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William and Louisa Anderson
Part III - Old Calabar Period, 1849-1889, & Closing Years, 1889-1895
Chapter 12


Calabar Slavery and Slave-holding in relation to Membership in the Church

Mr. Anderson appears to have been the first of the missionaries to realise the difficulties that lay in the way of the admission to Church membership of those who by their position in Calabar society were slave-holders, and by Calabar law could not divest themselves of that character. At any rate, he was the first to move in the matter, and he and Mr. Somerville had to bear the brunt of the controversy which agitated the home Church.

The case of David King, a young freeman of Duke Town, whose baptism had already been recorded, and that of other applicants, led to the question of their admission being referred by the Calabar Committee to the Board of Missions or to the Synod. The Committee on Foreign Missions remitted the matter to a Sub-Committee, and a Report prepared by Mr. Somerville, the Foreign Secretary, was unanimously adopted by the Committee on 2nd Jan. 1855, and ordered to be published in the Record. Its publication "led," says Dr. Somerville in his Autobiography, "to intense excitement in the Church." A full treatment of the subject belongs properly to a history of the Mission; but Mr. Anderson's name and the case of the Duke Town converts came so prominently before the Church, that his share in the proceedings must get due recognition. Besides, the question of domestic slavery, not only in relation to Church life, but in relation to the future of Calabar in its new political condition as a portion of the Niger Coast Protectorate, is one of present-day importance in East as well as in West Africa, as the recently issued very interesting Correspondence respecting Slavery in the Zanzibar Dominions (Africa, No. 7, 1896), where the total abolition of domestic slavery is imminent, bears witness.

A few sentences from Dr. Somerville's Autobiography will most fitly introduce Mr. Anderson's communications to the Mission Board :—" When the gospel began to take effect in Calabar, and when those who had slaves applied for baptism, the missionaries very properly asked the Committee what they were to do in such a case, seeing that the Synod [in 1849] had declared, in its remonstrances sent to America, that it could hold no fellowship with Churches that countenanced or connived at slavery. In answer to this question I wrote a long and elaborate paper, which filled nearly the whole of the Record for February 1855. This document stated the circumstances which gave rise to the question ; the laws of Old Calabar with regard to slavery, according to which it was shown that slaves cannot be set free; the principles applicable to slavery as existing in a Christian nation, and as existing in a heathen country, and the views which the Scriptures throw on these two states; and suggested a declaration or engagement, virtually liberating the slaves, which, if the converts accepted, they might be admitted to the fellowship of the Church " (p. 190).

Extracts from the paper, showing the part taken by Mr. Anderson, and also a summary of a later paper explaining and justifying the course he had adopted of admitting three young men to membership, anticipating the decision by Board and Synod, will now be given:—

I. Documents sent to the Suh-Committee

The first was an extract from the minutes of the Old

Calabar Committee:—

Creek Town, Dec. 6, 1853.—Inter alia, Mr. Anderson reported that several young men who are proprietors of slaves have given in their names as candidates for admission into the Church, and expressed his doubts as to the propriety of admitting them while they continued such. The slave question in this country is involved in difficulties, and the Committee would earnestly implore either from the Board of Missions or the Synod of the United Presbyterian Church, the settlement of this question—Should slave-holders be received into Church fellowship?

The second communication was an extract from a letter of Mr. Anderson, dated Duke Town, March 6, 1854:—

I feel anxious for a reply to the question proposed by the Committee here, in their minute of Dec. 6, to Board or Synod—"Should slave-holders be received into the fellowship of the Church?" We have several candidates for baptism here, amiable, intelligent, and apparently sincere in their desire to embrace and profess Christianity, but they are slave-holders. I do not feel at all free to admit them into the Church whilst they sustain that relation. The question is one of difficulty and delicacy. Every free person here must either hold slaves or do his work with his own hands. We have no free labouring population. liven our manumitted domestics are not considered free. Calabar law recognises them not, save as our slaves. Now that the foundations of the Church are being laid in this land, it is of importance that everything connected with the work be sound. I think I foresee that, if slaveholders be now admitted into the Church without some distinct provisions such as those I am about to suggest, the discussion of the slave question at a future day . . . may not only convulse the Church here, but agitate the U.P. Church at home. I have been thinking that a compromise of this kind might be entered into with slave-holders applying for Communion. Let a promise be exacted from each:—1. That he will pay his people properly for the work they perform. 2. That he will permit them to enjoy religious instruction. 3. That, should any of them wish to leave his service, he will employ no coercive means to retain them. 4. That he will sell none of his people unl^s incorrigible offenders—such as desperate thieves and burglars. Perhaps another demand might be that he will on no account whatever maim, mutilate, scorch, etc., any of his people. Cutting off ears, extracting teeth, half-roasting hands and feet, are getting quite common now. I think the question too momentous to be left to the judgment of each individual missionary.

The Sub-Committee had also before it a copy of the subjoined declaration drawn up by Mr. Anderson, and signed by three young men whom he admitted into the fellowship of the Church:—

Believing that there is neither male nor female, bond nor free, in Christ Jesus, I hereby promise, in the presence of the great God who rules all things, that I shall give all my servants what is just and equal for their work; that I shall consider them in the light of servants, not as property; that I shall permit and encourage them to attend on such means of religious instruction as the Church may be able to afford them; that I shall on no account maim them, pull out their teeth or cut off their ears, or allow any other to do such things to them; that I shall never sell any of them, except incorrigible offenders whose lives would be endangered by their remaining in Old Calabar; and that I shall ever act towards them as in the sight of my great Master in heaven, who, I know, shall render to every man according to his works. It shall be my constant endeavour to act towards my inferiors and my equals on the principle embodied by our Lord and Saviour in the Golden Rule.

II. Paper by the Rev. IIuch Goldie on the Nature of Calabar Slavery, the Laws relating to it, and the Conduct of the Missionaries.

Mr. Goldie was in Scotland at the time, and drew up the paper for the Sub-Committee. It is an extremely valuable statement, regarding (1) the condition of slavery in Calabar; (2) the laws affecting slavery; and (3) the position of the Mission Church with respect to it.

There is, however, a communication from Mr. Anderson, dated 27th Jan. 1855, and published in the May Record, which must be given here. The paper consists of four parts:—

I. GENERAL REMARKS

He premises—1. That he had wished the question decided long before, whether, in the existing state of society in Old Calabar, persons possessing slaves must, on that ground alone, be prevented from making a profession of Christianity.

2. That the question now presented a different aspect to him than it did when he proposed it as a subject of discussion at home. From the time he learned that the young men wer-e willing to drop the character of slaveholders, in so far as the circumstances in which they were placed rendered it possible for them to do so, he saw no necessity for his waiting for instructions from home respecting them. It never occurred to him that they would be required to do what was to them an impossibility, namely, free their slaves.

3. That though his name had been brought more prominently before the public in Scotland than that of any of his brethren, yet he and they were essentially at one in principle and practice in regard to it. He required a written declaration, they were satisfied with a verbal one ; and he reported more fully in regard to admissions than they did.

II. Nature of Calabar Slavery

1. Calabar is essentially a slave country. Slavery is engrained in the very heart of society. It pervades all its ramifications. Every person free-born is a slaveholder, and has been so from birth, for whenever a free child is brought into the world it is presented with a slave. A male child is presented with a boy, and a female child with a girl. But not only is every free-born native a slaveholder, the greater proportion of the slaves are themselves slave-holders. He is a very poor slave indeed who has not at least two or three slaves whom he can call his own. The power of the master over the bought slave is of the most absolute kind, extending to "limb and life." But there are in fact no really free people in the country, save the heads of the Egbo grades, who are, as it were, the heads of clans ; and even they are in bondage to one another. Those who are called free-born are only comparatively so. There is no word in the Efik tongue to express, in an English sense, the import of the word free. A free-born child is with them simply "Eyen isong," a child of the soil, a native; or, more emphatically, "Otuk ntan eyen isong," one who has been rubbed at his birth with Calabar earth. Egbo privileges have to be bought for or by the sons of the greatest gentlemen and most powerful kings in the country. Indeed, on Egbo days, if (so-called) free boys be found abroad—walking through the town, for instance—who have not bought, or have had bought for them, that particular grade of Egbo whose representative is in possession of the town, they are more severely flogged than even the slaves. This is done with the view of compelling their friends to buy Egbo privileges for them. The highest in the land must say of his privileges, what Claudius Lysias had to say of his (Acts xxii. 28), "With a great sum obtained I this freedom." Not one of them can say in the sense in which Paul uttered the language, "But I was free-born."

2. Slavery in Old Calabar, and in many of the neighbouring countries too, I believe, differs greatly from slavery under civilised Governments. In America, for instance, slavery and colour are closely associated. There, generally speaking, a sable hue is sufficient to debar a man from the enjoyment of freedom. ... In Old Calabar the aristocracy of the fair skin is unacknowledged—unknown. Well-behaved British subjects of the darkest complexion are considered white people here, and treated as such. . . .

There is no impassable gulf between the depths of bondage and the heights of gentlemanship, such as it is, in this country. All slaves born in Old Calabar are termed half free; the children of the half-free are sometimes termed three-quarters free, but more frequently, I think, whole free. The half-free cannot, in ordinary circumstances, be sold out of the country. More than this, they are allowed to purchase four or five of the nine different grades of Egbo. Their children may buy all the grades save one or two, which are reserved by the "proper free" for themselves.

Two of the most influential men in Duke Town, since I have become a resident here, have been men who were bought as slaves from other countries. . . . Both were permitted to buy four or five of the Egbo grades.

I would specially call attention to the following most important point of difference between slavery in the United States and slavery in Old Calabar:—In America a man may emancipate his slaves by a writ of manumission, or he may allow them to emancipate themselves by emigration to a free State; he can do so, at all events, by aiding their emigration to a free country. In Calabar ncither of these things can be done, as yet. There are no laws respecting free labourers; there is no such class of persons in the country, with the exception of a few people who have lately come hither from Sierra Leone, and who are British subjects. They, as well as a few emancipadoes about some of the mission-houses, are viewed by the laws of Calabar as white people, and not amenable to Egbo law.

Those whom I have mentioned as having been brought from other countries, and who, notwithstanding, have obtained many Egbo privileges, were stewards or confidential servants to their masters while they lived ; and on their masters' deaths, such was their standing in society and their weight of character, and such their influence arising from their wealth in slaves, that the gentlemen of the country at once received them into fellowship. But no living master can emancipate a slave. The utmost he can do for him is to purchase for him some Egbo privileges. Were a master to attempt to emancipate his slave to-day—in the English sense of the word emancipate —he would only be turning him adrift a poor, houseless, defenceless thing. The first freeman, or even slave, if physically stronger, who might fall in with him, might appropriate him; and none among the unenlightened natives would consider him a wronged man.

But there is another important element in the case— the master is held responsible for the slave's conduct. In free countries an ill-behaved servant can be summarily dismissed by his master. Not so here. Were a master here to manumit a restless, turbulent, wicked slave, and were that slave to commit murder, robbery, or any other crime, and were he not apprehended, the Egbo authorities would come on the master for damages, and might not only fine him severely, but, in the case of murder, demand that one of his innocent slaves be put to death in room of the culprit. The only thing that would relieve a quondam master of responsibility in the case supposed, would be complete evidence that he had sold the culprit to someone else, either in Old Calabar or any of the surrounding countries.

It is quite a supposable case that a master who has a turbulent, reckless, violent, incorrigible slave, may have it put to his choice by the Egbo authorities, either to sell or destroy that slave, or to deliver him up to Egbo, to be put to death.

The most interesting part of the paper, from a personal point of view, and as giving an insight into Mr. Anderson's clear-sighted, wise, and straightforward method of dealing with a question the difficulties of which could not be appreciated save by those on the spot, is:—

III. EXPLANATION OF THE CLAUSE ABOUT SELLING INCORRIGIBLE OFFENDERS

In my simplicity, I imagined that that clause would be the most easily understood and accounted for in the whole declaration. As that document has obtained a celebrity far beyond what was anticipated for it when it was prepared, I may here briefly sketch its history.

When the young men requested admission to the Church, I felt in a somewhat difficult position. ... In offering themselves for Church membership, they were only complying with the requirements of the gospel and the counsels which had been often addressed to them. I felt that I would be incurring a heavy responsibility were I to reject their application. But, on the other hand, I considered their social position. They, as well as all their equals in the country, owned slaves. I well knew the intense anti-slavery feeling of the United Presbyterian Church. In that feeling I participate as much as any man in Scotland. I frankly explained to them the state of matters, brought before them the difficulties which beset me in regard to their admission, and told them that I could not admit them unless they were willing to cease to be slave-holders in so far as Calabar law rendered this possible, and become simply masters; that thenceforth the)' must regard their slaves as servants, not as money or property, etc., explaining to them the relative duties of masters and servants. To my proposal they agreed. To talk of any formal emancipation of their slaves was, I well knew, out of the question.

The Church here has as yet but little influence over the minds of the legislators of Old Calabar. The country is in an unsettled, a transition state. The agents of the Church must move warily and gently. It would be quite an easy matter for your missionaries to make such a strong anti-slavery demonstration in any given week as would ruin all their usefulness as preachers of the everlasting gospel for many years to come. Difficulties meet us at every step. One difficulty was started when on the subject of "neither buying nor selling human beings as slaves," namely, What is to be done with a bad slave? If the gentlemen in Egbo say to us, "Either sell that slave out of the country, or give him up to die," what are we to do? My reply was, In that case, I think it were better for you to use the power which the country law puts into your hands in the saving of life than in its destruction. Sell, if that will save life. Hence originated the clause which—I think without reason—has been condemned as vitiating all the rest of the declaration.

I may here state that the idea of a written declaration did not present itself to my mind with much force till the Sabbath on which D. King was received into fellowship. It appeared to me that such a thing might be satisfactory to the Mission Board, and that the young men themselves might feel the obligations under which they came to be the more solemn and binding. It was drawn up under the exhaustion consequent on conducting four meetings on that day, and with a fifth in prospect. . . . If the Mission Board or the Synod will prepare a more satisfactory one, I think we shall be able to prevail on all the present members of the Church to adopt it, and it can be rendered imperative on members to be admitted in future to subscribe it. . . .

At the time the young men were admitted, all my brethren were absent from the country in search of health, so that I had not the benefit of their counsel. I did believe, and do believe, that over their accession to the Church angels rejoiced, however much some members of the Church on earth may have been pained by their admission. On the retrospect I see nothing to repent of. I feel cheered by the testimony of a good conscience. Even should the Mission Board or the Supreme Court of our Church be of opinion that I have erred in judgment in the matter, I shall still be able to look up and to say, "Thou knowest that in the integrity of my heart, and innocency of my hands, have I done this."

Bond and free are treated alike by your agents in church matters and in school matters. Were you to enter any of our places of worship on the Sabbath, you would be unable to distinguish bond from free among the worshippers. They sit on the same benches, and intermingle with each other freely. On Communion Sabbath they partake together of the "one bread " and of the same cup. The principle of equality is strictly carried out in school also among the young people. ... I consider it as an important means of training both classes for a new era in the history of their country. For I cannot doubt that the day is approaching—though I may not see it—when, by the blessing of the Divine Spirit, the influence of the gospel working its way, it may be, silently and gently, yet most effectually, shall revolutionise and elevate the whole of this at present distracted and degraded region of the world, and lead each man to look on every other man as a brother. In the meantime, your missionaries shrink not from preaching the gospel to the poor; they are not afraid "to preach deliverance to the captive, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound";—

"to blow The trump of freedom in the despot's ear, To tell the bruted slave his manhood high, His birthright liberty, and in his hand To put the writ of manumission, signed By God's own signature."

IV. THE RESOLUTIONS OF SYNOD IN 1849

P.S.—Feb. 8, 1855.—My attention has just been drawn to Appendix No. II. attached to Minutes of Synod of May 1849. ... To apply these resolutions to Calabar in its present condition would, I think, be marvellously like an attempt to array an infant in the dress of a full-grown man. . . . We cannot banish at once the native nomenclature for the various classes of society. The same persons may still be called slaves {ifn) in the Efik tongue, whom we call servants in the English. But if properly treated as servants, I do not see that, in the circumstances, more can be demanded. ... If the letter of ^he Synodical resolutions must, at all hazards, in all places, and in all circumstances, be adhered to, I do not see what can be done, save that our operations here be suspended sine die, and that the United Presbyterian Church limit her missionary operations, henceforth, to lands where slavery does not exist. There is, indeed, another course which might be adopted—that is, to separate what the Master has joined in the great commission, and to instruct the missionaries here to educate and disciple as many of the natives of Old Calabar as possible, but on no account to "baptize" any "in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," till the evil of slavery shall have disappeared from the country. Whether such a course would accelerate or retard the cause of freedom, I leave to wiser men to determine. It might also be a question whether your missionaries would consider it their duty to comply with any such direction.

To conclude. It is my earnest desire that both the Synod and the Mission Board may be guided to a wise and righteous decision on this most important question. I shall propose to my brethren here that we all be "instant in prayer" during the session of Synod in May next, if spared till then, for our fathers and brethren in council assembled in the distant land, that all their deliberations be guided by infinite wisdom, and that all their decisions may be much blessed for the advancement of the glory of God and the best interests of man.

When the question was brought before the Synod on Thursday, May 10th, 1855, the Rev. Andrew Somerville, the Secretary of the Mission Board, read an admirable "Paper explanatory of the Conditions on which those that held Slaves before their conversion have been admitted into the Church at Calabar." "It is enough to state," says Dr. Graham, [Andrew Somerville, D.D,: an Autobiography, edited by the Rev. W. Graham, D.D., p. 191.] " that owing to his moderate and wise pleadings, the Synod, somewhat in danger of being seriously divided, came to a satisfactory and scriptural finding, which affirmed every great principle, and solved the temporary complication."

The finding [Given in full in Goldie's Calabar, p. 179; and Dickie's Story, p. 51.] is practically a restatement of the declaration drawn up by Mr. Anderson, and exacted by him at the baptism of converts. Mr. Goldie remarks: "It may be doubted whether exacting these promises from the slave-holders by this [Synodical] pledge would make them more binding than when in substance embodied in the baptismal vows of the convert, as had been done by us, and thus solemnly made in the face of the whole congregation." Mr. Waddellx gives the rules the missionaries had drawn up prior to the Synod's decision, for the guidance of Christian masters and always inculcated, viz.:—"(1) Christians must take no part in reducing any man to slavery, nor trade in slaves. (2) Those who have slaves must treat them with justice and mercy, in the fear of God, seeking their welfare ; must give them Christian instruction, and their children school education. They must allow them to be married, and regard their marriage as sacred beyond any rights of ownership. They must not sell them except as punishment for crime, and to save their lives; must admit their right to acquire, hold, and bequeath property; and favour the making of general laws for promoting freedom in the country." And he goes on to remark: "If all slave-owners acted on these principles, which pertain essentially to Christianity and to justice, slavery would everywhere soon die out, extinguished more safely, beneficially, and perfectly than could be effected by an ecclesiastical or parliamentary enactment for enforcing immediate emancipation."

In the Report on the Administration of the Niger Coast Protectorate, 1894-95, Sir Claude M. Macdonald, the then Commissioner and Consul-General, after referring to his four years' experience of domestic slavery, and to the Consular and Native Courts now established (in the former of which master and slave appear as equals, and mentioning that the distinction between free-born and slave is more marked in Calabar than in Bonny, Opobo, and Brass), says: "I hope and believe that slavery, domestic and otherwise, will in time die a natural death in these territories " (p. 21). But as long as slaves continue to be bought in from the interior markets, the system will continue. Slavery will die a "natural" death only when all the slaveholders have become Christians, and the first principle laid down by the missionaries becomes the law of the land.

With reference to the Synodical decision, Mr. Anderson wrote on August 29th :—

We were all grateful to the Head of the Church for the decision to which (we trust) His Spirit has guided His servants in Synod assembled, in reference to the state of matters here. On Saturday, July 14th, I received the Record for June, containing the Resolution of the Synod and the Declaration to be subscribed by parties here on or before their admission to Church fellowship. As I embrace every legitimate opportunity of aiming a blow at slavery, I took the earliest opportunity, viz. the Sabbath immediately following, of reading the Declaration and other portions of the Record, making comments as I went along. The Declaration requires nothing of those in connection with the Church to which they were not previously pledged. I have not yet asked them to sign the new (the Synod's) Declaration, but intend to do so, for sake of uniformity, on the very first occasion when new members are to be admitted. It will be a happy day for Old Calabar when the majority of its legislators shall adhere to the Declaration sanctioned by Synod, for then the curse of slavery will be banished from the country.

It may satisfy some of our friends at home to be assured that should any member of the Church at this station, in my day, ever, to my knowledge, sell any of his (or her) servants, I shall not fail to communicate full information respecting the case to the Mission Board.

In his station Report for 1856, Mr. Anderson mentions two additions he made to the Declaration sanctioned by Synod:—

At our last Communion I required each member of the Church, not a British subject, to sign the Declaration sanctioned by Synod in May 1855, as a prerequisite to Communion. In copying the Declaration into the Church book, I made two slight additions to it, which I should suppose will be condemned by none and approved by some. After the words, "formerly held by me as slaves," I have added, "and all others who may hereafter stand to me in the same relation"; that is added for the purpose of including all slaves who may, according to country law, be left as an inheritance to any Church member, or such as may be awarded to him by the supreme power of the country in payment of debt, or who ma}' in any other way-be placed under his control after joining the Church. After "just and equal for their work," I have inserted, "I shall afford them every facility for entering into the marriage relation." Very few slaves of my acquaintance have as yet entered into this relation. Those members who were not present at last Communion, and all new members, not British subjects, shall be required to sign the Declaration before Communion.

As our little Church here now numbers twenty resident members in full communion, I felt it but right, some time ago, to explain to them the principles of Church government, as laid down in the New Testament and adopted by Presbyterians. As the model requires "elders in every church," we held a meeting on the last Wednesday evening of June for the election of two individuals to the office of the eldership. The harmonious choice of the Church fell on Mr. Alexander Sutherland, teacher at this station, and Mr. Peter Nicoll, merchant from Sierra Leone, who has long been a leader in the Wesleyan body there. Mr. Nicoll is a native of Egbo Shary—the mother country of Efik—and retains a considerable knowledge of his native tongue, which enables him to communicate with many here who do not understand English. Mr. Edgerley kindly agreed to act as a member of session while he remains at this station. I do not think I have yet reported to you another dash in the infant line, which was made to us a year ago. The mother was a slave belonging to Mr. Hogan, the pilot. She died when her little boy was a few months old, so, to save him from following her to the grave, Mr. Hogan brought him to Mrs. A. as a present, and he was duly installed as a member of our household. We call him Thomas Hogan, after the pilot, as it was owing to him that the child's life was preserved. He is one of the sprightliest little fellows I have ever seen.

I believe I have not yet intimated to you that we have now a church built of native material, on the top of the Mission Hill. It being ready for use, Mr. Edgerley and I conducted public worship in it, for the first time, on Sabbath, 25th February. We have met in it on Sabbath afternoons ever since, and find it much more comfortable than the schoolroom, which had been for some time too small for the congregation.

August 29, evening. — The Retrieve)-, Mr. and Mrs. Goldie and friends [Miss E. Johnstone, Miss Barty, and Mr. Archibald Hewan, surgeon] on board, all well. Thanks to Ruler of winds and waves.

In his Report of the Duke Town station for the year 1855, Mr. Anderson wrote:—

Assisted by Mr. Sutherland for seven or eight months during the year, by Mr. Goldie during the last four months of the year, and by Mr. J. Haddison during eleven months, we have been enabled to keep up, on an average, seven meetings in town each Sabbath morning, at which the gospel has been preached, prayers have been offered to God, and frequently hymns of praise sung in the Efik tongue. Several hundreds of the inhabitants of Duke Town and Cobham Town have thus heard, from Sabbath to Sabbath, what they must do to be saved. It is to be hoped that the seed sown will not be lost. At a quarter-past four o'clock, we have, on the afternoon of each Sabbath, a service in English. A few of the gentlemen from the ships in the river have attended this meeting with exemplary regularity during the year. For some months at the beginning of the year Mr. Edgerley took his turn in this service, and during the last four months Mr. Goldie has taken a part in it. A number of the native young men attend this service regularly, as also a goodly band of children. Our little schoolroom was too small for the congregation at this service, so that we had to get a new meeting-place erected. This we got done in the native style, and since February we have occupied this new place of worship, which, though of humble pretensions as to outward show, we have found to be very comfortable. The Sabbath school, which is held from 3 to 4 P.M., is attended by about sixty. The teachers have been Air. Sutherland, Mrs. Anderson, and Mr. Fladdison; for four months past Mrs. Goldie and Miss Barty have also aided in this department of labour. For some time Mrs. A. has had an interesting class of Krumen in the Sabbath school. During the hour of school I have an advanced class in the mission-house, attended by all the native Church members and candidates who can read the English Bible. These repeat to me the Shorter Catechism, psalms, hymns, texts, etc., in English. Some of the members of my class are very diligent in their preparations, and seem anxious to grow in knowledge. About half a dozen of the more intelligent of them have been studying the Companion to the Bible for some months.

The prayer meeting, on Wednesday evening, is kept up as formerly. I have a class of candidates ever)' Monday evening. The exercises are chiefly catechetical and devotional. While only candidates are required to attend this meeting.it is pleasing to see a number of the communicants regularly present, and always read)- to take part in the exercise. Mrs. A. has a class of females every Thursday evening, for their special instruction.

During the year eleven persons have been received into Church fellowship at this station ; but of these seven are among those who have returned to their native land from Sierra Leone. The other four are properly Calabarese. The baptism of three of these has already been reported. The fourth was admitted on Sabbath the 23rd December. His name is Egbo Bassy. He is one of those who came to us for protection from King Archibong in March 1849. From that time to this he has been considered by the native gentlemen as a ward of the Mission. He built a small house on the Mission ground some years ago, does a little trade with the shipping, married a wife last year, and no one in town has tried to molest him. He frequently states that he is under special obligations to God for sending the missionaries here; for to them, under God, he owes house, wife, life, everything. . . . At present two of the young men are under suspension—one for Sabbath-breaking, and the other for a violation of the Seventh Commandment. Friends at home cannot — I frequently think that even we, who are spectators of, and, indeed, actors in the conflict between darkness and light in a heathen land—cannot fully realise the immense difficulties with which our young friends have to contend, the dangers which surround then}, the snares which are read)- to entrap them at every turn and every step, and " the depths of Satan " in his machinations for their disgrace and destruction. There is One, however, who knows all, can overrule all, and baffle all; and it were well that the Church at home would carry the case of all converts from heathenism to His throne of grace.

The day-school has suffered considerably from the events and fluctuations of the year. For some months at the commencement of the year, when Mr. Sutherland went to take temporary charge of Old Town, and since September, when the Committee appointed him to the superintendence of that station, the school has been under my charge. During the latter period I have been assisted, for some time by Mrs. Goldie, for some time by Miss Johnstone, and for some time by Miss Barty. I confess, however, that I have not been able to conduct the school so efficiently as I could have wished. I had two slight attacks of fever before the burning of the mission-house, and a severe attack afterwards, which left me very feeble. I have not yet regained the vigour of body which is so useful in—indeed, essential to—the comfortable and successful management of a school. There have been in all about ninety children at school during the year. The average attendance while I have had it has been fifty. . . .

The new house sent from Leith was put up on the 1st Dec. (1855), and wc have occupied it during the most of the month. It is a very neat little edifice; but we would h ive found it much too small had we had no other habitable apartments prepared.

I have not heard either of the birth or death of any twin children. I do not think that the poison bean has been administered during the year by any of the gentlemen in this quarter, but I know of two cases in which parties took it of their own accord, in order to show that they were free from the influence of ifbt. Both cases were, happily, reported by the friends interested, and the means used by us were successful in saving the lives of the persons affected.

In the month of December I was invited, for the first time, to attend a native funeral. The deceased was an influential lady at Henshaw Town, aunt to one of the young men belonging to the church, and mother-in-law to another. I attended along with Mr. Goldie. We found a great number of people, chiefly women, making a dreadful howling, which they called mourning. The grave was dug pretty deep, some fourteen or fifteen feet, in one of the apartments of her house. The coffin was brought to the grave's mouth, and all the men listened to a short funeral service, conducted by Mr. Goldie and myself; but the women would not stop their howling. The coffin was then lowered, and we left.


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