Mr. Smithett--Mr. Nowers--Waramuri--Erection of mission -buildings--Sickness of missionaries--Extraoi-dina imposture--Long d Waramuri nearly destroyed by fire--Famine--Mortality by dysentery--Progress of the mission--Distant Indians desire a teacher--Abandonment of Waramuri--Various trials--Panic among caribs--Abandonment of mission.
IN 1842 Mr. Brett writes in the journal already alluded to that he had "visited every accessible Indian settlement on the River Pomeroon and its tributaries." In the same year Mr. W. T. Smithett was sent by the Bishop to help Mr. Brett in the work which he was carrying on among 300 small farmers, chiefly of African origin, who had settled a tide or so below Cabacaburi. Mr. Brett wished now to reach the Indians on the other neighbouring rivers. As far as we can learn, it would appear that he would have liked to have started a mission near the mouth of the Pomeroon; but the plan could not be carried out, for in that neighbourhood the mosquitoes are so numerous and irritating that no Indian could be persuaded to settle there. The black people, however, managed to live during the night by enclosing their hammocks within curtains, and by filling their houses with smoke. Mr. Smithett remained only for one year. In the meantime Mr. Brett had visited the Indian settlements on the Manawarin, the Wakapoa, and the Haimara-Cabura.
We shall now have to deal with the station that was finally established on the Moruca. This station is about sixty miles from Cabacaburi. Part of the journey is some what perilous, as an estuary or bay of the Atlantic, which extends between the rivers Pomeroon and Moruca, has to be crossed. This new station was the outcome of the visits paid by Mr. Brett during this period. The people evinced a great yearning for instruction. The Postholder or protector of the Indians, Mr. W. C. H. F. M'Clintock, exerted himself in having the hill fixed upon for the mission cleared of bush and made habitable. About this time Mr. Nowers, Mr. Brett's brother-in-law, volunteered his services, and was placed in charge of the infant mission.
Mr. Brett thus describes the new mission:--"A ridge of sand gradually ascends from the mouth of the Haimara Cabura to a considerable height, and terminates abruptly in a tumulus resembling an ancient barrow. One side of this mound is precipitous, the other connected with the sand- reef: It seemed chiefly composed of small shells, resembling those of periwinkles, and marked with alternate stripes of white and black. These were so abundant that the mould when taken up in a shovel appeared full of them. Between this hill and the Moruca there is a swamp about a quarter of a mile in width. Both the swamp and the high land were then completely covered with the newly felled trees. From the top of the hill we could look down upon the forest, and trace the course of the Moruca and two tributary streams; the trees on their banks being higher than those in the other parts of the forest.
"When Mr. Nowers arrived, his exertions were so well seconded by the Indians, that the erection of the buildings advanced rapidly. They were built of rough timber, and thatched with trooly leaves. As the Moruca and its tributary streams are destitute of this tree, every leaf had to be fetched from the Pomeroon in their small canoes, each trip occupying at least three days. The labour thus bestowed was only remunerated by a small allowance of salt fish and molasses. As no sailing-vessel can enter the Moruca, the boards for the buildings were brought by the Indians in the same manner from its mouth, a few at a time. The Waraus and Manawarin Caribs did most of this laborious work; the Arawaks in the vicinity of the mission thatched the sides and roofs of the buildings, and the carpenter's work was performed by settlers from the Pomeroon. The sum granted by the Demerara and Essequibo District Society was about £170 sterling, and the labour of the Indians would have cost an equal sum had it been necessary to pay them.
"As soon as the house was habitable, Mr. Nowers brought his family to the mission. An accident happened while they were passing up the Moruca which might have been attended with fatal consequences. The mouth of this stream forms a rapid during the rainy season, from its extreme narrowness and the immense quantity of water which there finds its outlet. Wild mangroves overhang it, whose roots and branches, somewhat resembling those of the banian-tree in the East, descend into the water. While the crew of the large canoe which contained the family were vainly striving to overcome the opposing current, two Indian boys from the Pomeroon Mission, who were in a small canoe loaded with plantains, got entangled among the mangroves; their frail craft turned broadside to the current, and was driven violently against a mass of spreading roots. One of them, an Arawak, was completely hoisted out by a branch, and hung suspended, clinging to it for some little time; then, without losing his presence of mind, he swung himself several feet over the whirling and dashing water into the nearly-overturned canoe. It was a moment of great anxiety to us, as we were quite unable to approach them. But providentially the canoe was not swamped, though very small; the impeding roots and branches gave way, and they slipped through them, and shot down the stream with us to wait the moment of high water. They were neither of them twelve years old, and, though excellent swimmers, must have been carried under the roots of the trees and drowned had they fallen into the stream.
"A little after dark we reached Waramuri, and as the sound of the paddles was heard by the people on the hill, a great number of lights were seen advancing to meet us; and on landing, the hearty greeting of about one hundred Caribi men and women was almost overwhelming. All were pressing to shake hands, and to carry some little article from the canoe to the house. It was a grateful spectacle, and very cheering to the new-corners.
"I was soon after compelled to leave my station for a time by the effects of a severe fever; and Mr. Nowers had a very serious illness while visiting Georgetown for the purpose of being admitted into holy orders, his wife being dangerously ill at the same time.
"About this time a remarkable imposture was practised upon the Indians in that part of Guiana. A person pre tending to be the Lord went into the interior with some followers, and established himself in the upper part of the Massaruni. From this distant spot he sent emissaries into the neighbourhood of all the missions, calling on the Indians to quit their homes and provision-grounds, and go to him. They were told that they should possess lands which would yield a large crop of cassava from a single stick, and various other absurdities, very alluring to the indolent Indian. These tales, joined to threats of horrible destruction which should come upon all who refused to go, had their influence upon the minds of many, and lured them away.
"The movement commenced with Acawoios near the Essequibo, who had been observed to be providing them selves with fire-arms for some time before they set out. They were anxious to get the Caribs to join them, and hundreds of Indians of different tribes went from all parts of the country to 'see God,' as they termed it, some of whom perished by sickness on the way, and others found themselves in a state of destitution on arriving on the spot.
"Intelligence of this singular movement was conveyed to the Bishop of Guiana, whose invalid guest I was at that time. Having learned the particulars, I hastened to the mission, though still very weak; and Mr. Nowers followed with his family as soon as he was able to travel. We found that not one baptized person, and only one catechumen, had been enticed away; but those who had kept aloof from Christian instruction had fallen readily into the deceitful snare.
"In the more remote districts some settlements were completely deserted. The inhabitants of others had been part of the way and then returned, famished and ashamed. In the upper part of the Pomeroon I found that the course of the river was obstructed by two trees of great height, which had been cut from the banks to afford their families the means of crossing in their hasty march. Still the number of Caribs who went was but small compared with that of the Acawoios, who left their settlements on the Barima and Barahma for a long time.
"Kobise, the Caribi catechumen, who had been deluded away, soon returned to Waramuri, and thus detailed the particulars of his journey:--'We travelled as fast as we could for thirteen days, and at length arrived at a savannah where some hundreds of Acawoios and others were assembled. They had as yet scarcely any field-provisions, and game was scarce from the multitude of hunters. I was led to a little enclosed hut, from which I heard a voice commanding me to return and fetch my friends and neighbours, as a great fire and water would come upon the whole world except that spot.' He said also that the impostor did not make himself visible, but remained concealed from all, as far as he could learn, delivering his predictions by night; and that his voice sounded like that of a white person. He also added, that on looking around him, he could see nothing but drinking and dancing, a portion of the little cassava bread which they could obtain being made into paiwari; and from this he became apprehensive that it was a delusion of the Yurokon, or evil spirit, and made his escape from them the same night, and returned.
"This strange story, the leading facts of which have been well authenticated by other evidence, is a remarkable illustration of Matt. XXIV. 26 (a text which struck the Indians greatly when it was explained to them on that occasion), inasmuch as the impostor was both 'in a secret chamber' and in 'the desert.' It showed us the necessity of using every effort to spread among those simple people the knowledge which alone could make them truly wise. At the same time, it proved that the knowledge of the existence of a Saviour from destruction had even then spread very widely, although to many it was but as a faintly gleaming light, not sufficient to keep them from going into error.
"A long period of drought ensued. The rainy season, which is expected to commence in November, was confined to a few partial showers; and the earth was parched and vegetation dried up by the long period of heat, which lasted from August 1845 until the following May.
"During the height of that drought, Waramuri Mission was in danger of being destroyed by fire. The swamp in front of it has been already described. It was then covered with dry vegetation and the trees which had been cut down a year before. A Caribi Indian, named Plata, incautiously set fire to the dry grass, and the flames soon began to rise, and spread with rapidity, covering a space a quarter of a mile in extent, and advancing towards the mission. As soon as the alarm was given, Mr. Nowers and the Indians present ran to clear away the dried grass and brushwood which covered the slope, that the fire might have nothing to feed upon. It reached the foot of the hill, and as it began to climb in any place, it was beaten down with long poles. The heat was suffocating, and both the missionary and Indians were blackened by the smoke; but after a severe struggle with the devouring element, by God's blessing on their exertions, the buildings and their families were saved. At four P.M. the fire rushed over the hill about thirty feet from the chapel, and passed on in a broad sheet of flame, devouring everything in its progress.
"Mr. Nowers requiring medical assistance for his family, I took charge of Waramuri for the next six weeks after this. The broad track of the conflagration was perfectly black. The fire continued burning in many places for weeks, feeding upon the peat of which the soil is partly composed, and upon the enormous trunks of trees which lay in every direction. Some of those burning masses looked perfectly white during the glare of the sun by day, and glowed with intense brightness as night came. The swamps were on fire in various directions. One evening six conflagrations were visible in different parts of the horizon. The nearest of these communicated with a portion of the forest, the flames catching the dry leaves, and mounting the trees in succession, until their further progress was stopped by the river. Charred skeletons of small animals and reptiles might be seen among the ashes, the remains of snakes being especially numerous.
"While proceeding one day up the river, a crackling noise was heard at a distance, accompanied by a dense smoke. The Indians said that a savannah which we were approaching was on fire, and immediately rested on their paddles. We soon saw the flames driving before the wind, and devouring the reeds and grass, while our further progress was prevented by the burning flakes and smoke, until the fire had burnt down to the edge of the stream. We had to keep our faces close to the water to escape the suffocating vapour.
"The drought was severely felt in the cultivated part of the country, the navigable trenches of the sugar estates being nearly dry. The rivers, from the want of rain, had become salt and brackish to a great distance from their mouths. The heads of the little streamlets were sought for fresh water, and some of them became dry. The cassava which had been planted by the Indians in October, not having the expected rain to nourish it, did not grow. Hence food became scarce, and many expedients were resorted to in order to supply the deficiency. The Waraus betook themselves to their favourite resource, the ita swamps, and subsisted there as well as they could. When the famine was at its height, the fruit of the wild cashew became ripe, and afterwards that of the simiri or locust-tree. From these and others the Indians managed to procure a scanty subsistence, and might be seen emerging from the forest with their quakes and baskets full of them. Unwholesome food! for using which they afterwards suffered greatly.
"The rain fell at length in torrents, and vegetation revived and flourished. But dysentery began to carry off many of the Waraus and others, who had been subsisting for months on the natural productions of the swamps and forests. There came from the ita swamps to Waramuri canoes full of miserably attenuated beings, who applied to the missionary for medicine and food.
"A great number of them died before they made this application. It was painful to visit their settlements, and hear the repeated exclamation, "Wabaiya, wabaiya!" (Sick, sick!). On visiting the settlement where they had been so uncivil to me, Mr. Nowers discovered that eight had already died out of twenty-three, and others would probably have perished but for God's blessing on the remedies supplied. As many as three hundred doses of medicine were administered in one month, and with great apparent benefit, the reluctance of the Indians to use it being overcome by the urgent danger. It was a period of much distress and misery, and were there no other result than the temporal benefit that then flowed from the mission at Waramuri, all the exertion and the small expense of its establishment would have been amply rewarded.
"When the sickness abated, the mission began to assume a most flourishing appearance. Three hundred Indians attended instruction, and there were sixty-five children at school.
"As the benefits, both spiritual and temporal, of missions became apparent to the people, so the desire for similar establishments began to spread. Intelligence was brought to us that the Waraus in the Aruka were desirous of having a missionary of our Church placed among them, and that their chief had even caused them to erect a large building to serve as a place of worship. We were preparing to visit that part of the country, though the distance is so great that the voyage would occupy about three weeks in going and returning. It is situated in the midst of the tract which lies between our territory and the Orinoco, and through which flow several large streams, one of the principal being the Waini. Our visit was unavoidably prevented, and nothing was done. Still the desire of those benighted people to be instructed in the religion of Christ seems worthy of commemoration, as no missionary had been to visit them, and the reports conveyed by their own countrymen were all they had to found their desires upon. It seemed like the fulfilment of the words of prophecy, 'As soon as they hear of Me, they shall obey Me.'"
Waramuri had been threatened with destruction by fire, and the Indians who attended it had been scattered by famine, and had their numbers thinned by dysentery. Still, notwithstanding these things, the attendance increased, and the mutual attachment between the missionary and his flock grew stronger daily. One Sunday thirty-three canoes full of people came, besides those that travelled overland. But the malaria from the cleared swamp had affected the health of the mission family, in which unceasing sickness and prostration prevailed.
"In August 1846," Mr. Brett writes, "Mr. Nowers's youngest child died. The father, having no materials of which to construct a coffin, was obliged to take the foot-boards of the mission bateau. [The bateau is shaped somewhat like an Indian canoe, but built instead of being hollowed from a single tree. Like the canoe, it has no keel.] While burying this child the life of his second son was despaired of. This was followed by a violent illness, which attacked both parents, and compelled their removal to the Pomeroon, where the family remained in a languishing state till the end of the year. Mr. Nowers partially recovered, but his complaint rendered him unable to bear the climate, and as the health of the family did not improve, he was compelled to resign his mission. After erecting a wooden slab bearing a simple inscription at the head of the grave of the departed infant and surrounding it with a rail, an affectionate leave was taken of the couple, and Waramuri quitted on the 2 of December, to the great grief of all.
"As we were embarking, a young Carib presented himself with his paddle in his hand and his hammock over his shoulder, and offered his services as a paddler. On being told that our crew was complete, he still persisted in requesting a passage, which was granted.
"The weather was unsettled and stormy at that season. In passing over the sea we encountered three furious squalls, which continued for an hour and a half: We were unable to bring the boat round, as she would have instantly filled if exposed broadside to the waves, which broke over her bows in rapid succession. Our tent was cut away, and Mr. Nowers and an Indian engaged during the whole time in baling out the water with a bucket and a large calabash. The shore was near, but unsafe; and we were unable from the rain and spray of the sea to see more than a few yards of tossing waves around us. While the steersman was striving to keep her head to the wind, his large paddle broke short; but we fortunately had a spare one on board, which was immediately handed to him.
"When the weather cleared, we found that, though our crew had strained every nerve, we were still in the same spot in which the first squall had met us. We were now thankful to God for our additional hand, which had enabled us to maintain the struggle.
"On reaching the mouth of the Pomeroon, we saw a schooner which had been caught in the same storm, and driven across the mud-flat nearly into the forest, although she had dropped her anchor. The master said he hoped to get off next tide, which happened accordingly. Another schooner belonging to the same person was sunk in the next voyage, all on board being drowned except two hands. In this vessel were lost most of Mr. Nowers's goods, which had been removed from Waramuri. He thus had sorrow upon sorrow, and continued ill-health compelled him to depart for England. The Indians, by whom he was greatly beloved, inquired continually whether 'Noa' would not soon come again.
"We must now relate the course of events in the Pomeroon. The Indian women there had, by my marriage some time before, obtained for the first time the valuable services of a teacher of their own sex, whose life was about this time nearly cut short by a sudden danger.
"Some young Indian men, in an open space at the back of the mission-house, were testing their strength by discharging arrows from their powerful bows perpendicularly into the air. One of their largest arrows (of the kind used for killing the tapir), ascending to a great height, was caught by an upper current of air, and carried over the house, which we were just leaving at the summons to evening prayer. The arrow in its lightning-like descent almost grazed the head of Mrs. Brett, and suddenly arrested her steps, with its feathered end quivering against her shoulder, and its spear-headed iron point buried some inches deep in the earth at her feet. It was a moment of sudden terror, where all had been peace and apparent safety; for her life (under God) had depended on one inch of space or one second of time. Our thankfulness was fully shared by the Indians around, and equalled by the regret of the young fellows for the carelessness which had so nearly caused a fatal accident.
"The people of this river suffered less during the famine than the improvident Waraus, having had a better stock of provisions, and had taken care to replant their fields as soon as they saw 'the sun kill' the first crop.
"But depredations were frequently committed by parties who, having been the dupes of the great imposture, had neglected their own fields, and were now destitute of pro visions on their own return. A report reached us that two Acawoios had been killed by Caribs, who had detected them in the act of robbing their fields in a distant part of the country. This and other circumstances, whether true or not, seemed to threaten a feud. The dysentery had also visited the Indians in Pomeroon, but was chiefly fatal when it attacked children, many of whom died, but few adults.
"In March 1847, an occurrence took place which exhibited a new feature in Indian life. The mission was, as usual, in a state of the greatest tranquillity, when Commodore, the Caribi chief came thither to reside with his son and family for protection. He had built a large house in front of our Caribi village for the accommodation of himself and family on the Sabbath, and planted a tall flag-staff before it as a symbol of his rank; but during the week he usually lived at his settlement in the forest. The latter he now quitted, as he said, in consequence of having discovered that a strong party of Acawoios, painted and equipped for war, were lurking near it. I thought but little of the circumstance, as the Indians generally had been in a very unsettled state ever since the unhappy migration. The family had with them a young man who had taken to wife a heathen daughter of the old chief: He was a stranger from a distant part, and was noted for never moving from the house without a short-barrelled gun in his hand.
"After the services of the following Sunday were concluded, we were disturbed about nine in the evening by a loud outcry proceeding from the Caribi portion of the village. While we were doubting as to the cause, Commodore's son and another young man came in a hurried manner to summon me, bearing torches and cutlasses in their hands. They declared that the Acawoios were upon them, and had struck down the young stranger. Proceeding to the spot, I found the young man writhing in his hammock, apparently in great pain from a blow on the thigh. The women were crying around him in a frantic manner, and the whole village was in an uproar, every man getting his weapons to defend himself and family. With great difficulty I learned that the young man, who had gone some little distance from the houses, had seen an Acawoio approaching him from the forest, and had suddenly turned and sprung upon him, throwing his arms around him, but had been hurled to the ground by the superior strength of his enemy, and received a random blow as he fell, the Acawoio escaping into the forest, as the cry for assistance was raised and answered.
"Nothing could exceed the panic of the women and children, and the men were all asking what they should do. It seemed best to tell them to assemble outside the chief's house, while the women and children should keep inside. This they did, but the confusion was great, the house being quite full, and some of the females crying, others laughing hysterically, and many talking with great vehemence at the same time.
"At this moment, the wife of the young man ran into the midst of us crying out that a man was concealed behind a bush near the house. Immediately every gun was pointed in that direction, and some of the Caribs began to spread themselves around, gliding close to the ground, with their pieces cocked and advanced, ready to be discharged at the slightest motion. The night was very dark, but many torches were blazing around, and the young woman before mentioned rushed wildly forward with the men, whirling a blazing firebrand to give them additional light.
"A low cry was heard close at hand, which was answered from a distance. The Caribs exclaimed 'Acawoio!' and became exasperated. I then desired young Commodore to tell them all to stop and listen. This arrested them, and he then interpreted that 'even if they should kill an Acawoio, they would make bad worse, and the blood-feud would never end. If enemies were there, they were probably few, and unprovided with firearms, and the Postholder should be instantly sent for, who, when he came, would settle the matter between their tribes in a peaceable and Christian manner.'
"The messengers were accordingly sent, and the Caribs satisfied themselves with posting guards outside the house till morning.
"I then went to see the state of the Arawaks, one of the Caribs running after me with a torch (which I had forgotten), lest I should have been shot by mistake in the dark. It was no needless precaution, for each Arawak had his gun prepared, having heard the sound in the forest, which they said was the voice of men. No woman went to the water that night unless attended by her husband, who carried his cutlass and a blazing firebrand. Many tales were afloat to account for an attack of the Acawoios, which seemed to have been expected for some time before. Most of our people thought that they were a party from Cuyuni or from Massaruni, sent by the impostor there to attack our mission.
"The next morning young Commodore with a party of his men scoured the forest in hopes of discovering the Acawoios and entering into a parley. They returned with out success, having only found a small basket of Acawoio manufacture.
"On the second morning the Postholder arrived from his house at the mouth of the Pomeroon, having travelled all night. We went together towards the head of the river. As we were proceeding on the following morning up the beautiful windings of the stream, we heard a low whoop from the high bank above us. This proceeded from France, Commodore's brother, who had quitted his settlement, and, with his wives and children, was going to seek shelter among his heathen relatives. He said that a woman had seen two Acawoios in a field not far distant, and had been pursued by them towards her house. All the people in that part were in a great panic, and though much allowance was to be made for excitement and exaggeration, it seemed certain that there was a strong party lurking in the forests with no good intention.
"It afterwards appeared that the father of the young Carib who had been assaulted had, two years before, been assassinated before his eyes, and that he, having discharged an arrow at the men who killed him, had been marked out to be put to death. Whether he considered himself as bound by their fearful custom to be the avenger of blood, we know not, but it seemed evident, from his wild manner, that his mind was affected by the circumstances in which he was placed. His life having been attempted in the Essequibo, where he resided, he fled to Pomeroon, and this led to the events here related. I did not consider his presence desirable at the mission, and recommended him to seek employment at the coast on one of the sugar estates, whither his enemies would not be able to follow him with any prospect of success in their murderous design.
"The mission again became quiet as before. Never had its buildings appeared so neat, and all the paths which led to the different parts of the village were kept in good order, and bordered with lilies, whose flowers of brilliant scarlet contrasted beautifully with their dark green leaves.
"At this time the sad news of the famine in Ireland and in the Highlands of Scotland reached us. Collections were made all over the colony for the relief of the sufferers. The subject was laid before the Indians at the mission, and they at once offered to contribute cassava and other provisions, for the relief of the hungry people. When told that they would spoil in the passage over the wide sea, they said that they had little money, as the drought of the preceding year had reduced them to penury, and their clothes were nearly worn out, their young men being at that time absent working for money to buy more. This was the truth, as I knew.
"Cornelius was present, and, seeing how matters stood, he went quietly away. He had just returned from the sugar estates, bringing with him about ten dollars, the produce of his industry, with which he was about to proceed to Georgetown to purchase clothes for his family. This sum he brought and laid before me. Taking one dollar, he said, 'I give this for myself, and this,' said he, adding another, 'for my wife and eldest daughter.' Then turning to his countrymen he continued, 'Friends, you have little money, I will lend you from this till it is gone, and repay me when you are able.' One after another availed them selves of the offer; others rummaged up a little more; some poor old widows brought their 'half-bits,' (twopence), and fifty-two dollars were sent that week from Pomeroon. Half of that sum was collected among the inhabitants of the lower district of the river.
"The mission at Waramuri was then lying desolate, and that on the Pomeroon was about to share its fate. I became at this period too weak to continue my duties. After lingering many days, I was reluctantly compelled to send for paddlers to convey me to the sea-coast. The messenger told the Indians whom he met, and the news spread widely along the rivers during the night. The next morning before daybreak we heard a low hum of voices around the mission-house. It was the lament of our poor people, some of whom had come many miles through the darkness, and brought little presents of pines and other fruits, which we could not eat. As if they had not previously been kind enough to us, or we had needed gifts to induce us to stay!
"Our parting need not be described. The voyage was very sorrowful. My wife and new-born infant beside me were both suffering greatly from the want of medical aid, and when at times I raised my head, I saw that Cornelius, who steered, could not restrain his tears, which ran down his cheeks as he silently looked on us and thought he saw in our departure the ruin of his hopes for his people's good.
"Several months elapsed. At length I was enabled to pay a monthly visit of several days to the mission. But in May 1849 increasing debility compelled me to return to England, leaving, with deep regret, both stations vacant.
"To that at Waramuri Mr. Currie was soon after sent as catechist; but he too was in about a year disabled by sickness, and compelled to leave, having lost his wife and child a few months before.
"Repeated afflictions of that kind seemed likely to compel the final abandonment of that station, which was far beyond the reach of medical aid.
"We knew that in such a case the verdant forest would soon cover the place where stood the house of prayer, and where the departed members of the mission await the resurrection morn. But we knew also that the story of the mission at Waramuri would not be soon forgotten, but that the Indian fathers would point to that hill with its mysterious mound, and tell their children of the hundreds of men who assembled and cleared that extent of ground, and willingly assisted in building a place of worship where themselves and families might be taught the religion of the Lord Jesus.
"A dark cloud now hung over the sister missions. During its continuance we could only exercise faith in the Divine promises, and pray that He whose religion we had feebly endeavoured to plant amidst those dense forests and marshy savannahs would yet 'look down from heaven, behold and visit that vine.'"