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In the beginning of the year 1832, I was appointed by "The London Society for promoting Christianity amongst the Jews," as one of their missionaries, and directed to proceed to Algiers, on the north coast of Africa, with the view of establishing a permanent Mission amongst God's ancient people there.
I consequently left England, and passing through Germany, Switzerland, and France, where I had frequent opportunities of pointing out to the Jews whom I met the way of salvation, I re-embarked at Marseilles, and landed safely on the shores of my destination.
Algiers had been recently occupied by the French, and now presented a most interesting and useful sphere of labour to a messenger of peace. Seven thousand Jews, all Sephardim (Spanish), who were ignorant of the way of salvation, resided there, six thousand at Constantina, and many in other towns and villages in the vicinity. A great many French and German Protestants had settled in Algiers and its environs since the conquest. There were many also in the army, and
not a few in the hospitals. All these were without the means of grace, and many were anxious to have them. The only Protestant clergyman in Algiers was the Rev. Octavius Mathias, chaplain to Mr. St. John, British Consul-General, and now Vicar of Horsford, near Norwich.
Mr. St. John, to whom I had a letter of introduction, received me most kindly, offered me every assistance in his power, assured me that my services might prove useful and acceptable among the people of Algiers, and promised to write to the French Governor-General, to procure for me permission to exercise my office as missionary to the Jews, and as a minister of the Church of Christ among the neglected German and French Protestants. Both Mr. Mathias, the chaplain, and Mr. Tulin, the English Vice-Consul, kindly promised me their assistance; and I shall ever feel grateful for the kindness and hospitality with which the British Consul-General, Mr. Mathias, his chaplain, and Mr. Tulin treated me, during my residence among them.
As no doubt was entertained that the French Governor would grant permission to establish the Mission, I hired a house for that purpose; went about conversing with the Jews in the market-places, in their houses, and in their synagogues; circulated copies of the Word of God in Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, French, and Italian, with which the British and Foreign Bible Society had kindly furnished me, through their agent in Paris. I opened a school for Jewish and Protestant children, established Divine Service in French
and German on the Lord's-day, and had a Bible-class twice a-week.
Indeed, it appeared as if the Lord had opened a door of usefulness. The Jews were willing to hear the glad tidings of salvation; I had fifteen children at my school; the services on the Lord's-day were well attended; many of the Germans came the distance of five miles; and even the Mahometans were not unwilling to converse on religious topics, and to accept the Word of God. But I was soon to learn that there were also adversaries. Contrary to all expectation, the Duc de Rovigo, the Governor-General of Algeria, informed the British Consul-General that he had received orders from the French Government, not to allow me to remain in Algiers, as a missionary. If I chose to reside within the regency as a private person, I might do so; but I was to abstain from preaching.
Encouraged and assisted by the Civil Intendant, I made a second application, but without success. Under such circumstances, I clearly saw that I could not remain, and therefore made preparations to leave for Malta.
Nearly a year, however, had elapsed since I first set my foot on the coast of Algiers; several hundred copies of the Holy Scriptures had been circulated; many a son of Abraham had been made acquainted with the Redeemer; many Protestants had heard, with joy and gladness, the word of salvation; and the sick and dying were comforted by the Word of God.
In Malta I met my friends and fellow-labourers in
the Lord, Schlienz, Brenner, and Weiss, who were in the service of the Church Missionary Society. With them I took counsel as to what part of the north coast of Africa I should proceed, as the Society for promoting Christianity amongst the Jews had sent me instructions not to abandon that coast where so many thousands of Israelites were living; and, as I had not been successful in my attempt at Algiers, I should try
I first thought of Tripoli. That regency, however, was then in a disturbed state. A revolution had broken out, and two Pashas were fighting for the throne. The Arabs in the country had declared in favour of one, whilst the inhabitants of Tripoli adhered to the other. The gates had therefore been shut for the last three years, and all Europeans, except the English Consul-General, had left the regency. On that account it was not practicable to proceed thither. Tunis was then selected; and, after I had made the necessary preparations, I embarked in June, 1833, carrying with me a large stock of the Scriptures, in various languages, with which I was again provided by the agents of the Bible Society at Malta.
On board the vessel I met with Mr. C. Cunningham, son of the Rev. W. J. Cunningham, Vicar of Harrow, who had been appointed English Vice-Consul for Tunis. We soon became friends, and have so remained ever since that period. We have both been since called upon to pass through the deep waters of affliction; but I trust that both of us have