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ENCOURAGING STATE AND PROSPECTS OF THE MISSION. “ I can only state that everything connected with the progress of religion among the people, is, considering all the circumstances, most encouraging. I hear of searcely any defections among them from the integrity and purity of the Gospel, or any abatement in their zeal and earnestness in bringing others to Christ. Their numbers continue to increase, and the most marvellous and gratifying accounts are received from distant provinces.
"I am informed that there are hundreds of believers in the Betsileo country, two hundred miles from the capital, and in the region to which some of the earlier Christians were banished. They carried and scattered the precious seed of the Word, and a wide and glorious harvest invites the reapers to the field. I hope you will be able soon to send a Missionary from England to this important province.
"I have also received visits from Christians who had come from Vonezongo to the coronation, They were anxious to obtain copies of the Scriptures. Received a letter from the Christians at Fianarantsoa, stating their wish to see me, and their urgent want of Bibles. There are several communicants at this remote military post, which is in the Betsileo country, seven or eight days' journey from the capital, and I have been told that there are there some hundreds of professed Christians. I hope to be able to go and see them.
“I received a visit yesterday (Oct. 5) from another party of Christians far to the sonth on the east coast. The Hoya officers at the military post have been the Evangelists.
"I went with the Missionaries to the morning service at Amparibe, where a vást number partook of the ordinance of the Lord's Supper. When the usual congregation had dispersed, others flocked in and nearly filled the chapel, silently seating themselves on the matted floor. There appeared to be about eight hundred. Great part of them were neatly, some of them tastefully dressed in clean European or Native dresses, and their calm, quiet, cheerful aspect, was deeply affecting. More than once during the service I was almost overcome by my feelings, especially when I reflected that little more than thirty years before there was not a single believer in Christ-searcely a single hearer of His Gospel. I could not help exclaiming more than once to the Missionaries, 'What hath God wrought ?' They were all much affected, and said they never expected to witness such a sight in Madagascar, and that they had never seen so many communicants together in England. An address was given at the close by one of the pastors of Analakely, and one of the pastors of Ambotonokanga closed with prayer. We had entered the chapel at nine, and it was twelve before we came out. I was tired and faint, for I had not had time for more than a cup of coffee before I went.
In the afternoon I went to the service in the King's house as usual. His Majesty had sent a message to say that he wished the service to be as usual, though he could not attend, as a meeting had been appointed with the French Commodore. The general and other officers, together with the Missionaries, had assembled, when the King came in, and after shaking each one by the hand apologized for being obliged to leave us. We then) proceeded with the service in the usual way, and after short address in Malagasy, I preached from,‘I will be as the dew unto Israel,' closing with an address in Malagasy. The Missionaries then took refreshment at my house, and we spent this, our first Sabbath evening passed together in Madagascar, in deFotion and reading the Scriptures.
THE NEWLY ARRIVED
FAVOURABLE RECEPTION AND GRATIFYING PROSPECTS OF
“ August 30th.—The King sent off early in the morning four officers of the palace to welcome the Missionaries, and conduct them up to the capital. General Johnstone called and said he would go with me to meet them, and Captain Anson also went to invite them to take refreshment at their quarters. The Christians were busily preparing their houses for them. They had made them look very comfortable, and had provided a most abundant supply of provisions. I went to the brow of the hill, and saw them in the distance. We descended, and at the bottom of the hill on which the city stands, met and welcomed them—that is, the first detatchment of their party, consisting of the two married couples and Mr. Stagg. I hastened to prepare them some tea and other refreshment, after which they appeared quite recruited, and pleased with their accomodation.
“I saw them again early on the following morning, the Sabbath, when all but • Mr. Davidson, who had been ill, went with me to Analakely, where above 1000
persons were assembled for worship, whose countenances brightened as we entered. When I introduced the Missionaries to the King and Queen, they both expressed themselves much gratified by their safe arrival, and by the prospect of instruction and improvement to their people. They also expressed much pleasure at the arrival of English ladies, and more than once said, ' May God bless you, and preserve you in health and comfort here.' The General and the other English officers also publicly congratulated the Missionaries on their arrival.
"September 4th.- Accompanied the Missionaries to the Prime Minister, who received them very courteously, and expressed himself much gratified at their arrival. He inquired about the respective branches of improvement which they would endeavour to promote among the people. He expressed his wish to give Dr. Davidson a house for his residence, and another house close by for an hospital, and to render him every possible assistance in his work. We thanked him for his kindness, and when we left, he sent his aide-de-camp with us to shew us the premises, which consisted of a spacious court or compound now occupied by the houses of the minister's dependents, which he said would be cleared for the erection of a house and offices for the doctor. The site and space appeared most eligible. The residence is in the midst of a dense population, easily accessible to the Missionaries and the chief nobles of the capital. I cannot but feel grateful to the Most High for this fresh evidence of His favour towards the Mission.
"5th. After the King had read in the Bible to-day, Mr. Toy, who had accompanied me, and who is acquainted with singing by notes, exhibited his books, and the modulator, or key to the new mode of singing on Mr. Curwen's plan. He explained the new method of notation, and sung several new tunes. The King sent for his best singers, and they were all delighted with the simplicity and distinctness of the new mode. The King expressed his wish that Mr. Toy shonld come and live near him, and be the minister at Ambohipotsy, and that Mrs. Toy should teach the girls needlework, &c.
" 6th. Mr. Stagg, who had been ill with the fever, came to see my school, and was pleased with the attention and attainments of the pupils. I afterwards introduced him to the King, who made many inquiries about the progress of education in England, and seemed interested in the accounts of the efforts to raise the education of females, and promote the welfare of women by extending the range of their occupation. He shewed Mr. Stagg the school-house, built of stone, where his band was practising on the instruments sent from England. I have learned that the King is prepared to give orders for School-houses to be erected in the villages of the province, and to extend education as widely and rapidly as possible.
INTERESTING TRAITS IN THE CHARACTER OF BADAMA II. "I hear continually of the great clemency of the King, and am not surprised at the affectionate feelings with which he is regarded by the people. I have been told by an officer who knows him well that, while Prince of Madagascar, he used to be deeply affected at the suffering and misery inflicted on the people, and the false promises by which they were often ensnared to their ruin. Some officers, his most particular friends, have told me of many of his attempts to mitigate the severities of the late Government. They said that when they first united themselves with him he said, 'our great object must be to lessen the sufferings of the people, to prevent unjust accusations, and undeserved and excessive punishments; to rescue, if possible, those sentenced to death, and to do all we can to save the lives of the people. God will help us, for it is right to do it, and God will protect us.' In carrying out these purposes of justice and benevolence, they had often been in great danger, but had never been apprehended. The Prince said also, 'We must study the eastoms, the feelings, and the habits of the people, that, while we try to do good, we may not be entrapped, and put to death. We must not make any boast or stir about what we are doing ; let the people find out what our motives are by our doings. We must always do good-all kinds of good.' These officers said that, by night and day, in darkness, storm, and rain, the Prince would be with them, sharing all their dangers, never deterred by any difficulty from either going to the high authorities and pleading for the prisoners and the oppressed, or to favour the escape of others who were sentenced to death. His great wish was that the people should be free, enlightened, and prosperous. He had, therefore, on his accession to the throne, recalled all from banishment, abrogated all cruel laws, given liberty of co nscience to all, set free all the prisoners taken in war, and sent them home with presents.
“I am much struck with the increased sagacity of the King, with regard to any public measures submitted to his consideration, and with the progress he has made since my last visit, in general information, and in the power of judging of men and things; his cordiality to myself is unabated, though it is often severely tested.
" When the French and English embassies were on their way to the capital,'it was announced to the King that General Johnstone, the head of the latter, had set off from Tamatave, and was coming to put the crown on the head of the King at the coronation. The King said, “ The French say they are to put the crown on my head -now the English say they are coming for that purpose. They can't both do it, for I have not got two heads for each of them to crown. Go and ask my father, Mr. Ellis, what I am to do.' I was obliged to attend this summons. Though very early in the morning, I found the King, as usual, consulting with some of his officers, as he rises early and transacts a great amount of business before breakfast. I endeavoured to explain the mistake which had arisen from the expression, assist at the coronation.' But I also said I thought the coronation was a great national act, appertaining in its responsibilities to the Malagasy alone, and should from first to last be performed by themselves. The King said that was his own view of the transaction, and that as he had received the authority he exercised by inheritance, he should assume the symbol of it neither from France nor England. The Secretary afterwards told me that the King had decided to take the crown and place it on his head himself.
“The King appears deeply sensible of the respect due to religious observances, and is keenly alive to impressions of compassion or kindness, as for instance, when the letter from Queen Victoria was presented by the embassy, the broad black mourning border seemed to affect both King and Queen with a kind of tender reverence; yet, with the constitution of a southern clime, he is easily excited to a kind of exuberant vivacity. When, during a conversation we had lately in presence of the Queen and others, some comparisons were drawn between the compassion of Queen Victoria towards the poor and afflicted, and his own kindness to the persecuted Christians, the King looked to me, as if for my approval. I said he had, in many respects, “all that could be desired by a people in their King. He looked grave, and said, “Mr. Ellis knows what is in my heart; he knows that I desire to know and serve God. I pray to God to enlighten my mind, and teach me what is right, and what I ought to know and do. The company appeared all very much interested in these remarks.
EXPRESSION OF RESPECT AND AFFECTION FROM THE NATIVE CHRISTIANS TO THE
BRITISH EMBASSY. “On the arrival of General Johnstone and the other officers of the embassy, the Christians came to ask me to go with them to pay what they considered a suitable mark of respect to the General. On reaching the place, I found a fine fat ox standing near the door, which they had brought as a present. I explained their object to the General, and when, accompanied by the Bishop of Mauritius and Captain Anson, he appeared at the verandah, Rainimarosandy stood forth from the native pastors and other Christians that formed a crowd in front of the house, and in a brief, sensible speech, expressed, on behalf of the Christians of the capital, the great satisfaction which the arrival of the General and his companions from England, the land of their earliest friends, had afforded them. He said they felt, after the kindness shewn them, that they were regarded as friends, and were bound by new ties (to their friends in England. That, following the customs of their country, they had brought the present of an ox (to which he pointed), of which they begged his acceptance, as an expression of their gladness in seeing their friends and the friends of Radama amongst them. The General made a very appropriate acknowledgment, to which the Bishop added some equally appropriate remarks, both which I interpreted, and the parties then separated with mutual pleasure. There were many men of rank among the Christians present, who had worn the heavy chain in prison and in exile, who had drunk the tangena, who had been doomed to death themselves, or had lost, for their faith in Christ, their dearest earthly relatives, and there was on this, as on all similar occasions, a reality and heartiness in their words and demeanour that seemed to make a deep impression on the minds of the visitors, even on those that made no pretence to religion.
VISIT OF THE BISHOP OF MAURITIUS TO THE CAPITAL
OF MADAGASCAR. Ore readers are already aware, froń letters of Mr. Ellis formerly published, that the Bishop of Mauritius in July last made a visit to ANTANANARIVO, with the intention of being present at the coronation of RADAMA, which was at that time expected to occur in the month of August; and also with a view to make himself acquainted by personal observation with the state of Christianity and the condition of the people generally throughout the island: but as the coronation was postponed until the following month, his Lordship was compelled to return before its celebration. His views in undertaking this Mission will be best understood from the following extract from a sermon delivered to his congregation in Mauritius on the Sabbath preceding his departure :
* One end in view in seeking this personal knowledge is to avoid anything like interference with the noble work of the London Missionary Society.—& work which has stood the test of long years of fiery persecution, and has left results full of promise for the future. In so wide a field, however, as that large island, with its several millions of inhabitants, there is abundant room for the independent operations of oar Church, and while we are taught in our solemn services to pray so often that it would please God to make His way known upon earth, His saving health among all nations,' it is only the part of plain consistency when God in His providence sets before us an open door, to endeavour to profit by the opportunity, and to seek to make that way known. The history of that isiand, especially during the last twenty years, has farnished abundant illustration of the statement of Scripture that the dark places of the earth are full of cruelty.' Its present condition seems to warrant the hope that the Son of Righteousness is rising on it, with healing in His wings."
During the Bishop's stay at the capital, his intercourse with our friend Mr. Ellis was kind and fraternal, and it was mutually agreed that in any efforts made by the Church Missionary Society, or the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, both of which he represented, the agents which these institutions might send forth, should occupy some of those wide fields of ignorance and heathenism, yet uncultivated ; that thus no collision or interference should occur between our brethren and the new labourers, but that they should pursue their several operations in the spirit of mutual goodwill and fraternal regard. In harmony with this understanding, on his return to Mauritius, the Bishop addressed letters both to the Rev. William Ellis and the Foreign Secretary of the Society, in very kind and gratifying terms. The letter addressed to Dr. Tidman, we have much pleasure in presenting to our readers :
“ Port Louis, October 6, 1862. “ MY DEAR SIR, I send by this mail a packet given to me by Mr. Ellis, on the 18th of August, at Antananarivo ; you will doubtless find in it an account of my conversations with him on the momentous subject of the evangelization of Madagascar.