South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
September 20th, 1890
Kimberly, South Africa
My Beloved Angee,
We arrived in this place of diamonds three days ago and I was rather disappointed at the appearance of the town which I had expected would have had some fine buildings to boast of instead of which nothing but the roughest shanty looking dwellings mostly built of corrugated iron meet you turn which way you will. Beside this a cloudless sky, broiling sand, strong wind and clouds of dust are the climatic influences surrounding Kimberly. The diamond mines are on every side and some of the companies are very wealthy and give employment to thousands of people who are compelled to live inside the compound of the mine works and on leaving for a little while occasionally and subject to most careful search in every part of their body where human ingenuity has devised methods and ways of secreting these precious stones. The general appearance of the place is very rough and lawless – all are swallowed up with the thought of gain and the large market square is very interesting with the large number of bullock teams and waggons which is the principal means of transport to all the vast surrounding country. There are also coaches and the Cape cart with a pair of horses to do all manner of local service – in the latter I have had some experience amid storms of dust, which I do not care to repeat – have not yet had any of the coaching. Worse even than the storms of dust is another bank stoppage this morning which is a calamity of colossal dimensions creating quite a panic and for the moment stopping much business. This is two bank failures within a few weeks - The Union and The Cape of Good Hope Bank. I have taken some good orders and have been promised more but fear this calamity will check my success in Kimberly for the moment at any rate.
Since writing the above your welcome letter is to hand also a nice long one from dear Harry who seems very happy and also one from dear Arundel who has just set out from Croyde. I was hoping your letter by this mail would have said something about receiving any post from Cape Town – it must have seemed a long time to wait, I know I should have thought so – well I am thankful at least to hear that you are well. I can quite understand dear Mr Shapland's anxiety about meeting matters and do trust the Lord may sustain his own confidence in the living God in the midst of all the wreck now among ourselves and not us only but whoever the Lord is called upon in all the world. Arundel refers to a letter being sent to me from his Uncle Henry but it has not yet come to hand. There is only one brother and his wife in this place and I have spent two evenings with him over the Word – they are very simple and happy and know nothing of troubles at home and I have not referred to it. The salvation army are carrying all before them here. I had an interesting conversation with two of the officers I passed in the street one day and in passing I heard the word "dispensation" from one of their lips, so I stopped and had some talk in which they were much interested. One of them was from a village 2 or 3 miles from Camelford – he was greatly interested in hearing that I had preached the Gospel there.
Lord's day evening, Sept. 21.
Through mercy another happy day in spite of panics[?] and storms. Lazarus and I went down to the brother's house this morning where the breaking of bread is and although numbers were only 3 yet it was a happy season for our hearts in the commemoration of our Lord Jesus Christ in death. I called on a Mr Ramsay one of our fellow passengers on board the Garth Castle a day or two ago and last night he sent a very kind note inviting me to tea this afternoon – he lives a little out in the country – his wife is a nice lady and they have five daughters the eldest 13 – they made me very comfortable and Mr R. has promised to take me over one of the diamond mines before I leave – you will remember a remember a reference to this gentleman in a previous letter. I left his house again after tea and returned to the hotel by a tramcar where Lazarus again joined me to the room. Our dear brother Mr Howes had invited his neighbours in to hear the gospel and the Lord gave us such a real time over a few simple sound words from the Romans giving peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, what a Saviour as dear Harry says in his letter – his heart was touched with that word and so has mine since reading his letter – what a Saviour indeed we may well say from whatever stand point we take whether sinner or saint, believer or unbeliever. Tomorrow is mail day and I expect to be busy so thought I would finish my letter tonight before retiring – writing is rather difficult as my cases are the only available table – the dear boys must wait another week for replies to their welcome letters. God in mercy preserve you all and may He keep you so resting in what He is as revealed to us in the person and work of our Lord Jesus Christ that you may not be cast down by the wretched strifes and questions of men. With much love to you my dearly beloved Angee, our dear children and their little ones believe me once more.
Being very affectionate Husband.
Monday Sept. 22nd
In spite of the panic here I have taken a good order this morning from one of the largest wholesale houses which has been a great cheer I assure you. I met the dear brother and his wife too this morning at whose house we broke bread yesterday and was encouraged to hear of blessing at the gospel last night. I got to tea with them this evening and we purpose having another meeting afterward so the Lord graciously hides and engages our hearts in the midst of all the shaking and iniquity on every hand. What a Saviour! Tomorrow evening or Wednesday morning we move on to Grahams Town and Port Elizabeth and (Algoa Bay) the spot where the first British settlers landed in 1820 and has now become quite a large English city.
Lazarus wants to invest a few pounds he has saved and thinks her would like to buy a nice diamond ring only he fears being taken in he makes the purchase, so he has asked me to buy one to cost from £8 to £9 of some respectable dealer. I advised his putting the money in the bank and getting some interest but like all Indians they prefer the treasure in possession and he says that he can always make good money of it in India especially if he gets a bill of purchase with it – well I must now close. Love again once more my beloved wife.