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MISSIONARY SOCIETY. Encouraging Dispatches have recently been received from different
Quarters. At the Cape of Good Hope, the interest of Christ is still adyancing; and in Holland, the Monthly Prayer-ineetings are greatly increasing, and well-attended. The following Letter from the Miss sionaries, who sailed in the Royal Admiral, will considerably relieve the anxiety of the Religious Public, and excite a hope that we shall soon hear of their arrival at Otaheite, and receive a favourable account
of the progress of that Mission. TO THE DIRECTORS OF THE MISSIONARY SOCIETY
Sydney, New South Wales, 20th Feb. 1800. Rev. Fathers and Brethren! IN conformity to what we owe you as a duty, we embrace this opportunity of communicating a short account of our circumstances, and our present views of the inportant work before us. We hope that our letters from Rio de Janeiro, and also our Journal to that place, were duly received.
We left the harbour of Rio de Janeiro, the 14th of September; and, through the kindness and protection of Divine Providence, have safely arrived in Port Jackson, the 20th of Noven.ber. For an account of our voyage, we refer you to our journals; which we send in the Porpoise, Captain Scott, by the way of the Cape of Good Hope. But, though we experienced the goodness of God in many instances during our voyage from our native shore to this distant part of the world, yet we did not escape without trials and afflictions: that God who is too wise to err, was pleased to chastise us with a severe sickness. The fever which made such ravages in the ship before we came to Rio de Janeiro, had in appearance almost left the ship when we sailed from thence; but soon broke out again amongst convicts, sailors, and passengers. Several of us were brought to such a state, that our recovery was despaired of Our Brother Morris, who was the last taken ill, after an illness of sixteen days, left this vale of cears, finished his course, and entered (as we have reason to hope) into the joy of his Lord. His body was taken on shore (as we were then in port) and buried by the side of Mr. Clode, in Sydney burying-ground. But while the Lord was thus pleased to deal with our Brother, he restored us again by degrees to the full enjoyment of health and strength. In addition to this afflictive providence, on our arrival here, we were made acquainted with such information [respecting some of those who left tbeir station at Otaheite and came hither as filled us with sorrow, and made us ashamed to appear in this colony under the name of Missionaries : but, notwithstanding the injury done to the missionary cause in this colony, yet as soon as we were tolerably recovered, several of the Brethren were invited to preach in different parts of the colony; which request they gladly embraced, and in some places numbers of the poor attended.
We have made diligent enquiry in respect to the real cause which led the missionaries to quit the Oraheitean station, and are as yet not 'convinced of the necessity of the measure. They acknowledge themselves, that they never can be justified as a body in that rash resolutions
We hope that the example of them who went before us, will be as beacons to keep us from the dangerous rocks, where others have made shipwreck.-It afforded us much pleasure to hear, by the Margaret, Captain Byers, that you had received letters from the Brethren at Otaheite; and that Mr. Henry and his wife had stopped there. We have every reason to think that the Brethren at Otaheite possess a 'trug missionary spirit; and we hope, before long, to join with them in theié arduous work.
And so we conclude, hoping that the Great Head of the church will over-rule all things to bring about the spreading of divine knowledge universally among all nations. And we pray that the Missionary Society may be directed to follow such measures and plans as will be most conducive to the glory of God and the good of mankind.
We remain your unworthy servants
· JOHN YOUL, Secretary.
This letter we send by the Triinmer, Captain Foggey, who is just about sailing for the East Indies. We will send our Journals and letters by the Porpoise, which will soon sail for the Cape of Good Hope.
We expect to sail from hence in about fourteen days.
NATURAL HISTORY OF CAFFRARIA.
(Continued from our laft.)
Manners. The man spends his life in idleness: his only employment is to go to war, to hunt, and to milk the cows. The woman's work is to build houses, make kraals, utensils, clothes, to till the ground, to cut wood, &c.
Their circumcision is performed on boys of about twelve or fourteen years old, and is accompanied with ceremonies, which appear emblematical of a total renewal of the person. Afterward, he is painted white all over the body, he is driven into a river, and there washed clean; his old garments, &c. are all thrown away, and pew oncs given him.
Clothing. The Caffre never puts on clothes for the sake of decency; and, therefore, if the cold does not compel him to cover his body, he goes naked. Their heads are always uncovered, but ornamented, either with a chain of hemispherical brass or copper grains, of about one. fourth of an inch diameter, in the form of a diadem ; or of a ribbon an inch broad, composed of small beads, of two or three different colours, put close together. Sometimes they wear both these diadems. From their arins they suspend a little chain of beads, sometimes three or four inches longs of two or three buttons; or a metal wire contorted in divers manners, &c.
Round their left arm, they put several rings of ivory (from two to ten) above the elbow. On some who wore these rings from their youth, they are so tight, that they cannot get thern off again; and I have stveral unes been obliged to file them off, to deliver the wearers from the horrid
swelling and inflammation which was produced by the pressure. Coma monly these rings are three-fourths of an inch broad; and five of them are sold for a cow. They are an ornament peculiar to the subjects of Geika.
On the right arm, just above the elbow, they tie five or six teeth of a tiger, standing upright, and pointing backwards. On the crown of the head stands a bunch of the hairs of a jackal, fastened into a handle of brass. Round the wrist of both arms, rings of various metals are bent : they are thin, and being flexible, are put on and taken off at pleasure.
Their loins are encircled with a single string of iron or copper beads, which are cylindrical about one-third of an inch, and one eighth high, They are very fond of strings of beads, or of metallic chains, hanging round the neck; the lowest of which hang down to the stomach.
Round the left leg, just below the knee, they tie a fillet, from which a piece of an ox's tail, of about a foot long, hangs down on the front. The right is sometimes adorned with a kind of garter, composed of very small yellow glass beads, which give it the appearance of gold-lace.
To protect themselves against the cold, they wear a long robe or cloke, which hangs down from behind to the ground. This is commonly made of cow's skins, so prepared as to be as soft and Alexible as our clothes : ir is then called quobo; but ouneba, if made of the skins of wild animals. The captain almost uniformly wears one of tiger's skin, the hair being turned inside. The colour of these clokes is always brown, like that of coffee.
The women wear none of the before-mentioned ornaments, except those of the ears, the beads on their necks, and the rings on their wrists. They always cover their heads with a cap, made of the skin of an animal, which they call Babala; but the colonists, Bushbuck. This cap is very long, and gradually growing narrower, terminates almost in a point, From this point are suspended eight or ten strings of metal beads, about three inches long. The lower part of the cap has four projections (two on each side) about a yard long, and two fingers broad (four fingers where they expand into the cap). When this cap is placed on the head, its point, with the strings, lies on the forehead, and exactly resembles the epaulette which military officers wear on their shoulders. The bands either hang loose down, or are tied up, by which the cap and its point are secured in their position. The cap is commonly adorned with several rows of beads.
The woman's cloak is fastened in the middle to the body with a girdle of leather ; the upper part is reflected, and hangs down, leaving the upper part of the body uncovered; but if the woman has a young child, she places it on her back, and secures it there, by drawing up the upper part of her cloak tight round the child and her body, by means of another string. Besides this cloke, they wear an apron of the same stuff as their caps. Both sexes wear rings of metal on their fingers and great toes.
I forgot to mention the shoes which the men commonly carry in their hands, fastened to a stick, in order to put them on when their feet are in danger of being wounded, by the length or roughness of the road. They are nothing more than soles of thick lcather, two or three inches longer and broader than the foot; and they are fastened to the foot by means of two strings and a piece of leather, four inches broad, which cover the foot. Men always, but women never, walk with a stick five feet long, two or three assagays, and a club. I never saw women wearing shoes ; but the genteeler sort sew rows of buttons to the back of their cloaks, and to each shoulder a bunch of tails of different animals; the most
common of which are tigers and wild cats. When the men go to war, or to hunt lions, they use shields of an oblong square form, two of which are cut out of the hide of one ox; whereas the Imbo use circular ones, of which only one can be made out of a hide.
Ile nature of the country is mountainous and rich of water. The soil is argillaceous, tempered with fine sand, and very fertile. The whole surface, and even the tops of the mountains, are covered with woods, shrubs, grass, and other vegetables ; never naked and parched, except in un. commonly dry seasons. The winter, which is the rainy season at the Cape, is in Caffreland the dryest ; and most of the rain comes down by thunderstorms in the summer. The country in general is considerably elevated above the level of the sea, and much colder than, from its nearness to the tropic (70) might be expected. I think the plentiful rains, the high mountains, and the strong electricity prevailing in the atmosphere, may be mentioned among the causes of its fertility. The thunder-storms, which are more frequent and tremendous than in Europe, exhibit also uncommon phenoinena. The Aashes of lightning, which in Europe diffuse a light through the air, which dazzle the eye, and disappear in a moment, here consist of a stream of distinct sparks drawn by the earth from the clouds, or from one cloud by another. This stream is commonly double or triple; and sometimes lasts two or two seconds and a half. This has of course a greater force, as it is attended by less light, I never observed any boreal or rather austral aurora. There is little difference with respect to cold between summer and winter : and if sometimes the green leaves of some trees look not so bright and lively in this last season, it is more for want of rain, than on account of the cold. The swallows, however, leave this country in winter time, which is not the case in the country of the Tambouchis, where they stay the whole year. The Caffres sow their corn in the spring; but the Tambouchis observe no season. I observed that, in winter, no parrots were to be seen ; which had been in summer in prodigious quantities. * The country is remarkably healthy. I do not know any instances of intermitting fevers, consumption, scorbutic hydropic complaints. There is, however, sometimes a great mortality among this people, occasioned by putrid typhi, arising from their diet, when milk is scarce in dry seasons, and their close confinement in their huts.
I found, the 5th of December, 1799, in the latitude of 29° 41' the variation of the needle 28' westerly; but I had no intsruments for meteoro. logical observations.
Sheep do not thrive well in Caffre-land; and though they find plenty of rich pasture, emaciate. I observed that the lambs born in this country, never got that enormous fat tail which is the characteristic of African sheep.
There was also, in 1800, a mortality among the calves; but the disease which in the decline of the summer destroyed such vast quantities of horses in the colony, was not observed among our horses in Caffre-land; this month, however, it appeared while we stayed in that of the Boschemen.
Soil and Fossils. I have had no time for investigation, and no instruments to inquire into the nature of the objects that might have presented themselves to my view. I heard say, that nitre and brimstone are to be found in Caffre-land; but I have never met with them. That the colony produces both, seems certain, as the colonists prepare gunpowder from thery, Between the Debe and Quakoubi, I found, about two feet
under ground, a stratum of round grains, of the size of small pease, of a brownish red colour, which seemed to be an iron ore.
Vegetables. The most common tree is the large thorn-tree, from which the Gum Arabic exudes. Its inncr rind serves the Caffres for food; and the outer, which is of a bright red colour, to prepare the skins of animals for clothing.
I recollect to have seen only three kinds of European wood; the willow, and the black and red ebony. Besides these, there is a variety of timber, of which I will only mention the names by which they are known in the colony, viz. the Geelhout, Roodhout, Assagaihout, Yzerhout, Buffelbal, Nieshout, Stinkhout, and the Gonjawood, which I could not distinguish from mahogany. There grows also the Boereboon (called by the natives Inquaem) a tree which produces flowers of a beautiful red colour, belonging to the decandria, monogynia, stamina corolle petalis longiora. Corolla pentapetala. Calyx tetraphylliis corolla concolor, The fruit is a legumen, containing large beans of an excellent taste ; the bread tree of the Hottentots, which this people call Kongwe; and the pich of which, reduced to a powder, they use instead of four, for bread.
The Euphorbium antiquorum verum grows here in vast quantities, and to the height of thirty feet. I have seen trees of this kind sixteen inches jo diameter. The effect which its juice had in curing an incipient cataract, I have mentioned in a former letter, directed to Dr. Haweis.
Caffraria might be looked upon by a botanist as his paradise; but as I have no taste for that science, nor indeed for natural history in general, my knowledge of the character of a few more obvious plants, is too scanty to present you with them; nor do I suppose that you would look even upon a more complete collection as much interesting. When I first came into this country, I took down the characters of ter or twelve, and drew their figures; but want of time soon hindered me from going on. I observed, that though the pentandria class is the most numerous in botanical systems, and perhaps in the universe, in Caffreland the hexandria seems at least to be equal to it. Among the aloetic plants belonging to this class, I found a genus, the juice of which resembles, in every respect the gamboge of the shops; which, however, I think is the product of another plant.
[ To be continued.
ORDINATION. DECEMBER 17th 1801, the Rev. W. B. Collyer was ordained pastor over the church of Christ at Peckham. Mr. Urwick, late of Clapham, began by prayer and reading; Dr. D. Fisher, S. T. P. introduced the service, asked the questions, and received the confession of faith ; Mr. J. Brooksbank offered the ordination prayer, without imposition of hands; Mr. J. Berry, of Camberwell, delivered the charge from 1 Tim. iii. 1. ; Dr. Hunter preached to the people from 1 Thess. v. 12 and 13. ; Mr. Robert Winter concluded with prayer; and Mr. Stephen Morell gave out the hymns. The service was conducted with mucha solemnity, and many appeared much affected.
CHAPEL OPENED. For several years past, ministers from Devizes and its neighbourhood have preached at Marker Lavington, in a private house, which was attended with instances of conversion. Application was sometime since