17 MARCH 1855, Page 13


Tin Anglo-Saxon will never cease working at the seaboard of Africa, with efforts to penetrate the interior, until the whole of that continent be subdued to civilization. There is therefore be- fore our race a labour which will take some time to accomplish ; and it will perhaps be brought to a conclusion all the sooner for breaking bulk in several places at once. Already we have at- tacked Africa in more than half-a-dozen quarters—to say nothing of the French colonization of Algeria. We have friendly relations with Mozambique ; colonies of our own at the Southernmost point, at Cape Coast Castle, and Sierra Leone ; we ha–e success- fully penetrated the Niger, probably to the region of a healthier climate • and now, the new "African Exploration Society" pro- poses to commence active operations "for exploring and evangel- izing central Africa," from a station at Tunis. The Society proposes to explore central Africa with a view to evangelize it : we are inclined, however' to regard the project as one for evangelizing Africa with a view to explore it; and the So- ciety as much merits the support of practical geographers on that ground as it merits the support of missionary patrons for the re- ligious object. There are very remarkable elements in its plan of action. It proposes to seek its objects chiefly by means of a na- tive African agency, specially trained for the purpose in an African school at Tunis, conducted by medical, scientific, and religious tu- tors from the United Kingdom. Hitherto, the climate has forbid- den any expeditions in force ; only men of great courage and pe- culiarly robust constitutions, with singular devotion to religion or science, have faced the almost certain destruction which has awaited the African explorer since Ledyard began the list of victims in 1788, and has been succeeded by Horneman, Mango Park, Burckhardt, Ritchie, Bowditch, Laing, Clapperton, Davidson Richardson, Overweg, Barth, and Warrington,—a list which rivals in number that of the successful travellers who have survived. Tunis is well chosen as a station, because it is ready of access to the civilized world, and it is not in the same quar- ter from which other operations upon Africa are proceeding. The agents will push Southwards from Tunis even to Timbuctoo and Soudaan. Native agents will be trained to circulate the Scriptures, and at the same time to subserve the purposes of honest trade. The Society proposes honest trade as the best means of ex- tinguishing the slave-trade; and we are glad that it does not aim at any direct agitation against that traffic. The propagation of the Scriptures is likely to have a very simple yet effective result. No faith has appeared in the world which is so great a mordent for civilization as Christianity. The humanizing influence of the re- ligion will prepare the community to which it is extended for an intercourse with civilization ; but a much greater and more de- finite effect may also be anticipated. The agents will be at once missionaries and examples of conversion,—able to face the climate, able to converse on a level with those whom they propose to in- fluence; and it is probable that by these simple means a species of Black brotherhood will be extended through the continent, directly

conducive to the spread of religion, incidentally of constructing a machinery for the spread of civilization, of commerce, and of ci- vilized transit. The spirit in which the society proceeds is broad and generous ; and it is proved to be so by one fact. The pro- moters, at whose head we find the Archbishop of Canterbury and Lord Shaftesbury, propose to cooperate with the Mussulmans; almost claiming the Mussulmans as nothing more than a schisma- tical sect of Christians. The means of the society to execute this project are partly indi-

cated by the personnel of the chief officers who lend either their active assistance or their countenance. We have already men- tioned some; we may add more than one of the Consular body at Tunis ; Dr. Vogell and Dr. Livingston, the African travellers; Mr. Augustus Peterman and Mr. Arrowsmith., the geographers; seve Members of Parliament ; Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Mr._Lvard, the Earl of Rosse, and the President of Liberia. The last name is important ; for Liberia is in taa:‘; respects an example of this particular project : it is the recolorfization of Africa by civilized and Christianized members of the African race. The • conduct of the local Government has been exceedingly creditable. The influence which President Roberts has acquired, and the manner in which he exercises it, indicate a capacity for making acquisitions from the wilderness which has been the most hopeful sign for Africa that has yet appeared. Instead of regarding this new enterprise as a rival, whether for purely scientific exploration, for missionary purposes, for commerce, or for the building up of political resident -institutions, -we must welcome the African Ex- ploration Society as a promising assistant in all of these enter- , -prises, if its operation be carried out in anything like the spirit :''andicated in its first statement to the public. And the character 'fa the men who have been induced to unite in giving it their countenance and assistance makes us regard them as hostages for the honest fulfilment of the really catholic scheme.