Page images

church at Bethania, Festiniog, on the 28th September. The service was continued on the following day. The Revs. T. Lewis, B.A., R. Thomas, W. Roberts, and R. Thomas officiated on the occasion.


The memorial-stone of a new church at Park Green, Macclesfield, was laid September 14th.

THE jubilee of Rusholme Road Chapel, Manchester, was held in September. Sermons were preached by the Revs. D. W. L. Alexander and James Parsons.

The foundation-stone of the new Con. gregational Church, Alford, was laid September 11th, by Mr. Alderman Ruston, of Lincoln.

The two Independent congregations in Brentford bave united, and will in future meet in Boston Road Chapel. The re-opening took place on September 20th, when sermons were preached by the Revs. Dr. Raleigh, and LI. D. Bevan.

The bi-centenary of the Independent Chapel, Rothwell, was celebrated September 27th by a largely-attended tea-meeting in the British Schoolroom.

The opening services of the English Chapel at Llwynpia, Rhondda Valley, took place September 17th. The Revs. Professor Morris, J. Farr, and Mr. Edwards, M.A., officiated.

A NEW chapel, which has been built as a memorial to the Rev. John Roberts, was opened at Conway on October 2nd, by a sermon in English from the Rev. E. H. Evans, and one in Welsh from the Rev. D. S, Davies.

THE memorial-stone of a new chapel, Langsett-road, Sheffield, was laid October 4th by H. Wright, Esq., J.P., of London.

The foundation-stone of a church for the congregation now worshipping in the Mechanics' Hall, Dumfries, under the pastoral care of the Rev. James Strachan, M.A., was laid October 7th, by Mr. Ernest Noel, M.P.

The new church, Park Grove, Glas. gow, of which the Rev. Palmer Grenville is pastor, was opened October 8th. The sermons were preached by the Rev. D. Alexander and Principal Caird.

The new church at Great Malvern was opened on September 29th, by the Rev. R. W. Dale, M.A., and the Rev. J. G. Rogers, B.A.

The foundation-stone of a new chapel at Wattisfield was laid on October 6th by Robert Freeman, Esq.

A NEW Congregational Church, situ. ated in the principal street of Tunbridge, was opened October 5th by the Rev. Newman Hall, LL.B., and the Rev. H. Allon, D.D.

The foundation-stone of a new chapel at Romford was laid October 5th by James Spicer, Esq., J.P.

DEATHS. Rev. W. GRIGSBY, pastor of Whitefield Tabernacle, died on Sunday, September 17th, aged sixty-eight years, and in the thirty-sixth year of his ministry.

Rev. ISHMAEL Jones, of Rhosllaner. chrugog, died on September 15th, after nearly sixty years of ministerial service.

Congregational Quion of England aud ddtales. The thirty-seventh autumnal assembly of the Union was held at Bradford, Yorkshire, on October 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th.

On Monday evening, 9th.-The annual sermon to the Union was preached at Salem Chapel by the Rev. Charles Wilson, M.A., of Plymouth, from John xiv. 12.

On Tuesday morning, 10th.—The assembly met, as also on the two following mornings, in Horton-lane Chapel.

Chairman of the Union, delivered the customary address. The subject was
External Relationships of the Congregational Churches."

66 The

The Secretary read a statement intimating that the proposal to adopt “The Congregationalist and the Christian Penny Magazine,” had been withdrawn, and that an improved method of electing the committee of the Union had been adopted.

INTEMPERANCE was the first topic for discussion, which was opened by Rev. Dr. Raleigh and Rev. Alfred Holborn, M. A., and a resolution was unanimously adopted to have the subject brought before all the churches of the Union, with a view of checking and destroying this tremendous evil.

THE EDUCATION Act of 1876 was vigorously assailed by Rev. J. Wood, of Leicester, and Rev. Benjamin Waugh, of Greenwich, and a resolution in condemnation of the Act was passed unanimously.

On Wednesday morning, 11th, a resolution on the Eastern Question was passed by acclamation, without discussion. A resolution was adopted congratulating the Presbyterians in England on their fusion into one body, under the designation of “ The Presbyterian Church of England.".

Delegates from the different Nonconformist bodies in Bradford were severally introduced, and cordially welcomed by the Rev. Dr. Aveling, Chairman, and the assembly. Four representatives addressed the meeting in hearty response.

The ŠCHEME OF THE FINANCE CONFERENCE was read and spoken to by Rev. A. Hannay, secretary, and Henry Lee, Esq., of Manchester, Earnest discussion fol. lowed on both sides of the question.

Thursday morning, 12th. - The finance question was resumed, and was eventually referred to all the County Unions for consideration and report.

Resolutions of sympathy with Sir Titus Salt, of Saltaire, in his personal affliction, and of thanks to the Chairman, to the brethren who had prepared and read papers to the meeting, to the Local Committee for the arrangements, and to the friends who had furnished accommodation to the numerous visitors were passed.

On Tuesday evening, an enthusiastic meeting was held at St. George's Hall, under the presidency of E. Crossley, Esq., for the advocacy of Free Church principles. The Revs. J. Williamson, H. Batchelor, and Herber Evans addressed the meeting.

On Wednesday afternoon, two Sectional meetings were held, one at Salem Chapel, when a paper was read by Rev. S. Hebditch, "On the exercise of the Pastoral Function apart from Preaching in the Congregational Churches in England ;" the other in College Chapel, when a paper was read by Rev. D. Jones Hamar, “On the tendency of Congregational Churches to assume a Sectional or Class Character."

On Thursday afternoon, two similar meetings were held in the same places. A paper was read at Salem by Rev. R. Wardlaw Thompson, “On the danger which threatens the spiritual life of the Churches from the growth of the love of pleasure." A paper was read at College Chapel by Rev. R. Tuck, B.A., “On shiftings of Theological Thought."

On Wednesday evening, three sermons were preached to children: at Listerhills by Rev. H. Simon, at Bowling by Rev. J. Morlais Jones, and at Saltaire by Rer. W. Park.

On Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, meetings were held in several neighbouring towns for the enforcement and vindication of Congregational principles, and for promr.oting the religious life of the Churches.

On Thursday evening, a conversaziono took place at St. George's Hall, which was attended by 2,000 persons.

On Friday evening, 13th, a special meeting was held in Horton Lane Chapel, designed chiefly for the young men of Bradford, and was addressed by Revs. A. Norris, W. Braden, and Dr. Mellor.

THE Managers acknowledge with thanks the following Sacramental Collections in aid of the Widows' FUND: Liverpool, Norwood Chapel, by Rev. R. W. Thompson, $8 128. 9d. ; Dewsbury United Communion Service of the Independent Churches, Dewsbury, at Highfield Chapel, by Rev. W. T. Moreton, £6 183.; Kingsland, by Rev. Dr. Aveling, £5; Lincoln, by Rev. W. F. Clarkson, $3; Swanage, by Mr. W. Collins, £1 68. 3d. ; Horncastle, by Rev. W. Rose, £1 5s.

[blocks in formation]

N accordance with instructions from the Betsileo District Committee,

Mr. Riordan and I started from Ambohimandroso on Wednesday, April 27th, to pay a visit to the tribes of people living south of Betsileo, with a view to ascertain the state of the people, the position of the country, and

any other facts that might prove useful in the event of an attempt to evangelise this portion of Madagascar. After, the usual trouble with bearers, we started across the broad plain of Tsi-enim-parihy, leaving Imaroparasy and Iaritsena on our right, and crossed the Manambolo, a tributary of the Mananatànana. It rises south of Beànana, and a little to the east of the great waterfall seen from Ambohimandroso; and after receiving many smaller streams, it joins the Mananatànana south of Iaritsena and north of Manàmpy, the great rocks seen from Ambohimandroso looking west. Having passed through this very broad and fertile valley, abounding in rice fields and the plant (bàtry) grown for the rearing of silk-worms, we began to ascend the gorge in the high hills at the southwest corner of the plain. Here we obtained several valuable bearings, by means of which we were able to connect that portion of the country already surveyed with that vast unknown tract to the south lying before

Our course for the remainder of the day was nearly south-west, along a tract of country differing in no particular from the aspect of the Betsileo. No trees : long grass gradually turning brown, boulders, and bare-topped hills were the only objects to be seen. Some fine high peaks were opened up in the course of the afternoon, several of them the highest in Betsileo. Later in the evening, after crossing a rather high pass between two hills, the scenery almost instantly changed. Instead of the desolate appearance which this part of the country bears in the winter months, we came to a



broad valley enclosed with high hills on every side, and through which several small streams meandered to the west, the banks of which were lined with bushes and large trees, making a pleasant relief to the usual sameness of this tropical country.

NORTHERN LIMITS OF THE DISTRICT. We halted at a village called Ambatomainty, on the banks of the Tsimandao, a river rising above the great waterfall, and which, after falling about sixty feet, flows between high hills, almost due west. It is augmented by several considerable tributaries, and it does not join the Vànanatànana until after entering the lower plain to the west of the great central tableland. Here the people are Betsileo, with a few Ibara living in friendship with them. Their rice-houses are different from any I have seen in any other part of the country. They are made of haybands tied together in circles one above another,* upon which a roof is placed, not by any means securely or scientifically made. The sides are plastered ; no pit is dug, nor is any door worth the name made. A present of rice was given to the imen, and, after a chat with the people, we again started off for a village we could see a few miles farther on, called Ankazombato. This village of thirteen houses stands at the foot and to the south of a high, bold rock, rising quite six hundred feet; it is nearly perpendicular on the south side, and is called Tsi-àfa-balala (not to be climbed by the grasshoppers). In the Prime Minister's speech to the Ibara chiefs, when addressing them at Fianarantsoa at the time of the Queen's visit, he spoke to them, and of them, as “ those to the south of Tsi-àfa-baldla”; so that politically this can legitimately be called the northern boundary of the Ibara country. In point of fact, however, the inhabitants here, as at Ambatomainty, are mixed, the majority being Betsileo. The south-east trade wind blows with terrible force through the gorge formed by the perpendicular side of Tsiåfa-balàla and the hill opposite. So fierce was it that we had the greatest difficulty in keeping up the tent during the night. Before six o'clock the next morning (Thursday) I had half a dozen people from this and the adjoining village seeking medicine, a good supply of which we had fortunately brought with us. They appeared very glad to have their wants attended to, and so freely.

Besikaona (the town of many sikaona, an acid fruit growing in great abundance) is situated at the entrance of a most extensive and remarkably level tract of country, extending thirty or forty miles south, and twice that distance east and west. This plain is somewhat higher than the

Large circular bins for rice, four feet in diameter, are made of straw bands in a similar manner among the Urao Coles in Western Bengal.



plain of Tsi-enim-parihy, in which is situated Ambohimandroso. It is crossed and re-crossed by a river, Menaràhaka, rising to the east of the ridge east of Besikaona, and after traversing nearly the whole length of a valley in a western direction, it turns south ; then east to a point as far east as its source ; again doubling on itself to the south, it flows nearly due west along the foot of a very high chain of mountains, and so leaves the valley in its descent to the sea. It receives several tributaries, some of considerable size, over which we passed in our journey from Besikaona to Ihosy. Some very prominent rocks rise in different parts of this plain, very much like islands out of the sea, and form some very good landmarks for taking bearings of different villages, &c., on the road.


In the evening, after tea, or rather dinner--as we had not eaten since half-past six in the morning, not being aware of the existence of the desert, and our guide possibly considering it a matter of small consequence whether we feasted or fasted the girls in the village assembled and sung us some of their native songs. This was the first Ibara singing we had heard, and to a more barbarous noise coming from human throats it is scarcely possible to imagine the word singing attached. A couple of those not engaged in the vocal exercise (for exercise it certainly was, and would have made me hoarse in five minutes) stood up and danced. Besides the usual horrible style of hair-dressing, they had horns, branching like those of oxen, made of the split rushes used in mat-making. The dance did not materially differ from that of the Hovas and Betsileo, except that each carried a staff made of polished iron about five feet long, and ornamented with some half-dozen links of a chain at the top, which rattled at every motion.

The style of hair-dressing differs considerably from that of any other tribe I have seen. Once a month, and in some cases once in six weeks, the hair is washed, and then rolled up into a great number of knobs, always round, and varying in size from that of a marble to that of an orange; these last are sometimes made flat. After being carefully rolled up and tied or sewn, as the case may be, it is thickly coated with beeswax melted with fat, so that when cold each knob is firmly cemented to those adjacent to it, and all appearance of hair is gone. When freshly done it looks like lumps of gray clay stuck on their heads, and each of them when struck gives back a sound like striking a piece of hard wood.

We decided to push on, on Sunday morning, to the Government town, where we arrived at about 10.45. The principal people came out to wel

« PreviousContinue »