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The Life of Andrew Murray of South Africa
Chapter VII. The Abandonment of the Sovereignty and the first European Visit

You would hardly think me the man for drawing up a protest, yet I have been busily engaged with Dr. Frazer in doing so.—Andrew Murray.

DURING the last three months of 1852 Murray was absent from the Sovereignty, attending the quinquennial meeting of the Synod of the Church in Cape Town. He journeyed via Graaff-Reinet and Prince Albert, and at the latter place, on the 3rd October, performed the induction ceremony of his friend and future brother-in-law, Rev. J. H. Neethling. The Synod remained in session from the 12th October to the 2nd November. This was his first attendance at a meeting of the highest assembly of his Church, and his consciousness of inexperience must have kept him silent upon many questions where his opinion was entitled to consideration. The matters which awakened his interest and brought him to his feet were principally three: the claims which the Transvaal congregations had to incorporate into the Synod ; the duty and privilege of entering into closer fraternal relations with the French Reformed Church, engaged in missionary work in Basutoland; and the urgent need of establishing a theological seminary in South Africa, in order to supply the Church with God-fearing and orthodox ministers. Young though he was, his words and earnest demeanour carried weight, and many of the older brethren must have thanked God for the accession to the ministry of men of the spiritual and intellectual force of the brothers Andrew and John Murray.

In the meantime momentous events were transpiring in the Sovereignty during the latter months of the fateful year 1852. Sir Harry Smith had been recalled. Towards the end of the year Sir George Cathcart, who followed him, succeeded in bringing to a close the costly and protracted Kaffir War, though peace was only formally concluded early in 1853. The Governor now turned his attention to the Orange River Sovereignty, recognizing as he did the crying necessity of restoring in that territory the prestige of British arms. In the month of November he crossed the Orange River at the head of a body of 2,500 troops, with a view to impressing the native tribes with a sense of his power and authority. The depredations which the turbulent natives had committed were enquired into, and the losses sustained by the farmers of the Sovereignty were assessed at £25,000. General Cathcart accordingly mulcted Moshesh, the Basuto chief, at whose door these depredations chiefly lay, in a fine of 10,000 head of cattle and 1,000 horses. On the stated day but a fraction of this fine was forthcoming, and an attack upon the Basuto stronghold, Thaba Bosiu, was therefore undertaken in the early hours of the 20th December. The Basutos offered unexpected and strenuous resistance, and the battle of the Berea Mountain almost resulted in'disaster to the British. The sagacious Moshesh was satisfied with redeeming his promise to “show his teeth,” and he therefore sent the British Commander a conciliatory letter, suing for peace; and Cathcart, now completely disillusioned as to the enemy’s strength and courage, was glad to get off so cheaply. Referring to these happenings, Murray writes from Bloemfontein on the 30th December as follows—

To Rev. John Murray.

Most of our poor townspeople will spend anything but a happy new year. All is doubt and uncertainty. The Governor has had a fight with Moshesh, in which the former was almost obliged to retreat, though he took some cattle. Immediately afterwards he concluded a peace— all the officers begging to go and punish the Basutos, and the officials, I believe, protesting. It is reported that Owen has resigned, but this is very doubtful. Everybody thinks it certain that he [Cathcart] intends sacrificing the Sovereignty. And meantime it is confidently expected that Moshesh will soon come to retake the cattle. I hardly know what to think of matters.

As Murray and others rightly saw, British rule in the Sovereignty was in articulo mortis. The battles of Viervoet and Berea were the writing on the wall. The authority of the Government had become so lamentably weak that there was no alternative between radically mending it and summarily ending it. Either the country must be policed by a body of troops large enough and powerful enough to compel the obedience of refractory tribes, or it must be entirely relinquished. The English ministry of the day chose the latter alternative. Early in 1852 Earl Grey, Colonial Minister in Lord John Russell's administration, had already written: "The ultimate abandonment of the Orange River Sovereignty should be a settled point in our policy.” The battle of Berea merely brought matters to a head, and expedited the carrying out of this policy.

The official selected as Special Commissioner to secure the withdrawal of British authority was Sir George Russell Clerk, a former Governor of Bombay. He arrived in Bloemfontein in August, 1853, to perform what proved to be a highly unpopular task. The abandonment of the Sovereignty was opposed by many (at the outset perhaps by the majority) in the territory itself—by English colonists, who had embarked a considerable amount of capital in the country, and saw their vested interests endangered; by anxious missionaries, who viewed a change of government with unconcealed dismay; and even by Boer settlers, who held that the British, after weakly suffering a state of chaos on the Basuto border, should at least reduce that chaos to order, before adopting a policy of scuttle.

The first action of the Commissioner was to summon a meeting of elected delegates from each of the five districts of the Sovereignty to meet at Bloemfontein on the 5th September, “in order to decide upon some form of self-government.”

Though not wholly unexpected, the decree of abandonment nevertheless fell upon the inhabitants as a bolt from the blue. “You have heard the news,” writes Murray to his brother on the 11th August, "the Sovereignty is given up. Sir George Clerk is preparing to break up all the establishments. A meeting of delegates is called for the 5th September, to decide upon the form of self-government to be adopted, and to take over the country. You can imagine in what a state of excitement everybody is. There appears to be no hope of any change, as the instructions are decided.” And again, a few days later: “Our Commissioner appears to be determined to go through with his instructions. My hope of the new government succeeding appears to diminish as the prospect comes nearer. We have reason to fear for the meeting of delegates: they will most likely be almost equally divided. Had we a good majority against the abandonment, we might hope to do something. At Fauresmith we got a good many to sign a protest against it. We hope that Sir George Clerk might perhaps see the necessity of referring the matter once more to England."

The meeting of delegates was held in the Dutch Reformed Church. It was a historical gathering. Murray had been requested to be one of the delegates for the district of Bloemfontein, but had declined nomination. From the description given by Mr. Joseph Millerd Orpen, who was present as one of the representatives of Harrismith, we take the following sentences—

There were ninety-five of us, including the field-cornets, and of these seventy-six were Dutch and nineteen English. The church in which we met was a big T-shaped building, with a pulpit on a low platform opposite the shank. It had a clay floor and no seats. A table which had stood in front of the platform was moved a little to the right. The delegates, with a crowd of spectators, stood, half filling the church.

When Sir George Clerk arrived, he was taken up to the little platform by the Rev. Andrew Murray, the young, eloquent, earnest and greatly respected clergyman of the Dutch congregation. . . Sir George's Commission was first read out in English and in Dutch. There was nothing about abandonment in it. It gave authority to administer government, and contained this injunction: "We do hereby require and enjoin you ... to take all such measures and do all such things as may lawfully and discreetly be done by you for settling the internal affairs of the Orange River Sovereignty, and for determining the disputes which exist among the natives and other inhabitants thereof, and for enabling the said inhabitants to establish peaceable and orderly government.”

After the reading of his Commission, Sir G. Clerk read an address to us, which directed us in Her Majesty’s name to prepare ourselves to take over the government of the territory whenever British jurisdiction should be withdrawn. Practically he advised us to elect a chairman at once, and then to draft the outlines of a republican constitution; and then, as the drought and the weather made it difficult to stay longer away from our homes, to appoint a Committee, which would remain in office till we could re-assemble, and would consult about details. On finishing his address he made the regulation three bows to the assembly, preparatory to retiring. At once a big babel of voices arose. A short, active delegate from the Witteberg skipped up on to the platform, and talked and gesticulated. Nobody could understand anybody else, till the Rev. A. Murray, who was still on the little platform, raised his hand demanding silence. He told us we should find tables and seats prepared for us there in the afternoon, when we could meet, elect a chairman and proceed to business.

We met accordingly, and found a T-shaped, four-foot-broad table, formed of planks on trestles, in the west end of the church, with forms, mostly of planks, placed around it. Mr. Murray kindly translated between us. When the votes for a chairman were counted, sixty fell to Dr. Frazer, who had been chairman of a similar meeting of delegates the preceding year. He accordingly took the chair, while Mr. Murray continued to give his kind assistance in translating. He sat or stood at Dr. Frazer’s right hand, and next to him on the right was Mr. J. H. Ford, who was elected secretary. Next to him was Mr. J. P. Hofiman, future first President of the Free State. Mr. Hofiman at once took a prominent part in the proceedings. He moved that the Commissioner’s address should be printed, and that we should adjourn till next day, Tuesday, 6th September, at 10 a.m. Halse seconded and the motion was carried.

Before dispersing the delegates took three important steps. First, they passed a unanimous resolution to forward to the Commissioner a protest against the decision of the British Government to abandon the country; secondly, they laid down in eleven propositions the conditions on which alone they would be willing to consider the question of self-government; and thirdly, they appointed a committee of twenty-five members to confer with Sir G. Clerk, strictly enjoining the said committee " to entertain no proposals for the formation of an independent government until these eleven points should have been adjusted by H.M. Commissioner to their entire satisfaction.” On the 8th September, when the delegates met for the last time, Murray wrote as follows—

The meeting passed ofi well beyond expectation. At its close yesterday they passed an address to Sir George Clerk, containing a protest against the whole measure,—although the patriot party did not know what they were doing. Everything is now left to a Committee, who have to correspond with Sir G. Clerk, eleven points of treaty having been decided upon to lay before him as conditions of capitulation.

The eleven points were these—

1. The settlement of the Griqua question with Adam Kok;
2. The adjustment of the boundary line between the Sovereignty and Moshesh;
3. Non-interference of the British Government between the inhabitants and natives
4. Non-molestation of the inhabitants by allies of the British Government or persons from beyond the Vaal;
5. Compensation to all who might be compelled to leave the country;
6. A share in the customs dues levied at Cape and Natal ports;
7. Absolution from allegiance to the British Crown ;
8. Settlement of disputes regarding farm boundaries ;
9. Cancellation of all existing treaties with native chiefs ;
10. Permission to purchase munitions of war and unimpeded transit from the coast;
11. Unlawfully imposed fines to be returned.

Having thus “done good business and made history in those three days”—the expression is Orpen’s—the delegates departed for their homes, leaving the conduct of further negotiations in the hands of the committee of twenty-five. This committee within a few days requested its chairman, Dr. A. J. Frazer, and the Rev. Andrew Murray to proceed to England as delegates, in order to lay before the Ministry an extensively-signed petition against abandonment. Under the date, 20th September, 1853, Murray writes thus—

To his Father.

In my last I expressed a wish that I might have a special interest in your prayers, as I might be in special need of guidance. What I then alluded to, but did not dare to mention because of its uncertainty, induces me now to write. The matter is this: two delegates are to be sent to England from the Sovereignty. Sir George Clerk appears to waver, and there is still hope that it may not be too late, as we have reason to believe that the decision of the Ministry was not so final as it was represented to be. An opinion has been very generally expressed that the minister of Bloemfontein ought to be one of these delegates, and in the course of a short time I may receive a requisition to that effect. You may imagine that there is much that is pleasing in the prospect, especially if the possibility of doing the country any good be held out. My own health would also plead for going. I have felt far from strong during the past four or five weeks, and Mrs. Schreiner has made me promise to write about it. A weakness in my back, legs and arms, with a sort of nervous trembling in my hands, make me believe that I would be the better of rest; and I had resolved to ask for three months’ leave of absence during the heat of summer. This object could now so well be obtained by the voyage to Europe and back.

I feel that there are very great dangers connected with going on such a mission. As regards my people, a growing interest in their welfare would not allow me easily to leave them, the object of so many prayers, without fear lest impressions made might be lost and promising blossoms all be destroyed. And personally I cannot conceal from myself the dangers I incur of losing, amidst excitement and bustle, any measure of quickening and enjoyment which the Lord has lately been granting me. However much there is to attract on the one hand, I hardly think my fears would allow me to accept. I do, however, believe that if I may go, my God will show me the way.

Murray ultimately accepted the nomination, and left Bloemfontein in the course of November for Graaff-Reinet, where he was joined by his fellow-delegate, Dr. Frazer. They proceeded immediately to Cape Town, where they were detained until the 21st January, 1854, when they sailed for England in the steamer Queen of the South. They arrived at their destination towards the end of February, and were granted an-audience with the Duke of Newcastle, Secretary of State for the Colonies in the Aberdeen Ministry, on the 16th March. But before this matters had moved on with great swiftness in the Sovereignty, and this development of the situation we must now describe.

The procedure of the Special Commissioner, after the two delegates had taken their departure for England, is described from personal knowledge by Orpen—

In the meantime Sir George Clerk was using all the influence and pressure he could bring forward to induce the people to undertake an organized movement in opposition to the protest of the assembly of delegates. He made no public announcement, but we heard that he was telling the people that the resistance was futile, and that, if it was continued, he would at last hand over the government to any people who chose to accept it, or would simply withdraw, leaving us to do as we pleased. He travelled about, evidently with the purpose of making this widely known, and it was plain that he was anxious to hurry matters on in order to complete the abandonment before the deputation could cause serious embarrassment to the Ministry in England.

Besides the powerful influence which the Commissioner exercised, other forces were at work which strengthened what Murray had called “ the patriot party.” Adriaan Standera, strong republican, and one of the men who had been proscribed by the British Government after the battle of Boomplaats, returned to the Sovereignty from the Transvaal, and used every endeavour to induce the inhabitants to accept independence. The missionaries and their circle, in their antagonism to the abandonment policy, indulged in somewhat wild talk of the injustice of creating another Boer State to oppress the natives; and such talk could not but stiffen the backs of the republican party, while enfeebling the resistance of the loyalists to the threatened withdrawal. The result of all these influences was seen in the secession of several members of the Committee of Twenty-five, and among them was Mr. J. P. Hoffman.

At this stage the following notice was issued at the instance of the Commissioner—

Bloemfontein, 19th January, 1854. To the Commandants and Field-cornets.

It is hereby notified that those persons who, on the part of the inhabitants, are now prepared to discuss with Her Majesty’s Special Commissioner the terms on which the independent government of this territory will be transferred into their hands, will assemble at Bloemfontein on the 15th day of next month.

H. Lowen,

Civil Commissioner and Resident Magistrate.

On the 15th February there] was witnessed in Bloemfontein a curious and unique sight. Two antagonistic gatherings were held. The first was that of the republican party, presided over by Mr. Hoffman, professing to represent the majority of the inhabitants of the Sovereignty—as indeed, at this time they almost certainly did. The other was the Committee of Twenty-five, which, however, had been so much weakened by secession and by the absence of Dr. Frazer, that they mustered only thirteen—a sufficient number to constitute a quorum. The latter meeting immediately passed a resolution declaring themselves in permanent session as the only legally constituted representatives of the inhabitants. They had been commissioned, they maintained, by the assembly of delegates to treat with Sir G. Clerk in the matter of the eleven points, and to take no step in the direction of self-government until these points had been “adjusted to their entire satisfaction.” The Commissioner stigmatized this committee as the “obstructionists," and took the drastic step of serving them with a discharge, as the following notice testifies—

Residency, 11th. February, 1854.

To the Civil Commissioner of Bloemfontein.

Sir,—With reference to my circular of the gth August last, I am directed by Her Majesty's Special Commissioner to request you to make known to the inhabitants of your town and district that the assembly of delegates, then convened, having misconstrued and defeated the object for which it was called, is dissolved.

I have, etc.,

Henry Green,

British Resident.

The Committee thus summarily dismissed thereupon addressed to the Duke of Newcastle a protest against the action of the Commissioner, in which they expressed themselves in the following forcible language: “We declare the late acts of Her Majesty’s Special Commissioner, Sir George Russell Clerk, to be illegal, unconstitutional and in violation of the terms of Her Majesty’s Commission.” Sir George Clerk, having dissolved the Committee, now turned his attention to the body of men whom he recognized as representatives of the people. With them he was soon able to come to terms.

Meeting in secret conclave for some days in succession, they discussed the draft of a convention which should secure selfgovernment to the people living between the Orange and the Vaal. On the 23rd February the Convention of Bloemfontein was signed by Sir George Russell Clerk on the one part, and twenty-five representatives of the people on the other. It consisted of nine articles, and guaranteed in the fullest sense the independence of the country, "which independence shall ... be confirmed and ratified by an instrument . . . finally freeing them from their allegiance to the British Crown, and declaring them to all intents and purposes a free and independent people, and their Government to be considered and treated henceforth as a free and independent Government.”

By this Convention the Orange River Sovereignty was metamorphosed into the Orange Free State. The change of government was fortunately unaccompanied by bloodshed. We have Orpen’s authority for the statement that when once the abandonment was accomplished very few, if any, bitter feelings were cherished, except against Sir George Clerk himself and the Coalition Ministry. A provisional government was elected to serve until a permanent personnel could be appointed. Of this temporary administration Mr. J. P. Hoffman was president; Mr. Jacobus Groenendaal, the schoolmaster of Sannas Poort, acted as secretary; and five others were added as members of the Government. A land-drost was also appointed for each of the five districts of Bloemfontein, Winburg, Harrismith, Sannas Poort and Smithfield. The first Volksraad met in March, and organized the civil establishment upon a securer basis, and in the following May Josias Philip Hoffman was duly chosen by plebiscite as first State President. The little republic was thus fairly launched upon its new career.

While the inhabitants of the Orange River territory were making history in this fashion, their delegates, Messrs. Frazer and Murray, were vainly endeavouring to gain the ear of the Ministry, and to obtain some consideration for the views of the dissentient minority. But even before they set foot in England the Bloemfontein Convention had been signed, and the delegates found themselves facing a fait accompli, which the Ministry was glad to be done with, and positively disinclined to reconsider. Other matters were engaging the public attention, and in particular the Eastern question was already tending towards that crisis which was soon to issue in the Crimean War. The affairs of a handful of people in a comer of South Africa were too trivial to be worth much thought.

In a letter to his father, dated ioth April, 1854, Murray gives the following account of their doings—

As regards our mission here, on the 16th of March we had an interview with the Duke of Newcastle. He received us most kindly, but informed us that the matter was so far settled that he expected the first mail to bring him the report of the arrangements being completed, as final orders had been despatched in November last. We felt there was very little hope, and were almost prepared to give up the question, were it not for the fear of being afterwards accused of doing so little. On putting ourselves into communication with Mr. Adderley, he advised us to get a legal opinion as to the power of the Crown to abandon without consulting Parliament.

The question was brought up in the House of Commons on the 9th May—Murray’s twenty-sixth birthday—when Mr. C. B. Adderley2 moved an address to the Queen, asking for a reconsideration of the Order in Council by which British authority was withdrawn from the Orange River Sovereignty. One or two speakers on the Government benches, including the Attorney-General, replied to Adderley’s strictures, maintaining that the abandonment was both perfectly legal and wholly expedient. Not a single voice was raised in support of the motion, and the mover was therefore obliged to withdraw it. “The whole business,” writes Murray, “has given me a sad insight into political proceedings, and in fact every one says openly that not justice but expediency and party policy rule the day, except in some few matters where public feeling can be strongly stirred. In our case even friends said it was impossible [to get the abandonment cancelled], owing both to the insignificance of the matter (!) and the bad name the Cape has from its Caffre wars.”

During the period of his detention in London Murray fulfilled several preaching engagements. His fame as an earnest and deeply spiritual preacher was soon noised abroad, and led to a proposal which he esteemed a great honour. This was the invitation to occupy the pulpit of Surrey Chapel until such time as the Rev. Newman Hall, the new minister, could arrive. Owing partly to the demands on his time which his mission made, and partly to the unsatisfactory state of his health, Murray was obliged to decline, though he preached in the Chapel on the evening of the day on which the retiring minister took his farewell.

To his father he writes—

As to my engagements here, they are not so frequent as they might otherwise be, as wehaveoftento wait at home, to be ready for any official calls of duty. I have preached thrice for Dr. Morison, who suffers much from ill-health. I do not know what you will think of what happened last week. Surrey Chapel (Rowland Hill’s) has become vacant by the Rev. Mr. Sherman’s leaving. The Rev. Newman Hall, who is to succeed him, does not come for three months, and I have been applied to to take charge of it for May and June, with the offer of a parsonage, etc. I have, of course, declined the offer. Several other invitations to preach I have also declined. I suppose, however, that I shall be engaged about once every Sunday. I feel my general health much improving and my strength increasing greatly too, except in my arms and hands, where I generally still feel the old pains.

To his sister he writes a few weeks subsequently—

As regards my health I cannot speak very favourably, and you may imagine that I now long for rest. Perhaps I ought not to preach at all. I find it difficult to refuse altogether, and preaching is in fact most refreshing to myself. On Sunday evening, for instance, I preached at Surrey Chapel to a congregation of some 3,000 from the words: "I beheld, and lo! in the midst of the throne a Lamb, as it had been slain.’’ The subject has been most edifying to myself. All Monday I was enabled to rejoice in meditating on it, and amidst my engagements yesterday and to-day it has been most quickening still. I think the Lord gives me favour in the sight of the people [of Surrey Chapel], though my violent manner is much against me.

In the course of April he spent a brief ten days in Holland. The f ollowing is the account he gives—

To his Brother (Rev. J. Murray).

I left London on Wednesday the 12th, and reached Rotterdam safely towards the afternoon. As I intended staying only a week, I hurried on the same night to Amsterdam, after having spent a couple of hours very pleasantly with the Herklots. Many were the kind enquiries after yourself and all the friends. You cannoti magine how strange the feeling was when I found myself in Holland, the very smell of the houses recalling old impressions, and I was myself surprised to discover how strangely Dutch manners struck me. I arrived very late at Amsterdam, and early next morning was on my way to Mrs. Waller, where I breakfasted. I need not say that the welcome was warm and hearty. The children are so grown that I would hardly have recognized them. Mrs. Waller is still the same kind, motherly friend and open-hearted Christian.

By twelve noon I was in Utrecht, and soon found Charles’3 rooms, on the Oud Kerkhof, next to van Zutphen's, where Klaas 4 lived. He was not in, and I had half an hour’s quiet thought to look back on all the way the Lord had so strangely and so graciously led me. You may imagine how glad the meeting was. I immediately recognized in him the most extraordinary likeness to you,—an opinion which I found entertained by all of your friends ; and I had hardly sat down before he spoke of my likeness to dear Mamma. At first there was the strange feeling one sometimes has after long absence, a difficulty as to where to begin talking. In the course of the day I became acquainted with all the Kapenaren (Cape students). I know you will be glad to hear of them, and without judging I shall give you the general impression. De Smidt and Thomson have just done propaedeutica: they appear to have some talent and to be good students. In religion there is every desire after the one thing needful. They are serious Scotch students, and there may be more than this. I regret that the bustle of the visit prevented more private and individual intercourse. All the others appear to me to be well-inclined, and much might be hoped from good influence. Only Charles and Hofmeyr see van den Ham often, but I asked leave to introduce some of the others. De Smidt and Thomson will, of course, now avail themselves of his “theologisch gezelschap” once a week. I trust Beets, who goes to Utrecht early in June, may also exert much influence. . . .

On Saturday I called on van den Ham, where I had again a most warm reception. I was surprised to see how deeply the Cape beroep (call) had affected him. He and Beets had both been on the point of accepting. Had it not been for his father, I think we should have had van den Ham.5 We had much interesting conversation on the state of Holland. Christians appear to consider matters looking darker than I had expected. The possibility of afscheiding (separation) if Meyboom be forced upon Amsterdam (as will very likely be the case) is seriously talked of; and though the ministers would not yet go, they fear the consequences. The appointment of Ter Haar has been a sad proof of how entirely the orthodox party is shut out from the possibility of doing anything publicly for the Church. I called on Merens, but he did not know me. As it was Saturday evening, we were put off to a broodjs [equivalent to a " cup of tea "] for next week.

On Sabbath morning we had an excellent sermon from van den Ham; in the afternoon in the Jacobi from Bosken. I could at moments really fancy that I had not been a month out of Holland. Between the services I attended a nice, large Sahbath-school, where Charles assists, and in the evening all the Kapenaren met for prayer and reading. I was sorry to find that they did not do this in general, and that there were some doubts as to its possibility. A sermon from van Hoogstraten on Monday (Easter Monday) was very nice of its kind, and a visit to him afterwards was hearty, as he always is. Madame (his wife) has been far from well of late. I was surprised to find him a warm advocate for the Kweekschool [Theological Seminary] : if we could not succeed in getting professors [in Holland, he proposed] we should take two of our own Kapenaren. The evening we spent at Meur. van Boetselaar’s and I was not surprised at the affection with which Willie had spoken of them. At nine we went to a meeting of Eltheto, where I met Nicho.6 I had written to him to come, though he had to be at Amsterdam next day. We spent a pleasant evening in general conversation on the interests of our Redeemer's kingdom, especially in Africa.

On Tuesday evening there was to be a meeting at Amsterdam of some twenty ministers for ecclesiastical conference. Their motto is “Ernst en Vrede” [Earnestness and Peace], and their object the maintenance of Church rights and doctrines. At Nicho’s request I accompanied him and had no reason to regret it. We lodged at the Pierson’s—always diligent and energetic Christians, though I had still the same feeling of preference for Mrs. Waller. The meetings were most interesting,— Beets, van den Ham, van Oosterzee, Doedes, Heldring, J. J. van Toorenenbergen, Hasebroek and others taking part. What to do was the great question. “Combine more directly with the Groen party and the Amsterdam ultras for fear of a disruption.” But it was decided not to, because the standpoints were too different. Both had a mission which would be best accomplished independently of each other. A protest against the new Bijbelvertaiing [Bible Translation] was agreed to : also a petition in favour of the voice of the people being heard in the election of ministers and churchwardens; and a protest against the new onder-teekeningsformulier (formula for subscription). I was really delighted with the spirit of the meeting, as well as at the opportunity for observing different characters. On Wednesday I was asked to the dinner, which I enjoyed much too. They all appeared to feel that they may soon be placed in very difficult circumstances, and they fear much for the future of the Church.

On Thursday I saw Mr. Smith of Perth, Free Church Professor in the Amsterdam Seminary. I enjoyed the visit. There are some sixteen students, destined to be evangelists, though I fear the Free Church did not understand this when she took up the thing. The Thursday evening with Dr. Merens astonished me (and Charlie also), as we found all his sympathies were with the Russians. It was the same next day with old Bouman, who declared he would always pray for the victory of the cross over the crescent. When I saw him on Friday, he appeared to be haunted by some idea of my unfaithfulness at his colleges. Vinke was very hearty. Poor Mevr. Royaards is very much cut up at the thought of all the Kapenaren and their relation to her departed husband. Mevr. Schuyt had still a word for Scholten. We dined with van den Ham, and I think I surprised him by telling him all I thought of the relations of Boers and missionaries to each other.

On Monday I started for Rotterdam, in company with Th. Burgers. There we met Beelaerts, who certainly has the most unprejudiced and extensive views with regard to the Cape which I have yet met with. I forgot to mention that in Amsterdam I met with a Mr. Swart, who is extremely anxious to do something for the Cape. He is a member of the Amsterdam Committee. When I told him of my hesitancy to cooperate on account of laxity in life and doctrine on the part of those they have sent, he acknowledged the justice of what I said—he is a friend of Hasebroek—but observed, “Could we but find the men.” I am not without hope of getting some good men—if the Transvaal won't have them, then at all events for the Sovereignty.

On Tuesday morning we started for Middelburg. Taats’ welcome you can imagine. He is still quite the same, and happy in his labour. The call to the Cape cost him a bitter struggle: he only resigned on account of his parents, and would have liked none better than van Toorenenberg (you may not otherwise hear, and therefore this in private); and Toorenenberg has declined conditionally, but if he gets an official call, he will very likely accept. Everybody thinks he would do well. We dined with him at Vlissingen on Wednesday, and then started for London. . . .

During the whole of May Murray remained in London, endeavouring to obtain from the Colonial Office some concessions, by way of compensation, for the Sovereignty inhabitants who had been so unceremoniously absolved from their allegiance to the British Crown. He made use of the opportunity to attend some of the May meetings in Exeter Hall, but does not seem to have been very greatly impressed. “The speaking in general was inferior to what I should have expected. I fancied that under the excitement of a crowded audience of 5,000 attentive listeners, I myself could have been stirred to make a speech.” The Evangelical Alliance breakfast was the function which he declares to have found most interesting.

As soon as he could shake himself free from the claims of his mission, he departed for Scotland. The re-union with his uncle’s family in Aberdeen was a happy one. Both there and in Edinburgh he put forth efforts to find young men who would be willing to proceed to South Africa as ministers and teachers. But his endeavours were unavailing. His uncle, moreover, held out small hopes of success, for the Free Church had during the past two years supplied the colonies with some forty ministers, and was now herself threatened with a dearth of probationers. In Holland Murray fared no better in his quest: men of piety and orthodoxy, whose circumstances left them sufficiently untrammelled to go abroad, were few and far between; and those who were free were not always willing. The conviction, clear before, was rendered deeper and more urgent, that the only remedy for the state of ministerial destitution in South Africa was the establishment of a theological seminary of their own. And Murray’s strong desire to see such an institution arise was doubtless strengthened by his uncle’s keen interest in the recently sanctioned Free Church College at Aberdeen. “Uncle is all triumph at the last Assembly’s having sanctioned the Hall here. They appear to have gotten two admirable men as professors.”

The state of his health at this time gave him cause for the gravest concern. “I feel my strength so worn,” he writes, “that I do not believe that even perfect rest for three or four months would restore me, and a single summer in Africa would lay me prostrate. The doctor says that my whole system has been much more seriously affected than I have any idea of, and that prolonged rest is necessary to restoration. And even then the system will remain very weak, unless allowed time to gather strength. He disadvises my leaving England before the winter.” In accordance with medical advice he visited for several weeks a water-cure establishment at Ben Rhydding in Yorkshire, but the benefit to his health was discouragingly small. In September he crossed over to Holland, where he remained for about a month. The doctors, however, recommended another course of water-cure, which he took at Boppart on the Rhine. Writing from there to members of the home circle, he says—

You will all have been together, enjoying each other’s society, during the Presbytery week, and talking about your brother, and the prolongation of his stay until November, little thinking how much longer his absence is still to be. Here I am, trying a second water-cure establishment. In Holland I found I was still so far from strong, and so incapable of bearing the least excitement or exertion without fatigue, that I consulted a medical man, who positively advised me to stay over the winter in Europe, and thought that a few weeks’ continued trial of the cold-water cure might do me good. What I chiefly suffer from is the pain in the hands and arms. Half an hour’s lively conversation, or earnest application to anything that requires thinking, immediately makes itself felt there. I cannot even write a note without feeling the pain in my arms; and the pain in the arms is but the index of a general weakness in the nervous system: The doctor says that the whole constitution must be strengthened before the pain can be removed.

In November he was back in Holland, and there he remained until the middle of the following January, enjoying the kindly hospitality of a large circle of friends. From Utrecht he wrote a most interesting letter to his brother John, from which only the briefest extracts are possible—

To Rev. John Murray.

On my way down the Rhine I halted at Bonn, where I met a great many friends—amongst others Prof. Krafft, who remembered our visit in 1847. I spoke to him on the subject of getting young ministers. He said that, apart from the difficulty of getting Reformed candidates in general, the number of students had so decreased since 1848 that they were hardly able to supply their own wants. On my asking about the advisability of obtaining a German professor, he felt much interested in the matter, and went over the list of ministers and professors. We found only one he could at all recommend. I shall have some conversation with van den Ham about this, though I have no idea that it will be possible to get one to our mind.

I also dined with Prof. Bleek—you remember the squinting, fat little man. His son, a great philologist, is going out to Natal with Bishop Colenso to reduce the Zulu language to writing, as well as to study the other African languages. He went out with a large expedition last year, but was taken ill on the West Coast. You would hardly have thought that the dry commentator could have been so hearty and kind as the old gentleman was. . . .

As to church matters here in Holland, you know that the protests of the Amsterdam and Hague petitioners against Meyboom and Zaalberg were rejected by the Synodical Commission, while the Harderwijk Classis, which had also petitioned against the Amsterdam address, got a vermanmg (admonition) to mind their own business, and not disturb the peace of the Church. The Amsterdam adressanten have now issued a last protest, appealing to the judgment of the great day against the violence done to the Church. Ernsi-en-Vrede met last week and is to publish a more moderate address. Beets and the Nederlander (Groen) have been having a warm discussion, as the former had reprehended the too violent language of the Amsterdam address. Otherwise matters are quiet. . .'.

You will ere this have heard of the ill success of our calls for the professorships of the Seminary. I was surprised to hear how different people in Germany (Krafft, etc.) insisted on the necessity of a Seminary at the Cape, and also how little difficulty some of our friends here (especially van Hoogstraten) feel in two of our Cape ministers being chosen. You will undoubtedly ere this have heard that your own name has been mentioned in this connexion. It may be premature to say so, but should you be called I do pray that you may feel at liberty to accept. In fact, I hardly see how you could decline. What I have seen of the students here convinces me more and more of the necessity of the Seminary. From what I have looked at of the wetenschap (science) here, I feel how easy it would be for you to rub it up again. You would be surprised to see how familiar everything looks.

Early in 1855 Murray crossed the Channel, intending to leave London for South Africa almost immediately. The winter was, however, a severe one, and their vessel was detained by frosts until the 9th of March. The voyage commenced inauspiciously, and stress of weather compelled them to put into Plymouth; but when once they were clear of northern storms and mists they made satisfactory progress. Two young friends, a Hollander named Vels, and a South African, Albertus Stegmann, helped to relieve the monotony of the voyage, which lasted until the fourth week of May. His health by this time was greatly improved, though he still had to exercise great care, and avoid both over-exertion and over-excitement.

After a stay of some three or four weeks in Cape Town, he set out for Bloemfontein by way of Ladismith, Prince Albert and Graaff-Reinet. Of his welcome to the parental home and his brief stay there we have no record, but his father would appear to have accompanied him to Bloemfontein, where he arrived in the course of August, 1855, after an absence of one year and nine months. His fellow-delegate, Dr. Frazer, had remained permanently in England.1 It need hardly be said that the Bloemfontein folk welcomed their returning pastor with every demonstration of gratitude and affection. “I feel quite ashamed,” he writes, "at all the warmth of friendship and kindness with which I have been received, and I fit more easily into the Bloemfontein life than I had expected.” Regarding his health he is obliged to confess that “I was very much fatigued when Papa was here, and could hardly enjoy his society. Since his departure I have been resting more, and feel better and calmer than since landing.”

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