Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

and of exercising a moral and religious influence among the white population of the humbler classes in and around Brisbane Town.

Dr. Leichhardt spent some time at the German Mission Station, as a guest of the Rev. Mr. Schmidt's, during his stay at Moreton Bay, in the year 1843, and it will doubtless not be uninteresting to the reader to peruse the following opinion of that distinguished traveller, contained in one of his interesting letters to Mr. Lynd, respecting the Mission generally. Dr. L., I may add, was rather sceptical as to any beneficial results being likely to follow from the direct influence of the Missionaries upon the Aborigines, in the way of their conversion to Christianity ; but he was fully alive to the beneficial influence which such a community was likely to exert on the surrounding white population in such a Colony S

The philanthropist could never find a purer and better nucleus for the commencement of a colony than these seven families of the Missionaries are: they themselves excellent, tolerably well educated men, industrious, with industrious wives. They have twenty-two children, though very young, yet educated with the greatest care—the most obedient, the least troublesome children I have seen in this Colony or elsewhere. If the Governor was in any way a man of more comprehensive views, and if he considered the moral influence of such a little colony on the surrounding Settlers, he would not grudge them the few acres of land which they are at present in possession of–he would grant it to them for the five years of suffering they had to pass. The Missionaries have converted no black-fellows to Christianity ; but they have commenced a friendly intercourse with these savage children of the bush, and have shewn to them the whitefellow in his best colour. They did not take their wives ; they did not take bloody revenge when the black-fellow came to rob their garden. They were always kind, and perhaps too kind ; for they threatened without executing their threatenings, and the black-fellows knew well that it was only gammon.

I visited the German Mission Station twice during my stay at Moreton Bay, on one of which occasions I spent a night at the Station, and heard the children read a portion of Scripture. They form one of the most singular, as well as interesting little groups in Her Majesty's dominions. The parents, who are all Germans, knew no other than their mother-tongue when they arrived in the Colony; but they deemed it incumbent upon them, for the purposes of their Mission, to learn and to speak English only, and they have accordingly taught their children that foreign tongue exclusively. Of course they could not teach them the English accent; and the little Anglo-German colonists, entirely secluded as they are from the world, speak English with as strong a foreign accent as a German who learns our language after he has come to manhood. I had recommended the parents, several years before, to teach their children both languages, telling them they would learn both as easily as one : but they were afraid that if they taught them to speak German, they would not learn English, and with amazing self-denial, they have continued to converse with one another in their families in English, and thereby to teach their children a foreign tongue.

I can also testify with much pleasure to the beneficial influence which the Lay-Missionaries are exercising on the scattered white population of the humbler classes in and around Brisbane Town. They have already proved a blessing to several in that vicinity, in the highest sense of the word-bringing both individuals and families back to a sense of the duties of religion, and inducing a corresponding practice. They itinerate by turns in different parts of the district every Sabbath-reading the Scriptures, distributing Scriptural tracts, and expounding the word of God to all who will suffer the word of exhortation. As a specimen of the influence they are exerting in this way, I shall relate the following circumstance which was incidentally mentioned to me, from his own experience, by Mr. Gottfried Wagner, the only unmarried Missionary now at the Station, who accompanied me on horseback from the Mission Station on my return to Brisbane. On a Sabbath afternoon, in the course of his accustomed tour of itineracy, a woman in the humbler walks of life earnestly requested Mr. Wagner to go to a particular public-house in the neighbourhood, and speak

[ocr errors]

to her husband, who was not only profaning the Sabbath, but spending his time and his means away from his family, and reducing himself to a state of brutal intoxication. Mr. W. accordingly went, but was told by the publican that the man he asked for was not in his house. Mr. W. returned to the woman, and reported the issue of his visit, but she entreated him to go back again, as she was certain her husband was in the house, although the publican, for obvious reasons, had denied him. Mr. W. accordingly went back to the public-house, and requested to be admitted to see the man, as he said he was assured by his wife he was in the house. The publican, as might be anticipated, was offended at this importunity, and asked Mr. W. how he pretended to search his house, asking him insultingly, if he was a constable, or had a warrant to do

“Yes,” Mr. W. fearlessly replied, “ I have a warrant." " Where is it?” said the publican sneeringly. “ Here," replied Mr. W., pulling out his English Pocket Bible, “ for it is written in the Word of God, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.The publican stood abashed at this instance of Christian zeal and intrepidity on the part of the humble foreigner,

—for there is a majesty and a power in the bold assertion of Christian principle, before which iniquity will often hide her head and be ashamed; and he allowed Mr. W. to enter his house, where he found the man he was in quest of. For these, and various other reasons, I confess I feel a deep interest in the German Mission to the Aborigines; and as it was entirely with my concurrence and approval that my friend and brother, Mr. Schmidt, returned to Europe, I cherish the hope that it will ere long be revived under happier auspices, and be prosecuted with increased vigour, and crowned with ultimate success.

CHAPTER XII.

PROSPECTS OF COOKSLAND, IN REGARD TO CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS

LIBERTY, MORALS, AND RELIGION.

Caetera turba suos fines plerumque sequuntur.

RUDDIMAN's Latin Grammar. Certain of the Colonial Clergy are exceedingly‘selfish and sordid.

The population of Cooksland, which, by the census of 1846, amounts to 3750 souls,* is composed of persons who style themselves respectively English Episcopalians, Scotch and North of Ireland Presbyterians, and Irish Roman Catholics; the number of persons of any other denomination being as yet very small. A large proportion, if not a decided majority of the gentlemen Squatters, and other respectable inhabitants of the District, are Scotsmen and Presbyterians; the remainder of this class being almost exclusively of the Church of England. There is also a considerable number of Scotsmen and Presbyterians among the humbler or working-classes—the free immigrant mechanics, farm-servants, and shepherds ; but the bulk

* County of Stanley, including Brisbane,

Commissioner's District,
Darling Downs,
Clarence River District,

1599 268 658 1225

Total, 3750

of this class of the population, embracing, as it does, a considerable proportion of old hands, or expiree convicts, are, nominally at least, Episcopalians and Roman Catholics.

For the religious instruction of this population, there are at present two Episcopalian ministers stationed in the district-the one at Brisbane, and the other on the Clarence River-and at least one Romish priest also stationed at Brisbane. There is no other minister of religion of any communion in this part of the territory.

The Episcopalian minister at Brisbane is the Rev. John Gregor, A.M., a regularly educated and ordained minister of the Established Church of Scotland, who was sent out to New South Wales as a Presbyterian minister, on the recommendation of the General Assembly's Colonial Committee, in the year 1837. In consequence, however, of certain difficulties in his position, the result of his own heartless cupidity, Mr. Gregor gave out that a new light had broken in upon his mental vision, and declared publicly, “ in the Church of St. James, the Apostle, in Sydney,” that he was moved by the Holy Ghost to renounce the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Presbyterian Communion, and to take an oath of implicit obedience to a Puseyite Bishop.

Mr. Gregor is, without exception, the most worldlyminded

person I have ever known in a clerical habit, and he is so ignorant withal of the world, as even to be utterly destitute of that thin veil of hypocrisy which, in such cases, is indispensably necessary to shield the hireling from general disgust. Through the frequent exhibition of this quality, combined with others equally unclerical, Mr. Gregor had contrived, within a very short period from the time of his arrival at Moreton Bay, (to which locality he was ordered to proceed by his Bishop,) to alienate the affections of the entire Episcopalian community in the district from his person and ministry, and to forfeit all title to their confidence and respect.

Public meetings had been held

« AnteriorContinuar »