Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 27

Letters from Livingstone, Speke, Sturt, &c

Letters from Livingstone, Speke, Sturt, &c.

I should also like to tell you, in connection with the letters you will have, that you will also find letters from the most celebrated travellers—indeed, you will be able to travel with them so to speak—men such as Livingstone, Speke, Sturt, and others. I think I may assure you that it would be impossible to write a complete account of the travels of any of these eminent men without having access to these letters. Those who would desire to page 22 write an account of their journeyings could hardly complete the records of them unless they came to this city of Auckland, and availed themselves of these documents, which I hope shortly will be in your possession. Let me say that with regard to Livingstone one remarkable fact came out from some of his letters which are now your property. It is a matter of very great interest. It was a young lady who made the discovery, when examining some of Livingstone's letters. I was not aware that I possessed such a letter, for it had been addressed to the late lamented Dr. Bleek for the purpose of being delivered to me. "When Livingstone was travelling in Africa, he was astonished on coming to a particular place to find people chanting in their own language the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, and other similar prayers and services. Upon inquiry it turned out that the Jesuits had been in that place about 100 years before. They taught the inhabitants of the district those prayers and parts of Christian doctrine, which for a whole century were preserved amongst the native people. Livingstone collected these, and sent to me the copies he had made. Now, I consider this a most remarkable circumstance, as showing how long a time knowledge of that kind will be preserved amongst aboriginal people. It is a fact well worthy of publication, and these records are in the highest degree worthy of your consideration when they come into your hands. You will also find a number of missionary letters from all portions of the Pacific, from Bishop Patteson and Bishop Selwyn, so that you may accompany them even in their journeyings if you please. You will have accounts of these travels by natives, in their own language, who accompanied these distinguished men. Here in New Zealand you may live again in the earliest days of this Colony, when the Scriptures were being translated into the native tongue. You can be present with Archdeacon Maunsell, and then understand the great labour that was bestowed by him in translating portions of the Scripture into the Maori language. You can, so to speak, travel with the first missionary, Mr. King, and you may use the first New Zealand prayer book, the very copy with which he travelled among the natives. Leaving that, you may take up the first publication of any part of the Scriptures in the language of the Esquimaux. You will be able to take into your hands the first part of the Scriptures with which the first missionary travelled and spread those seeds from which sprung the conversion of the whole Esquimaux population, who were obliged to live for six months of the year in total darkness. You will have an opportunity of seeing the efforts that were made to raise this people, whom only a few whalers had up to that time visited, and which efforts brought them to a recognition of the great truths which are contained in religion, truths which are found to constitute the happiness of the human race; and you will be filled, I think, with admiration and wonder when you reflect that these people for page 23 centuries had been buried in darkness, and knew nothing of the outer world or milder climates, suddenly found themselves brought into communion with a new race of men, and conversing as it were with patriarchs, prophets, and evangelists, with all the greatest beings who had enlightened and made bright this world. You may, if you please, bear a part with Bishop Crowther in his labours on the banks of the Niger, and learn how Christianity, by the labours of that Bishop, began to enlighten nations in Central Africa. When I look upon these letters and books, they never fail to raise in me a feeling such as I cannot describe. If you will take up these letters and examine them, you will understand what great things have been accomplished for the benefit of aboriginal people. They cannot fail to give you pleasure such as they have given to me. In perusing them you will become, as it were, the partners and companions of those devoted men, who did such important work in those distant regions.