar's "Voyage to the East Coast," and Salt's work on Abyssinia and East Africa. In these specimens he compares cognate words in the Kaffir, Sicuana, Delagoa Bay, Makoha, Monjou, and [18/19] Sowauli or Sowalel languages. Of the latter dialect, with which we are most immediately concerned in the East African Mission, he has supplied very few examples. Those which he has given are as follows:--
Kaffir Sechuana Makoha Monjou Sowaiel Beef inyama nama enama neyama yamo Two mabedi mabbeze Three matatu mararu madato Ten shumi shumi kone Sleep kulala golala kullale
To these I have been able to add a few more taken from a short MSS. vocabulary of the Sowilee, Somaulee, and Galla languages, presented to me by Captain Vidal, R. N., who was employed with Captain Owen in the survey of the East coast. The Kaffir synonymes I have extracted from Ayliff's Kaffir vocabulary, and the Sicuana from Moffat's translation of the New Testament:
Kaffir Sicuana Sowilee Rain im-vula pula vooar Before pambili pile mbailee Fowl in-kuku kookoo White i-mhlope waihoopai Great i-nkulu gulu koola Pig i-gulube kolobe groowai Teeth ama-zinyo
The tendency of the foregoing statements is to prove a general unity of language prevailing throughout the whole of Africa south of the Equator. Nevertheless there are one or two points in the quotation from Boyce which ought to be [19/20] corrected one, for instance, is the assertion that the natives of South and East Africa can understand each other without difficulty. It may have been so with individuals, but that it is not so generally, I am enabled to state on the authority of Dr. Krapf, who, in a communication addressed to me upon the subject, says, "With some tribes it is actually the case, but with most of them a length of time and intercourse is indispensable for the acquisition of their respective idioms." Another statement also, which my own previous observations had led me to suspect, is that of the intimate connection of the Somauli and Galla, with the Coptic, Ethiopic, and Arabic. I find my suspicions confirmed by Dr. Krapf, whose expressions are, that though "there are many words in Galla which we can derive from those three languages, yet this coincidence of many words does not justify us in saying that the Galla and Somali exhibit manifest proofs of an intimate connexion with the mentioned languages." Whilst however, it appears from these latter statements that we must lower in some little measure the high expectations we had conceived of advantage resulting from the unity of idiom, still the fact remains uncontested, nay, incontestable, that from the Cape colony to the entrance upon the Galla territory, there is a family connexion sufficient to afford the missionary who [20/21] is versed in any one of the dialects, a clear insight into the principles of grammatical construction which pervade the rest. And this is fully sufficient for our present purpose.
I wish however, to be a little more particular with reference to the tribes amongst whom Dr. Krapf and his companions are more immediately employed. I meet with the names of no less than seven languages, spoken by as many different tribes, all distinct from the Suahili, and yet all belonging to the Suahili stock. [This is the orthography adopted by Dr. Krapf, being no doubt more correct than that of Sowauli, Sowaiel, or Sowilee. In writing African names, I endeavour as far as I can, to conform to the "Rules for reducing unwritten languages to alphabetical writing in Roman characters."] These seven are severally entitled as follows:--the Kinika, the Kikamba, the Kipokomo, the Kitaita, the Kisambara, the Kisegeju, and the Kisegua. The stock to which these languages belong has been named the Suahili, after that particular idiom which first presents itself to the notice of the traveller on visiting the East Coast. This idiom, the Suahili or Kisuahili is spoken from Mukdeesha to Mozambique, but only on the coast, not in the interior. Only the Muhammedans of the coast and islands go by this name, the Pagan tribes having other names and other idioms of language. The Suahili is supposed by Dr. Krapf to be spoken by a population of 500,000, [21/22] and he considers the study of it indispensable to the Missionary, whether he proceeds to the Cilia or the other tribes on the coast. The structure of the Suahili bears a resemblance to the Amharic not that it contains a single Amharic word, but because the Amharic has joined the African idiom, in general, whilst from its connexion with the Semitic languages it must be different in other respects. Having gained at Mombas a previous acquaintance with the Suahili, the Doctor proceeded to the mainland, and he found himself in the midst of a tribe calling themselves Wanika, their territory Unikani, and their language Kinika. This tribe is divided into two great portions, the Northern being called Walupangu, and the Southern Wadigo, whose country, Udigoni, stretches from Mombas to the borders of Ushinshini. These two divisions differ somewhat from each other in language, manners, &c., and are again subdivided into numerous lesser clans, the tribe Lungo being one of them mentioned by Dr. Krapf in the account of his visit to Udigoni. The Kinika language however, may be spoken of as one idiom, notwithstanding these slight provincial variations, and the Doctor's conclusion concerning it, on comparison with the Suahili is, that the one is in fact a mere corruption of the other.
Subsequently Dr. Krapf became acquainted with the Wakamba tribe, a people who dwell partly [22/23] among the Wanika, and partly at some distance inland. They are described as tall and robust, and their complexion fairer than that of the Wanika. From the accounts received concerning these people, they seem likely to be of the utmost importance in the future history of our East African Mission. Their original territory, Ukambani, lies many miles inland towards the North-west, stretching in the direction of the upper course of the Quilimancy River, or Dana, as it is more properly called inland. In January 1845, Dr. Krapf visited a Wakamba hamlet called Endila, not very far from Rabbay in the Wanika country, and subsequently made many excursions into their neighbouring settlements, with a view to ascertain the practicability of establishing a Mission among them. The result of his researches, with reference to their language, he gives in these words; "The language of the Wakamba seems to be similar to that of the Wanika, and those Wakamba who have much intercourse with the Wanika understand and speak the Kinika language perfectly well."
Proceeding along the coast Northeast from the Wanika tribes, the traveller having passed Malinda and Formosa Bay, arrives at the mouth of a large river called the Osi, on the northern bank of which reside a people called the Pokomo, who are described as a. quiet and peaceable people, living on good [23/24] terms with the Galla, the Suahili and everybody else; being in some degree subordinate to the Galla, and affording the most accessible opening that has yet been discovered, into the Galla territory. Researches in the Kipokomo language have led Dr. Krapf to the important conclusion, that the Wanika and Wasegeju tribes are the descendants of the Pokomo, who from time immemorial have lived on the banks of their great river. They understand the Galla language as well as their own, "which," says our Missionary, "to my great surprise, is nearly the same as the Kinika and Suahili."
Inland, in a westerly direction from the Wanika country, we find the region inhabited by the Taita tribe, enclosed by lofty mountains, of which the Boora is the most considerable, and separated from the tribes on the coast, by a vast desert sixty miles across. Mr. Rebmann, (Dr. Krapf's companion) visited the Taita country, in October 1847, and afterwards, passed through on various occasions in his way to the more distant region of the Jagga. The inhabitants or the Taita country are estimated at 170,000 souls. The Kitaita language is distinctly pronounced to belong to the Suahili family, and, indeed, when Mr. Rebmann spoke in the Kinika dialect, he was pretty well understood.
South-west from Unikani is a large and most important mountain territory, extending from [24/25] Tanga, on the coast, to the mountains of Pare, many miles inland, all under the dominion of Kmeri, the king of the Wasambara tribe. This territory contains two distinct provinces, separated by the valley of Kerenge; the Western province being that, more properly called, Usambara, and the Eastern from Kerenge to the coast, being called Bundei, and divided between many tribes, the principal of whom are the Washinshi. The name Usambara is derived from the verb Tamba, or Tambala, to creep, the letter s being exchanged for it, and means the country of creeping. The Suahili call it Usamba and Ushamba; the Wanika pronounce it Usambara; and the Wakamba, Washinshi, and Wasambara themselves say, Usambala. The language spoken in this large territory belongs, like the others which have been named, to the Suahili family.
The Kisegeju, is the language spoken by the Wasegeju people, who inhabit the coast of Wanga and Tanga, south of the Wanika land. They consist of two divisions; Muagnombe and Muakammede. "Their original home," writes Dr. Krapf, "was Shungaya or Shiras, a former town opposite to the coast of the island of Patta. In ancient times they were at variance with the Suahili, who, having been beaten by the Wasegeju, called the Galla to their aid;--but these savages having [25/26] assisted the Suahili in expelling the Wasegeju, took the country for themselves. The Wasegeju fled to the river Osi, to the coast of Malinda, and to the banks of the Kilefi Bay, near Kauma. But there they fell out again with the Suahili, who finally drove them southward to the neighbourhood of Tanga, where they are still giving much trouble to the Wadigo tribes around. Their language is nearly related to that of the Pokomo people on the Pokomoni river."
The Wasegua tribes are a wild race, inhabiting the Southern bank of the river Luffu, or Pangani, who at the present time are at enmity with king Kmeri, before mentioned, and the Usambara people. They have not been visited as yet, but are said to present the principal slave-market for Zanzibar. Their language also has been ascertained to belong to the Suahili stock.
Such are the seven principal languages of East Africa in which researches have been made, and which are found to present this great facility for the extension of Missionary operations,--a uniformity of construction proving them to be the offspring of one common parent. And the connection of this large family with the South African stock, which has been already suggested, is still further confirmed by later researches of Dr. Krapf, in which he has discovered a link, hitherto [26/27] unknown in the languages spoken on the borders of the lake Niassa. This large lake, commonly called Moravi, lies in about 12° to 13° south latitude, and on its south-eastern banks reside the Wahiau, Kamanga, and Niassa tribes. Specimens of these languages, which Dr. K. procured from a young Kamanga slave, have confirmed him in the opinion, that from the Galla boundary, 4° south latitude, down to the Cape of Good Hope, there is one family of languages, a fact, as he justly says, pregnant with thoughts and prospects regarding the civilization and destiny of this vast continent. In further confirmation of this fact I may add, that in a letter of Captain Owen to Thompson the South African traveller, he says, "The language of Delagoa Bay appears to be nearly the same as that spoken on the East coast as far as Bazaneto Islands. The Caffers and they, understand each other with little trouble." It would be occupying too much of your time, or I might introduce much information which the enterprising Missionaries of the Wesleyan and London Societies have supplied with reference to the South Eastern languages; but I think enough has been already stated to prove, that the class of languages with which we in our Eastern Mission have come in contact, is very nearly connected with them, and that the study of these latter may therefore be very materially [27/28] facilitated by the past labours of a Boyce and a Moffat in the former.
The researches of Dr. Krapf would appear to be carried on on the very confines of this large family of languages, for we learn from many parts of his interesting descriptions that, immediately to the north of those tribes, amongst whom he is principally labouring, there are vast hordes of still wilder savages, whose speech betrays no similarity--at least none such as can at present be discerned--to the Suahili stock. Such are the tribes of Galla, Wakuafi, and Masai, who present, in every respect, an interesting field to the philosopher and the missionary. Of these the Galla are frequently mentioned by the Doctor as a wholly distinct people; whose language has apparently no affinity with those which we have been describing. The Wakuafi are a nomadic horde, who formerly overran great part of the Wakamba and Wanika territory, keeping the inhabitants in continual alarm, until their power was humbled by the Masai tribe, which seems to have originated very far in the interior of Africa. Of the Kikuafi language, Dr. Krapf says in a communication made to me, already referred to, that it is totally different from the seven above enumerated, and seems to belong to that family which subsists within the regions bordering on the sources of the White Nile.
 In taking leave of this part of my subject, I ought not to omit the remarkable tribe of the Jagga, visited by Mr. Rebmann, being the farthest inland that have yet been visited by any Missionary, and with reference to whose language he says that it is evidently much related to those spoken on the coast. The conclusion at which I would arrive from this examination of the East African tribes in point of language is, that so far from any obstacle being presented in this particular, great facilities are afforded for the carrying of the Gospel of Christ into the very heart of Africa. And I would ask whether this fact ought not in itself to be regarded as a special invitation and call, from the mouth of God Himself, to the Society before whom the way is thus opened, to make a special effort for the evangelization of this yet dark and benighted land.
The nature of the argument derived from the manners and customs of the East African tribes, which was the second particular I proposed to notice, is partly the same as that deduced from the consideration of their language, and partly even more direct in favour of the practicability which I am proving. For, in the first place, it tends to confirm the conclusion at which we have just arrived, that all these tribes are of one common origin, and that origin the same with the great [29/30] Southern clans of Bicuanas and Kaffirs. The language of Dr. Krapf on this subject, in the communication before referred to, is to the effect that the manners and customs of all the tribes are of one common stamp, though varying to a certain extent in each particular tribe. Of this we find numberless examples in the records of his visits to the different districts already named. Take for instance the description which he gives of their habitations, their villages and huts. In one of his early visits to the village of Ribe, in Unikani, he says, "Every Wanika village which lies in a forest has three gates: that is, you pass on one and the same path through three successive gates, which are palisadoed." The approach to this village was through a thick forest, containing splendid timber; with reference to which he says, "The Wanika do not clear the wood, its thickness preventing any enemy from attacking the villages, which the Wanika plant in the centre of a forest. This is their universal custom." So in his subsequent visit to Emberria, a district of the northern Wanika, he writes to the same purport: "In general we found all the hamlets of Emberria situated in an almost impenetrable forest, consisting partly of fine trees." Somewhat similar to these defences of the Wanika are those used by the Jagga tribes, the furthest inland that have yet been visited. Mr. Rebmann describes the approach [30/31] to Kilema in their territory, as being through a dense jungle for some hours. The fortifications to ensure the safety of this district, were likewise threefold, that is, they consisted of a gate between two trenches. The bridge leading over the first trench, he describes as being a single narrow pole, which required the utmost caution to admit of a safe passage. The gate, moreover, consisted of many rough pieces of wood fixed into the ground by crossing each other in the midst, so that the free space left for the entrance was very low. The Wanika huts are of a curious construction, and much resemble our hay-stacks in Europe. Poles are fixed in the ground, and are thatched with grass from top to bottom, so that the wind and light are entirely excluded. The door or entrance is so low and narrow that you must stoop considerably. The Wakamba hut is not more than four or five feet high, and the entrance is extremely narrow. The shape of the hut is circular, and it has a thatch of grass. The hut in which Mr. Rebmann resided at Kilema, in the Jagga country, was dark and sequestered, situated in the midst of a forest of banana-trees.
The habits of the Wanika are more fully described than those of any of the other tribes, in consequence of the Missionaries' residence among them at Rabbay 'Mpia. The custom of the [31/32] Wagnaro, or annual Saturnalia seems, so far as we are at present aware, peculiar to them, and more particularly to the Southern Wanika, or the tribes of Udigoni. And, in this fact, I think, we may recognize the hand of God, interposing on behalf of Missionary efforts, inasmuch as, whilst other practices less injurious to those efforts prevail to a wide extent, this sanguinary institution, which might have presented great obstacles in the way of the Gospel, is limited apparently to one tribe alone.
Public assemblies are described as taking place amongst the Wanika, in which questions affecting the public weal are discussed freely. One of these is called Moronee, held under a tree, convened by sounding a trumpet: to this meeting, even young people are admitted. A speaker arises and proclaims, that whoever has any business to propose, shall make it publicly known, for mutual deliberation. Questions relative to war or peace are also discussed in the Moronee. There is another called Kambinee, which, only persons of age, and rank, or influence, are permitted to attend; they cannot wear more than a single cloth around their waist, and none can be present without making some offering of clothes, &c., to the meeting.
These public assemblies forcibly remind all who are acquainted with South African manners, of the Pitsho or great parliament, convened by Mothibi, [32/33] the king of the Batlapi, so graphically described by Thompson the African traveller, and by Moffat in his "Missionary Labours and Scenes." The freedom with which the discussion was carried on at that meeting is very observable. Moshume, the second speaker, for instance, was interrupted by an old man, requesting him to cry aloud; Insha, the fourth speaker, a Morolong, proposed a course different from that of those who had preceded him, notwithstanding the shouts of applause with which their proposals had been received. The resemblance between this remarkable Pitsho, and the public meetings of the Wanika, is well worthy our attention, as it tends, in connection with the other proofs already noticed, to strengthen the argument in favour of a common origin. And here, in passing, I may be permitted to notice another point of resemblance which has struck me forcibly, in the high-sounding titles by which the heralds proclaim their royal masters in the East and South respectively. When Moffat was approaching the residence of the tyrant Moselekatse, his guide pointed to the town. "There," said he, "there dwells the great king Pezoolu, the Elephant, the Lion's Paw." And the constant adulations of this monarch's followers are thus translated; "O Pezoolu, the king of kings, king of the heavens, who would not fear before the son of Machobane, mighty in battle? Where are the [33/34] mighty before the presence of our great king? where is the strength of the forest before the great Elephant? The proboscis is breaking the branches of the forest. It is the sound of the shields of the son of Machobane. He breathes upon their faces; it is the fire among the dry grass. His enemies are consumed before him, king of kings. Father of fire, he ascends to the blue heavens; he sends his lightnings into the clouds, and makes the rain descend. Ye mountains, woods, and grassy plains, hearken to the voice of the son of Machobane King of heaven." We cannot but observe a great similarity between these grandiloquent epithets, and the common title and address of the mighty Kmeri, king of the Wasanibara tribes. He was announced as the Simba wa Muéne--"the lion who is himself," or as it may also be translated, the Lion of the Self-existent. The Doctor's salutation, when he entered was, Sabahéri Simba wa Muéne, sabahéri Zumbe, "Good morning, thou who art the Lion thyself, good morning, O king." The state-herald sat in the middle, and cried out in a singing manner, "Eh Simba, eh Simba!" "Oh Lion, oh Lion:" and when he signified his will, with regard to his new guest, the cry was repeated, "Eh Simba! eh Muéne," "Oh Lion, oh, thou who art thyself."
With regard to the habits and customs of Ushinshini and Usambara, the most southerly tribes [34/35] visited by Dr. Krapf, I mean, in reference to their uniformity with those of the Wanika and other tribes to the North and West, we have many interesting details. "The dress of the Washinshi does not differ much from that of the Wanika. A piece of cotton cloth is put over the body. A smaller piece of cloth is put around the loins down to the knees.--It is tied up by a girdle. The women are as fond of beads and other ornaments as anywhere. The males wear a knife, or a sword, fastened to the body by their girdles. They carry their arrows with them, as the Wanika do." "Their implements of agriculture are the same in Ushinshini, as with other tribes, only that their dshembe or hoe is shaped in a triangular form." "Some of the people here, and in Usambara, wear skins; others wear a kind of breeches, made of the straw of rice, tied around their loins." "The houses are thickly covered with banana leaves; the shape is circular, but the inside is better divided than with the Wanika; the doors are extremely narrow," "In the evening they drive the young cattle into their smoky and hot cottages, and shut them up in the same room where the family sleeps around a large fire."
The Dahalos, inhabiting the coast North of Mombas, are in some respects different from the tribes whose customs have been just described, and [35/36] approach more nearly to the Gallas, having no settled villages, excepting only in a few instances.
The points which I have now touched upon, are for the most part points of resemblance. In addition to these, Dr. Krapf and his companions have brought to light other customs prevailing amongst the tribes they have visited, which seem likely to facilitate the progress of Missionary enterprise still more directly. One of these, particularly deserving of notice is, that of the public markets, for exchanging the produce of the country, in places called Dshete. These markets are held at stated periods: dry cassada, cocoa-nut, rice, &c., being the principal articles of commerce. They are not universal, and mark a decided superiority in the Southern tribes over the Northern, prevailing throughout Udigoni, Ushinshini, and Usambara. Another custom to which I might refer on this head is, the use of the Kishogno, or token of friendship, which, especially amongst those tribes where the monarchy is absolute, would seem to give the Missionary a degree of security, for which otherwise he might seek in vain. It is twice mentioned in Mr. Rebmann's account of his visit to the Jagga country: it consists in putting a small piece of the hide of a slaughtered animal on one of the fingers of the stranger. When Mr. R. first met with this custom in the Taita country, he, unadvisedly, refused [36/37] to comply with it, thinking it connected with their ideas of sorcery, until he was strongly assured that it was nothing more than a token of friendship. Afterwards, on his introduction to the king of Jagga, he writes; "The salutation by shaking hands having taken place, a sheep was immediately slaughtered, in order to give me the sign of friendship, consisting in a small piece of the animal's hide, cut out on the forehead, and put on the middle finger of my right hand; which action was however performed reciprocally, the king receiving the kishogno of me, and I of him. Having received the kishogno, I was declared by my guide the son of Masaki the king." This token of friendship, conferring as it does a kind of supposititious relationship, reminds us of the ready reception which the Missionary Moffat met with at the courts of Makaba and Moselekatse, both of whom addressed him by the title, "My father." It cannot but be regarded as a valuable auxiliary to the Missionary cause, in the influence which it must necessarily give to the 'Msoongo stranger.
Much more might be said on the subject of the manners and customs of the East African tribes, but I fear it might be tedious, and what is already stated is, I trust, sufficient for my purpose. I will therefore, with your permission, pass on to the third point which I proposed to notice, viz., the ideas of [37/38] these savages on the subject of religion. In relation to this, Dr. Krapf writes: "A faint idea of one Supreme Being, which is reconciled to man by the slaughtering of animals,--the idea of evil spirits and human witchcraft,--of sorceries and rain-makers, &c., pervades them all." The first point which demands our attention here, is obviously the views which these tribes entertain concerning God, and which Dr. K. here characterizes as "a faint idea of one Supreme Being, who is reconciled to man by the slaughtering of animals." That this idea is indeed a very faint one, we are forced to conclude from the descriptions given of their various ceremonies and religious institutions. The experience of the Missionaries in the South of Africa had been the first to contradict that received and popular opinion, that man is a religious creature; and that wherever he is to be found, there also are to be traced the impressions and even convictions of the existence of a God. "Such," writes Moffat, in a very remarkable passage of his Missionary labours and scenes, "were my own views when I left my native land; and entertaining such views, I persuaded myself, or rather tried to persuade myself, that I could discover rays of natural light, innate ideas of a Divine Being, in the most untutored savage; that I could never be at any loss to make appeals to something analogous to our own [38/39] faith in the religious notions even of those among whom not a vestige of temple, altar, image, idol, or shrine was to be found. When I was unsuccessful, I attributed it to my ignorance of the language, or the paucity of competent interpreters. So great was the force of early prejudices, that it was a long time before I could be induced to embrace what I once considered an erroneous view of the subject." He has indeed clearly proved that whatever traditional knowledge of the Divine Being may have been possessed by their forefathers, has now wholly disappeared from the South African tribes,--.illustrating his point at the same time from the experience of Vanderkemp and others amongst the Kaffirs. That the Eastern tribes are involved in darkness almost, if not quite as gross, in regard to this fundamental basis of all religion, I am strongly inclined to believe, from the accounts given of them by our Missionaries: and I think this will appear satisfactorily, if we compare these accounts with the result of former researches amongst the Bicuanas and Kaffirs. The very curious description of the Morimo, or object of worship, if such it might be called among the former, given by Moffat, when compared with Rebmann's notice of the Jagga tribes as to their ideas, or rather want of ideas, of God, presents features of similarity which are, to say the least, remarkable. The derivation [39/40] of Morimo, is from the word 'gorimo,' 'above,' mo being the personal prefix. From the same root 'legorimo,' 'heaven,' and its plural, 'magorimo,' are derived. So in the Kijagga language, Mr. Rebmann found that one single word, Eroova, had for its first meaning, 'the sun,' for its second, 'heaven,' and for its third, 'God.' "Thus," he says, "there would be but one word in this language, not only for the Creator and one of His works, as in the Kinika, but also for two works, so clearly distinct from each other." Again, in turning to the latter, the Kinika word for 'God,' also denoting heaven, we find a striking similarity to another of the Southern tribes, I mean the Kaffirs. The Rev. S. Kay, in his account of the Amaxosa genealogy, supposes that Uhlanga or Thlanga, commonly translated 'God,' is the name of the oldest of their kings, by whom they swore in former times; a custom which obtains universally in the interior. "When any one is struck dead by lightning," says Thompson in the Appendix to his Travels, "they say that Uhlanga has been amongst them:" a fact which seems to connect the Kaffir Uhlanga with the Namaqua Tsui 'kuap, or Uti 'kuap, and therefore with the Utixo of the Hottentots. This Uhlanga then is a deified hero. Now Molungo is the word for 'God' in the Kinika language, and not to remark upon the [40/41] similarity of the word itself; Dr. Krapf says, that in the sacrificial prayers of the Wanika, "even if they use the word Molungo, they chiefly think of a man who, because of his many good deeds on earth, by his influence and wealth, has become a Molungo after death." These facts, I think, go to prove a great similarity between the Eastern and Southern tribes; and, I must confess, they induce me to believe that Moffat's description of the latter will be found to be even more directly applicable to the former, than our Missionaries seem at present to suspect, that the faint idea of one Supreme Being will be found to be fainter and fainter, as our acquaintance with their superstitions increases. It is however, possible, that the tribes on the coast may have obtained a somewhat clearer idea on this subject than those in the interior, by reason of their intercourse with the Mahometans. With regard to the observance of sacrificial rites, and the slaughter of animals, we find them continually practised by them on all occasions. If indeed they be designed by them as propitiatory offerings to the Deity, then they would seem to bespeak for the Eastern tribes a degree of traditional enlightenment not possessed by their Southern neighbours. Moffat himself admits that, "among the tribes, and especially those nearer to the coast, some customs remain which are thought to have a reference to [41/42] sacrifices, offerings, and purifications; such as might be expected to be found among people descending from the East, as all the Bicuana tribes appear to have done. But," he adds, "in many instances, their slaughtering of animals on occasions of a tree being struck with lightning, or to procure rain, or to restore the sick, may be easily traced to the inventive brain of wily rain-makers, who, in such a case, as at their public festivals and ceremonies, never lose sight of their stomachs." For my own part, I feel disposed to put this construction upon the alleged sacrifices of the Eastern tribes, although it is quite possible that there may be more remnants of tradition, the more we advance to the northward in our researches,--an opinion which, I may add, derives strength from the recent most interesting discoveries of Mr. Livingston, on the banks of the Lake Ngami.
The belief in evil spirits appears to prevail amongst all the tribes of Eastern Africa, and amongst them all recourse is had to superstitious rites and ceremonies for their expulsion. Thus amongst the Wanika, Dr. Krapf relates an instance of a woman supposed to be possessed by an evil spirit, whom he met, accompanied by a noisy band of companions, and holding in her hands a white hen, which was killed on the shore, whilst the party raised the most horrible noise, in order [42/43] to expel the spirit, and drive it into the sea. Another very similar case he notices at the hamlet of Emboga, amongst the same tribe, where a company were assembled to expel an evil spirit by drums and dancing. So the chief of Bundini, in Udigoni, ordered the firing of a musket to frighten and banish the Pepo, or evil spirit, out of the village. Of the use of similar expedients among the Wakamba, he gives an instance, when an old woman was so much struck by his appearance, that she actually commenced performing their usual ceremonies for expelling evil spirits. She shook her head like a madman, and grunted like a pig.
With regard to the immortality of the soul, these tribes seem to have some idea of the continued existence of the departed, at least if we may judge from the rites practised at their graves. Moffat found that the Southern tribes were in the habit of addressing the dead; and such occasions he would eagerly embrace to convince them that if they did not themselves believe in the immortality of the soul, it was evident from this custom that their ancestors once did. The practice of the Eastern tribes to which I especially refer, is that of placing food upon the graves of the departed, from the belief that a man cannot live after death without it. This practice they call Sadaka, a word which I should be disposed to derive from the [43/44] Mahometan Sadakat, which Sale explains to mean voluntary alms. Many instances are related of this practice among the Wanika, the usual offering with them being 'tembo,' an intoxicating liquor, and 'mahindi,' or Turkish corn. On passing by a few graves Dr. Krapf observed an empty cocoa-nut shell placed in the middle of the soil of each, in order to be filled from time to time with the liquor. Others put rice and maize instead of tembo. The object of it, according to their own explanation, is to induce the shade of the dead, which they call 'koma,' to cause rain to fall on the parched plantations of the living. Mr. Rebmann gives an interesting account of such a Sadaka, which he witnessed at Djembeni. He states that the idea on which this whole practice is based, seems to be, that the Koma is thought to be hovering over the grave, and participating and gratifying itself, in some way or other, in the feast of the survivors. That the same ideas prevail amongst the Taita, we know from the evidence of the same witness, who, on arriving at the banks of the river Loomi, in his journey to Jagga-land, heard his Taita guide, Loogo, speak to the Komas of his countrymen who had been slain there in battle with the Wakuafi. Of the Jaggas themselves also, he says, that like the Taitas and Wanika, they pray to the departed souls or their deceased relations, and put milk on [44/45] their graves, instead of rice and palm-wine, as the Wanika do, adding that this custom seems to be very widely spread in East Africa.
The practices of sorcery and rain-making are universal amongst these tribes, and form another strong link of connection between them and the nations of the South. Uganga is the name given to sorcery, a custom to which the Wanika seem in a manner wedded: it is a part of their social system, and forms, we may say, the very essence of their religion. Nor is it by any means confined to them; all the tribes alike are fast bound under its baneful influence. One example of the manner in which Uganga is practised among them, will suffice. I extract it from Dr. Krapf's account of his visit to Usambara. "I observed," he says, "an Emshinshi Emganga--physician and sorcerer--having in his hand a bell tied to a little piece of wood, with which he rung the bell. In the front of him I saw a few sick men sitting on the ground. The Emganga, in a singing tone, pronounced the word 'dabre,' when the men responded 'eh.' The word 'dabre' is probably related to the Galla word 'dabri,' to pass over. In the middle, between the Emganga and his respondents, I observed a coffee-cup placed on a small chair, which was surrounded by four cow-tails tied to four pieces of wood. In the water there were a few berries of a tree [45/46] unknown to me. The berries moved toward the centre of the cup. Sorcery," he says, "seems to lay a great hold of the Washinshi mind." The Wanika tribes usually have a stated place, called Kitshumbo dja Molungo, i. e. the House of God, or Heaven, where they assemble to pray for rain, and here the rites of the Uganga are practised. Uzai seems to be another name by which they denote witchcraft; every kind of charm they call Uganga, and by means of them the sorcerers obtain an unlimited power and ascendancy over the minds of their infatuated countrymen. These notices will at once remind us of Moffat's frequent allusions to the rain-makers, who proved such a continual thorn in his side. "Like the angekoks of the Greenlanders," he says "the pawaws of the Indians, and the greegrees of Western Africa, they constitute the very pillars of Satan's kingdom, in all places where such impostors are found."
The Muansa of which Dr. Krapf speaks so often, ought, I think, to be connected with the Uganga which has just been noticed. It is one of those great impostures by which the people are deluded and kept in a state of superstitious terror. It is described as being an instrument, consisting of part of the trunk of the cocoa-nut tree, about five feet in length and one in diameter. It had evidently [46/47] been hollowed, but closed again at both ends, from one of which a rope issued, and by which, when drawn out a little and let in again, a strange loud humming was produced. It is carried in procession by elders and chiefs, with dancing and shouting,--no one else being permitted even to appear outside of their houses. "This Muansa," writes Dr. Krapf, "is the bulwark and centre of Kinika heathenism, and its full extent we do not yet fully understand. It is preserved in a cottage constructed in the forest. It is beaten on various occasions for instance, when they pray for rain, or strangle a child born with a natural defect. Only a certain number of people are admitted into the secrets of the Muansa. It forms, in fact, an order, which in point of secresy may be compared with that of the Freemasons in Europe. The Wakamba, Taita, and Jagga people, however, have no Muansa."
With such a total ignorance of God, and such degrading superstitions, we need not wonder at the amount of demoralization which prevails amongst the tribes of East Africa. "In a practical point of view," writes the Doctor in the communication before referred to, "they are all engrossed in the lusts of the flesh, in banquetting, intoxication, voluptuousness, lying and deceit, in greedy beggaries and idleness." Thus, of the Wanika we are told: "In general they are a lying, talking, [47/48] drinking, superstitious, selfish, and totally earthly-minded people:"--of the Wakamba, that they are said to be even greater drunkards than the Wanika; the intoxicating drink which they prepare is stronger than that made from the cocoa-nut. The Washinshi are the only tribe of which Dr. K. speaks favourably in this particular; amongst them, drunkenness is seldom witnessed. But the propensity to begging is that of which he complains most. "I must tell the Committee again and again," he says, "that I consider begging the greatest obstacle which I have met with in my Missionary career. No danger, no climate, neither mountain nor valley, neither land nor sea,--no, nothing whatever, do I count a serious obstacle, but beggary is really an obstacle in my sight." He always shrinks, he tells us on another occasion, on hearing the word 'heshima,' which means display connected with the exchange of presents.
In speaking on the state of religion and morals amongst these African tribes, I have been insensibly led to details which seem to have a bearing of an unfavourable character on Missionary enterprise; but we must remember that these are the very things against which the Missionary goes forth to contend--that we cannot therefore expect in this particular part of our subject, to meet with anything calculated to give vantage-ground to the [48/49] preacher of the truth, except it be in a comparative point of view, as presenting a somewhat less formidable array of opposition, than in some other spheres of Missionary labour. And this, I think, we may observe in the last fact which I shall mention on this head, namely, that none of the East African tribes has any kind of idols, though it is true that Fetish-making seems to increase the further the traveller proceeds towards the interior. This absence of idols ought, I think, to be regarded as a decided advantage to the Missionary. For wherever a regular system of idol-worship has been established, we find a strong and almost invincible attachment to that system prevailing, which forms a tremendous barrier in the way of Missionary labour. Such, for example, is the idol-system of India, which for ages and for generations has held the bodies and the souls of its deluded votaries in chains of despotic tyranny. The opposition to the Gospel, in such a case, is so much more united and systematic in its character, that it throws into the shade the disunited and single efforts of hostility which the messenger of truth is called to combat in a land, where no such time-honoured and venerated system has found rooting. And of this latter class are the tribes of Eastern Africa, whose circumstances in relation to Missionary enterprise we are now considering. On the whole, then, I am [49/50] disposed to conclude, that even in the view of their religious belief and practice, the tribes to whom this Mission is directed, present a promising field for the labour of the Christian teacher.
The remaining particulars which I proposed to notice will not detain us so long as those which have already engaged our attention. The next feature of the East African tribes which has its bearing on Missionary work is, their form of Government. This is distinctly stated by our Missionaries to be two-fold; in some tribes an unshackled Republicanism, in others, absolute Despotism. Among the Wanika, Wakamba, Wataita, and some part of the Tarés, the loosest forms of republics are to be met with, "so much so, that among the Wakambas only, very few individuals are invested with any degree of authority and superiority; this degree keeping pace with the degree of property in flocks of cows, goats, and sheep." This republican form of government is traceable in all the accounts of Dr. Krapf's proceedings amongst the Wanika; twelve chiefs whose authority seems to have been in every respect on a level, met together to consult on the occasion of his first settlement at Rabbay-'Mpia. On the other hand, the Jaggas and Wasambara go to the opposite extreme. Their form of government is that of the most absolute monarchy, the king having an undisputed [50/51] and sovereign right in the persons of all his subjects. Amongst the Jaggas, the king is called by the title of Mangi, and the relation in which the subject stands to him, is denoted by the term 'Msoro, which means at once, a soldier and a slave; and the like form prevails, we are told, in the mountainous Ugono country, only a short day's distance from Jagga. Mr. Rebmann gives an interesting account of the Jagga despotism, which is transcribed in full in the Church Missionary Society's Report for 1849. With regard to the Wasambara tribe in the South-west, we are informed that their great monarch Kmeri, exercises an unlimited tyranny over his vast dominions, which extend from the Pangani river, along the coast up to Wanga, and from the coast eight to ten days inland, as far as to the country of the Pari tribes, comprising, according to Dr. Krapf's estimate, a population of at least 400,000 souls. The Washinshi, Wasambara, and Wapari people are included under their government. When I consider the experience of the Missionaries amongst these various tribes, I cannot but regard it as a special interposition of God in favour of the extension of Missionary operations, that in passing on from the coast to the interior, we leave the republican tribes behind, and see nothing around but absolute monarchic power. For this form of government [51/52] has been found by those best able to judge of such matters, to present far greater facilities for the introduction of the Gospel, than that of their republican neighbours. Indeed the language of Dr. Krapf on this subject is decisive. Speaking of the Washinshi, he says, "There is by far, more social order and submission in this country, than with our lawless and bustling Wanika, whose republicanism is another obstacle to our labours. True, the despotism of Ushinshi and Usambara has its disadvantages, but it has also a good side, inasmuch as the permission of the king is sufficient for the Missionary." So also the decided impression made on the mind of Mr. Rebmann, by his visit to the Jaggas was, that a Missionary stationed there, would experience facilities which are looked for in vain in the republics of the Wanika, Wataita, and Wakamba. In order to secure the good will and friendship of the king under such a government, he recommends that the Missionary should be accompanied by artisans of various kinds, weavers, smiths, carpenters, &c, who would not fail to produce a favourable impression. One chief point in which the superiority of the monarchical over the republican tubes consists, with reference to the progress of evangelization, is shown to be, that the king has it in his power to give the Missionary as many children as he likes for instruction: and the [52/53] importance of this point ought to be borne in mind; the scriptural education of the young being that on which the lasting success of a Mission, particularly in relation to the forming of a native ministry, mainly depends.
The next subject to which I would beg permission to draw your attention for a while is, the Physiognomy of the East African countries. In relation to this point, Dr. Krapf writes to me, "We meet either with immense plains of uncultivated ground, or with single-standing mounts from the lowest elevation to the heaven-ward towering snow- mountain Kilimandsharo in the kingdom of Jagga." This two-fold character of the country, Mr. Rebmann has compared with the two-fold form of government just noticed, looking upon the one as bearing a striking resemblance to the other. He regards the uninterrupted plains in the landscape, as representing the levelling republicanism which prevails amongst the tribes of the plains, whilst the lofty mountain peaks of Jagga and Usambara, correspond to the political elevation of their tyrannical Mangis. But, without following any further this apt comparison, I would observe, that the healthiness of the climate is a result of the conformation of the landscape, which ought not to be passed over, as it has a direct bearing on the progress of Missionary work. Africa has been [53/54] commonly regarded as the grave of Europeans, the most unhealthy clime on which the light of heaven shines. The experience however of our Missionaries amongst the eastern tribes, gives us a very different view of that portion of the continent. The low land in the immediate vicinity of the seacoast indeed may partake of the usual character of what we are wont to call, with a kind of instinctive dread, "the Coast of Africa," or, sometimes simply, "the coast," without the need of any epithet to express its baneful malignity; but if it be so, it is but in a slight degree, and the moment the traveller leaves that immediate vicinity, he scales lofty heights, which may be characterized as eminently healthy. The country towards the interior appears to be a continual ascent, by way of "steppes," as geographers term it, that is, a succession of lofty heights, separated by extensive table land, sometimes desert, and at other times thickly wooded. The first heights at which the traveller arrives, are those inhabited by the Wanika tribes, following the line of the coast for many miles from North to South. The healthiness of Rabbay-'Mpia, situated on the hills of Unikani, is most distinctly stated to be such as need excite no alarm for the prospects of the Mission in this particular. Beyond these heights, level land of immense extent opens upon the view, now and then intersected by a hillock, [54/55] on which a grove of cocoa-nut trees are visible. The Wanika themselves live chiefly upon the hills, leaving the plains and table-land to the more pastoral tribes of the Wakamba. Beyond these again extends a vast desert, fully sixty miles across, nowhere presenting an impenetrable jungle, though sufficiently well wooded, terminated by the lofty mountains of the Taita country, with reference to the climate of which Mr. Rebmann tells us that it may be considered excellent, and that at some places, something of Alpine air and Alpine water are to be enjoyed, while the productions of the country would afford the most necessary articles of food. Still beyond the high mountains of Taita stretches another vast wilderness, bounded by the yet loftier heights of Jagga, and the crowning peak of the wondrous Kilimandsharo, whose eternal snows are a sufficient index to the healthiness of the surrounding district. In the same strain of unqualified commendation does Dr. Krapf speak of the mountainous territory of Ushinshini and Usambara in the South-west. The mountain of Pambire in the former, he recommends as the position of the first Missionary Station amongst those tribes. "The view to the lower country, and to the sea," he says, "is beautiful, and the climate healthy." Indeed, throughout his visit to Usambara, he was enraptured with the coolness of the climate, the [55/56] water running from the rocks, the numerous cascades, the masses of mountains rising to the sky. Stronger testimony than we have here to the general healthiness of any country it were unreasonable to desire: it runs through every part of our Missionary's correspondence, in the details of their several journeys into the unexplored interior. I regard their testimony on this, and on the former point, as a call to our Society to be pressing forward.
There is one more topic which deserves our notice, as bearing directly on the progress of the Gospel. It is the mutual intercourse existing between these various tribes. On this head I am authorised to state that "all tribes, as far as to the very centre of this continent, are more or less connected with each other by commercial interests." The Dshete, or markets, have been already mentioned, as prevailing throughout Udigoni, Ushinshini, and Usambara. It may be added that the same custom is found also far inland, where the Jaggas, with their immediate neighbours, the Dafeta, Ugono, and Kahe people very frequently meet together at their sangarras, or market-places. Thus too the Gallas, who are found on both sides of the river Osi, barter with the Pokomo tribes, who inhabit its banks. That river, as well as the Jabs, also appears to be navigable for boats for a [56/57] voyage of two or three months from the sea; and thus presents facilities for carrying the Gospel into the interior: in addition to which there would seem to be a degree of good will on the part of the natives in that neighbourhood; as the chief of Barawa said to Dr. Krapf, "You may go as far inland as you like; my son shall accompany you." The tribe, however, to which the Missionary must especially look for the facilities of communication, is that of the Wakamba. This appears repeatedly in the notices given of that people. Permit me to quote one or two of these notices, as showing the great importance of this particular tribe. In one place Dr. Krapf writes: "The Wakamba merchants are the principal traders between the interior and this coast. It would be through them chiefly that the traveller might succeed in penetrating into the centre of Africa. This point of view therefore renders the Wakamba people important and interesting in our estimation: as, if they can be brought under the influence of the Gospel, they may, like the Gallas, carry the seed of life to a large portion of Africa. They travel in caravans of from 200 to 500 men." Again, we are told that there appears to be a continual movement among these people; many annually leaving their homes in the interior, and settling clown with their countrymen in the Wanika land, [57/58] and, vice versa: a door is thus opened for the diffusion of the great truths of the Gospel. Again, the Doctor writes, "Were we assisted by one or two more Missionary brethren, we might, without any particular difficulty, establish a school among the neighbouring Wakamba tribes, which appear to be more accessible to instruction than the Wanika. This people is of the utmost consequence to East Africa, as I have frequently mentioned in my letters. They are the commercial go-between of the coast and the interior. By their instrumentality you may reach the very centre of Africa; for their main tribe lives within 400 or 600 miles from the coast, and is connected with Western tribes to a long distance."
With regard to the accessibility of the interior, I need only state that Mr. Rebmann, in his last journey, reached the point from which there is a starting practicable to Uniamési, which country separates the East and West African roads. The principal tribes on the way to this central region, according to Bana Kheri, Dr. Krapf's Suahili guide, are Kaptei, Kikuyu, Yoggo, and Pugé. The people of Kikuyu, which lies N. W. of Jagga, were described to him by one of his porters in Usambara, as being well disposed toward strangers, and their country as a thoroughfare to Uniamési, in Central Africa. The Doctor thinks he has [58/59] discovered with regard to the country of Uniamési, a wonderful arrangement of Providence for the introduction of the Gospel; to be recognised in the fact that both to the north and south of Uniamési, wild and savage tribes of Gallas are to be found, the scourge of these sequestered regions but that their movements have been overruled in such a manner, that these more accessible tribes of the Suahili family were left between them, in order that through this medium, the Gospel should find a way from East to West Africa.
I trust that the foregoing details will not have appeared tedious. They have been collected for the purpose of showing the practicability of extending our Missionary operations inland; and that object could not be effected without some degree of particularity. I cannot but think that you will agree with me in my conclusion, that in whatever light we regard these African tribes, whether we view their language, their manners and customs, their religion, their form of government, the physiognomy of their country, or their mutual intercourse, facilities of no ordinary character are presented for the diffusion of the Gospel light, and the extension of Christ's kingdom. And if it be so, these things are an urgent call to us, as a Society, to be up and doing, that we may not be wanting to the openings which God has granted, [59/60] but may be ready to rise to take possession of the land for Him.
The urgent call, thus gathered from the circumstances of the case, will, I think, be rendered yet more impressive, if for a few moments we turn our eyes to some of the intimations of mercy in store for Africa, which are to be met with in the word of God, and ought to be the strongest encouragements which we can desire, to stimulate us in our evangelizing work. The 72nd Psalm is one which describes the results of that work in all the glory attaching to its eventual success. There the wide extension and permanent establishment of the Gospel kingdom throughout the world, are set before us, having a primary reference indeed, in a restricted sense, to Solomon, but clearly belonging, in their fullest and richest meaning, to "One greater than Solomon." We read there of the King Messiah: "He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before Him; His enemies shall lick the dust." These words give a general description of the universal empire which our Lord Jesus shall possess in that latter day: and I cannot but think it remarkable, that, in descending to particulars, there should be (as I think) a special reference by name to the continent of Africa. The words which [60/61] immediately follow those already quoted, are, "The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Yea, all kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him." In this passage, if Tarshish be allowed to denote, as many have supposed, Tartessus in Spain, and "the isles" to represent those countries so often called in Scripture "the isles of the Gentiles"--the word having been distinctly proved, by the Editor of Calmet, to mean, not places surrounded by water, but settlements in general,--then I think this first portion of the verse may be taken to imply the subjugation of the continent of Europe to the yoke of Christ. In this view it might appear to us probable, a priori, that the two remaining names might stand for the continents of Asia and Africa; nor do I think, that, on a closer inspection, we shall see any cause to dissent from the opinion. In the article of the Editor of Calmet on the Queen of Sheba we meet with these expressions: "It is very probable that Saba in Arabia should be one of the Shebas, and Assaba in Africa be the other." Bruce's account of Abyssinia confirms the idea; proving that there was a country bearing the name of Saba, Azab, or Azaba (all signifying South), to the west of the Red Sea. I would suggest, then, that the whole passage may admit of the interpretation,--[61/62] The kings of Europe shall bring presents; the kings of Asia and Africa shall offer gifts. I am of opinion that many arguments might be brought forward to illustrate this interpretation, but to do so on the present occasion would swell these observations far beyond their proper limits, which, I fear, have alrdady been exceeded. I shall therefore content myself with the hint already thrown out, and pass on to mention another encouraging prediction.
Psalm lxviii. 31 is a passage which must at once occur to the mind of every friend of Africa, as a clear and undeniable prediction of her final evangelization. "Princes shall come out of Egypt Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God." The word rendered Ethiopia in this and other passages of Scripture is, in the original, Cush. I believe it is commonly admitted, that as there were two Shebas--one in Asia, and the other in Africa--so also there was an African as well as an Asiatic Cush. Indeed the constant rendering of the word Cush by Ethiopia in the Septuagint translation, is in itself an argument for the correctness of this view. And I believe the Christian Missionary to Africa may go forth on the strength of this single text, connecting Cush as it does with Egypt, grounding on it a confident assurance that his labour shall not be in vain in the Lord. The [62/63] remarks of Bruce on the word Cush are worthy the attention of every one who has the evangelization of Africa at heart.
With this passage we may connect another, which describes the Church of God as established in the various nations of the earth, and distinctly mentions the land of Cush. I allude to Psalm lxxxvii. 4: "I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me; behold Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia: this man was born there." Does not such a verse as this afford a basis on which to rest the hope that from amongst the sable sons of Africa some shall be born again of the Spirit, born from above, born children of God and heirs of glory; and that he who goes forth with the message of life and peace to that benighted land shall, in the last day have many ransomed souls for his hire, many to be his joy and crown of rejoicing? In the West and in the South of this dark continent, the hope has been already verified in many blessed instances: we have only to proceed with our work in the East, and it shall be so there also.
But it is not in the Psalms alone that we meet with these encouraging predictions. The writings of the prophets also contain intimations of the future good of Africa. For instance, the country described in Isa. xviii. I, as "the land shadowing [63/64] with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia," may, I believe, be proved to denote the kingdom of Abyssinia, and perhaps the region of the Galla tribes beyond. [For a further explanation of my views of this prophecy, I beg to refer to an article published in the Church of England Magazine, for July, 1843, where I have given an interpretation of the expression, Tsiltsal K'naphaim, not hitherto noticed by any commentator.] With respect to this country, its final subjection to Emmanuel is strikingly set forth in the concluding verse of the chapter: "In that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of Hosts of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from their beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot, whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the name of the Lord of Hosts, the Mount Zion."
The very same event again is clearly alluded to in nearly the same language by the prophet Zephaniah, where he says, (iii. 10,) "From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia my suppliants, even the daughter of my dispersed, shall bring mine offering."
Once more, not to weary you with quotations, we have Africa evidently described as joining herself to the people of the Lord in the latter-day glory of the Church, by the prophet Isaiah, in the forty-fifth chapter of his prophecy. "Thus saith the Lord, The labour of Egypt, and merchandize of Ethiopia, and of the Sabeans, men of stature, [64/65] shall come over unto thee, and they shall be thine: they shall come after thee; in chains they shall come over, and they shall fall down unto thee they shall make supplication unto thee, saying, Surely God is in thee; and there is none else, there is no God." Speaking of this passage, Bruce says, "Here the several nations are distinctly and severally mentioned in their places, but the whole meaning of the passage would have been lost, had not the situations of these nations been perfectly known; or had not the Sabeans been mentioned separately, for both the Sabeans and the Cushites were certainly Ethiopians. The meaning of the verse is, that the fruit of the agriculture of Egypt, which is wheat;--the commodities of the negro,--gold, silver, ivory, and perfumes, would be brought by the Sabean shepherds, their carriers, and a nation of great power, who shall join themselves with you."
Such are some of the most remarkable Scripture prophecies relating to the future destinies of Africa; and they are unquestionably such as to afford to the Christian Missionary a strong ground of encouragement in prosecuting his arduous work. They are tokens of eventual success, which viewed by the eye of faith are to be his guiding star in the ocean of perplexities and fears which, but for them, would engulph his every hope. They are the [65/66] ground on which I would stand in urging the cause of Africa. God hath said it, and it shall be done;--let us as a Society claim the privilege of doing it.
It remains then that I lay before you, as briefly as I can, the plan of proceeding in this blessed work, which Dr. Krapf has suggested, and which I am seeking to recommend. The idea is that of the gradual establishment of a succession of Missionary stations westward from Rabbay 'Mpia, through the central parts of the continent to meet the progressive advance of the Vest African Missionaries. This progress must of necessity be gradual; for, notwithstanding the mutual intercourse existing amongst the various tribes of the interior, it is admitted, as the result of our Missionaries' investigation, that a European cannot straightway proceed from one tribe to another, as he pleases, but must move inland, step by step. One cause of this necessity is to be found in the greedy beggaries of the chiefs and kings, already alluded to, and of which so many instances are traceable in the journals of Dr. Krapf and Mr. Rebmann. Again the jealousy which seems innate in all African chieftains, is a second cause. Of this, Mr. Livingstone had painful experience in his recent hazardous, though successful enterprise. A third is discoverable in the fear of magic and superstitions prevailing amongst the natives. These things act as [6/67] impediments, to overcome which, time and caution are absolutely necessary. The framers of the Missionary chain, therefore, will bear in mind, that they cannot locate a Mission at once in the heart of Africa, but that they must take their ground by degrees. The experience of our Missionaries has proved that it is quite practicable even now,--nay, that the way is open for a Missionary to proceed some 200 miles or more into the country. Finding there some suitable position at which to commence his work of evangelization, let him prosecute that work diligently and prayerfully for one half year, or a year; at the same time occasionally exploring the country before him; and casting up the way of the Lord, as it were, by making friends with the chieth, and establishing his character in the place which he has occupied. At the close of such a period, when it shall appear practicable or desirable, let him be reinforced by others, who shall occupy the land some hundred miles in advance. I would only point to the success which has attended this manner of proceeding amongst the South African tribes, by the London Missionaries; and the arguments already advanced, will, I think, appear sufficient to prove that the same exertions in the East will be equally successful. The gradual advance in the South has planted Mission stations, one after another, from the banks of the Orange River to [67/68] the Bawangketsi capital, and is now leading on the way, even to the mysterious inland sea of Ngami. And that similar advances are practicable in the East, is, I think, demonstrable from the facts brought to light during the short period of our Society's history in that quarter. The frank and hearty reception of Dr. Krapf and his companion at Rabbay 'Mpia was but the prelude to a welcome, if possible even more hearty, amongst the tribes whom they visited beyond. Thus the account of Mr. Rebmann's audience with Mamkinga, the king of Jagga, concludes with the words, "The king was much pleased, and said, 'how can I refuse this man?'" And very similar to this was the reception which Dr. Krapf met with from Kmeri, the great king of Tisambara. "I now know you," he said, "and I wish you might come yourself." The facilities also for establishing a Mission in the Taita country are represented as being of no common character.
Dr. Krapf's idea with reference to this Mission chain is, that by proceeding in this way simultaneously from the East and West, our Missionaries might at length be enabled to shake hands (to use his own expression) in the heart of Africa. "Let them," he says, "be only men, who with heart and soul endeavour to fill the link of the great chain to which they have tied themselves before the Lord [68/69] and His Church, when they left their home. Let them be men of sound and undaunted faith, of burning love, of perfect self-denial, seeking not for their personal comfort, but for the salvation of souls." There is however one point, with regard to which I must express a different opinion from that of Dr. Krapf, although I cannot but admire the ardent zeal which dictated it on his part. It is where he suggests that one or several Missionary Societies might be summoned to take the lead in this crusade through Africa. I am decidedly of opinion, that in Missionary work, the spheres of labour of different Societies ought to be kept as much as possible distinct. We ought, if possible, to keep out of the sight of new converts from the heathen, those denominational differences which exist amongst Christians. Such differences cannot fail to arrest and distract the attention of young converts, and introduce the seeds of disaffection and mistrust, where all ought to be love and concord. I would say, rather, let each distinct Society choose its own distinct field of labour, and spend all its energies on that field, as though no other Society existed. So the differences of denominations will not be an obstacle to the progress of the Gospel in heathen lands, and indeed will not be even known amongst them during the infancy of the various Missions, excepting only on either [69/70] side of the boundary line, when the gradual extension of each has brought them into contact. This plan was wisely and successfully adopted in the South Seas, by an arrangement entered into on the part of the London and Wesleyan Missionaries. The remarks of the lamented Williams on this point are of the utmost importance, and should, I think, be duly weighed by every Society which has the interests of Christ's kingdom at heart. [Vide Missionary Enterprises in the South Sea Islands, c. xvii.]
In conclusion, let me say that my aim in thus laying before you the proposed scheme, has been simply this, that the interesting field of Africa may be occupied and cultivated in a manner more proportionate to its importance, than it is at present. Let the cause be borne on the hearts of Christians before the throne of God; and I believe the result will prove that a bright and glorious day is dawning upon Africa, whose sun shall no more go down, but shall shine "more and more unto the perfect day."
I feel, Sir, that, in drawing these observations to a close, I ought to apologize for the unexpected length to which they have been extended. At the same time, I am sure that the importance which you yourself attach to this mission, and the great service you have yourself rendered to it, in the fixing of a common African orthography, (for which, as a member of the Committee of this Society, I take this opportunity of thanking you on its behalf,) will plead my excuse in your eyes for any prolixity which might render my remarks tedious to others. Without offering, then, any other apology, but commending this blessed work (such as I have laid it before you) to your earnest prayers and wise superintendence, I beg to subscribe myself,
My dear Sir,
Yours most sincerely,
OWEN EMERIC VIDAL.