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All the Settlers concur in representing the field of labour in this Mission to be vast indeed ; and the prospect, until thus clouded and darkened, to be highly encouraging: and it has been sufficiently shewn, that great numbers of the Natives long earnestly for times of peace and security, and are bent on availing themselves of the aid of Christians. The Committee are not, therefore, disheartened by present appearances. Nor are the good men who have offered themselves to this service disheartened : one family, as has been already stated, has just embarked for this Mission under the hope of a favourable change of circumstances; and another is preparing for the same destination. It is the Cause of Him, who has promised to bruise Satan shortly under the feet of His Servants, in which these willing labourers engage; and your Committee are well persuaded, that, great and numerous as the difficulties are which these Servants of God have to encounter, they will all give way before the grace and patience of devoted and self-denying men, who shall dedicate themselves, with their whole heart, to the Lord, for the salvation of this people. Some such men are already engaged in the Mission: with the devout sentiments and prayer of one of them, the Committee will conclude:
Notwithstanding all our difficulties, and the stumblingblocks which the Adversary puts in our way, we know that the Word of God is true—we know that its exceeding great and precious promises must be fulfilled--we know that New Zealand shall one day be won to Christ, and that this inhospitable desert shall one day blossom as the rose. When I can read the Bible with profit, which has seldom been the case lately, I am encouraged to go forward, though I cannot run: but, in times of darkness, I am full of doubts and fears. Though we should only be permitted to pick up a few stones to make a high-way for others to follow, I hope we shall, through the grace of God, be enabled to hold out unto the end.
Oh that Christians, in highly-favoured England, did but well know the spiritual and temporal wants of this fine race of Heathens !---they would pray earnestly, and throw open their purses, so that there would be no lack of Labourers for this desert, which shall one day be as the garden of the Lord, though, at present, all is darkness and the shadow of death.
ANTIGUA. The last Return of the Schools with which the Society is connected in this Island is as follows:
Of the Schools in this List, those at English-Harbour remain under the care of the English-Harbour Sunday-School Society: the Seven Country Schools are more immediately connected with this Society. Of these Schools, those of Bethesda, Hope, and old Road were formerly established : the other four are New Schools. That at Pope's Head, mentioned in the last Report, has been given up in consequence of the removal of the friends on whose care it chiefly depended.
The total number of Scholars has been increased by about 200; the last Report stating them at 1424.
Mr. Dawes, and Mr. and Mrs. Thwaites, continue in the superintendence of the Society's Schools; and are assisted by William Anderson and his Wife, he having married again, in December. Patrick Skerrett, also, has been appointed a Teacher under Mr. Thwaites. The establishment of Inspectors, stated in the last Report, has been found beneficial both to the Scholars and to themselves.
The School at Bethesda labours under some disadvantages; but is, on the whole, prosperous. The Young People who attend there discover great attachment to it, and there is reason to think well of the religious state of several.
At the Hope School, the increase of Scholars made
a new School-Room necessary. A spot of land has, in consequence, been purchased, and a building erected, fifty feet by thirty-two, at an expense to the Society of about 3701. currency. The New School was opened on the 26th of November; and though twice as large as the former room, it can only now conveniently accommodate the Scholars who attend. Of this School some very encouraging particulars are reported :
All the stones, and most of the water used for making mortar, were supplied by the Children and Young People belonging to the School, on Saturday afternoons and moonlight nights; who laboured with cheerfulness to accomplish this much-desired object. The Elder Slaves also, especially the Parents of Children in the School, brought water from a distance of half-a-mile, generally before day-light. The expense of the building was much diminished by these means.
The Children are emulous to improve. Those, who are too small for the purposes of labour, are making rapid progress on those Estates where they have the advantage of being taught daily. On one Estate in particular, the little creatures are at the doors of the huts where they assemble, before they are opened in the morning; and, as soon as they are admitted, commence their different exercises; in all which they so much delight, that they will hardly allow themselves time for their meals. It is highly gratifying to observe that the persons, at whose huts the Children assemble, give both the use of those huts and their own attention gratuitously. The Elder Scholars have also made great improvement, within the last twelve months; and several of them have become steady and useful Teachers.
But that which will afford the highest satisfaction to those who rightly estimate the worth of souls and the benefits of true religion, is, that more than Sixty of the Young People are awakened to a serious concern for their eternal interests, and bring forth fruits meet for repentance.
A Young Negro Woman belonging to this School has concluded her earthly race. About a year before her death, she became decidedly pious; and, though much exposed to temptation, preserved her integrity to her
dying day. Some of the Elder Slaves, and the Inspectors in particular, declare that they have gained much spiritual light by being present at the Night Schools.
At the School at Old Road, some of the Scholars have made good progress, and most of them have improved as to regularity of attendance: in several,
true religion is manifested in their conduct both at home and at school. The Rev. Mr. Olufsen, one of the United Brethren's Missionaries, very kindly superintends this School.
The School at Sion Hill was begun, on a neighbouring Estate, in March of last year; and was removed to its present situation in September. Though yet in its infancy, it bids fair to equal any other in utility. It is zealously patronized by the Owner of the Estate, the Hon. John Duncombe Taylor, and by Mrs. Taylor.
At Cook's, in October, an excellent stone building, 40 feet by 12, was erected for Religious Instruction, at the expense of the Proprietor of the Estate. The School at Golden Grove was opened in April 1821: the resident Attorney and Manager of the Estate was fitting up a very convenient stone-building for a School Room. The School at Union was begun in February last: it is held in a convenient Negro Hut, 33 feet by 12, appropriated to this purpose.
These three Schools are injured by the vicinity of Sunday Markets. Mr. Dawes has assiduously visited these Schools; but has been obliged, by rheumatic affections, to relinquish night teaching. He has, however, adopted measures for having each visited four times a week, besides Sundays.
The opening of the New School-Room for the Hope School, before mentioned, is thus described by Mr Thwaites:--.
The New School-Room was opened for the accommodation of the Children, to receive the rewards, as is customary at Christmas. There appeared to be present, including Adults, upward of 600. The Meeting commenced with the Children's singing, and with prayer. The company were then addressed on the origin and benefits of Sunday-School Institutions, and the happy effects which had been witnessed in English Harbour, once overspread with vice, but now, by the blessing of God, greatly changed.
Our hearts were raised in humble gratitude to God, when we beheld, on either side, those Young Persons who had grown up in the School, who had lived chastely, and who were now decently and honourably married, and live in the fear of God. Before us were several, who, we believed, had given their young hearts to God; and at our feet were infants, who had learned to lisp their Saviour's praise.
Mr. Thwaites thus closes the last Journal * received from him :
Truly we can now say, Hitherto the blessing of God has attended us. We have seen ignorance and vice declining; and the religion of our Saviour making greater progress than at any former period, both among the old and the young. The Scriptures, finding their way, through the medium of the Sunday Scholars, into the houses of the poor Negroes, have produced good effects visible to all
BARBA DOES. The Annual Examination of the Colonial CharitySchool was held on the 4th of December, much to the satisfaction of the Clergy and other Gentlemen present.
The Society pays the Salary of the Master of the School: the other expenses are defrayed by local contributions. Upward of 8001. currency has been raised for the erection of the New School Room.
A few Extracts from the Report of the Committee -wbo direct the School will explain its state and prospects :
The number of Children in the School, at the present period, is-44 Free Boys, 25 Free Girls, 49 Slave Boys, and 25 Slave Girls; making a total of 143: and the Committee feel much pleasure in stating, that they have placed to trades and other occupations 56 Children, who have completed their education, since the establishment of the School.
To the Church Missionary Society, the Committee respectfully tender their thanks, for the continued support of the Master; and regret that the expense incurred for the Building still obliges them to intrude on its funds: they however hope that the time is not far distant, when they may be enabled to support the Master from their internal resources; and, if possible, remit a part of their receipts to their friends in England—whose exertions in behalf of the unenlightened, they do fervently pray may meet with universal success.
The Committee have opened a Sunday School for Adults, and for such Children as cannot receive the advantage of the Daily School ; to which they particularly beg attention, as an easy and ready mode of obtaining Education.
* in Appendix XVII. will be found some further Extracts relative to Antigua