A Son Whom Wales Should Not Forget
The statement in the “Wales Day, by Day” column that “Eleven Years in Central South Africa,” by Thomas Morgan Thomas, the Welsh missionary, written and printed in Cardiff in 1872, is “one of the best missionary stories ever written”. reminds one that one press reviewer stated of it, “The book altogether is well worthy to take its place side by side with the noble works of Moffat and Livingstone.
At the beginning T. M. Thomas wrote: “Ordained on May 11, 1858, at Cwmbach, Aberdare, and accompanied by a gentle and devoted wife, whose desire from childhood had been mission work in heathen lands, I bade adieu to the mountains of Wales,” on arrival at Cape Town “two gentlemen stepped on board whose kind greetings and hearty welcomes gave us very great pleasure. They were the Revs. R. Moffat, of the Kuruman, and W. Thompson, Cape Town. On shore were other kind friends, among whom were the excellent Mrs. Moffat and her daughter, Mrs. Livingstone, ready as soon as we left the boat warmly to welcome us to our adopted land.”
On the last page he-wrote: “The-South African Mission can furnish many names of spiritual heroes ‘men of whom the world was not worthy.’ Vanderkemp, Campbell, Philips, Hughes, Read, and Helmore have gone to their rest and their reward. Moffat and Livingstone still remain among us, and He Who has never suffered His work to languish for want of men will continue to raise up ‘those who shall carry the Gospel to the ‘regions beyond.’”
T. M. Thomas was the grandson of Miles Thomas, of St. Mary Hill, near Cowbridge (who was my great-grandfather). and brother of Ebenezer Thomas (E. ab Ieuan), of Aberkenfig. T. M. Thomas’s body was buried at Inyati, in the depths of Africa, he died 1884.
Scotland has rightly raised monuments and memorials to her famous missionary sons. We have a beautiful statue in the City Hall, Cardiff, of Williams Pantycelyn. None is more worthy of memorial. than the pioneer Christian missionary who, while opening up tracts of unexplored country for the speed of civilisation among untutored natives, above all gives his life in the greatest project of all to establish that spiritual kingdom which, as we hope and believe, alone shall have no end.
On March 13, 1828, T. Morgan Thomas was born. This son of Glamorgan (being born at Llanharan) lived to become sons of the best-known missionaries of his day, he was ordained for the mission-field at Cwmbach, Aberdare, in 1858, he worked diligently among the natives of Central Africa.
He lived a thrilling life there, which he has described in his volume, “Eleven Years in Central South Africa.”. Thomas returned to Wales of his own accord owing to a misunderstanding between him and the London Missionary Society, but the Welsh churches contributed to keep him and his family. He translated portions of the Scripture into the native language before dying in Matabeleland in 1884.
Back to Cwmbach