Many friends of the Mission will be glad to hear of the safe arrival of the new Southern Cross, and we therefore give an abstract from the journal kept by Dr. Welchman, and a few extracts from the log which will show her capabilities.
But first let me say a few words as to the reasons which induced me to procure a new vessel, and one so much larger than the old one, which has served us so well and so long. It may seem to some friends of the Mission a useless expense; but it appeared to me absolutely necessary.
The old vessel had no spare stowage room at all. Under the cabin were stowed the stores for her long voyage, and under the lower deck forward, the water tanks took up all the available room, except a small space left for Boatswain's stores. The only available space left for the baggage and Island stores of the Mission Clergy, for the boxes and multitudinous effects of the boys coming to and fro from their Islands, and for the stores which constitute the stipends of the Mission teachers, was the boys' cabin. As the work has grown, all these demands for space have grown, and the result was a crowding both of ourselves and the boys, which my medical advisers warned me was a serious danger to the health of the community. For most of the time we used the old ship, I slept on the floor of our cabin, and thereby gained a little space, so that I do not think we were unduly fastidious. The new vessel will obviate all this. There are bunks for nearly every scholar that can be carried. By putting houses for the white passengers on deck, space has been gained below, and there is amble storage room, so that the ship can be kept clean and tidy, a thing of itself of great benefit in the education of the boys.
I do not think that the extra annual cost will be very great. A careful measurement of the coal used, shows that she will steam about 6 1/2 to 7 knots on a consumption of 2 tons 14 cwt. for the 24 hours. The old vessel went 5 in a dead calm on about 1 1/2 tons for the same time, and would not move in a breeze. An extra hand will be required in the engine room, but when under sail he will assist the crew. The greater rapidity with which she will get about will enable her to stay longer between the voyages in port and thus materially lessen the insurance.
J. R. SELWYN, Bishop.
The ship, after being repaired at Southampton, left Plymouth on Nov. 24th, 1891. Up to December 12th they had strong head winds, and then light and variable, so she made but little way. In a calm on Dec. 8th, they steamed all day, averaging 7 knots, which was the contract [3/4] speed. December 11th. Passed Madeira. Dec. 26th. Crossed the Line. On Dec. 26th, it is noted that the vessel feels the least breeze and moves along under it. Jan. 9th. 3 days calm--steam again--averaging 7. Jan. 12th. Mrs. Bongard gave birth to a daughter, and both she and the child did very well. Jan. 20th. Strong breeze and very heavy sea dead aft. The ship doing her miles in 5.38 to 54.5 sec. Very fairly dry. Jan. 27th. Very heavy sea off the Cape, in which the ship behaved splendidly and took no heavy water on board. Dr. Welchman describes the seas as "magnificent. I have never seen anything so fine." Feb. 20th. "Yesterday," says the Dr. "the ship run 250 miles, and to-day 220, and so easily that we scarcely wanted fiddles on the table." Feb. 15th. For the last seven days we have averaged 209, with rather a heavy sea, which necessitated taking in sail. Feb. 25th. 870 miles in 4 days. Sighted Tasmania at 10 a.m. From this to New Zealand they experienced one very heavy gale, and then calms in which they steamed along the coast. Passed C. Maria van Diemen at 8 a.m. 11th. North Cape, 4 p.m. Off Cape Brett at 6 a.m. on the 12th, and anchored at 8.35 p.m. the same day. 108 days out from Plymouth.
The ship was 240 hours under steam. Dr. Welchman held a thanksgiving service on board on Sunday morning, at which most of the crew and all the officers attended, and could hardly get through without breaking down. The Captain's children came off with his sister-in-law. I am sure we must all echo Dr. Welchman's words, "Thanks be to God for his Protection and safe conduct." J. R. Selwyn. Bishop.
I add the best continuous run:
Feb. 9. 250
" 10. 220
" 11. 216
" 12. 173
" 13 143
" 14. 233
" 15. 229
" 16. 245
" 17. 186
" 18. 189
" 19. 196
" 20. 230
" 21. 180
" 22. 222
" 23. 230
" 24. 218
" 25. 200
211.1 average per day.
_____ [unnumbered page after page 4] FAREWELL LETTER FROM MELANESIAN SCHOLARS. NORFOLK ISLAND, 1892. __________________________ To The Right Rev. Bishop Selwyn.
We have heard already that you cannot come back and our hearts are sad. Your word has reached us, and this is ours which we with one mind wish you to receive.
For many years past you have worked in our midst, and we have listened to your voice, and now that is passed for ever. Alas for us! But you know that we cannot forget you and Mrs. Selwyn. We are all most diverse, old scholars and new, some from the North and some from the South, but the thought is one. Our hearts will still be one in this religion, the religion of JESUS wherewith you have fed us, and in prayer and in thought for the work in our homes. We feel that that word of JESUS, "that they may be one as we two are one" is fulfilled already in us, and because of this we cannot think that we are separated, for we wait for the Communion hereafter.
This is our letter to you, father, but do not think that this is all. You two shall see the hand-writing of us all, the names of us who are here now at Norfolk Island."
Here follows eighty-six names, and then "And they also, in number 43, who have not yet received Baptism, and cannot write their names."
St. Barnabas, Norfolk Island.
February 8, 1892.
 Memorial to Rev. J. Holford Plant.
A touching service was held at Weston Church, Stafford, Mr. Plant's old home, to unveil and dedicate the memorials which loving hearts have placed there to his memory. These consisted of (1) A window in the North aisle, by Heaton & Butler, (2) A brass lectern, (3) A super altar.
The Bishop of the Diocese kindly came to dedicate the gifts, and spoke touchingly of Mr. Plant's life, and the hope of Immortality as evidenced by the growth of man to higher things, socially, morally, individually. And Bishop Selwyn was to his great joy, able to attend and to say a few words in loving memory of the holiness of Mr. Plant's life, and the power which that holiness exercised on those around him. Behind the Bishop sat Mr. Penny--to whose work in Florida Mr. Plant had taken up. Altogether the Service was a moving and suggestive one--showing the far reaching influence of our Church and race. Nothing could be more dissimilar than that quiet English Parish with its old Church gleaming in the sun in the peaceful landscape, and the reed Churches of Florida, almost buried in the luxuriance of the Tropical forest. But outside the Church door lay the body of him whose speech bound them together, and the presence of his Bishop and Mr. Penny joined as it were in one, those who had loved him here, and those who had worked with him in Melanesia.
Ordination of H. P. Welchman.
By the last mail, news was received of the Ordination of H. P. Welchman, M.R.C.S.E., who has been for some time working as Medical Missionary in the Islands, at Ysabel, in the Solomon Group.
It is to the devoted care and skill of Dr. Welchman and his friend Dr. Metcalfe that the Bishop under God owes his life; and when it was determined that the Bishop should go to England, Dr. Welchman accompanied him, and handed him over to the English surgeons so far recovered that their task was an easier one.
On the voyage he and the Bishop had much talk on the subject of his ordination, and the summons which he then felt in his heart was deepened by much study and prayer on the voyage out in the new Southern Cross.
And thus, when Mr. Palmer, the Head of the Mission, after earnest consultation with the Bishop of Auckland wished him to be ordained, he felt that the call had come and gave himself to the work.
The ordination took place on March 30th, in the little chapel at Bishop's Court, a spot hallowed by many recollections of the Bishop of New Zealand, and Bishop Patteson, and in the presence of the friends of [5/6] the Mission who gathered together to bid farewell to the Mission party which was sailing that day.
The gain to the mission will be great, as Dr. Welchman will be able to work at Ysabel as an ordained clergyman, and his medical skill will be of great use not only there, but at the other Islands as he passes to and fro. And none who know the man will doubt that he will bring to his new calling, the same faithfulness, energy, and devotion which has distinguished him in his old.
It may be interesting to state that Mr. L. P. Robin, after good work done on the Torres Islands is also reading for orders at St. Aidan's, and will rejoin the mission when ordained.
_____ Episode in Norfolk Island Life.
Yesterday was a fine day, and the sea calm, and of course the boys had gone out fishing as usual--others after the birds on the coast. About 11.30 a boy came running up to say that Huraatea, one of our smaller Ulawa boys had fallen over the cliffs, and they believed he was killed, and the only way to get him, was to bring him off in a boat. Mr. Comins went to town at once to see what could be done. Being Saturday, all the girls were out picnicking, and the place seemed so quiet. At dinner we heard that a number of boys had got down the cliffs to Huraatea, and carried him into the shade, and that he was alive, but could not speak. Then we had to wait again for news till nearly 5, when we saw a number of our boys carrying a small stretcher down to town. The boat had been seen from the cliffs, and the boy was sill alive. Another hour and a half, and the small procession returned, carrying the poor boy swiftly and steadily.
It seems that he was climbing round the cliffs, searching for the birds which have the long red feathers in their tails--the stone on which he stood gave way, and he fell with the stone upon him--happily on to some grass, not on the rocks or he must have been killed instantaneously.
The boys who went down the cliffs to him, first removed the stone and then carried him into the shade, and still as they watched by him all those hours, they did not waste the time. They procured two long pieces of wood, and shorter ones to go across, and made a rough stretcher, tying it together with their belts. Don't you think it was worthy of S. John's Ambulance Association? So when Mr. Comins arrived , all was in readiness to move him, and they managed to carry him more than half a mile over rocks and boulders to the boat. The Doctor finds his right thigh fractured in three places, but there is no [6/7] wound through the skin, which is greatly in his favor. One arm seems to be paralysed, and he is not fully conscious.
Later accounts dated April 8th, say that the boy is getting well, and they hope he will soon be about.
The Rev. John Palmer writes to Bishop Selwyn: "Johnson Telegsem is appears has for some two years past had it in his mind to go to Port Adam with John Oiu to help teach the people there. He still desires it, and came to me to ask if he might go--of course I will not withhold him. I am only too thankful to find lads willing to offer themselves for such work. I have put some of the difficulties before his mind, but he says he would like to go and try; and see if he can continue there. I am very thankful for this and hope good may come of it."
Johnson is a native of Ara in the Banks Island, a quiet, peaceable, Christian village.
Port Adam is one of the wildest spots of the wildest island in the South Pacific. Last year a man-of-war was sent to the immediate neighbourhood to punish the murderers of a white trader at Ugi, an island 30 miles off; and now we hear that their friends are threatening to attack our Christian teachers about there It is to such a place that Johnson volunteers to go. He is led to it probably by his friendship for John Oiu, as they have both lived together in the same house at Norfolk Island. He may have been his sponsor at Baptism. But in this way God has called more than one of our best teachers to go out as true "Missionaries." Such was the call of Clement Marau to Ulawa, where he now works as Deacon with much success, after years of patient waiting and danger. May God give Johnson the like grace.
The Mission staff is being recruited by the most welcome addition of the Rev. C. W. Browning and his wife, who leave by the "Doric," on the 11th June.
His devotion to Missionary work is shown by his giving up the Rectory of Lichborough to join the Mission, to which he will bring the tried experience of an English clergyman and keep up the link which has bound the Mission to his old school of Eton.
His presence will be the more welcome as the Mission has been weakened by the death of the Rev. J. Holford Plant, and the retirement of the Rev. Charles Bice, after nearly 25 years most faithful service. He still however retains his connection with the Mission, as organizing Secretary in Australia, and no man can bring to that work a larger experience of the Mission work, gained from work in the three islands of Opa, Maewo, and Aurora; and an intimate knowledge of the language and habits of the people whose love and confidence he won in a remarkable way.
Bishop Selwyn's resignation was accepted on January 1st, 1892.
The members of the Mission delegated their power of nomination to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Codrington, and Bishop Selwyn but no appointment has as yet been made owing to a little difficulty in the form of procedure.
The headship of the Mission will be admirably carried on by Rev. John Palmer and the Bishop of Tasmania has kindly consented to go round the islands this year, so that the Mission will not lack Episcopal care, and a temporary abeyance of the Bishopric will materially help the Trustees of the Mission Endowment Fund.
The finances as will be seen from the Report are not flourishing.
Bishop Selwyn will be most glad to arrange to attend Garden Parties or Drawing Room Meetings--or meetings in Schools to further the work. He cannot yet stand well enough to preach except in small Churches, where he can sit and be heard. His address is:--
The Rev. John Still can also give a fortnight in the Autumn for such work.
For the Rev. John Palmer and the Mission Staff: that God may endue them with wisdom and strength.
For the Divine Guidance in the choice of the new Bishop.
For the newly ordained Deacon--H.. P. Welchman.
For a blessing on the New vessel.
For Bishop Selwyn, that he may be restored to health and be able to work for the Mission in England.
For Rev. C. W. Browning and his family just starting for Norfolk Island to join the Mission.