Advanced Search

Philanthropy] Cape Palmas Missions.

4 Pamphlets and 2 Books.

Book

Scarce Publications Documenting The Cape Palmas Mission
[Philanthropy]. Hening, Mrs. E.F. History of the African Mission of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States, with memoirs of deceased missionaries, and notices of native customs. New-York: Stanford and Swords, 1850.
8vo.; endpapers repaired; scattered foxing; pencil notations throughout; bottom edge of paper stained at binding; top edge darkened; green cloth; black cloth label pasted to spine; stamped in gilt. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
First edition; with folded tissue-paper map of Cape Palmas bound-in at the frontispiece, and a three page appendix at the rear. Four copies located by OCLC, 11 by RLG.
Boxed together with:
[Board of Managers of the Cape Palmas Female Orphan Asylum]. A Report of the Origin, Progress, and Present Position of the Female Orphan Asylum, at Cape Palmas. Philadelphia: King & Baird, 1856.
8vo.; blue wrappers bound with string; three sets of staple holes at binding; lower cover creased; stamp of William Bacon Stevens Library, Philadelphia on upper cover and title page.
First edition; with frontispiece etching of the Cape Palmas asylum and lighthouse. With three-page appendix and list of Officers at the rear. Only one copy located by OCLC, and none by RLG.
Boxed together with:
[Board of Managers of the Cape Palmas Female Orphan Asylum]. A Circular from the Board of Mangers of the Cape Palmas Female Orphan Asylum, to their friends and patrons. Philadelphia: King & Baird, 1856.
8vo.; blue wrappers bound with string; three sets of staple holes at binding; creased; stamp of William Bacon Stevens Library, Philadelphia on upper cover and title page.
First edition; with frontispiece etching of the Cape Palmas asylum and lighthouse. This is the only copy of this fragile pamphlet we could locate.
Boxed together with:
[Board of Managers of the Cape Palmas Female Orphan Asylum]. "Showers of Blessings;" or, a report of the continued prosperity of the Female Orphan Asylum, at Cape Palmas, W.A. Philadelphia: King & Baird, 1859.
8vo.; tan wrappers bound with string; three sets of staple holes at binding; stamp of William Bacon Stevens Library, Philadelphia on upper cover and title page.
First edition; with frontispiece etching of the Orphan Asylum at Cape Palmas. Three copies located by OCLC, only one by RLG.
Boxed together with:
[Board of Managers of the Cape Palmas Female Orphan Asylum]. Report of the Cape Palmas Female Orphan Asylum. Philadelphia: John W. Wallace, 1864.
8vo.; foxed; sage green wrappers bound with string; three sets of staple holes at binding; stamp of William Bacon Stevens Library, Philadelphia on upper cover and title page.
First edition; with a contemporary autograph note on the upper cover: "The last Report [    ] by the Society." This is the only copy of this fragile pamphlet we could locate.
Boxed together with:
Scott, Mrs. Anna M. Glimpses of Life in Africa. Missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church at Cape Palmas, West Africa. New York: American Tract Society, [1857].
8vo.; foxed; eggplant-colored cloth stamped in blind; minor abrasions to covers; small tear on spine; spine stamped in gilt; sunned; corners bumped.
First edition; with frontispiece etching covered with tissue paper, and an untitled illustration tipped-in at page 24; contemporary ownership signature on first free endpaper. The last chapter is titled, "Habits of Heathen African Children," by Scott's husband, Rev. H. Roy Scott. Fifteen copies located by OCLC, 7 by RLG.
A group of scarce, fragile publications documenting the work at the Cape Palmas missions. The two named authors, Hening and Scott, were missionary wives at Cape Palmas. Little is known about them, other than the fact that each had a Reverend husband, and each was active in the organization of the Female Orphan Asylum and the Missionary at Cape Palmas.
This collection of literature on the Missionary of the Protestant Episcopal Church and the Female Orphan Asylum at Cape Palmas, in Liberia, West Africa, provides an in-depth - if biased - look into the Protestant settlement there. Cape Palmas was the original site of the Maryland Colonization Society -"Maryland in Africa" - whereby freed slaves and free born blacks went to live to establish new lives for themselves. The mission was established in 1833, and the Female Orphan Asylum opened in 1852, at the suggestion of a Bishop Payne.  While the various authors of these books and pamphlets claim to be opposed to slavery, they still regard native Africans as "savages" whom they are determined to educate and civilize with the word of God.
***
Hening's History of the African Mission is divided into 35 chapters; in the Preface, she explains it was her objective to present the reader with an historical narrative of the mission, with accounts of missionaries who have served there, and with customs of the African people and the country. She concludes, "the volume is now sent forth to claim the notice of a leisure hour from all who feel an interest in the extension of the Redeemer's kingdom. May God make it instrumental in deepening the interest, and prompting to moiré fervent prayer and liberal effort, not only for Africa, but for all nations who now 'sit in darkness.'" (p. v). In the first chapter, she explains that African Colonization will bring "the gospel to one of the darkest corners of the globe" (p. 16), and spends the bulk of her History defending this position.
The missionaries' most unrelenting hindrance at Cape Palmas was the weather. In grim contrast to their claimed success at converting native people, there are a remarkable number of deaths among them, as noted in nearly every chapter subheading. In fact, the entire appendix is devoted to explaining the "effect of the climate on the European constitution" (p. 295). As Hening concludes:
We have little or no hesitation in saying, that if the Church of Christ had, during the last two centuries, made one half the effort to christianize Africa, that men of the world have to degrade and ruin her, long ere this that the entire continent, instead of being proverbial as it is now for ignorance and idolatry, would have been filled with light and blessings of the gospel. …Faith and courage and patient perseverance, under the guidance of the Holy Ghost, will assuredly triumph over every difficulty, be it imaginary or real. (p. 300)
In an excerpt of his address to the Virginia Convention at Norfolk in 1848, Hening's husband - the Reverend Mr. Hening - states: "'Yes! The African has been converted! The chain which Infinite Mercy has let down, has reached the profoundest abyss of mental and moral degradation." (p. 289)
In the Report of the Origins, Progress and Present Position of the Female Orphan Asylum, the authors explain that a Bishop Payne thought the education of female orphans would further "ameliorate the condition of the African race" (p. 1). The Asylum was home to orphan girls who were native to Cape Palmas, as well as girls who were born in the United States and had been brought to Africa thanks to the American Colonization Society. In 1856, four years after its inception, Mrs. Anna M. Scott reported in a letter addressed "Rev. and Dear Sir: -" that there are 31 students enrolled in the school, and describes the pupils as "happy, animated" (p. 10). In the three-part Appendix at the rear, the author includes names and ages of some of the students; their course of study (in part: "On Tuesdays and Wednesdays - Grammar, Elements of Physiology and Botany. Those who desire it, are encouraged to practice Drawing…after school is dismissed. As yet, but one or two have desired to learn"); and the schools' rules. A list of the school officers - both men and women - is printed on the last page.
The Circular, printed in the same year as the Report, is a mildly propagandistic pamphlet printing various letters sent by various missionaries to the schools' Board of Managers. In Mrs. Anna M. Scott's letter, she writes,
We hope that the benevolent ladies, who support this Institution, will not expect too much at first. They must bear in mind that most of the children, who are to become inmates, have been sadly neglected both in mind and body. There will be much to unlearn. … We presume the ladies wish, as we do, that these girls shall become proficient in sewing and housework, as well as study; so that they may be qualified to fulfil all the duties of women. (p. 4)
Three years later, the Board of Managers at the school published another pamphlet, "Showers of Blessings," a testament to their continued optimism of the Orphan Asylum. It prints extracts of letters from Rev. Mr. Hoffman, the missionary Miss Ball, and students at the Asylum who have received scholarships. It lists names and provides reports on several of the girls; several of the girls were born in Maryland, which happened to be the state with the highest population of free blacks. One of the most compelling student profiles is of a child named S. Elizabeth Henderson, the recipient of the Howe Scholarship:
Entered the Institution August 11th, 1857. She is an orphan, about eight years old, was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Her father was a fugitive slave, married in Boston. Meeting his old master on the street, after the Fugitive Slave Law had been passed, he became alarmed, and fled to Canada, but died ere he reached it. His wife became crazy, and died in the Lunatic Asylum, leaving this little girl. The child was taken by a lady, who brought her out to Africa. This lady died while passing through the acclimating fever, at Monrovia, thus leaving the little girl entirely destitute of friends. Elizabeth has had much fever, and is still very delicate; suffers frequently from severe sore mouth. She does not care to join in the sports of the other children, but is strange and very unsocial in her habits. Supported by St. Luke's Church, Philadelphia. (p. 19)
The students at the Orphan Asylum - like the missionaries that taught them - were also affected by death. What's remarkable in the reports of these deaths is their unwavering faith that God is present and will help them. In his letter, Rev. Mr. Hoffman writes about a student named Rosanna Gant - whom he describes as having a "humble, patient, christian spirit" (p. 11) - "she is going through the dark valley of the shadow of death; but blessed be our God, we have good hope, that this house has been her gate to heaven; and that this day, from our midst, she enters the paradise of God" (p. 11). While the people of Cape Palmas were rich in faith, they were lacking the practical knowledge of a physician and a team of nurses.  
By 1864, the prosperity of the Orphan Asylum at Cape Palmas had waned. The Report noted several deaths and dismissals among the students, and a lack of teachers at the school. In eight years, the number of students had shrunk from thirty-one down to sixteen.   
Glimpses of Life in Africa is divided into 15 chapters, with titles including, "Heathen houses," "African superstitions," "African amusements," and "Habits of Heathen African Children." The author takes the position that Africa is a savage country populated by "heathens" - as she describes them throughout - whose only salvation can come through following the word of God. Scott uses one colorful analogy to explain that country's situation: "Let the friends of Africa pray unceasingly, that the Lord God omnipotent may hasten the reign of his Son. The Sun of righteousness alone can dispel the gross superstitions which, like so many thick clouds, have for ages shut out poor Africa from all that is bright and cheering in this life, and in that to come" (p. 17). Scott defines African beliefs as mere "superstitions," and expresses hope that African people will find and accept God in their lives.
Maryland Historical Society: http://www.mdhs.org/library/fotofind/PP0161lnk.html
Liberia: The African-American Mosaic (Library of Congress Exhibition): http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/african/afam003.html
(#7680)

© 2011-2017 Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, Inc. All Rights Reserved.