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Extracts from a Journal of a Voyage of Visitation in the "Hawk," 1859   By: (1801-1876)

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PREFATORY LETTER

BERMUDA,

March 15, 1860.

"MY DEAR HAWKINS,

"You are aware that I have ceased for some years to forward to the Society the Journals of my Voyages of Visitation.[1] It did not appear to me that the cause of the Society, or of my diocese, would be much advanced, or individuals much interested or edified by detailed reports of visits and services with which those who had read the former Journals would be familiar.

"The sad state of religious destitution in many settlements in Newfoundland and Labrador had been, I thought, sufficiently shown; and the benefits and blessing conferred, and to be conferred, by the Society, thankfully stated and fully demonstrated. I have, therefore, considered it better and more becoming to confine myself to a bare and brief newspaper statement of the places visited, and the services performed, without any particular mention of the condition of the inhabitants, and other incidents of the voyage.

"In my late visitation, however, I have been enabled to reach a portion of the island, in which, though several hundred members of our Church have long resided, no clergyman had ever before been seen. I refer to White Bay, a remote district on the so called French Shore of Newfoundland. A large portion, nearly one half of the coast of Newfoundland (from Cape St. John on the N.E. to Cape Ray on the S.W.), is called and known in the island by that name (the French Shore); in consequence of the permission, granted by treaty, to the French to fish for cod on, or round that portion. The natives and inhabitants of Newfoundland, and the British generally, have not considered it worth their while to prosecute the fishery to any extent in these parts, or to settle in them; the operations of the French fishermen, being assisted and systematized by their Government, are on such an extensive scale as to exclude competition, and to render their privilege practically an exclusive one. Nevertheless, as the parts of the island so assigned, or given up, are among the most productive, not only in fish, but in game, and occasionally in seals (which are there taken in nets with comparatively little trouble or expense), families have from time to time migrated to and settled in these remote districts, scattering themselves widely, with the view of obtaining the means of subsistence in larger abundance and with greater ease. Now, as there are no roads to, or on, this shore, and each settlement therefore can only be approached by sea, and by sea only for four or five months in the year, in any vessel larger than a boat, it is exceedingly difficult to minister to, or visit the inhabitants. Nevertheless, I have been enabled, by the aid of my Church ship, to visit, at intervals of four years , since 1848, most of the settlements on this shore. In St. George's Bay, indeed, the most thickly or largely inhabited part, a Church has been built, and one of our Society's missionaries stationed for several years; and great, in consequence, is the change, great the improvement in the residents. Here, I have been enabled, as in other parts of the island, to celebrate the services of consecration and confirmation, and to provide for the administration of the Holy Communion. But until the census of 1857, I was not aware of the large number of our people in White Bay and the neighbourhood, or of the large proportion they bear to the whole population. When, at the close of that year, I discovered that more than three fourths registered themselves members of the Church of England, I resolved, should it please God to permit me, to make another voyage in my Church ship, that I would myself visit, and minister to, as I might be able, these scattered sheep of my flock. A statement of their condition, and of my services, assisted by the clergy who accompanied me, cannot fail, I think, to interest and affect all those who can feel for the sheep or the shepherd. It is with a view of awakening this Christian sympathy in behalf of my poor diocese, and generally in the cause and fork of your Society (by or through which both sheep and shepherd have been so largely befriended and assisted) that I am desirous of publishing those parts of the journal of my last voyage that relate to White Bay... Continue reading book >>




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