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William and Louisa Anderson
Part II - Jamaica Period, 1839-1848 - Chapter 6


Pastor at Rose Hill, 1845

THE year 1845 witnessed Mr. Anderson's ordination to the office of the ministry, and his and Mrs. Anderson's removal from Carron Hall to Rose Hill.

Before Mr. Anderson's ordination at Rose Hill took place, an examination of Carron Hall school was held, and the following report was drawn up and published in the Jamaica Guardian newspaper. It speaks of Mr. Anderson as "the able and indefatigable teacher," and says:—

It is pleasing to record, at the expiry of his labours as a teacher, the highly satisfactory manner in which he has acquitted himself in that capacity. This appeared from the complete state of discipline to which he has brought the school under his charge, the workmanlike style in which the business of the school was carried on, and the consequent proficiency of the scholars in the different branches taught, namely, reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, and geography.

The earnestness of the scholars in the business of the school, and their eagerness to perform the tasks assigned them, were very apparent, and formed a pleasing counterpart to the animation and enthusiasm of their teacher, reminding us of the proceedings of such a day in some well-conducted school in a more favoured land. . . .

Mr. Cowan, in a letter dated 1st Aug., added his testimony to Mr. Anderson's "valuable and successful labours":—

If the Directors had been present, they would have been greatly delighted and encouraged, and would have felt that even now they had a joyful recompense for the many hours they have spent in attending to the interests of the Mission here. The regular scholars present were 134. All the classes acquitted themselves exceedingly well. The most striking feature in the school was the intellectual progress of the children. They are not only acquainted with the facts mentioned in the Bible, but Mr. Anderson had instructed them in several important points in .Biblical literature, in which chronology and some knowledge of astronomy are necessary, and they understood them perfectly.

Mr. Anderson, in a letter dated Aug. 2nd, gives his retrospect of and farewell to the work in Carron Hall school:—

Since the beginning of the year the average attendance has been from 90 to 100. Latterly it has been greater. The District Committee of Presbytery examined the school on the 3rd ult. The progress of the scholars was considered satisfactory. A feeling of sadness comes over me when I reflect that my busy and happy days in Carron Hall school are now numbered with the past. It adds to my regret that I know of no one to supply my place. In coming to this place, and in leaving it, I have just followed the leadings of Providence; and with respect to the school, while my heart aches at the thought of leaving it shepherdless, yet I feel satisfied that it is God who is sending me to Rose Hill, and I have confidence that "the Lord will provide" for carrying on His work at Carron Hall school. Mr. Cowan has so much other work on hand that it would be impossible for him to teach constantly. May the Great Shepherd send him speedy aid, and sanctify to him the present trial of his faith! Since I came here in January 1840, five and a half years ago, there have been at school, in all, 480 children. Of these, eleven are now married, and six are dead. Farewell, my beloved scholars (as such) at Carron Hall! We shall meet again, when the toils of life are over. Oh, may it be with joy! I humbly trust that "the day will declare" that my efforts for your present and eternal well-being have not been in vain.

In a letter to Dr. Wm, Brown, dated Aug. 2nd, and in letters to Mr. Elliot and to the Clohans, dated Oct. 3rd, Mr. Anderson refers to the ordination and induction services. As the letters supplement one another, they will be pieced together:—

I was ordained pastor of the congregation of Rose Hill, by the Jamaica Missionary Presbytery, on Friday, nth July. Mr. Hogg delivered a sweet discourse from the text, "I have fought a good fight," etc. On the following Sabbath, Mr. Jameson, our theological tutor, introduced me to my charge. He preached an excellent and suitable discourse from Matt, xxviii. 19, 20. In the afternoon I began my ministry by preaching from the very solemn question, 2 Cor. ii. 16: "Who is sufficient for these things?" I felt completely overpowered by a sense of my utter insufficiency to discharge the duties, overcome the difficulties, and meet the responsibilities connected with the ministerial office. When I had closed, Mr. Jameson took the pulpit, and answered the question of my text, by giving some affectionate and encouraging exhortations both to the congregation and myself from chap. xii. 9: "My grace is sufficient for thee."

Mr. Cowan, in a letter dated Aug. 1st, says:—

Mr. Anderson was ordained as the minister of the Rose Hill church on the 11th of July, and he intends to leave this place in the beginning of next week. His ordination among this people, and his introduction to them on the following Sabbath, were occasions of deep and solemn interest—delightful to us all; and the prospects of the church there, from their having so faithful and zealous a minister placed among them, are very cheering and encouraging. All good must come from the one great Shepherd, but much depends on those who are shepherds under Him. Mr. Blyth, Mr. Simpson, Mr. Jameson, Mr. Aird, Mr. Hogg, and Mr. Beardslie, one of our American brethren, were present and took part in the ordination.

The day following Mr. Anderson's ordination, the new church at Carron Hall was dedicated, so that it was a season of rejoicing at Carron Hall as well as at Rose Hill.

The first celebration of the 1st of August at Rose Hill under Mr. Anderson's ministry was a memorable one to the congregation. Mr. Anderson wrote:—

After service, we held a congregational meeting, James Nayler, l^sq. (a communicant) in the chair, at which I presented to the congregation a very handsome gift, sent to them by the scholars attending the United Secession and Relief Church Sabbath schools in Dalkeith and Ford. The present consisted of a complete Communion service— two bread platters, two flagons, four cups, and 200 tokens —and a very beautiful baptismal font. The congregation were delighted with the present. [In his letter of Oct. 3rd to Mr. Elliot, Mr. Anderson says: "I cannot tell you how much we are obliged to the Sabbath scholars for their present of a Communion service. I trust they have got Mr. Nayler's letter of acknowledgment. I wondered why the people seemed so dumfoundered at the sight of the gift on Aug. 1st. The reason, I lately discovered, was that they all imagined the whole service—cups, flagons, plates, and baptismal font—to be solid silver! Now they have been told that they are not, they consider them quite as good as if they were silver."] In presenting the gift, the remembrance of other days, and other scenes, and other countenances than those before me, was too vivid to allow me to say much. Our chairman said that he felt so happy that he could not get a word to say. Many, many, many thanks were given to the youthful donors for their valuable, beautiful, and suitable gift; and many a blessing was craved (what though in bad English when in good Christian language?) from heaven on their behalf. The chairman was requested to write a letter to my beloved young friends in Dalkeith and Ford, which he engaged to do. The usual congregation is about 200.

On Monday, Aug. 4th, Mr. Anderson to Dr. Wm. Brown wrote :—

We removed from Carron Hall to Rose Hill. The people here were exceedingly kind. Upwards of sixty of them were at Carron Hall at an early hour, several of them with mules and asses, to carry over our furniture, books, etc., all of which got a safe and speedy transport to Rose Hill. Nothing was broken, injured, or missing. The people all seemed grateful for the prospect of the stated supply of the gospel and its ordinances, and for the provision made by God for the instruction of their children.

With reference to the school at Rose Hill, Mr. Anderson wrote:—

I cannot say much just now about the school. Miss Northover left it at the end of the year. Since that time the children have been under the care of one of my oldest Carron Hall scholars. The parents were justly afraid that if their children were allowed to run wild till such time as I could come to them, they would forget what they had already learned. With my concurrence, they entered into an arrangement with the young man referred to. He was not recognised as a teacher; and what was expected chiefly of him was that he would keep the children in remembrance of what they had been taught. He has done more than this. From 50 to 60 have attended him.

At a later date, Jan. 2nd, 1846, Mr. Anderson wrote:—

Mrs. A. and I began school on Monday, Aug. 11th. I believe that she was the first teacher at this place. While teacher at Carron Hall, she kept school here for a time on Friday and Saturday. Since August we have had at school 56 boys and 45 girls—in all, 101. Rose Hill estate being a coffee property, and the latter months of the year being the season of coffee crop, many of the oldest scholars have frequently had to exchange the school for the field. Most of those who have been reading in the Bible were taught by Miss Northover, and it is but justice to her to say that she has taught them well. Some of her oldest scholars have left school, so that we do not see all the good effects of her labours here.

Present State of Rose Hill Congregation.

In full communion ... 92
Under suspension ... 2
Catechumens .... 44
Total adults... 138
Baptized children . . . 100
Total 238

Two ordained ciders, two assistant elders, eight managers, and four prayer meetings.

This was the condition of the congregation when, on the first Sabbath of September, Mr. Anderson dispensed the sacrament of the Lord's Supper for the first time. In his letters to the Clohans and to Mr. Elliot he referred to the interesting occasion:—

Mr. Beardslie, a sterling man of God, a Congregationalist from America, preached a preparatory discourse on the Friday evening. Mr. Cowan and I being teachers during the week, made the Saturday a Sabbath—a day of rest and of preparation for the morrow. Mr C. preached the (action?) sermon, and delivered the closing address in the evening; I dispensed the ordinance and delivered the Communion addresses. I addressed from words which formed the basis of one of your [Mr. Elliot's] table services some ten years ago—"Who loved me, and gave Himself for me."

To the Clohans he said:—

It was a delightful day to me, and I trust to man}'. We had a delightful season of holy fellowship with one another, and also, I trust, with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.

To Mr. Elliot he continued as follows:—

On the day of the Lord's Supper I had the pleasure of admitting fourteen individuals to the fellowship of the Church. We prefer admitting members before the whole congregation to the practice which prevails at home, of making admissions in presence of the elders and a few who may happen to stay. We do so—at least, I do so— for the following reasons:—1. It is, I conceive, one of the most solemn and interesting parts of a minister's work to admit, as representative of church or session, those who were lately servants of Satan, into the outward fellowship and to the privileges of friends of Jesus and children of God. 2. A public admission is more likely to have a solemnising effect on the candidate's mind than a comparatively private one. 3. The congregation have the best possible opportunity of seeing who are received as communicants. 4. The admission of new members furnishes a first-rate opportunity for throwing in counsels, cautions, reproofs, etc., to old members, stating the duties and privileges of church members; and (what is much required here) an exhibition of the scriptural grounds and practical working of our form of church government, etc. etc.

Mr. Anderson's visitation of the people in his neighbourhood brought him into contact with those belonging to other denominations, in which laxer ideas regarding church membership and discipline and the dispensing of ordinances prevailed. The need for the strictness of the Presbyterian missionaries generally, and of Mr. Anderson in his own district especially, is sufficiently proved by the facts stated in his letter to Mr. Elliot:—

I have visited the most of the people in the neighbourhood, including Church of England people and Native baptists, of whom we have great abundance. All the careless people in the neighbourhood plead that they belong to the Church of England. This is the sum-total of the religion of many around me: they were confirmed by the Bishop; they go now and then to the parish church; when they have children (no matter whether they be married or unmarried), "parson christen dem"; they take the sacrament once or twice a year; and they bow and curtsey when they hear pronounced the word Jesus. On such a flimsy foundation as this are hundreds and thousands in Jamaica building their hopes for eternity.

Here I may mention a difficulty which has sometimes occurred to my mind. The great majority—perhaps nine-tenths of the present population of Jamaica—were born while their parents were living in fornication; but all have been christened, as they call it—i.e. the priest came occasionally to the buckra's (overseer's; house, when all the unbaptized were assembled on the barbeques, or, in some cases, in the house, and, without further ceremony, the water was sprinkled upon them, sometimes individually at 2s. 6d. a head for blacks, and at 3s. or 4s. for free people's children, and sometimes collectively, parson pronouncing the words of institution.

Would you count this baptism? I have difficulties on the subject. When parties were married and made some profession of religion, I feel satisfied as to the validity of the ordinance; but where no profession of religion was made at all, and where parents were living in open transgression, I question very much if the application of water, even by an episcopally ordained functionary, and though professedly clone in the name of the Sacred Three-One, ought to be regarded as Christian baptism. I shall be glad of your advice on this point. Had you still occupied the editorial throne, I should have requested you to draw attention to the subject in the Secession Magazine. Perhaps you can direct me to some book where some similar point is discussed.

Perhaps you may see something occasionally about the Native Baptists of this island. There are three—indeed four—of their churches in my immediate neighbourhood. Who are their ministers? Leaders who have quarrelled with their ministers, and gone off with a number of adherents, and who have, without education or training, or examination or ordination of any kind (except, in days of slavery, license from a magistrate), taken upon them to preach and dispense, the ordinances of religion. They cannot teach the people, yet it is amazing how they blindfold them and retain them under their influence. Two young men, once scholars at this school, now members of neighbouring Native Baptist churches, have within these few days declared to me that they learn nothing at their churches—that any little knowledge of religion which they have was received by them in Rose Hill church and at Rose Hill school. I have occasionally put a few questions to communicants of both the Established and the Native Baptist churches, and I must say that, with the exception of those who have been more or less under Presbyterian instruction, the great mass of the people around me are utterly ignorant of the very first principles of Christian knowledge. I have a great work to do here, and the work is just so much the more difficult that the mass of the people are nominally Church members. I have been repeatedly assured that if I would only be somewhat less strict, I would soon have an immense congregation. Of that I am quite certain; but God forbid that, in order to gain popularity, an immense congregation, and perhaps an immense income to boot, I should ever lower by a single hair's breadth the standard of intelligence and purity to which we have already attained.

With reference to the same subject, Mr. Anderson wrote to Dr. Wm. Brown on Jan. 2nd, 1846:—

Rose Hill, you are already aware, is in the parish of Metcalfe—so called in honour of our last Governor—in the county of Surrey. It is the only station connected with the Scottish Missionary Society, or with the Jamaica Presbytery, in the county. It is well surrounded by churches, or houses and companies of people called churches. Within a range of seven miles there are no fewer than twelve churches, not including Cedar Valley station, which is at present in connection with Rose Hill. But, alas! with all its churches, I cannot imagine that there is in the island any district where pure gospel doctrine and pure gospel church discipline are more needed than in this. Many of the so-called churches in Jamaica do no good—they do much harm. A very small amount of religious attainment amply satisfies the slothful carnal mind; and it is a task of immense difficulty to get the grossly ignorant to become learners, and the irreligious to repent and change their mode of life, when they call themselves members of a church. We have got some most accommodating churches—churches which, if not at this moment, yet the other day, would give baptism to an adult for a good dram and half a dollar; churches which, at this hour, administer the ordinance of baptism to the children of parents not only grossly ignorant, but living in open fornication; churches which sell the Lord's Supper for a shilling a head! It is, I should think, less difficult to bring the truths of the gospel to bear on the minds of downright heathens than to obtain an entrance for it into the minds of those who have embraced a mere perversion of Christianity — who, being partakers of the external symbols of Christianity, and apparently resting on these for salvation, have it in their power to say in reply to faithful warning and exhortation, "I am a member of------church." ... Of the twelve churches referred to as being within seven miles of Rose Hill, nine may be struck off the list as being lamentably defective either in affording instruction or in administering discipline, or in both. The other three stations referred to are—Carron Hall, seven miles N.W.; Elliot, six miles N.E.; Brainerd, six or seven miles S.E.; and I may perhaps add Cedar Valley, six miles S.W.

In regard to his own and Mrs. Anderson's labours he wrote:—

My partner and I have abundance of labour here. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, we have a school of about ninety children. Wednesday evening I go to any neighbouring settlement and preach or catechise. Friday forenoon I visit. On Friday afternoon we have an adult school and singing meeting. On Saturday A.M. I prepare for Sabbath. Saturday P.M. I meet candidates for Communion. Saturday evening and Sabbath morning I prepare for public worship.

To his sister he wrote: "I have not much time, you perceive, for writing discourses;" and, continuing on a Saturday evening, after the labours of the day were over, he described what the "anxious toil" of the following day would be:—

To-morrow is to you a day of rest—to your distant brother it is a day of anxious toil. I rise at six, run over my discourses in church ; family worship and breakfast from half-past eight to a quarter past nine. At ten Mrs. A. has Sabbath school in church of about seventy children, and I have an advanced class in the house. From eleven till half-past twelve public worship. From one till about three public worship, and after this a Sabbath school of the whole congregation. By this time I am sufficiently tired, though sometimes able to preach an evening sermon at any neighbouring place. The mere labour I do not feel oppressive, but the thought that my message is to every hearer either "a savour of life unto life, or a savour of death unto death," is a source of anxiety which I cannot describe. Another source of uneasiness is, that when I begin to catechise the sons and daughters of Africa on the message which they have heard, I often find that they have not understood "massa's buckra " at all.

With reference to Mr. and Mrs. Anderson's life and work at Rose Hill, Miss Mary Stuart says:—

Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were very much beloved by the people; and they loved their people, and gave themselves wholly to them and to Christ's work among them.

Soon after they were settled at Rose Hill I was taken into the family as a daughter, and became Mr. Anderson's assistant in school, [In 1851 Miss Mary Stuart was placed in charge of the school al Friendship.] for Mr. Anderson continued to teach school as long as he remained there. Mrs. Anderson had a great man)' duties to attend to. She had several girls in training in the house, but always assisted with the sewing in school, and took Mr. Anderson's place in school whenever he was called away by other duties. Besides, she had all the cares and the many, many things a missionary's wife has to do. One who has not been in the mission field and seen for oneself can scarcely conceive of it. How they ever did so much was always a mystery to me.

Besides the school teaching and all the other meetings, at all of which there was teaching, there were several advanced scholars who had left school to work, but who came to Mr. Anderson once or twice a week to recite their lessons in preparation for the Academy. [The Monlego Bay Academy.] Mrs. Anderson assisted him in all these duties. In addition, she had meetings with the women and girls, assisting them and teaching them.

There were man)' calls on their hospitality. Travellers stopped for a night's rest and refreshment. Sometimes they entertained "angels unawares." A missionary from India staved two days with us, and gave us a glimpse of the work in India. Those were busy, happy days at Rose Hill, but the)' passed all too quickly.

In 1845, Mr. and Mrs. Clohan were evidently thinking of emigrating to America, which they afterwards did; for in a letter to them, of date Oct. 3rd, Mr. Anderson asked:—

What of Maryland? I cannot engage to go there, even were you there, lest I should be lynched ; but you could come to Jamaica and return for about 10 sterling.

Mr. Anderson lived to visit the United States, on more than one occasion, when all danger of lynching was over.

In the same letter Mr. Anderson referred to his first illness in Jamaica:—

I had a smart attack of fever a few weeks ago, which kept me in bed on Sabbath, and left me for two Sabbaths unable for more than half the usual amount of my labours. I must try, however, to do full duty to-morrow. Late—so, Good-night.

Monday, Oct. 5.—Got through yesterday's labours, but not without difficulty. Have a sore throat this morning. On the day I got better from my late fever, Mrs. A. was knocked down by a similar attack. She also is getting better. But we are both very feeble. I was in bed exactly eight days—lay down on Wednesday evening, 9th Sept., could not get up till the evening of Wednesday, 16th. It was the first fever worth speaking of that I have ever had, and oh, how gently did our Heavenly Father deal with me!

In reviewing a year of peculiar interest to him and Mrs. Anderson, Mr. Anderson wrote to Dr. Brown, on Jan. 2nd, 1846:—

The past year has been to me one of deep interest. During its course I have been led by Providence from one field of labour, and have been introduced to another, there to discharge the high but awfully solemn duties of the gospel ministry. When my mind reverts to the past, I find much occasion for deep humility and ardent gratitude: when I contemplate the future, I feel that I ought to labour more for God—to depend more on Him—and to expect more from Him than I have ever yet done.

My labours here, since August, have been divided between the church and the school. Latterly, I have had to attend also to Cedar Valley people.

The Sabbath congregation increases slowly but steadily. There has been but one death in the congregation during the year. It was that of Mr. Greenwood, a much-respected elderly English gentleman. . . . He gave good evidence that, being justified by faith, he had obtained peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Ie died on Saturday, August 9th. On the Sabbath evening I preached at his funeral (Sabbath funerals are often works of necessity in this climate) concerning the "judgment to come," to a large and attentive audience. The deceased had been admitted to full communion with the Church in the month of April. He is the first communicant belonging to Rose Hill church who has gone to give in his account, and, I hope I may add, gone to the enjoyment of heavenly bliss.

The congregation have raised during the year, including school fees, about 80 in money. For the new dwelling-house which they intend to erect they have given 320 days' labour, the value of which amounts to about 24.

Since Mr. Preston left Cedar Valley the people have been like sheep without a shepherd, sometimes going to Carron Hall, sometimes coming here, and most frequently remaining at home and attending a meeting held by the teacher. By Mr. Cowan's advice, they have connected themselves with the church here, as this is nearer to them than Carron Hall. I consider their connection with this church merely as a temporary arrangement. Whenever a catechist arrives among them—and I trust that God will soon provide one for them—they will, of course, cease to come here. The strong are well able to attend here in good weather, but it is too far for the old and the weak.

Cedar Valley people have raised during the year, 40, 10s.10d. There are belonging to that station—

In full communion ...... 57
Catechumens (I suppose about) ... 20
At school, about ....... 60
Total 137

These, added to the 276 at Rose Hill, will make 413, more or less, connected at present with the church here.

Since the adhesion of Cedar Valley people (indeed, it took place only last month) the weather has been wet, and the roads very bad. For a few weeks back the Sabbath congregation has ranged between 200 and 300.

The people are not working this week, and I am embracing the opportunity of visiting all in the district, and talking with them in their own dwellings.


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