South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand
October 9th, 1890
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
My Beloved Angee,
I will begin my letter in good time this week as there is no packing up or travelling to hinder but all the comfort of a quiet respectable hotel will provide with sitting rooms which seem to invite the guests to a little rest either in reading or writing. We are close to the beautiful water called Algoa Bay where there is generally a good sprinkling of steamer and sailing vessels, steam tugs and large barges the owners are said to have become wealthy and no wonder when every ton of food brought to this port must be landed first in a barge and brought to the jetty running out from the beach a little way upon which some powerful cranes are erected for lifting packages from the barge and are then carted away to the mines about eight hundred and fifty thousand tons are thus landed every year at a charge of 3/6 per ton. This will give you some idea of the merchandise distributed all over the part of S. Africa all provided by this one port. It is very interesting to see the teams of bullocks generally about 10 pairs in a team drawing their loads away to the mines parts. There are railways to many great centres such as Kimberly but with all these facilities the vast bulk of the goods are still carried by the bullock wagons. In the summer they travel by night and rest by day and the Government provide grass farms along all main roads where they rest to feed without any charge unless they stay over 24 hours. It is marvellous country and there is a good deal of activity just now in opening up parts hitherto resting in all its natural quietness and grandeur. I am sorely puzzled at times to know in which direction to shape my course but seek guidance from God in this as in all else and can see His goodness and wisdom in the way He has led me in the past and therefore can trust Him for all that is to come. I was beginning to fear that Port Elizabeth would be an impregnable fortress in the way of business, but have had great encouragement during the last few days. One large German house gave me a good order yesterday through their London agents without seeing a sample – simply naming the number of cases and leaving the assortment to me to add the goods that I found were selling. I had called several times before but on calling again yesterday this is what I met with, so that I am encouraged now in hoping for satisfactory results from this as from all other places visited. The brethren are very kind and help me very much with information. We have had meetings every night for the week except Monday. On Tuesday I gave what they call here a gospel lecture and in spite of heavy rain the room was well filled – last night, again (Thursday) and on Wednesday evening I went over with a few brethren to Aitenhague[?] about 20 miles by rail where there is a nice gathering and the Lord gave us a good time there – the Saints were refreshed and D.V. I expect to find a little more time with them having to call there for business. I returned to Port Elizabeth again the same evening. I tell Lazarus the nights seem very short in this country – I am asleep in a minute or two when bedtime comes and it is just one long sweet nap which passes quickly and at 6.30 Lazarus is come with his cheerful "Good morning Sir" and the cup of tea and a nice bit of toast. Sometimes I feel I would like another turn but he keeps me up to my work and to time.
I received a nice letter from Mr Elliott a day or two since from East London, the next port eastward to this, giving a lot of information about people he knows and has had readings with during his stay there. The saints here are so bright and happy and my heart has been much drawn to them.
Saturday, Oct. 11th
The next incoming mail here today is delayed it appears, she was delayed in England 2 days unable to get a crew and another day in the Channel on account of a gale so we should not get our letters until next Tuesday the day after this will have started. The invitations to visit gatherings in the district are rather numerous but I keep to those falling in the path of duty or any near that I can spend a few hours in the evening with after the business of the day is closed. It is no light thing I assure you to take up the business every day it taxes my strength, tact patience and everything else to obtain any satisfactory results – the work in England was only child's play compared to this. It is a very real thing however to be sustained of God in my faith. He is pleased to call us to walk in and I have proved it no some measure[?]. Last night was the prayer meeting and I do not think I ever remember such a time of child-like liberty and access to God – supplications and requests to the point in unfeigned faith and confidence of God abounding too with thanksgiving. May the Lord preserve them in this day of confusion. The apostle could say "Beware, lest any man spoil you thro' philosophy and vain deceit" and I am more and more convinced that all this pretentious movement of certain highly intelligent brethren was worked out in this spoiling character – it has spoilt the only divine mark by which the poor world can ever know that we are Christ's disciples even by love one of another. I told the brethren at Cape Town during a reading one evening that if we could not show love one to another the sooner the key was turned in the door then better the room closed. Well, His word declares that He gives grace to the humble – may we all be found in this place and then all that has occasioned the sorrow and grieved the Lord will be put away, so that our hearts may once more be kind together in love and we be found following the things that make for peace and things wherein we may edify one another.
Monday, Oct. 14th
The terrible mail day has come again with all its demands. I came home tired last night or should have written a little more then but it would only have been to tell of the gladness and joy of another Lord's day. A gentleman who had given me an order asked me to tea in the afternoon so I went and he and his wife who had been to many of the meetings during my stay came afterward to the gospel. Several others I had called upon also came – the room was very full some having to stand. I certainly have never seen such fellowship among the saints and such interest in the gospel in my life before – we trust there was much blessing. This afternoon after the mail is gone I purpose going out to a country place called sandflats about 60 or 70 miles away where there is a little meeting returning here again in time for business tomorrow morning.
The weather keeps very fine and not too hot – it is certainly the most beautiful climate I have ever seen in the world, but the summer heat which they will soon be getting is great I hear, but being dry does not appear like the climate in many parts of Asia. I have not much time for sightseeing – except that which comes before me in moving from place to place. Trust you are being preserved in good health and that you are now comfortably settled down in our nice abode in Victoria Road. Hope all the dear children are keeping well and making good progress with their lessons. I am very thankful you are so near them. My kindest love to all dear friends once more, Mary, Martha, and the children, Eunice and Eliza. Kisses for all the dear children and with much love to dear Arundel and Harry and Emma and theirs and a big portion for yourself believe me my dearly beloved wife.
Being very affectionate Husband