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Thornton, Esq., long a resident at this place, and for many years a zealous labourer in the Bethel cause. With much esteem, I am, your's in Christian affection,
0. M. JOHNSTONE, Seamen's Chaplain.
SAILORS IN THE PORTS OF FRANCE, BOU
LOGNE, HAVRE, &c. DESIROUS of co-operating with, or aiding the friends of seamen, in promoting their evangelization in France, especially at the present time, while the Rev. Mr. Ely is labouring under indisposition, the committee of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society sent their sailors' minister, Rev. J. Chapman, to visit Boulogne and Havre, for the purpose of carrying into effect those plans which should most effectually accomplish the objects of the Society. From Boulogne he writes, May 23:-"Out of the 32,000 inhabitants of this town, not one hundred attend the gospel ministry. Only seventeen persons are united in Christian society; these are mostly Wesleyans. No other minister than the Wesleyan, it is supposed, preaches in this town salvation by Jesus Christ.' The sailors are altogether neglected; there is a group of figures near the Bains, which sailors visit before they go to sea, consisting of a full-sized statue of Christ on the cross, of the two Maries at its feet, and several others. There is holy water provided, and this is very
much resorted to, when there storms at sea, especially by sailors' wives, &c. &c. Particularly is it an object of attraction on the 1st of October, when the fishermen go to it, and to the sea, to bless the sea in the name of the Saviour. This ceremony always precedes their venturing out on their voyages.'
From Havre, Mr. Chapman wrote, May 30:-“I hope you have received information from Boulogne respecting a committee, which Rev. Mr. Shrewsbury, and other gentlemen whom I met in the Wesleyan chapel, and addressed on the subject of my mission, promised to form, to co-operate with us in improving the sailors of that port. I was sorry to find that no means are used to raise them from the state of superstition and vice. No sermons are preached to them, nor Bibles and Tracts distributed amongst them. Although there are above 30,000 people in Boulogne, there is but one place in which the Gospel
is preached, while the people are almost as destitute as the heathen, and more sinful.
“ I am to see Rev. Mr. Toase, of London, before he removes to Boulogne, to 'succeed Mr. Shrewsbury, and hope it will be seen that my visit to that port has not been in vain.
“ At Rouen, I ascertained that nothing whatever is done for sailors. At Honfleur, a few tracts are sometimes given. I have to preach there, and in several other ports, during this week. I find the good people here expect me to stay two or three Sabbaths ; but I give no hope of your allowing me to remain longer than the following Sabbath, as your missionary to sailors in France ; but I hope it will be followed by very beneficial results.
“I hope Mr. Ely will soon recover; but if he does not, he believes that another chaplain will be sent from America.”
Rev. Mr. Ely wrote in the same letter to the committee:- “Gentlemen, permit me to express the deep gratitude I feel for your kindness in sending your travelling secretary, Rev. Mr. Chapman, to this port. Owing to my indisposition, the people had been spiritually starving, and the seaman's cause languishing for a considerable time. The labours of Mr. Chapman yesterday greatly refreshed and cheered us. There is an earnest desire on the part of the people that he should remain a few Sabbaths more, and, to my great joy, he has consented to stay at least one; his labours, I am persuaded, will revive the work among mariners, and must advance the kingdom of our blessed Lord.”
Mr. Phene, another gentleman at Havre, an old friend to sailors in that port, who has co-operated with the committee of the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, wrote also in the same letter :—“We had the satisfaction of Rev. J. Chapman staying with us one Sabbath, and take it for granted that it was intended he should remain with us two or three Sabbaths, in order to see how Mr. Ely's complaint would terminate, we trust for your own information, as well as for himself, that he might be enabled to form a better opinion of this port; you will not be astonished that we'earnestly wish to retain him till at least the ensuing week. My own judgment is, that you should consider it only a reconnoitring voyage ; but in a short time it will be difficult for any one to form a sound, a just estimate, of this field of labour at Havre.”
BETHEL FLAG REQUESTED FOR HONFLEUR. BRITISH SAILORS visiting the ports of France are deplorably circumstanced in relation to the ordinances of Christ, unless their commanders are religious men.
The following letter from a gentleman at Honfleur, in application for a Bethel Flag, will painfully illustrate their condition.
“Honfleur, France, April 16, 1836.
“ You will, I hope, excuse the liberty a stranger takes with you, upon a subject which appears to him of great importance. I have been a visitor to this place for many years; but now, in all probability, they are closed, my friend having been taken to the world of spirits. I have been here this time for more than eight months, and have not attended any religious service till last Sabbath that appeared any thing like what you are favoured with in our happy land.
“ This place contains about ten thousand inhabitants. There is one service here on the Sabbath by a church clergyman. There are many English residents; and, during the summer season, a great many visitors. At this time there are upwards of twenty English vessels; and, amongst them, fourteen colliers, chiefly from Shields and Newcastle.
“A lady kindly pays the rent of a room for sailors, where there is a small library; and on Wednesday evening last we had a prayer-meeting, which I am happy to say was well attended. But what appears to be much wanted is a Bethel Flag, we being at a loss to make known when and where the service is held when on board ships. I have found a gentleman that would take charge of it, a resident (Capt. Drummond, R. N.), to whom it might be consigned. He is related to the family of that name in London, and distributes Bibles and Tracts in all languages.
“I do think the Society will second the efforts and wishes of these good men the sailors, especially in the coal trade. The flag could be sent by the Havre packet, or any collier from Sunderland or Shields would take charge of it; and I have no doubt very few Sabbaths would elapse, ere it wonld be unfurled in the small but beautiful port of Honfleur.
“I am a stranger in a foreign land ; but to you, Sir, and your Committee, I utter forth my desires. I feel it a duty I owe to this class of men, and this port, thus to address you, as I am about leaving it perhaps for ever. 1 am sorry to inform you, in the large town of Havre there has been but one service in English for the last three weeks. This ought not to be among so many English
May the blessing of God rest upon you, and every institution that is formed to promote and advance His glory; and may your efforts for this place be crowned with the Divine blessing. “I remain yours, most respectfully,
“ W. PARKER.” The Committee immediately granted the request of Mr. Parker, and forwarded a Bethel Flag to Honfleur.
THREE BETHEL FLAGS GRANTED TO THREE
CHRISTIANS on land, enjoying all the privileges of the Gospel, and “ walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord,” have but very imperfect and inadequate notions of the privations of seamen, especially in foreign ports. There are, however, many pious masters of our trading vessels, who not only believe the Gospel for their own salvation, but preach its glorious doctrines for the salvation of others. Many of these devoted wissionaries to seamen co-operate with the British and Foreign Sailors' Society, hoisting their Bethel Flags to invite sailors in our provincial and foreign ports. Three of these worthy Bethel captains have been furnished with Bethel Flags during the past month. The following application, addressed to Captain Prynn, the Society's Thames Missionary, will happily illustrate the character and labours of these excellent coadjutors.
May 9, 1836. " Dear Sir,
“I have to inform you, that, having been for some years engaged in speaking a word or two to my dear brother sailors on the all-important concerns of their souls, wherever the providence of God has cast my lot, whether in the ports of my highly-favoured land, or on
foreign shores, under the well-known signal the Bethel Flag; but having lost two Bethel Flags, one by shipwreck, and another taken to America after holding Bethel meeting on board an American ship at Malaga, where it now remains, and, I trust, is often displayed for divine service.
" I should feel much obliged if you could obtain from your highly valuable Society, whose object seems to be to extend the truths of the Gospel amongst sailors, a Bethel Flag for me, that I may be enabled to go forward in this good work that lies very near my heart. Please send it directed to Capt. J. Gourly, Brixham, Devon. Wishing you all success in your missionary labours amongst sailors, . and praying the blessing of the Lord to rest upon your Society in all its great designs and operations,
“I remain, dear Brother., “ Yours in Christian bonds,
“ J. GOURLY.” To Capt. Prynn.
REPORT OF THE YARMOUTH AUXILIARY TO
THE BRITISH AND FOREIGN SAILORS' SO.
CIETY. CO-OPERATION is indispensable among the friends of sailors, in all the ports of the United Kingdom, in promoting their Christian improvement. This policy is happily prevailing; and it is hoped that it will soon be universal among
all the churches of Christ. Yarmouth has long been distinguished by the active zeal of several generous and judicious friends of seamen; and the visit of Rev. T. Timpson to that port, in January last, appears to have been beneficial, in exciting the members of the committee and ministers to still greater activity in that port. They have since held their Annual Meeting, when the following Report was submitted to the assembly; the ministers of the several denominations addressing the joyful congregation, among whom were many sailors.
Among the various scheines devised by Christian beneficence for the good of mankind, few deserve a more grateful recollection than those which have been adopted with a view to the spiritual improvement of sailors. The