CA 2 O88 . Original Papers-Missionaries .Thomas Wilcoxon 1860-1861
EXTRACTS FROM THE LETTERS OF THOMAS WILCOXON 1860 – 1862
Dec 3 1860 Madeira.
“You will be very much surprised to have a letter from me from this place. I suffered so fearfully from seasickness and its effects that I was obliged to be left behind. I firmly believe that had I proceeded, I should have died before I reached Africa. I thought I should return to England by the mail which is now in port, but in the providence of God I am to stay on this island as have engaged myself to an English Merchant of this place. My outfit Mr Woods has taken in charge, he will take it on to Abbeokuta .I am deeply sorry that my engagement with the Society has come to a brief termination. I never thought when I left England that it would be so. I shall be most willing to give the Society an account of all monies given to me for my outfit etc. My outfit cost me about £ 33.00, which left me almost penniless. Should I ever have the opportunity of repaying the money I will do so most willingly. I cannot write a longer letter as the Mail shortly leaves the harbour. I shall be most happy to give the Society any information respecting this place, which they may desire. Forgive this brief and imperfect note as it is written in haste”
T Wilcoxon & Mr Holloways
Dec 17 1860 Madeira.
Two weeks later Thomas is still at Funchal, but has reconsidered leaving the society and writes to the Rev S Dean to tell of this decision.
“ I deeply regret having under my first trial swerved from the path of duty. I am now very desirous to express my persistence, before you receive this I shall be on my way to Africa. The only way I can get is by drawing a bill upon you for my passage from here to Lagos, the agent of Laird & Co thinks if you write to them they will not demand the money on it at least they will make a compromise, if they will not do so I must bear the cost myself.
I trust the Society will accept this expression of sorrow on my part. I have been greatly tempted, but I trust faith is to have her perfect work since I have been in this place desirous of returning to England. I have been perfectly miserable, feeling an inward conviction that I was doing wrong. I trust in Christian charity that you will forgive me. I was very lonely and miserable with parting from my friends and then so much from sickness that I was tempted to fall away, but I trust that when further sufferings come upon me I shall be able to say “ None of these things move me”
Mr Brown, the English clergyman of this place has been very kind to me, it is he that has not only consented, but also suggested to indorse a bill upon you as the only way of getting one from here. This certainly is a most beautiful place but I have found that nothing external will satisfy the inward monitor If you desire I will tell you in my next letter what I have seen of Romanism in this place In conclusion I once more beg you to forgive my want of faith I do trust with the help of God I shall never have to ask pardon again for the same offence.”
Yours in Christ
Rev W Knight. T Wilcoxon
Jan 2 1861 Funchal
“It is now the second of the month and the outward bound mail has not yet arrived, she is two days behind her time. The ` Armenian` from the coast arrived early this morning. I went along side to ascertain whether anyone belonging to the Society was on board, but there was not. She lay in quarantine consequently no one was allowed to come on shore.
I have now made my arrangements to leave this place and shall be very happy to get away. I have nothing further to say, than by your will, you will receive with favour my expression of feeling contained in my last note. I do assure you Sir, that I will do my best; with God helping me to win back the confidence I feel I have lost. The Bishop of Sierra Leone, when here consecrated the English Church and has also confirmed about 24 young people. I have received my passage ticket accordingly to the arrangement I mentioned in my letter via Lisbon. You will kindly Sir, enquire of Laird Fletcher &Co whether the additional passage money must be paid,”
T Wilcoxon & Rev. W Knight.
Added Jan 3 1861.
“The Cleopatra has not yet arrived; she is now more than 3 days behind time. I trust nothing has happened to her as she is as experience proves a most unfortunate vessel”
FEB 5 1861 LAGOS. W AFRICA.
“ I have much pleasure at informing you of my safe arrival at this place. I reached Lagos on Jan 24 and Abbeokuta on Feb 3. All are well with the exception on Mr Bukta and Mr Gollmer.The former as you have doubtless heard has lost his wife. He is, I am very happy to say, resigned under this trying affliction. Pray we will all be found ready when called upon to send our account to God.
You will recollect speaking to me about a lathe wrench you had sent out here. I have made enquiry concerning it, I was told that Mr Crowther is in charge of it. As he has left for England it may be some time before I can see it, but there is another very good one in Mr Townsend’s compound, there are also plenty of tools necessary for use, no more will be required Excuse this brief note as it is only written to tell you of my safe arrival.”
Rev H Venn.
AUG 8 1861 ABBEOKUTA , LAGOS.
“ Dear Sir, My object in writing to you by this mail is to apologise for not sending my journal along with those of the other Brethren. I had hoped to have done so but was prevented by sickness. During the first months I had several attacks of fever, which have sickened me very much. I bless God for having permitted me to recover from each attack. I am still very weak. You will receive by this mail an account of the death of Mr Flad of Lagos. We were deeply grieved when we heard of his death he died as he lived trusting in Christ alone for salvation. We have had sad news from other quarters, news of the return to England by Revs Misters Jackson and Brierly and also of the inability of Mr Meakin to return to this land. The whole of this intelligence has caused us much sorrow and we cannot help but think that these facts coupled with the unfavourable state of this Mission should call forth much prayer on our behalf. We pray that if the Lord is justifying this land He will judge it in mercy and cause us to bless Him for His goodness.
Another case we cannot all help feeling interest in (and you will pardon me for alluding to it)
I refer to the present difficulties between Mr Lowndes and Mr Crowther. I am very thankful I have not been mixed up in the case. I only know that the congregation of Ake will rejoice to have their Minister with them again as much as they sorrowed at his departure from them.
During the six months I have been in Abbeokuta I have been privileged to see much and have now a very good idea what my future mission, my work will be like. I have been to Ishagga once and Oshiella twice, accounts of which will be found in my journal. I hope to be going to a Station in a short time. I would thank the Society very much if they would send me one small but complete set of joiner’s tools placed in a proper chest, otherwise they spoil directly, having to be placed in a common box and all taken out whenever this last thing is wanted. I would write more were I able, as I am not well you will forgive this short note. Praying that you may be long spared to labour in the cause of Missions believe one to be.
Rev W Venn?
SEPT 5 1861
“ You will pardon me for troubling you again with a note this month, but I cannot let my journal go home without the explanation it needs. You will remember that I said in my last note that I was unable to send it due to sickness. I am sorry to say that I have been very sick again during the last month, highly suffering from repeated attacks of intermittent fever. On that account I was unable to copy my journal as desired.
Five days ago I was able to copy part of that, which I have sent. When I had my fever symptoms of sickness, I was therefore reluctantly obliged to leave out those parts that relate to my conversation with the Brethren, and visits to the sick. With this explanation Dear Sir, you will be able to understand why the account breaks off so abruptly. I am well now, and I trust that I shall keep so, as there is a large number of people to visit who know nothing of our Christ, and whose homes are perfectly accessible at all times, with no hindrance being put in the way of anyone who desires to carry in with them the Word of Life”
Yours obediently in the Work of the Lord.
Rev W Venn
JOURNAL FOR THE HALF YEAR ENDING AUGUST 31st 1861.
Not being in charge of a station as yet, I find the task which resolves upon me a most difficult one simply because I cannot be said really to have entered upon my missionary work. I will however endeavour to show that my time has not been spent unprofitably and will also mention some of the things that I think worth recounting.
Arrived at Lagos after a very pleasant voyage from Madeira. On the following morning the danger signal was hoisted on the beach informing those on board that it was unsafe to cross the Bar. The first canoe that left the ship was upset on the Bar, fortunately but one life was lost. In one hour from that time I had to thank God for having brought me safely over. I met with a very kind welcome from the Rev J A Maden with whom I stayed three days whilst a canoe was being prepared to carry me to my destination. I arrived in Abbeokuta on the 1st of February after being a little more than four days on the way. On my arrival at Agbamiya? I found that the Rev H Townsend has very kindly sent me a horse, as there was eight miles to travel on a narrow uneven path before arriving at Abbeokuta.
I was kindly received by Rev G F Bukta with whom I was to stay for a time, and also other ministers. I was startled on my first night by a low continuous drumming and by the howling of a number of people. I knew then that I was in the midst of heathenism, about midnight the noise ceased and all was silent. The following morning I was very anxious to know what was the cause of all the noises I had heard. I was told that most probably an execution had taken place in the night. I was told that if that was the case I might easily see the heads of those that had been executed, a few days later I did so where I had been told, and a more hideous sight I had never before beheld.
There were a number of trees before the very distance, on which were the skulls of malefactors, and hovering over them at all times are a very large number of turkey buzzards, a class of bird which are always to be found in his country wherever there is any carrion. The sight I saw sickened me and I turned away from the scene, on one of the trees were the heads of the two who had been executed on the night of my arrival.
On the 13th February I was seized with my first attack of fever, but with the blessing of God I was able to leave my bed in five days.
JAN – MARCH.
The Christians of Irua Station being without a regular pastor, on instruction (on the death of Mr L Philips) I was appointed to take their ordinary services. It was very gratifying for me, a stranger to see the deep interest in the worship of God by these simpleminded but earnest believers, and deeply thankful was I for the fervent trust and prayers, which in a body they expressed to me before leaving, that my life would be spared to labour long amongst their fellow countrymen.
SUNDAY MARCH 10
Addressed the Christians in the Abbeokuta Church, from Ephesians ch 2 v 14.As I stood there looking at these 700-800 black faces, with the fact before me that not long ago they had been worshipping “ Gods of mud and stone”, I could not help exclaiming “ what has God wrought”
SATURDAY MARCH 16
Addressed and catchesised a class of communicants on the work of the Lord Jesus
“Do this in remembrance of me” I ought to say many attend this class who are not communicants but who desire to be baptised. It is here they are taught what they could not be taught anywhere else; I mean the great principles of our religion. It is not until the candidate has shown every sign of being “ born again” that he receives that right.
SUNDAY APRIL 7
Conversing with the brethren.
I spoke through an interpreter to an old woman who was selling. I told her that this was Gods day, and that He had commanded us to rest on His day from all labours and worship Him. I had not been speaking to her long before there were a number of people standing around to whom I addressed myself. What surprised me most was their assent to everything I said. I then asked them whether they wished to worship the true God, many answered in the affirmative, to these I put the question “ why do you not come to hear of the God”. They answered, “ Because the war troubled us too much, we will come when the war is over”. I told them that “ now is the acceptable time, now is the day of liberation”. This they did not assent to easily, one asked me “whether if he came to Church I would give him plenty to eat”. Truly there are many in this country of whom it may only be said, “ their God is their belly”. Another asked me (and he really seemed in earnest) if he, in the event of coming to church could bring his Unisha or idol. Mankind is the same everywhere, some seem in earnest, others indifferent, and others object to those things that belong to their peace. I left the crowd along with my interpreter offering up a silent prayer that what had been said might prove a blessing.
FRIDAY APRIL 12
Went to Ushiela, a small town about eight miles east of Abbeokuta containing about 1000 inhabitants. Dr Harrison and Mr Foulkes went also. We went to see a few Christians who were sick from fever, one woman I was particularly interested in, her arm was swollen very much, in answer to the doctors question “ What is the matter with your arm” she replied “she believed she had been poisoned because she was a Christian”. In explanation she explained that poison might easily be applied to the hand by being put among the cowries, which were to be paid to the person intended to be poisoned. Here was one “suffering for righteousness’ sake” She bore her sufferings very patiently and seemed ready to suffer more should she be called upon to do so.
In returning, I had along with my brethren, a most interesting conversation with a priest of Efa. He had in his hand a small ivory figure which he called his Efa.
We told him that would do him no good; he seemed to understand that as well as we did. The two objections he put forth were, first “ The title and office of priest were hereditary, therefore he could not give them up even if he were willing” and secondly “he obtained a livelihood by his office”. The latter reason seemed to weigh with him far more than the former. My little experience has taught one that there is rottenness at the core, not only of this superstition but of every other I have seen in this country, |I mean with the people having a real belief in them.
SUNDAY APRIL 21
Visited Ushiele for the second time in company of the Rev G F Bukta, who went to administer the sacrament of the Last Supper to the Christians of that place. On the way we passed the body of an old woman, which was lying in the road. Doubtless hundreds before had passed it and never thought of burying it. The people of this country never think it is their duty to bury a stranger. I was told that the body we saw would never be buried, were it not the interest of the person whose farm it lay near to do so.
Near the wall at the entrance to the town I saw what was a very strange sight to me.
A man was sitting ( I presumed it was a man, I could see no part of the body) covered entirely with the skin of a wild beast, he was swaying about making all kinds of gesticulations, before him was a skull spotted with blood. I naturally asked what was this strange representation was intended for, something like the following was the answer I received.” It is a man everybody knows but none dare confess their knowledge” he is supposed to be a spirit which knows everything about the spirit of the departed. Here is another system for getting money; people go to this “ spirit” to make enquiry reflecting the condition of their departed relative, for which they pay.
This at once shows how superstition blinds the eye of the people; they know perfectly well this is an impostor but yet they cling to it, before their forefathers did. My informant told me that a woman once openly declared that this supposed spirit was a man, the consequence was, she was put to death. In many instances it could be shown how an iron hand has to be used to make the people at least say they believe in the superstition of the country.
TUESDAY APRIL 23
This morning hearing a great noise, drumming, firing of guns, I asked what was the cause. I was told that an option was a thief was dead; the body of a thief was always left for a few days for public inspection. I went to the compound where the body was lying, which was only a very short distance from the Ake Station. The compound was crowd with people, directly opposite the entrance were a number of men beating drums, every few minutes one would come from the crowd and dance in he middle of the yard, when he had done some of the relatives of the deceased would throw a number of cowries among the people. The body of the thief was under a small piazza to the left of the entrance. I could scarcely distinguish where was the head, or the feet on account of the great number of cloths around it (every kind of dress here is called a cloth) in this case it was all red silk, which is the way the money of a rich man is disposed of at his death, very few benefit from such an occurrence, and never those who ought to do so vis. the wives and children of the deceased. If any property is left after the ceremony is over it is divided amongst the other relatives of the deceased. Whilst I was standing in the yard, one of the relatives of the deceased came to me and through an interpreter I was told that he thanked me for honouring the dead with coming to look at it in the compound. He told me “ That he knew white men long time and at the time of the persecution of Christians in this country he had protected many, he was not a Christian himself he added “but he would always protect them when in danger” I believe the claims of Christianity had been pressed home to him before, because immediately he had done speaking he walked away, evidently not wishing to be spoken to on the subject.
SATURDAY APRIL 27
Had one usual Saturday meeting which is always a time of refreshing, this is a meeting when the missionaries, catechists and schoolmasters meet together for prayer to beseech the Almighty to bless the services of the coming Sabbath, not only in this land, but in every other where the Gospel of Christ is preached. We have another prayer meeting on Sunday. In addition to those present on Sunday, we have the students of the institution and the children who are appointed by. Also we have singing.
SUNDAY APRIL 28
Seized with an attack of fever, which weakens me very much. I was however quite restored to health in four days.
All the European agents unwell, it was with difficulty Mr. Wood could get through the Morning Service. I was the only one well enough to take the Evening Service. Mr. Bukta is very ill indeed. The Wesleyan missionary and his wife are both suffering from fever. At this time of the year the rainy season commences, the sudden change from the hot dry of the dry season to one of heavy and continual rains is immediately felt, not only by the Europeans but by the natives themselves. You will easily imagine what times of trial these visitations of sickness are, we need to be in prayer very much, and we also need the prayers of Christian friends at home.
TUESDAY MAY 14
On this day there is a silence, which is never known on any other. The sheds are deserted and so when you will, you are sure to meet men on their way to the Kings Square when meetings are held on such days. These meetings here of late have been convened in order that men might be asked to go to the War, and to give publicity to the different reports and statements which have been received, respecting the movements of the Ibadans I have walked about the town several times on such days, but have only seen two women, one was an Ijebu woman who during the night had sought refuge in the Aka compound knowing that on the following day she dare not let herself to be seen abroad. The other woman had been caught; she had been in the Kings Square where she would remain till night, when she would be given to Uro, or in other words be put to death. When Uro is said to be out, a woman must not only confine herself to her home but must avoid being seen. This rule also applies to the wives of the native agents as to the heathen. Although the gate of the Ake compound is closed, they will close their shutters and doors and all the houses have the appearance of being deserted, so great is the terror of the people here, not only of Uro but also of the power, which the Chiefs exercise in the name of this imaginary influence (they do not call Uro a God). This power is not only exercised by the Chiefs, but also by the male heathen.
FRIDAY MAY 17
Went to Ishagga in company with Mr Roper. There is a small town between Abbeokuta and Ishagga, called Mara. At this place we stayed a short time to take refreshments and to speak to the Scripture Reader, who alone is in charge of the place.
By the time we arrived in Ishagga we were very much burnt with the sun, and with a heavy tornado setting in directly the sudden change of temperature caused one to have fever. I was therefore almost unable to do anything whilst there. A boy, a resident of Ishagga had given himself to Uro, the God of thunder, the act being accompanied by the theft of a fowl from the schoolmaster. This was reported to the King and the rest of the chiefs. To the credit of the authorities, they took the matter up directly and went to the house where the boy lived and demanded the retribution of the fowl and threatened if the fowl was not given to the rightful owner the parents' house would be destroyed. This threat was not to be thought lightly of, as the guilty party seemed to think for the following morning a fowl was brought, much larger than the one that had been stolen. I mention this case not on account of its importance, but because it will show how some justice is given to the Missionary or Catchecist when there is a reasonable cause for complaining. This may be another reason why the King took up the case so soon. Ishagga is a small town of about 2000 inhabitants lying in the district of Dahomey. In the event of the King of Dahomey fulfilling his threat, vis. that he would destroy Abbeokuta, he would destroy Ishappa by the way in revenge for the part the people of Ishappa took when the father of the present King of Dahomey attacked
Abbeokuta and was defeated in 1851. Ishagga is therefore entirely dependant upon Abbeokuta as being the only place the people could flee to in the time of danger.
The inference to be drawn from this is, I believe the following; the Ishaggans are entirely in the power of the Abbeokutans and are careful how they treat anyone coming from the latter place, especially the Europeans who are very much suspected in Abbeokuta.
Early on Monday morning, I went to address the people in the market, we soon had a crowd surrounding us, who listened with much interest to the words which were being said unto them of our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. It was however with great pain we afterwards found that they were far more interested in the present war between Ijaye and Ibadan than anything that was said to them about their souls. They seemed to think and say for more about the war than the Abbeokutans themselves. When we were returning from the market a number of young men (about 80) requested us to go to a compound close by and repeat to them all that was said. We stayed with them almost an hour, Mr Roper speaking to them mostly all of the time, I being so weak as almost unable to stand. Before leaving them the usual question was put “can you tell us anything concerning the war”. When they received an answer they added. “ We are troubled very much about it and can scarcely think of anything else, when it is over we will go to Church and listen to more of the words of your God”. We were visited by the kings and chiefs who came to make us presents consisting of a sheep, two fowls and a basket of guinea corn and a number of cola nuts. Not one of the chiefs professes Christianity, one however, there is a great deal to be hoped of, he is the Balogun next in line to the Bashorun and Commander in Chief, he has not a single Orisha belonging to him in his house having cast the whole of them out, and were it not for fear I believe that from what I have heard and seen of him he would embrace Christianity strictly.
Whilst staying at Ishagga we received the sad intelligence of the death of the Consul of Lagos, we could scarcely believe it, as but a very short time had elapsed since he was amongst us, and seemed to be enjoying excellent health. “ In the midst of life we are in death” I ought to have said before closing the account of the visit to Ishagga that Mr Linith who had been in charge of the station, was very much enquired of especially by his friend the Balogun. As we were then unable to give any account of him, much disappointment was felt, and a desire was fully expressed that he would shortly return and be once more in this midst.
Very ill with fever, nor am I the only one. Messrs Ward, Roper and Foulkes having the same sickness. I have formerly had fever about once a month, but lately I have had one every week May the Lord sanctify these trials to the good of our souls.
This is a day long to be remembered by all our Christians. The first annual meeting of our beloved Society being held, the church being crowded to excess, many being unable to obtain admission. Most interesting words being given by missionaries of our society, the Wesleyan Society and the American Baptist Society. At the close there was a collection, which amounted to about £25.0.0. The people here cannot be told at the close of a collection how much has been contributed. Though not above half was collected in cowries it would take a person two days to count them.
Another attack of fever lasting four days. I pray that I may be kept close to Jesus, especially during these trials. It is remarkable what a change of temper takes place when the fever comes on, even those who are very calm and happy when well become irritable the moment fever is felt and this often a cause of complaint much greater than even the fever itself.
Public Meeting for Prayer. I had looked forward to this day with much interest, but had to be disappointed with not being able to attend, however I could lie and think of the many prayers which were doubtless being offered all over the world for the conversion of the heathen. This I scarcely need say was a great comfort to me.
Received the painful intelligence that Mr Flood had died in Lagos three days before. His sickness did not last long, he died trusting in Jesus. May my last end be like his.
May the time soon come when these poor heathen shall indeed “Cast their Idols to the moles and the bats” when they shall form a part of the Kingdom of Christ.
ANNUAL LETTER JANUARY 22 1862
Lagos W Africa.
It is with feelings of thankfulness to the Lord for his mercies during the past year; I begin this my first annual letter. Many changes have taken place in Abbeokuta within the last twelve months, some for the better, others for the worse. The War which began towards the close of the year 1859 still continues nor is the least expectation of its speedy termination. It is impossible to estimate the injury caused to this country by this War.
Trade is almost entirely at a standstill, a stoppage has been made of nearly all the roads, which communicate with the interior, and doubtless there has not been shipped from the Port of Lagos one-tenth of the produce, which would have been, only for this disastrous War. It would seem that the two continuing parties are involving the whole of the country into war of late. Ishagga has been in danger and if the state of things does not change there is not the least doubt that this town (Ishagga) will be destroyed and not only it, but many more, the reason why demands explanation. Before the Egbas became as powerful as they now are, the whole of the towns between Abbeokuta and Lagos were subject to the King of Ayo who is the King of the Yoruba country they were however subdued by the Egbas and now (as is generally the case) their submission is a new one. at present it would seem they are looking which army will be victorious, the Abbeokutan or the Ibadan. Ishagga is one of the towns and many of the people in that town have declared themselves against the Igbas hence the danger in which it is placed. But trade is not the only thing that is hindered by the War; the Word of God cannot reach where it has done before, the country being closed in almost every direction. Missionary journeys are now not heard of, not because there is not the desire but because that desire cannot be carried out. We begin to be very anxious about our friends in Ibadan, it being six months now since we had the last communication with them. Mr Make has invested himself very much in order to send them the means to procure food, but all his efforts have been useless, one man can scarcely now be found who will risk his own life in attempting the passage from Lagos to Ibadan, our friends are in the Lords hands and doubtless he will help them when everything else fails, truly they have nothing else but his promises to trust to.
The only two chiefs who have favoured Christianity in this place have died during the last year, their names were Shokenu and Ogubonna, both sent children to our school where they still remain, with the exception of those who have been put to trades. We have reason to rejoice that Christianity still makes a sure though slow progress, notwithstanding the fact that there is now not one single influential chief who in any way supports it. The Christian family in Abbeokuta is now becoming too strong to be despised not because of its numbers when compared with the heathen and Mohammadan residents, but because of its influence and connection with countries which the heathen is compelled to respect. England is one of these countries. Christianity is working indirectly amongst the heathen as well as directly. Things, which are done in the interior where there is no European missionary, the people of this place would be ashamed to do. You never hear a heathen defend his idols in Abbeokuta, this is my experience and I believe it is the experience of all. The best thing he can say to justify his idolatry is “ My father did the same”. It is not only the common people from whom you meet with such miserable answer but from the Priests and Priestesses themselves. Fear and fear only keeps many of them from acknowledging to their people their own disbelief in Idols. Now is the time to be wondered at when certain things are taken into consideration. What would be the consequences if an influential chief or priest gave up his office and embraced Christianity? Poverty, persecution and death. With knowledge of this we are not surprised when we look among all our congregations and find not one chief.
There have been two human sacrifices in the past year, the first outside the walls the other inside.
The latter sacrifice was made only a few days after the King had signed a treaty with Captain Bedingfield to the intent that no human sacrifice should take place in Abbeokuta. When the King was asked why he broke the treaty he became indignant and declared his perfect innocence and declared he had nothing at all to do with it, neither did he know anything about it, we have however reason to doubt his statement.
The cry is being raised as is usual at this time of the year that the Dahomians are coming, some of course have seen them, however they have not come yet, nor are they at all wanted. There has been enough bloodshed already and we pray that the Lord will spare these people from being involved in a war with the bloodthirsty Dahomians The Abbeokutans have dug deep trenches around their wall and there is reason to believe that if the Dahomians do come they will be as repulsed as they were in the year 1867. These things have demanded and will demand attention. The trading among our native agents and the rapid appearing of drunkenness amongst not only the heathen but as is painful to state among some of our Christians. This last evil has not been brought prominently forward but will doubtless have to be as the evil spreads.
A great desire has been felt by some of the Brethren for a conference to be held, the place where it is to be held would seem to have caused a difficulty. Might I suggest that the Parent Committee decide the place, because I think by so doing it would take the only difficulty away?
During the year I am sorry to say I have not made the progress in the language, which is desirable, nor have I been able to visit the Brethren as much as I wished, repeated attacks of fever having confined me to the house. I trust however to be more useful should I be spared during the year upon which we have now entered.
The Lord has much work for His servants to do in this place and we pray that He will pray? for His own work in this land more than He ever has done before.
Your obedient servant
In the Lord