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particular, to be more destitute of the gospel than any other class of men. 2ndly, That a far greater proportion of them are swept into eternity than other men by premature death.—3dly, None is so likely to feel for them as one who has himself been an eye-witness to the dangers, hardships and sufferings which are inseparable from their lot; and having from a boy been accustomed to their habits and line of life, none more proper to enter into all the circumstances of their life; and consequently, the most fit to exhort, to warn, to admonish, and to console them in the great things of salvation.—4thly, Because of the paramount desire I feel, beyond any other class of men, that they should be made partakers with myself of the heavenly gift; of which I trust the Lord has, in much mercy, given me to taste.—5thly, This desire is the same which alone influenced me to leave all secular prospects for their sakes.—6thly, That I have reason to believe this desire was of God, from the circumstance of my having been enabled to turn a deaf ear to all, from other quarters, which promised so much more of what the world calls good and great, than it seems likely for me to realise in the line of duty before me.—7thly and lastly, Because He, from whom all good desires flow, seems so remarkably to have paved the way for me, since I first thought of his service, by raising up arks in different sea-port towns, causing several societies to be formed—and is forming more; all which seem in the plainest manner to say to me, "This is the way, walk ye in it.' And besides all this I am persuaded, that when true religion shall become more general among the seafaring classes, they will be most powerful auxiliaries to the cause of missions in the different parts of the world where their profession from time to time calls them to visit.
'But there is one question which may properly arise to you out of all this: "Whence am I to draw my secular support?" I have no other reply to give to this, than, "Out of my own funds for the present." Do not infer from this, that I am of opinion the labourer is not worthy of his secular hire. I believe on the contrary he is, and that if possible more so than a workman in any other line. But then at the same time, I limit this to cases where there is no other adequate means of support. As to myself, I am as yet without any family incumbrance: and the interest of what is my own is abundant for me; which, in my expenditure I never have, nor ever intend to exceed.'
In this spirit, so enlightened, so devout, and so generous, Mr. Angas was publicly ordained as a Christian Missionary to seafaring men. The solemnity took place on board the Floating Chapel at Bristol, on Wednesday evening, May the 11th, 1822. This office he undertook in connexion with 'The British and Foreign 'Seaman's Friend Society and Bethel Union,' in London. This Society he cherished and supported to the end of his days; and entertained a loathing approaching to horror, when referring, as he was sometimes called upon to do, to the base selfishness and hypocrisy with which it was assailed by one who as a 'brother 'seaman,' ought to have sacrificed his life rather than injure, much less betray, the best interests of that class of men from
among whom he had risen, and with whose well-being he affected to identify his own.
In 1822 Mr. Angas visited the continent a second time. The direct purpose of this journey was, as before, to promote the objects of the Baptist Missionary Society. But at every port, in every harbour and river, he met with sailors. In the winter of 1823, he conducted worship to overflowing audiences on board different ships, and for six weeks alternately, in the 'Hope,' of Greenock, and 'The Admittance,' of Boston, the two most spacious vessels in the port of Hamburg at the time. But it forms no part of our plan to follow this good man through all the progress of his useful exertions. His brief notices, and sometimes animated sketches of the Mennonites, The Bernese Baptists, and The Baptists of Moutier, in L'Eveche de Basle, will be read with deep interest. It is one of the inscrutable mysteries of Providence that a man of such principles, possessing such advantages for the successful prosecution of the arduous task which he had imposed upon himself, should have been so soon removed from the field of labour. He, however, was nothing appalled by the suddenness of the summons. The last sentence he uttered was in these words: 'Christ is precious 'to me now—never so precious before—all my salvation, all my 'desire.'
The work before us will prove peculiarly acceptable to sailors, and we sincerely hope that it will excite the attention of the Christian Public to that society of which the respectable Author of this Memoir is one of the gratuitous secretaries—we mean the British and Foreign Sailors' Society—where a brother of Mr. Angas is a treasurer, and in connexion with which, in the true spirit of his departed relative, he supports a Thames Missionary at his own expense.
Art. IV. Sketches of Corfu, Historical and Domestic; its Scenery and Natural Productions: interspersed with Legends and Traditions. 12mo. pp. 445. London, 1835.
1*TE have taken up this volume more than once for the purpose of forming a critical opinion of its merits, but have found ourselves unable to read far without growing tired of the pleasure which, for a page or two, it imparted. Yet we have felt irresistibly inclined to look into it again, and have always met with something to be pleased with. Thus, as often as we have made up our mind to be provoked with the signs of book-making it exhibits, we have lighted on some lively picture or some solid information, which has disarmed us of all critical severity. Gentie reader, have you ever listened to vivacious prattle till you were tired, and turned away from the groupe with something of lordly feeling, and then, after a while, found yourself attracted back again. If so, you will understand the critic's predicament, having to deal with the production of a lady, which has alternately pleased and provoked us with its strange patchwork texture of journal, legend, dialogue, narrative, poetry, and sentimental gossip. All that we can say is, that it is a very agreeable medley, but not so good a book as might have been made with the Author's talents and opportunities, had she been able to follow any plan, or to keep in the same mood long together.
The contents are arranged in chapters, bearing for their titles the names of the months from February onwards; the Author's design being to offer 'a faint sketch of the appearance of the 'country as the seasons progressed.' The legends and historical anecdotes interspersed are stated to have been collected from the conversation of the natives, the archives of the city, and various ancient chronicles. Our first extract will introduce the reader to the family in which she was domesticated. v
'Our house is a rambling old place, in which a great deal of room is completely thrown away; long corridores with no thoroughfare, halls that are never used, and recesses inhabited only by spiders. The ground-floor is a mere warehouse, and let out as such; the premier was, I suspect, never used before my arrival, being considered too good to be used. The family consists of my good host, the Count Giovanni Asinelli, his wife, two daughters, a son, son's wife, and a young niece from Venice, staying on a visit. The family sitting-room is furnished much in the Italian style, with large Venetian mirrors; bad engravings in ebony frames; a table which never leaves the centre of the room; an old grand piano, in which the forte predominates; and a divan that occupies two sides of the apartment. There is also a lamp hanging from the ceiling, but is merely ornamental. The picture of the Virgin is invariably placed in the master's sleeping room; a lamp burns before it day and night, and a variety of charms and offerings hang about the walls. As for books, I never saw one in the house, except my own; they are confined to the libraries of the learned and professional men; indeed, the Greeks are far too busy, running about from place to place to hear the news, to care much about reading.
'The count himself is descended from one of the oldest families in the islands. As he married at fourteen, and began housekeeping a year after, he had no opportunity of remedying a bad education by travel, according to the fashion of his country. He is a very favourable specimen of the Greek nobility; and I fear, rather to be considered as a lusus naturae, than as one of a genus. He is a man of strong shrewd sense, and possesses a larger portion of natural apprehension of right and wrong, than I ever before witnessed, for with every external disadvantage, abandoned early in life to his own guidance, living for many years under the most corrupt government in Europe, he yet possesses high and honourable feeling. Many years ago, a trifling event occurred, which will give you an idea of the man and of the manners of the times. A treasurer was to be chosen for one of the Ionian isles, in which his estates lay, and in which he had spent his youth and early manhood. The men, with whom the nomination rested, were Venetians, utter strangers to the place, and its inhabitants. At a loss to choose for a situation of high trust, among candidates, of whom they absolutely knew nothing, they seated themselves at an open window of a house at the extremity of the town, and calling in every man as he passed by to his daily labour, inquired who among their nobles was the most honest and upright? The Count Asinelli was named by nine-tenths.
'The countess,— I can but smile at her title,—looks more like a slatternly cookmaid, than any thing else. She wears the Italian dress; indeed, I know only one Greek family among the higher orders, who persist in retaining their own costume. One day in the week, the lady is dressed for company; on any other day, if her friends call, she is "not at home:" she goes about the house in a wrapping gown, and dirty untidy night-cap, a bunch of huge keys dangle from her waist, and an enormous pair of diamond ear-rings repose tranquilly on her shoulders. She can neither read nor write, but pickles and preserves to a nicety; and she is the sole nurse of her little grandchild. She is always regretting having left a house in the square, because, she says, "It was so nice; I could sit at the window all day, and call up the men when I wanted to buy cabbages and lemons." This good lady is a great enemy to all innovation, and will not eat a potatoe for the world; for she says, it is the very fruit with which the Devil tempted Eve. She has two sisters married and settled in India, and if you ask her in what part, she will answer, "In the Isle of France." One day I showed her a map of Hindostan, and she pointed to the Ganges, and asked if it was the Jordan? On one present remarking, that India abounded in rivers, "Yes, indeed," she replied, "if these be their mouths," pointing to the lines which map-makers draw round the edge of the land. The eldest son, Count Giovanni, (in this country all the children of a nobleman take the title of count and countess, and you will not seldom hear inquiries after the Countess-sisi-na,) is married and lives in the house. As long as the father of a family lives, he claims the earnings of all his children, and keeps them all in utter dependence on him. Giovanni has travelled and seen the world; nay, I believe he spent three years in a college at Pisa; he fancies himself a prodigy of learning and talent, and because he had an English master for three months in Italy, he talks cleverly of Sterne's romances, and Goldsmith's sermons. He assured me very solemnly that the sun never shines in England; and when I asked with becoming humility, how, in that case, our fruits aud flowers come to perfection, he answered, "your fruits ripen in hothouses, and your roses are pretty enough, but they have not the least fragrance." This same clever person fancies himself an adept in politics, and knows the names of all our leading men by heart. We were holding a debate one evening, as to who should be appointed as successor to our late governor; one said, Lord Duncannon; another named Sir Alexander; a third, wished for Sir Lowry Cole. Giovanni came in, and settled the matter in a moment: —" The Duke of York was coming out immediately." pp. 16—19.
Our next specimen is a sketch of the family of a Greek peasant.
'One of the count's servants married many years ago, and is settled in the little village of Castrades, about a mile out of town. As his cottage offers an admirable specimen of the Greek peasantry, I will describe it to you, only premising, that he is better off than many of the villagers. He does not stew myrtles for soup, or eat the weeds out of the fields, as many of them do. Stefano, on his wedding-day, took his wife's mother to his house, and she still lives with them; he has two daughters, and a happier or more united family I never beheld. Stefano is industrious, and very ingenious; his cottage contains two rooms; the outer one is neither ceiled nor floored; one door opens on the road, another opposite to a pretty garden; for furniture, it contains a few benches, a table, a large carved Venetian chest, and two portraits of some of the old Venetian governors; all want of other ornament is made up by a superabundance of live pets. These kind-hearted people take in all the stray dogs and birds of the neighbourhood; and Stella, the eldest girl, nurses them with the greatest fondness. In this very room are three singing birds, a whole family of pigeons under the table, a lame cat, and a little jumping black cur, who seems very well inclined to domineer over all the others. One day, we were caught in a shower, and ran in for refuge. Henrietta was mounted on a donkey, so Stefano would not rest till the donkey was brought in also, and there he stood in the middle of the room, braying in perfect astonishment, to the great amusement of the rest of its inmates. The inner room, the sanctum, is finished with a far greater degree of neatness. I suspect that Stefano spends half his earnings on it. It is floored, and what is still more uncommon, the floor is kept constantly scrubbed; in the next place, the beams and tiles are hidden by a very neat ceiling of bamboos closely twined together; and, lastly, the most expensive improvement of all, one window is actually glazed. The place of glass is generally supplied, in these lowly cottages, by cloth strained over a frame, or by gypsum, which is found in some parts of the island in pieces sufficiently large and thin. This room contains two beds, on handsome bedsteads, each covered with a white counterpane, and, folded neatly over at the top, is a snow-white frilled sheet; you may suppose these are taken off every night. Stefano and his wife occupy one bed; the other is shared by the grandmother, two girls, and Chloe, the afore-named little black cur. Old Katrina assured me that she could not sleep without Chloe, and " he is just as fond of me, Signora," she continued; "he goes round to kiss them all every night, but he always comes to sleep on my arm." Every Greek housewife, even the poorest, prides herself on the whiteness and trimming of her bed-linen. Exactly opposite the door hangs a picture of the Virgin, a black beauty, and the back-ground, as in all the pictures of the Greek churches, is gilt; a lamp hangs before her, but it is only lighted on feast-days, though always full of oil. On St. John's eve, the lamp is emptied