February 15, 1861
Mr. Gordon, in his last letter to me dated the 15th of February, 1861, says:
“My Dear Brother-
I have news of the best and of the worst character to communicate. A young man died in December, in the Lord, as we believe. We are still preserved in health at our work, by the God of all grace, whose power alone could have preserved us from all of our troubles, which have come upon us by the measles per the Blue Bell. Ah, this season which we will soon not forget. Some settlements are nearly depopulated, and the principal chiefs are nearly all dead! And oh! The indescribable fiendish hatred that exists against us! There is quite a famine here. The distress is awful, and the cry of the mourning perpetual. A few on both sides of the island who did not flee frm the Worship of God are living, which is now greatly impressing some and exciting the enmity of others. I cannot now write of perils. We feel very anxious to hear from you. If you have to flee, Aneityum of course is the nearest and best thing which you can go to. Confidence in us is being restored. Mana, a native teacher, remains with us for safety from the fury of his enemies. I cannot visit as usual. The persecution cannot be much worse on Tanna. I hope the worst is past. Mrs. Gordon unites in love to you, and to Mr. And Mrs. Johntson. In great haste,
I remain, dear brother, yours truly,`
Let every reader, in view of this epistle, like a voice from the World Unseen, judge of the spirit of this man of God who penned it, and of the causes that were even then at work and were bringing about his sorrowful death. Cruel superstition, measles, and the malignant influences of the godless traders- these on Erromanga, as elsewhere, were the forces at work which brought hatred and murder in their train.