CHARLES FREDERICK MACKENZIE, THE MARTYR OF THE ZAMBESI.
That Zulu country where poor Allen Gardiner had made his first attempt became doubly interesting to the English when the adjoining district of Natal became a British colony. It fell under the superintendence of Bishop Robert Gray, of Capetown, who still lives and labours, and therefore cannot be here spoken of; and mainly by his exertions it was formed into a separate Episcopal See in the year 1853. Most of the actors in the founding of the Church of Natal are still living, but there are some of whom it can truly be said that--
"Death hath moulded into calm completeness The statue of their life."
Charles Frederick Mackenzie was born in 1825 of an old Scottish Tory family, members from the first of the Scottish Church in the days of her persecution. His father, Colin Mackenzie, was one of Walter Scott's fellow-Clerks of Session, and is commemorated by one of the Introductions to "Marmion," as--
"He whose absence we deplore, Who breathes the gales of Devon's shore; The longer missed, bewailed the more."
His mother was Elizabeth Forbes, and he was the youngest of so unusually large a family that the elders had been launched into the world before the younger ones were born, so that they never were all together under one roof. The father's delicacy of health kept the mother much engrossed; the elder girls were therefore appointed as little mothers to the younger children, and it was to his eldest sister, Elizabeth (afterwards Mrs. Dundas), that the young Charles always looked with the tender reverence that is felt towards the earliest strong influence for good.
From the first he had one of those pure and stainless natures that seem to be good without effort, but his talents were only considered remarkable for arithmetic. His elder brothers used to set him up on a table and try to puzzle him with questions, which he could often answer mentally before they had worked them out on their slates. His father died in 1830, after so much invalidism and separation that his five-year- old boy had no personal recollection of him. The eldest son, Mr. Forbes Mackenzie, succeeded to the estate of Portmore, and the rest of the family resided in Edinburgh for education. Charles attended the Academy till he was fifteen, when he was sent to the Grange School at Bishop's Wearmouth, all along showing a predominant taste for mathematics, which he would study for his own amusement and assist his elder brothers in. His perfect modesty prevented them from ever feeling hurt by his superiority in this branch, and he held his place well in classics, though they were not the same delight to him, and were studied rather as a duty and as a step to the ministry of the Church, the desire of his heart from the first. At school, his companions respected him heartily, and loved him for his unselfish kindness and sweetness, while a few of the more graceless were inclined to brand him as soft or slow, because he never consented to join in anything blameable, and was not devoted to boyish sports, though at times he would join in them with great vigour, and was always perfectly fearless.
From the Grange he passed to Cambridge, and was entered at St. John's, but finding that his Scottish birth was a disadvantage according to restrictions now removed, he transferred himself to Caius College. He kept up a constant correspondence with his eldest sister, Mrs. Dundas, and from it may be gathered much of his inner life, while outwardly he was working steadily on, as a very able and studious undergraduate. With hopes of the ministry before his eyes, he begged one of the parochial clergy to give him work that would serve as training, and accordingly he was requested to read and pray with a set of old people living in an asylum. The effort cost his bashfulness much, but he persevered, with the sense that if he did not go "no one else would," and that his attempts were "better than nothing." This was the key to all his life. At the same time he felt, what biography shows many another to have done, the influence of the more constant and complete worship then enjoined by college rules. Daily service was new to him, and was accepted of course as college discipline, but after a time it gathered force and power over his mind, and as the Magnificat had been a revelation to Henry Martyn, so Charles Mackenzie's affection first fixed upon the General Thanksgiving, and on the commemoration of the departed in the prayer for the Church Militant.
His fellow-collegians thought of him as a steady, religious-minded man, but not peculiarly devout, and indeed the just balance of his mind made him perceive that the prime duty of an undergraduate was industry rather than attempts to exercise his yet unformed and uncultivated powers. In 1848 he was second wrangler. There were two prizes, called Dr. Smith's, for the two most distinguished mathematicians of the year. The senior wrangler's papers had the first of these; for the second, Mackenzie was neck and neck with a Trinity College man, and the question was only decided by the fact that Dr. Smith had desired that his own college (Trinity) should have the preference.
After this he became tutor and fellow of his college, taking private pupils, and at the same time preparing for Holy Orders, not only by study of books, but by work among the poor, with whom his exceeding kindness and intense reality gave him especial influence at all times.
He was ordained on the Trinity Sunday of 1851, and took an assistant curacy at a short distance from Cambridge, his vigorous powers of walking enabling him to give it full attention as well as to his pupils and to the University offices he filled. His great characteristic seems always to have been the tenderest kindness and consideration; and in the year when he was public examiner, this was especially felt by the young men undergoing an ordeal so terrible to strained and excited intellect and nerves, when a little hastiness or harshness often destroys the hopes of a man's youth.
With this combination of pastoral work and college life Mackenzie was perfectly satisfied and happy, but in another year the turning-point of his life was reached. A mission at Delhi to the natives was in prospect, and the Rev. J. S. Jackson, who belonged to the same college with him, came to Cambridge in search of a fellow-labourer therein. During the conversations and consultations as to who could be asked, the thought came upon Mackenzie, why should he strive to send forth others without going himself. He could not put it from his mind. He read Henry Martyn's life, and resolved on praying for guidance as to his own duty. In the words of his letter to Mrs. Dundas, "I thought chiefly of the command, 'Go ye and baptize all nations,' and how some one ought to go; and I thought how in another world one would look back and rejoice at having seized this opportunity of taking the good news of the Gospel to those who had never heard of it; but for whom, as well as for us, Christ died. I thought of the Saviour sitting in heaven, and looking down upon this world, and seeing us, who have heard the news, selfishly keeping it to ourselves, and only one or two, or eight or ten, going out in the year to preach to His other sheep, who must be brought, that there may be one fold and one Shepherd; and I thought that if other men would go abroad, then I might stay at home, but as no one, or so few, would go out, then it was the duty of every one that could go to go. . . . And I thought, what right have I to say to young men here, 'You had better go out to India,' when I am hugging myself in my comfortable place at home." And afterwards, "Now, dear Lizzie, I have always looked to you as my mother and early teacher. To you I owe more than I can ever repay, more than I can well tell. I do hope you will pray for me and give me your advice."
Mrs. Dundas's reply to this letter was a most wise and full expression of sympathy with the aspiration, given with the deep consideration of a peculiarly calm and devotional spirit, which perceived that it is far better for a man to work up to his fullest perception of right, and highest aims, than to linger in a sphere which does not occupy his fullest soul and highest self; and she also recognized the influence that the fact of one of a family being engaged in such work exercises on those connected with them.
Others of the family, however, were startled, and some of his Cambridge friends did not think him adapted to the Delhi Mission, and this therefore was given up, but without altering the bent that his mind had received; and indeed Mrs. Dundas, in one of her beautiful letters, advised him to keep the aim once set before him in view, and thus his interest became more and more turned towards the support of missionary work at home.
In 1854, the first Primate of New Zealand, George Augustus Selwyn, visited England, after twelve years of labour spent in building up the Colonial and Maori Church, and of pioneering for missions in the Melanesian Isles, over which his vast see then extended. He preached a course of four sermons at Cambridge; Mackenzie was an eager listener, and those forcible, heart-stirring discourses clenched his long growing resolution to obey the first call to missionary labour that should come to him, though, on the other hand, he desired so far to follow the leadings of Providence that he would not choose nor volunteer, but wait for the summons--whither he knew not.
Ere long the invitation came. The erection of the colony of Natal into a Bishop's See had been decided upon a year before, and it had been offered to John William Colenso, a clergyman known as active in the support of the missionary cause, and a member of the University of Cambridge. On his appointment he had gone out in company with the Bishop of Capetown to inspect his diocese and study its needs, as well as to lay the foundations of future work. In the party who then sailed for Natal was a lady who had recently been left a widow, Henrietta Woodrow by name, ardent in zeal for the conversion of the heathen, and hoping that the warm climate of Africa would enable her to devote herself to good works more entirely than her delicate health permitted at home.
Pieter Maritzburg had by this time risen into a capital, with a strange mixture of Dutch and English buildings; but the English population strongly predominated. Panda was king of the Kaffirs, and fearfully bloody massacres had taken place in his dominions, causing an immense number of refugees to take shelter in the English territory. Young people who thus came were bound apprentices to persons who would take charge of them for the sake of their services, and thus the missions and those connected with them gained considerable influence for a time. A Kaffir, who must have been Captain Gardiner's faithful Umpondobeni, though he was now called by another name, inquired for his former good master, and fell into an agony of distress on hearing of his fate.
Mrs. Woodrow at once opened an orphanage for the destitute English children that are sure to be found in a new colony, where the parents, if unsuccessful, are soon tempted to drink, and then fall victims to climate and accident. The Kaffir servant whom she engaged had already been converted, and was baptized by the name of Abraham, soon after he entered her service; but "Boy,"--the name at first given to him,--became a sort of surname to him and to his family. While watching over the little band of children, Mrs. Woodrow was already--even though as yet only learning the language--preparing the way for the coming Church. She wrote of the Kaffirs: "They come to me of all ages, men and women, some old men from the country, with their rings upon their heads, and wrapped in their house blankets. Then they sit down on the kitchen floor, our 'Boy' telling them, in his earnest way, about JESUS CHRIST. These I cannot speak to, but I manage to let them know that I care for them, and 'Boy' says they go away with 'tears in their hearts.'"
About two years previously, a Scottish colonist at the Cape, named Robert Robertson, had been touched by the need of ministers; had been ordained by the Bishop of Capetown, and sent to Natal as missionary clergyman to the Zulus. Early in 1855 these two devoted workers were married, and, taking up their abode at Durban, continued together their care of the English orphans, and of the Kaffir children whom they could collect.
In the meantime, Bishop Colenso, having taken his survey of the colony, had returned to England to collect his staff of fellow-workers; and one of his first requests was that Charles Mackenzie would accompany him as Archdeacon of Pieter Maritzburg. There was not such entire willingness in Mrs. Dundas's mind to part with him on this mission as on the former proposal; not that she wished to hold him back from the task to which he had in a manner dedicated himself, but she preferred his going out without the title of a dignitary, and, from the tone of the new Bishop's letters, she foresaw that doctrinal difficulties and differences might arise.
Her brother had, however, made up his mind that no great work would ever be done, if those who co-operated were too minute in seeking for perfect accordance of opinions; and that boundless charity which was his great characteristic made him perhaps underrate the importance of the fissure which his sister even then perceived between the ways of thinking of himself and his Bishop. His next sister, Anne, whose health was too delicate for a northern climate, was to accompany him; and the entire party who went out with Bishop Colenso numbered thirty or forty persons, including several ladies, who were to devote themselves to education, both of the white and black inhabitants. They sailed in the barque Jane Morice early in the March of 1855, and, after a pleasant and prosperous voyage, entered Durban Bay in the ensuing May.
The first home of the brother and sister was at Durban, among the English colonists. It somewhat disappointed the Archdeacon, as those who come out for purely missionary aims always are disappointed, when called to the equally needful but less interesting field of labour among their own countrymen; put as he says, he satisfied his mind by recollecting, "I came out here simply because there was a scarcity of people that could and would come. I did not come because I thought the work more important than that I was leaving." So he set himself heartily to gather and confirm the congregation that had had its first commencement when Allen Gardiner used to read prayers to the first few settlers; and, at the same time, Kaffir services were held for the some thousand persons in the town in the employment of the whites.
The Archdeacon read prayers in Kaffir, and Mr. Robertson preached on the Sunday evenings. The numbers of attendants were not large, and the most work was done by the school that the Robertsons collected round them. The indifference and slackness of the English at Durban made it all the harder to work upon the Kaffirs; and, in truth, Archdeacon Mackenzie's residence there was a troublous time. The endeavour, by the wish of the Bishop, to establish a weekly offertory, was angrily received by the colonists, who were furious at the sight of the surplice in the pulpit, and, no doubt, disguised much real enmity, both to holiness of life and to true discipline, under their censure of what they called a badge of party. Their treatment of the Archdeacon, when they found him resolute, amounted to persecution; the most malignant rumours were set afloat, and nothing but his strength and calmness, perfect forgiveness, and yet unswerving determination, carried him through what was probably the most trying period of his life.
Intercourse with the Robertsons was the great refreshment in those anxious days. A grant from Government had been made for a Church Mission station upon the coast, and upon the river Umlazi, not many miles from Durban; and here Mr. and Mrs. Robertson stationed themselves with their little company of orphans, refugees, and Kaffirs; also a Hottentot family, whose children they were bringing up.
Their own house had straight walls, coffee-coloured, a brown thatched roof, and a boarded floor, in consideration of Mrs. Robertson's exceeding delicacy of health; but such boards! loose, and so springy that the furniture leapt and danced when the floor was crossed. It was all on the ground-floor, partitioned by screens; and the thatched roof continued a good way out, supported on posts, so as to form a wide verandah; and scattered all around were the beehive dwellings of the Kaffir following, and huts raised for the nonce for European guests.
At six o'clock in the morning a large bell was rung. At eight, Kaffir prayers were read by Mr. Robertson, for his own servants, in the verandah, and for some who would come in from the neighbouring kraals; then followed breakfast; then English matins; and, by that time, Kaffir children were creeping up to the verandah to be taught. They were first washed, and then taught their letters, with some hymns translated into their language, and a little religious instruction. The children were generally particularly pleasant to deal with, bright and intelligent, and with a natural amiability of disposition that rendered quarrels and jealousies rare. Good temper seems, indeed, to be quite a Zulu characteristic; the large mixed families of the numerous wives live together harmoniously, and the gift of a kraal to one member is acknowledged by all the rest. Revenge, violence, and passion are to be found among them, but not fretfulness and quarrelsomeness.
After the work of instruction, there was generally a ride into the neighbouring kraals, to converse with the people, and invite the children to school. They had to be propitiated with packets of sugar, and shown the happy faces of the home flock. There was, at first, a good deal of inclination to distrust; and the endeavour to bring the women and girls to wear clothes had to be most cautiously managed, as a little over-haste would make them take fright and desert altogether.
The Kaffir customs of marriage proved one of the most serious impediments in the way of the missionaries. The female sex had its value as furnishing servants and cultivators of the ground, and every man wished to own as many wives as possible. Not only did the question what was to be done in the case of many-wived converts come under consideration, but the fathers objected to their daughters acquiring the rudiments of civilization, lest it should lessen their capabilities to act as beasts of burden, and thus spoil their price in cattle, (the true pecunia of the Zulu). Practically, it was found, that no polygamist ever became more than an inquirer; the way of life seemed to harden the heart or blind the eyes against conviction; but the difficulty as regarded the younger people was great, since as long as a girl remained the lawful property of the head of her kraal, she was liable to be sold to any polygamist of any age who might pay her value; and thus it became a question whether it were safe to baptize her. Even Christian Zulus marrying Christian women according to the English rite could not be secure of them unless the cows were duly paid over; and as these Kaffirs are a really fine race, with more of the elements of true love in them than is usual in savages, adventures fit for a novel would sometimes occur, when maidens came flying to the mission station to avoid some old husband who had made large offers to their father; and the real lover would arrive entreating protection for the lady of his heart until he could earn the requisite amount of cows to satisfy her father.
Mr. Robertson was always called the umfundisi, or teacher. He held his Sunday Kaffir service in a clearing in the bush, and gained many hearts to himself, and some souls for the Church, while toiling with his hands as well as setting forth the truth with his lips. Mrs. Robertson at the same time worked upon the women by her tenderness to their little ones, offering them little frocks if they would wash them, caressing them with all a woman's true love for babies, and then training their elder children and girls, teaching them needlework, and whatever could lead to aspirations towards modesty and the other graces of Christian womanhood. Often extremely ill, always fragile, her energy never failed; and there was a grace and dignity about her whole deportment and manner which caused "the Lady" to be the emphatic title always given to her by her husband and his friends. Of these the Mackenzie family were among the warmest, and the Archdeacon gladly gave valuable assistance to Mr. Robertson by supplementing an education which had not been definitely clerical, but rather of that order which seems to render an able Scotsman fit to apply himself to almost anything.
In February 1857 another sister, named Alice, joined the Mackenzie family, when they were on a visit to the Umlazi station. Her quick powers and enthusiastic spirit fitted her in a wonderful manner for missionary labour, and she was at once in such sympathy with the Kaffirs that it was a playful arrangement among the home party that Anne should be the white and Alice the black sister.
Just after her arrival, it was determined that the Archdeacon should leave Durban, where, indeed, he had been only filling the post of an absent clergyman, and take a district on the Umhlali river, forty miles from Durban, containing a number of English settlements, a camp, and a large amount of Kaffir kraals. Every Sunday he had five services at different places, one of them eighteen miles from the nearest, a space that had to be ridden at speed in the mid-day sun. There was no house, but a couple of rooms with perpendicular sides and a verandah, one for chapel, the other for sitting-room, while Kaffir beehive huts were the bedrooms of all. For a long time blankets and plaids did the part of doors and shutters; and just as the accommodations were improving, the whole grass and wattle structure was burnt down, and it was many months before the tardy labour of colonial workmen enabled the family to take possession of the new house, in a better situation, which they named Seaforth, after the title of the former head of the Mackenzie clan.
All this time the whole party had been working. A school was collected every morning of both boys and girls; not many in number, but from a large area: children of white settlers, varying in rank, gentlemen or farmers, but all alike running wild for want of time and means to instruct them. They came riding on horses or oxen, attended by their Kaffirs, and were generally found exceedingly ignorant of all English learning, but precocious and independent in practical matters: young boys able to shoot, ride, and often entrusted with difficult commissions by their fathers at an age when their cousins at home would scarcely be at a public school, and little girls accustomed to superintend the Kaffirs in all household business; both far excelling their parents in familiarity with the language, but accustomed to tyrannize over the black servants, and in danger of imbibing unsuspected evil from their heathen converse. It was a task of no small importance to endeavour to raise the tone, improve the manners, and instruct the minds of these young colonists, and it could only be attempted by teaching them as friends upon an equality.
With the Kaffirs, at the same time, the treatment was moulded on that of Mr. and Mrs. Robertson, who at one time paid the Umhlali a visit, bringing with them their whole train of converts, servants, orphans, and adopted children, who could be easily accommodated by putting up fresh grass huts, to which even the Europeans of the party had become so accustomed, that they viewed a chameleon tumbling down on the dinner-table with rather more indifference than we do the intrusion of an earwig, quite acquiesced in periodically remaking the clay floor when the white ants were coming up through it, scorpions being found in the Archdeacon's whiskers, and green snakes, instead of mice, being killed by the cat.
The sight of Christian Kaffirs was very beneficial to the learners, to whom it was a great stumbling block to have no fellows within their ken, but to be totally separated from all of their own race and colour. At Seaforth, the wedding was celebrated of two of Mr. Robertson's converts, named Benjamin and Louisa, the marriage Psalms being chanted in Kaffir, and the Holy Communion celebrated, when there were seven Kaffir communicants. The bride wore a white checked muslin and a wreath of white natural flowers on her head. This was the first Christian Zulu wedding, and it has been followed by many more, and we believe that in no case has there been a relapse into heathenism or polygamy.
The Mackenzies continued at Seaforth until the early part of the year 1859. The work was peaceful and cheerful. There were no such remarkable successes in conversion as the Robertsons met with, probably because in the further and wilder district the work was more pioneering, and the Robertsons had never been without a nucleus of Christians, besides which the gifts of both appear to have been surpassing in their power of dealing with natives, and producing thorough conversions. Moreover, they had no cure but of the Kaffirs, whereas Archdeacon Mackenzie was the pastor of a widely scattered population, and his time and strength on Sundays employed to their very uttermost. Church affairs weighed heavily upon him; and another heavy sorrow fell on him in the death of the guardian elder sister, Mrs. Dundas. Her illness, typhus fever, left time for the preparation of knowing of her danger, and a letter written to her by her brother during the suspense breathes his resigned hope:--"Dear Lizzie, you may now be among the members of the Church in heaven, who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. If so, we shall never meet again on earth. But what a meeting in heaven! Any two of us to meet so would be, more than we can conceive, to be made perfect, and never more to part." And when writing to the bereaved husband after the blow had fallen, he says: "Surely we ought not to think it strange if the brightest gems are sometimes removed from the workshop to the immediate presence of the Great King."
But the grief, though borne in such a spirit, probably made him susceptible to the only illness he experienced while in Natal. The immediate cause was riding in the burning sun of a southern February, and the drinking cold water, the result of which was a fever, that kept him at home for about a month.
There was at this time a strong desire to send a mission into independent Zululand, with a Bishop at its head. Bishop Colenso was at first inclined to undertake the lead himself, resigning Natal; and next a plan arose that Archdeacon Mackenzie should become the missionary Bishop. The plan was to be submitted to the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and for this purpose the Archdeacon was despatched to England, taking Miss Mackenzie with him; but the younger sister, Alice, having so recently arrived, and being so valuable as a worker among the natives, remained to assist in the school of young chiefs who had been gathered together by Bishop Colenso.
The time of the return of the brother and sister was just when Dr. Livingstone's account of the interior of Africa, and of the character of the chiefs on the Zambesi, had excited an immense enthusiasm throughout England. He had appealed to the Universities to found a mission, and found it they would, on a truly grand scale, commensurate with their wealth and numbers. It was to have a Bishop at the head, and a strong staff of clergy, vessels built on purpose to navigate the rivers, and every requisite amply provided. Crowded meetings were held at each University, and the enthusiasm produced by the appeal of Dr. Livingstone, a Scottish Presbyterian, to the English Universities, as the only bodies capable of such an effort, produced unspeakable excitement. At a huge meeting at Cambridge, attended by the most distinguished of English Churchmen, Archdeacon Mackenzie was present. His quiet remark to the friend beside him, was, "I am afraid of this. Most great works have been carried on by one or two men in a quieter way, and have had a more humble beginning." In fact, Bishop Gray, of Capetown, had long been thinking of a Central African Mission; but his plan, and that which Mackenzie would have preferred, was to work gradually northwards from the places already Christian, or partially so, instead of commencing an isolated station at so great a distance, not only from all aid to the workers, but from all example or mode of bringing civilized life to the pupils. But Livingstone had so thoroughly won the sympathies of the country that only the exact plan which he advocated could obtain favour, and it was therefore felt that it was better to accept and co-operate with his spirit than to give any check, or divide the flow by contrary suggestions.
Thus Livingstone became almost as much the guide and referee of the Zambesi expedition as ever a Cardinal Legate was of a crusade. Nor could this be wondered at, for the ordinary Englishman is generally almost ignorant of missions and their history, and in this case an able and interesting book of travels had stirred the mind of the nation; nor had experience then shown how much more there was of the explorer than of the missionary in the writer.
From the first, Archdeacon Mackenzie was designated as the chief of the mission. He felt the appointment a call not to be rejected. His sister Anne viewed it in the same spirit, and was ready to cast in her lot with him, and letters were written to the other sister in Natal proposing to her to accompany them. Then came a year of constant travelling and oratory in churches and on platforms, collecting means and rousing interest in the mission--a year that would have been a mere whirl to any one not possessed of the wonderful calmness and simplicity that characterized Mackenzie, and made him just do the work that came to hand in the best manner in his power, without question or choice as to what that work might be.
By the October of 1860 all was ready, and the brother and sister had taken leave of the remaining members of their family, and embarked at Southampton, together with two clergymen, a lay superintendent, a carpenter and a labourer, and likewise Miss Fanny Woodrow, Mrs. Robertson's niece, who was to join in her work. Their first stage was Capetown, where it had been arranged that the consecration should take place, since it is best that a Missionary Bishop governing persons not under English government should not be fettered by regulations that concern her Prelates, not as belonging to the Church, but to the Establishment. There was some delay in collecting the bishops of South Africa, so that the Pioneer, placed at Dr. Livingstone's disposal, could not wait; and the two clergy, Mr. Waller and Mr. Scudamore, proceeded without their chief.
On the 1st of January, 1861, the rite took place, memorable as the first English consecration of a Missionary Bishop, and an example was set that has happily been since duly followed, as the Church has more and more been roused to the fulfilment of the parting command, "Go ye, and teach all nations."
And, on the 7th, the new Bishop sailed in H.M.S. Lyra, Captain Oldfield, which had been appointed, in the course of its East African cruise, to take him to the scene of his labours, on the way setting down the Bishop of Natal at his diocese. The first exploration and formation of a settlement had been decided to be too arduous and perilous for women, especially for such an invalid as Miss Mackenzie, and she was therefore left at Capetown, to follow as soon as things should be made ready for her. The so-called black sister, who then fully intended also to be a member of the Central African Mission, came down to meet her brother at Durban, and a few days of exceeding peace and joy were here spent. The victory over his opponents at Durban had been won by the recollection of his unfailing meekness and love; they hailed him with ardent affection and joy, expressed their regret for all that had been unfriendly, and eagerly sought for all pastoral offices at his hand. He consecrated a church, and held a confirmation at the Umlazi; but the Robertsons were not there to welcome him. The long-contemplated mission into independent Zululand had devolved upon Mr. Robertson, and he and his wife, and the choicest and most trustworthy of their converts, had removed across the Tugela into the territories of old King Panda, the last of the terrible brotherhood, and now himself greatly ruled by the ablest and most successful of his sons, Ketchewayo by name. The work was very near Bishop Mackenzie's heart, and, both with substantial aid, prayers, blessings, and encouragements, he endeavoured to forward it.
His last day in Natal was spent in a service with a confirmation at Claremont, and an evening service at Durban. "As we were returning," wrote his sister Alice, "we saw a rocket from the sea; a gun fired, the mail was in; and the captain, who was with us, said he would let us know the first thing in the morning the hour he would sail. Well, after this, there was little peace or quiet. We were too tired to sit up that night, and next morning there was much to arrange, and everybody was coming and going, and we heard we were to go by the half-past two train. A great many friends were with us, but on the shore we slipped away, and, leaning together on a heap of bricks, had a few sweet, quiet collects together, till we were warned we must go to the boat. We went on board the tug, and stood together high up on the captain's place; we were washed again and again by the great waves. When he went, and I had his last kiss and blessing, his own bright, beautiful spirit infected mine, and I could return his parting words without flinching; I saw him go without even a tear dimming my eye: so that I could watch him to the last, looking after our little boat again crossing the bar, till we could distinguish each other no more.
"In speaking one day of happiness, he said, 'I have given up looking for that altogether. Now, till death, my post is one of unrest and care. To be the sharer of everyone's sorrow, the comforter of everyone's grief, the strengthener of everyone's weakness: to do this as much as in me lies is now my aim and object; for, you know, when the members suffer, the pain must always fly to the head.' He said this with a smile, and oh! the peace in his face; it seemed as if nothing could shake it."
The last photograph, taken during this visit to Durban, with the high calm brow, and the quiet contemplative eye, bears out this beautiful, sisterly description of that last look.
The Lyra next proceeded to the Kongone mouth of the Zambesi, where the two parties who had gone forward, including Dr. Livingstone himself, were met, and a consultation took place. The Bishop was anxious to go forward, arrange his settlement, and commence his work at once; but Dr. Livingstone thought the season a bad one, and was anxious to explore the River Rovuma, to see whether its banks afforded a better opening; and it ended in the Bishop feeling obliged to give way to his experience, although against his own judgment.
He therefore, with Mr. Rowley, who had joined him at Durban, accompanied Livingstone in the Pioneer, leaving the others at Johanna, a little island used as a depot for coal.
The expedition was not successful; there was only water enough in the channel to enable the Pioneer to go thirty miles up in five days, and it failed more and more in the descent. The steamer, too, though built for the purpose of navigating the shallows of rivers, drew more water than had been expected; the current when among shoals made the descent worse than the ascent; there was a continual necessity for landing to cut wood to feed the engine; and, in five days, the Pioneer had not made ten miles. The Bishop worked as hard as any of the crew, once narrowly escaped the jaws of a crocodile, and had a slight touch of fever, so trifling that it perhaps disposed him to think lightly of the danger; but he was still weak when he came back to Johanna, and, by way of remedy, set out before breakfast for a mountain walk, and came back exhausted, and obliged to lie still, thoroughly depressed in mind as well as body for two days. The expedition proved the more unfortunate, that it delayed the start for the Zambesi from February, when the stream was full, till May, when the water was so low that a great quantity of the stores had to be left behind, in order that the Pioneer might not draw too much water. The chief assistants were the Malokolo, a portion of a tribe who had attached themselves to Dr. Livingstone, and had been awaiting his return on the banks of the river. The Bishop would fain have gone without weapons of any sort, but Dr. Livingstone decided that this was impracticable. He said, by all means take guns, and use them, if needed, and they would prove the best pacificators; and Mackenzie, as usual, yielded his own judgment, and heartily accepted what was decided on for him.
All those left at Johanna had suffered from fever, and were relieved that the time of inaction was over when they embarked in the Pioneer on the 1st of May, and in due time ascended the Zambesi, and again the Shire, but very slowly, for much time was consumed in cutting wood for the engines, every stick in the mud costing three days' labour, and in three weeks going only six or seven miles, seeing numerous crocodiles and hippopotami by the way.
It was not till the middle of July that they reached the landing-place. As soon as the goods had been landed the whole party set out on an exploration, intending to seek for a place, high enough on the hills to be healthy, on which to form their settlement.
Their goods were carried by negroes, and a good many by themselves, the Bishop's share being in one hand a loaded gun, in the other a crozier, in front a can of oil, behind, a bag of seeds. "I thought," he writes, "of the contrast between my weapon and my staff, the one like Jacob, the other like Abraham, who armed all his trained servants to rescue Lot. I thought also of the seed which we must sow in the hearts of the people, and of the oil of the Spirit that must strengthen us in all we do."
The example of Abraham going forth to rescue Lot was brought suddenly before the mission party. While halting at a negro village, a sound was heard like the blowing of penny trumpets, and six men, with muskets, came into the village, driving with them eighty-four slaves, men, women, and children, whom they had collected for Portuguese slave-dealers at Tette.
The Bishop and Mr. Scudamore had gone out of the village to bathe just before they arrived; but Dr. Livingstone, recognizing one of the drivers, whom he had seen at Tette, took him by the wrist, saying, "What are you doing here, killing people? I shall kill you to-day."
The man answered: "I do not kill; I am not making war. I bought these people."
Then Livingstone turned to the slaves. Two men said, "We were bought." Six said, "We were captured." And several of the women, "Our husbands and relatives were killed, and here we are."
Whereupon Livingstone began to cut the bonds of cord that fastened them together, while the slave-catchers ran away. All this was over before the Bishop returned; and Livingstone was explaining to the rescued negroes that they might either return to their homes, go to Tette, or remain under English protection, while they expressed their joy and gratitude by a slow clapping of the hands. They told a terrible story, of women shot for trying to escape, and of a babe whose brains were dashed out, because its mother could not carry it and her brothers together.
If asked by what authority he did these things, Livingstone would have answered, by the right of a Christian man to protect the weak from devilish cruelty. There was no doubt in his mind that these slaves, even though purchased, were deprived of their liberty so unjustly, that their deliverance was only a sacred duty, and that their owners had no right of property in them. If a British cruiser descended on a slave-ship, and released her freight, should he not also deliver the captive wherever he met him?
And, with this, another question was raised, namely, that of the use of weapons. The party were in the country of the Man-gnaja, a tribe of negroes who were continually harried by the fiercer and more powerful neighbour-tribe of Ajawa, great slave-catchers, who supplied the slave- hunters who came out from Tette to collect their human droves. These were mostly Arabs, with some Portuguese admixture; and the blacks, after being disposed of in the market at Tette, were usually shipped off to supply the demand in Arabia and Egypt, where, to tell the truth, their lot was a far easier one than befell the slaves of the West, the toilers among sugar and cotton.
A crusade against slave-catching could not be carried on without, at least, a show of force; and, this granted, a further difficulty presented itself, in the fact that, out of the scanty number of white men, one was a bishop and two were priests of the English Church, and one a Presbyterian minister. In all former cases, the missionaries had freely ventured themselves, using no means of self-defence, and marking the difference between themselves and others by the absence of all weapons. But, in those places, it was self-defence that was given up; here the point was, whether to deliver the captive, or, by silence, to acquiesce in the wrong done to him; and if his rescue were attempted, it was in vain, unless the clergy assisted; and thus it was that the mission party did not march so much as men of peace as deliverers of the captive and breakers of the yoke. The captives had no power of returning home, and chose to remain with their deliverers; and the next day the party reached a negro village, called Chibisa's, after the chief who had ruled it at the time of Dr. Livingstone's first visit. He was now dead, but his successor, Chigunda, begged the white men to remain, to protect him from the Ajawa, who were only five or ten miles off, and from whom an attack was expected.
It was decided to forestall it by marching towards them. On the way another great convoy of slaves was encountered, and with the merest show of force, no bloodshed at all, more than forty were liberated--the men from forked clogs to their necks, consisting of a pole as thick as a man's thigh, branched at the top like the letter Y, so that the neck of the prisoner could be inserted, and fastened with an iron pin.
The large number of these liberated captives made it necessary to choose a home, but Chibisa's was not the place selected, but a spot some sixty miles further on, called Magomero. It was on a plain 3,000 feet above the level of the sea, or rather in a hole on the plain; for it was chosen because the bend of a river encircled it on three sides, so that a stockade on the fourth would serve for defence, in case of an attack from the Ajawa; and this consideration made Livingstone enforce the choice upon the Bishop, who again yielded to his opinion. The higher ground around was not unhealthy; the air was pure, the heat never excessive; but the river was too near, and brought fever to a spot soon overcrowded. It was occupied, however, with high hope and cheerfulness; huts, formed of poles and roofed with piles of grass, were erected, a larger one set apart for a church, and a system established of regular training for the numerous troop of clients, now amounting to above a hundred. To give them regular religious instruction, without being secure of the language, was thought by the Bishop inexpedient, and he therefore desired, at first, to prepare the way by the effects of physical training and discipline. This was a Magomero day:--English matins at early morning; breakfast on fowls or goats'-flesh, yam, beans, and porridge; then a visit to the sick; for, alas! already the whole thirteen of the mission staff were never well at the same time. After this, the negroes were collected, answered to their names, and had breakfast served out to them; two women being found to receive and apportion the shares of the lesser children, and this they did carefully and kindly.
The tender sweetness of Mackenzie told greatly in dealing with these poor creatures. He did not think it waste of time to spend an hour a day trying to teach the little ones their letters; and Mr. Rowley draws a beautiful picture of him feeding, with a bottle, a black babe, whose mother had not nutriment enough to sustain it,--the little naked thing nestling up to his big beard, and going to sleep against his broad chest.
Work followed. One whith man drilled the boys, one command being for them all to leap into the river at the same moment to bathe; one bargained with the vendors of mealies, beer, goats, fowls, yams, &c., who came in numbers from the villages round, and received payment in beads, and a blue cotton manufacture, called selampore, which is the current coin of Central Africa. Others worked, and showed how to work, at the buildings till one o'clock, when the dinner was served, only differing from breakfast in the drink being native beer instead of coffee. Rest followed till five, when there were two hours' more work, nearly till sunset, which, even on the longest day, was before half-past six; then tea, evensong, and bed.
The great need was of some female element, to train and deal with the women and girls; and there was an earnest desire for the arrival of the sisters. But, in the meantime, the occupation of Magomero proved far from peaceful. The Ajawa were always coming down upon the Man-gnaja to burn their villages and steal slaves, and the Man-gnaja called upon the whites as invincible allies.
The Bishop and his clergy (Livingstone had now left them, and gone on to Lake Nyassa) thought that to present a resolute front to the Ajawa would drive them back for good and all; and that the Man-gnaja could be bound over henceforth to give up slave-dealing, and, on this condition, they did not refuse their assistance. Subsequent events have led to the belief that this warfare of the Ajawa was really the advance of one of those great tides of nations that take place from time to time, and that they were a much finer people than the cowardly and false Man-gnaja; but, of course, a small company of strangers, almost ignorant of the language, and communicating with the natives through a released and educated negro, could not enter into the state of things, and could only struggle against the immediate acts of oppression that came before them.
There were thus about three expeditions to drive back the Ajawa and deliver the rescued slaves--bloodless expeditions, for the sight of the white men and their guns was quite enough to produce a general flight, and a large colony of the rescued had gathered at Magomero in the course of a few months. Meantime another clergyman, the Rev. H. De Wint Burrup, with his newly-married wife and three lay members of the mission, had arrived at Capetown, and, leaving Mrs. Burrup there with Miss Mackenzie, had come on to join the others. Mr. Burrup and Mr. Dickinson (a surgeon) actually made their way in canoes and river boats from Quillinane up to Chibisa's, where the Pioneer was lying, Dr. Livingstone having just returned from his three months' expedition.
It was an absolute exploit in travelling, but a very perilous one, since these open boats, in the rain and on the low level of the river, exposed them to the greatest danger of fever; and there can be no doubt that their constitutions were injured, although, no serious symptoms appearing, the mission party were still further induced to underrate the necessity of precaution.
The Bishop coming down to visit Livingstone (seventy miles in thirty hours on foot), gladly hailed the new-comers, and returned rapidly with Mr. Burrup, both a good deal over-fatigued; and, indeed, the Bishop never thoroughly recovered this reckless expenditure of strength. He considered that things were now forward enough for a summons to the ladies at Capetown. Communication was very difficult, and the arrangements had therefore to be made somewhat blindly; but his plan was, that his sisters and Mrs. Burrup should try to obtain a passage to Kongone, where the Pioneer should meet them, and bring them up the rivers to the landing-place at Chibisa's. He did not know of his sister Alice's marriage at Natal, though he would have rejoiced at it if he had known. He himself intended to come down to the spot where the rivers Shire and Ruo meet, and there greet the sister and the wife on board the Pioneer, and return with them to Magomero.
The way by the river and by Chibisa's was a great circuit, and it was thought that a more direct way might be found by exploration. Mr. Procter and Mr. Scudamore, with the black interpreter, Charles Thomas, and some of the negroes, started to pioneer a way. After five days Charles appeared at Magomero, exhausted, foot-sore, ragged, and famished, having had no food for forty-eight hours, and just able to say "the Man- gnaja attacked us; I am the only one who has escaped."
When he had had some soup, he told that the party had come to a village where they had been taken for slave-dealers, and the natives, on finding they were not, put on a hostile appearance, and as they pushed on came out in great numbers with bows and arrows, insisting on their return. After consulting they thought it would be better to turn back and conciliate the chief, rather than leave a nest of enemies in their rear, and they therefore turned. Unfortunately the negroes had caught sight of the 140 yards of selampore that they were taking with them as cash for the journey, and though the chief, who had been at Senna and Quillinane, was civil, there was much discontent at their not expending more in purchases of provisions; and Charles told them that their bearers had overheard plans for burning their huts in the night, killing them and taking their goods. They decided to escape; and occupying the chief's attention by a present of a bright scarf, they bade their men get under weigh. A cry arose, "They are running away." There was a rush upon them, and Charles managed to break through. He heard two shots fired, and was pursued for some distance, but, as darkness came on, effected his escape.
It seems to have been just one of the cases when a little hesitation and uncertainty on the part of the civilized men did all the mischief by emboldening the savages. Of course it was necessary to rescue them, but as the Ajawa were but twenty miles off, and Magomero must be guarded, there was no choice but to have recourse to the Makololo, and thus let loose one set of savages against another. Just, however, as a message was being despatched to bring them, the two clergymen were seen returning. They too had walked eighty-five miles in forty-eight hours, and had had but one fowl between them. They had in fact got out of the village almost immediately after Charles, but closely beset with natives armed with bows and poisoned arrows. Some tried to wrest Mr. Procter's gun from him, and even got him down, when he defended himself with his heels, until Mr. Scudamore, who was a little in advance, fired on his assailants, when they gave back; but an arrow aimed at him penetrated the stock of his gun so deeply that the head remained embedded in it. Firing both barrels, he produced a panic, under cover of which they made their way into the bush, and contrived with much difficulty to reach home.
Six of their eight bearers gradually straggled in, and the last brought the following message from a chief in the next village: "I am not in blame for this war; Manasomba has tried to kill the English, has stolen their baggage and their boy, and has kept two of your men. He says if the English want the men, let them come and buy them out, or else fight for them."
It appeared that Manasomba was not a Man-gnaja, and that his suspicions were excited by anything so inexplicable to the negro mind as white men going about with so much cloth without buying slaves nor much of anything else.
There were still two men to be rescued, and the question was, whether to wait for Livingstone, who was armed with authority to give a lesson to the negroes, or for the mission party to undertake it themselves, especially in the haste which was needful in order to be in time for the meeting with the Pioneer. They decided on the march, so as to release the men, and thus were forced to break up the calm of the Christmas feast. "If it is right to do it at all, it is right to do it on a holy day," was the Bishop's argument, and so the Christmas Day was spent, partly in walking, partly at Chipoka's village, where was held the Holy Communion feast. "How wondrous," wrote the Bishop, "the feeling of actual instantaneous communion with all you dear ones, though the distance and means of earthly communication are so great and so difficult!" The negroes of the neighbouring villages joined them, and they proceeded. Near Manasomba's village they met a large body of men, with whom the Bishop attempted to hold a parley, but they ran away, and only discharged a few arrows. The village was deserted except by a few sheep, goats, and Muscovy ducks, and these were driven out and the huts set on fire.
This punishment was as a "vindication of the English name," and as an act of self-defence, since any faltering in resolution among such savages would have been fatal; but, after all, the men were not recovered, and the expedition had been so exhausting that none of the party were really fit to push on for the place of meeting with the Pioneer, nor would Chipoka give them guides or bearers in that direction, saying it was all occupied by Manasomba's friends.
They came back to Magomero grievously exhausted; Scudamore fell down on a bed only just alive, and even the Bishop, though he tried to act and speak with vigour, was evidently suffering from illness and over-fatigue.
But there was the appointment to be kept with Livingstone and the ladies at the Ruo, and, unfit as he was, he persevered, setting off with Burrup, sadly enough, for Scudamore was lying in a dangerous state; but no one guessed that they would never meet again upon earth.
It was on the 4th of January, 1862, that they started with a few Malokolo and the interpreter Charles, and it was six weeks before the colony at Magomero heard any tidings. There the stores were all but exhausted, and having hardly any goods left for barter, there was little food to be obtained but green corn and pumpkin, most unsuited to the Englishmen's present state of health.
Meanwhile, in constant rain and through swollen streams, Mackenzie and Burrup had made their way down to the river, and there with much difficulty obtained a canoe. On the first night of the voyage all the party, except the Bishop, wished to go on, because the mosquitoes rendered rest impossible. He thought moving on in the dark imprudent, but gave up his own will, and even wrote jestingly afterwards on the convenience of making the mosquitoes act as a spur. The consequence was that they came suddenly upon a projecting bend; the boat upset, and everything they had was in the water. They spent more than an hour in recovering what could be brought up; but their powder and their provisions were spoilt, and, what was still worse, their medicines: including the quinine, almost essential to life, and that when they were thoroughly drenched in the middle of an African night.
Making sure, however, of speedily meeting Dr. Livingstone, they pushed on; but when they came to Malo, the isle at the confluence of the Ruo and Shire, they learnt from the natives that the Pioneer had gone down the stream. The negroes could give no clear account of how long ago it had been. If they had known that it had been only five days, they would probably have put forth their speed and have overtaken her, but they thought that a much longer time was intended, and that waiting for the return would be not only more prudent, but might enable them to make friends with the chief, and prepare for a station to be established on the island. A hut was given them, and there was plenty of wholesome food on the island.
Inaction, is, however the most fatal curse in that land of fever. There is a cheerful letter written by the Bishop to his home friends, on the 14th and 15th of January; but his vigour was flagging. He spoke with disappointment of the inability of Dr. Livingstone to bring up stores to Chibisa's, and longed much for his sisters' arrival, telling his companion it would break his heart if they did not now come. He also wrote a strong letter to the Secretary of the Universities' Mission, begging for a steam launch to keep up the supplies, where the Pioneer had failed. Soon after this, both became grievously ill; the Bishop's fever grew violent, he perceived his danger, and told the Malokolo that JESUS would come to take him, but he presently became delirious and insensible, in which condition he lay for five days, the Malokolo waiting on him as well as they could under Burrup's superintendence.
The negro tribes have an exceeding dread of death, and a hut which has had a corpse in it is shut up for three years. Probably for this reason the chief begged that the dying man might be carried to another hut less needful to himself, and as he had been kind and friendly throughout Mr. Burrup thought it right to comply. Shortly after, on the afternoon of the 31st of January, the pure, gentle, and noble spirit passed away. The chief, from superstitious fear, insisted that the body should be immediately interred, and not on the island, and Mr. Burrup and the Malokolo therefore laid it in their canoe, and paddled to the mainland, where a spot was cleared in the bush, the grave dug, and as it was by this time too dark to see to read, Mr. Burrup said all that he could remember of the burial service, the four blacks standing wondering and mournful by.
He saw that for himself the only hope was in a return to Magomero. The canoe was tried, but the current was so strong that such small numbers could not make head against it. He therefore proceeded on foot, but fell down repeatedly from weakness, and was only dragged on by his strong will and the aid of the Malokolo. They behaved admirably, and when he reached Chibisa's, and could walk no longer, they and the villagers contrived a palanquin of wood, and carried him on in it. The chief, finding that his store of cloth (i.e. coin) was expended, actually offered him a present of some to carry him on.
On the 14th of February, one of the Malokolo appeared before the anxious colonists at Magomero. His face was that of a bearer of evil tidings, and when they asked for the Bishop, he hid his face in his hands. When they pressed further, he said, "wafa, wafa" (he is dead, he is dead). And while they stood round stunned, he made them understand that Burrup was at hand, so ill as to be carried on men's shoulders.
There was nothing to be done but to hurry out to meet him, taking the last drop of wine remaining. He had become the very shadow of himself, but even then he slightly rallied, and could he have had nourishing food, wine or brandy, the strength of his constitution would probably have carried him through; but the stores were exhausted, there was nothing to recruit his powers, and on the 23rd of February he likewise died.
Meantime, his young wife, with Miss Mackenzie and Mrs. Livingstone, had sailed in December in a wretchedly uncomfortable little craft, called the Hetty Ellen. On reaching the Kongone they saw no token of the Pioneer, but after waiting in great discomfort, tossing at the mouth of the river, the vessel made for Mozambique. There they fell in with H.M.S. Gorgon. Captain Wilson, resolved to render them every service in his power, took the ladies on board, the vessel in tow, and carried them to Quillinane, where they presently fell in with Dr. Livingstone and the Pioneer.
His little lake steamer, the Lady Nyassa, had been packed on board the Hetty Ellen, and had formed the only shelter Miss Mackenzie had from the sun, and the transference of this occupied some time. Then the unhappy Pioneer began to proceed at her snail's pace, one day on a sand- bank, another with the machinery out of order, continually halting for supplies of wood, and thinking a couple of miles a good day's work. Captain Wilson, shocked at the notion of women spending weeks in labouring up that pestiferous stream, beset with mosquitoes by night and tsetse flies by day, offered to man his gig and take them up himself. So desperate a journey was it for a frail invalid like Miss Mackenzie, that one of the sailors took a spade to dig her grave with; and in fact she was soon prostrated with fever. None of the party knew who lay sleeping in his grave under the trees. The natives on the island entirely denied having seen or heard anything of the Bishop, and never gave Mr. Burrup's letter, fearing perhaps that some revenge might fall on them. Baffled by not meeting him, Captain Wilson still would not leave the ladies till he should have seen them safe among their friends, and pushed on his boat with speed very unlike that of the tardy Pioneer, and thus, in a day and a half, arrived at Chibisa's, where the Malokolo came down to the boat, with tidings that, though their language was but imperfectly understood, were only too certain. The brave and tender-hearted leader of the mission was dead! Still there was hope of Mr. Burrup; but Captain Wilson would not allow the young wife to take the difficult journey only to find desolation, but went on by land himself, leaving her with Miss Mackenzie, under charge of his ship's surgeon, Dr. Ramsay. He came back after a few days, having become too ill by the way to get further than Soche, where he had been met by three of the mission party, who now returned with him to Chibisa's, with the tidings in all their sad fulness; and the mournful party set forth upon their return. On coming to the island, he demanded Mr. Burrup's letter, and the negroes looked at one another, saying, "It is all known." They gave him the letter, but it was with very great difficulty that they could be persuaded to show him the grave, over which he set up a cross of reeds, and then continuing this sad voyage, placed the ladies on board his ship, and carried them back to Capetown.
Bishop Mackenzie had executed a will not six weeks before his death, bequeathing to the Additional Bishoprics Fund his property, and to the mission his books, except those specially connected with his personal devotions, which were to go to his family, and which Captain Wilson brought down with him, the Bible, Prayer-book, and "Christian Year," bearing tokens of that immersion in the water which, by the destruction of the medicines, may be believed to have been the chief cause of his death. Until the arrival of a new Bishop, or of instructions from the Metropolitan of Capetown, the headship of the mission was to remain with the senior clergyman, or failing him, of the senior layman. Thus the little colony had their instructions to wait and carry on the work: but further difficulties soon arose. Stores were still wanting, fever prevailed even among the negroes. All the class of little children whom the Bishop used to teach had died under it, each being baptized before its death, and the Ajawa began to threaten again. The lessened force, without a head, decided that, though their advance might drive the enemy back, it was better to avoid further warfare, and relinquish the post at Magomero. With the long train of helpless natives, then, the few white men set forth, and after several days' tedious and weary march came to Chibisa's, where they founded a new station on a hill-side, above the native village, and tried to continue their old system; but by Christmas Mr. Scudamore had become fatally ill, and he died on the morning of New Year's Day, 1863, greatly lamented, not only by the remnant of his own party, but by all the negroes; and on the 17th of March he was followed by Dr. Dickinson.
We do not deal with those still living, therefore we will only further mention that on the 26th of June following Bishop Tozer arrived at Chibisa's. He decided on removing to a place called Morumbala, a station nearer Quillinane, which he hoped might prove healthier, and out of the reach of the Ajawa. The remaining clergy of the mission were greatly concerned at this, for they had hopes of influencing the Ajawa, and besides, the negroes whom they had rescued, who had been now more than a year under their care, could not for the most part be taken to Morumbala; for, though grieving much at losing their "English fathers," they would be placed at a distance from their own tribe, among strangers and possible enemies.
The families who could provide for themselves were left at Chibisa's, Mr. Waller making the best terms in his power for them. It was sad to leave them without having more thoroughly Christianized them, but the frequent sicknesses of the clergy, the loss of the chief pastor, and the want of some one to take the lead, had prevented their instruction from being all that could have been hoped. They had become warmly attached to the English, and had in many respects much improved, and it is hoped that they may keep alive the memory of the training they have received, and prepare the way for better things.
There were about twenty orphan boys, for whom Bishop Tozer undertook to provide; but there were also ten or twelve women and girls, the former old and infirm, the latter orphans, and these Mr. Waller could not bear to abandon, so he carried them with him to Morumbala, and supported them at his own expense, until at the end of five months it was decided to give up Morumbala, and fix the head-quarters of the Central African Mission at Zanzibar. Then, as it was not easy to convey the boys, or provide for them there, Mr. Waller took the charge of them likewise, and, with Dr. Livingstone's assistance, conveyed both them and the women and children to Capetown, where he succeeded in procuring homes for them in different families and mission schools or stations. All are now Christians, and show themselves gentle, and susceptible of training and education; nor have they much of that disposition so familiar to us in the transplanted negroes of Western Africa. Four boys were brought to England, but the climate would soon have been fatal to them, and it is evident that Capetown or Natal and its dependencies must be the meeting ground of the English and African races, since there alone can both retain their vigour in the same climate.
Thus ended the first venture of the University mission, in the sacrifice of four lives, which may be well esteemed as freely laid down in the cause of the Gospel. Such lives and such deaths are the seed of the Church. It is they that speak the loudest in calling for the fresh labourers; and though the Zanzibar Mission has drifted far away from the field of Mackenzie's labours, and has adopted a different system, and though his toils in Natal never were allowed to continue long enough in a single spot for him personally to reap their fruits upon earth, not only has his name become a trumpet call, but out of his grave has sprung, as it were, a mission in the very quarter where, had he been permitted, he would have spent his best efforts, namely, the free Zulu country, Panda's kingdom, to the north of the Tugela.
It has been already mentioned that Mr. and Mrs. Robertson had removed thither, from their station upon the Umlazi, taking with them a selection of their Christian Kaffirs, and settling, with the king's permission, at a place called Kwamagwaza. At first they lived in a waggon and tents, for, delicate and often ill as was Mrs. Robertson, she shrank from no hardship or exertion. She writes, "My own health has been wonderful, in spite of much real suffering from the closeness of the waggon, and exposure to rain or hot sun, which is even more trying. I often have to sleep with the waggon open, and a damp foggy air flowing through to keep me from fainting, and I have often told myself, 'You might be worse off in the cabin of a steamer,' that I might not pity myself too much."
A hut was soon raised, and Mrs. Robertson here ruled in her own peculiarly dignified and tender way as the mother of the whole station, keeping guard there while her husband went on expeditions to visit the king and his son Ketchewayo, the chief executive authority. Another hut was raised to serve as a church, and the days were arranged much as those on the Umlazi had been. Children were born to the Christian couples, and Mrs. Robertson spent much time and care in teaching the mothers how to deal with them after a civilized and Christian fashion. Other children were sometimes brought to her to be adopted, and when entirely made over by their parents were baptized and bred up as Christians. The general trust in Mr. Robertson's skill as a doctor brought many people under his influence, and likewise gave some, though very slight assistance, in combating the belief in witchcraft, the worst enemy with which Christianity has to contend.
Whenever a person falls sick or meets with an accident, a conjurer is sent for, who attributes the disaster to some other person, on whom revenge must be taken. In the British territory, no more can be done than to treat the supposed wizard with contumely, such as to render his life a burthen to him, and he can generally escape this by entering some white man's service, or attaching himself to a mission-station; but in independent Zululand, any disaster to prince or great chief was sure to be followed by a horrible massacre of the whole family of the supposed offender, unless he had time to escape across the border. Many a time did wounded women and children fly from the slaughter to Kwamagwaza, and Mr. and Mrs. Robertson protect them from the first fury of the pursuers, and then almost force consent from Ketchewayo to their living under the protection of the umfundisi.
Visits to Ketchewayo formed a very important part of the work, since they gradually established his confidence in Mr. Robertson, and obtained concessions that facilitated the Christianizing of his people. One of his great objections was the fear of losing their services as warriors. The regiments still assemble at his camp as in the days of Dingarn, go through their exercises and sing their war-songs, into some of which are introduced lines in contempt of the Kaffirs who have passed the Tugela to live under British law:--
"The Natal people have no king, They eat salt; To every tag-rag white man they say, 'Your Excellency!'"
Mrs. Robertson's niece, Miss Fanny Woodrow, who had come out to join her, arrived at Durban, and was there met by Mrs. Robertson herself, in her waggon, after the long and perilous journey undertaken alone with the Kaffirs. Her residence at Kwamagwaza was a time of much interest and prosperity; she threw herself into the work, and much assisted in the training of the women and children, and one or two visits she made to Ketchewayo greatly delighted the prince. She came in June 1861, but she had become engaged on her way out to the Rev. Lovell Procter, and when the mission at Chibisa's was given up, he was in such a state of health as not to be able to continue with the University Mission. Therefore he set out on his return, and, coming to Natal by the way, arrived at Kwamagwaza early in 1864. He was the first brother clergyman Mr. Robertson had seen since coming into Zululand, and the mingling of joy at the meeting, and of sorrow for Bishop Mackenzie, were almost overwhelming. At Easter Mr. Procter and Miss Woodrow were married, in the little mission church, built of bricks made by Mr. Robertson's own hands and those of his pupils; and soon after Mr. and Mrs. Robertson set out in their waggon to escort the newly-married pair to Durban, taking with them several of their converts, and all their flock of adopted children.
The stay in Durban, and Pieter Maritzburg, among old friends, was full of comfort and pleasure; but the indefatigable missionary and his wife were soon on their way home, their waggon heavily loaded with boxes sent by friends in England, containing much that they had longed for--among other things, iron-work for fitting their church. On the 18th of June, when they were three days' journey across the Tugela, while Mr. Robertson was walking in front of the waggon to secure a safe track for it, the wheels, in coming down a descent, slid along on some slippery grass, and there was a complete overturn, the waggon falling on its side with the wheels in the air, and Mrs. Robertson, and a little Kaffir boy of three years old, under the whole of the front portion of the load.
Her husband and the Kaffirs cut away the side of the waggon with axes, and tried to draw her out, but she was too fast wedged in. She said in a calm voice, "Oh, remove the boxes," but before this could be done she had breathed her last, apparently from suffocation, for her limbs were not crushed, and her exceeding delicacy of frame and shortness of breath probably made the weight and suffocation fatal to her. The little boy suffered no injury.
The spot was near a Norwegian mission station, where the kindest help was immediately offered to the husband. A coffin was made of plank that had been bought at Durban to be made into church doors, and when her husband had kept lonely vigil all night over her remains, Henrietta Robertson was laid in her grave, where the Norwegians hope to build their church, Mr. Robertson himself reading the service over her.
But her work has not died with her. Mr. Robertson returned to his lonely task, helped and tended by the converted man and his wife, Usajabula and Christina, whom she had trained, and whose child had been with her in the fatal overturn. A clergyman returning from the Zanzibar Mission came to him and aided him for a while; other helpers have come out from time to time, and meantime, Miss Mackenzie exerted herself to the utmost, straining every nerve to obtain funds for the establishment of a Missionary Bishopric in Zululand, as the most fitting memorial to her brother, since it was here that, had he chosen for himself, his work would have lain. After several years of endeavour she has succeeded, and, even as these last pages are written, we hold in our hands the account of the arrival of the new Bishop at Kwamagwaza.
So it is that the work never perishes, but the very extinction of one light seems to cause the lighting of many more; and thus it is that the word is being gradually fulfilled that the Gospel shall be preached to all nations, and that "the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea."
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