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WESTERN FOREIGN MISSIONARY SOCIETY.
Report of the Executive Committee, concluded from page 284. The committee were led, from the information which they had previously obtained, to direct these brethren to seek some eligible position in the northern provinces of Hindostan, as the field of their labours; but they were authorized to make a different selection, if, on arriving in India and consulting with the friends of missions at Calcutta, it should be found expedient to do so.
After mature deliberation, and taking the advice of many judicious and well informed counsellors, they came to the conclusion that the original designation of the committee was decidedly the best, varying from it only in the selection of an adjoining province, somewhat further to the north-west, and inhabited by a people less bigoted in their attachment to paganism. Besides this feature in the religious character of the people—their docility and desire to become acquainted with the English language -the comparative healthfulness of that part of India-its entire destitution of missionary instruction-and proximity to, and commercial intercourse with, Afghanistan, Cashmere and Thibet, extensive and populous regions as yet entirely unoccupied, are all considerations of importance, and going to show the propriety of the selection.
Ludeeana and Umbala, the two cities in Lahore, which have been mentioned as the two best positions, are boih of them distant probably more than one thousand miles from Calcutta, and nearly as far from Bombay; but, as measures are now in progress to open the navigation of the Indus and its tributaries, and as Ludeeana stands on the navigable waters of the Sutledge, one of its principal branches, and as there is now a plan on foot for a steam communication from Bombay to England, through the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, this part of India, and especially Ludeeana, may eventually become of more easy and frequent access to us than Calcutta itself.
Of the climate, and government, and inhabitants of the province of Lahore, it is stated that it consists of two parts; one of which is the mountainous tract in the north. east, stretching south and east from Cashmere ; and the other comprising the low and fiat tracts near and south of the Sutledge, called the Punjab. The former has a climate much resembling that of middle Europe ; but is thinly peopled in comparison to the other, which is by far the most productive, though less salubrious. It com prises a territory of seventy thousand square miles, and a population of four millions, and is said to contain many fine villages and some large towns; but the latter, with the exception of Amrister, the holy city of the Seiks, are in a declining condition. Lahore is under the government of a native prince, by the name of Runjeet Singh, formerly one of the most formidable enemies of the Anglo-Indian government, but now on terms of friendship with it.
The Seik nation, numbering from one to two millions, occupies a considerable part of Lahore, besides a part of Moulton, and those districts of the province of Delhi which lie between the Jumna and the Sutledge, and holds a conspicuous place among the inhabitants of India. The term Seik signifies disciple; and the tenets of Narak, the founder of their religion, who lived in the 15th century, comprise a mixture of Mahomedanism and Hindooism, permitting its proselyles from these two sects to retain some of their former observances. The Seiks are an active, courageous, and warlike people, more indulgent towards the female sex than either of the lwo sects from which ihey sprung, and less given to sensuality. Their language is the Punjabee, which would seem to be Hindostanee with a slight intermixture of Persian. Their trade with the other parts of India is inconsiderable; but if Christianity were once to become prevalent in Lahore, the commerce of that province with Afghanistan, Cashmere, and Thibet, on the north, and with Persia on the west, would promote its circulation in these extensive and populous regions. The territory of this people being between 28° 40' and 32° 20' of north latitude, and not remote on the north and north-east from the southern slope of the Himmaleh mountains, must be far less exposed to the hot enervating winds and the humid atmosphere which prevail in other parts of India.
The political changes which have recently taken place in respect to India, the increasing desire of persons of distinction among the natives to give their children an English education, and the disposition of the constituted authorities to encourage the settlement of educated and intelligent missionaries in all parts of that country, are to be regarded as truly auspicious circumstances. Although these considerations, con
nected with the power of the press among a people having a written language, aug. ment the prospect of ultimate usefulness, yet, the peculiar genius of the Hindoo character, and the general state of society, should lead us to anticipate rather a gradual and permanent advance of the light and power of the gospel, than such a sudden and rapid renunciation of prevailing superstitions, on slight grounds, as would be likely to occur in the same circumstances in some parts of Africa.
The brethren readily obtained permission of the Governor-general of India, to reside in the province which they had selected; but as the season least favourable for making the journey was about to commence, and as they could spend the intervening time profitably in the study of the language, they had concluded, on consultation with their friends in Calcutta, to remain in the vicinity of that city until June next. They ex. press, and that repeatedly, the hope that additional missionaries may be speedily sent out to join them; and the decease of one of their valued members, and the importance of the field itself, give great force to this solicitation. The committee are happy to say, they have it in prospect to send a reinforcement in the course of the ensuing aq. tumn. In the meantime, it would be highly useful to provide for that station a printing press to be sent out from this country, with the view of obtaining a fount of type in the Punjabee at Calcutta ; and charts, maps, and globes, and other apparatus, for the High School which the mission intend speedily to establish, would be extremely serviceable. “If one hundred additional missionaries could be sent out, there would be," says these brethren," an abundance of work to employ them all."
MISSION TO WEST AFRICA.
We now proceed to notice the principal events connected with the mission to West Africa, since the last report.
In July last, Mr. John Cloud, and Mr. Matthew Laird, who bad been previously received under the care of the board as candidates for the missionary service, were designated as a reinforcement to the African mission, and shortly afterwards, the Rev. J. B. Pinney unexpectedly returned, to spend a few months in the United States, and to go back to his station in the fall. The reasons assigned for this step by Mr. P. were approved by the committee, and from the valuable information which they received from him, they were enabled to select two stations, whose relative situations, both as to the colony and the interior nations, are such as to afford great facility for the dissemination of the gospel in Western Africa. The information received from Mr. P., as well as from other sources, sufficiently shows that, in its indolent, vicious, and repulsive habits, and its great debasement as to intellectual and moral culture, the state of society among these miserable tribes is not only among the lowest and least inviting on the globe, but one which calls most earnestly for the compassionate aids of a civilized and Christian people; and to none more justly, or directly, than those of the North American Continent, where the wrongs of the African race have been so extensively seen, and we trust, have been so sincerely deplored. The committee have been led to the conclusion, also, from what they have learned, that primary schools, for the instruction of the natives in the elementary principles of the English language, can be established with as much prospect of success as among any people so degraded in their character, and inhabiting a country presenting such formidable obstacles to the enjoyment of health and comfort.
After spending some time in visiting the churches, these missionary brethren, together with Mrs. Laird, and Mr. James Temple, a young man of colour and a candidate for the gospel ministry, under the care of the Presbytery of Philadelphia, who had been received as an assistant, were regularly organized in the city of New York, in October last, and sailed from Norfolk, Va., for Liberia, on the 6th of November following: The organization and departure of this mission gave, especially in the eastern cities, new strength and vigour to that impulse which has been increasingly felt for some time past, in behalf of Africa, and the fact that missionaries from two other societies in this country repaired to the Western Coast of that benighted continent about the same time, must be regarded as an auspicious circumstance, in respect to the future prospects of that necessitous portion of the globe.
Mr. Pinney, shortly before his embarkation, received from the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society, the appointment of temporary agent and governor of Liberia, and after consulting with the Corresponding Secretary, and other friends of the Society, it was judged best that he should consent to act in that capacity until a permanent agent could be obtained and sent out to Africa. This arrangement was assented to, on the part of Mr. P. and his advisers, with some degree of reluctance, on account of its being likely, for a time, to deprive the mission of the benefit of his counsel and his assistance, at a time when they would be peculiarly needed. On the other hand, his declination might, it was believed, leave the colony in a disastrous situation, and in one which might impede the operations of the missions which were about to be commenced within its territory. Mr. P. is now, therefore, in the exercise of the duties of the Colonial Agent; but he expresses, in his last letter, the hope that other ar. rangements may soon be made by the Colonization Society.
The Jupiter, in which the missionaries, and several other passengers, besides about fifty emigrants, embarked, arrived at Monrovia, after a passage of fifty-six days, on the 31st of December. The brethren were enabled, soon after their arrival, to rent a suitable tenement for their accommodation during their stay in Monrovia, and all the members of the mission soon experienced, in succession, the attacks of the African fever. In most instances, the fever has been uncommonly mild in its character, the past winter, at Monrovia, and much fewer cases of mortality have occurred among the emigrants, than in former years. Most of the members of the mission had, however, experienced one or two returns of the disease, and it is generally understood, that during the first year of a residence in the colony, little can be done to any advantage, as physical and mental effort, and exposure to rain or the heat of the sun, is almost invariably followed by relapses, more protracted and dangerous to the subject, than the first term of illness.
The missionaries, at the date of their last letters, appeared to have entertained encouraging hopes of being able to pass the usual period of acclimation in safety, They speak favourably of the general state of morals in the colony, and express an earnest desire that the interests of education, and especially the establishment of a high school, may engage the attention of the friends at Liberia. The colonists are said to be, some of them, anxious on this subject, and to have expressed regret that the missionaries did not expect to remain, but repair to the interior."
From the Pittsburg Christian Herald.
Monrovia, May 1st, 1834. DEAR BROTHER Swift,—How shall I write the afflicting intelligence ? Oh how will you and the friends of Zion mourn. Brother Cloud is gone to rest from his labours! His death was sudden, and to us all afflicting. But alas! how much more the present state of our mission. I arrived this morning from Bassa, where business had called me for the short space of one week;
and find Brother and Sister. Laird given over by the physician! The letters which Brother L. wrote you concerning the death of Brother Cloud, (I was then too feeble to write) I doubt not, informed you that he was carried off by lhe dysentery, which attacked him while absent at C. Mount.
The attention he received from Brother L. during his illness was unremitted, and the physician is of opinion that he caught the disease from him. He was even, before the death of Brother C., thrown into a fever by his efforts. The attack was, however, light, and little danger was apprehended. Sister L. was comparatively well. The day that I was to leave for Bassa, I visited them before breakfast. Brother L. observed that it was the seventh day of his attack, and that, though weak, he felt that the attack was tempered with great mercy, as being far lighter than the two previous ones—charged me to be careful of my health-remarked that he expected to recover quickly—and proposed writing an obituary or short notice of Brother Cloud's death. Sister L. was up as usual; invited me to remain and take breakfast, and expressed a fear lest I should return from Bassa, as Mr. Cloud had done from C. Mount-sick. But oh, how little can we understand what a day may bring forth. The very day of my departure, Sister L. was attacked with a severe fever, and was speedily deranged in mind. The next day Brother L. was seized with a diarrhea, which the third day was succeeded by the dysentery; and he is now wasted to a skeleton, and scarcely breathes. The first day of his dysentery, he wrote a short Will, a copy of which I enclose. His wife, though quite weak, insisted upon sitting up with him on the sofa, until
, exhausted by bodily and mental labours, she lay down, and soarcely has any lucid intervals; and the physician apprehends her speedy dissolution! She observed, on the day that Brother L. made his Will, that they had promised to die together; and I greatly fear the prediction will be true. 'I am exhausted, and have not even been to the agency house since landing, but can scarcely prevail upon myself to leave them long enough to rest. My situation is indeed a trying one! My heart sinks within me as I look upon their emaciated forms, and view them dropping into the grave. Am I
then to work alone? Does God see it best to give me no dear friends to labour with me? It cannot-must not be. Surely, if these are taken, others will rise to enter into their labours. I am distressed, and my heart mourns. The peculiar mildness and amiableness of Brother L., had endeared him to me in no common degree; and I felt to be a missionary with him was to be blest. The personal loss is deeply felt; but my anxious heart turns to the churches, and almost trembles at what may be the effect there. Oh! will Zion grow weary of her work, and the mothers in Israel no more dedicate their offspring to God's cause here! Will these be looked upon as a vain offering ? No, no. The heathen around cry for help, from their pit of ignorance and sin, and surely God will send salvation by other instruments.
Friday Morning, 20 May. The suffering pair still exist-yet breathe. Blessed be God, that I am permitted one more day of attendance upon Brother L. He seldom speaks, though evidently conscious of all that passes. The constant moanings and delirious talk of Mrs. L. were so full of horror to him, that she was this morning removed to another room. Her thoughts are full of anxious concern about her husband—but all is delirium and wildness. The nurse tells me that yesterday morning she arose from her bed and went to embrace Brother L. Her distress was unspeakable; and finally, she exclaimed, “yes, you may go before me a little while, but I will soon follow.”
Brother L. enjoys evidently the comforts of faith and hope. Yesterday morning, before I came in, he sang with considerable strength of voice,
" Come ye sinners poor and needy," And
" Come humble sinner in whose breast." In the afternoon, I sung a hymn expressive of confidence; he raised his hands often, expressive of concurrence in the sentiment. He then requested me to sing
“ Farewell, farewell, farewell, dear friends, I must be gone,
1 here no longer stay with you,” &c. And at every chorus joined with much more strength than I supposed him to possess :
“ Farewell, farewell, my loving friends, farewell." I inquired if he had any word or presents to send to American friends. His reply agreed with all he had ever said —"No, it all belongs to God and the mission.” I remarked, that tokens of remembrance thus sent might incite others to supply his place, and do more good than if left with the mission. He made no reply. I then inquired if he had any request to make. · My Harriet-I charge you to be kind to her while she lives, when I am gone." Yes, dear Brother, she shall have every attention a brother can bestow. She needs peculiar kindness, and then she is peculiarly kind. He is much engaged in prayer; and I do sometimes hope even against hope, that God will say, live. O how desirous I was of freedom, to be with him all the time; but Mr. Kinsley, whom we all rejoiced to hear had been appointed agent, and whom we have daily expected for the last two months, has not yet arrived; and the combined effect of fatigue and anxiety, has almost made me sick again. May God enable me to hold out until the event is decided, as to life or death.
May 10th.– The Captain of the Argus waits to get my letter. In this hurry, dear Brother, let these black lines be my interpreter. Both are at rest, I trust, in Abraham's bosom. O my throbbing heart be still !
(6 'Tis but the voice that Jesus sends,
To call them to his arms." I need not ask you to weep; I know your kind heart will almost be broken to see the hopes which budded so fairly, all blasted. O! Brother Swift, language will feebly express my suffering for the last few days. Sister L. died on the 38— Brother L. on the 4th instant. I was with them whenever health allowed, after my return. But they faded away like snow before the sun. The fatal disease worked its silent but perceptible way, without a check. They are gone from us! O for grace from a gracious God to submit without murmuring, and say, thy will be done. Their death makes me more anxious than ever before, to escape from my present oppressive duties, which do not allow even time for grief, and enter fully upon the great work to which your attention is directed, of beginning a mission station."
The Executive Committee, on receiving the above communication, adopted the following minute, viz.
1. Resolved, That the Executive Committee have just learned with deep sorrow, and they trust also with deep humiliation before God, the distressing intelligence of the sudden removal, by death, of the Rev. Mathew Laird and his wife, and the Rev. John Cloud, their missionaries in Africa; and the consequent almost entire suspension of their operations in Liberia, at a moment when the interests of missions in Africa, and the hopes of the friends of Zion, appeared to be deeply involved in it.
2. Resolved, That the Executive Committee, in finding themselves placed in this distressing situation, by the almost entire extinction of one of their largest and most promising missions, would humbly recognise the unerring hand of a covenant-keeping God, in this mysterious dispensation, and the duty on our part, of a meek and uncomplaining acquiescence in the same; and they would earnestly beseech the Mediator of the New Covenant to enable them and their fellow Chsistians generally, to unite with these feelings a sincere desire and determination to apply to their humiliation and practical improvement, those solemn instructions which this painful bereavement of his holy providence manifestly suggests.
3. Resolved, That the cheerfulness and alacrity with which these, our deceased friends and fellow-labourers, embarked in that perilous enterprise, the developments of missionary zeal and excellence which had already been made by them, and the moral courage and unabated love to the souls of the heathen, which they displayed even to the last, have been such as to give the Committee a deep sense of the magni. tude of the loss which they have sustained ; and to consecrate the memory of these devoted servants of Christ, in the hearts of all the friends of the missionary cause.
Thus, dear brethren, has death blotted from our lists, in the short space of ten or fifteen days, three valued names; and thus the grave has swallowed up a large amount of our best hopes, as a Missionary Society. At a moment when their prospects seemed to be opening; when schools were about to be commenced, and when before them, in Monrovia, they saw the walls of a sanctuary daily rising, the fatal pestilence pursued, and overtook this little band; and now, with but one solitary brother remaining there, their plans are broken, and the darkness of the grave hides from their view those degraded tribes, for whose salvation they would have gladly shared the toils and privations of many years.
The Executive Committee, in common with the other friends of Africa, feel, indeed, in view of this, and a similar' bereavement of the mission of our Methodist brethren, oppressed with a consideration of the unpropitious circumstances, which appear to be connected with that particular point from which they desired to act. But they find, in this respect, an alleviation in the belief, that there are places on the eastern and western coast of that great continent, which are as salubrious as any portion of the globe ; and from these, Christianity could easily find its way, by a gradual advance to those which are less so, if once permanently established.
The Committee, however, feel that more inforination, and solemn and prayerful deliberation, are necessary, before they can resolve on the course which prudence and the interest of the missionary cause may advise them to pursue. The decease of two valued missionaries, recalling, as it does, to their recollection, the comparatively recent removal of one who had devoted himself to that field, little more than a year before, must, they fear, greatly retard their operations; and this, in times so eminently fraught with circumstances fitted to animate and encourage the church, in the missionary work, is peculiarly trying. But he, who hath taken away, is the Holy One of Israel, in whom we trust.
At this affecting crisis when, by the strokes of death, additional streams of Christian compassion are likely to be arrested for the want of missionaries for the foreign field, the inquiry returns to us with tenfold emphasis, “ Whom shall we send” to fill the broken ranks of the missionary corps and the Committee would affectionately say, that if there are among the ministers, licentiates, or candidates of our church, any who, in this hour of darkness and affliction, are ready to respond to this momentous inquiry, we would gladly assign them, in some portion of the great field of missions, the standards which have fallen from the hands of these departed brothers.
Christian Brethren,-If you open your eyes upon the fields, you see that they are al. ready white to the harvest, and the universal establishment of the Redeemer's kingdom on earth still stands pledged and promised by Him who cannot lie, and is omnipotent to save. Why then is the arrow of death suffered to cut down his youthful messengers to heathen lands? Is it not intended as a solemn warning to his churches to shake off their slumbers, and with deeper earnestness, and more self-denied effort undertake to fulfil his will? Have they not made a covenant with Him to go forward in this most necessary work? and is there not reason to fear that he has a controversy with us because we come not properly up to the help of the Lord? And while the knell of death so soon returns to us from the shores of Africa, and messenger after messenger comes to tell us that another and another missionary has sunk into the tomb; and above all, when from the heavens there comes a voice in these dispensa