Imatges de pÓgina
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“For the briny many are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of

one bread and of one cup."

LONDON:

JACKSON AND WALFRD,

18, ST. PAUL'S CHURCH YAV:

JANUARY, 1840.

HISTORICAL NOTICES

OF

THE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH

AT

PROVIDENCE NEW CHAPEL, GEORGE TOWN, BRITISH GUIANA.

BY THE REV. JOSEPH KETLEY.

In the admirable Letter of Instructions which the Directors of the London Missionary Society address to each of their agents, on his departure to a foreign station, are the following just remarks:—“You will teach such a body (the church he may gather) the important duty of supporting itself, and also of making due provision for the perpetuation and extension of the gospel in surrounding parts. The reasonableness and necessity of this must be apparent. Unless Missionary Societies are, from time to time, relieved of the expense of supporting particular Missions, by those Missions becoming independent of foreign aid, it will be utterly impossible for them to accomplish what they aim at—the diffusion of the gospel through the whole heathen world.” This object has been happily attained in the case of the

church at Georgetown, by a very close adherence to the principles of the New Testament, as they are embodied in the order of Congregational churches. We, therefore, cheerfully insert the narrative, with which Mr. Ketley has favoured us, as it illustrates the working of our church polity in a missionary field, and as it supplies an example that, we hope, will be imitated by most of the churches gathered from amongst the heathen.- EDITOR. The province of British Guiana comprises three large districts, formerly the distinct colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, situated on the South American inent, north of the equator, * in latitnde from within 20 to 90, and between the longitudes 56° to 70°.

Its boundary on the north is the Atlantic from the mouth of the Courantyn on the east, to the mouth of the Oronoco at Point Bareema on the west. Its other boundaries are not fully defined. It is trne the Courantyn River, from its mouth to its source in the south, determines the frontier, but as it scarcely extends to one-half

It is a remarkable fact, that notwithstanding the acknowledged value of this province in a commercial point of view, and the interest that events which have transpired within its boundaries have excited in the moral and religious world, yet its geographical position appears scarcely to be known. So that these immense possessions of the South American continent are frequently classed with the little islands of the West Indies; and parliamentary papers, annual reports, and official advertisements have sanctioned the popular error. N.S. VOL. IV.-Vol. XXIII.

B

the eastern boundary, all beyond that point to the southern extremity remains undefined, and the line of separation between the emancipated British territory and the enslaved soil of Dutch Guiana, may hereafter become a matter of international dispute.

The same may be said of its western boundary from the mouth of the Oronoco. The most natural territorial division here would be to follow the bank of the Oronoco itself, to the point at which the rivers Carony and Paragua flow into it, and thence following them to their source in the mountains. But if this be not conceded, and we extend our boundary from Point Bareema southward to the source of the river Cano Coyuni, still all beyond it would remain undetermined until we reach to Portuguese Guiana, which forms our southern boundary, extending inland, as is supposed, to the mountain range called the Cordilleras. But even this is involved in much uncertainty.

In a recent visit made to that quarter by the enterprizing church missionary, Mr. Yond, an important fact was discovered, which he communicated to Government, that the Indians who in those parts claim British protection, are being enslaved by the Portuguese in that vicinity. This will at once point out the great importance and necessity of those boundaries being properly defined by authority; and will, I trust, lead to that desirable result.

The whole of this territory, formerly belonging to the Dutch, has been in possession of the English since 1803, but was not finally ceded to Great Britain till the year 1814. Each of the colonies had its separate military commander, with its courts of criminal and civil justice until 1812, when Demerara and Essequibo, were united, and the judicial establishment of Essequibo discontinued. Stabroek, at that time the capital of Demerara, was, upon this occasion, classed with the several contiguous hamlets, under the general term Georgetown, in honour of George the Fourth, at that time Prince Regent. Berbice still retained its separate Government, until the year 1831, when the three colonies of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, being united under one governor, were designated British Guiana, and Georgetown, being the seat of Government, became the capital of the whole province.

Each of these three colonies now forms a district of Guiana, and derives its name from the principal river in its locality.*

Those rivers are of gigantic appearance, especially near the mouth: that of Berbice is reckoned about three miles wide, in the midst of which lies a small island, dividing it into two navi

* The geographical division of each district is not carried into the interior beyond the sources of the different creeks by which their extent along the sea

Thus from the mouth of the river Courantyn (the east boundary) along the coast, crossing the river Berbice, till you come to the mouth of the Albany creek, forms the district of Berbice; from thence, crossing the creeks and river Demerary, until you come to Boerasirie creek, is the district of Demerara ; and from thence crossing the Essequibo river, and every river and creek in your way till you come to Bareema Point, at the mouth of the Oronoco, is the district of Essequibo, but as the waters which form these divisions run but short distances inland, the boundaries of the whole interior of Guiana are undefined--a defect which ought not to be left to future generations to supply.

coast is defined.

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