Jamaican Family Search Genealogy Research Library
Map of Jamaica showing the location of Moravian Missions
Records of baptisms and receptions into the Moravian church, containing the name given at baptism, the old name (usually a slave name), country of origin, and residence in Jamaica. (The term 'creole' means born in Jamaica):
Receptions in the Moravian mission at Lititz, St. Elizabeth (1) June 1839 to April 1841
Receptions in the Moravian mission at Lititz, St. Elizabeth (2) April 1841 to November 1842
Receptions in the Moravian mission at Lititz, St. Elizabeth (3) November 1842 to February 1845
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Excerpts from The Moravians in Jamaica, by J. H. Buchner, 1854
In the parish of St. Elizabeth are situated several sugar estates, Elim, Lancaster, Two-mile-wood, and the Bogue, the property of the Foster1 and Barham families, names well known in our church and mission. A hundred years ago, the proprietors of these plantations applied to the United Brethren for missionaries to preach the gospel to their slaves. The Brethren, ever ready to listen to such an application, complied with their request, and on the seventh of December, 1754, the Brethren Zecharias Caries, Thomas Shallcross, and Gotlieb Haberecht arrived in Jamaica. The Bogue Estate, on which the Brethren were located, and the other estates above named, are situated in a most unhealthy locality at the foot of the Manchester mountains, too far inland to admit the burning and intolerable heat to be mitigated by the sea-breeze. The land is very rich and productive, the sugar-cane thrives remarkably well, and the Black river, navigable for large boats, offers every accommodation for shipping. Altogether, this part of the country possesses so many advantages, that we need not be surprised to hear, that no fewer than nine hundred slaves belonged to these plantations; and that the produce of their labour was a rich mine of wealth.
The house inhabited by the missionaries, of which the foundation wall only remains, stood on a little eminence and close by the wretched huts of the Negro slaves, in the midst of a plantation of the beautiful cocoanut palm, and formed a large village. Every morning, with the first dawn of day, the shell was blown to call the slaves to their work, and every one was expected to appear immediately and join his party; each gang of Negroes walked off to the field under the direction of the driver, likewise a Negro, armed with a long whip. The children, from six to twelve years of age, under the care of an elderly Negress, likewise armed with a rod, formed another gang, and proceeded to clean the pasture, or any other work suited to their strength. These Negro drivers were steeled against all pity and compassion, being generally as much brutalized as man could be. The gangs went to work and toiled all day in the sun, their only covering being a cloth tied round their loins. In digging cane-holes they were expected to keep the line, and any one not keeping it with the rest felt the driver's whip. There was no remission of work, except in the middle of the day to take their meals. Late in the evening, after the setting of the sun, they returned weak and faint, and, not unfrequently, were forced for hours together, to continue their labour by the light of the moon. And then, their work having been examined by the overseer, those with whom he was dissatisfied, whether man or woman, were ordered to be flogged.
In 1779, Brother M. Mack was sent from the directing board of the missions on a visitation to Jamaica, to enquire into the obstacles which prevented the spread of the gospel, and, if possible, to remove them. Being prevented by the war from returning as soon as he expected, he spent nearly a year in the island, and visited all the different stations. The brethren frequently met in conference ; they joined in earnest prayer, and consulted with much sincerity on the best means of forwarding the work of God in their congregations. But this visitation does not appear to have been followed by any essential service or great results. It is beyond the power of the missionary to remove the chief obstacles to the free course of God's word in a slave country. No system could be invented more effectually to hinder and oppose the spread of the gospel than slavery. The slaves had no time to hear the word, except when worn out in body and mind by their cruel bondage; and their souls injured by a system which overthrows all morality, and sets at defiance the plainest command of scripture. How can there be morality where marriage is illegal? where overseers, bookkeepers, and drivers know no bounds, no obstacles to their evil lusts? How is the debased ignorant heathen to be taught the fear of God, and the heinousness of sin, when he finds himself the victim of evil passions, and the most unblushing immorality, in those who profess to be his superiors, and when he sees his equals treated as the beasts of the field? The most faithful instructions, the most earnest labours, will be ineffectual, if not accompanied by the grace of God. The influence and touching of God's holy Spirit must abound; must work a change, a conviction in the heart of the individual, strong, thorough, and decided; before a poor slave can say with the apostle, "I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Examples of the abounding grace of God were not indeed wanting at this time, among the Negro slaves; still we are not to suppose, even where this change had taken Place, that such a one was a Pattern of christian perfection. By no mean; nevertheless, if the slave was weak and ignorant, yet he learned to love, and was beloved of the Lord. This was his strength. We who have grown up, particularly, in christian families, enjoyed religious instruction from our youth, and are members of those churches in which everything combines to check evil inclinations, and to foster good resolutions, are scarcely able to comprehend the darkness of a heathen's mind. The fortitude, decision, and surrender of the heart to the Saviour, that are requisite to make a slave confess the Lord, by word and action, in the midst of degradation, violence, and cruel depravity, assume in many respects the character of a perpetual martyrdom. If a mission to the Negro slaves really prospers, if instances of such conversions are multiplied, it is a miracle of divine grace, far greater than anything which we meet with in civilized society or christian lands.
I shall conclude this chapter by a brief statement of the regulations adopted by the Brethren's Church to direct her missionaries in their practice towards the Negro slaves particularly with regard to polygamy and marriage.
It has been stated already, that the labours of the missionaries, from the year 1770 until 1809, were not accompanied with such demonstrations of the Holy Spirit and power upon many as would enable them to rejoice in their work, though they were encouraged to persevere by seeing occasionally some proof of their labours in the conversion of a few. To teach these the commandments of the Lord, and to maintain a christian conduct, was their earnest desire. But here again, they met with almost insurmountable difficulties, of which one, common to all slave countries, may be mentioned. Polygamy was the usual practice among the slaves, indeed it was forced upon them by the circumstances in which they were placed. Marriages were illegal. Nevertheless, the members of the congregation were solemnly joined in matrimony at a meeting of the Christian Negroes, when they gave one another the hand and promised faithfulness. These unions were justly considered binding in the church though not recognized by the laws of the land. And if the husband or the wife proved unfaithful, they were publicly excluded from the congregation. But it was by no means uncommon for one or the other to be sold to a distant part of the island, without any prospect of ever meeting again. In such cases, it was difficult to know how to decide; those rules recognized in all christian lands as binding, were often inapplicable, and impossible to be carried out. The rules referring to polygamy and marriage among heathen converts adopted by the Synod of the Brethren's Church, and which served for the direction of the missionaries in such cases, were the following, which we believe to be according to scripture, though perhaps, those who have never considered the matter before, may not be able at once to satisfy their own minds on the subject. "When a Negro man or woman applies to be baptized, or to be received into the congregation, strict enquiry is to be made concerning every circumstance attending his or her situation and connexion in life. If it is found that a man has more than one wife, the question arises, how the Brethren have to advise him in this particular. St. Paul says, "If any brother has a wife that believeth not, (one that is yet a heathen) and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away." (I Corinthians 7:12). But again, he says, "A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife." (I Timothy 3:2). In these passages we have the teaching of the holy scriptures concerning this subject; the Brethren are therefore of opinion that the missionaries should keep strictly to the following regulations.
"1st. That they should not compel a man, who had, before his conversion, taken more than one wife, to put away one or more of them, without her or their consent.
"2nd. But yet, that they would not appoint such a man to be a helper or servant in the church.
"3rd. That a man who believeth in Christ, if he marry, should only take one wife in marriage, and that he is bound to keep himself only to that woman till death part them.
"4th. If by the sale of Negroes, wives are torn from their husbands, and husbands from their wives, and carried off to distant parts, though the Brethren cannot advise, yet they cannot hinder a regular marriage with another person, especially if a family of young children, or other circumstances, seem to make a help-meet necessary, and as is mostly the case, no hope remains of the former ever returning."
In 1805, Brother John. Lang having arrived from England to labour in this mission, was stationed in Old Carmel. His name will long be remembered with much love and esteem. He was a prudent, zealous and gifted missionary, ardent in spirit, and earnest in his endeavours to win souls for Christ. To him the lifeless state of the mission was almost unbearable; his diary contains many fervent prayers to the Lord for his blessing, and for the outpouring of his Spirit upon the people whom he found sitting in darkness and the shadow of death. March 31st, 1809, he writes: " During this week (Passion-week,) we had meetings every day, and called upon the Negroes in our neighbourhood to attend. We have contemplated our Saviour's suffering scenes, and also enjoyed his testament. But though not without a blessing to ourselves, the power of darkness resting upon all around us is immense. Whether the Good Shepherd will find some willing to be carried to his fold, I know not. If he receives any, greater miracles were never wrought! To the best of my knowledge there was not a single individual among the slaves who attended the meetings, whose heart was touched in the least degree with a single spark of grace. Here we are! for what? I know not. To despair after a trial of fifty years might be natural. Suppose we are here as a witness against them on the day of judgment! Oh, poor office! A witness for destruction! Lord have mercy! Lord look down upon us! Though surrounded by discouragements beyond description, yet despair we will not. The Father is greater than all, the. Son is equally great; should not his blood prevail ? Amen." And on September 8th, 1812, the following entry is made with pencil on the same page: "Some of our Negroes are now willing."
This pleasing change was brought about in the following manner. At the close of the last century, several Wesleyan and Baptist missionaries arrived at Jamaica, and preached the gospel in Kingston and its vicinity; and, at the same time, a number of Negroes, belonging to the Baptist Church, came over from America, and zealously endeavoured to propagate the faith, as far as they know it, among the people; these latter, however, being very ignorant, and unable to read the word of God, entertained many superstitious notions, and preached but a spurious gospel : still Christ was preached--the labours of all these were not without effect; the attention of the Negroes was arrested, and not a few were found among them who secretly visited their fellow slaves from plantation to plantation, telling them of a book in which God's word was declared, of Jesus, the Saviour, of a heaven to which they likewise might go, and teaching the people a form of prayer. Among them was a black man, named George Lewis, a native of Guinea, who had been carried to Jamaica, and sent from thence to Virginia in North America, where he heard the gospel preached by the Baptists, and was admitted into their church. After some time, this man returned to Jamaica, with the full intention of imparting the knowledge of Christ to his fellow-slaves. He had many opportunities for doing this, as his owner, a Miss Valentine, of Kingston, allowed him, upon his paying her a certain sum every month, to traverse the country as a pedlar, and had given him a ticket of leave to this effect. He travelled frequently in the parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth, preached first to a few; these invited others to come and hear him; and soon he was so well known among the slaves, that they assembled round him at wherever he went. This produced a general enquiry after the truth among the Negroes; and as the Brethren were invited about the same time to preach on an estate called Peru, and like-wise on other plantations in the May-day mountains, they became more generally known, and Old Carmel was soon visited by numbers making the enquiry, " What must we do to be saved?" George Lewis introduced himself to the missionaries, and Brother Lang conceived such a good opinion of him, that at his request, he, (Brother Lang,) proposed that the congregation would collect one hundred pounds to purchase his freedom. This they accomplished, and George Lewis became a free man. From that time, he was much with our missionaries at Old Carmel, and frequently accompanied them on their visits to the different plantations. Among the planters, he was much disliked, especially when they heard that he kept meetings with the slaves at night, and the familiarity and kindness with which the Brethren treated him was much spoken against. He was imprisoned repeatedly for this offence of preaching to the slaves; and once he escaped being taken up and confined only through the intercession of Brother Lang.
It is difficult, at the present time, to say whether Lewis was really a worthy character; however it is affirmed by the Brethren that much good was done by his instrumentality. For instance; on several estates in the parish of Manchester, the people worshipped a cotton tree, had an idol in every house, and lived in the greatest enmity, frequently poisoning one another: by his persuasion they forsook their idol worship, and sought for christian instruction. It is also certain that he was the means of leading many on other plantations to enquire after the right way. But on the other hand, we find that at one time he was accused of dishonesty, and it appears that his religious notions were combined with a great deal of superstition. However he remained but a short time in company with the Brethren; they never asked him to become a member of their church, and he never applied for fellowship with them. It does not appear that he ever joined any regularly constituted church in Jamaica, but preferred taking his own course; and having removed to a distant part of the parish, he there practised, as the people sometimes expressed it, " the Negroes' home religion and meeting." Be this as it may, there can be no doubt that he contributed greatly to excite among the people in these parts a desire to be instructed in the Christian doctrine. It is astonishing what a distance they would travel to attend the meetings; many of them would secretly leave home in their common clothes, as if going to their provision grounds; and carrying their Sunday dress tied up in a bundle, would walk from twenty to thirty miles on Saturday night, in order to be at Old Carmel early on Sunday morning, to hear the gospel; and then return home the following night, so as to be at work on the plantation grounds at six o'clock on Monday morning. Certainly there must have been an earnest desire for spiritual food to induce these poor people voluntarily to undergo such hardships for the gospel's sake. An old woman who came eleven miles to attend the meetings, being asked how she could walk so far? answered "LOVE MADE THE WAY SHORT!" Poor sinful man finds a charm in doing what others would not have him to do, and knowing what others do not wish him to know. These poor slaves coveted the knowledge of this, to them, new religion; because they saw their masters, in general, did not desire them to know it. Such motives may have roused them to seek after the truth, and though the church stood very far off, even their curiosity not infrequently made the way to it short and easy. No doubt many amongst the slaves were actuated by some such motives; nor is it to be wondered at, if some of them were led on by their prevailing superstitions. It would be difficult to say that the movement at that time was a real and general awakening; but there can be no doubt, that many amongst them were sincere enquirers. There was certainly much superstition intermingled with their religious exercises; many had wonderful dreams to tell, which they considered as prophetic visions; some excited themselves by fanatical notions, and fell into wild extravagancies, which they called " The Convince," in which they had full faith as much as in a divine revelation.
The following account of an aged Negro, who departed this life in 1845, illustrates the influence which G. Lewis had over the people, and their religious feelings at that time. Robert Peart, at Spice Grove, was by birth a Mandingo; he was taught to read and write, and early initiated into the Mahometan faith, being designed for an expounder of their law. When about twenty years of age, he went on a visit to his uncle, previous to his entering "the great school at Timbuctoo" to finish his studies. While there he was waylaid, and carried down the coast to be sold. His relations endeavoured to ransom him, but in vain; he was brought to Jamaica: this was about the year 1777. For some time he adhered to the Mahometan religion, in which he had been brought up, at least partially, and confessed that whenever he wished to observe one of the Mahometan fasts, he pretended to be sick. When G. Lewis visited these parts, Robert's attention was arrested by hearing him asking a blessing and returning thanks at his meals. " I saw him," said Robert, "before him eat, say thankee, and when him done, say thankee again. Me say eh ! (an exclamation of surprize among the Negroes.) Him say to me, 'Why don't you pray?' Me answer him: Me do pray. He say to me, 'What do you pray?' Me say me believe in God, but not in his Son ; for in me country we pray to God and his prophet Mahomet." George Lewis replied: 'Dick, (this was Robert's name before baptism) you are altogether wrong, you must pray to Jesus Christ, Him the, only right one to pray to.' "These words," Robert continued, "sunk into my heart; I went home and told my wife all the man had said. I was then building a house, it was about half finished; one night I went in there, kneeled down, and began to pray: Lord have mercy upon me! Christ, have mercy upon me! again and again, for that was all I could say. By and by, I was tired and fell asleep, when I thought I heard a voice saying unto me : 'Why don't you pray?' Immediately I jumped up, and began to pray: Lord, have mercy upon me! and so continued all night." His mind seems to have become more deeply impressed from day to day with the conviction of some thing more being necessary for salvation; but as yet he had no other counsellor, though he had heard of Brother Lang, the Moravian missionary, at Old Carmel. It happened soon after that the Negroes having offended the overseer, he directed Dick to cut down and destroy all the yams and provisions they had planted in their gardens. At this he felt very uneasy, knowing it to be a hard measure, and prayed fervently to God for direction. The thought came into his mind to go and ask advice of the Moravian missionary at Old Carmel, about ten miles distant. He ran thither in breathless speed, and stated his case. Finding a judicious and sympathizing friend in Brother Lang, he unbosomed himself still further, and declared his desire for baptism, informing him that he had been brought up a Mahometan, but had found that faith to be a broken staff which could not support him. Having obtained suitable advice, he returned home with an easier mind, and became earnest in his attendance on the means of grace. At that time the praying people under their black guide were very strict and regular in their observances. Whenever G. Lewis came to the estate, they contributed at the rate of three pence each, had a supper, and sat up all night listening to his instructions. They were in the habit of fasting, three times a week, eating and drinking nothing from sunrise to sunset. This naturally irritated the planters, who took every means to put it down. One day the overseer, having had the names of three of the praying men mentioned to him, went into the field early in the morning to observe how they could work the day through. When breakfast time came they took none, and as they told him they had eaten enough before it was day, he ordered them to break stones all day, with sledge-hammers, which they readily continued to do till evening without intermission, and so successfully, that he could not refrain from expressing his surprise!
"After Robert Peart had attended the instruction of Br. Lang for some time, he relates that one Friday night be dreamed he was in a dark house, when a man came in, and it became light. The person approached and kissed him three times. He enquired, "Who are you?" and was answered, 'I am Jesus of Nazareth, come to pardon all your sins;' "immediately," he added, "I fell at his feet, and kissed them." This dream made an indelible impression upon his mind, and in two days after it, he was baptized by Br. Lang.
Religion having begun to spread more and more among the Negroes, Robert and some others were taken before a bench of magistrates, and examined as to the nature of the instruction which they received. His answers having convinced the judges that the gospel will make a man a more valuable servant and a better member of society; he was quietly dismissed. To the first question of the chairman, respecting the nature of the instruction which they received, he replied, " We are told to believe in God, who sees us everywhere, and in his Son Jesus Christ; and to pray to him to take us to heaven." "Well, what more?" "We must not tell lies." "What more?" " We must not steal from massa." " What more?" "We must not run away and rob massa of his work." " What more?" "We must not have two wives, for by and by they will get jealous, and hurt one another, and massa's work will fall back." "What more?" "We must pray for buckra (overseer) and everybody." Here the magistrate closed his examination by saying, "Well, go along." These answers may be taken as a fair specimen of Negro ability and shrewdness. Robert Peart's christian conduct had such an effect on the overseer, for whom, by the instruction of the missionary, he prayed regularly, that after some time he frequently lent him a mule to ride to church.
About ten miles from New Eden, in a part of the country called Nassau, containing several richly-cultivated sugar plantations, the Brethren had preached the gospel since 1760; particularly on the estates of Island and Williamsfield. But after labouring in this district unsuccessfully for many years, the missionaries were under the necessity of retiring from a field so unpromising, until 1815, when Br. Ward went to reside at Williamsfield, if possible to reopen the mission there. His diary proves him to have been a man of great devotion. He found some old people, who had been baptized by the Brethren Caries and Schlegel, still remaining. Among them there was one named Peter, whose zeal for the gospel awoke in all its strength when he saw another missionary coming, to reside amongst them. This was what he had long wished and prayed for; and now, when he saw his desire fulfilled, he zealously invited all the Negroes to come and hear the word. The meetings, which were kept in his house, or in the open air, under the shade of the trees, were largely attended, and a hopeful beginning was made; but, after three years labour, the missionary, Br. Ward, was called to supply the place of another at Mesopotamia, who had departed this life. Though several attempts were afterwards made to keep up this station, yet it has been necessarily abandoned by the Brethren, the labourers being too few to supply the demands which have been made upon them. However, in 1835, the Church Missionary Society took possession of this field, and erected a church at Siloah.
At Mesopotamia in Westmoreland, a sugar plantation belonging to Mr. Barham the gospel had been preached in 1760. This place lies low, in a most unhealthy situation, so that fever and death have made sad havoc in it. Fifteen missionaries besides several children, are buried there; and several others, sick and faint, have been obliged to remove. The attempts to keep up this station so long, at such a waste of valuable life, give evidence of extraordinary perseverance; but we might put the question from dear-bought experience, why continue in such a place under such. circumstances? The congregation never amounted to more than from forty to fifty baptized Negroes, and was rather decreasing than otherwise. The population is very large, but the Negroes had no confidence in the missionary, and did not desire his instructions. Ultimately, in 1835, this station was abandoned. The Brethren were accused by the proprietor of neglect and carelessness, but they offered to prove that the want of success was to be attributed solely to the constant and systematic opposition of the managers of the estate, who, contrary to the instructions of the proprietor, deprived them, as much as possible, of every opportunity to preach to the slaves; besides placing many other hindrances in their way. However, the proof was never required, nor could a proprietor ever listen to such complaints against his agents, without endangering his income.
In 1815, Thomas Hall, esq., proprietor of several estates near Montego Bay, requested the Brethren to preach the gospel to his slaves, and liberally supported the mission. Brother S. T. Light arrived there August 2nd, 1815, and went to reside on an estate called Irwin. His labours, during the first eight years were chiefly directed to benefit the children, though he preached and likewise kept meetings regularly for the adults. He was a faithful and truly excellent man, and is still remembered with much love and respect. Until 1823, he did not meet with much success, but afterwards the Lord blessed his endeavours abundantly.
. . .the planters were so violent in their opposition to the introduction of Christianity among their people. It was different in another of the West-India Islands, where a visitor of rank expressed to the governor his apprehension and fear of living in a slave country. "What security have you against, their rising and really destroying you all?" was his earnest enquiry. The governor led him to the window, and directing his attention to some Moravian mission stations, answered "There is our security. Negroes who are converted will never rise in rebellion, and their number is so great, that the others could never conspire without their knowledge, and they would inform us." Had the planters therefore been sufficiently enlightened, self-preservation and self-interest might have produced very strong impressions on their minds in favour of the labours of the missionaries; but those who encourage the spread of the gospel from such motives, know nothing of that high and holy principle which constrains the disciples of Jesus to preach the good news of God's free grace to every creature. There were, however, several honourable characters among the proprietors, who, from pure motives, truly sought the spiritual welfare of the slaves, Foremost among these was H. Scott, esq., who, with his pious lady, resided on their property at Hopeton, in Westmoreland. They were the owners of several estates, on which hundreds of Negroes were located. Both were born in Jamaica, and had been waited upon by slaves from their infancy; were accustomed to the system, and taught to consider it right and lawful. But even under such circumstances, the light of the gospel, and the personal experience of its saving power, awakened in their hearts feelings of pity and compassion for their people. They felt the claim which their slaves had upon them, and as early as 1822, they applied to the Brethren to have a missionary stationed at Hopeton. The Brethren frequently visited there, and some years after, in 1827, a mission station was established at New Carmel, in the immediate neighbourhood of Hopeton; the land being made over to them by Mr. Scott, who, besides putting up some buildings for their use, largely contributed to the support of the mission for several years. The constant and uniform kindness which the brethren experienced from this pious gentleman and his lady, will always be gratefully remembered by them. At a time when the missionaries were still generally looked down upon, they delighted in honouring them, and were never ashamed to own them before high and low. Their house was a refuge for the missionary to recruit his shattered health, and all that attention and christian kindness could do, were gladly and willingly done by them to cheer the hearts of the missionaries. Two other families in these parts also showed them not a little kindness at that time. Nevertheless, though the brethren rejoiced that their labours began to be appreciated, and favoured by many, still they had cause to complain, as we find from their diary of May, 1825: "One characteristic of our calling," they write, " is to be everywhere much traduced by ungodly neighbours; from which it appears that the spirit and enmity of the wicked one have manifested the same hatred against the gospel in every age of the church, The line of conduct proper for us to pursue under such circumstances, is only to be learned from. the example of our great pattern, Jesus, and the teaching of his spirit."
Fairfield had been a coffee plantation. The Brethren found there a house much out of repair, and likewise a storehouse, which was afterwards converted into a school-room. It had formerly been the property of Brother F. Russel, who, having, come from Europe to labour as a missionary, abandoned his proper call, and purchased this small coffee plantation, in the pursuit of the unrighteous mammon.
The church at New Eden had soon to be enlarged, and still proved much too small to accommodate the crowds which attended. Br. Baker, who laboured in that station for fourteen years, was much beloved by the people, and to this day they speak of him with affection.
In Mesopotamia, and at Irwin, the missionaries faithfully continued their labours, their success was not so remarkable until 1828, when Br. Light removed from Irwin estate, and built the station called Irwin Hill. The land had been made over to the Brethren for that purpose, and the church opened July 27th, 1828. By this step hindrances were removed which only all eye-witness could fully understand. Before this change, the missionary living on the estate, and in the same house with the manager and his associates, had to witness their immoral life, and to endure the sight of dances and profligacy in the very yard, against which he had no remedy, except to beseech and entreat. Slaves from other estates seldom ventured to visit him at this place; because if seen they were generally denounced to their masters. It was not to be expected that under such circumstances they would see much fruit of their labours. No sooner had they obtained a separate mission station, than the attendance on the means of grace increased; and in 1828 thirty-five adults were baptized, at the same time the number of the congregation continued to advance steadily.
At Hopeton, in Westmoreland, where the word had been preached since 1822, the first baptism of two adults and eight children took place in 1824. In 1827, a brother was appointed to reside at the mission Station, New Carmel; and a church was solemnly opened in that place Nov. 16th, 1828. The people of the neighbourhood had been prepared to receive the gospel joyfully, partly by the occasional visits of the missionaries, and by the labours of a gentleman, Mr. C, who frequently invited the people to come to his house in the evening, when he read the scriptures and preached the gospel with power and unction. Several were truly awakened and converted under his ministry. There were at that time, even among the slaveholders, some to be found who were truly fellow-helpers in the missionary work. The congregation at New Carmel increased so much, that they had very soon to regret not having built the church of larger dimensions, than sixty by thirty-five feet. Several out-preaching places were regularly attended to, as Beaufort, Parkersbay, and elsewhere. At Beaufort, they built a substantial house, which was intended to serve both as a chapel and schoolhouse. No sooner had they finished this building, than the land was claimed by another, and their title found to be invalid; they were, therefore, obliged to pull down the building, and remove the materials, or they would have lost all.
Upon the earnest solicitation of Mr. F-, Brother T. Zorn, who had lately arrived from North America, went to reside upon his property, Springvale, in February, 1830, to instruct his slaves. The year after, a piece of land for the establishment of a mission-station was offered by the proprietor of Y. S. sugar plantation, adjoining Spring-Isle, which the Brethren thankfully accepted. The congregation increased rapidly, and a church was built and solemnly opened August 14th, 1830, and called New Fulnec. This station is situated ten miles from Black river, in the parish of St. Elizabeth.
The offers which were made to the Brethren at this time, for the opening of new stations, were numerous; and considerable assistance was promised by several proprietors. At Trelawney they were urged by the planters to establish a village of free Negroes upon the same plan as that pursued by our Brethren at the Cape of Good Hope, but they had neither. . .
These are the principal events in the history of our mission since the memorable, "First of August, 1838." Now, after sixteen years' experience, when the excitement which at first attended the liberation of the slaves has long passed away, and the changes to which it gave birth, though still progressing, have lost much of their interest, and the preaching of the gospel has ceased to attract hearers on account of its novelty; still it is cheering to notice that our chapel, and schools are crowded with attentive hearers and learners, and that the blessing of the Lord seems to rest upon the work. By the establishment of the Normal, or Training School, and our numerous Out-station schools, the Mission has extended its usefulness, and has quietly advanced to a state of comparative prosperity. During this period, two new Mission stations, Bethabara and Springfield, have been established; new chapels have been built at Nazareth and New Eden; the chapels at Bethlehem and Irwin Hill enlarged; and in all our stations, and congregations everything is better ordered, and more firmly established than ever before. Indeed sufficiently so, to cheer the hearts of the missionaries in their work, and to make us all bless the Lord, and take courage.
1The Fosters were presented with a plaque from the Moravian church in recognition of their bringing the mission to Jamaica.
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