No. 479.

Mr. Frelinghuysen to Mr. Richmond.

No. 17.]

Sir: I inclose a letter addressed to you by Mr. Judson Smith, secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, Boston, stating that the east central African mission of the board has secured a concession of a tract of land near Inhambane Bay, within the jurisdiction of the Portuguese Government, administered from Mozambique, but cannot extend their missionary operations in the districts outside, owing to restrictions of the Mozambique Government. These restrictions, in the interest of civilization and general enlightenment, they are naturally anxious to have removed.

The liberal methods adopted by the Portuguese Government heretofore in like directions encourage the belief that no serious obstacle will be found to prevent the self-sacrificing efforts of these missionaries being employed in this wide field. The good designs of the board are evidently too broad to be classed as sectarian; their purposes are at the farthest possible remove from political purposes, and their request is commended to your judicious and friendly good offices, conducted, of course, with due regard to the established faith in Portugal.

I am, &c.,

[Inclosure in No. 17.]

Mr. Smith to Mr. Richmond.

Dear Sir: Permit me, in behalf of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, to make a representation of facts and to prefer a request:

The East Central African Mission of the Board has recently applied for a claim to be located on Inhambane Bay within the jurisdiction of the Portuguese Government administered from Mozambique, and they have secured a concession of a tract of land [Page 638] suitable for the beginning of their work. But they are restricted in their religious teaching to the few natives whom they can employ upon the land conceded to them, and can undertake missionary operations in the districts outside only at the peril or losing their claim and being driven from the province altogether. There is a large population within easy reach of their settlement, more than 100,000, who are entirely without knowledge of the Bible or Christianity, and who make a powerful appeal to Christian sympathy and help. If the restriction of the Mozambique Government could be modified or withdrawn our men would gladly undertake Christian labor in behalf of these people, and would be ready to give any reasonable pledges of fidelity to the interests of the Mozambique Government. In this age, when all heathen nations are open to the Gospel, when Africa stands so conspicuous in the eyes of the European nations and ail the arts and industries and commerce of the civilized world are seeking this great continent, it would seem only right that the supreme blessing of the great nations should have free access to all the peoples and tribes of Africa.

In view of these facts, I beg leave to request of you that you will represent the facts above narrated to the courts at Lisbon, and that you will use your best offices in inducing His Majesty the King of Portugal to withdraw the restriction which now rests upon our missionaries on Inhambane Bay, and to grant to them that freedom of religious teaching which our missionaries already enjoy in China and Japan, in Turkey and India. I am sure that His Majesty the King will favorably consider this request, and that his regard for the opinion of this Government and for that of the Christian nations of Europe will dispose him to grant it.

I am happy to be assured that you, my dear sir, will personally favor this suit of our great mission board, and will use your uttermost endeavors to secure its favorable reception and early success.

In behalf of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

I am, &c.,

Secretary American Board of Foreign Missions.