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We were much impressed with this consideration in reading, in a recent Number of Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, a narrative concerning some mariners, whose vessel was destroyed by fire at sea, (the Indian Ocean, on a voyage from Calcutta, homewards,) early in the year 1842.
About the time that it had become obvious that the fire could not be overcome, another vessel hove in sight. When this was near enough, the Captain went on board, with four of his crew, to arrange with the other Captain for their reception. They set off on their return when it was dark; but as the vessels were not very far distant, no danger was anticipated. By some mistake, the burning ship was made to follow the lead of the other, (the fire burning but slowly below deck,) each party supposing the boat's crew was on the other vessel. The Captain actually saw the vessel floating away from them, but they could not impel the boat fast enough, and were thus left alone, several hundred miles from the coast of Africa, with only a few pumpkins on board for food. By unremitted exertions they reached land, having suffered much from thirst. They met with a few natives, who, by their bartering propensities, proved they were not altogether unacquainted with the trade of the whites; and by giving all their buttons, and a marlinspike, and one or two other metallic articles, they obtained, besides their supper, such as it was, fifteen heads of Indian corn. Fire-arms were wanted, but these the party had not, either to give, sell, or use; and there was only one knife. They then took to their boats, proceeding along shore to the south-west, which mode of proceeding they were obliged to give up through bad weather and the heaviness of the surf, and to go by land, keeping close to the coast-line : but in a day or two they met with some more natives, who, though they had not much, treated them kindly, and made them signs that, not far up the country, they would take them to two white men. Though very tired, they started again; and when they had reached the top of a high hill, their guide pointed to two or three buildings, about three miles distant, which were evidently the dwellings of Europeans. They pushed on with fresh spirits, and soon found themselves at a Wesleyan Missionary station,
Beecham-Wood, in Kaffraria. Mr. and Mrs. Usher, assisting at the station, told them that Mr. Pearse, Wesleyan Minister at Butterworth, (fifty miles off,) had only left them a few hours previously on his return there. In the course of the night, they sent a messenger to inform him of the arrival of Capt. Mitchell and the men; and after comfortable refreshment, and obtaining some very necessary supply in articles of clothing, they proceeded on their journey, and were met by Messrs. Pearse and Gladwin, who had come from Butterworth to conduct them on their journey. At Beecham-Wood they were glad to find a school, and ninety children under instruction; and even some of the adults had been baptized, and were living a pious life.
They arrived on the fourth day at Butterworth, where they met three other Missionaries, who were going to different stations, from sixty to a hundred miles in the interior, thus distributing themselves, and itinerating, so as to multiply their labours to the greatest practicable extent. At Butterworth Captain Mitchell stayed all night, and the next morning, as he walked among the native huts, he had the pleasure of hearing the sound of devotional exercises issuing from many of these humble dwellings. From Butterworth (where a Government Agent resided) some empty waggons, drawn by oxen, which had brought stores and troops for Natal, were returning to Graham's Town, then more than four hundred miles distant. In these they travelled the remainder of their journey, arriving at Graham's Town on the fifteenth or sixteenth day, the Saturday. “The next day,” says Captain Mitchell,” being the Sabbath, we attended the Wesleyan chapel, and heard the Rev. Mr. Shaw preach, who very feelingly returned thanks to our God for our deliverance and safety."
They then went to Algoa Bay, a hundred and ten miles further, and obtained thence a passage to London, where, in due time, they arrived safely; though not till the vessel which took in the other part of the crew, and had, most unintentionally, left them behind, had arrived, and stated their belief that the boat had been swamped, and the Captain and four men lost.
How pleasing the reflection that already, in our own day, almost imperceptibly, the influence of white men and Christianity has extended so beneficially along such a length of coasts! The men whom Captain Mitchel first met, though not generous, were not as uninfluenced savages usually are to those whom they suppose to be in their power, and from whom they think they can get something. And soon, though nearly five hundred miles from Graham's Town, far advanced into the territories of savagism, they see (and how would their hearts rejoice to see!) buildings that told of European dwellers. The weary, wrecked travellers push on; and they find, not only Europeans, but affectionate Christians, assistants to the Wesleyan Missionary. The five mariners, after their dangers and toils, were now taken care of by the English Christian teacher and his English Christian wife, on the distant shores of, not long ago, altogether savage Africa. “We were most kindly received by Mr. and Mrs. Usher.” And at Butterworth, when the Captain rises in the morning, and walks abroad among the huts, what are the first sounds that he hears,—hears from among these Kaffres ! Those of devotional exercises ; those of morning family prayer. 0 blessed be God! blessed be God! These incidental testimonies are as important as they are delightful, and prove that Missionary labours are not in vain, Missionary contributions not mispent. Here are friendly abodes to welcome the shipwrecked traveller, instead of eager and, too often, ferocious savages.
Young Collectors, think of the shipwrecked mariners coming in sight of the Wesleyan Missionary station; of their finding there food, and rest, and clothing, and Christian kindness; and say, Is it not worth while to canvass and collect for the Missions ?
PROSPECT FROM MOUNT SINAI. (We have just been favoured with a copy of “Travels in the East," by Dr. Olin, Principal of the Wesleyan University; and though we have not time, before going to press for the present Number, to examine it particularly, yet one extract, we think, our readers will thank us for giving them, though its insertion may oblige us to omit some original article.
From what we have seen of them, Dr. Olin's volumes appear likely to furnish us with very interesting extracts respecting Egypt and the Holy Land. Dr. Olin believes that what is called Sinai by the Monks, is not the true Sinai; which, he thinks, stands in the same range, at a short distance, with another name. Still, so far as the character of the prospect is concerned, the question as to which of two not distant points is the true summit of Sinai, is of no importance. Dr. Olin has very impressively described the scenery, which he evidently contemplated under very powerful emotions. -Ed. Y. I.]
The view from the top of Sinai is said to be greatly surpassed by that from Mount St. Catherine, which lies a short distance to the southwest. From its greater elevation, a wider field is spread out before the spectator, and a greater number of interesting objects embraced. It is destitute, however, of sacred associations; and my strength was too heavily tasked in exploring places of easier access and at least equal interest, to allow me the gratification of making the ascent. As I do not propose, then, to look from St. Catherine, I may reasonably despair of enjoying another view embracing such a range of grand and impressive objects as that from the summit of Sinai. The region through which our route had lain for several days was spread out like a map before the eye, and the long ranges of limestone mountains, and the sandy valleys between them, were seen with great distinctness. The view towards the west and north-west is less extensive. The higher summits of St. Catherine conceal the Red Sea and Suez, which are visible from its top. These remote objects, however, are not those in which I was most deeply interested. My gaze was fixed upon a field of, perhaps, thirty or forty miles in diameter, filled with mountains, very similar in their structure and appearance to Sinai, and embraced under that general name. I have seen nothing like them elsewhere, and I quite despair of conveying an adequate idea of them by description. The pencil, in a skilful hand, might be more successful. There is nothing deserving the name of a chain or range of mountains.
No one VOL. VII. Second Series.
appears to be more than from five to eight miles in length, and nearly all of them are much shorter. With a general and remarkable similarity in form and aspect, they are independent and distinct masses, separated by deep, narrow valleys, which are sometimes visible, but generally concealed from the eye of the spectator on the top of Sinai, the highest point, with, I believe, two exceptions, in the entire group. This circumstance often gives a cluster of separate mountains the appearance of being one vast pile, surmounted by a number of lofty pinnacles. These summits, observed more carefully, or from other positions, are discovered to be the combs of short but distinct ridges, divided into a number of tall, slender peaks by deep ravines, which are formed by the dissolution of perpendicular strata of porphyry interposed between the more solid masses of granite. They remind one of the slender, lofty towers that rise at regular intervals upon the walls of a Saracenic fortress.
I have spoken of the Arabian mountains as destitute of trees and verdure. Stunted trees and a scanty shrubbery are occasionally found in deep valleys, where springs or rain supply the requisite moisture; but they are wholly unobserved in a general view, and lend not a single tint to the general aspect. Upon the lower sides of these mountains, and, less frequently, near their summits, are many immense masses of rock, which occasionally present a smooth and unbroken surface. For the most part, however, the slopes of the mountains are full of shelves and cavities formed by the dissolution of the less solid portions of the rock, which has the appearance of being a mere shell. The tall and slender masses which shoot up above the main body of the mountain, sometimes present a columnar appearance, and they occasionally remind one of the clustered ornaments of some old Gothic tower.
The colour of these mountains, though very various, is uniformly dark and sombre. In some of the less elevated masses the greenstone formation prevails, which, being easily decomposed and diffused by the rains, tinges the whole region below with a dull, yellowish green. Where porphyry predominates, it imparts its own hue to the higher portions