Harvey and Darton, Printers,
Claims of West Africa
The Native Languages.
Harvey and Darton, Gracechurch Street.
Claims of West Africa,
The Claims of West Africa, &c.
The colony of Sierra Leone, interesting and important as it is, when regarded as a station inhabited by Africans from more than thirty different tribes, has not yet, it must be allowed, exhibited all those encouraging marks of advancement, either in civil or religious knowledge, which have been anxiously desired, and which indeed are still hoped for by many who look to this colony as a point from which, through the favour of Divine Goodness, may one day be extended the blessings of civilization and Christian instruction to many nations on the wide and almost unexplored continent of Africa.
This station having been formed and maintained on a principle of benevolent concern for the good of Africa, and as a place of reception for the unhappy victims of cruelty and oppression,B 2 B1v 2 sion, when rescued from the slave-ships, presents a very peculiar and a very powerful claim to our interest and regard; and the enquiry ought to be fairly met as to what really is its present state, and what the impediments to its more rapid advancement.
If from feelings of individual compassion a Christian philanthropist had rescued from the hold of a slave-ship one helpless child, and placed it under care for shelter and instruction, would he not feel so much interest for his rescued charge, as fully to inform himself from time to time how the child was cared for and instructed?— whether its physical wants as to food, shelter, and medical care were suitably provided for, and its mind receiving the advantages of appropriate instruction and judicious Christian care?
But have the advocates of the African cause as yet obtained all the information of the state of the liberated slaves, the children, and the people, when landed in Sierra Leone, which their dependent position in society has called for?—the children especially, who from their greater helplessness do assuredly claim much of a parent’s care from the friends of Africa in this country? And is it not much to be desired, that regular reports should be furnished as to the manner in which these children are disposed of on arrival in the colony, and how they are subsequently provided 3 B2r 3 and cared for; how lodged, and fed, and taught? Whether means are provided for maintaining their health, or restoring them when sick, and for promoting their effectual instruction and improvement? Although much has been done for the colony of Sierra Leone by the friendly care and liberal aid of Government, and many lives have been sacrificed in exhausting labour, by devoted agents of the Missionary Societies, the colony is yet, it must be allowed, but in a state of infancy, both as respects its civil and religious advancement: at the same time, the limited state of the population as to numbers, is such as loudly to call for enquiry into the cause, when it is considered how many have been brought in, from year to year, from the captured slave-vessels.
With regard to many of the apprenticed children, there is very great reason for anxious fear as to what becomes of them; little or no notice being taken of them officially after they have been put out. It is well known, that many of the poor natives who take them as apprentices, imagine that the money which they pay for the indenture, constitutes a kind of purchase of the child, and that they are then at liberty to do with him or her whatever they please. There is ground to fear that not a few are by some means taken away from the colony, and again made victims of the horrid trade in human beings.B2 4 B2v 4
That there is a great, a distressing mortality among the children, is, to those who make a little enquiry in the colony, a painfully conspicuous fact; yet the extent of that mortality there does not appear to exist, in any printed reports, the means of ascertaining. We do not learn, either with regard to the children placed out as apprentices, or in the schools, how many have lived, and how many have died. Neither are we informed how many in the schools can read, and how many know English so far as to understand what they read.
And with regard to education, from what has been observed of African capacity, when intelligible means of instruction are given, it appears very evident, that were suitable measures adopted to prepare for them the elements of instruction, in a clear and simple form, these children would be far from being backward, either in applying to the acquisition of useful knowledge, or in imbibing what they are taught. But in the system hitherto pursued in the schools, of using English lessons only, for children, to whom English is quite a foreign language, (excepting that they have a very few words in occasional and colloquial use,) whilst the native languages, for conversation, are of course in general use among themselves, can it be expected that the lessons thus learned should prove any more than mere 5 B3r 5 sound to the pupil? What would be the consequence, if we gave to an English child, at home, a Latin book to learn without any English translation, and just taught it to spell and read the Latin words? Would the child, by practising in this way, acquire a knowledge of that language? Assuredly not: and it would be very unjust to complain of the want of capacity in the Africans in Sierra Leone, as the cause of their not having advanced more than they have, when that which has been offered to them as a medium of school instruction, must have been to them quite as unintelligible as a French, or Latin, or German book, without translation, would be to an English child.
For more than a century a prepossession was indulged in Great Britain, for teaching the English language to Gaelic children, by English books alone; and the children were thus taught to read the English Scriptures, and to repeat English catechisms: and they did this, and, so far as sound could satisfy, they appeared to be well advanced; but they conversed constantly in the Gaelic, and were unable to give any account of what they had so freely read and repeated in English.
Eventually their directors found their mistake, and now the Gaelic children, as well as the Welch and some of the native Irish, receive 6 B3v 6 more effectual instruction in English through the medium of their own native languages.
And even with regard to the adult population, the public instruction given to the liberated Africans cannot be expected, under present circumstances, to contribute greatly to their improvement, since they are so much strangers to the English language, and have not the medium of their own languages in use, through which they might receive instruction. Let the friends of Africa be only willing to meet this difficulty, and provide means for its removal, by opening the doors for intelligible communication with the people, through the Native languages, and it will soon be discovered that Africans have powers to cultivate, and dispositions to improve, that would well repay the Christian labours of their European brethren. And let it be remembered, that as immortal and responsible beings, and equally with ourselves dependent on Redeeming pwer and love, they claim our sympathy and our Christian care.
It is not only for the welfare and advancement of the Africans in Sierra Leone, that we are called upon to do what we can for the improvement of the people of that colony, and for the attainment of an intelligible medium of instruction for themselves and for their children; we have also to take into view the prospective, yet deeply interesting7 B4r 7 esting object of preparing, through the various languages now spoken in Sierra Leone, the means of Christian instruction to many nations of Africa at a distance from that colony, whose minds we cannot hope to reach but through such a medium. With an object of so deep interest before us, what a field does Sierra Leone present! Surely the cultivation of this field, to as great an extent as circumstances are now calling for, is a Christian duty that cannot be withheld.
The work of translation into a great number of unwritten languages, must indeed be an engagement of close mental labour and of anxious responsibility. It is well known, that one great hindrance to the prosecution of such work in Africa, is the relaxing effect of the climate on European constitutions. It must yet be allowed, that Sierra Leone, from its peculiar circumstances, in being a centre for the reception of people from so many nations, does undoubtedly afford scope for much being done there, could agents be found prepared for the work, and capable of bearing the difficulties of the climate. The time may come, when Africans themselves may carry on this work, if the means could now be found of giving to some of the most intelligent and well-disposed among them, such education as to prepare them for it, and at the same 8 B4v 8 time establishing, through European agency, such elementary principles and introductory arrangements in the concern, as the present circumstances of the colony are calling for.
In order to raise a native agency to assist in the important and responsible work of African translations, it would be requisite that the best opportunities be afforded for the natives introduced to this work, to gain a knowledge of the English language, from whence both elementary books and Scripture lessons would have to be translated, previously to the more extensive engagement of their assisting in the translations of the Scriptures at large.
England would, no doubt, afford the best opportunities for the natives of Africa to obtain a knowledge of our language, and England would also afford the means for a strict revisal and examination of translations attempted, were intelligent natives here to give the required evidence. When the awfulness of the work of Scripture translation is considered, it must indeed be felt that every advantage of examination and revisal is greatly to be desired.
But, alas for poor Africa! how little has yet been done for that wide continent, with its thousands of peopled towns and villages: how little is yet known there of the great and important work of Scripture translations, or of the widely extended 9 B5r 9 labours of the British and Foreign Bible Society, the rivers and streams of whose Christian bounty have so richly flowed, even far and near, in every other quarter of the habitable world. Oh! that the powerful appeal of those who sit in the dark places of the earth, surrounded by habitations of cruelty, might be heard and regarded. Are we not the children of one Father? Why then should difficulties deter those whom Divine Providence has favoured with many spiritual and temporal blessings, from coming forward in devotedness of heart in the Redeemer’s cause, to the help of this benighted and afflicted people?
Were some who feel deeply in this cause to come forward and contribute their part in diligent Christian labour, and others to sacrifice a portion of property, and thought, and care, much might, through the blessing of Divine Goodness, be speedily effected. And although an uncertainty must be incurred, as to whether natives engaged as assistants in translation would themselves become sincere Christians, or be negligent and regardless of the advantages presented to them; yet experience has proved, that even where native agents themselves lose, by their own subsequent misconduct, the privileges which they might have enjoyed, the benefit of the translations is still felt by others, and the 10 B5v 10 advantage of thus employing the translators is far from being lost.
It is true, indeed, that since the Church Missionary Society have now lately commenced, among their own agents, African translations, much good may be hoped from this work being carried on by them in Sierra Leone, should the lives of the individuals, to whom the work has been committed in that colony, be long continued. Yet it is well known, that their benevolent Christian interest in this cause would lead them greatly to rejoice in every facility for the promotion of the work, and they would hear gladly of the adoption of measures for its being carried forward extensively, both in Africa and in England.
Were a few well-chosen Africans to be brought, on their own desire, to this country, from some of the principal tribes, so selected as to retain their languages by conversing with each other, they might, in an Institution prepared here for their reception, rapidly acquire the English language and become valuable assistants in translation; and preserving the general forms and structure of their own languages, these translations, written from their dictation by their English friends appointed to the work, would, if well attended to, be found clear and intelligible when hear or read in the 11 B6r 11 native districts. Europeans engaged in the translation, might at the same time acquire sufficient knowledge of these languages, to check or prevent the passing of erroneous translations respecting important truths.
African agents thus trained and employed, might some of them, it is hoped, in a future day, whilst in England, give valuable help in the translation of the Scriptures; whilst others, having spent two or three years in this country, and given their assistance in translating merely elementary lessons, might return, prepared to pursue with respectability some other engagement in the colony from whence they came: yet all persons thus received into the Institution, to have the opportunity, on returning home, of continued communications with their friends here, by occasional correspondence, so long as their conduct should be such as to leave the way open for such communication.
Should encouragement be given for the prosecution of this work, it would, in present circumstances, it is hoped, be easy to obtain a good selection of pupils, who would gladly come over for a few years to learn our language, and to assist in translations in some of the principal languages of Africa. Already has the advantage of such translations been experienced in a school on the river Gambia, in which the Jolof elementary and Scripture lessons are now used, which a few years ago were 12 B6v 12 prepared and printed in England under the sanction of a Committee of Friends for promoting African Instruction. These lessons have not only been used in schools for teaching the Jolof children both their own language and the English, but some of the young men have also read the Jolof Scripture lessons contained in them to their families at home. From that station are lately received accounts truly consoling and encouraging to perseverance in this labour of love. See Wesleyan Missionary Notices, dated 1830-06June, 1830. The present Missionary in the Gambia, who has also conducted the public instruction through the medium of native interpreters, has been favoured with so much success as to induce the hope, that ere long the Native Teachers may supply that district alone, or at least without the constant residence of European missionaries. Since this appeal was put to press, the Committee of the Wesleyan Missionary Society have received the mournful intelligence, that their much esteemed and valued Missionary, Richard Marshall, who had laboured with such encouraging success in this station, during most of the last two years, died of fever after a sickness of five days, during the present rainy season. His estimable widow, with her infant child, arrived in Bristol on the --01-101st of 10th month: they also had been sick of fever, and ordered by their medical attendant to return to England, as the only hope, humanly speaking, of their lives being preserved. A.M. appeared, on her arrival, much restored, and gave a very satisfactory account of the state of the mission in the Gambia. Her friends, who knew and justly loved her, have since received the very unexpected and affecting intelligence, that two days after her arrival she was suddenly called away from this state of mortality.13 B7r 13
At the same time, from the villages of liberated Africans in Sierra Leone, we hear perpetually, in the printed statements, the report of discouragement and complaint. The people understand but little of the instructions offered, and the children in the schools are under similar disadvantages. Still there is sounded among some in that colony, the alarm of a supposed impossibility of giving any other instruction than through the English language only; the languages of the natives being so many and so little known. Allowing, that so far as the residence in an English colony is intended, it is indeed desirable that the English should be known as a general language among the people, and be their common medium of communication; still, in the attainment even of this object, we shall find, that to cultivate, to a certain extent, each of the distinctly ascertained native languages spoken in the colony, would be the most facile and effectual means of teaching the natives English. But if the English language itself be not understood by the Africans, how can it be the medium of instruction either in their religious assemblies or in their schools? What foreigner, either German, French, or African, can teach the English but through his own vernacular language, unless it be just so much as can be gained by signs, as in teaching the deaf and dumb? This 14 B7v 14 system of teaching only by signs and motions, even if desired, could not easily be practised in Africa, where all engagements requiring much thought and application are, on account of the relaxing influence of the climate, so peculiarly difficult to Europeans. Let the friends of African education then avail themselves, in teaching English, of the advantages of the simplest and most effectual system of instruction, that of teaching through the medium of something already known to the pupil, and acquiring at least the elements of English, through the familiar means of introductory lessons in the native languages, with the English attached to them.
In the attempt to reduce a new language to writing, it is undoubtedly requisite to use great care in every step of a work so responsible, and especially in attempting to convey in such language any religious truth: still, by close attention and repeated examination of what is prepared, it is possible to obtain clear and imtelligible translations even of Scripture lessons; translations which may be clearly understood by the natives who read them. From Scripture lessons, if thus gained in each principal language, and read occasionally among the people by whom they were understood, might now we hope that even a few words thus conveyed, would avail more for their real instruction than ten thousand15 B8r 15 sand words spoken to them in an unknown tongue?
The elementary works printed by the Society of Friends within the last few years, in the African languages, are the following:—
- 1. African Lessons, Jolof The natives, though they call themselves Jolofs, use the term Wolof in speaking of their language. (or Wolof) and English, in three parts. Part I. Early Lessons and easy Narratives. II. Small vocabulary, Family Advices, and Examples in Sentences on the different Parts of Speech. III. Scripture Lessons in twenty-two sections.
- 2. A little sketch of elementary words in Mandingo, intended as General Spelling Lessons for any of the liberated Africans or others, in a school consisting of children of different tribes, which being in the same simple orthography used in each of the present translation, would be suitable to be used by the pupils in a mixed school. The children may afterwards learn from books, each in their own language, written in the same orthography. In addition to this, a book of words and sentences on each part of speech, in the Mandingo language, together with the English, having also a few passages of Scripture in Mandingo and English. These Lessons were prepared, with the assistance 16 B8v 16 of one of the native pupils in England, previously to the time in which several Friends went out to the Gambia, in 18231823, where they were revised. (The African Lessons, Jolof and English, were also prepared in England and revised in Africa at that time.) The Mandingo tract includes the General Spelling Lessons already noticed. The charge of printing this tract was defrayed by the Committee of the Language Institution in 18271827.
- 3. Specimens of African Languages. A book containing a short outline of words, together with the ten numbers in thirty different languages spoken in the colony of Sierra leone, and designed for use in some of the liberated African schools. By the use of these little sketches it has been ascertained what were the native countries of several Africans in England, of different tribes long absent from their own land, and incapable of giving any further account to ascertain the districts in which they were born, excepting from their words used in numbering, and a few obvious terms in their native languages.
- 4. Single Lessons in the Thirty Languages: two duodecimo pages only in each. These Lessons are the same with the last, only arranged in a different form, having each language detached, and some additional words in each more than are introduced in the Specimens. Both these Single Lessons and the Specimens are designed as a little 17C1r17 introduction to English, and the writer hopes, should life be given, to see the proposed system of instruction in a few months brought into practice, with the assistance of these books, in some of the liberated African schools. The materials for these lessons were prepared during the writer’s last visit to Sierra Leone, excepting a few of them, which were previously obtained, and at that time revised.
- 5. A school book of Jolof only, containing easy lessons on subjects exhibited in twelve pictures. These lessons were printed in a twelve page tract, as the least expensive form. The Jolof schools have also the same lessons in English, and one set of pictures will serve for both.
- 6. A single sheet lesson, containing the alphabets; a number of small pictures of common objects, with the native names attached: also the ten numbers in figures and words. This introductory lesson is printed in six languages each, on a separate sheet—the Mandingo, Jolof, Aku, or E-i-o, Bassa, Ibo, and Kru. A lesson of the same kind is also printed on a separate sheet in English.
There are also prepared, in addition to the printed books, a few Scripture translations in Mandingo, which are still in manuscript, and wait an opportunity for revision in Africa. A sketch of the grammar of the Jolof language in manuscript, C 18 C1v 18 and a Jolof vocabulary, larger than that introduced in the printed lessons. Also a few lessons in the Sussu, obtained from a native of that country when in England, in 18291829. The system pursued in the formation of these elementary lessons, or in writing African words from the voice of a native, is the following.
1st. To use only such letters as are sounded in the words, and not any mute or superfluous letters.
2nd. That each letter should express one sound only; that is, not to have the same letters used as in English for hard and soft sounds, (the g always hard.)
3rd. To adopt the continental sounds of the vowels, a, e, i, o, u as heard in ark, great, field, hope, truth. The vowels to be sounded short in the beginning, or the middle of a word or syllable, and long at the end: or when required to be sounded long in the beginning or middle of a syllable, to place a dash (-) over the vowel to show the long sound.
4thTo reject the letters c, q, and x, these sounds being provided in the letters s and k.
5th. To use the compound vowel sound of ai for the English sound i, and the letters iu for the English sound of u.
6th. When a guttural sound is to be described, 19C2r19 to adopt the letter nearest to it, as h or k, and by the addition of a mark over the h̄ or k̄ to describe that sound.
This system is so simple in practice, that if adhered to, there is but little liability to write in a way that would not be easily read.
A satisfactory degree of correctness may be attained in translation, if care be only taken clearly to ascertain the first steps in the work; as by writing down from the voice of a native, the names of visible objects, as man, boy, &c. which are either present in the room, or the pictures of them present. Afterwards, visible actions; as walk, run, and so on: next, obvious qualities, added to some of the nouns; as a round table, a little bird; and thus to proceed taking down different classes of words and short sentences, until by degrees not only a considerable stock of words may be obtained, but a sufficient number of sentences from which to ascertain what parts of speech are in general use; and, in time, to form deductions on the structure of the language.
It is necessary, in obtaining some of the parts of speech, and their variations, to give a sentence in several different forms for translation, so as to ascertain perhaps an adverb, a preposition, &c. as he walks slowly, he walks quickly, C2 20 C2v 20 I go to the door, I come from the door, my house, my father’s house; and to analyse, with close attention, the different parts of the simplest sentence, carefully separating word from word. Still, in the very first attempts, it will often be best to leave, at least in manuscript, the pronoun attached to the verb; as I go; since the natives will understand this better than the more abstract terms of, go, or to go, (the same difficulty they might find also in other verbs, in the terms of the infinitive mood;) and especially to wait with patience, and give repeated trials before we conclude upon the correctness of terms given to us relative to mind; as, hope, fear, love,&c.
The very great responsibility attaching to that part of the work of translation with which Christian instruction is connected, renders it a very desirable measure that persons so engaged should have near to them every aid that could be obtained for the revision of their essays, by a Committee well acquainted with the general principles of language, and prepared to give occasional help and counsel as to any points on which there might be more than common obscurity, or liability to mistake. Such a Committee would, no doubt, be without difficulty appointed, if an Institution for translations were formed in England.
Let not any turn away from this important 21 C3r 21 subject, fearing that it is too difficult for accomplishment, or that the means of its pursuance may be inadequate and soon fail. There are certain simple principles for the prosecution of this work, which are allowed and understood by not a very few persons, and are regarded as being solid and worthy to be acted upon. May the important object of endeavouring, should Divine Providence permit, to raise up an African agency to assist in preparing the means of intelligible instruction, in an Institution for translations in England—may this important object be freely sanctioned by the friends of Africa, and perseveringly pursued, trusting in Him who can at His pleasure raise up and preserve agents for carrying on His own beneficent designs on the earth, and who has again and again evinced that it is His Divine will to carry on His own designs by instrumental agency! May it be ours to attain to a sincere desire to know and to do His will, trusting for help in Him!
Although fully aware that Friends in encouraging the work of elementary translations, so far as has been alluded to, have regarded the concern as a part of a common cause, in which, if good could be done, their attention was called for, for the sake of the cause itself; it would yet be ungrateful not to acknowledge the obligation which indeed the writer sensibly feels towards Friends 22 C3v 22 who have so kindly given every facility for the prosecution of this work, not only in taking charge, for several years, of the two native Africans who assisted in the first translation, (that of the lessons now used in the Gambia,) but in every subsequent step, providing the requisite expences for promoting the design, and facilitating with the most friendly confidence and aid its further prosecution.
The obligations of the writer to a few endeared friends in particular, must ever be combined with the remembrance of the earliest, and every subsequent step which has been taken in this deeply interesting cause—a cause which they have most kindly and essentially promoted by their judgment, by their literary aid and counsel, by the unremitting kindnesses of Christian sympathy and hospitality, and in various other ways in which liberal help could be given in the furtherance of an arduous and responsible engagement—an engagement, the difficulties of which are not worthy to be considered, when so much lessened by the sympathy and aid of Christian kindness, and accompanied as they have been by the sustaining belief that the pursuance of this cause is in consonance with the will of the Most High, and the feeling, that in His will alone we find our rest.
Although the work of translation may not in 23 C4r 23 itself have all the attraction of some other engagements, yet its ultimate object, when directed to the attainment, for a suffering and benighted people, of that divine revelation in the Scriptures of Truth, with which we have ourselves been so mercifully favoured, the prospect of this attainment may well give a deep and lasting interest to long-continued exertions in such a cause—an interest which will live, and grow, and still expand, when occupations that need the zest of novelty for their support shall cease to excite their wonted attraction.
It should never be forgotten, that Translations are as indispensably requisite to the cause of Christian education in heathen lands, as Schools are necessary to the effectual diffusion of the Holy Scriptures. We must be satisfied to commence with the earliest steps, and should surely feel great thankfulness for the favour of being permitted to take any step in a cause so precious as that of preparing, in the least degree, to open the way for our African brethren to a knowledge of those sacred records which direct to Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote.
With an object in view so important and so delighful to every feeling of Christian love, it is therefore proposed, that a few, to whom the advancement of truth and righteousness on the earth is precious, should, without further delay 24 C4v 24 make arrangements for the introduction of a few native Africans into this country, selected from some of the most important tribes known in the colony of Sierra Leone, or other parts of West Africa, as Mandingo, Jolof, Balaf, &c. and brought over with their own concurrence and desire, to be taught here the English language, and prepared to give assistance in translating from the English into their own languages.
2nd. That after appointing a Provisional Committee for carrying this design into effect, arrangements be made for providing the requisite funds, and for directing the means by which Africans shall be selected, and introduced to the proposed means of instruction.
3rd. That at a suitable time a house be hired for the purpose, and care taken to have it sufficiently warm to shield the natives of a hot climate from the dangers they would otherwise be exposed to during the winter season.
4th. That persons be engaged to take the charge of the family as to domestic care, School instruction, and the prosecution of Translations.
65th. That the Committee take the charge, as far as may be found expedient, of printing, in different languages, Elementary books and Scripture lessons.
Any persons disposed to give their sanction 25 C5r 25 and aid to the proposed object, by Subscriptions or Donations, are requested to give notice of their purpose, or to forward their Contributions to Drewett and Fowler, 60, Old Broad Street, or to any of the following Friends, who have agreed to act as a Committee to carry the preceding plan into effect, provided they meet with the requisite pecuniary support.
- William Allen,
- John Thomas,
- Peter Bedford,
- John Capper,
- Samuel Darton,
- Josiah Forster,
- Robert Forster,
- William Hargrave,
- Thomas Hodgkin, M.D.,
- Wm. Forster Reynolds,
- John Sanderson.
Extract of a Letter from an experienced and devoted Agent of the Church Missionary Society, who is now engaged in the work of African Translations, dated 1828-09-19Sept. 19, 1828.The observations contained in your communication on the advantage of preparing elementary books in this country, in preference to Africa, meet my entire concurrence. The more I reflect on the subject the more I see the very great importance of studying the native languages in every point of view; but especially, as you remark, when connected with the great and and blessed object of advancing the cause of our Redeemer. Of the dangers to which Africans, especially young persons, are exposed when brought to this country for instruction, I am fully sensible. I trust, however, it may be found, that with proper attention to situation and management, they are not wholly insurmountable. With respect to the great difficulty of sustaining the mental exertion necessary in the study of languages, while resident in Africa, I can speak in some measure from experience. It appears to me next to impossible that the 27 C6r 27 work can be carried on with any thing like desirable speed, by an individual or two exposed to the debilitating effects of a tropical climate; while, in order to be performed effectively, such supervision as you suggest would, I think, be necessary. For though the sounds must undoubtedly be learned from natives, yet as to the manner of expressing those sounds, and as to the construction of any particular language, valuable assistance might probably be derived from individuals in this country who are well acquainted with language in general. So far, therefore, as I have yet considered the subject, I conceive that a work of this kind would be best carried on conjointly, in England and in Africa at the same time. When I reflect on the great labour required to communicate knowledge to Africans, through the medium of English, and the degree of uncertainty which exists as to the precise result of that labour, I am forcibly impressed with the very great importance of adopting another plan; that is, of endeavouring to open the natural channel of communication between them and us, by becoming acquainted with their languages, and by reducing them to writing. Indeed, I can scarcely help wondering that such a plan should not have been more decidedly adopted, and more vigourously pursued in times past. Having, however,28 C6v 28 ever, once more been brought forward, I hope it will never be lost sight of, till, through the blessing of the Most High upon the exertions of those who may give themselves to this work, the inestimable treasure of the Scriptures shall be laid open to all the tribes of our African brethren who are or may be within our reach.
Harvey and Darton, Printers, Gracechurch Street