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MERCHANT SEAMEN'S BIBLE SOCIETY.
THE Fifth Report of this valuable Institution has recently been transmitted to us, furnishing an additional series of documents, if such were necessary, to prove the importance of circulating the sacred Scriptures, and the efficacy of the Bible Society in awakening a desire for these spiritual treasures. The following extracts from the Report will be read with interest, and may afford useful hints to those engaged in similar institutions.
"At the formation of the Society, in 1818, the dormant sympathy of the Christian public was awakened. Every one who knew and felt the value of the Bible agreed in the propriety of placing this inestimable treasure in the hands of our merchant seamen ; and it is but fair to state, that, among Christians, the projectors of the Society met with a pretty general feeling of commiseration for their moral and religious necessities. The only point on which a difference of opinion existed, was as to the mode of supplying them with the Scriptures. Whilst on the one hand, some deemed it advisable to furnish them altogether gratuitously; on the other it was argued, that unless the seamen paid for them themselves, or the owners and captains for their several crews, the Society would have no guarantee that the Bibles and Testaments supplied would be duly appreciated.
"Taking, however, a middle course between these opposite opinions, the Society instructed their agent first to use his influence with the seamen to purchase for themselves at a reduced rate; but on their expressing an unwillingness or an inability to purchase, to apply to the captain or owner, if he were on board, to purchase for his men.
"In the event of failure, the agent was instructed to leave, without payment, a certain number of Bibles and Testaments for the use of the ship's company, which were to be considered a part of the furniture of the ship, and on no account to be removed, unless subsequently paid for on application to the owners. It must be confessed that during the two first years of the Society's operations, the unpaid distribution was very considerable; but as there was a lamentable destitution of the Scriptures, and an eagerness expressed on the part of the sailors to possess them, although unable to purchase, the Committee considered themselves fully justified in supplying their wants, without payment, rather than allow so many of our brave countrymen to proceed to sea without the word of God.
"The experience of more than five years
has satisfactorily demonstrated the propriety of this large free distribution. Many of the sailors who had never perhaps read the Scriptures before, on having them placed by the Society within their reach, at intervals of leisure were induced to examine the sacred oracles. Hence, in many cases, arose a disposition to possess a Bible; and the agent has found, on revisiting the ship where a gratuitous supply had been left, many of the sailors, who were formerly indifferent to the subject, crowded round him to buy a Bible or Testament for them
"In the fourth annual Report (pp. 2 and 3) it was shown, that although the free distribution of the Scriptures for ships (but not to the men) had been considerable in the commencement of the Society's labours, it had materially lessened in subsequent years, owing to the circumstances above alluded to, and to the formation of Marine Bible Societies in some of the principal outports.
"It is with unfeigned satisfaction that your Committee have now to report that the number of Bibles and Testaments sold to seamen at Gravesend in the past year is very nearly double the number left without payment."
To these extracts from the Report, we annex the following anecdotes from the statements of the Society's agents.
"No. 8. The Captain hailed the crew when aloft loosing the topsails, saying, 'Are any of you in want of a Bible?' Two of the men came down upon deck, and purchased a Bible each; the only men in the vessel without the Scriptures. All wellbehaved, and the vessel in good order."
"What a deal of good your Society has done amongst sailors,' said a pilot, who had just returned from the Downs, after navigating the to that place; there is nothing of that blackguardism among them now that there used to be; not a quarter so much swearing and such-like as formerly; now, sailors are reconciled and comfortable; formerly, they were disorderly and restless in short, I have found this alteration in their manners in all the ships I have lately piloted."
On the same service as No. 8, a similar ship with a similar crew. Sold four Bibles. I remember the time,' said the chief officer, on the occasion of the crew of these ships leaving their friends, and Gravesend, scarcely a man would be found in either ship sober; how much sailors appear to be altered in this respect!' "Ah!' observed his friend, standing at his
elbow, the Gravesend giu-sellers complain sadly, and say their trade is not so brisk as it used to be formerly among sailors.' The books supplied were on board."
"No. 10. The chief mate gave me a kind reception. He said, 'As you have been at the trouble of coming off for so good a purpose, I will buy a Bible for this poor boy; he wants a Bible, but he is not able to pay for one; and I hope the crew will avail themselves of the opportunity, and be no longer without the Scriptures. I will say what I can to induce them to purchase.' Sold six Bibles. One of the crew, who appeared to feel interested in the moral improvement of his brother sailors, said, 'Sailors are very much altered of late for the better; and the man who would deny it must be blind, stupid, or prejudiced."" "No. 16. The crew were well supplied with the Scriptures. The captain said, 'that there is as much difference between sailors now, and what they were only a few years ago, as there is, in my opinion, between darkness and light; and a great pleasure I have in observing the difference. The ship's duty is carried on so much better now than it was formerly in ships in general.""
induce the crew to purchase. One bought a Bible; another would have done the same, but could not. 'I bought a Bible of you,' said the mate, when I belonged to the and it was the best money I ever spent; in that book I found the pearl of great price. I never was accustomed to gross immorality, having had a religious education; it always acted as a kind of check; but I never prized the Scriptures until lately: now my greatest delight is attending the means of grace.'
"No. 22. The books supplied by the Society were produced neatly covered. The mate said, Our captain does all he can to improve all hands; he is a man of prayer, and reads the Scriptures more than any one else on board.' One of the crew bought a Bible, and had the Society made him a present of it, he could not have been more grateful. The custom-house officer said, I have often witnessed with pleasure the good effects of supplying the sailors with the Scriptures. I call your Society a peacemaking Society, because, since its establishment, there has been so much order and peace on board the different vessels where I have been. It is now no uncommon thing to hear a mate, and others, ask a blessing at their meals, or to hear prayer in the cabin. This was not the case a little while back.'"
"No. 66. The chief officer called out aloud to the crew, 'Do any of you want a Bible? the cheapest books in all the world; the Society was formed on purpose for sailors, and you will be left without excuse, if you continue without a Bible any longer.' Sold two Bibles. Ah! sailors have taken a new turn somehow or other,' said the mate. An excellent crew, and well supplied with the Scriptures."
"No. 17. The owner received me with kindness, and said, I hope none of my ships will ever proceed to sea without the Scriptures. I am happy in saying, by the exertions of your Society, great good has been done amongst seamen in the merchant service. I carried out with me, the last voyage, one of the worst of crews, and I brought home one of the best; and this change in their character was, under God, wrought, by the Scriptures, together with the means I used besides.' 'Do,' said he addressing himself to the Captain, let the crew have prayers read to them every Sabbath-day, if possible; it will, depend upon it, do your people good: many sailors are well-disposed; they only want to be brought ́ ́lately from their evil associates, and to be reasoned with a little.' Then turning to me again, said, Yes, your Society has done much towards altering the moral condition of sailors."
"The master very readily paid me for a Testament, which one of his apprentices wanted, who, he told me, had very
been brought to read the Scriptures, and to see their value.' He said, it rejoiced his heart much to behold the striking alteration which had taken place in the scafaring character, and to hear from time to time of many being turned from the power of Satan unto God.'
The mate said every thing to DUBLIN SEAMAN'S SOCIETY
WE received too late for insertion in our last number, the pleasing intelligence that a Floating Chapel for the use of Seamen has been opened at Dublin, under the direction of the Port of Dublin Society for promoting the Religious Instruction of Seamen, agreeable to the constitution of the Established Church. The directors of this Society have purchased and fitted out a vessel of 260 tons as a Chapel, containing 400 men conveniently, and His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin has been pleased to
FLOATING CHAPEL. express his entire approbation of the objects of the Society, and has afforded facilities towards the accomplishing of them which could be derived from no other quarter; his Lordship kindly allowed the Rev. Robt. Daly to open the Chapel, and the other clergymen of his diocese to officiate on board, until a suitable chaplain was procured.
The first Report states, that "Thé establishment of a Floating Chapel is not the only object contemplated by the Port of
Dublin Society; they have in view other plans for the benefit of seamen.-Among these is the establishment of a school on board, for the education of boys and apprentices training up to a seafaring life, and also an adult school, for the instruction of such sailors as wish to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. They are desirous also of furnishing them with copies of the sacred Scriptures, and with religious tracts, either gratuitously or at reduced prices, as circumstances shall direct, and would be happy to form a useful library in the vessel, that might afford a safe and profitable occupation for those leisure hours which it is to be feared are at present not employed to their advantage."
Since this Report was published, the Rev. Thomas Gregg has been appointed chaplain; which appointment has met with the approbation of His Grace the Archbishop of Dublin. The congregation of course fluctuates, according to the state of wind and tide; but there is usually a full attendance of seamen.
A Sunday School has also been opened, which contains, exclusive of the children of pilots and fishermen, not less than fortythree sailors. It has only commenced four weeks.
The Directors of the Institution state, that it will require, at the very least, an annual income of 250l. to enable their accomplishing these objects on the lowest scale, and they are obliged to observe, that only 981. 7s. 2d. of that sum appears on their subscription list. They are also in debt for the outfit of the chapel to the amount of 100%.; and for the discharge of this debt, and the future support of the
PARIS SOCIETY OF
We have been favoured with a copy of the Report delivered by the Committee of Censors of the Paris Society of Christian Morals, at the general meeting of the Society, April 17, 1823; from which it appears that they have met with an unexpected degree of encouragement. The great end at which they aim is the moral improvement of the human species, and this they are endeavouring to effect by enlightening the public mind on various important topics: by promoting the abolition of the slavetrade; the education of the African youths; the melioration of prisons; the suppression of lotteries and gaming-houses; and the relief
Society, they are compelled to appeal to the public, as they have no funds at their disposal; and when it is considered that the seamen who attend are seamen of the empire, and almost exclusively English and Scotch; that this is the first and only floating chapel in the Establishment; that it is filled on Sunday with our brave seamen, and persons in connexion with them; they humbly and confidently trust, that they will meet, from a generous and benevolent public in England, that support, which, in the hour of bodily distress, afforded such sympathy and abundant relief.
We earnestly hope that this appeal to British liberality may not be in vain, and adequate pecuniary support will be contributed at the same time we ardently desire that similar institutions were formed in our own land. It is grievously to be lamented, that while the Admiralty are understood to be willing to grant one or more suitable vessels as floating chapels, any circumstances should impede their being immediately fitted and opened for public worship. When will that wretched policy be removed which so studiously throws difficulties in the way of erecting and opening places of worship in connexion with the Establishment? Surely it cannot be the true interest of this country, that her valiant naval defenders should either remain destitute of religious instruction, or be compelled to attend the ministry of our dissenting bre thren we speak not from any intolerant feelings towards those who differ from us, but from a deep regret that our own most excellent Establishment is so betrayed and wounded in the house of her friends.
of the Greeks. To promote these objects they have commenced a periodical publication, conducted and supported by men of eminent talents; and have also issued from the press various other tracts, which, we understand, have produced considerable effect in enlightening and exciting the public mind. Of the religious sentiments of the Society we have no distinct information; but all the objects they appear to have in view are such as well accord with that spirit of fervent love to the brethren, which the true Christian is called upon habitually to cultivate, and as such we most cordially wish them prosperity.
THE following extracts, from the Additional Slave-trade Papers, show the extent to which this execrable traffic is still carried.
"A lingering disposition to favour this
commerce exists among the natives along the whole line of coast, with the exception of Sierra Leone; and wherever the British flag is flying at other places, its most decided influence will be required to check it
effectually. When a man, for instance, is indebted, and finds in the person of another a more convenient article for sale, which he can readily convert into cash with much less trouble than he could raise the hundredth part of the value by labour, the means of doing so are seldom wanting where mutual interests conjoin, and here those of the slave-seller and slaye-buyer unite. It consequently gives rise to every sort of dissipation and licentiousness, leading the mind of the more active of the natives away from the less productive and slower pursuits of agriculture and commerce.
"The system of ‘panyarring,' or stealing of people, is very general in some parts. At Cape Coast, a woman belonging to that town was stolen by a man of a village about five miles off, as she was returning from the rice plantation. Sir Charles Macarthy had the man who carried her away caught and brought before him. He acknowledged the fact; said he was in debt, and had no other means of paying. The woman, it seems, would have been kept until she were redeemed by her friends; or if that were not done within a short period, she would have been sold to a slavedealer. It was with some difficulty Sir Charles was enabled to get the woman restored, as the village, with its surrounding territory, by our late treaty, has been ceded to the King of Ashantee. Wherever the traffic in slaves has been checked, the natives appear to have shown a fair and reasonable desire of cultivating the natural productions of their country. Our resident officers and merchants agree in asserting, that these would be raised to any extent for which a market could be found: this is as much as could be expected from any people in a state of nature."
From Sir R. Mends' Report to the
"Their Lordships being already acquainted with the desperate attack made by the French and Spanish slave-ships in the river Bonny, on the boats of this ship and the Myrmidon, which ended in the capture of the whole of these ships, I feel it incumbent on me here to mention a combination said to be entered into by the officers and crews of the whole of these vessels, by which they bound themselves to put to death every English officer or man belonging to the navy, who might fall into their hands on the coast of Africa. This was in perfect unison with all and every thing which the slave-dealing has engendered. Of a similar nature was the agreement between the Spanish Captains and their seamen, the latter binding themselves blindly to obey every order, of whatever nature it might be, and in case of the vessel being taken, not to receive any wages. Such is the depravity to which this
slave-trade debases the mind, and the character of the desperate banditti engaged in it. These outlaws and robbers assume any flag as best suits their purpose at the time, and would equally trample on the lily that protects them, as on the crucifix which they impiously carry in their bosoms. It is necessary to visit a slave-ship to know what the trade is."
From Captain Leeke, enclosed in the above Report.
"It is almost impossible to credit the extent to which the slave-trade is carried on. There actually sailed from this river, between the months of July and November last year, one hundred and twenty-six slave vessels! eighty-six of which were French, and the others Spaniards. Six of them were heavy vessels; one a frigate-built ship, mounting 28 guns, 200 men, English, American, and Spaniards; a corvette of 26 guns, 150 men; a corvette of 16 guns, 96 men; a brig of 18 guns, 100 men; and a brig of 16 guns, 60 men-all Portuguese. and Spaniards. This information was given to me by the captain of one of our merchantvessels, who was actually on board each of them. An immense number have already sailed this year, and I find many more are expected; and I have ascertained from good authoriry, that they will generally be under the French flag.
"A Spanish felucca, bound to the Havannah, sailed with 200 a few days prior to my boats searching the Old Calabar; and a Portuguese brig, with the same number for Bahia, sailed three days previous to my anchoring off the Cameroons.
"From the former river there had sailed, within the last eighteen months, one hundred and seventy-seven vessels, with full cargoes; more than the half of them were under the French flag, the others Spaniards and Portuguese. These accounts have been given me (not only from the kings and chiefs of the rivers), but from those who were actual eye-witnesses of the shipments and sailing of the unfortunate negroes.
"Thus you will perceive that this horrid traffic has been carried on to an extent that almost staggers belief. The vessels reported in my last to have left the river Bonny between the months of July and November 1820, with 86 that have already sailed this year, added to these, with 35 from the Bimbia and Cameroons, will make their number 424, many of them carrying from 500 to 1000 slaves; and by allowing only the very moderate average of 250 to each vessel, will make one hundred and six thousand slaves exported from four of the northernmost rivers in the bight of Biafra, in the short space of eighteen months, and by far the largest half of the vessels bearing the French flag."
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.-PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
THE Triennial General Convention of this Church was held towards the close of May, under the presidency of the senior bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. White, bishop of Pennsylvania. The harmony with which all the business brought before the convention, was conducted, was truly delightful. On the 23d of May, the Rev John S. Ravenscroft, D. D. of Virginia, bishop elect of North Carolina, was consecrated to the episcopal office. Six years only have elapsed (a correspondent informs us) since the Church in that State was admitted to union with the Protestant Episcopal Church; and in that time more than twenty new churches have been formed. The consecration of Bishop Ravenscroft is a most propitious event. A pious lady, lately deceased, has left 14,000 dollars for the erection of a church at Raleigh, the seat of government, and the new bishop will reside there. There
are now TEN bishops in the United States. The State of Georgia was this year, for the first time, represented in the General Convention. Among other important measures calculated (with the divine blessing) to promote the edification of this branch of the Christian Church, was the appointment of a joint committee, consisting of three bishops, seven presbyters, and seven laymen; who are to revise the metre-psalms and hymns, and to determine whether any, and, if any, what alterations or additions are expedient, and to report thereon at the General Convention in 1826. This committee, we understand, have met, and have determined the previous question, that some alterations and additions are expedient; and are seduously preparing, by the examination of the best collections of Psalms and Hymns, for the faithful discharge of the arduous trust confided to them.
SCHOOL FOR CLERGYMEN'S DAUGHTERS.
IT has been a subject of regret amongst the friends of the Established Church, that the provision for a considerable portion of the Clergy is so inadequate to their support: and whether we consider the happiness of individuals, or the welfare of parishes and congregations, few projects can more strongly recommend themselves to our benevolence, than those which aim at the alleviation of this evil. Efforts of this nature have long been made, with considerable success. The salutary effects of Queen Anne's Bounty are felt throughout the kingdom. The Society for the Sons of the Clergy is the means of alleviating much misery while in most of our dioceses, clerical charities have been established, and are in successful operation.
As an additional means to those already adopted, of administering to the wants of the poorer Clergy, the following plan is now submitted to the Christian public.
It is proposed to open a school for the reception of Clergymen's daughters. Lancaster is intended for the situation, as being a cheap, healthy, retired, central town: affording the advantages of masters, if required; and likewise the kind services of several benevolent and pious ladies, who have promised to give a superintending eye to the establishment.
About forty girls will be accommodated : each girl to pay 147. a year (half in advance) for clothing, lodging, boarding, and educating. The education will be directed according to the capacities of the pupils, and the wishes of their friends. In all cases, the great object in view will be their mental and spiritual improvement; and to give that plain and useful education, which may best fit them to return with respectability and advantage to their own homes, or to
maintain themselves, in the different stations of life to which Providence may call them. If a more liberal education is required for any who may be sent to be educated as teachers and governesses, an extra charge will probably be made for masters.
In many instances, the parents will be able to pay the whole of the annual sum of 14.; but where this is impracticable, it is hoped that the more affluent parishioners, and other friends who are locally interested in a Clergyman, will gladly avail themselves of this method of administering to his wants.
It is calculated, that the sum of 147. will so far defray the whole annual expenditure, as not to require more than 100%. a year, to be raised by subscriptions.
The outfit will cost about 3001. or 350/. It was intended to raise the whole of this sum, before further steps were taken: but as an eligible house is now vacant in Lancaster, and may probably be had at a very reasonable rent; and as considerable expectations of success are excited by the receipt of three donations amounting to 70%. the house will be engaged, and furnished as soon as possible.
The school is open to the whole kingdom. Donors and subscribers will of course gain the first attention in the recommendation of pupils and every effort will be made to confine the benefits of the school to the really necessitous Clergy; and especially to those who are the most exemplary in their life and doctrine.
Donations and subscriptions will be received by the Rev. Wm. Carus Wilson, Vicar of Tunstall, near Kirkby Lonsdale: who will be happy to give further particulars; to be favoured with any hints for the management of the school; and to receive recommendations of proper teachers or pupils.