South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
November 4th, 1890
East London, South Africa
My Beloved Angee,
Your welcome letter of Oct. 9th reached me yesterday and I trust ere this one will reach you your cold will have passed away. I don't like to hear of your having colds – Arundel appears to have been suffering in the same way and his little strength cannot stand much of this. I am very sorry for Mr Shapland, although all could see his danger but himself. He has gone through enough to crush half a dozen men in one way or another and I can quite understand what a troubling and sorrowful thing this is for him now to bear and I do pray that God may sustain his faith and hope in Himself as he passes through the fiery trial.
The Devil well knows how to bait an unsatisfied heart, but thanks be to God if he can draw ours away from Him, he cannot turn away God's heart from the objects of His love and mercy and so the Lord could say for our consolation that having loved his own which were in the world He loved them unto that end. I wish I had received the little jotting Mary gave you about Mr Hirsch of Port Elizabeth – I did a nice business with a large firm there called Hirsch Lowbeer and I presume it was Mr H. that I saw and who was particularly kind and pleasant to me. We are just waiting to go on to Kings William Town and any business being finished thought I might as well begin my next week's letter. The Lord gave us a good time in the gospel on Lord's day evening and last night the room was full again. Many coming good distances, shewing their interest in the truth. One gentleman the staff manager of the railway, a godly man with Presbyterians had never seen the distinction between the two resurrections.
So far as I can gather from conversations with many, they are nearly all believers, but have nothing clear in their souls as to the believers standing in grace in a dead risen and glorified saviour. I did a good business here yesterday indeed nearly all in the place gave me indents, so I move on encouraged by the God of all grace and Father of mercies.
King Williams Town, Nov. 7th
We arrived here about 5 pm on the 4th after three hours rail from East London passing through some of the best cultivated land I have as yet seen in South Africa, The town is something like Grahamstown and is a busy place having an immense track of country extending away for hundreds of miles. Mostly supplied from this place. The population over this vast area is chiefly Kaffir who are beginning to like biscuits among other things. Through the goodness of God I have done the largest business this week that I have yet done in the colony – it simply amazes me some of the orders. There is a very large firm here and in East London called Baker Baker – brothers of the Baker of Bristol the large drapers whose business in general merchandise and produce is exceeding great. On calling upon them here I soon detected a Cornish tongue in the manager's head (called Templar) so I challenged him as to whether he was not a "cousin Jacky" and soon found that he was and had lived a few miles from Truro. We soon had our samples laid out before him and he gave me the largest order I have taken in South Africa. He then told me of another cousin Jacky staying at my hotel called Hocking whose acquaintance I made at the next meal. This young fellow was greatly delighted to see who had married a wife from Wadebridge and your father's name and Martyn's were household words to him kindling many a pleasant association in his mind. His Father is a wheelwright living between Bodmin and Lostwithie who is a very old customer I judge at the foundry. This young Hocking has a brother in the Church of England and formerly a preacher among Wesleyans. He is now travelling for the Star Life Insurance Society and has another brother in Natal. He is not strong on the chest and left yesterday to spend a month with a young lady he is engaged to, the daughter of a farmer near Cape Town. I spent a little time with him in his bedroom and found his heart responded to the name of Jesus and he spoke of his lady love as being a very decided Christian.
We move on to Queenstown this evening where we hope to reach about 6.30 tomorrow morning and all being well I will finish my letter there.
I note what you say about the disposal of the last month's salary – how much more do we need to pay off the last mortgage? Well my dear Angee, how good our gracious Father and our God has been to us – indeed it has been nothing but goodness and tenderest mercy and the Psalmist may well challenge every heart with these words, Oh that men would praise the Lord for His goodness and for His wonderful works to the children of men.
Queenstown, Nov. 9th Lord's day
We reached here about 8 yesterday morning rather wearied with the night's travel. The seat being very narrow and covered with American cloth prevented my resting. The jolting of the carriage kept me on the slide – they are not nearly so comfortable for sleeping as the Indian carriages but with all that I would much rather be in South Africa. Our jubilee friends are here and Mr Macado tells me they have had a very successful time. Mr Elliott gave me the name of a nice Christian man residing in this place – he has been among Wesleyans and is I judge a very godly person and much exercised about the truth. He says there is hardly a spark of life left among them and the truth of separation entirely lost. We had a nice company at his house for a reading last night and D.V. purpose having another tomorrow evening. This afternoon we have a gospel meeting in one of the large rooms at the station which has been lent for this purpose. Trust the Lord may give us a good time.
Your welcome letter of Oct. 16th came to hand last night and I am very thankful to find that your cough and cold has disappeared. With regard to meeting troubles my recent letters have been explicit enough about as to my mind about Mr Raven's doctrines. I would no more think of breaking bread with a meeting that had received it than I would of taking mass at a Roman Catholic chapel. If I must be alone because of this, alone I will thankfully be rather than receive teaching and a system of interpretation of Scripture I am satisfied for myself is not of God. It may be just clever people but it won't go down with poor fools and in the things of God that is the seat for me. Glad you were cheered by the visit of your two young friends from Cornwall. Are you intending to stay at Ilfracombe – if so I may as well address my letters there. How I do long to be home with you! "A little while ‘twill soon be past". D.V. we return to E. London in a day or two and then take steamer for Natal. Once more I must close my piecemeal letter, with much love to all our dear ones and a double portion for yourself believe me my dearest Angee.
Being very affectionate Husband
Kind love to Emma and Eliza
Lord's Day Nov. 9th
The mail goes out in the morning and I have a little time to spare so thought I would add a postscript to my letter. Mr Hall the brother at whose house we had the reading last night called this morning at 11 as arranged and we visited a gentleman in the neighbourhood not long a believer, whose days in their world are now very few. He is suffering from cancer on one side of his mouth and it was a sorrowful sight indeed as far as the poor body was concerned. It appears he had expressed a wish to see me through a friend of Mr. Halls. On calling we first had a nice time with his wife and one of his sons a lad about 18 (there are 11 children) it is not difficult to understand the sorrow that filled her heart but the Lord was equal to the occasion as He ever is, Blessed be His Holy name. The sufferer was sitting up and after a mutual greeting by hand, he gave me a slate upon which he had written anticipating my call the following – "My experience this morning is that I am trusting my saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. I am close to the banks of the Jordan and I have confidence within that He will carry me safely across and land me in our heavenly Canaan." His noble peaceful-looking face told of what a reality these words were to his soul. I read the last two verses of III Philippians – which seemed a wonderful comfort to him – also read 1st Corinthians a few verses from chapter xv and a few verses from Rev. 21 – 1 to 6. It was the voice of the living God to his soul and to ours too. During this time the Dr called and I suggested our retiring, but the dear man whispered to his son that we must not go and to let the Dr wait. We then bowed the knee in prayer and supplication to God and were made to feel His interest and compassion toward that suffering child and his family. On bidding him farewell – he took his slate writing, when are you leaving? I answered on Tuesday – he then wrote again – can't you call again? To which I replied that I would try to. It did so remind me of my dear mother's last illness and dear Mrs Cann's. Well may we sing Hallelujah! What a Saviour.
At 2.30 this afternoon we had a nice company in the large waiting room at the Railway Station to listen to the glad tidings of the grace of God and we trust the word entered some hearts. This evening at 8 we purpose having another reading at Mr Hall's – many among the Wesleyans appear to be much exercised and thirsting for the truth.
The Lord keep His word in freshness in our own hearts – then every good thing will follow. Once more God bless you my dearly beloved Wife.
Nov. 10th – 6 am
We had an interesting meeting last night our brother's room being filled – some came from the chapel – Hebrews X was suggested and the precious truth of this portion was opened up to our hearts. A dear young fellow sitting next me I felt much interested in and after the meeting found that his name was Ball from Liskeard. I had not asked Lazarus to come but on leaving the Hotel found him behind – after walking a little way we had to return and borrow a lantern it was so dark – the distance was about a mile and with our light we soon reached the house and returned to the hotel about 10 greatly refreshed in our souls. The mail leaves in about 2 hours' time and now I leave to write my business letter so once more good bye.