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  --  BASSA--TEMPERANCE WORK--THOMAS ANDERSON.   Table of Contents    Illustration

Smith, Amanda
An autobiograpy

- Illustration

Cooper's Wharf, Monrovia .

I felt so bad for him. The head man had hold of him, declaring he did have the things, and he declaring he did not. Then I thought the head man, being a black man, too, was very hard. But he let him go, and the storm was lulled for awhile. Just then some one said in a low tone, "Look under his shirt." So the head man jumped at him and lifted his shirt (which was outside his pants), and there, if that fellow didn't have twelve yards of flannel wrapped all about his body!

Then I said to the man below, "Maybe those are my shoes."

"You had better come down," he said, "and see."

So I did; I put my foot in the shoe, and sure enough, it was my shoe.

"There," I said, "my trunk has been opened."

So I had them bring it up; the catch in the lock had been broken, then it had been filled up with pitch, so it would stick; it looked as though it had not been touched; but there they set it on the deck, and all stood around while I went down into it. The tray had been carefully lifted out, and just what they wanted had been picked out, and they were gone. Some of the things I got. Others, and among them some very choice ones, I never got. But the Lord kept my heart very quiet: the captain and officers looked perfectly astounded because I didn't rave. The captain said to me:

"Mrs. Smith, I don't see how you do keep your temper."

"Well," I said, "Captain, I am sorry to lose the things, and if losing my temper and getting in a rage would bring them back, you would see me cut a shine."

"Well," he said, "I don't understand it, Mrs. Smith; it is too bad."

They did everything they could for me, and wanted me to go ahsore and give my affidavit against the man. But they had enough, because there was another passenger whose trunk had been opened, where the flannel, and soap, and quinine, and all these things had been taken out; so I thought I got on very well, and I told him that I wouldn't go.

Wednesday morning, Jan. 18th. Monrovia. We are in the harbor. The beautiful palm trees in sight. We are anchored. Breakfast at nine. And now here is Miss Sharp. Glad to see her.

We are soon off for the shore. The tide is very high, and crossing the bar, just before we get inside, I sing the Doxology

and the rest join in the chorus. Five minutes more and the kroomen, being attracted by our singing and not paying attention, let a great wave break over us and we were wet through. I was glad we sang before we got wet, for not one of us sang afterward!

There was one white man in our boat, a German, a Mr. Amyre, and Miss Sharp and myself. I went to her house at the Seminary and stayed three weeks and three days. Then the Lord led me forth. Amen.

My first Sabbath I was asked by the pastor of the Methodist Church, Rev. Charles Pitman, to take the service. I did so, and spoke to a crowded house, and the Lord wonderfully helped me; and the following Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights I was asked to continue, and did so, and some, I trust, were saved.

Friday, Jan. 20th. I took my first boat ride, up the St. Paul river to the Muehlenberg Mission, Rev. David Day, of the Lutheran Church. I had a delightful time at Brother Day's.

Sunday, 22d. Communion. I speak three times, to all that can be packed in the little chapel. The afternoon was for the children, as they had been crowded out in the morning, but the big folks crowded in after the children were seated. So we had a good time. Praise the Lord.

Monday, 23d. I leave for New Georgia, Rev. Mr. Hargrave's appointment. I speak in the Baptist Church to a large company.

Tuesday, 24th. I leave this morning for Monrovia. Go to Dr. Stanford's for dinner. Call and see Dr. Garnet in the evening.

Friday, 27th. Call to see President Payne. And on Monday I saw him for the last time on earth. I was taken down Tuesday night with fever, and it was ten days before I was able to go out again. On Monday night, the 30th, Mr. Payne died.

Tuesday, Feb. 7th. I leave Miss Sharp's, and am invited to Mrs. Payne's, a home I feel God Himself has given me. Oh, how I do praise Him! I am comfortable, and have every care.

My first "Fourth of July" in Monrovia, Africa, must not pass without a brief notice, only they celebrate the 28th instead of the 4th, as we do in America. A tirade was given on that day by the Hon. R.H.W. Johnson, against the churches. He said:

"Liberia should be independent in her religions as well as in her politics. But what does the foreign church bring us? They don't come with the pure Word of God. They come with some old traditions about the wickedness of Nimrod, and other old

customs handed down by the Jews, who relegate to hell everybody but themselves. They come with some old pro-slavery traditions that assign all negroes to inferiority and eternal perdition. They come with all kinds of 'isms,' and 'schisms,' and doctrines, and disputes, and contentions, of more than fifteen hundred years' standing; contentions that have caused rivers of blood to be poured out on the earth; contentions and doctrines which not only the people of Liberia do not understand, but which have never been understood by those who bring them to us. You may be sure that any religion that teaches the inferiority of the negro never came from heaven."

This was the first big speech that I had heard, and I was astonished beyond measure. The church was filled with the best people of the capital and of the republic, ladies and gentlemen.

This address was received with enthusiasm and delight. And yet every one of them knew that no such religion had ever been taught in Liberia. But these are some of the things you meet on your first arrival. I think I discovered a change before I left, and trust it is still growing better.

While here, I saw a great need among the native boys that lived in Liberian families. Some of them go to Sunday School, but many, like in this country, did not go at all. I thought if I had a place of my own I might do something for them. I saw how they could be gathered in for an hour or two after the regular Sabbath School was over. I thought they might be helped a little. They would gather together and go in numbers to walk about as they would say, or go to Krootown, where they would not be any better for so doing. I saw this, Sabbath after Sabbath.

I thought if I had the money I might get some place. There were no houses to let there as here. There was an old seminary building and it was much out of repair, but still there were several rooms in it that could be used if they could be cleaned. There was a large garden that was all grown up with weeds.

All this would take money to clear up. I did not have it; so I began to pray the Lord to put it in the heart of some of my friends at home to send me money. I had been around in America to so many camp meetings and in different churches, and so many different parts of the country, east, west, north and south, and everybody seemed to know Amanda Smith, so many had helped me often, while there, and they would remember me now in Africa, and so help me.


Up to this time no one had sent me any money from home, but God wanted to teach me a lesson that I must needs learn, so now on good faith I began to pray as I had always done, for I never tell people my need; I always make my needs known directly to God. I prayed the Lord to put it into the hearts of some of my friends. I would think of one in New York, then another in Philadelphia, another in Boston, another in Ohio, and so I prayed the Lord would influence the hearts of these to send me the needed money for this work.

Week after week passed on and no money came. I still prayed on: I knew in so many hundreds of necessities where God had heard my prayer for temporal things. I told him He knew I was not asking for myself, I had a comfortable home with dear Sister Patsey Payne, of precious memory.

While in her home I was well nursed and cared for when I was sick with fever. My own mother and sister and brother could not have been kinder to me than Sister Payne and her daughter Miss Clavender, and her dear brother, B.Y. Payne. I feel to say as one of old: "Let my right hand forget her cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth." if I ever forget the loving kindness shown to me in their home while in Monrovia. But for the care I had while passing through the fever I believe I should have been dead and in my grave to-day. How dear Miss C. watched over me and nursed me. I saw she was worn and weary and I got a friend to come in and stay with me one night. When I told Miss C., she said:

"No, auntie (for they all called me Auntie Smith), I would rather watch myself; I will not sleep, though I know you have some one with you."

She was a splendid nurse. One might have thought she had been trained in some American institution; but I insisted on having this person come in, so she came in. It was not long till the poor thing fell asleep. I was nervous and restless, so asked her for something, and dear Miss C. came and handed what I wanted, and said Mrs. T. is asleep.

She did not go out of my room all night, so after that I said, "Well, if you are not going to lie down there is no use in my having Mrs. T. come in."

She was delighted, and said I told you not to do it. I thank God because of good and proper care. Though my attacks of fever

  --  BASSA--TEMPERANCE WORK--THOMAS ANDERSON.   Table of Contents    Illustration