« PreviousContinue »
should strictly abstain from all secular employments not sanctioned by absolute necessity; and, at the same time, commence such a system of religious services as might be with propriety maintained in the absence of a clergyman or minister. The whole party were accordingly assembled after breakfast under a venerable acacia-tree, on the margin of the little stream which murmured round our camp. The river appeared shaded here and there by the graceful willow of Babylon, which grows abundantly along the banks of many of the African streams, and which, with the other peculiar features of the scenery, vividly reminded us of the pathetic lament of the Hebrew exiles :—" By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof."
It was, indeed, an affecting sight to look round on our little band of Scottish emigrants, thus congregated for the first time to worship God in the wild glen allotted for their future home, and the heritage of their offspring. There sat old with his silvery locks, the patriarch of the party, with his bible on his knee,—a picture of the high-principled, grave Scottish husbandman ; his respectable family seated round him. There was the widow with her meek, kind, and quiet look (the look of one who had seen better days, but who in adversity had found pious resignation), with her three stalwart sons, and her young maiden daughter, placed beside her on the grass. There, too, were others, delicate females ; one of them very nearly related to myself, of whom I need not more particularly speak. There was the younger
brother of a Scottish laird, rich in blood, but poor in fortune ; who, with an estimable pride, had preferred a farm in South Africa, to dependence on aristocratic connexions at home. Looking round on these collected groups, on this day of solemn assembly, such reflections as the following irresistibly crowded on my mind :-" Have I led forth from their native homes, to this remote corner of the globe, all these my friends and relatives, for good or for evil ? to perish miserably in the wilderness, or to become the honoured founders of a prosperous settlement, destined to extend the benefits of civilization, and the blessed light of the Gospel through this dark nook of benighted Africa ? The issue of our enterprise is known only to Him who ordereth all things well. Man purposes, but God disposes.' But though the result of our scheme is in the womb of futurity, and although it seems probable that greater perils and privations await us than we had once calculated upon, there yet appears no reason to repent of the course we have taken, or to augur unfavourably of the ultimate issue. Thus far Providence has prospered and protected us. We left not our native land from wanton restlessness or mere love of change, and without very sufficient and reasonable motives, Let us, therefore, go on calmly and courageously, duly invoking the blessing of God on all our proceedings; and thus, be the result what it may, we shall feel ourselves in the path of active duty.” With these, and similar reflections, we encouraged ourselves, and proceeded to the religious services of
Having selected one of the hymns of our national Church, all united in singing it to one of the old pathetic melodies with which it is usually conjoined in the Sabbath worship of our native land. The day was bright and still, and the voice of psalms rose with a sweet and touching solemnity among these wild mountains, where the praise of the true God had never, in all human probability, been sung before. The words of the hymn (composed by Logan), were appropriate to our situation, and affected some of our congregation very sensibly :
“O God of Bethel! by whose hand thy people still are fed, Who through this weary pilgrimage hast all our fathers led; Through each perplexing path of life our wandering footsteps guide, Give us each day our daily bread, and raiment fit provide. 0! spread thy covering wings around, till all our wanderings cease, And at our Father's loved abode our souls arrive in peaee."
We then read some of the most suitable portions of the English Liturgy; and concluded with an excellent discourse from a volume of sermons presented to me on parting from a reverend relative, the Rev. Dr. Pringle, of Perth. We had a similar service in the afternoon; and agreed to maintain in this manner the public worship of God in our infant settlement, until it should please Him, in his good providence, to privilege it with the ecclesiastical dispensation of religious ordinances.
While we were singing our last psalm in the afternoon, an antelope (oribi) which appeared to have wandered down the valley without observing us, stood for a little while on the opposite side of the rivulet, gazing at us in innocent amazement, as if yet unacquainted with man, the great destroyer. On this day of peace it was, of course, permitted to depart unmolested.
On this, and other occasions, the scenery and productions of the country reminded us in the most forcible manner of the imagery of the Hebrew Scriptures. The parched and thorny desert, the rugged and stony mountain, the dry beds of torrents, “ the green pastures by the quiet waters,” “the lions' dens,” “ the mountains of leopards," " the roes and young harts (antelopes) that feed among the lilies," “ the coney of the rocks,” 56 the ostrich of the wilderness, - the shadow of a great rock in a weary land;" these, and a thousand other objects, with the striking and appropriate description which accompany them, recurred to us continually with a sense of their beauty and aptitude, which we had never fully felt before. 66 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings. And there he maketh the hungry to dwell, that they may prepare a city for habitation; and sow the fields, and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.'
GRATITUDE and loyality are displayed in the elegant columnar monument, raised on one of the city bastions, to the memory of the heroic George Walker; a Doric column, eighty feet in height, and finished with a cupola, is surmounted by a statute of the patriot, with outstretched arm, pointing to the eventful passage on the river where the English vessel broke the boom, and reached the famishing citizens with a fresh supply of food.
Early in the reign of James the First, a considerable part of the province of Ulster was vested in the crown, by the attainder of the Roman Catholic families of distinction, and a colonization of the forfeited estates was then suggested to the King by the Lord Treasurer, Salisbury. His Majesty, conceiving the city of London to be the best qualified to effect so great an object, on the 28th of January, 1609, permitted an agreement to be entered into, between