Missionary to South Africa
Barnabas Shaw, a name which will ever be remembered in connection with South Africa offered himself for the mission field in 1815. On his way to the Cape of Good Hope, he and his devoted wife buried their only little one in the “deep, deep sea.” On their arrival, they applied to the Governor for the usual license to exercise his ministry at Cape Town. His excellency replied, that considering the high and responsible office which he sustained, together with the adequate supply of clergymen for both the Dutch and English population, and that several of the slaveholders were opposed to the instruction of the colored classes, he could not grant the sanction required. These restrictions on religious liberty had been imposed by the Dutch government in 1804. But Mr. Shaw believing that the command of the “King of kings,” could not be countermanded by any earthly authority, proceeded to open his commission as God’s ambassador, on the following Sabbath day to a congregation composed of soldiers. His heart, however, was set on preaching Christ to the perishing heathen, and he earnestly looked for an opportunity to do so. Just at this juncture, Rev. II. Schemlen, missionary of the London Missionary Society, arrived in Cape Town, with some Namaquas. Mr. Shaw sought an interview with them, and was encouraged by Mr. Schemlen to attempt a mission among the heathen beyond the Orange river. But the difficulties surrounding him were many and great. He had not yet the sanction of the committee for such an undertaking; then the expense would be great, and besides, his wife’s health was very feeble. But in this emergency this intrepid and devoted woman urged her husband to undertake the arduous enterprise, and pledged her personal property to sustain it, should the committee in London not be willing to bear the expense. This decided him. A wagon and oxen, with other necessaries, were immediately purchased, and Barnabas Shaw and his wife, without knowing where they should find a resting place, or to whom they should go, set off on their journey through the African wilderness. They soon crossed the bounds of civilization; and with the thermometer sometimes standing 110° in the shade, they plodded on their weary journey, and on the evening of the 27th day, they met a party of Hottentots, accompanied by a chief, who encamped near them. Mr. Shaw entered into conversation with them, and to his surprise and delight, the chief informed him that having heard of the “Great Word,” he was on his way to Cape Town to seek a Christian missionary, to teach him and his people the way of salvation. They had already traveled 200 miles, and there were yet nearly 300 more before they could reach Cape Town. It was certain that they could obtain no missionary there; and that a peculiar providence arranged this meeting. Had either party started but half an hour earlier on their journey, they must have missed each other, they coming from Little Namaqualand, and Mr. Shaw facing toward Great Namaqualand. The delight of this poor heathen chief may be imagined when, after listening to his affectionate statement, Mr. Shaw informed him that he was a missionary of the Cross looking for a people to whom he might preach Jesus Christ; and when he agreed to go back with him to his tribe, the chief wept aloud, “and rejoiced as one that had found great spoil.” They pursued their way through deep forests, and across the most rugged and precipitous mountains, (over which even 14 oxen could hardly draw the wagon.) and when within two or three days’ journey of their destination, the chief hurried on to inform his people of his success. On the last day of the journey, between 20 and 30 Namaquas, mounted on young oxen, came hurrying on to meet and welcome the missionaries. They approached at full gallop, their eyes sparkling with delight, and having saluted them, set off again at the top of their speed to announce their approach, when the whole town turned out to meet them. Next day a council was held, which was opened with prayer, and a sermon from, “This is a faithful saying,” &c., and before the termination of the discourse, the chief and many of his people wept aloud. After which Mr. Schemlen, on behalf of Mr. Shaw, propounded a series of questions, relating to the establishment of a mission, to all of which most satisfactory answers were given. This devoted German missionary, having seen them safely at their destination, left them for his own field of labor, distant four weeks’ journey.
Mr. and Mrs. Shaw found themselves surrounded by heathen, far from friends, and scarcely yet able to speak the language, so as to make themselves understood. They took up their abode in a hut, with neither chimney, door, or window, and without furniture, sleeping on a mat laid upon the bare ground. The day was devoted to manual labor—building a house and tilling the ground,—and the evenings to communicating religious instruction. Within one month of his arrival, he was rejoiced to see some fruit of his labor. Soon a chapel was erected, a school commenced, a class formed, and a deep religious feeling extended itself among the people. In the month of June, Mr. Shaw admitted 17 adults into the Christian church by the ordinance of baptism; in July the Lord’s Supper was administered for the first time, and in December, the first Love Feast was held. The converts delivered their sentiments with great freedom and simplicity, of which the following are specimens: “Peter Links rose and said, ‘I was formerly an enemy to missionaries, and when some wished to have one, I opposed it; but now I am thankful for the word. I love it. It has taught me that I am a great sinner. When I felt this I wandered about eating bitter bushes hoping thereby to make atonement for my sins; but I never found peace till I heard Jesus came to save the lost. I am thankful for what the book says, ‘Come, let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet,’ &c. I have been like a poor little silly lamb, which is only just beginning to go. When the ewe goes from it a short distance, it turns aside, first to one bush and then to another. The ewe has her eye upon it, and goes back again to it, and does all she can to induce it to follow her and will not forsake it. So the Lord has done for me.’” The chief followed. His remarks were very brief: ‘All the sins I have committed,’ said he, ‘from my childhood to the present time, seemed to be placed before my mind.’ Very soon afterward he found mercy, and told Mr. Shaw, that ‘though he had been extremely sorrowful on account of the weight of his sins, the burden had been removed by the grace of God, and his mind was now filled with peace and joy.’ Old Trooi rose up and said, ‘When I first saw my sins I felt pain in my heart; and by night, when all the people were sleeping in their huts, I could not close my eyes. I got up and went out. I wandered to and fro. I lay down on my hands and knees to pray. When I found one who told me what I should do to be saved, I was so delighted that I knew not how to go away.’”
In the depths of the African wilderness that same Divine Spirit, which had moved his people in England to undertake the mission, was enlightening the darkness of this people, and leading them to the enjoyment of a personal salvation through the labors of their solitary missionary. Early in 1818, Rev. E. Edwards arrived at Lily Fountain, (the name of the station,) to assist Mr. Shaw. His coming was most opportune, and greatly delighted the people. In gratitude for his arrival, the natives cheered them with “songs in the night.” In their state of ignorance they had often danced at midnight to the sound of the kommet-pot, and now, beneath the same bright moon, in the calm stillness of the night, the mission party are startled from their slumbers by the sound of distant music. They rise and listen, and as it comes nearer, they discover it to be a happy band of the redeemed heathen going from hut to hut, and the song that rose on the midnight air was “a new song”—a hymn of praise, in their own language, to their Redeemer, one verse of which according to their custom was often repeated:
“Faith loves the Saviour and beholds
His sufferings, death and pain;
And this shall ne’er be old nor cold,
Till we with him shall reign.”
As they went onward they called on the head of each family to engage in prayer, and thus left in their track the cloud of incense rising up from the domestic altar, acceptable before God.
The committee had sent out with Mr. Edwards a forge and some iron, with other means of improvement. They set to work, and made ploughshares and other implements of industry, and soon agriculture began to show its happy effects around them. Nothing surprised them more than the heated iron, and the sparks from the anvil. It was to them the day of wonder; and as the Greeks bemoaned the lot of their ancestors, who had not lived to see Alexander on the throne of Darius, so the Namaquas seemed to lament the lot of their fathers who had died before a forge was set up in their camp. A school-house was built, and with the assistance of Mr. Edwards, education began more rapidly to diffuse its blessings.
As an illustration of the difficulties attending the introduction of letters among a barbarous people, Mr. Shaw, when in England, about 1841, stated in the hearing of the writer, that for weeks he had tried in vain to make the Namaquas understand that the large letters he had traced on cards and hung up before them, each stood for a separate sound, and that their combination gave a word or idea. They looked astonished and burst into a loud laugh. He was growing disheartened; but recollecting they had a name for each bullock, he again hung up his letters on a tree, while the Namaquas sat in a circle on the ground, and pointing to the first letter said, “There is bullock A,” and to the second, “There is bullock B,” and so on. Their eyes brightened; they had caught the idea, and he had no more trouble.
A good chapel and a mission house were erected. Meanwhile the work of God deepened in the hearts of the people. An awakening commenced. Even the children held meetings for prayer by themselves. Clad in their karosses of sheepskin, they bowed before the Lord, and sung joyful hosannas to the Son of David.
The news of this good work spread from tribe to tribe, and soon the cry was heard from distant places, “Come over and help us.” Some of the Lily Fountain people went on a visit to a tribe of Mulattoes, about sixty miles off. Carrying with them two little girls who had been taught to read and sing; and so eager were those poor heathen to learn something of the way of life, that they kept the two little girls reading, praying, singing and answering questions incessantly, scarcely allowing them any rest day or night, A desire was thus awakened in the breasts of many to be “taught the way of God more perfectly.” One of the men of the tribe soon arrived at the station, and told the missionaries that the people living near him, who had never heard a sermon or seen a missionary, were longing for the gospel. Mr. Shaw visited the tribe, (in Bushman-land,) and preached there a few days.
In February, 1819, a Hottentot from a distant tribe, arrived at the station, and addressing the missionaries said, “My errand in coming here is to request that you will come and teach us, at our place, the good tidings of the gospel. I am now an old man, and have long thought of the world. I now desire to forget the world and seek something for my soul. We have many people—Bastards, (Griquas.) Hottentots, and Bushmen, all of them earnestly desiring the gospel. I could not sleep, but rose early in the morning, and went to one of my friends, whose house was a considerable distance from mine, to speak with him. I found him in the very same state of mind with myself, longing to hear the gospel and greatly troubled. I stood amazed, and said this must be from God; if it be not from him I know not from whence it has come. I will go to the Khamies mountain and hear for myself. He said, if you (the missionary,) will go with me, or come to us, we will send a wagon and oxen for you. If I cannot procure men (though I am now old) I will come myself; and be assured I will never leave you. I will give all my cattle over to the other people, and live free from worldly care; but you must come soon.”
Could it be possible that a mind thus drawn by the Spirit of God, (or those anxious ones in the tribes he represented,) would be left to grope its way in darkness? No, at the very time these words were being uttered in Africa, the Committee in London were making arrangements to reinforce the mission; and soon the Rev. J. Archbell, with his excellent wife were on their way. They arrived at Lily Fountain in July; and two weeks after, in company with Mr. Shaw, they proceeded to open the new station in Bushmanland, at a place called Reed Fountain, about two days’ journey from Lily Fountain to the east. The old Hottentot received them with joy; ground was selected, and a station formed, where the word of life was dispensed and eagerly received by this people.
The pious natives of Khamies Berg (or mountain) continued to improve both in temporal and spiritual matters; and were as a city set on a hill. Their light shone in worshiping God in their families. Mr. Shaw testifies concerning them:—”Oft have I heard them engaged in family prayer, before the sun had gilded the tops of the mountains, nor were their evening devotions neglected. As I have stood by the mission house, with the curtains of night drawn around us, I could hear them singing their beautiful evening hymn:
“O Christ eternal, light divine.
Who constantly on us doth shine;
Thy presence shall be with us here,
Though neither sun nor moon appear.”
Then falling on their knees they felt the presence of the Most High, and the fulfillment of the promise, ‘The habitation of the just shall be blessed.’” The happy change was thus illustrated by one of their old men: “Mynheer, before we received the gospel we were like an egg before the chicken is hatched; we were surrounded with darkness, and could see nothing; but when the gospel came it broke the shell, and now we see the light of day!” Religion also led to temporal comfort. When the mission commenced in 1816, the habits of the people were filthy in the extreme, so that the effluvia from a congregation of them was enough to make the missionary sick. But no sooner did they receive the gospel than they washed and clothed themselves. Instead of living on roots, or by the chase, and creeping into a smoky hut, or a hole in the earth to sleep, they built houses and cultivated the soil and received the reward of their labor; so that of many a spot in South Africa it may now be said. “There he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation, and sow fields and plant vineyards, which may yield the fruits of increase.” Geo. Thompson Esq., and also Sir James E. Alexander have both, in their respective volumes of Travels, put on record a most pleasing testimony concerning this mission and others established by Mr. Shaw and his associates in South Africa. In 1820, Mr. Shaw undertook a journey to one of the tribes beyond the Orange river in order to explore the country and to avail himself of any opening which might be presented for the farther spread of the gospel. His journal contains a record of dangers and toils and efforts, which has few parallels even in missionary history. Besides the burning sun and wind, they were constantly exposed to wild beasts and to savage men; often in danger of dying by hunger and thirst, or losing their way in the wilderness, or being dashed to pieces over the precipices round which they had to climb. But God preserved them; and after fourteen weeks’ absence, they returned in safety. He made his report to the committee in London, and applied to the colonial governor, Sir K. Donkin, who kindly permitted and encouraged him to open missions among the chiefs he had visited, many of whom had requested to have Christian teachers sent to them.
In 1821, the mission was enlarged by the arrival of three more missionaries. Mr. Archbull and the Hottentot assistant missionary, Jacob Links, being sent to the Great Namaquas, Messrs. Kay and Broadbent were sent to commence a mission in the Bechuana country, and Mr. Hodgson to remain at the Cape, whore permission had at length been obtained to communicate religious instruction to the slave population. The Albany and Kaffraria mission had been commenced the year before by Wm. Shaw, (brother of Barnabas,) and two missionaries were also appointed to Madagascar. The next year the devoted William Threlfall was sent to assist Mr. William Shaw. Being again reinforced in 1823, Mr. W. Shaw opened a mission among the Kaffres under the protection of the Kaffre monarch, Palo, and Mr. Threlfall and Mr. Whilworth proceeded to open a mission still farther east, in Delagoa Bay. While Mr. Edwards left Khamies Berg to establish a station among the Corannas, on the banks of the Orange river, at a place called Moos. This and the station at Maquasse (about three degrees east of the junction of the Cradock, and one day’s journey north of Orange river,) were much interfered with by incursions of savage tribes in their vicinity. Mount Coke, on the Buffalo river, was established the following year. The missionaries were engaged in their great work, learning the languages, building school-houses and places of worship, and preaching the word of life with considerable success when an event transpired which filled them with the deepest sorrow. They were called to resign part of their number to become the first martyrs of the Methodist missions to South Africa. Among the first fruits of Barnabas Shaw’s ministry at Khamies Berg, in 1816, was the family of the Links. This converted Hottentot family alone furnished three native teachers of such decided piety and suitable knowledge of the truth as to be very useful in the mission. One of these was Jacob Links, who was at first employed as interpreter. But his progress in knowledge and piety was such that he soon began to preach himself, and accompanied Mr Shaw in his various visits to neighboring tribes. He was very useful; in 1818, the conference accepted him as an assistant missionary, and placed his name upon the minutes. Besides his own language, (the Namaqua,) he could preach in the Dutch, and he also learned English, that he might have access to its religious literature. As an instance of his shrewdness: One day he and Mr. Shaw encountered a Dutch Boer, who stoutly denied that the Bible or the gospel was ever intended for Hottentots. Links looked him in the face and replied, “Master, you told me that our names did not stand in the Book. Will you now tell me whether the name of Dutchman or Englishman is to be found in it?” No answer was given, and Jacob continued, “Master, you call us heathens. That is our name. Now I find that the Book says that Jesus came as a light to lighten the heathen, so we read our name in the Book!” The Dutchman was silenced.
On another occasion, Mr. Shaw says, “At the time of our going into Namaqualand, most of the distant (Dutch) farmers not only disapproved of the heathen being instructed, but some of them endeavored to turn it all into ridicule. One of them declared to me that he believed the Namaquas were only a species of wild dog, and had no souls. I therefore called Jacob Links, who was with me at the time, and offered to prove that Jacob, though a dog, could both read and write better than the farmer. I believe the farmer could do neither; and finding himself in an awkward situation, he called for his horse and rode hastily away.”
In gratitude for his recognition as an assistant missionary by the committee in London, Jacob Links wrote them the following very interesting letter, which gives additional particulars of his personal history. This letter was written in Dutch, in a very good hand. Only three years previous to its date the writer of it was an ignorant Hottentot; let the reader bear this in mind, and then answer the question to his own conscience, whether or no the gospel of Christ is adequate to elevate and save the most degraded of mankind? The following is a literal translation:
“Africa, Leslie Fonteine,
Nov. 19, 1819.
“Unknown but Reverend Gentlemen:—The salutations which you sent, I received from our beloved teachers, and wish you and the Society much peace and prosperity in the name of the Lord. I have long been desirous of writing you concerning my former and present state, but on account of weakness in the Dutch language, I have been hindered. I hope, however, your goodness will excuse and wink at my fault. Before I heard the gospel I was in gross darkness, ignorant of myself as a sinner, and knew not that I had an immortal soul; nor had I any knowledge of him who is called Jesus. I was so stupid that when a Hottentot came by us who prayed to the Lord, I thought he was asking his teacher for all these things of which he spoke in his prayer. Sometime after this another Namaqua came upon our place. He spoke much of sin and also of Jesus. By means of his conversation I was very sorrowful and much affected, and knew not what to do. My mother having some leaves of an old Dutch psalm book, I thought if I ate them I might then find comfort. I ate the leaves up but my sorrow was not lessened. I then got upon the roof of an old house to pray, thinking if I were high the Lord would hear me better; but I found no deliverance. I then ate all sorts of bitter bushes, for I thought the Lord might possibly have mercy on me. But my heaviness did not then go away. I then heard that I must give my cause over to Jesus, and tried to do so, by which I found much lighter. There was then no one in this country to tell us of Jesus, and I desired to go to the Great river, (the Orange river, near 200 miles off,) to learn from the word. I was now persecuted both by black and white. The [Dutch] farmers said if we were taught by missionaries we should be seized as slaves. Some said I had lost my senses; and my mother believing this to be the case, wept over me. After this a missionary on his journey to Pella, remained some weeks with our chief; but as I was tending cattle in the Bushman-land, I heard nothing. Then our chief and four other persons went to seek one who could teach us. I was at this full of joy; and when they returned, and I saw the teacher (Mr. Shaw) whom the Lord had sent us, it was the happiest day for me that I ever knew. Through the word that the Lord gave the missionary to speak I learnt that my heart was bad, and that nothing but the precious blood of Christ could cleanse me from my sins. I also found Jesus to be the way of life and the sinner’s friend; and I now feel the most tender pity for all those who are ignorant of God. I often feel sweetness for my soul whilst I speak about the gospel, and my own experience in the Lord. Before our English teacher came we were all sitting in the shadow of death. The farmers around us told us that if we prayed they would flog us, and some of them even threatened to shoot us dead if we attempted to pray. They said we were not men but baboons, and that God was blasphemed by the prayers of Namaquas, and would punish us for daring to call upon him. Now, however, we thank the Lord that he has taught us by his servants, and that he hath also given His son to die for us. We hear likewise, that many people in England remember us in their prayers; and we hope they will not forget us. The society or all praying people are by me saluted.”—An unworthy Namaqua, JACOB LINKS.”
This monument of the mercy of God continued to grow in grace and knowledge, and with great acceptance to exercise his abilities in preaching Christ to his own people and to the tribes around them. About this time a deep feeling of commiseration for the perishing heathen beyond the Orange river, had taken hold of the church at Lily Fountain. And notwithstanding the distance and the danger, Jacob Links had already offered, if no European missionary could be obtained, that he would take one of his Christian brethren with him, and go and live among the Great Namaquas, and teach them the way of life. Just at this time (early in 1825) the Rev. W. Threlfall arrived at Lily Fountain. Mr. Threlfall was a young man of amiable spirit and manners, of deep piety and of great promise as a Christian missionary. He left a home in England where the attractions of wealth and social enjoyment presented their charms in vain to detain him from the settled purpose of his heart to preach Christ to the heathen. He was appointed to Africa in 1822. But his decided predilection was for Madagascar, and he hoped to be allowed to proceed there from Africa. When on the point of embarking, (in addition to a donation of £100 which he forwarded to the Missionary Society,) he nobly intimated to the committee that if the low state of their funds was the difficulty which prevented their assent to commence a mission in Madagascar, if they would furnish another missionary to go with him, he would himself meet that difficulty. There never went forth a more devoted missionary than W. Threlfall. On landing in Africa and beholding what had been done already by the labors of the missionaries, he was so delighted that he wept for joy. After laboring in Albany for a time, he proceeded to Delagoa Bay. He made great proficiency in acquiring the language; but in the midst of his labors and usefulness his health failed and he set sail for Cape Town. On the voyage he and all on board were prostrated with fever; eleven of the crew died, including first and second mates, and the helm of the ship was tied a-lee, for no one had strength to steer, and she drifted in distress, till discovered, when she was run into Table Bay. Believing himself dying, Mr. Threlfall took his pocket book and wrote, “My request to my beloved father is, that whatever property he intended to give me may be devoted to the missionary cause.” The vessel was prohibited from entering the harbor, and no communication allowed between her and the town. No one would venture to the ship. In this awful emergency the Rev. J. Whitworth, Wesleyen missionary, then at the Cape, volunteered to go on board the infected vessel and attend to the sufferers, and under express stipulation that he was not to return till the quarantine was taken off. Providing himself with medicines, &c, he went on board, and God not only preserved him but also made him the instrument of raising up all the rest; and on the 25th of May, Mr. Threlfall, with the captain and crew landed, praising God for their deliverance. Mr. Threlfall then proceeded to Lily Fountain to join Mr. Shaw, and concert measures with him for extending the cause of Christ among the heathen. Mr. Shaw was delighted with him. His piety and zeal and love for souls was ever apparent. After regaining his health in some good measure, he projected a mission to the Great Namaquas on the north-west; and finding “a true yoke-fellow” in Jacob Links, every thing was soon arranged, and he, with Jacob Links and Jonas Jager, a native exhorter, left Lily Fountain on their perilous journey in June, 1825. Mr. Shaw heard from the party up to Aug. 6th. They were at that date suffering much from the disturbed state of the countries through which they were passing, and also from deficiency of food; but still trusting in God. No further information arriving, and several months passing over, fears began to be entertained for their safety, which were soon afterwards confirmed. It appears that a cruel ruffian, well known to the different tribes in Namaqualand as a blood-thirsty savage, who lived by plunder and murder, had with some others like minded, placed himself in Mr. Threlfall’s path, and offered to become guide to the party. One night while they were asleep, he and his confederates rose and murdered them. Jonas Jager was shot while asleep. They then turned on Jacob Links and shot him, his last breath being spent in warning and exhorting his murderers and commending his soul to his Redeemer. Mr. Threlfall attempted to fly, but a shot struck him and he fell, and the cruel assassin came up and pierced him near the heart with his assagay, and killed him.
The only motive for this dreadful act was to obtain the few trifling articles which they had taken with them to provide food. Both Jacob and Jonas left wives and families to bemoan their loss, and all of them were under thirty years of age; cut down thus mysteriously in their bloom, at a time when the Church was expecting great results from their holy and zealous efforts.
Information having reached the chief Africaner, he pursued and at length arrested the party, and then sent information to the British authorities at the Cape. The murderer was sent to the colony to be executed. On his way he was led through Lily Fountain, and the whole village turned out to see him; but mark the change Christianity had wrought. The friends of the murdered men crowded round him, not to upbraid or torment, but to exhort him to think of his awful condition, and earnestly repent before he left the world; and with an exemplification of the most exalted Christian charity, Martha, the sister of Jacob Links, said to the unhappy wretch— “Although you have murdered my brother, nevertheless, I am sorry for you, because you are indifferent to the salvation of your soul.”
The death of Mr. Threlfall produced a deep sensation in England, as well as in Africa; and the Christian bard, Montgomery, celebrated his untimely end in one of his most beautiful and pathetic productions. There was no reserve in the offering which Mr. Threlfall laid upon the missionary altar; his life, his blood, his property, his all, were joyfully consecrated in such a service. And, although, none living know where he sleeps—his devoted life has not been in vain, either to the posterity of Ham, or to the living Church of God. Redeemed Africa will yet place his name in the calendar of her saints and martyrs; and when “the Chief Shepherd shall appear,” Threlfall shall “be with him in glory.”
It is but just to add, that the wish he penned in his memorandum book, on board the plague ship, was honored, after his death, by his excellent father, so that, including his own donations and his effects, the noble sum of nearly $8,000 was presented, in his behalf, to the missionary cause.
Animated by such an example, his brethren followed up his effort. Great Namaqualand was entered; and, in the country where he fell, the society in whose service he sacrificed his life, has now two stations, two missionaries, six local preachers, and twenty-one teachers, with nearly 400 church members, and more than 1800 Great Namaquas under religious instruction.
Barnabas Shaw came home to England, to recruit his health in 1837; but he shortly after returned to Africa, to resume his labors, and after 45 years of ministerial toil and suffering, this “Apostle of Wesleyan Missions in South Africa,” is still at his post, diligently employed; while his son, on the spot where he first drew the breath of life, became the successor of his venerable father, in the care of the Khamies Berg Church, till forced from his position by failure of health in 1848.
W. Shaw, the brother of Barnabas, meanwhile, was engaged with his associates in extending the Gospel on the east coast, and in the interior, among the Bechuanas, as far up as Plaatberg in lat. 28.
The Albany mission was originally commenced with the settlers who went out from England, in the hope that it would connect itself with the Hottentots, and ultimately provide the means for extending itself among the Kaffre tribes. These hopes have been realized; and the brethren occupying them have successively given way to the new missionaries sent out from England, and have planted themselves among the savages of Kaffraria.— From their labors have resulted 19 stations, besides those of Wesleyville and Coke’s Mount, in the Albany and Kaffraria District. In the Port Natal and Amazula District there are five stations; and in the Cape of Good Hope District there are nine.
The peculiar difficulties which our missionaries have to encounter in their labors among these people, arise from their feudal customs, their wandering life, (being herdsmen,) and the restless and warlike spirit of the Kaffres on the east coast. But, notwithstanding these difficulties the Gospel has been planted; schools and churches gathered; education and the press have been introduced; hundreds have been truly converted to God; the savagism of the unreclaimed, in some measure, softened down; and a large number are now before the Throne, who have died rejoicing in the faith which the missionaries first carried to them 30 years ago. An Institution for training native teachers is in operation in Kaffraria, and also a printing press, from which, besides Bibles, Hymn Books, &c, there is regularly issued a periodical in the Kaffre language. There is also another press at Grahams Town, and another among the Bechuanas. The languages employed by the missionaries are the English, the Dutch, the Kaffre, the Bassa, the Sesuto, the Grebo, and the Sichuana.
The leading authorities for this article are the “Annual Reports,” and “Missionary Notices,” of the Wesleyan Missionary Society; the “Annual Minutes” of the Wesleyan Conference; “The Wesleyan Methodist Magazine;” “Shaw’s Memorials of South Africa,” and “Moffat’s South Africa.”—Rev. William Butler.
A cyclopedia of missions: containing a comprehensive view of missionary ..by Harvey Newcomb (New York: Charles Scribner, 1860).