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The Martyres of Blantyre
Henry Henderson, Dr. John Bowie, Robert Cleland, A Chapter from the story of Missions in Central Africa by Rev. William Robertson (1892)


This book is issued as a simple memorial of three devoted lives. Those whose story it tells were “Martyrs,” not in the sense of having been slain for the truth, but in the no less real sense of being Witnesses for the testimony of Jesus Christ, who, with unswerving courage and devotion, laid down their lives in the African mission-field. The aim of the book is to give, in a short simple sketch, such a glimpse of them and their work as will convey to the reader some idea of what manner of men they were and what kind of work they did for Africa. It is not in any sense a complete biography of any of them, nor does it touch at all on questions of either Mission or State policy. Every effort has been made, however, to secure that it should be reliable, and all the information contained in it accurate and up to date.

If it should be the means of helping any one to a clearer appreciation of what life in the African mission field is, or of begetting in any heart a deeper sympathy with those who are labouring there, it will have served its purpose.

I desire to record my thanks to the many friends, both here and in Africa, to whose kindness I have been indebted for help in its preparation and for the perusal of letters and other sources of information, Acknowledgment is also due to the representatives of The Mission Record and the Foreign Mission Committee for the facilities and assistance which they have cordially afforded me.

May God use the story of those who now rest from their labours to inspire others to a like faith with theirs.

Edinburgh. February 1892.


Chapter I. Introduction
Chapter II. The Prayer of the Dead Livingstone and its Answer
Chapter III. Blantyre
Chapter IV. Henry Henderson, the Pioneer
Chapter V. Dr. John Bowie, Medical Missionary
Chapter VI. Robert Cleland, the Missionary of Milanje
Chapter VII. Conclusion


Appendix I. Staff of the Blantyre Mission
Appendix II. Minute of General Assembly on the Deaths of Missionaries at Blantyre

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