Harvey and Darton, Printers,
Gracechurch Street.

A1v A2r

Claims of West Africa
Christian Instruction,
The Native Languages.

Hannah Kilham.

Harvey and Darton, Gracechurch Street.

A2v A3r

Claims of West Africa,


Claims of West Africa,

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 B1v 2
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 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 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 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

Eventually their directors found their mistake,
and now the Gaelic children, as well as the
Welch and some of the native Irish, receive 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

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 interesting B4r 7
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 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 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

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 B5v 10
advantage of thus employing the translators is far
from being lost.

It is true, indeed, that since the Church Missionary
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 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

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 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.

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 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 thousand B8r 15
words spoken to them in an unknown

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 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 C1r17
    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 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
  • 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.
  • 4th

    To 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, C2r19
    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 C2v 20
“I go to the door,” “I come from the door,” “my
“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 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 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 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 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
, 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

Any persons disposed to give their sanction 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.
C5v 26

Extract of a Letter from an experienced and
devoted Agent of the Church Missionary
, 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
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 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, C6v 28
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.”

The End.

Harvey and Darton, Printers, Gracechurch Street