Page:The slave trade of east Africa.djvu/38

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Note C.

Extract from the Minutes of the Committee of the Church Missionary Society, dated March 3, 1858.

"The subject of measures to be adopted for the protection and education of the slaves liberated by British cruisers was considered, and it appeared that at present they are very insufficient, and it is desirable that the Society should undertake an Educational Mission at some place on or near the East Coast of Africa. That, under the political circumstances of East Africa, and looking to the support of the Government, any scheme for this purpose must be carried out on British territory, and that no place was so suitable as the Seychelles Islands. That there the Society might have a Central Educational Establishment which might, to a certain extent, be self-supporting, and be in connexion with the depôts to be formed by the Government at Zanzibar and Aden."

At the commencement of the year the Committee requested the Rev. Stephen Hobbs, the Secretary of the Mauritius Mission, to proceed to the Seychelles Islands, to make enquiries as to the suitability of the place for the establishment of an institution for the liberated Africans, and to report thereon.

Mr. Hobbs, in conversation with Mr. Ward, the Civil Commissioner, explained to him the system pursued by the Society in Sierra Leone, but gave him to understand that the Society would attempt nothing more than a school at present, at the Seychelles, leaving operations of a more complex nature until circumstances led naturally to their adoption. Mr. Ward said he could safely promise to send all little children who may arrive to such a school, as they are distributed without charge to all who apply for them and promise to take care of them.

Both Mr. Ward and Dr. Brooks expressed an opinion that the Society would do wisely in adopting Mahé as the basis of their work, rather than a station on the East Coast of Africa, both on account of the advantage of getting trained teachers speaking many dialects instead of only one; and also, more especially, because of the perfect salubrity of these islands. Sickness and mortality are there at a minimum rate, so that a Missionary, of sound health at first, might reasonably hope to continue his labours for years without interruption. Dr. Brooks is the only medical practitioner in the Dependency, and no other seems to be required. The temperature at the beginning of the cool season is very agreeable. At other times the heat is severe, but all seasons are considered to be equally healthy. Sufferers from fever going there from Mauritius for change are, almost without exception, speedily and completely cured.

Mr. Hobbs reports, that a Mission here, judiciously conducted,