« السابقةمتابعة »
chief of the forces of this station, and received the following order :
"SCUTARI, March 31, 1855.
"Mr William Sellers has permission to have access to the Russian prisoners of war confined at the Turkish arsenal, for the purpose of supplying them with books.
"T. W. PAULET,
"B. General Com'g Troops.'"
The French soldiers seemed no less anxious than the English to obtain the Scriptures. He writes from Constantinople, May 22:
"The twenty thousand French soldiers encamped upon the heights above the Bosphorus, a few miles from the city, have furnished an interesting field for the distribution of the Scriptures during the last month. We had just begun fully to obtain access to them, however, as they were all ordered to the Crimea for the war; yet many will carry their little Testaments, not only in the camp, but also on the field of battle, and will find these their only consolation at the hour of death.
"I visited the camp a few days since, in company with a son of the Rev. Mr Schauffler, for the purpose of obtaining a general authorisation from the commander-in-chief to distribute Bibles and Testaments among the soldiers. On the way, we stopped at a shop of refreshments kept by a Protestant Armenian, where a few Testaments had previously been deposited, and inquired if he had any remaining on hand. 'Not one,' said he. 'Soon as the men found that New Testaments could be had here, they came and called earnestly for them, and my little supply was
gone almost at once.
I could distribute hundreds, if I A commanding officer called here yesterday,' said he, and asked where these Testaments came from. I told him, a benevolent society had sent them.' He replied, 'Present my thanks to that society for so good a work.'
gave them to all who wished.
This store, however, was not within the lines, and, according to camp regulation, the sentinels will allow no one to pass without a written order to that effect. And I wished a general permission for distributing the Bible to the soldiers in their tents, where a kind word might also be spoken accompanying the word of Scripture.
"We called at head-quarters, but unfortunately found the general absent at Constantinople. On our return through the camp, however, we gained the following written permission from a colonel, stamped with his seal, freely to enter the lines of his regiment-32d Regiment of Infantry. It is permitted to a colporteur, by the present permission, to circulate freely in the camp of the regiment, to bring their works for the use of the soldiers.'
"Works were of course interpreted to mean Scriptures, and we immediately sent a large supply of Testaments to his soldiers, who received them most gladly. While we were gone, two soldiers came from the hospital to the house of Mr Schauffler, and begged for medicine and Testaments. One had previously received a Testament from there, and now he had brought his sick friend for one also; and as Mr S. gave it to him, he said, with tears in his eyes, 'This is beyond all price to me. It will go with me till I die.' As there was yet one day before the troops were to embark, and the permission to visit one regiment susceptible of rather a general interpretation, we sent two colpor
teurs to enter the camp wherever this would admit them; and they thus distributed 300 Testaments to the soldiers, who manifested the greatest thankfulness at receiving them. Also, at the point of embarkation, on the following day, another was stationed to place in the hands of all whom he could reach, at this last moment, the Word of Life, the way of everlasting salvation. Likewise, as they came from camp to Pera, a gratuitous supply was furnished them from our depository; and those who received Testaments sent their friends for the same bon livre, and when others went to Bebek, there they received them by the roadside from the hands of Mr Hamlin's little daughters, replying, with much gratitude, 'Merci, mademoiselle, merci beaucoup, c'est bon-Thank you, miss, thank you much, it is good.'
More than a thousand Testaments have by these means, within a few days, been distributed to the troops. Thus, during their short encampment here, much good seed has been sown amongst them, which, we trust, will not fail to spring up and bring forth fruit an hundredfold in the hearts of these poor soldiers, hurried away to die, in a foreign land, upon the field of battle. And we hope to gain still greater facilities for supplying with the same divine treasure the twenty-five thousand other troops now on their way from France to occupy this camp."
The seed thus sown will produce its fruit. these soldiers died before leaving the Crimea, but many returned to France, bringing the Bible with them.
"MY DEAR FATHER,-I wish you 'merry, merry Christmas,' from the shores of the Black Sea. Here I am at the seat and centre of war, within the roar of the enemy's cannon, and in the midst of all the martial excitement and display of the camp, yet my thoughts and remembrance to-day fondly turn to those I love in the far off western land. I am reminded of the many happy Christmas days I have spent at home, around our own fireside, and in our little family circle; I am reminded of the last we enjoyed together, when we were all gathered home, and mingled in delightful social intercourse. My mind suddenly runs back through all the past years. I remember a father's kindness, tenderness, and love, ever ready to grant my every wish and supply my every want; all this comes gushing up in mind to-day, and from the fulness of my heart I thank you for it all. None but he that feels it knows the gladness of such memories to a stranger in a strange land.
"But you will ask how I am spending Christmas here. First, we have excellent accommodation on board a transport ship in the harbour of Balaklava, the place of
landing English stores for the army. We have roast goose, roast turkey, roast beef, and pork for dinner, and right good cheer at the social table. As this is the first day (except Sabbath) that we have spent in the Crimea, we go up to Captain Fraser's battery upon the heights, above the town, to have a view of the camp-and it is indeed a brilliant scene. There are the Highland tents upon the highest hill; then a company of French Zouaves ; then the Turks and English, and so on, for miles through the valleys; and along the hillside stretches the encampment, far as the eye can reach. At intervals the batteries are placed with sentinels to guard them, and a strong line of entrenchments the entire distance; and far in front are stationed the pickets on horseback, to give the alarm at the first approach of the enemy; just opposite, too, we see the Russian outposts, and they themselves, fifty thousand strong, are a few rods behind the hill. And here are foraging parties coming across the plain— French, Turks, and English, infantry and cavalry, on foot and on horseback, nobleman and commoner, prince and peasant, officers and soldiers alike, mounted on horses, mules, donkeys, and dromedaries, driving carts, ambulance and artillery waggons, bringing down the sick, and marching up the new recruits; meeting and passing, shouting and hurrying each other forward; sticking fast in the mud, and again moving on, all to the sound of martial music-fife, drum, and band. This forms the first picture, and gives us the first impression of all the 'pomp and circumstance of glorious war.' But I must close. Farewell, dear father.-Your affectionate son, CHESTER."