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--____---COLWYN BAY (continued).


COLWYN BAY (continued). A LETTER FROM THE REV DR SCHOLES. The following is a copy of an interesting letter received by the Rev W. Hughes, F.R.G.S., Secretary of the Congo African Training Institute, from the Rev Dr Theophilus Scholes, who, last June. left Colwyn Bay to carry on the Institute's recently-extended work on the West Coast of Africa S.S. Dahomey, West Africa, July 14th, 1894. Dear Mr Hughes,—The outline of our journey already given, was, you will remember, continued to Bathurst. from which port, after leaving the day following our arrival. we proceeded to Sierra Leone, whither we took four days. From the harbour of Sierra Leone, the land, draped in richest verdure, has the appearance of an amphitheatre, towards which the face being turned Freetown will be seen to begin some distance from its right extremity, nestling first in a grove of cocoa nuts, passing next to the right, then on the central slope of a gentle incline, climbing to its summit. The town, continuing still in the direction ot the left, descends the opposite side of the inc.ine, croises a narrow valley, to terminate in the left horn of the amphitheatre, whilst the gallery is enclosed by hills. beginning at each extremity and notched at regular intervals. These, rising in gradations, at length blend in the centre into a stately and magnificent cone. As the pioneer of British possessions in Africa, especial interest surrounds Sierra Leone, and that interest intensifies when the confederacy of adverse fortunes that conspired against its infantile existence, and that it has survived, is taken into consideration. The prey of English piracy, of French buccaneers, and of internal insurrec- tions, the continuance of that existence is o-day an attestation of extraordinary vitality. And, coming to the planting of tne Cross in West Africa through the agency of Protestant Missions, that same interest burns to a white heat about Sierra Leone as we stand there over the graves ot that silent host who, foc this end counted not their lives dear to them. And, going from them, we read the record of weir triumphs among the living and the dead wh), through their testimony, have been gathered iito the fold of Christ Jesus. In Sierra Leona, too, the sects are reproduced with underrating exactness, but, like regiments of a great army, are drawn up in battle array against the forces of Islam on the one hand, and heathenism on the other. And since it is sometimes asserted that Islamism is better adapted to the religious nature of the African than Christianity, we may say that the expression of native intelligence, thrift, and influence visible in this city, where there is also a large Mohammedan population, springs exclu- sively from those who profess the Christian faith. Of the immediate results of Mohammedanism, one of the most blighting is polygamy. For, in addition to sterility, it is subversive to that affection, that confidence, and that concord that is a bulwark to the stability and sacredness of the home. Of course, there are ugly and grievous blots in acts done in the name of Christianity, but such acts are without the sanction of Christianity, although too frequently confounded with Christianity. Christianity countenances none of the vices and evil practices that flourish with so great luxuriance on the African coast, and that are the products of those who, although hostile to its demands, yet shelter themselves beneath the banner of its fair name, whereas polygamy and other forms of conduct inimical to the commonweal, are not only allowed, but positively enjoined, in the tenets of Islam. Those who entertain genuine and intelligent concern for the spiritual welfare of Africa, cannot be indifferent to her commercial progress, both as to its nature and development, for, undoubtedly, a healthy and energetic commercial enterprise will afford real and abiding facilities for the speedier and more effective spread of the Gospel in the unevangelised interior of the Great Continent. On this account, therefore, we most heartily unite In the wish of the colonists of Sierra Leone, and their friends in Great Britain, that a union between this part of the coast and the vast inland may, by such means as railways, giving safer and easier access to the interior, be shortly accomplished. At present, Sierra Leone, which should be a powerful light to the interior, and especially that part of the interior that is contiguous to it, is throngh the blocking up of the way by inter-tribal wars, the absence of proper roads, etc., practically cut off. These interior tribes, shut off from that light, from the intercourse and general enlightenment that follow in its train, remain in their barbaric wilds, quarrelsome, cruel, suspicious of one another, suspicious of strangers, and a menace to civilization. For like reasons, cut off from those treasures that give momentum to trade, that enrich a community, and with which the interior is said to be laden, Sierra Leone remains in comparative poverty, unable to minister its full share for founding and sustaining missions to other parts of the continent that are in abject spiritual darkness. We were gratified in noticing that, in the absence of the Lord Bishop of Sierra Leone, the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone and the Gambia, and the Wesleyan Superintendent, all of whom are away on a furlough in England, their places were being honourably filled by inative gentlemen. So that the highest offices of the two leading religious bodies of the Colony, as well as the principal function of the law, are at the present time being discharged by negroes. In it, we see a strong contradiction to the statement that the negro is incompetent to occupy any other than subordinate positions. Are they capable of discharging the duties incident to these offices for six, twelve, or more months at different times, but incapable of performing them permanently ? And now touching the Contco Institute, I was surprised as well as delighted to discover that, through the untiring devotion of Mr Lawson, an auxiliary for helping forward the Institute on in mission, and composed of some of the leading native gentlemen of Freetown, has been formed. Mr Lawson, whose enthusiasm in the matter is beyond all praise, took me, soon after my arrival at his house, to call upon a few of these gentlemen. And we felt thankful and encouraged in seeing the earnest and hearty manner in which they spoke of our scheme. Unfortunately, the Hon. Samuel Lewis, C.M.G., the President of the Society, was out of town, so that we were deprived the pleasure of meeting that gentleman, of whom we have heard so much, and of hearing his word of cheer. From Sierra Leone, after a day's uneventful passage, we reached in safety Monrovia, the capital of the Liberian Republic. This place possesses a unique importance, and that not because of any geographical advantage it enjoys over other African territories, or on account of the national or international influence it exerts, but because it stands as the only Christian Independent Negro Government in the entire continent. As such it is in frequent demand, mainly to support assertions discrediting the negro race. And although few, if any, of those specially concerned, appear to regard such aspersions as serious enough for notice, newspaper and magazine articles, pamphlets, and even books of this nature, continue to flow from the press with obstinate persistency. But, unfortunately for those who summon the supposed failure of the Liberian Republic to support these pronouncements against the whole race, hardly any of them have set foot in the country, their nearest approach to it being through the medium of a map, and their informa- tion about it, gathered second hand. We remember being told by a gentleman at a meeting some time ago, when visiting a great English city, that he was told by certain persons in the ship that was returning from the African coast, and in which he was returning from the Canary Islands, that the natives were far better off before they came into contact with Christianity, than they have been since, that their life of polygamy is well adapted to their manner of living,, etc. The gentleman, after telling us, wished to know whether it was true. We give this as a specimen of what may be commonly heard on the Coast, with respect to the betterment of the African. For it is a fact most apparent, that the average European in this part of Africa, affects and acts as though he were sincere, and had greater esteem and deeper regard for the savage African than- fo r his enlightened brother. Hence, whilst he heartily detests the enlightened Sierra Leonian he lavishes his encomiums on the untutored Kroos. In short, ignorance, as far as the African is concerned, is at a premium with him, whilst intelligemce is at a discount. And, of course, the reason for this is not far to seek. So it happens th,at, as Liberia has the misfortune to be an aspirant after the honours of intelligence, added to the still grosser offence of having a Government of its own, she naturally comes in for a double dose of verbal castigation and gibes. And we are bound to mention that such persons form one of the main sources from which the multifarious literature that make what is called Liberian failure, an exemplification of negro incapacity, draw information and inspiration. Another channel of information is supplied by those more favourable to Negro enlightenment and general progress. One of these, starting we will say, from England, with the best intentions during the voyage of two weeks, hears frequent references and insinuations about the unprogress- iveness of the African. At first. he listens to the defamation with feelings of resentment, but, when he reaches Sierra Leone, and finds there that the chief city of West Africa, is not so grand as either Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, or Liverpool, and that there is an absence of some of those con- veniences that help to lessen the friction of city life—an absence of buses, trains, railways, cabs, museums, parks, picture-galleries, etc.,—when he observes, too, that the bulk of the inhabitants are not so well clad, in fact, that everything appears to linger in the rear of British advancement, his reflective mind, in ruminating over the lessons of the last fortnight on the subject, and bringing them into sharp contrast with the present situation, begins to perceive a vein of truth in them. When he arrives at Monrovia, therefore, and is told that that is supposed to be the monument of Negro progress, with a thrill of disappointment pervading his whole being, he receives the oft- repeated lessons of negro inertness as an un- disputed fact, and in his next letter home he writes about the same with energy and even heat. And so pamphleteers and book makers are supplied with fresh evidence, dealing with this most absorbing theme. But, of course, such a conclusion does not necessarily depend upon a visit ashore, for our hero may not have been nearer the land than the anchorage of the ship permitted, his scope of observation being, in consequence, as circumscribed as ours when, three yesrs ago, we paid our second visit to Liberia. But he may have been told, as we were told on that occasion. Entering the harbour, soon after the anchor was dropped, a gentleman came beside me, and, pointing to a piece of land on the shore that bore signs of comparatively recent cultivation, he said, with a touch of pathos, Do you see that place? A year ago, it was all under cultivation, but look at it now. Tut the place (Liberia) is gone down." We felt that several or one of several things might have happened by which not only the land and its late tiller would be free from reproach and reprobation, but even the Liberian nation. For example, the agriculturist might have been sick, have died, or, for some very tangible reason, he might have removed to some other part of the country. Any ot the^e con- tingencies might have been the cause of that symptom of decay-that so stirred the righteous wrath of our friend. But, granting that indolence was the real cause of the invasion of this plot by noxious weeds, is that a conclusive proof that the entire country is on the wane ? Does the general progress and well-being of this modest Republic rest on the tillage of one single plot of land ? Yet a hypercritical mortal might have found on so slender a basis ample room for establishing a strong denouncement against this negro Republic. And on his carefully digested production, specialists in this form of literature would feel themselves entitled to speak with the loudness and assurance of eye-witnesses. This is our third visit to Liberia and its capital, Monrovia. It is also our second on shore at this last place, and, these being supplemented by reading as well as intercourse with those who have either lived or bear some close connection to the country, we give it as our deliberate con- viction that the Liberian Republic is laying the foundation of a future which, if she continues, will lead her to the van of the protectorates and colon- ies of the West and South-west Coasts of Africa. Africa is altogether destitute of manufactories, its commercial resources being drawn from materials of spontaneous production and from those reared through human skill and labour. The first class such as the palm (from which palm oil is expressed and palm kernels gathered), mahogany, cane-wood, ebony, log-wood, monkey- skins, rubber, ivory, etc., are all the products of nature, unaided by the intervention of man. The other class, requiring human skill as well as energy for their production, embrace the cultiva- tion of the soil or Agriculture. The first class, from the fluctuations of the market, the obstruc- tion of channels affording transports to those markets, as, for example, tribal wars, and, perhaps, what is more seriotie, the comparatively small area from which the demand for these articles of trade arise- Causes of this kind appear to us to combine to the great detriment of the places dependent on the profitable sale of such products for their increase. Whereas, by agricul- ture, staples ensuring a more stable demand, such a demand as has its origin in a greater as well as a wider necessity, can be reared. And, on that account, a substantial and constant revenue can be secured to a country. In relation to the first of these two classes of commodities, Liberia enjoys all the advantages obtainable, and with respect to the second, she is, by her coffee culture, starting for the ground of vantage that agriculture offers. And as her soil remains un- rivalled in any part of the Coast for fertility, as its coffee stands first in the marts of the world, and as the disposition of its people to extend this industry rises to higher and yet higher points of determination, the prospect of her success seems the more reasonable. By way of verifying one or two of these state- ments, we may remark that the cultivation of coffee in Liberia began about 40 years ago until then Java (or other) coffee was regularly imported into the country for ordinary use. The introduc- tion of coffee, which, I understand, was the undertaking of a missionary, proved so satisfac- tory that ever since it became a staple of the coun- try. And so powerfully has its benefits appealed to the Liberian people that, from a paltry outpu t forty years ago, its steady growth enabled one country alone to export to Europe and America one million pounds this year. There are planta- tions consisting of twenty, thirty, forty, and up to two hundred thousand coffee trees. And the Gov- ernment, by way of encourageing the enterprise, has imposed no duty on its export. The desire to produce coffee infects all classes of the community, from the President down to the youth emerging into manhood. One of these, with whose boat we came off to the ship, informed us that he was just twenty-one, but that he had already taken a farm to plant. coffee, whose market value is eightpence per pound in Europe. But we must not omit those other factors by whose help success is not only conferred upon a State, but also preserved to that state. These are, in our opinion, education and the Christian religion^ With regard to the first, we have only to observe that the Liberian Government, supported by the beneficence and counsel of the American Colonisation Society (whose interest in the Republic has always been warm and genuine), is maintaining free schools in every district over which it exercises jurisdiction and not only are the doors of these schools opened to the poorest children, but materials also, such as books, slates, etc., are furnished them free of cost. Churches, also, as centres of spiritual light, carry illumina- tion into every district. And, to show that they are more than a latent force, we will only instance a branch of industry, whose encouragement promised rich and immediate profit, whilst its remoter sequence was charged with elements of positive danger to the little commonwealth. This industry was the distilling of rum. The Government was then, as it is now, poor. It's coffers languished for the remuneration that rum manufacture would give. But a wiser sentiment, a sentiment that looked beyond the confines of present advantages prevailed. And thus, instead of wealth inflated by the misery, the shame and ruin o;f its citizens, poverty was chosen, until the relief borne by longer yet more honourable toil, shall have recompensed it with the horn of plenty. But that sentiment was conceived, begotten, nurtured, and "matured by Christianity. As a result, no Monrovian shcp-keeper or merchant (we are told) sold intoxicants of any kind, the traffic being delegated to Europeans. It is these three things, the possession and practice of Christianity and the aspiration after intelligence and wealth, that make us so hopeful about the future of Liberia. Let her friends therefore be patient. All the great nations of to-day have had insignificant beginnings. Their present position is the attainment of ages. It is hardly fair to expect from a people that have not yet completed their hundredth year, as much as from one two thousand years old.


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