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Rev. William Nichols, Collingham.
Messrs. William Ashlin, London.
Rev. John Chin.
Messrs. William Ashlin.
Rev. J. Acworth, Leeds.
days we shall receive it again. I would apply this to native female instruction for the encouragement of all, by stating that out of the nine or ten of every age collected, whom we commenced with in 1817, seven learned to sew, and have since learned to read; and five have embraced Christianity. Amongst the latter only one discovered early fruits, and she died five years ago, in the full faith of entering into the immediate presence of her Saviour Jesus Christ. The others came forth in the Christian life, like wheat in cold climates after a winter's frost upon it. One of these teaches the Female School in the Nabob's compound, to which I now attach the name of Lady Town's School, as she furnished means to erect it. The other three live at Monghir. If half of every school should thus become converts, through Christian instruction, how great would be the rewards of those who extend it to them 1 Although amongst the sixty girls who were taught to read in 1821, 1822, and 1823, no fruits have as yet appeared unto Christ, still, I trust, the seeds of instruction will, like the sown wheat in frigid climes, gain a state of preparation by lying concealed (under the fetters of Hindoo prejudice), to spring forth vigorously, when the Sun of Righteousness shall shine over these sown fields. There are now fifty-five native girls, Hindoo and Mussulman, under tuition in the Digah Mission Schools; five girls of whom are of the former schools. This number will probably be increased in the cool weather. Thus one hundred and twenty native girls, and several women at their homes, have, since the commencement, been under instruction in this district. Half as many more I do not reckon, as they have acted more like spectators than scholars. The whole number of boys now learning is one hundred and sixty-four. I purpose having a public examination every year at least, if not every six months: the European inhabitants else will never believe that schools exist; and it is of importance to excite their interest in favour of them. As that which took place on Saturday last was a new thing, and I had every thing to arrange, I invited only a few persons to be spectators; and those were much surprised to see such a number of native children brought under order, and having inade pleasing progress. There were thirty-five in one syllable; twenty-five in two syllables; fifteen in three and four syllables, and in grammar and full reading; twenty-two in Watts's Catechism and the ten commandments; twenty in writing on paper, fifty in writing on
boards with chalk water; all the rest in the alphabet and writing on the earth with chalk, and nearly all in Hindoo arithmetic. The similar classes in each school were formed into one, and brought into the room, examined and dismissed alternately, and all done quietly. The girls presented their needle-work, and gained much praise, as well for that as their other performances, for they wrote, and read in print before the ladies and gentlemen. After the work of examination, the children were all called into the rooms, and brother Roop Das read to them a few verses from scripture, and explained them very clearly, respecting what really defiled a man, and that knowledge which was necessary to their enjoyment, both in this world and that which is to come. And having sung a native hymn, in which many joined, brother Hurree Das closed with prayer. The children were then dismissed, with the trifling reward of two pice, or a penny each, to get themselves a morsel to eat on their way home, as many had come six miles.
“We had to pass a mountainous district, about fifty miles wide, covered with wood, ere we cane to the chief population. This distance must have been more than half doubled by the crookedness of the way. . The road was too rugged to admit of the use of horses, and we therefore performed the journey on foot, chiefly without shoes and stockings. The fifth day after our departure, we entered the district of Silindung, whence we were obliged to return eventually without penetrating farther. During our stay here, we were daily attended from morning till night by crowds of people from every quarter. They were universally civil, and appeared to form a high idea of our character. A disposition to avarice, however, discovered itself with much shallow cunning and artifice. They displayed great simplicity as it respects an advanced stage of society, but were extremely inquisitive. Every article we carried with us became an object of their anxious curiosity. We were asked by some, if we were not invulnerable; by others, if we should ever die, &c. “On our first arrival we were so much pressed by the crowd, that it became necessary to take shelter in the house of the chief. We afterwards exhibited ourselves for several hours from an elevated lost at the end of the house, answering such questions as the multitude chose to put. At night the house was filled to excess, and Mr. Burton read some of his tracts, especially the ten commandments, with which they were much gratified. He then opened to them the great truths of Christianity; and when he came to speak of the resurrection, the future judgment, and a final state of immortality, no words can express the interest excited, the astonishment painted in every countenance. For a moment all was profound silence, every one looking on his neighbour, not knowing what to say or what to think. We were ourselves as much at a loss to see the unexampled effect of these wondersul truths on their first revelation. The scene at Athens, when St. Paul preached on the same subjects, occurred as precisely the same, except that “ certain men clave unto him and believed.” This practice of reading and conversing with the multitudes, who resorted to us in the evenings, was continued all the time we remained, and the gospel was received generally as the most interesting subject we could introduce. “A considerable portion of the second day was consumed in a public bechara, or consultation, attended by the chiefs of the neighbouring villages, and about two thousand people. It was held in the open street, and the chief, our host, took a seat, as a kind of president, on a stone placed in the front of his own door. The multitudes seated themselves in a large semicircle around him. The conference commenced by a public declaration, that we had arrived on a friendly visit, and intended to proceed in a few days on our journey to the great Lake of Toba, the residence of the principal chief of the Bataks, whom we wished to see—that we had brought with us certain books, revealed by the only true God, a knowi.edge of which was of the utmost import
ance to all men—that we wished to acquaint them with the contents of these, and if they should be approved, send up supplies, free of expense, after our return to the coast—that these books would teach all men to be happy—that if any person embraced their instructions, and conformed his life to their precepts, he would lose all the dread of Bogus, and Saitans, and every evil spirit, by which they were so perpetually harassed, and be placed under the immediate protection of the one great God. In fact, that they would be made happy in this life, and happy for ever after death. Mr. Burton then stood forth, and read with a loud voice the ten commandments, commenting as he proceeded. A Batak man succeeded him, reading another tract, I think, a portion of the gospel. After this, the Bechara proceeded, with a good deal of order, each speaker standing up as he spoke. Speeches were made from various parts of the circle, affording interesting specimens of savage eloquence. Some spoke with great fluency, some with great bodily action, and some with much warmth, wit, and sarcasm, endeavouring to move the feelings of the audience. Some maintained that they ought not to allow us to pass on to the lake without first ascertaining the will of Singa Manga Raja, the great chief. One very aged man arose, and leaning on his staff, declared that he had lived a long time, and had ever found their “ Adat,’ their laws and usages good, and that they ought not to change them;-that if we wished to introduce any thing affecting these, they ought to reject it; but if we could teach them any thing that would make them more rich or happy, they ought to embrace it cordially. This speech excited much applause; and after assuring them that what we wished to teach, would not interfere with their laws, they expressed themselves much pleased, and showed great willingness to receive the books.
“After this we exhibited and explained the use of a telescope, a mariner's compass, and such articles as we had with us, all of which were carried round for particular inspection, no one being suffered to leave his place. The telescope and the compass excited much wonder: with the former, one asked us to spy out his enemies, another to discover the evil thoughts of any bad person in the assembly, and so forth. It was the general opinion respecting the compass, that it enclosed a spirit, which moved the card to whatever place we wished to discover.
“Finally, our host arose, and declared that since the gods had sent us to visit them in peace, and with good intentions, they ought to receive us in friendship, and treat us with kindness, and return thanks to the gods, by a feast, in honour of the messengers whom they had thus sent, and with this the assembly dispersed. “Two days afterwards the feast was telebrated, and occupied a space of nearly six hours. About seven thousand people were present. A pig, fowls, and a variety of sweetmeats, were prepared, The ceremonies consisted in a succession of dances, devoted to some particular obJect, or person, or spirit, to which the leader generally made some appropriate address. They had a band of music, consisting of drums of various sizes, gongs and cymbals, and a pipe somewhat like the clarionet, but small and without keys. We were seated on an elevated stage, erected for the purpose of exhibiting us. The English flag was suspended from a Pole projecting over the street. The manher of dancing was either by a slow motion of the feet without moving from the spot, or by one in which they advanced about half a foot at a time. The hands were employed in supporting the offerings presented to the objects of their re*Peet. Our host led the way, accompaTied by his younger brother, both bearing dishes of sweetmeats. They were suc“essively joined in new dances by his unolo, the aged orator, by his two sons, his wife, his two daughters, and ultimately by all his kindred." Afterwards the chiefs *nd respectable people engaged, making perhaps twenty separate dances, in comPanies of from three to a dozen each, bearog presents, and distributing them at the close to the spectators. "One man "sing more activity than the rest, soon ond himself possessed by a spirit, and falling down senseless was carried away. Towards the conclusion, the chief deputy of Singa Manga Raja in Silindung, stepPod forth and performed a dance singly, *ddressing first the gods, then the Eng: sh flag with much respect and at considerable length, and then ourselves. In "ne of the dances the ten commandments "ere borne round and presented to the gods, with an appropriate speech. In $onclusion, a pig was killed, and served *feast the particular friends of our host. l forgot to mention, that in the midst of these festivities the cry of ‘the enemy' "as given out, when all who had arms * their hands, ran promiscuously out of the village to meet them, but it happened to be a false alarm.
“After the feast we were occupied in visiting various parts of the district, and in viewing the face of the country, but for surther particulars I must beg to refer you to the Report itself. “This journey will immediately answer one important object, and, I trust, will eventually lead to a wide and effectual entrance for the gospel, which, notwithstanding the unspeakable debasement of the Bataks, can make them wise to salvation, and meet to be partakers of the inheritance with the saints in light. From mistaken notions of their character and dispositions, occasioned by their cruel practice of cannibalism, and by their aversion to visiting the sea, there had existed an inseparable barrier to every kind of direct intercourse with them. We commenced the journey partially under the general apprehension, but confidence in the great Being, in whom are all our ways, enabled us to surmount every obstacle, and so to conduct ourselves as to leave the most favorable impression of the European character wherever we went. We were frequently invited to take up our abode in Silindang, and become their instructors; and although the number who can read is so small, that the demand for books will not be very extensive at present, we have the satisfaction to learn, that those who can read will receive books cordially, and that the way has been opened for mutual confidence and a free communication, without which nothing could have been ef. fected. “From the various particulars thus laid before you, I think you will readily draw the following conclusions:—That from the extreme ignorance and intellectual debasement of the people, an effective system of general education is of the utmost importance.—That besidespreaching and oral instruction, which should never be neglected, the cultivation of the language and a version of the scriptures are indispensably necessary.—That the Batak Mission is of a most arduous nature, and if any thing permanent is expected, should be supplied with more labourers. “Relative to our affairs at Bencoolen, I have a mixture of good and evil to men. tion; although we should remember that all events, whatever aspects they may assume in our distorted sight, are in the hand of Him whose appointed designs of mercy must be accomplished, and whose own unsuffering kingdom still must come. “The new version of St. John in Malay you will have heard, has been completed and printed; and I have now to commu
nicate, that the edition has been almost exhausted, and that I am about to reprint it in a larger type. About a thousand copies of a new scripture catechism have been printed and disposed of, and the work reprinted on English paper. A small edition of eight short sermons, making forty pages, translated freely, and adapted to the state of the Malays, from the excellent little tract, No. 38, second series, of the Religious Tract Society, has been printed, and nearly all distributed.—I am now about to revise and reprint a larger edition of it. A school book, of one hundred and seventy pages, called Selections from the Crown of all Kings, a translation from an Arabic work, of a moral nature, in great request, is just completed. I have continued to go out amongst the natives for conversation and the distribution of books as usual, and have generally met with as much attention and success as could be expected. The circulation of books, as well as the influence of the schools, evidently tends to increase the demand, numbers being thus enabled to improve themselves in the art of reading, which is seldom unaccompanied by a growing thirst for knowledge. “So far all is encouraging. You will observe from what I have said respecting the school system and the general plan for translations, that our objects have been gradually increasing in magnitude and importance, and it is hoped would have eventually extended to every recess of the island. It is most distressing to me, in the midst of these, to have to advert to the necessity of brother Robinson's removal to Bengal. I inclose a letter from himself, which, I trust, will satisfy the Committee of the propriety of the step he has been obliged to take, and
Contributions received by the Treasurer
I beg further to offer my own opinion, if it can be of any service.
“You are aware that he was troubled with an affection of the head before he left Java, which sometimes disqualified him for labour: this he ascribed to the united influence of fever and hard study. During the former part of his residence here, his avocations were more light and desultory, and he recovered his strength and spirits; afterwards, when he came to be engaged in the work on orthography, and the new version of St. John, which required more mental exercise, the morbid tendency to the head returned with greater violence than ever, and he was frequently obliged to resort to the means requisite for preventing apoplexy.—He was then directed by his medical attendants to adopt a vegetable regimen, from which he found much benefit, as long as he abstained from study; but this course appears to have induced such a state of general debility, that an attack of fever a few months ago almost carried him off. From this, however, he was mercifully recovered, but his mental powers remained in a state of great imbecility, and it became vain to hope he would be again serviceable without a change.
“This result, added to his experience at Batavia, afforded him sufficient evidence that he was not qualified for a life of mental application; and, from my own acquaintance with him, I am satisfied his conclusion was just. As this course of life is the only one in which he could be truly useful here, I have not hesitated to approve his proposal to remove to Bengal, where the climate and his knowledge of the language, will render him almost immediately useful in that particular line, which alone he is able to occupy with advantage.”
of the Baptist Missionary Society, from
May 20 to July 20, 1825, not including Indiridual Subscriptions.
Baptist Free school, Took's court, Castle-street, H
Nottingham, Auxiliary Society, Collection and Subscriptions
Mr. Hanson, Treasurer
Association, Denmark place chapel . .