South Africa, Tasmania, Australia, New Zealand

March 19th, 1891

On board the P & O "Arcadia", Western Australia Coast

My Beloved Angee,

I left my hotel at Adelaide on the morning of the 16th for Port Adelaide about 9 miles distant expecting to embark on board a local steamer for Western Australia, a dear brother came quite unexpectedly to accompany me to the ship and shewed much kindness. On arrival on the wharf however we found the ship had not arrived and her sailing was postponed two days so I returned to Adelaide. The company of whom I had bought a passage kindly returned me the money and I was fortunate to find a berth on board this ship leaving the day after which calls at King George's Sound for Albany. There are about 500 passengers on board and it is a crowd mostly colonials going to London for a trip which is not thought much of in these days of floating hotels. It is a little world in itself and is certainly a wonderful ship. She called at Hobart specially on her way from Sydney to Melbourne took on another eleven thousand cases of apples for London – just fancy bringing over a million apples from the antipodes to England and will arrive there in as good a condition as they left here being kept in a cool temperature of 40 degrees. My voyage in her will only be a short one from Wednesday noon to Saturday noon – in this short time steaming over one thousand miles. In the mercy of God my two cabin companions are young men going to Albany and they have given me all the information I required as to merchants and travelling which will be of great assistance.

The papers here have been giving alarming reports of further storms and gales especially in the West of England[1], I do pray that you are all preserved from any injury. It must have caused great inconvenience in many ways and not improved business or harvest prospects very much. I see also that a "Castle" boat has been in collision with another steamer and was sunk with many lives lost.[2] Altogether it seems a serious time for England and it will be good if it turns many hearts to think of God and His dear Son Jesus Christ our Lord who is little thought of amid her vast commerce, wealth and pleasures. The grace of Him thus slighted and despised who now speaks in Grace, will soon be heard in judgment how deep and solemn to contemplate. Those who through grace have listened and heeded to that voice today will then be above all the storms with Him our Saviour – what a joy to one's heart it is to meet a child of God among such a throng as are on board this ship – no doubt there are many and this joy I have had today with a gentleman I had taken notice of but had no opportunity of speaking to until this afternoon. He lives in Melbourne and knows many brethren but is himself with Congregationalists. Before I had spoken many words and the name of our Lord Jesus Christ was among them he at once challenged me, did I belong to brethren &c. he had heard of our present trouble and told me of the sorrows of other Christians in Melbourne especially of a Baptist company where a faithful preacher had come lately who did not hold the doctrine of annihilation. The four deacons of the church appeared did hold it and called the minister to task for holding such absurd things. Well the whole company were soon thrown pretty much into the state that Mr Raven's teaching has thrown us resulting in a severing right through the minister and a good part of the congregation remaining in the chapel. The deacons and their company going out and with another minister starting a new place. So it is not ourselves alone who are passing through conflict. It is a cheer in the midst of the wreck to find one cleaving to the Lord and holding fast His word.

The little company at Adelaide God has separated from Mr Raven's evil teaching were surprised to see me come back again but it was a mutual comfort to our hearts – the Reading brothers among them at whose house I have preached twice was telling me a little of the Ravenite teaching – they have had for a year or more through one who had gone fully with it at a reading one evening this brother said "Why could not we live without sinning like the Lord Jesus – he had the Holy Ghost and He relied on the Holy Ghost to keep Him and we have the Holy Ghost to keep us." The dear brother at whose house I was replied at the time "The Lord Jesus was Holy and without sin and if he touched evil it flew from Him – we have sin and if we touch it, it sticks to us." Thus this dear brother and a few others have resisted the evil working, while many who thought it was leading them into a higher thing fell under its leavening power and when the crisis comes are carried away in the flood. Mr Raven's doctrines and Mr Storey's too lift the saints into a very great and exalted position and if it had been done in God's way it would have been a good thing – the proof that it has not been done in God's way is that Christ has been slighted and lowered to say nothing of being insulted.

March 20th

We are favoured with fine weather in passing across the great Australian bight which is the Bay of Biscay in this part of the world. The rest of body and mind is very welcome and enjoyable and another day will bring me to my destination at Albany. I do look forward to the day when if it please God I shall be homeward bound once more – the few months will soon pass and it may be that I shall return from here and not from South Africa as I contemplated – I fear I shall not get through these parts as quickly as my mind had passed over it, but tomorrow is with God who gives day to day bread and all other sustaining mercies temporal and spiritual.

I leave this letter on board to Arcadia, so that you will get two on her arrival in about 30 days' time. Trust all the storms will be over by then and that you may be having a little taste of spring after the severe almost arctic winter. God in mercy preserves you my dear Angee and all our loved ones and once more with much love to your dear self and to all our loved ones believe me my Beloved wife.

Being very affectionate Husband


[1] See further here and here: "The winter of 1890/91 was remarkable for its long duration, from 25th November to 22nd January, rather than for the intensity of the frost, though December 1890 was the coldest such-named month in the CET record (q.v.) 

During this period (last week of November to third week of January), the average temperature was below 0 degC over nearly the whole of England and Wales and below (minus) 1 degC in East Anglia and the south-east Midlands. Skating in Regent's Park occurred on 43 days, the thickness of the ice exceeding 9 inches (circa 23cm) but the frost penetrated in the ground to a depth of only about 30cm. At Worcestershire, on the Rivers Severn & Avon, the ice was thick enough to allow ordinary road traffic to pass over the ice-covered river and to permit sheep & pigs to be roasted on the surface. Ice floes were reported in the lower Thames and the Estuary.

The first heavy snowfall of the year (1890) occurred between the 25th and 28th November with heavy snow falling over England, especially Kent when up to 60 cm of snow was reported, with 40 cm of snow falling at Ipswich, Suffolk. In Sussex, 30 cm of snow fell at Crowborough on the 26th. In the Ashdown Forest the snow caused evergreen trees to be damaged on the 27th. 

A heavy snowfall occurred in England and Wales between the 18th and 20th December. A snowfall of 45 cm occurred at South Petherwin, Cornwall on the 20th, with over 30 cm of snow falling at Batheaston, Somerset on the same day. On the 18th, Llanfrechfa Grange, Gwent had just over 20 cm of snow, and on the 19th, Chepstow, Gloucestershire had a snowfall of 18 cm. 

(CEPB): The synoptic pattern was dominated by a large anticyclone covering northern Europe with a marked ridge extending over southern England, giving almost continuous east or northeast winds. [ similar severity to 1946/47 ]
The CET value for the winter (DJF) was 1.5degC, representing an anomaly on the all-series mean of around minus 2C, and compared with 'modern-day' winters, something like minus 3C! In particular, December 1890, with a CET value of -0.8degC/5C below average, is the coldest December in the CET record."

[2] SS Utopia, sunk in the Bay of Gibraltar on 17th March 1891

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