Immagini della pagina
PDF

system of apprenticing Liberated African Children has ever since been carried to an extent which the Missionaries cannot but deplore: because the Apprentices, almost without exception, are deprived of every further means of instruction, being sent neither to School nor to Church. Their Masters and Mistresses seem to look upon them as not much better than Slaves; and if the scanty clothing, with which they supply them, justify us to form a judgment of their ge. neral treatment, their condition seems to be far from desirable. It is the intention of Government, that in apprenticing Liberated African Children, those are to be selected who give least promise of proficiency in their learning. This benevolent design, however, has been but partially carried into effect; the distribution of whole classes of Children having taken place, in several instances, by the Managers, without any reference to the Missionary. Thus it has happened that Children who had advanced to the reading of the Parables were given out as Apprentices, and never seen at School again; which is extremely discouraging to the Teachers and Inspectors of the Schools, as well as injurious to the Children. It is certainly a very reasonable expectation that the concentration of the Schools, to which we shall presently advert, by bringing all the Liberated African Children more immediately under the eye of the Missionaries, will cause the Regulations of the Liberated African Department, dated 14th March 1827, to be uniformly attended to. In the system of appointing, removing, and discharging the Schoolmasters and Schoolmistresses, a degree of promptitude has been exercised which has left no time to confer with the Missionaries on occasions of that kind. The Missionaries have sometimes regretted to find persons entrusted with the education of the Children, concerning whose religious

principles and practice they knew nothing, nor could acquire satisfactory information. In the month of July last, his late Excellency, Sir Neil Campbell, communicated to the Mission his intention to concentrate the Schools of Liberated African Children established in most of the Villages into three large District Schools, and his wish that a Missionary should reside in each of those places which included a District School. He died before the measure was carried into effect: and his intentions have since been further explained to have been, that the Girls' Schools should not be in the same places as the Boys' Schools. There exist, at present, a Girls' School at Bathurst; and two Boys' Schools, one at Charlotte and one at Regent, for the Mountain District : a Girls' School at York, and a Boys' School at Kent for the Sea District: the arrangements for the River District seem to be not yet finally made. There are obvious advantages connected with this arrangement; and it is to be hoped that the facility thus given to the Missionaries inspecting the Schools under their charge will produce beneficial results. We are anxious to express our sense of the difficultics with which the Colonial Government has had to contend during the year. An important change of system was accompanied with an almost total change of agents, from the highest functionary to the lowest Sub-Manager, in carrying it into effect. It has been a year of experiments; during which the Missionaries have, partly from the reduction of their number, and partly from some uncertainty as to the extent of their influence, been able to do little more than be vigilant, in looking for what things would come to ; to collect facts for their own information as well as for that of the Parent Committee; and to exercise, now and then, a certain unofficial, perhaps altogether silent, inoL

derating influence over the march of affairs. They have acquired invaluable treasures of experience; in consideration of which, they count all the trials and difficulties which have arisen to them out of the change of persons, measures, and system, as not worth mentioning. They are free however to confess, that they wish the experiments of this memorable year may speedily lead to a more settled state of things. It is evident that our reduced number was far from able to keep up such a close acquaintance with the details of the Schools and the Congregations as was desirable. The following particulars respecting the several Stations are furnished by the individuals in charge of them. Kissey, the residence of a Native Teacher—200 attend Divine Service on Sunday Morning; 100 in the Afternoon; 50 on the two Week-days, when Evening Service is kept—About 30 attend the early Prayer-Meeting: Communicants, 71 : they meet once a week, Males and Females separately, when one of the most experienced among them presides: 70 Children, born in the Colony, are in the Schools. Leicester—40 attend on Sundays, in a large grass hut built at the expense of the Society : 12 Children under instruction: 4 Communicants. Gloucester–145attend on Sundays; 12 on Week-days: Communicants, 105—There is a Church here large enough to hold a thousand persons; but it is very much out of repair: nor is there a sufficient number of forms for the people to sit on ; so that sometimes, when the attendance has been more than usual, some have been compelled to go home and fetch a seat—There is neither Manager nor Sub-Manager residing in this Village; and there is, Sundays excepted, an almost uninterrupted noise of drumming in it, both day and night—The Schools contain 95 Children, born in the Colony. Regent—The residence of a Native

Teacher—Attendance at Church,250 on Sundays; 100 on Week-days: Communicants, 149. Scholars, 108, Liberated Africans, and 177 children born in the Colony. Bathurst—(formerly Leopold and Bathurst)—250 attend on Sundays; 100 on Week-days: 6 Communicants —This being the residence of a Clergyman, the people do not fire their muskets and engage in noisy amusements so freely as they would otherwise do: in some instances the mere approach of the Missionary, in others his representations of the folly and impropriety of such engagements, have put a stop to them, and led the people to disperse — Here is the principal Liberated-African Girls' School for the Mountain District, containing 91 Scholars: of the Children born in the Colony, 71 are under instruction. Charlotte—The Church on Sundays is attended by 120; and on Week-days by 50: Communicants, 3–This Settlement is destitute of a regular place of Worship : the building designed for it might be completed for a comparatively small sum, and would then be a substantial Church—Divine Service is at present performed in one of the School-Houses, which is far from being a suitable place, either as respects its size or accommodation —There is a great deal of drumming here, but not equal to Gloucester— To the firing of muskets the people seem to be disposed, if they had money to purchase powder—Here is one division of the Liberated-African Boys' School for the District: 48 of that class attend, and 30 Children born in the Colony. MWellington – The residence of a Clergyman–475 attend on Sunday Morning; 350 in the Afternoon; 150 on the two Week-days, when Evening Service is kept: Communicants, 142—The large attendance on Divine Service is so much the more pleasing, as all the accommodation provided consists in a miserable large grass hut without forms, so that those people who do not like to stand all the while are obliged to bring their seats with them, and afterwards carry them home again—The generality of the people are very decent and orderly in their behaviour, and esteem outward Church-privileges, such as Baptism and Christian Burial : the Sabbath wears the appearance of a sacred season–The Communicants meet once a week, males and females separately, when one of the most experienced presides: departures from the Gospelpath are reported to the Missionary : and if repentance doesnot follow, suspension, or exclusion from the number of Communicants, is resorted to— In the Schools are 43 Liberated Africans on rations, 20 Liberated Africans apprenticed, and 47 Children born in the Colony. JWaterloo-140 attend on Sunday Morning; 100 in the Afternoon: the Morning Prayers during the week are attended by the School-Children only: 1 1 Communicants—It is much to be regretted that they have left off meeting for mutual edification—The people, in general, are extremely negligent in the use of the Means of Grace, though they manifest a desire to have their children baptized—Their means of Christian Instruction have been extremely scanty since Mr.Wilhelm's removal–In the Schools there are 71 Liberated Africans, and 44 Children born in the Colony. Kent—200 attend on Sundays: number of Communicants 25, who meet twice a week at the house of one of the number—There used to be formerly a very commodious Place of Worship here, which, however, has ceased to be devoted to that purpose; the Civil Authorities having removed the pulpit to the Girls' School-House, which will be by no means sufficient for the Congregation, when a regular attendance shall be again obtained by some one of the Society's Servants residing there—Here is the principal Liberated-African Boys' School for

the Sea District, containing 92 Scholars. Bananas–Divine Service was not held at the time when the island was visited by the Missionary, the people beingengaged in attending their farms whilst the rice was standing in ears— Before that time the Schoolmaster used to read the Liturgy to the people on Sundays: 14 Children under instruction. York—150 attend on Sundays on the Missionary's Ministry, and about 70 meet every Evening in a Chapel which they have built for themselves— Much inconvenience has arisen from the bad state of the grass hut provided by Government for a Place of Worship, and from the steepness of the hill on which the Government House, in which the Missionary resides, is built; added to the impaired state of his health, and strict orders given by the Chief of the Liberated-African Department, that Public Worship be not held in that house—The people, however, have shewn much attention to the Word preached to them since the time that the Missionary entered upon his residence among them, which took place about the beginning of the year; and they manifest a concern about the state of their souls—Three of the Communicants watch over the rest, conduct Prayers in the absence of the Minister, and keep a very laudable Church - Discipline, reproving such as act inconsistently, and reporting to the Missionary any that fall back and live in open sin, in order that he may strike them off the list of Communicants until they repentThe number of Communicants is 61– In this Settlement is the Sea-District Liberated-African Girls' School, containing 23 Girls, besides 38 Girls born in the Colony. Hastings, the residence of a Native Teacher — 300 attend on Sunday Morning ; 100 in the Afternoon : 60 onWeek-day Evenings; 30 on Weekday Mornings: Communicants, 22, who mect once a week, when the L 2

Native Teacher presides—Since the time that a Religious Teacher has begun to reside here, a change for the better has taken place; the Sabbath is observed with decency by about half the population–In the Schools, 43 Children born in the Colony. A new Settlement has been formed in the Mountain District, and is called Grassfield; it includes 21 Children, born in the Colony, under instruction; but no Congregation of Adults has been formed as yet. In the River District there are likewise three new Settlements which require to be adverted to ; namely, Allen'stown, where 19 Liberated Africans and 10 Children born in the Colony are under instruction; and Divine Service is held on Sunday, attended by 48 persons in the Morning and 30 in the Afternoon : daily Morning Prayers are attended by about 6 Adults, besides the Children. The people are too little acquainted with the English Language to understand what is read and occasionally spoken to them, but they seem to have a desire to understand. The new Settlement of Newlands has no School, nor any provision for holding Public Service. Calmont is the most distant Station of the River District ; but it has had the advantage of a pious Headman, a Communicant of Wellington, who has used very laudable exertions to render the inhabitants a religious community : 100 Adults attend Divine Service on Sunday Morning, and 90 in the Afternoon; at Morning Prayers on Week-days about 12 Adults attend. There was a School of Liberated-African Boys here part of the year, but they have been removed to Waterloo. The number of persons attending Divine Service includes, throughout this statement, the Children. It cannot excite surprise, that, when the reduction of our number, by death, departure, and temporary illness, interrupted the performance of

Public Services, the attendance on the part of the people also should have fallen off. At the same time, there is but a slight difference between the present number of Communicants, total 590, and the number at the close of last year, total 605; and it is gratifying to observe, that there is an increase of the number at both of those Stations which had the advantage of the Missionary's personal residence. A new and very interesting feature in the general education of the Colony, is the Infant-School opened at Bathurst by the Rev. Thomas Davey. It is attended by 71 Children born in the Colony, of the age of from 2 to 7 years; and has already produced very satisfactory results, in exciting the attention of the Children, and opening their minds for the reception of useful knowledge and religious impressions. The Contributions to the ChurchMissionary Society on the part of the Liberated Africans have ceased, from a circumstance which has prevented the Missionaries from even urging the duty of contributing. The Colonial Government having declined to defray any longer the expense of lighting the Churches for Evening Service, it has appeared to the Missionaries that they should direct the Christian liberality of their Cengregations, first of all, to a supply of palmoil for the lighting of the Church. It is only by voluntary contributions that we have been enabled to hold Evening Service in any one of theVillages; and the Contributions for this purpose seem to be all that the welldisposed have been able to offer. The Christian Institution, designed for training up Native Teachers and Assistants to the Mission, was reopened, by the reception of one Pupil, on the 4th of April. Three more have been added to the number; and the Society's Servants consider the report of the state of that Seminary as encouraging ; which states, that of these Youths two are very hopeful; while a satisfactory account is given of the general conduct of the other two, though their capacities seem to preclude the prospect of their proving useful as Teachers. As the Individual entrusted with the care of these Youths had to consider this his primary duty, it was impossible for him to engage as much as is desirable in the pastoral duties of visiting those people in their houses, or receiving them in his own dwelling, to whom he proclaimed from the pulpit the glad tidings of Salvation, and administered Christian Ordinances. He has much regretted it for there is already too much disposition in the people to consider the Freetown Clergyman as the mere servant of the outward Church, always ready to administer the Ordinances, without any inquiry into the inward state of the persons applying for them. The Freetown Schools supported by the Church Missionary Society, and containing 484 Scholars, have attained a higher degree of efficiency during the year by a second School, both Male and Female, being opened in the Eastern part of the town. They are highly useful seminaries for the spread of general information: but it is to be lamented that a taste for divine things, which it is the great object of our labours to excite, is seldom found in the Children, even in those who make otherwise very

encouraging progress. The zealous endeavours of their Teachers, we are sorry to say, are but very little seconded by the Parents or other friends of the Scholars. While laying before the Honoured Committee of the Church Missionary Society this account of the circumstances of the Mission, we unite in assuring them, that neither the memory of difficulties encountered, nor the prospect of others to come, discourages us from proceeding in our endeavours to do good to the Nations of Africa. We will gladly live and die in Sierra Leone, if we can spend our lives in labouring for the eternal welfare of the souls under our care. Nor shall we be less ready, whenever we shall be called to it, to carry the glad tidings of Salvation beyond the borders of the Colony; and to set up Christ's banner, and die in its defence, in the dwelling-places of those numerous Tribes with whose representatives only we have now to do. When God prospers our labours, we will give Him the praise; when He withholds success, we will humble ourselves, under a consciousness of our want of faith, of zeal, of perseverance, of self-denial, of love towards our fellow-creatures. And always shall we hold fast this firm persuasion, that in God's own time Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands to Him, and acknowledge the name of Jesus to be the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.

Read at the Quarterly Meeting of the Church Missionary
Society's Missionaries in Sierra Leone, on the 19th of Dec.

1827; and approved. (Signed)

CHARLES L. F. HAENSEL, Chairman.

« IndietroContinua »