Niger Mission CA3/O38 JAMES THOMAS Letters & Journals. 1858-79
Gbebe 1863. Journals kept by me James Thomas - Native Teacher.
1. Oct. 11th 1863. The Lord's day early in the morning the vessel left here on Tuesday 15th instant stroong message sent to us from Dr. Baikie that we must remove our school children and a best of our things on account of war surrounded us.. Here that is Igara and Bassa had war in hands and the Igara parties went to up hired some men for warr we leearnt that was 18 canoes gone up to fetch war on the 19th of Oct our childdren send over to Ddr. Baikie's place. And another war raided against some part of Yoruba this people had their settlement by the name of Agonigo their chief call Aje before time Aje was the king Dasaba's soldier afterr all some years back Aje and his people refused to war or paying any tax besides the part pay tax to Dasaba. Aje has take those people to him then Dasaba sent some persons to left the place. Age refuse to remove on account of that Dasaba is rage raised war against Agonogoo town Oct 1863 upwards to the month of July 1864. The war continued on the same we learnt that they encamped a day walk before the town of Agonigo from the 10 month upwards the war still remain on the same,
2. Nov. 30th The Lord's day a youong man about 25 years of age was put to death for steal little I learnt about this yooung man he was employment himself for stealing at last three of them steal son a native of this place and the matter foound out and the owner of this young man had it he was much displease with the man on account many people spoil his name that his slave thief feed him about 9 o'clock he finished for drink the poison and did not dead they killed him with piece of stick and draag the body into the water this is was the way and the manner they killed such and one steal.
3. Jan. 12th 1864 Also happ[?] with a man by name [?????????] native of this place his mother his daughter living here and his son [????] Mr. Crowther release [ ?? ]
So Sama tryed gone to Bassa again some weeks after thus he died in a painfull death after Suma is dead his son was sold [into slavery] for stealling so was the end of Suma and his son.
4. December 17th we hear about the dead of Aba the chief of Agbadza. He was the richest in the part of Oworo Bunnue. We learnt from the people that since the sickness commenced until his death he had beeing killed 16 persons that he might be get better of his sickness still few days after this he died. After his death 14 persons was killed more, and two bury with him alive. How pity with the poor fellow creature and therefore all the property to the King Masaba of Bidda.
5. Feby. 12th 1864 towards evening the news came t us from Lukoja that bassa and Bunnue combine themselves together went on the road in a place by name Kpepere in order to catch people for sell then by chance the new came to Lukoja on this Dr. Baikie is town and some men [??????] arm themselves [???] kill two of them had taken 3 to home alive and th .....
to Bidda to the King Dasaba the place to be punished.
7. Feby 22nd This evening the sad news came to us about the death of Mr. Belford who living with Dr. Baikie at Lukoja. During all this time we learnt from that he had old complained from Ashatee some months back seemed us little better accordingly we learnt from Dr. Baikie that on the 21th instant. The Lord's day the sickness became worse and worser on the monday 22nd at 12 o'clock he departed out of this sinfull world. On the 25th inst. Mr. Newland Mr. Priddy and Mr. Reader both of them went to Lukoja sympathizers eith Dr. Baikie. That teach us the living shall die,
7. regards June quarterly
Baptized candidates for the Lord's supper. 17. unbaptize candidates for baptism .. 23 besides who attended on the Lord's day and the morning nprayer are remarked on the 1th of January 1864.
Our brother Abraham Ayikuta numbered the people in morning prayer was 60 persons. Always considered our brother Abraham Ayikuta, since he became a member in our church all his couontry peoiple forsake him very much even his father. behold all this time he did not looking back after all he fell in great sickness but still he stood fast in his profession. which he had made in is Baptism.
8. April 16th 1864. In the case ofo our sister Elizabeth Alady and her son. Her son was about three years of age both has been redeem this day after she has beeing catch in war about 20 years ago by the chief war Dasaba. She join our church last year 1863 she baptized in the same. She living with her owner and the owner has [???] Alady very much she which not to paid from her about three back she fall in....................
Elizabeth Alady and her son is to be sold.......
9. May 4th one an Yoruba tribe hanged himself yesterday the 3rd instant the man wounded his wife in 3 places with knife. 2 places in her hand one in her neck He has done this after two days arrived here.. The woman fell down in same spot faint and when the man saw he ran way in the bush and make himself as a mad man all the native present with her they left her in suffering. So some of us went to the place meet her in bad condition we pity upon her and bring her to the Mission House to take carre of her. The day after the man hanged himself. We learnt that some elders in the town wished to reccieve 13 bags of cowries from the poor suffering his wife that is in English money 16pds 5sh that to recover for he has spoil their ground then the man Bajuba left here had of it so he told them that he shall refare the matter to one chief by the name Madaki the place they will get better information then they fall back. Some days after this Mr. Newland went to Lukoja and told Dr. Baikie all the circumstance then Dr. Baikie gave us advice that we must not left her to the hands of the elders. Mr. Newland return home and tell us on the same advise. She remain in our yard more than 12 days our people in the yard dtake ccare of her addressed her wondes after ill some men came to us from the hill by the name Agbadza this men thank us kindly and therefore removed her. Mr. Newland followed them to Lukoja before Dr. Baikie they leave her in Lukoja. Dr. Baikie sent to one Chief by the name Showa after that some weeks we learnt that she died inn Agbadza.
10. May 29th The Lord's day first Sunday after trinity I preached in 46 Psalms and 1 ver. the word was God is our refuge and strenght a very present help in trouble the meeting address in Nupe language.
11. On the evening I preached 16 Chap St. Luk gospel from 25 ver. the sermon addresssed in Eki language after service I paid visit round in the town to invite the helpless and the poor sinners to come to church one excuse they have that their forefathers never know anything about that I hope the Lord shall open their eyes.
Then will I tell to sinneres round
That a dear Saviour I have found
I'll point to thy redeeming blood
And say beholdd the way to God
[............??????????????????? one page ommitted too faint]
round in the town soon I met with good lots of people in one open yard one of them is a great Ifa maker always i invited him to come in the house of God then tell them about the goodness of God toward sinners that our last end we might be with him in heaven and therefore the trrouoble awaiting in hell. The he answered me that truly he was a great Ifa maker But still he never kill anybody only he make it for his owon head and his family. When I saw the man [??] did not agreeable together we dismisssed our argument so I go my way I beseech God to open the eyes of our benighted country men that they may know that the [??????????]
15. June 16th Mr. Priddy went over to old town Odokoroddo and found it in the same commenced again rebuilt by the same Amozuko. Amozuby and his people The place was but few miles from Lukoja. Dr. Baikie place now have roads from Odokorodo to Lukoja one road by land another by the river Odokorodo. altogether is otherwise call Igporo-Odokrodo. igporo is in the east part of Eki and west of Gbebe in the sounthh of Lukoja. Odokoroko about 15 [??]
16. As regardd to our school children they are few indeed but still they tryed for reading primer both in English and Nupe with spelling Lesson besides catechism. the creed. the Lord's prayer and the ten commandments. also to the church affairs in this year tryed took some rafters
[?page 8 uncopieid????????????????????]
18. June 19th the Lords day. 4 sunday after trinity
I preached on the 25 Chap St. Matt. gospel from 31 to 33 ver. in Eki district addressed the meeting in Eki language on the evening the text was taken in the 2 chap. the book of JOb 13 ver. in the school room on the mission yard the sermon addressed in the Nupe Language.
19. As regard to our sermon in the church my journal and Mr. Priddys joournal shall not agreed on account since last year we building two school rooms here I took part each off it. And Mr. Priddy has taken one part of Eki district - through our interrpreter William Reader. So both of us will not able to witness for each others sermon and Mr. Jacob Newland help in the church on the mission yard. His sermon also addressed in the Nupe language. because many languages were present on the meeting Igbira is the chief of the town what soever our sermon required in Nupe language and all the tribes undergo by it - after evening serrvice over I paid visit roouond in the town soon I meet with good lots of people I told them to come on the service all of them promissed me on the meeting on the following day - Monday 20th instant two of them came to me to fulfill theier vow i hope they will continue remembering the words I told them.
20. As the people of this place in general they were robbed and pisoned by the Mahometanism many years. Still we are not discouraged in our labouring i remember the words of God to Elijah
30. July 17th the Lord's day & Sunday after Trinity I preached on the 5 Chap the gospel according St. John from 6 to 7 v. in Eki district the sermon address that our Saviour Jesus Christ his the physician of the bodies as well as the souls. He came in these world to seek and save whiich was lost in our sin and wick[ed]ness.
31. Truly they are welcome of the sermon as soon I witness that the sermon is suitable to their minds then on the evening the text was taken in the same 5 Chapter the gospel according to St. John from 3 to 5 v.
32. The sermon addressed in t he Nupe language also they welcome of the sermon as regardd to the Eki district indid (sic) they are few in the church. but still they and their wives are willingly and ready to help to do business in the church. The grass zannas we make for school room last year already spoil the the zannas is rotten then they themselves make up their mindd to repaired it again they feel that is their privileges to repair a place of worship though they are poor people. Yet they are willing and ready to do the works of God.
33. As for our preaching here did not required off much fine preaching only required gradually - patiently - by god examplye - toward our benighted country men until they themselves had witness. that this town of Gbebe were made great quiet by us because since their late king died last year and no man never beeing reign and therefore this town was inconfusion every man follow in his way. Then all people seeing us offer our prayer
34. morning and evening then that took knowlege of us. but still some of them did not know the meaning we doing this. So some of them was obliged ask our brother in Christ Abraham Ayikuta then he told them thus
35. we offered our prayer on behalf of all mankind then from that time many people began to believe that this place were kept through we. that is English people had being dwell among them. During last Oct 1863
36. All of us had the rumour of wars they ourselves did not know that this place will spaire until now but still we are preserved fom the hands of barbarous people through the mercy of God.
37. All this moved theirr minds more that we are very persons whom God send to keep their town in peace.
38. And the next was late King his brother by the name of Madako, the same man the late king left all the affairs to his charge trruly this man was a very actively in his business because any direction business happened night and day he must go and settle the matter what soevere the case is,
39. on account of that his own country men acknowledged him as one next to us in keeping their town in peac. It is regard to us in our yard they trusted our yard more than any natives houses Even any strangers should lodge in ourr yard a day or two they will not like to remove again and if this barren land shouldd visited by the gosopel ofo our Lord Jeus Christ again if the inhabitant of this up confluence were enjoy the privileges of the gospel.
40. July 23rd Saturday was my appointment in Eki district for morning prayer then after I had finished my business I saw a man stood in outside passing by as soon he see me call me by my native name Ikubaje I answered him then he told me to follow him to his house. So I did reached his house he order me to sit on the mat a little while he confess to me a gratitude to join class.
42. He told me again that his property has beeing robbed away from him few months back. So I encouraged him and went out after returning I meet another an oldman his house is neighbourhood too our school room at Eki district - I saw him he shaking my haand I told him to follow me inside of the church then he followed me in the side of the church. I told him to walk round so he did. I asked him what things he see in the place then he replied there is nothing
43. Then I told him that he must not be afraid to come in the church. He was glad indeed on the following day the Lord's day the oldd man atttended morning prayer and both servicesd also from that day for word he became a member in our church always this people rememberr Mr. Crowther sermon last year he preache to them that God had provided big things for Eki people of which they did not see now this words courage them more
44. August 2nd Tuesday monthly prayer meeting was held in our school room I conducted the meeting indeed was interesting, when we saw the native present so much in that meeting then all the candidates from Eki district came together in this meeting
45. Attended no less than 100 men and uupwards when the time I concluded the meeting most a great number of them shaking my hand heartily and thank God for the kindness. He has sending His Son Jesus Christ to die upon cross for us This is showed the love of God to the children of men.
46. After the first reading the portion of the holy scripture then Mr. Newland offered prayer and the 2ndly Mr. William Reader offered prayer in Eki language and the 3rdly i concluded with reading and prayer in the same Eki language.
47. This big river living in the west of Gbebe. Ebue river in the east of Gbebe we learnt that river spring from up Ogpoto or Erumosa and goin the big river in a place by name Setaku, little down below Gbebe. On this day a prince in this place named Mahamahaka came to us and told us his expresson fully sorry that the white people had removed factory in their town and now all his companion shall held the committee against such time Mr. Crowther's coming, they will appear before him that he might speak to the white people for them in order that they might rebuilt the Factory to Gbebe
48. because they wish not to lose the chance of the Factory remove in their town he said further that the old Factory his mother in law occupied the place but still if white man should come now and ready to built the hplace is not more than an hour his mother in law will leave the hplace
49. August 11th Mr. Priddy had return from visiting he pass to the young man his house. the yooung man I mentioned in the preface of my journal 15 to 16 pages then [??????????????????] still refuse the words again that they really only that the Factory had remove in their town on account of theif but now if Factory were rebuilt again in Gbebe they will give a laws that if any pereson go and steal such and one should be found oout in white man Factory he or she shall be put to death or must be fire with gun in the same sport (sic) because the meeting they shall be held will mixed with his companions and with all the elders inhabitant.
50. So their rules towards white man's Factory shall be hold fast they are willing and ready against such time Mr. Crowther coming they will appear too him he will plead for them.
Mission House Gbebe. 13th Oct. 1864
Revd. & Dear Sir,
I was very glad to se that our dear & beloved Superintendent return this year Bishop of the Niger This was indeed a joyful news and I trust would prove a great blessing to us. and our masters cause - Onthe 7th of Sept 1864 - the Bishop anbd Mr. Coomber arrived here and met us in the Yard all well - a few days after the Bishop & Mr. Coomber went down to Ida on the 19th instant they came back on the 29th and brought the news that the King of Ida, and his people consented that the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ should be preache in Ida.
Oct. 2nd after the morning service we received the Lord's supper in the afternoon - 17 persons were baptised - 10 adults , 5 young children & w young infant - so the member of our church began to increase daily little by little
Now Adult Baptized candidates for the Lord's supper ...25
unbaptized candidates for Baptism - 14. Surely the Lord begin to bless this station.
The next thing I witness that this part of Africa is opened to Church Missionary Society at Ida a pieice of ground has been giving[sic] to the Bishop at Lukoja - a land was selected - all these parts are open to us-
Igbira - igara - Eki - Bunne. Only labourers are few.
I remain yours HUmble and obedient servant James Thomas.
Mission House, Gbebe in Confluence. August 10th 1864.
Revd. & Dear Sir,
I have taken this opportunity upon me in order to write you this few lines I hope it will met you in good health.
My journal in this year will be very few indeed on account from the commencement of Oct. last - we hearing the rumour of wars. about us here. the chief of this wars was the King Dasaba. besides Bassas Igara and Igbira of all this tribes had raised war among themselves. they surrounded us here all this things gives us no peace. then our minds still no rest. our hearts is always perplexity from that time. King Dasaba had raise war against some tribe of Yoruba from the month of Octoberr 1863 - until now.
2. This people had their settlement by the name of Agonigo their chief Age, and therefore Age has taken some part of ground belong to the people pay tax to the King ddasaba. He send person to Age to left the place. He refused to remove so Dasaba call many hands against agonigo they make camp against them.
3. We learnt that they encamped a day from the town of Agonigo. From the 10th months and upwards the war still remain on the same; as regards too my sickness since we return from Sierra Leone on the 7th of Sept 1862. I take rest aboout three month after I paid visit to my own birth place . In a short time from that time I never rest with sickness. Still I thank God our heavenly Father who had call us to this part of Vine yard to make his name known to our benighted countrymen. who is hid in holes sitting in darkness and shadow of death by this time some of them began to prove that no another consolation besides Jesus Christ our Lord. They are now follower the doctrine of our Lord Jesus Christ as the way. Therefore there are three towns in this peninsular - Gbebe - Ganide - abejiga - both occupied by Igbira - Igara and many nations besides.
------------- [too faint to read]
There will I tell to sinners round
What a dear Saviour I have found
I'll point to they redeeming blood
And say behold the way to God.
Regard to this big river living on the west of Gbebe and Ebue river living on the east of Gbebe. we learnt that Ebue river spring from okpoto - or Erumasa and join the big river in a place by name Setaku .......................
Regardd to the sermon on the church my journals and Mr. priddy will not agreed on accouont since last year we tryed building two schoolroom. In this place I took a part of it and Mr. priddy by through our interpreter Mr. William Reader their Mr. Priddy took a part of Eki district church. So both each of us will not able to witness for each other sermons and Mr. Jaacob Newland help in the church in our yard. He also address the meeting in Nupe language..
May the Lord help us in all undertaken. Maany languages are present in the meeting such as Igbira - Igara - and the rest are strangers whatever our sermon require in Nupe language and all the tribes under go by it.
10. June 19th The Lord's day 4 sunday after trinity I preached on the 25 Chap St. Matt. gospel from 31 to 33 ver. in Eki distric so I address the sermon in Eki language on the evening I took the text on the 2 Chap the book of Job and the 13 ver. in the churchh on the mission yard the sermon addressed in the nupe language.
11. After service over I took one part pay visit Mr. Priddy and Mr. Reader took another part i soom met with many lots of people i told them to come on the church all of them promised me to come another following day Monday 20th of June two of them came to me to fulfill their vow. i hope they will continued to do so.
13. Quarterly for June 1864.
Baptizeed candidates for the Lord's supper 17
unbaptized candidates for baptism 23
besides many attended in the Lord's day and also morning prayer are remarked.
14. No doubt as many respectable and valuable persons has been in this mighty river many years ago & has beeing inform you many things, as I think youo will like to see my little ability.
I recoommended myself to him who is able make us wise unto salvation.
I remain yours hjumble and obedient servant
James Thomas. Native teacher.