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about its suitableness as a Mission station. At present there is only one Chaplain on the island, who has to minister to the spiritual wants of five thousand souls. On this subject I have occasionally conversed with Captain Hornblow, who begins to feel deep interest in our Missions. This afternoon he offered, if I will go to St. Helena to commence the work, a free passage in his ship, and to subscribe one hundred pounds towards the support of the Mission. He is persuaded that such an undertaking might be supported without any expense to the Parent Society ; and sta:ed that if his proposal should be acceded to, he would make it his business to interest his friends in it.
“ June 5th.-We saw several whales. In the afternoon, we spoke the Union bound for America with settlers, and received from her some English news to the middle of May; in return for which we presented them with a sheep and a pig.
“ 21st.—This morning we made the Isle of Wight. At four, P. M., we entered the pilot's boat, passed through the Needles with a tolerable breeze, and finally were becalmed between Lymington and Yarmouth. We then procured a small boat, anıl were rowed to Lymington; and about half-past eight o'clock I found myself once more in England.”
From these brief extracts it will appear that Mr. Bourne's character commanded the respect and affection of his fellow-voyagers. Captain Hornblow often visited Mr. Bourne during his stay in England; and it is recorded, with regret, that he died on his next voyage at Whampoa, near Canton, in China. Many of the passengers retain the impression produced on them by Mr. Bourne's character and ministry; and it is hoped, that in the great day it will appear, that in this season of his suffering and trial he did not labour in vain.
The ultimate recovery of this valuable Missionary soon became matter of much doubt among his friends. The climate of the Potteries, his native place, proved unsuitable to his complaint. It was hoped that the milder climate of the south would be more favourable ; and at the Conference which assembled in Sheffield a few weeks after his arrival in England, he was appointed as a Supernumerary to the London North Circuit. He quitted Staffordshire, and came to town in the month of September, when he was most kindly received, at his own request, into the house of Dr. Bunting, one of the General Secretaries of the Missionary Society; having been previously entertained there as a returned Missionary for a few days on his way from Lymington to his friends.
The period of his residence with this much-respected family proved to them a season of very severe affliction. The lamented death of Mrs. Bunting, a lady on whose real friendship and kindness he justly placed the utmost value, occurred soon after his arrival ; after a comparatively short interval, the sorrows of the family were redoubled by the afflictive intelligence of the death of Mrs. Armstrong, Dr. Bunt
ing's eldest daughter, who had died in the island of Antigua, after a residence there of a few months only. Mr. Bourne's deepest sympathies were awakened by these mournful events; and his character and experience rendered his presence and attentions in the highest degree acceptable and consolatory during this season of trial, to his honoured friend and to his family. His own fatal illness and death served to protract and heighten the sorrows of a year never to be forgotten by the beloved circle in which he had been privileged to dwell.
It does not appear that Mr. Bourne anticipated a fatal termination to his complaint, until very near to the close of his life. Although unable to engage in any public service, he entertained a cheering hope of ultimate recovery, and with that view arranged his various pursuits and engagements. He took great interest in affording instruction in the Tamul language to two young men, students in the Wesleyan Theological Institution, who were preparing to proceed as Missionaries to the continent of India. In March, 1836, he attended their ordination, thus testifying his deep interest in their Mission, and uniting in fervent supplication for their preservation and success. But this proved to be the last time he attended public worship. His disease was cardiac asthma. The distressing affection of his chest appeared to be aggravated as the spring advanced ; and his medical attendants found it necessary to confine him to his chamber, and to employ the most decisive measures for the counteraction of his disease.
No probable means of recovery remained untried. But the eminent medical skill of Dr. Sandwith and Mr. Hunter, and the anxious attentions of his other friends, proved equally ineffectual. His deepseated disease baffled all attempts at alleviation and cure; and his sufferings became extreme, accompanied with many presages of dissolution.
From the length to which this memoir has already extended, it becomes necessary to pass rapidly over the painful, but edifying, scene of his last moments. I had many opportunities of visiting him in his affliction, and always found him peaceful and resigned; but often expressing his regret that he should be laid aside from the work which he loved in the vigour of his days.
To the Rev. W. M. Bunting he said, that when left alone on his station as a solitary Missionary in Negapatam, he had obtained a deeper experience of divine things than he had ever before enjoyed. Deprived of the ordinary outward helps, he had approached more nearly and simply to the great Source of spiritual life and influence. He further observed, that the benefit of that experience remained with him still, and that he felt its advantage under his present affliction.
To the Rev. Joseph Taylor he expressed his confidence in God, and his enjoyment of peace; stating that he had only to regret being laid aside from active exertion in the prime of life, and when he had acquired an increased ability for the service of the sanctuary.
On the day preceding his death, during a severe paroxysm, the Fenerable President of the Conference, the Rev. Richard Reece, paid him a visit. He did not at once recognise him; but his failing eyes having at length caught a glimpse of him, he reached out his hand, and faltered an assent to his kind address, and appeared to join devotionally in his prayer.
That evening I remained with him several hours, hoping by my attentions to afford him some partial relief, and to minister to his spiritual consolation by prayer and the word of God. He appeared grateful for religious society ; but was incapable, from his sufferings, of giving any connected expression of his sentiments and feelings.
Mr. Bourne had always felt it an inestimable privilege that he was the guest of Dr. Bunting. During his affliction the counsel and prayers of his eminently wise and kind friend had been to him the means of great spiritual consolation and enjoyment: he delighted to speak on this subject, and considered it cause of thankful acknowledgment to Him who had thus “fixed the bounds of his habitation.” There were few outward manifestations of the kindness of his heavenly Father, in the anticipation of which Mr. Bourne would have more sincerely rejoiced, than that Dr. Bunting should be with him in the hour of dissolution. In this respect also he was happily favoured. Dr. Bunting had prepared to undertake a long journey, to fulfil some engagements in the country, when Mr. Bourne's medical attendants expressed their opinion that he could not survive many days. Notwithstanding the great personal inconvenience, Dr. Bunting remained in town, and was frequent in his visits to the chamber of his dying friend. He had spent some time with him on the night of his death before retiring to rest, and did not leave him till a late hour. About one o'clock in the morning intelligence was brought to Dr. Bunting that Mr. Bourne was dying. He found him in one of the distressing paroxysms peculiar to his complaint, much exhausted, and, to appearance, incapable of noticing what passed around him. He knelt at his bedside to commend to God the soul of his departing servant. The moment his voice was heard in prayer, Mr. Bourne became silent, restraining his struggles as much as possible: he placed his hands together in the posture of devotion, an evidence that he retained his faculties, and was not prevented by the extremest sufferings from uniting in the act of worship. He appeared attentive and collected while the prayer was continued ; and, at its close, he quietly reclined his head a little on one side, and in a few minutes, without a sigh or groan, peacefully breathed his last, and entered into rest. Happy are the dead who die in the Lord.”
The following notice of his death, from the pen of Dr. Bunting, appeared in the “ Watchman” newspaper for the 1st of June, 1836, and is honourable alike to the memory of its subject, and the heart and hand of its author :VOL. XVII. Third Series. May, 1838.
“ At the house of Dr. Bunting, in London, greatly beloved, and deeply lamented by all who knew him, the Rev. Alfred Bourne, aged thirty-seven. This truly excellent man commenced his course as a Christian Minister in the Wesleyan Connexion in the year 1823, and was stationed successively in the Redditch, Oxford, and Reading Circuits. In November, 1826, under the constraining influence of the love of Christ, and of a strong sense of duty to the perishing Heathen, he embarked as a Missionary for Continental India, where he arrived in March, 1827. There, in the Madras and Negapatam Circuits, he spent about eight years, distinguished by diligent and successful application in the acquirement of the language of the country,—by uniform and exemplary piety,—by an unconquerable devotedness to evangelical and pastoral labours, and by an amount of usefulness, the full value of which can only be estimated in eternity, but of which enough is already ascertained to justify the assertion, that it was not too dearly purchased, even by the sacrifice of a life so estimable as his own. In 1831 he was called, in addition to his other arduous engagements, to make great and toilsome exertions on behalf of the interesting heathen population of Melnattam, a place then connected with his station at Negapatam ; and had the pleasure of erecting and opening a Mission chapel in that vicinity, which will be a standing monument of his active and self-denying zeal in the cause of Christ. But there, alas! the foundation was laid of that disease, (cardiac asthma,) which made him a great and almost constant, but eminently meek and patient, sufferer for the remainder of his days, and eventually caused, what, in the ordinary language of mortals, will be called, his early and premature decease. For more than three years, however, he continued resolutely to prosecute his Missionary labours,—often under circumstances of bodily pain and affliction, which loudly demanded relaxation or absolute rest. But to him the essential interests of our Indian Mission appeared to require (on account of the paucity of labourers, as compared with the necessities of the people, and of the sickness and mortality which had diminished, about that period, the small number of his effective companions) that he should not count even his life dear to him; and he heroically persevered in his work, till the repose, to which he at last submitted, came too late. He returned to England in June, 1835. For a while, the hope of material relief, if not of perfect recovery, was fondly cherished by his friends; but about two months ago, the deep-seated malady assumed a more destructive form, and subsequently made a progress so rapid, that, on Friday, May 27th, he peacefully resigned his spirit to God, in firm dependence on the merits of the great Atonement, and our Lord Jesus Christ. On Monday last his honoured remains were interred in the burial-ground of the City-road chapel, in the same grave which contains those of the Rev. Messrs. Thomas Stanley, John James, and Robert Pickering. The President of the
Conference, Mr. Reece, and Dr. Bunting officiated on the occasion ; and nearly all the Wesleyan Ministers of the six London Circuits evinced, by their attendance, their respect for the amiable character and valuable services of a man, whom the Wesleyan Missionary Society may be justly thankful to have enrolled among the number of its agents in foreign lands."
After so honourable a testimony, it may appear almost superfluous to attempt a formal review of the character of Mr. Bourne; but perhaps a personal acquaintance, during many years, may entitle me to add a few sentences as a tribute to that friendship, the memory of which will be ever dear.
As a man, it may be said that Mr. Bourne was happily constituted : his judgment was clear, his temper mild, and his manners amiable. When in his youth divine grace moved upon his heart, the impulse was speedily answered; and filial piety, unswerving integrity, and a desire to know and perform the will of God, were early developed, and continued prominent in his character throughout his future life.
As a Christian, his experience was peaceful, uniform, and progressive; and his conduct eminently consistent with his profession. His religious enjoyments were not slight or unfrequent; they were connected with scriptural views of the great Atonement, and of the office of the Holy Spirit in the work of human salvation. His growth in grace advanced with his growth in knowledge ; and the latter was only valued by him as helpful to the former.
As a Christian Minister, he was uniformly zealous, acceptable, and useful. He was diligent in his study, preparing his sermons with much care ; earnest in his delivery of them in the pulpit; and he was never forgetful, in his intercourse with society, of the sacred character which he bore, and of the great object of his ministry. His colleagues in the ministry with whom he laboured in this country invariably held him in high esteem ; and if opportunity had been given them, they would have gladly added their testimony to his worth. My own acquaintance with Mr. Bourne commenced on his arrival in Madras in March, 1827; and I well remember how grateful and refreshing were his conversation and public ministrations to myself and colleagues, and to our English congregations. My personal intercourse with him was renewed at the District-Meeting of January, 1828 ; and again, in May, the same year, when he was removed from Negapatam to Madras. My own health had then failed under the influence of the climate, but I had the comfort of his tender sympathy and willing aid; and for three months before I quitted Madras my affliction was much relieved by the knowledge that my accustomed work was ably and faithfully performed by Mr. Bourne.
In the discharge of his duties as a Missionary he was truly exemplary.
The field in which he laboured requires self-denial and humility, as well as prudence, lofty motive, and firm consciousness of the