Transcript of Eugene Van Cooten’s journal for the quarter ending 31 December 1850.
Item in Church Missionary Society archives held by University of Birmingham Cadbury Research Library
CMS/B/OMS/C A2 O86/1-11
Nigeria: Yoruba Mission 1844—1934
Mission surgeon and evangelist: Badagry 1850-1851
/1-6 Letters 1850-1851;
/7-10 Quarterly journal extracts: Mar 1850 – 6 Mar 1851;
/11 Account of C.’s last journey [to Porto Novo] by William Marsh, his interpreter Mar 1851
Transcribed by Merle Van Cooten, 2023.
Rec May 23/51
E. van Cooten Journal for the quarter ending
31st December, 1850
Oct 1st Occupied at home & in the town.
2nd. I spent the day in going in & around the town & visiting the few small farms near it. I am glad to see some attempts at cultivating the soil, but disappointed when told that most of them belonged to Yoruba or Haussa people.
These farms are planted with Indian corn, Cassava, Sweet Potatoes, Ground nuts, yams, Beans, small onions & a variety of Gourds used by the Natives for soup.
Some of the farms have wells from 15 to 20 feet deep cased much by bamboo sticks or properly speaking the centre of the Palm leaf (Phonia Spinosa). The people are becoming sensible of the advantage of manure, many of them collect dead leaves, sheep’s dung etc for that purpose. But all I have seen is in its very infancy, much remains to be taught and done, both in agriculture and the raising of stock.
Leaving the farms I visited a large fetish grove and saw there the body of the woman murdered on Sunday last for witchcraft – it was upon a kind of raised platform, stretched out at length and almost denuded of flesh, surrounded by hundreds of vultures, some tearing the flesh from the bones & then apparently too full to move – it was truly a disgusting sight and gave one a chill of horror not easily desisted.
On my way home visited several sick.
Johnston arrived this morning from Sierra Leone bringing 24 families, many of them I hear are Christians.
3rd. This morning early I set off for Ajarra on foot, accompanied by Mr Marsh. Heavy rain during the night made the path anything but pleasant. After going thro’ a creek rather more than a mile in length, we entered Ajarra. I found the headman consulting his Ifa. Having explained to him the object of my visit, I asked if he was willing to hear the message I was come to deliver to him. He said he was. I then made known to him gospel of Jesus Christ, having done so, I left him and his attendants, and went into the village and addressed the people. They were very attentive and willingly heard all I had to say, and thanked me for coming to tell them this Word. I asked if they wished to believe it They replied – if their chief ordered them to do so, they would. I again tried to impress upon them that each man must answer for himself before God in the day of judgment. Leaving Ajarra I next visited two small villages or hamlets, Igbediko & Agamadin, with the still smaller hamlet of Ibido-Hanssa. The yards and houses in these places are clean & neat and a fair amount of cultivation around them. A short walk brought me to Beder, a village nearly the size of Ajarra, here there seems to be greater amount of cultivation. I called upon the headman & found him sitting between two heaps of beans, sorting them for sowing. After saluting & taking water with him. I mentioned why I had come that I had a message from God to him. He at once left off working & was all attention. I then explained to him the Creation, the fall, the deluge etc & Jesus and the Resurrection. As I passed from one event to another he appeared much surprised and frequently exclaimed “No one told me this before”, he would then turn from me and explain to the people in Popo what I had said.He asked several questions amongst others this important one ”how can I walk in the way to God”. I was much pleased with his open and simple manner.
Taking leave of him I went over the village speaking where an opportunity offered, after which purchasing a little boiled corn & ground nuts, I set off for Itown. After half an hour rapid walking and going thro’ a long creek, suddenly a wild & beautiful sight met the eye. Some or so large trees perfectly denuded of leaves & bark & bleached white by the sun & rain , were scattered over a plain bounded by lofty trees in luxuriant foliage. The contrast was striking & hundreds of tall Palmyra trees without heads lent beauty to the scene. ¾’s of an hour’s walk thro’ grass fields & farms brought us to the small village of Itown.
The chief appears to be an intelligent & open hearted man. He seemed to take an interest in what I said, and promised he would not forget it. Having delivered my message to him & his people, I took leave of him. He gave me a fowl and wished to accompany me to the creek some 3 miles, this I would not allow. He then sent four of his men to see me safe and gave them money to pay any fare then? the creek.
In each of these villages the headman and people expressed a desire to have a teacher “to teach them how to walk in the way to God”. At Itown the chief offered to build a house for him.
I sincerely hope these poor people may be visited from time to time and that a native teacher may soon be sent amongst them, if stationed at Bedu he could attend to the other places.
The people appear to me to be less debased than those of Badagry tho’ of the same tribe. They have a better soil and cultivate it to some extent. Their crops, pasturage & cattle are much finer than those of Badagry. There are large groves of Palm trees “Elaeis guineensis” without? being cultivated , then with care and culture might be increased a hundredfold.
The inhabitants tho’ living near creeks and swamps & thick bush appear healthy cheerful and contented. I dd not hear hungry but from one man. I returned home by another path & thro’ another creek, in a most miserable canoe.
4th This morning accompanied by Mr Marsh I walked to Idalle, a village about four miles east of Badagry. I addressed the people in three Palm Wine sheds & in the streets. They listened very attentively. When about to leave them, they said I had given them nothing for hearing me. Oh how blind these Popo’s are! I replied I had given them that which to me was more precious than all the gold dust that this country could furnish. They said they were hungry. I told them the Bible said that if a man would not work neither should he [?] that God had been most bountiful to them in placing them in a country where they could obtain all they required with very little trouble or expense. The people are the same as at Badgary not only in nation but in idleness and drunkenness. The town is filled with fetish houses & groves. From there I went to Idokpa a village larger than Idalle. The people are more industrious; they manufacture large quantities of red earthen pots which they dispose of at the Badgary & other markets. After speaking to the people in their favourite haunts, Palm Wine sheds, and in their yards I went over their place, and then started for the next village, Kobita, distant four miles or more. It is a small mean place , the people live chiefly by fishing & the manufacture of earthen pots as at Idokpa. I had a long talk with the headman and addressed the people in a Palm Wine shed. There is little or no cultivation around their villages or the need to each of them for such a few cassava fields – the women come to Badgary market to purchase even the greens they require for soup.
The day being far spent I turned my weary footsteps towards Badgary which I reached after a painful walk in consequence of the deep sand.
5th Occupied some part of the day in sending loads to Abbeotuka. In the afternoon visited the chiefs Meivew and Balla and several sick.
6th. Lord’s Day Very heavy rain from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. then a steady & continual rain till 12 a.m. Attended the service in the church
7th. Went into the town. Visited the sick. I feel as if my work was nearly done at Badagry. The Popo’s are a lazy & depraved people. They spurn the word from them & desire to be left in their ignorance & crimes – they lift up their voice against all that is good. The villages around partake more or less of the same character. Still there appears a greater probability of doing them good than the infatuated people of Badagry. Could these be often visited, great good may ultimately [?] to this people.
8th This morning I walked to the village of Amunigun, distant about 4 miles. N.E. of Badagry. Accompanied by Mr Marsh. It is a small place with little or no cultivation tho’ the soil appears fertile. The headman appeared glad to see me. Having taken water, I delivered to him my joyful message; setting before him the leading events of the Old Testament & the plan of Salvation thro’ a crucified Saviour. He said he had never heard these things before. While speaking to him he several times interrupted me to tell the children in Popo what I had told him. I asked if he could collect as many people together as he could in some convenient place, this he willingly did by sending messengers to bring them together. As the people did not come as soon as I expected I commenced speaking to those around me, but the old man urged me several times to leave off and wait till all were assembled as he wished each one to hear for himself. I soon had a large and attentive meeting and set God’s true and lively word before them. Before leaving I wanted to take the circumference of a very large oak, but the people would not suffer me , it being a sacred tree and worshipped by them. Leaving Amunigun I came to Iberiko, a village distant about 4 miles. After taking water and speaking to the Elders, I requested them to assemble the people in an open space, as I had a very important message to deliver to them. Men, women & children soon came together under the shade of a noble tree, the women first sweeping the place clean.
I then set before them some of the leading events of the New & Old Testaments. I felt much drawn out towards this people and had some liberty of thought and speech. Oh that the Holy Spirit would seal the truth upon many of their hearts. The people are not Popo’s but a mixture of Egbada’s, Ottas & Popo’s. After I had left them , I again looked back to say good night when a picture for an artist met my eye. The splendour of the setting sun, the soft shades of evening & the deep shadow of a majestic tree under which sat old Men & Old Women, young men & young women, & youth of both sexes all eagerly gazing after me. My heart rose in thankfulness to God in permitting me to make known to them the glad tidings of salvation. I then returned home thro’ the villages of Bedu & Ajarra. This has been truly a delightful day. I could be content to spend my whole life in going from village to village, making known the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It is people immortal souls I wish to see & visit & not places only.
9th This morning I set off for Akipa, a town about six miles S.S.W. of Badagry on the south bank of the river Ossa. I found the chief an intelligent and sensible man, & the most like a chief I have yet seen. He appeared cleanly in person and dress, the latter consisting of an orange & crimson cloth & scarf-& was seated upon a fine leopard skin. After stating the object of my visit I spoke very seriously to him about the salvation of his soul. I then read to him several portions of the Bible, Mr Marsh translating it for me. When he heard of the creation & the deluge he expressed much surprise & said he had heard many things but he had never heard this. Having staid about an hour, I asked permission to go over the place and speak to the people. He sent his son to guide me. In one of the squares I saw three human skulls, supposed to have belonged to witches, who were put to death by the people. The place is but thinly inhabited in consequence of war. When leaving the chief invited me to visit the numerous villages belonging to him saying it would take me nine days to do so.
Leaving Akpa I continued over to Ilassa, a town on the opposite side of the river & very similar to Akpa. On my way to the chief’s house I saw the skulls of eight poor creatures who had been murdered for witchcraft, two quite fresh. Pushing on a little further I came to two more houses well built & in good repair. In those they worship the spirits of their departed kings. After waiting half an hour I was told I might see the chief. He had nothing to recommend him – apparently a true Popa. After delivering to him and his people the glad tidings of salvation, I returned home. One of the varieties of the Wild Tamarind flourishes in those two places. H.M.S. Flying Fish, Captn Patey anchored in our roadstead this evening.
10th. Went into the streets & markets and spoke to the people.
11th. Mr Gollmer having communicated with Capt Patey & requested he would come on shore to speak to the chiefs. Capt P. not being well sent the purser as his deputy accompanied by another officer. A meeting was convened. Most of the chiefs were present, those who were not sent their representatives. Various grievances were then brought before them by Mr Gollmer, Mr Hutton’s agent then stated his complaints & was followed by a Mr Prouse acting for a Bristol firm. The chiefs having replied to them were then asked if they wished the English to leave Badagry- they said “No”- that good came from our hand to them, and they wished us to remain amongst them.” They were then assured by the Purser, that if they injured us, the ships of war would punish them and if we did them wrong the ships of war would protect them against us. The whole day has been taken up with this Palaver & to me it has been a hard days work. I shrink from mixing the weapons of war with the message of the gospel of peace, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but spiritual & mighty thro’ God.
12th Occupied most part of the day at home.
13th. Lord’s Day. Rain all the morning. Went into the town and addressed the people under five Palm Wine sheds. I was well received in each of them. The people left off playing and drinking during the time I spoke to them. In the first shed I was told not to tire in seeking to do them good; that the word I spoke to them was a true word & if I continued to bring it to them from time to time it would soon live in the hearts of some of them”. In another I was asked which they should receive, the Mohammedan or the religion we brought them. I replied by stating the way in which Christianity was first propagated amongst men, & that Jesus Christ who was perfect God & perfect Man, was its Author. I then told them who Mohammed was – a sinful man, an imposter, a false prophet – and the manner in which he formulated his religion ; & then drew a contrast between the two. Knowing the purity of the former, & the impurity of the latter I was then asked if it was true they did their country no good. I pointed out the differences between those countries subject to Mohammedan rules and those under the influence of Christianity and proved that it was but too true. A Mohammedan was present the whole time, but did not say a word. I look upon the Mohammedans as one of our greatest obstacles in benefitting the Pagans. They call themselves the children of God & say they worship the same God as we do and we are one family but the more I see of them the more I feel their religion is of the devil & they are his children. Much that our Lord said to the Pharisees will apply to them. They are gaining ground here tho’ I believe most if not all of them are slaves.
14th. Early this morning I set off for Mo with Mr Marsh. Owing to a heavy fall of rain the path thro’ high grass was rather unpleasant. Passing thro’ Amunigun I reached Aradagen at 10 a.m., a small village with a still smaller hamlet attached to it. The people were very attentive and ready to hear the word of life. Oh that it may please the Lord of the harvest to gather a few sheaves out of this and other villages visited. A tornado detained me nearly two hours. I sought to improve the time. While speaking in a Palm Wine Shed, a procession of women passed by, headed by an Old one, followed immediately after by a little girl dedicated to the god Dadda, a sort of Nazarite god. No razor or knife is allowed to be used upon such persons till they have arrived at a certain age, when if they are able they make sacrifices to this idol, as in the present case & the children released from the vow made by its parents. The little girl had a calabash half full of cowries upon her head , & threw herself into various postures as if moved by a spirit. She is supposed to be under supernatural power and/indeed in many instances these dedicated children appear as if possessed of a devil/ capable of prophesying. During the tornado we had some very loud peals of thunder which caused one man present to laugh aloud and make a noise, he being a worshipper of Shango, the god of thunder. I explained to him the cause of thunder & showed how absurd it was to worship it, & then pointed him to God the Maker of thunder. During the remainder of my stay his eyes were often fixed upon me. The rain not ceasing I went on to Mo, a larger village where most people stay the first night on their way to Abbeokuta. It is a dirty place, but the people gladly heard the good news of the Gospel. After speaking where I could, I returned home but found the path under water for about three miles.
15th This morning I set off for Aijarri a town from 12 to 14 miles west of Badagry. It is situated amidst gigantic trees & is approached thro’ a long creek, taking me upwards of an hour to get thro’ it. The soil is a kind of red clay and would make excellent bricks. Apparently it is very fertile, as the crops were fine & luxuriant. When we landed, we were met by a body of men armed with muskets, cutlasses & [?] & arms, come out to defend the town, supposing we were enemies. I jumped on shore & extended my hand to each one , which soon dispersed their fears, and they led us into the town. After partaking of the emblem of peace – cold water, I explained to them the object of my visit and requested they would get as many people together as they could as I had an important message from God to them. This they soon did. I then set before them the plan of salvation thro’ a crucified saviour & was pleased with the order & attention they manifested. After I had finished speaking I asked if I might go over the place. This they refused saying they had met us, as we requested, in the proper place for meeting, and with that we must be satisfied. I told them we were not spies but their true friends. They replied when we visited them again we might go over the town. Those poor people are in daily dread of being stolen & sold. They are just now recovering from the sad effects of man. They are of the Egba-do tribe – lower or araten?-side Egbas.
At night called out to see two young men at the Factories, seriously ill.
16th Staid at home to watch the cases of the young men. Called upon the chief, Balla, I am glad to say he is better. I sincerely trust I may be able to benefit some of these people in healing their bodies , if I may but apply the healing balm of the Gospel to their souls. Balla told me a long story about the troubles of the town. Visited our most friendly chief Meuver? & his mother an old woman sinking from some decay of nature; he had much to tell me about the problems of the town.
17th. Visited several sick. Cupped a young man at the Factory. The natives look with astonishment to see the operation so quickly performed & so large a quantity of blood abstracted in so short a time; nor do they hesitate to ask me “to draw blood” as they call it , when they are ill.
18th. Attended to the sick, a goodly number, both the young men out of danger, & doing well.
19th. Occupied much in the same way as yesterday.
20th. Lord’s Day. I went into the town, spoke to the people in four Palm Wine sheds and in the streets. They were much less disposed to hear me than last Sunday. I felt much discouraged & depressed at their apathy, and in not being able to speak to them the words of eternal life but thro’ an interpreter.
21st. Went into the streets & spoke to the people. H.M.S. Centaur, Commodore Fenshaw arrived this evening.
22nd. Accompanied Mr & Mrs Gollman to the beach to superintend the landing of some brands purchased from an American ship for the roof of the new house. While there a boat from the Centaur put off for the shore, & remained outside the surf for a canoe to go off to them. I went off & found the boat contained four officers & that one of them Lt Boys had a letter from the Commodore to Mr Gillman. I returned on shore with them. The letter from the Commodore was most satisfactory. Lt Boys, Dr Mc Crae, Mr Gollmer & myself visited four of the head chiefs. The Dr then returned, having come on shore to render any assistance he could. The other gentlemen remained all night. I invited Akitoye & Meinow to go on board the Centaur with me. They said “yes” but meant no as they both declined when I said to fetch them.
23rd. Went to the beach to see Lt Boys off. The Centaur left us at 4 p.m.
24th. Engaged most of the day in attending to the sick.
25th. Went into the town, & addressed a few people. Visited the chief Balla. Had an hours faithful talk with him. I have been much pleased of late with what he has said. I then cupped him on the hip at his own request. Called upon Akitoye, spoke to him for some time. He then asked my opinion about a tumour on his shoulder. I told him I could take it out , but he wished me to try to reduce it without using the knife. I told him I would try. He said “bid Mrs Marsh bring the medicine & put it into my own hand as I cannot trust any one around me lest they should poison me”.
26th. Visited the town. Found the people but little disposed to listen to me. “Hungry” ”hungry” met me on every side. Called upon the chief Meiow, had a long conversation with him. His mind was full of a message sent to him by the King of Dahomy this morning. He asked my advice, the accusations being false. I told him to state the truth, & then leave the rest to God. He likewise told me a very interesting story about Okerdan & Igbegi.
27th. Lord’s Day. I went amongst the people and in two sheds I received good encouragement, the people not wishing me to leave off tho’ I had been speaking to them more than an hour in each place. I was told in another quarter that the Mohammedans taught better than we did , for they began by giving them something; but all we brought them was “God, God”. I found the 1st chapt Romans of much use today. I was grieved when passing Johnston’s yard to find him in the midst of measures of Palm Oil, buying & selling. I took him aside and sharply rebuked him; he knows better & therefore his sin is the greater, ‘tis sad to see the example some of the T.L. people set before the heathen. To many I fear they may prove stumbling blocks. Took my adult class.
28th. This morning with the rising sun, I set off for Okobo with Mr Marsh, & six men. It is a small town or village, rather more than 20 miles east of Badagry, situated on the north bank of the river & approached only by water. After having passed Ajido about two miles, I was much pleased with the scenery on each side of the river: for some miles the north bank is densely covered with Palm trees/Elais Guineensis/. On the south there are not so many palms, but noble & gigantic trees. Just before reaching Okobo the river branches off to the S.E. & N.E. both as large or larger than the main stream. A large island thickly covered with Palms is situated between them & extends I am told to Lagos. This I soon hope to prove for myself. I feel strongly inclined to push into Lagos itself. I believe I could do so with perfect safety. The N.E. branch is called Ogeagbe by the natives. Arrived at Okobo, we were saluted by men, women & children: many of them never having seen a white man before ran away in much alarm. As soon as I was out of the canoe, a large calabash of water was held out to me. I was then conducted to the chief followers by a multitude of people. Aggenus, the chief, received me at once. He is a fine portly man, with an open countenance. He goes by the name of the Watchman as he never sleeps at night but walks about fully armed, to prevent being surprised by the Lagos people who have five times attempted to destroy the place, but have always been defeated by Aggenus, who is looked upon as a great warrior. Having stated to him the object of my visit I asked if he would allow me to read to him a portion of God’s words. He said he would be glad to hear it. I then read and explained part of the 1st Chapt of Gen & xx Exodus. I then left to get something to eat, having had nothing the whole day. I again called upon the chief & asked him to let me have a shed for the night. This being settled I requested him to have as many people as could be got together, assemble under a tree, that I might address them. Having done so, I set off for Mekpa, a village near to Okobo. Here I met with much the same reception as in the morning. The chief is a small man & is subject to Aggenus. Having assembled the people in an open place I set Jesus before them “as the life, the truth & the way”. I then went around the village & returned to Okobo. I found Aggenus seated under the shade of a house. His people soon joined him, & I then addressed them till night clouded the scene. I then invited him to sit down & partake of a little fish & yam–which he did. Having finished I said it was my custom, whether at home or in the bush, to commence and close the day with my people in reading a portion of God’s word & engaging in prayer. He remained during this hallowed exercise. The worshippers of Shango were occupants in this place. I spent the night in walking about the place for sleep I could not on account of the mosquitoes, ants etc.
29th. This morning at 6 a.m. directly after prayers I set off for Okeaga, a small village some distance from Mekpa. The chief is a very pleasant little man. He gladly heard my message & assembled the people to hear it. After taking me over the place he gave me two pigeons & a bunch of bananas, & then conducted me to the canoe. Reaching Okobo, I had another long talk with Aggenus, & then bid farewell to these friendly people. I bless God He has permitted me to witness for Him amongst them. Each village is situated in a Palm grove & bounded by a forest of Palms. The chief assured me they did not live by plunder, but by making Palm Oil, which they disposed of at Iworro markets. Men, women & children make oil, which they do in canoes. After the nut is boiled, the pulp is trodden off in canoes by young men, the measurement of the fuel being regulated to a certain measure. A exenable? part of the nut itself is thrown away or used as fuel to boil the palm oil. A very small proportion of the kernel is made into nut oil, or sold for that purpose. When properly prepared the kernel furnishes a beautiful white oil which might form an article of commerce.
There is no cultivation in these plains & the people live chiefly upon fish, palm oil & corn which they purchase in exchange for their oil. They are of the Egba-do tribe. They are less superstitious than the Popo’s, & do not abound in Fetish & idol houses as they do.
At 11 a.m. I left for Ajido, a Popo town about 10 miles from Badagry, containing a population of from 2 to 3000 souls. The chief received me very coolly, in consequence of my passing by yesterday without calling to see him, tho I sent Mr Marsh to tell him I would see him on the morrow & wished to know if he had a word for me then. He said “No.” I was not a little [?] to see a cloud upon his face. He threw cold water upon the object of my visit to establish a school, for which purpose I had brought John Cooten our second teacher. He said the parents were not willing to send their children unless we paid them for doing so. He himself did not object , but he could not influence the people. After much fruitless talking I left him, and took up my abode in a small hut. He said the English were too much in a hurry: they should sit down & think. At 6 p.m. he called upon me & said the palaver was settled, & that I must not think anything of what passed this afternoon.
30th. Early this morning I went into the town & found one shed full of people. I spoke the word of life to them & then went into the streets & spoke to others. About 10 a.m. I set off for Icomo,a small market town near Ajido. I was well received both by chiefs & people. After staying about 4 hours I returned home taking two Palm wine sheds in the way & addressing the people. In the afternoon I called upon the chief. He was quite gracious & made me sit by him. He is certainly the most intelligent heathen I have met with, but is dark as to the things of the soul. He knows nothing of a future state, & I find this to be generally the case amongst all classes. I read and explained various passages of scripture & the leading events of the Old Testament – the creation, the fall, the deluge etc. He said he had never heard of these things before & “our God must be his God”. Leaving him, I called upon Passu, his head warrior. He is a true Popa: almost the first word he says is, “Hungry”! I had much conversation with him about the school as the king had left it in his hands.
31st This morning, directly after prayers the chief entered my hut, to hear more of the word I had spoken to him yesterday. I showed him one of the alphabet banners. He at once commenced learning A,B,C & as he knew one letter he began teaching it to the children before him. I then illustrated much of what I had said yesterday by Varty’s Scripture Plates of the New & Old Testaments. This pleased him, as he is very fond of pictures. I went thro the life of our Lord Jesus Christ, which seemed to strike him much as he asked many questions & seemed disappointed when I passed on to some other event in His life. I was at last obliged to tell him I was tired. He then arranged about the school. He gave me four of his own boys to begin with & a promise of more by & by. As he was leaving he said, as I was a great man I should keep wine: tho’ I did not drink it myself , I should offer it to any strangers. The most of these people are great beggars & think “White Man” must know this & that, & live expensively. In the course of the day I went over the town in various directions, entering yards, houses, & Palm Wine Sheds, making known the Word of life. In the evening I arranged about a house for the teacher to live & teach in.
This school palaver has caused? me much trouble; two or three hours each day has been taken up with it. May God deign? to bless the means used! I took leave of the chief & found him cutting the hair off a child’s head.
November 1st This morning, directly after prayers, I left Ajido on foot, accompanied by Mr Marsh as I was anxious to visit the villages of Kobita, Idokps & Idalle. When we arrived at these places I stopt and addressed the people in the streets and the Palm wine sheds. I have been much disturbed to see the numbers of persons dedicated to the god Shango in each of the towns & villages I have recently visited. At this season they go thro’ the streets in a peculiar dress, a skull cap made of cowries with a red fringe hanging over the face & a broad loop or bell of the same material suspended from each shoulder to the hips & then tied in front & behind, about the centre, the wrists and ankles being ornamented in the same manner. As they walk they make a peculiar motion with their arms and feet. Their faces are always bent toward the ground: I never saw one look up. No one is allowed to speak to them, nor do they look at or speak to anyone except their guide, generally an old woman. They are supposed to be under supernatural powers and insensible to things passing around them. When they speak, no one can understand what they say. I can only compare their speech to a number of unmeaning sounds. Nineteen passed me this morning, coming from their places of confinement, all dressed in this peculiar style. 13 were grown up young women, 3 young men, & 3 children. The walk from Ajiolo to Badagry is fatiguing as it is thro’ deep sand the whole way, which brings every muscle into action.
2nd. Occupied part of the day in visiting the sick.
3rd. Lord’s Day. Sent for to see a woman who had miscarried. I found her very ill having been improperly treated. I find a custom prevails amongst the old women if nature does not throw off the placenta at the proper time of tying the umbilical cord to one of the thighs of the woman a most dangerous practice as I fear it may form? in this woman’s case. Visited one Palm Wine shed as I had promised the people to do so last Sunday. I found a goodly number and asked them to sit in rows as in a Church, this they did. I then addressed them for about half an hour. When I left I was warmly greeted with the chiefs?. I hastened back to attend morning service. Mr Gollmer reopened the church, a good attendance. We then partook of the emblems of a Saviour’s love. In the afternoon, Mr Gollmer read prayers & baptized a child, after which I addressed the people from 1 Pet.ii :7 “Unto you that believe He is precious”. A goodly congregation. Mr & Mrs Batten from Mr Hutton’s Factory were present & stood as sponsors to the infant. When we came out of the church a young man was brought into the yard with a [?] around 12 inches long extending from the groin below the anus, & a fractured? thigh. After some trouble I put 12 stitches in the wound & set the thigh as well as I could – assisted by Mr Gollmer. But night coming on the man being quite drunk it was impossible to keep him in a fixed posture. He is a T.L. boy named Robert Dixon. I sincerely trust this may form a lesson to him – if he survives – for he is seriously bruised in other parts of the body particularly the back & loins. Mr Gollmer & myself have determined /D.V./ to have an English service from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. to meet the wants at the Factory. I have often lamented that several of our own countrymen should be living without the means of grace, they refusing to attend our present services on the plea that they do not understand the prayers. I am aware this is only an excuse, but now they will have none. May the Holy Spirit bless this attempt to the conversion of their souls.
4th. Much engaged thro’ out the day in attending upon the sick and visiting various places. Called upon the chief Akitoye, Meoce & Balla. In the evening, taken to see an old man with cancer of the tongue & throat. I fear he must die, as he has been long neglected.
5th. Sent a messenger to Ado to request permission of the king to come & visit him & his people. He received the messenger well & said he would be glad to see me, but I must wait till he sent his messenger to me. Cupped the chief, Balla, he is better. Visited a young woman furiously mad, at the request of her husband. One of Possu’s head men, he appears deeply distressed on her account. I am getting as much as I can well attend to could I but commend the message of my Master. I could be content to give up much of my time in seeking to heal their bodily diseases.
6 & 7 Occupied much in the same way as on the 5th. Report says Igbye is destroyed
8th Engaged in visiting and attending upon the sick. Called upon the chief, Meoce, had much talk with him.
9th. Went into the town. The husband of the mad woman called upon me today & brought two small fowls & five yams as a present. He could scarcely contain himself because his wife is a little better, he says if she gets well, “My God shall be his God”.
10th. Lord’s Day. Went into the town. Spoke to the people in the small market & in five Palm Wine sheds until too weary to speak any more. I go into these sheds as I find more people in them than under the trees. Occasionally I get a congregation under them but not often. Attended the evening service. H.M.S. Flying Fish anchored in our roadstead.
11-15. Much occupied with the sick.
16th. Went out this morning, but was obliged to return feeling very ill.
17th. Lord’s Day. Too ill to do anything. In the evening cupped Akitoya’s brother, the case being urgent.
18th. This morning about 8 a.m. tho’ far from well I set off with Mr Gollmer for Pokia, a small town about ten miles N.W. of Badagry inhabited by the Egba do nation. After landing we at once proceeded to the house of Osoron, the head chief. He received us very cordially. We then called upon the king, a middle aged dirty looking man both in person & dress. He said nothing the whole time except directing his interpreter to address Osoron as well as himself. After a short conversation we left, & called upon the chief warrior, a young man, & six other chief men. In the evening went into the town & spoke to the people.
19th. This morning we walked to Onigbie, a village distant about a mile from Pokia. Here we addressed the people in two open spaces, & in one yard, also George Williams and the priest Akibodo. They had lost a warrior in the Igbige war. News was received of his death this morning & his wives & relatives were making great lamentation. The people gladly heard the good news we brought them. Having delivered our message, we returned to Pokia. Called upon the king, spoke a little to him, but he said nothing the whole time, till Mr Gollmer gave him a small present, when he made a slight acknowledgment. “We praise thee”. Taking leave of him we next called upon the other chief man, & bid them good by. We then went into the town & addressed the people. I have had several interesting conversations with a family living in a Yoruba compound, relatives of Akibadeo.
20th. This morning early, went into the markets. It being market day we had plenty of people & also plenty of noise. Many of them were willing to hear the glad tidings of salvation. We then left for Badagry after taking leave of our friendly host. Pokia is a small town with a mud wall in a dilapidated state & ten gates-where a tax of 5 cowries is received for any coral brought into the town. It contains a population of from 2 to 3000 souls. When we arrived at Badagry we found Mrs Gollmer as well as usual & letter from England for “Africans”, sent to us from Cape Coast by the ”Domo”. I receive many from dear Christian friends & relatives, full of consolation & comfort. Not the least in those from Islington, a place dear to my heart.
21st. Went into the markets. Visited the chiefs Akitoye & Balla. I set truth before them. Balla sighed as if he felt all was not right within. & asked me to pray for him. Opened for the third time two large abscesses in the back & groin of the young man, Robert Dixon.
22nd. This morning with the early dawn, accompanied by Mr Marsh, I set off for Akpa, a town I had visited a short time ago. I now went to fulfill my promise of visiting the town & villages beyond it. The chief received me very graciously, and was most attentive while I was speaking to him the words of eternal life. He then sent for his people that they might hear for themselves. He wished much to have a teacher & said that he himself would try & learn to read God’s word. I then went about the place speaking to the people where I could find them. After doing so, the chief sent his messenger before me to guide me to the final village north of Akpa. Our path lay thro’ thick bush the final four miles, each side of the path for the final mile was covered with wild pineapple plants. An hour & a half’s walk brought us to the small village of Oke-kekere. Most of the people were out making salt. The headman promised he would collect them together in the morning if I would return. After speaking to the few at home, we left and soon came to another village somewhat larger, Igbagbele. The day being far spent and the headman out, I determined to remain here for the night. I asked for a shed, & was given a small hut. I then got as many people together as I could & addressed them. They appeared to listen attentively. We were all very hungry, but could only purchase a little cassava.
23rd. Passed a sad night, suffering from illness & the mosquitoes were enough to eat one up. After receiving a little rice, I felt better & addressed the people from Acts xiii.38. Taking leave of them we went thro’ a creek full three miles long. We then came to the village of Iwesane, a small place very similar to the other two. Having assembled most of the people at home I declared the glad tidings of Salvation, then visited some feta houses & went over the place. It being Saturday evening I was anxious to forward to the next place, a small town named “Cusni”, the way to it is by creek, some 4 or 5 miles long, the canoes we had come in were very small & unsafe. I therefore tried to get two larger ones, but could not get even one. I then determined to go on in the ones we had come in, but the young men refused to take us, saying they did not know the way, and their canoes were too small. I was very reluctantly obliged to go back, and in double quick time retraced my steps to Badagry. I still hope to visit those towns & villages from the beach. I hear there are 19 from “Ciemi” to Porto Novo & many beyond it.
The population in these villages is small , I should say about 4 or 500 in each of the Popo nation. They are chiefly engaged in making salt, & for this almost entirely neglect the cultivation of the soil which appears better than that of Badagry. Each village is approached by a creek formed by a morass running north & south. The people live in daily fear of their lives. Each man goes to his daily work with a loaded musket or bows & arrows.
24th. Lord’s Day. Went into the town. Addressed the people in four Palm Wine sheds. I received much encouragement, chiefly from the Abbeokuta & Lagos people. I have always found them willing to hear me, week days & Sundays. I hope the Lord has many people amongst them.
25 – 27th. Much engaged in attending upon the sick so as not to find time to write letters to England.
28th. Wrote letters to England.
29th. Accompanied Mr Gollmer to the Beach to meet Capt Potey of H.M.S. “Flying Fish”. Akitoya followed after us. The Capt, I hope, is a “Christian”. He appears to take an interest in Akitoya’s case. I sincerely trust he may return to Lagos as it could open our way to the interior. But I strongly feel I must not? [?] in the matter, tho’ asked to do so tis not my work I would be a [?] but not a king maker. God in His own good time will open this way for us.
30th. Not well. Staid at home the whole day. Visited by many sick.
December 1st. Lord’s Day. Went into the town. Addressed the people under two trees and two Palm Wine sheds. The devil seems to have gone before me. Altho’ I tried to be before him by going amongst the people before they had Palm Wine, they gave but an indifferent hearing to my message. I was accidentally, or I trust providentially, led into a large yard I had not visited before. Here I found a large family , who gathered round me & seemed glad to hear all I said. Visited the chief, Bella, spoke faithfully to him. During the week he had sent to me for a sheet of white paper which I sent him, but afterwards found out it was to write Mohammedan charms on. I spoke to him about the folly of such things. He said he did not believe in them that the charms were not for himself but one of his family. Called upon the old man with cancer of the mouth. I told him he must die &urged him to trust simply to Jesus..
2nd. Engaged most of the day in visiting the people from house to house.
3rd. Early this morning accompanied by Mr Marsh I set off for Ado, a small town distant about 20 miles N.E.of Badagry. After some hours paddling on the Osse we entered the deep narrow river, Yesme from “Ye-ma” dress mother, I believe. An hour more brought us to Ado. This town has two principal entrances East & West, the former by a gate where taxes are received for trade brought into the town, the latter by a creek. It is an ancient town and as yet has escaped destruction. As I entered the town I was at once surrounded by a large & noisy multitude. It was very painful to feel that the living mass was dead in sin. I at once proceeded to the house of Ikoko the head chief followed by the multitude. As soon as I entered the house the door was closed and the people shut out. The chief gave me a kind reception & at once provided two rooms for the use of myself & people or rather, I should say, two [?] for they are almost without light or air. I was scarcely seated when informed that six of the chief men had come to see me. When they left, three more chiefs followed. I spoke to these in figurative language, using the nature? of their calling to set forth the Christian warfare. The king then sent to enquire after me & that he would be glad to see me in the morning. A stranger is not allowed to walk about till he has seen the king, finding this to be the case, I told Ikoko that I was a great walker & that I needed much air & exercise, he must therefore let me walk out. After some hesitation he said I might go & sent two of his sons to direct me. After prayer Ikoko & several of his people came into my room and sat till past 10 p.m.
4th. This morning directly after prayer I stole out of the house & got beyond the wall of the town, finding a path I followed it, & went nearly around the town except the path defended by deep morass. I then visited the place where the Egba’s encamped some five years ago. It is a beautiful farm. It appears when the Egbas encamped before Ado, they enclosed themselves within a wall, built houses & cultivated large fields of Indian corn, yams, beans, bananas etc. After supplying their camp, they disposed of large quantities. When they broke up the encampments on the approach of the Dahomians, the Ado people took possession of the farms & have since kept them in good cultivation. The wall is in a good state of repair and the young men of the town are cleaning out the moat. After breakfast I called upon the king. He kept me waiting half an hour. I was then led thro’ seven south yards into a neat square building. The king soon made his appearance without any show or pomp. He appeared cleanly in person & dress, a man I should say of about 45 of pleasing countenance & I should think a man of peace; he spoke freely on several subjects. I told him why I had come to see him & if he would allow me, I would deliver my message from God to him. I then set before him the all important truths of the gospel. When about to take leave, he said, if I had any other word I must speak it in private for a great many people were then present. I now felt at liberty to go amongst the people. Accordingly I spent the day speaking to them in five different parts of the town. In each place I had a large number of attentive hearers. I have seldom met with more order & attention. It is quite refreshing after the hard heartedness of the Popos. An old man while I was speaking to the people got up & asked me to leave off saying the word I spoke was good and very important, therefore I should not speak it in public before women & children. I must first go & tell it to the king & the headmen etc. Having answered this silly, but too frequent objection, I returned home thankful to my God & Father for His strengthening & supporting grace. At night (as Ikoko said it was the proper time) I sent the king a small present with which he appeared much pleased & desires to see me at the first cock crow in the morning.
5th. This morning at 3 a.m. I awoke & was scarcely dressed before Ikoko came to conduct me to the king. I was told it was a mark of respect to be invited so early. I found the king waiting for me, seated on a chair with a country lamp before him & two boys at his side. After saluting him he addressed me at some length the substance of which is as follows:- “I thank you for coming to my town and hope you will be my friend. I desire to hold you tight. I wish a white man to come & settle in the town to teach my people & to bring lawful trade. I desire peace, and entreat you to make it known to the chiefs of Abbeokuta as you have brothers there. I wish you to look upon Ikoko as equal to myself, for it is by his power & influence I am sitting here now, he is in fact King, tho’ I have the name. Whatever he says & promises you is as if I did it. War has reduced me & my people to much poverty. I have been obliged to sell the old King’s/his father/ things to purchase guns & powder. Peace only could restore them to their former state. His people were most anxious to cultivate their farms I have heard how much the Great Queen of England has done to destroy the slave trade. I thank her for it & hope she will not grow tired till it is put down. I thank her for all her great kindness.” I replied to these & other points & stated that the consul would shortly visit us when I would make known their gratitude to the Queen & in his presence would mention their request to the chief of Abbeokuta. I then left after an interview of nearly two hours, the morning began to break as we left the house. I then stole into the bush for a little quiet time, my greatest natural privation when staying in these towns & villages, is the want of air, light & above all, quiet, the soul needs this. After prayers went into the town and spoke to the people, the rest of the morning spent visiting the chief Meso. In the afternoon went a second time around the town , this time inside the wall, speaking in several places to a goodly number of attentive hearers. Early tomorrow morning I had determined to visit Igbessa, a town distant about 20 miles S.E. of Ado. I stated my intention to Ikoko & the King – the latter sent word this evening to Ikoko to hold me by the times? & entreat me not to go. I have determined not to go, not that I fear anything myself, but lest I may form the cause of bringing evil upon them, as they have many enemies. I will go some other way DV. I met with the same repulse relative to Okeodan. I feel the pride, selfishness & jealousy of the kings & chiefs in towns & districts to be a barrier in benefitting Africa.
6th. The day spent in going about from place to place speaking to the people. My ? work generally commences at 6 ½ a.m. & classes at 5 ½ p.m. Whilst addressing a large number of people under a tree a procession of 35 men in Indian file passed by consisting of the elders & chief men of the town. The first man held a roll of calico before him. As they came in sight the people around me fell prostrate to the ground & continued singing certain words till the procession had passed by. I afterwards learnt they had gone to a jubilee sacrifice of the peace of the town, to their chief god Adu.due, by which I believe they mean the Almighty, as I frequently asked them , & they said he was a great spirit. “OLerean? & Odu.due were the same” notwithstanding this, their light is darkness, they know not God tho’ ignorantly they worship Him. I cannot find they know anything of the immortality of the soul–of a future judgment , of the joy of heaven–or the misery of hell. I always ask the question in every place I visit here & there they have a faint knowledge of it, as is shown in worshipping their forefathers, & their departed kings transmigration etc.
But I cannot find they have any right perception relative to the union of body & soul & the state of either even after death. I have asked chiefs, priests & people & the only answer I can obtain from them is “We do not know” or “God only knows”. “No one has ever returned after death to say where he has been” “We must leave this in the hand of God” “it is not for man to know”.
7th. Spent the day much in the same way as yesterday. Whilst addressing some people early this morning, a priest came up & asked “Who God had sent to superintend the world” & if they [?] away their Ipa’s which much they do in sickness & times of man’s having assured him, he went away apparently displeased. In the afternoon had a long & very interesting conversation with four family men of Okoeda relative to that town and the war which destroyed it, it appears they are now living in a very lawless state, having put away their women & children, they sit? down? for their lives. They say they are determined to avenge themselves upon the king of Dahomey – many enterainting? particulars were mentioned of Okesden & Igbege, but they would take up too much space & time to write them.
8th. Lord’s Day. Went into the town as usual early this morning. After breakfast I assembled the men with me to read to them a part of the service of our church & expound a passage of scripture. I was [?] also to set before the heathen the way in which we worship God on His own day. Ikoko gave me his font? for that purpose & attended himself with several of his people & that the font? was newly filled. During the service they were most attentive but [?] & when I addressed them from John iii:16. It was very comforting to feel that thousands were at the same time engaged in the same work, especially In happy England.Oh that all men were!? The time the set time for Africa I believe is nigh at hand. I then went amongst the people & addressed them in several places. After I had been speaking for some time, an old man came forward and said “we do not worship idols as gods, we only look to them as our messengers”. I have found this to be a very general notion. How far it is true I cannot say like the Romanish, they may make them their gods to all intents & purposes. The old man was anxious to know what substitute I would give them if they put them away saying they “needed something they could see and handle”. I assured him by proving that all idols were an abomination in the sight of God, that they were without power & unable to help themselves much less protect others as mentioned in Ps 115 & Ish XL20.XL.iv.9.20. I said Christ was the only messenger or mediator between God & man. I then dwelt upon the fulness,[?] & selfsufficiency of His Atonement. Whilst speaking a young man urged me to visit his sister, as she wanted much to see me. This same man has followed me to almost every place where I have spoken. As I entered the house, a tall majestic woman followed me dressed in a singular manner, holding a beautiful head dress made of cowries in her hands. As she passed the people knelt , when she waved this head dress over their heads, promising children to the women & success to the men in all their undertakings. She attempted to throw it over Mr Marsh’s head but he pushed it from him. This woman is a priestess of Shango & a [??] & supposed to possess supernatural power.
I then spoke to the brother & sister (the latter is a priestess also) in the presence of many people. The young man then replied and said, “Most of the things they knew had been the work of time?, at first they knew nothing, by little & little they had learnt to do this & that till they knew how to do them perfectly. Now the word I had brought to them was good. They had not heard it before now they were anxious to know more [?]. He and many of the young men of the town would like to follow it but they were afraid, because when left to themselves they would not know how to go on, unless they had someone to teach them. If they attempted it & failed all the young men in the town would be against them. They had been brought up in idolatry by their fathers. They were strong in this & knew how “to serve their idols, but since I had told them that they were hateful in the sight of God, & came from the devil, they wished to give them up & serve the white man’s God, if someone would teach them how”. I felt the force and truth of his remarks & gave him all the instruction I could. It is often with much pain I leave a place feeling that unless the word is again & again brought before the people, it is but of little use to tell them of it once. O Lord God! Hasten the time when many shall go East & West, North & South to gather they sheep into the fold of Jesus. A few faithful native visitors would form a great blessing. I would at once advise one to be placed there it could do much to prepare the way for the more effectual preaching of the gospel.
9th. Early this morning I left for Badagry as the consul is expected on the 10th & I desire to be there to receive him. When leaving the king, some of the chiefs & people expressed a strong desire that I would return & sit down with them. They also desired a teacher. I made them understand that if we sent one, for the present he would be a native & that he would commence a day, not a boarding school.” They said it was good”. Ado is a small town containing a population I should say between 6 & 8000 souls, most of the Egba-do tribe. The houses are large but irregular, made of mud & thatched with palm leaves. Two or three generations live in one compound. The streets are narrow & dirty – the wall encloses a quantity of uncultivated land & is [?] for [?] during war, should their oil palms be cut off. Their chief god is Odu-dua. He is said to reside in Ado. In other respects they much resemble Egbas in their worship, customs & persons. They appear open to conviction , & I believe if the gospel were statidly? brought before them , they would receive it as willingly as the Egbas. I think they are an industrious & intelligent people, cultivating the soil to a fair [?], they chiefly raise Indian corn, beans, yams potatoes, plantains, bananas, etc. The women are [?] in making fancy mats, bags, baskets & clothes from the leaf of the bamboo, or rather the palm leaf, Phonia Spinosa. The men weave cotton cloths. I was sorry to see a great many women & children with large foul ulcers. I dressed many of them & promised dressings for others, also many children with [?]or yaws, & dracunculus or Guinea worm. I attended one young woman with a dreadful leg from Guinea worm. She appeared very grateful as did also her family.
10th. H.M.S. “Flying Fish” having anchored in our roadstead yesterday afternoon – we expected the consul had come in her. Mr Gollmer & myself, accompanied by Mr Martin, the Wesleyan missionary, & the T.L. people, went to the beach to receive him, but to our great disappointment he was not there, but is to come in the Jackal. The Dr & three other officers came on shore. Mr Gollmer & myself took them to see several of the chiefs & look over the town. I then returned with them to the beach.
11. After attending to the sick, I was taken ill with fever, & obliged to remain quiet.
12th. Tho’ far from well went out as usual.
13th. Spent the day much in the same way as yesterday
14th. Engaged in visiting the sick.
15th. Tho’ not well went into the town to deliver my message of peace but in consequence of a palaver between Akitoye & the Popo’s, I had but few hearers. I went to my usual places but found most of them empty except in the Lagos quarter, where I found Akitoye’s men armed. I addressed them in three different places & urged them to keep the peace, they said they did not want to fight but must defend themselves. I then went to Akitoye and spoke very faithfully to him. He listened to all I said & then replied that it was not his intention to fight but to defend himself against his enemies. H.M.S. Pormuthius Capt Foote came in last evening. The Capt, Dr & two other officers came on shore but were called away directly as their sail came in sight. Took the evening service.
16th. Most of the day spent in visiting & attending to the sick. Dressed the head of one of Akitoye’s men which had been severely cut by one of Persie’s boys.
17th. Occupied much in the same way as yesterday.
18th. Went into the town & addressed the people. Had an interesting conversation with five heathens who were thinking of joining themselves to the Mohammedans. I contrasted the two religions & left them pondering in their minds which they should follow. Visited several sick. Some [??] they too often came with old chronic cases of 10 & 15 years standing & expect I can cure them with a few doses of medicine.
19th. Engaged most of the day writing letters to England. Visited two young men ill with smallpox taken while with me at Ado.
20th. Attended the examination of the first class of our children in the day school – it was satisfactory on the whole, tho’ too mechanical. Visited several sick.
22nd. Lord’s Day. Went into the town but felt deeply depressed in spirit. My interpreter appearing cold & lifeless. I therefore returned.
23rd. Went into the town, visited the chiefs Mobi, Jinge & Maeve. The former received me well & listened attentively to all I said & made a few good remarks. Jinge was dead to everything good. I could only hear “Hungry”. Maeve was very sick and asked me for medicine. I gave him a remedy for the healing of his soul, but he did not want it.
24th. Went into the town. Spent some hours in visiting from house to house, which I believe is the only way to bring the gospel before a large number of this people.
25th. Christmas Day, everyone crying “Xmas”, that is coming for a present. Oh that they were crying to be more “Christ-like”. S.L. people & heathens are alike. My heart grieves over them. Mr Gollmer took the morning service, in the afternoon I addressed the people, a fair attendance each time.
26th. Troubled the whole day by people calling for Christmas till I am sick in heart and cast down in spirit, at the worldliness & enmity displayed at this season by the people, that it has been a time of sorrow instead of a rejoicing season to me. H.M.S. Gladiator & Promitheus anchored in our roadsteads.
27th. Too ill to do anything, obliged to lie still, suffering with fever & diarrhoea.
28th. Still unwell. Went into the streets & addressed the people. Called at the Factory to see Mr Hutton who is staying here for a short time. He told me that his brig, the African, was at Lagos trading with the chief & people , that at first they refused to go on board. Seeing the English flags this feeling subsided & now the Capt is residing in one of the chief men’s houses & trading. Visited two of the chiefs & several people. In the evening laid up with strong fever.
29th. Too ill to go out.
30th. Still unwell, but visited the sick.
31st. Somewhat better but thought it prudent to stay home. In the evening visited by our own school teachers, & those from the Wesleyans, as the whole week has been a holiday. I believe they are expecting a present. I seated them & then said Providence had placed them before me. I would therefore try & [?] the opportunity. I then spoke very seriously & affectionately to them, then showing them the standard they should aim at, their duty & responsibility to God & man etc.
In reviewing the past year, I can say bless the Lord O my soul & all that is within thee bless the Lord. It has been one of peculiar trial, but it has also been one of peculiar blessing. During the past quarter there have been many rumours? of war. I have not mentioned them as they are of such frequent occasion. I have almost ceased to regard them. As to ourselves, I believe, we are perfectly safe. The people are gaining confidence & come of their own accord for advice & medicine.
E.C. van Cooten