« السابقةمتابعة »
so great is the exposure in the trenches at night, and from rain and snow, that the mortality among them is also very great.
"Thus the Czar has likewise two powerful allies, winter and disease, which are making fearful ravages among the allied troops. Reinforcements are rapidly arriving from France and England, but the new troops are dying faster than the old ones, who have been longer here, and are hardened to the exposure. The Allies occupy fifteen miles of defence, constantly exposed to attack from the Russians, who are near their lines on all sides, and have free communication with the fleet and fortress of Sebastopol, as well as their provinces by the way of Perekop on the north. The Allies have 100,000 men and 650 heavy guns, while the Russian army has 150,000 men, and 700 guns of larger size than the Allies, as well as the advantage of strong fortifications, and ammunition for two years. I also notice that the Czar has just issued a ukase for a new levy of one man to every thousand in his empire, which will increase his army more than a million. So that there must be terrible fighting yet, and there is every prospect that Sebastopol will not be taken at least before next spring.
"The most perfect good feeling exists between the French and English on the part of soldiers and officers; they salute each other with the common term, ‘buono Inglese,' 'buono Francese'―good English, good French— and both equally detest and despise the Turks, kicking and beating them like Turkish dogs, as they themselves formerly treated the Christians. I myself saw a Turkish officer, with his face all cut and bleeding from the sword of an English soldier, who escaped with a slight reprimand,
whereas if the offence had been committed against an English or French officer, by a Turkish soldier, he would have been immediately shot.
"I would also add that my esteemed friend, Mr Richard C. M'Cormick, jun., secretary of the Young Men's Christian Association of New York, who has been my travelling companion from Paris to the East, likewise accompanied me to the Crimea, and has been of essential service to me in my efforts in behalf of the soldiers. His health still continues good. Most sincerely your friend,
"C. N. RIGHTER."
BIBLE LABOURS IN THE CRIMEA.
THE letter given below was addressed to the secretary of the American Bible Society, and contains a deeply interesting record of the perseverance and the success of Mr Righter in his efforts to secure the distribution of the Bible in the allied armies of England and France.
"CAMP BEFORE SEBASTOPOL, Dec. 26, 1854.
MY DEAR BROTHER,-As I found that all the avenues for Bible distribution among the soldiers and sailors at Constantinople were occupied by the agency of the British and Foreign Bible Society, I decided, with the advice and approbation of our good friends, to make a visit to the camp at Sebastopol, for the purpose of ascertaining the demand there, and making arrangements for the supply. Accordingly I was kindly presented with an order from Admiral Boxer for a passage on board an English transport ship to the Crimea. It was a lovely afternoon as we sailed from the Golden Horn through the Bosphorus out to the Black Sea, and thence two days upon its stormy waters to Balaklava, the fine little harbour for English shipping and stores for the army of the East. I took a hundred Bibles and Testaments with me, and on my arrival was received by Mr Matheson, agent of the
Soldier's Friend Society, who gave me a cordial welcome, and remarked that my visit there at the present time was most providential, and I could have brought nothing more acceptable than Bibles. He said, however, there was great opposition on the part of the chief chaplain to any religious effort in behalf of the soldiers. He himself had been forbidden the camp by this authority, and whatever he was able to accomplish must be done in the most clandestine manner possible. And as I accompanied him in his benevolent work, I soon found it was but too true. He seemed afraid to let it be known that he had tracts or religious books. He kept them concealed under his coat and in his pockets, and as he met the soldiers singly or in little companies off duty, he would secretly slip a tract or religious book into their hands for them to carry to their tents and read. Yet I was glad to notice how thankfully all received them at his hands. 'Don't you see,' said he, 'how guarded I must be not to attract attention from the officers or chaplains in my work, or I would be immediately expelled from the field; yet I am daily distributing my hundreds of tracts, and they are doing their good work in the army and navy.' I asked if it were not possible for me to obtain permission from the officers for the distribution of the Bible among the troops. 'There is not the least possibility of it,' said he. I would not advise you to call upon them for that purpose, it will only excite their opposition.'
"I then called upon Rev. Mr Hayward, the chaplain of the royal forces at Balaklava. He received me very kindly, and said that Bibles were much needed by the soldiers, but to how great an extent he knew not. He had received a small supply from England, and had only given them
sparingly, and thought many more might be wanted. I found him to be a man of excellent Christian spirit, denying himself the ordinary comforts and enjoyments of life, and labouring night and day for the spiritual welfare of the suffering and dying soldiers. And it was delightful to see how kindly these rough soldiers received his visits, and listened to the words of love and Christian admonition he addressed them. He seemed fully imbued with the spirit of our Saviour, who went about doing good.' Yet when I proposed, in accompanying him on his visit, to give a few a Bibles and Testaments to those who desired them, he replied at once, 'It is contrary to general orders, and I would not dare give my consent.' I then asked if it were not possible to obtain such authority from the commander-in-chief. He said, 'You may make the effort, but I am quite sure you will not succeed. I should be right glad if it were so.' Notwithstanding, I set out next morning early for head-quarters at the camp, four miles distant, putting a few Testaments in my pocket for distribution by the way. As we were trudging along through the mud half-knee deep (it is impossible to conceive the state of the roads which the heavy rains and artillery waggons have made), I saw the wife of a soldier, in the midst of the din and confusion of the scene, stopping to rest by the wayside, and her interesting countenance attracted my attention. I stepped forward, spoke a pleasant word to her, and asked her if she had a Bible or Testament in her tent. Oh, no,' said she, 'we have just come from Varna, and if you could give me one I should be very thankful;' and an old soldier coming up, said, 'If you could give me one, too, sir, I would think very much of it. I belong to Captain Fraser's battery, and we have