1886-87 - USA, Canada, Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Egypt
February 2nd, 1887
I wrote you a letter last week and left it at one of the Islands last Sunday to be picked up by the next Australian mail. Our call at this group the ‘Samoan' was exceedingly interesting. We sighted the land on Sunday morning about 9 and if it had been the same day with them we should not have seen any of the natives out but in their reckoning it was Monday - this it appears is a consequence of the ﬁrst businessman having travelled from the West - we in passing over the Ocean from the East gain a day and so have to drop one out of our reckoning - We expect to reach the 100th degree of longitude sailing west on Thursday (tomorrow) and so we shall drop Friday. If on the other hand we reached this meridian westward bound next Sunday, we should have two Sundays. As we neared this Island which was about 20 miles long we could see it was all covered with green, down to the water's edge and when within a mile or two we could see the natives huts on the beaches and the most beautiful coconut trees covering the hills - all this grandeur standing in the midst of the bright blue waters of the ocean, gave the place a most wonderful appearance. We could see the little cutter that came out for the mail bag and a few other boats near it but as we closed up the distance and found these native boats with their living occupants, the scene was one of the most interesting one could conceive - there were four large boats with about 20 or 30 natives male and female in each boat - in one of them was a native band of music in which the drum appeared as permanent as in the Salvation Anny bands. I waved my hat to this boat and some of them jumped about in extraordinary style apparently delighted to be noticed. Their appearance in the boats was very singular - they wore no dress except a little covering around their loins and their bodies were a beautiful bright bronze colour which contrasted very effectively with their white boats and the bright blue water. They were very soon in full swing with their business, each one having some few curious pieces of work mostly wood carving and others coconuts for sale. Our Captain had a few ropes thrown over the side of our ship and the ladder and then I should say one half of them jumped into the water holding their chattels in one hand and swimming with the other and soon got hold of the ropes and ladder and climbed up over the steamers side like rats and then faced us all with their various articles for sale. They were the ﬁnest handsomest specimens of Adam's fallen race I have ever seen in my life - such a development of muscular power about the arms and chest and their faces and heads were a pictures to behold for beauty and intelligence - the females kept in their boats mostly, but some few of them showed that they were as much at home in the water as on land and dived after money thrown from the deck - you may judge of their expertness at this Work to follow a sixpence or a shilling as it sinks until it is possessed and brought to the surface and exhibited.
They were dancing and screaming for joy in the water like a lot of children playing in a ﬁeld. All this went on for about half an hour when the word was given to the natives on board to leave the ship - some few of them got down over the ladder into their boats but most of them would put their legs over the rail and plunge into the water with their unsold merchandise under one arm and the other free for swimming after their boat. It was a wonderful sight altogether. There was nothing wrong in their behaviour in any way, but the manliness and courage could only be admired - nothing would induce them to come off on a Sunday. There is a missionary and his wife on the Island and all these natives have accepted Christ and on Sundays when they attend their meeting wear a light dress to cover their bodies - one of our passengers landed and I gave him a nice lot of little books which he promised to circulate.
How I did wish Arundel and Harry could have seen it. We are getting on very happily altogether - the Captain and I get on nicely and Mr. Arundel and his cousin Mr. Ellis are becoming very real friends indeed. We had a nice time on Sunday afternoon and evening - there was no chance for a meeting, until we had passed the Island so it was announced for the afternoon - we had the ‘Social Hall' as it is called ﬁlled - Mr. Arundel read a little of the Church Service but prayed without the book very sweetly indeed - his cousin read Isaiah 55 and Luke 15 and I was asked to preach and the Lord helped me to speak boldly from the scriptures that had been read - I was not a little surprised to ﬁnd the two Mormon elders sitting in front of me and almost feared a rupture again, but all was peaceful and to my astonishment the leader of them with whom I had previously had such an encounter came up to me on the deck and said he had much enjoyed my speaking - he did not ask me about my authority now.
In the evening Mr. Arundel and I each preached on the deck and the Lord gave us a good time again. Just before he left England they engaged a sister in fellowship called Miss Doidge from Hastings to attend upon Mrs. Arundel who is not well - Mr A. seemed very much interested when he found I belonged to the Darbyites as he had learnt Miss D. was connected with them. He asks many questions about the truth and we sit for hours together - he is a perfect gentleman and highly connected in England - Mr. Ellis' father lives at Combemartin and he has given me an introduction to him.
We are within 2 days steam of New Zealand where my two friends are intending to land, so that we shall not be parted for another week at Auckland where I shall post this letter D.V. The weather is now a little cooler for which I am very thankful - have suffered terribly from prickly heat through the tropics - my back has been covered with rash but I have been very well through mercy. The voyage, except the storm near San Francisco, has been one of the ﬁnest ever made - it has been delightful I assure you. We see plenty of ﬂying ﬁsh every day and occasionally a whale - the North Star dipped the horizon several days ago so that now we have the stars of the other hemisphere - the Southem Cross the chief among them to admire.
P.S. Tell Gant I will write him from Sydney after I have seen Tom. Hope dear Harry is continuing to get along satisfactorily with my English work - hope too dear Arundel is still ﬁnding encouragement in his business - I have not seen many better shops than Petter Bros. anywhere. Met a Mr. Knowsley formerly of Exeter on one of the streets yesterday - he did not carry the appearance of being very prosperous - visited one of the brethren called Sandford and on mentioning Sandford of Bridgewater found it was his uncle - I know his father too in London, also in fellowship - Stephen Goss and his wife are both gone back to the Church of
One more turn at this letter before closing - we had a good time last night on the gospel – room packed - about 300 - Mr. Arundel and his servant went with me and Mr. A, afterward preached to about 500 at the theatre in connection with the Y.M.C.A - after the preaching at the room a young man came up and spoke to me called Tozer, a cousin of Miss Mitchelmores - he once lived at Pitt Farm near Raleigh and Henry sent him out some books a little time since. Had a call in the afternoon from a gentleman living at this Hotel called George Thome Jnr. had met him at the table and having heard I am from England he came to see me and I found all his friends are living near Barnstaple, somewhere about High Bickington - he is a ﬁne fellow and a believer. This is a lovely climate and I have not been in any place since leaving home I have enjoyed so much. Shall be very sorry to lose dear Mr. Arundel - he is one of the loveliest men I have ever known in this world and my impression is the Lord intends to lead him out to Himself. We met again at supper last night and afterward he asked me to come in to private room again for prayer.
One more turn and now to ﬁnish this scrambling letter. Have had a busy morning calling on 5 of the leading merchants and one has since called to see my samples and is much pleased - hope I may be able to do some business and think from all I can see that it is probable - just as I had ﬁnished my lunch the waiter came to say a lady and gentleman had called and on my going to the sitting room I was rejoiced to see dear Mr. & Mrs. Gall who had driven in from their farm - they are looking very well.
The Lord bless you all and preserve us day by day - He has been good and is good. Once more with much love to you all believe me my dearly beloved Angee.
Your very affectionate Husband
Have sent 3 papers to you by this mail.