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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 62

West Indies

page 475

West Indies.

Bain, Thomas.—The Life and Labours of John Wray, Pioneer Missionary in British Guiana. 12mo. Pp. v.-87G. London. John Snow & Co. 1892. [Presented by the Publishers.]

Very few particulars regarding the birth and earlier life of John Wray appear to have been available for the compilation of his biography. It is nevertheless known that he was born at South Skirlaugh, near Hull, in 1779, and at the age of twenty-eight proceeded to Demerara, where he soon became fully occupied in the variety of employment which fell to his lot, as it does to the lot specially of a first missionary in a new scene of action, which in Mr. Wray's case was at Plantation Le Besouvenir, where he became the pioneer of mission work, not only on Le Besouvenir and in Demerara, but also, and chiefly, in Berbice. The account of Mr. Wray's mission extends from the year 1808 until 1830, during which period he was actively engaged in promoting the objects of the London Missionary Society in British Guiana; and the long delay in the publication of the journal is accounted for as follows. In 1831 the Society requested Mr. Wray to write a history of the Mission, to which request he assented in part. The attempt was made amid the care and burden of those claims resting upon him—claims increasing rather than diminishing with negro emancipation. His death, however, intervened, and his history, thus only in its first rough draft, was not more than one-fourth accomplished. Papers and diaries were forwarded to the Missionary Society, but for certain reasons were not utilised, and after a time their return was requested by the family, in whoso possession they have since remained. With the aid of these documents Mr. Thomas Rain, although not compiling so complete and expansive a work as would at an earlier period have been necessary, has nevertheless produced an interesting record of the chief features of the life, character, and conquest of John Wray. The proceeds from the sale of the work, which contains a map of British Guiana and two portraits, are intended to be devoted to missions in the Colony.

British Guiana Directory and Almanack for 1892. 12mo. Pp. xvi.-505. Georgetown. C. Iv. Jardine. [Presented by the Publisher.]

The present issue of this annual comprises a mass of useful information, so well arranged and indexed that no difficulty is experienced in turning to any particular subject. It is replete with an abundance of general, official, and statistical information regarding British Guiana, in addition to which a concise historical account of the Colony is embodied. Amongst commercial questions, that of the gold industry probably at present occupies the most prominent position, and the latest information bearing page 476 upon the question is contained in the book. The industry, it appears, has rapidly increased, the amount of gold exported in 1884 having been 250 ounces, valued at £1,019, whereas for three quarters of the year 1891 it had risen to 65,657 ounces, valued at £243,000. Particulars of the new Constitution of the Colony are also given, as are the latest statistics based upon the Census of 1891—in fact, it will be found an invaluable companion, not only to those having commercial or official dealings with the Colony, but also to those desiring reliable information regarding its past and present condition.