William and Louisa
Anderson Part III -
Old Calabar Period, 1849-1889, & Closing Years, 1889-1895
Arrival of Rev. Zerub
Baillie-Native Affairs—Consular Intervention Death of Rev. Samuel Edgerley,
senior—Furlough of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson—Address at Missionary Meeting of Synod
The arrival of the Rev. Zerub Baillie on June 22,
1856, was a valuable addition to the staff, and lightened Mr. Anderson's work
considerably. Shortly after his advent Mr. Anderson wrote:—
Mr. Baillie is getting on exceedingly well. He is
just the man for Old Calabar—strong-bodied, sober-minded, energetic, contented,
and cheerful. lie is quite a favourite with the Duke Town people, both old and
young, bond and free. Hundreds of the people, ladies as well as gentlemen, have
visited him, to see his chemical apparatus and operations, many of which have
filled them with astonishment. His medical knowledge, experience, and skill
recommend him powerfully to the people. He promises fair to be a great blessing
both to the Mission and to the country.
Mr. Baillie relieved Mr. Anderson of the burden
of the afternoon work at school, and he wrote regarding the Mission family at
I am exceedingly comfortable here with Mr. and
Mrs. Anderson. Mrs. A. anticipates my every want, and is a most agreeable,
pleasant person. They have a large family (I think about twelve or thirteen) of
native children, who have no other home. They are trained up to habits of
industry and cleanliness, and it is a pleasant thing to hear them, morning and
evening, repeating passages and praying in their own tongue. On the Sabbath
evening all give an account of what they have heard at the various meetings
during the day. Some of them have memories which would put to the blush many
children in Scotland of a similar age.
In his station Report for 1856, Mr. Anderson
mentions that Mr. Baillie, since his arrival, had been actively and zealously
engaged along with himself in carrying on the work, and that the Rev. Samuel
Edgerley, who also resided at Duke Town, had been engaged with the Mission
press. The following details are taken from the Report:—
Mr. Baillie, Mr. Haddison, and I have held on an
average three meetings each on the morning of the Lord's day. Mrs. Anderson and
Miss Barty have also together held meetings with the women in several yards. I
should suppose that the word is spoken to about three hundred souls. . . .
The English service at two P.M., conducted by Mr.
Edgerley, Mr. Baillie, and myself, has been attended by upwards of one hundred,
including children. A few from the ships in the river have been present with
great regularity. The psalmody has been admirably conducted by Dr. Hewan.
The Sabbath school, which is held from three to
four, has been attended by from sixty to eighty. All the agents take a part in
conducting these classes; and whilst they are being taught in the church I have
an advanced class in my own house.
The Wednesday evening prayer meeting, conducted
chiefly by Mr. Edgerley, Mr. Baillie, and myself, has been well attended. The
exercises are devotional, expository, and catechetical. At this meeting we have
gone over the history of the Apostle Paul, Acts xvii.-xxviii., the whole of our
Lord's Parables, and the questions of the Shorter Catechism, from 91st to 107th,
and 1st to 22nd.
On Thursday evening Mrs. Anderson has a class of
women, whom she has been instructing in the elementary doctrines of the gospel.
The only constant attendants have been the few Sierra Leone people who reside on
the Mission Hill.
The attendance at the week-day school during the
first six months ranged from twenty to forty, and during the second six months
from sixty to seventy; but eighty have been frequently present. The most of
these have been moving on satisfactorily. Miss Barty, J. Haddison, and I have
shared in the labours of the school during the whole year; and Mr. Baillie, who
is a great accession to the Mission, since his arrival has well done his part in
The story of the work is carried on by the
following extracts from Mr. Anderson's Journal:—
Jan. 6, 1857-—Heard to-day of several murders
having been committed at Old Town on account of the death of Otu George. This is
a direct violation of the treaty made with Mr. Hutchinson about a year ago.
8.—An opportunity offering, and having full proof
that several persons have been put to death at Old Town, 1 communicated
information respecting the same to H.B.M.'s Consul at Fernando Po.
30.—Saw a barbarous flogging inflicted on an
unoffending young woman near Henshaw Town. Protested strongly against the
practice of Egbo runners flogging those who are guilty of no crime. I felt the
more at liberty to speak to all parties concerned, as the chief actor in the
bloody for it was bloody transaction was one of my old scholars. Though I felt
bound some months ago to state formally to the native gentlemen that I did not
write about their Egbo affairs to Queen Victoria, 1 now felt it needful to say
that people of all countries and of all colours, who should hear of such
occurrences, would cry "Shame!" on account of some of their foolish and cruel
customs. II.M.S. Merlin arrived in the evening.
Feb. 1, Sabbath. — One of our little adopted and
baptized daughters left us this evening after a brief illness. Poor little
sufferer! But she is now in far better keeping than ours. "Of such is the
kingdom of God."
Not long after she "fell asleep" the soul of
another was driven from Old Calabar into the world of spirits; but what a
contrast in life and in death between the helpless infant and the hardened
murderer! The murderer referred to was called Young Antika. He was the eldest
son of the late Antika Cobham. One of the numerous cold-blooded murders
perpetrated by him is reported in the United Presbyterian Missionary Record for
March 1847, p. 43. How many atrocities in the way of murdering and mutilating he
has committed between 1846 and 1856, I cannot tell. On a Sabbath evening in
September last, he killed one of his wives at one blow. On my representing to
his uncle, H. Cobham, now head of the Cobham family, that such a monster ought
not to be allowed to walk at large, the reply was, "It only be wife he kill; no
palaver live for that." Henry's views of matters were afterwards changed,
however, when the same pest went about with a loaded musket watching his
opportunity to shoot him. The blood - people in the plantations had also got
information of the murder of the wife, who, it appears, had been a connection of
some of the leaders of that fraternity, and they were clamorous in their demands
that the murderer should be delivered into their hands, to be by them put to
death. The Cobham family declined to do this, so that the blood-people put their
plantations under ban—would allow no Cobham Town person to go to the
plantations—would allow no produce to be brought to Cobham Town. A deputation of
blood-men came to Cobham Town last night or this morning, and in order to make
"palaver set," it was agreed by both parties that the murderer should undergo
the esere ordeal, with I believe; a tacit understanding that, should it fail,
other measures should be taken to ensure death. The esere took effect, but ere
it had time to cause death—all parties concurring—a rope was adjusted round the
dying man's neck, and, being hung up thereby to the roof-tree of the
palaver-house, which is at once the hall of judgment and the place of execution,
the soul was hurried into the presence of the Righteous Judge.
Monday, 2.—It may be right here to jot down that
I heard nothing of the execution of Young Antika till to-day, though we arc so
near Cobham Town. I may also state that I do not journalise on the Sabbath,
though events occurring on that day are frequently, in my mem., entered under
date of "Sabbath." This I do, considering that it adds to the perspicuousness of
a journal to have the events of the clay recorded under the date of the
occurrence, whatever be the time of their entry. On expressing to H. Cobham my
regret that his nephew had been condemned and executed on the Sabbath, he
excused himself on the ground that the clay was far spent ere their judicial
procedure was begun, and had he not heard God's word in the morning?
The Consul held a meeting this morning in Old
Town mission-house, in presence of Mrs. Sutherland, Dr. Hew an, Mr. Baillie, and
myself, with the headmen of Old Town. The individual chiefly implicated in the
murders professed ignorance as to the nature of the treaty made with the Consul
a year ago, and pleaded that he had not killed any person, seeing that it was
under the ordeal of the escre that the persons had died. As it appeared that
Efium Cobham, the acknowledged head of the town, had had no hand whatever in the
administration of the escre, and as he and all parties pledged themselves not to
allow such a thing again, the Consul judged it best to allow the matter to drop.
He felt we all felt—that were he to make any violent demonstration in regard to
the matter, serious though it was, the Old Town people would, probably be afraid
to rebuild their town, and be led to feel and act like a band of outlawed
murderers; whereas, were they to rebuild and reoccupy their town, they would be
more accessible than at present to the influences of civilisation and
Feb. 27.—-This day finished a translation into
Efik of Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews. Have found the exercise of translating
this important portion of Holy Writ both pleasant and profitable.
March 17.—Witnessed a good many of the funeral
rites of the natives this afternoon. The deceased had been nurse to Antaro
Young. The coffin, a large chest, 7 feet long, 3 or 4 broad, and 3 or 4 deep,
was placed under a sort of canopy, and around it marched, and sometimes danced,
a band of women, for about an hour at a time. Native instruments of music (or
rather of noise) were being played all the time, while the hired mourners played
their parts most vigorously. Thinking, I suppose, that it would vary the
entertainment somewhat, Antaro requested me to "read burial service in English."
I expressed my readiness to conduct a service in Efik, provided he would command
quiet and attention. This did not suit his taste, however, and he would not
consent to my ''speaking without a book." Finally he agreed to send a boy for my
Bible, and I agreed to say or read a few words both in English and Efik. I
accordingly spoke a few words on the all-important concerns of eternity in both
languages; but, from the strong drink which had been freely circulated, I soon
began to fear that 1 was breaking the rule laid down in Matthew vii. 6.
28.— It is with deep sorrow that I am constrained
to record that the greater portion of Duke Town gentlemen went this afternoon to
the neighbourhood of Parrot Island, and there sacrificed a poor albino girl.
Some say that such sacrifice is made to Ndem Efik, to make him bring plenty
ships to the country, while others say that the rite is intended to keep away
sickness from the town. How Satan does manage to deceive men ! 1 suppose that
some have faith that the observance will lead to the former result, and others
that it will lead to the latter. Have not heard of any sacrifice of the kind
being made since 1851. I am glad to be informed that Cobham Town, Henshaw Town,
and Creek Town have had nothing whatever to do with the matter.
30.—A Duke Town gentleman, Edem Oku by name, who
took an active part in the murderous ceremonial of the 28th, was this day
summoned, without a moment's warning, to his final account. Without any apparent
cause, he suddenly dropped down dead. A few of his former companions seem to be
a good deal impressed by the solemn dispensation. Mr. Baillie and I are taking
advantage of the event, and improving it as we best can, as a lesson to
survivors to stand in readiness to meet their God.
March 3.— In company with all the brethren I
visited Ikorofiong, or Upper Ekrikok. I had never been up the river farther than
Ikoneto, so that the scenery was new to me. We had a very hearty reception from
the people of the town, who expressed themselves as quite willing to have a
missionary to reside among them. There are several excellent sites for
missionary premises in the immediate vicinity of the town, or rather towns. A
station here would form a fine stepping-stone to the Egbo Shan' country, on the
confines of which, I believe, the town we visited stands. Probably the
agricultural population of that region would be more ready to receive the word
of truth, having less to distract their minds than their commercial brethren in
April 10.—The eleventh anniversary of the
commencement of the Mission was celebrated at Creek Town. This was the second
time there had been public services, the first being at Duke Town the previous
year. Mr. Waddell says: "The services were conducted by myself, with a few words
explanatory, and a hymn. Mr. Edgerley followed with a prayer in English. Mr.
Anderson prayed both in English and in Efik, and preached the anniversary sermon
in English, a very appropriate and excellent discourse, from Acts xxii. 22,23.
Mr. Goldie followed with an address in Efik; and Mr. Baillie concluded with
prayer, a hymn in Efik, and the benediction."
The following are from Mr. Anderson's Journal:
April 14.—Went towards Efut in the w\\. Found
Efut itself to be too far for me, but had two cheering little meetings of a
family kind at settlements about midway between this and Efut. Little Andrew
Somerville, who accompanied me, read in our little Efik Catechism, with great
fluency, to both parties, which appeared to astonish them not a little. At one
of the places I told the family who he was, and how he had come under my care.
It turned out that several of the wives of the household had been intimate with
his mother,—they had never till to-day heard of her child's preservation, visit
to England, etc., so that they smote upon their breasts in great wonderment and
pleasure. They then subjected his face to a complete investigation, tracing, as
I understood, the lineaments of their departed friend in his features.
Sabbath, 26. — H.M.S. Firefly came up the river
shortly after midday. When she first appeared, she was mistaken for the mail
steamer. In the P.M. we were very happy to have our Consul, Captain Davies, and
a number of the officers of the Firefly worshipping with us in our humble
sanctuary. By acting thus, gentlemen bearing Her Majesty's commission can
cheaply and greatly forward the good cause at the different mission stations
which they visit.
28.—At a meeting this afternoon, called by the
Consul at the Duke's house, for the discussion of sundry matters, I was
delighted to see the high ground taken by the Consul, in protesting to the Duke
and his superstitious fraternity, against some of their barbarous practices—
especially against the sacrifice of the albino girl, near Parrot Island, on the
28th ult. I trust that his remonstrances will do good.
Mrs. Edgerley returned to Calabar, accompanied by
her son, Mr., afterwards the Rev. Samuel H. Edgerley, arriving on 30th July
1856. Mr. Edgerley, senior, died at Duke Town on the 28th May 1857. Mr. Anderson
wrote regarding his illness and death as follows:—
Mr. Edgerley had a rather severe attack of
illness about the beginning of May, but he had got pretty well over it by the
middle of the month. So well was he as to be able to step over and spend the
greater portion of a day at our house. About the 22nd of the month his illness
returned. By the 25th it was evident that it might terminate in death. ... I
visited Mr. E. daily, sometimes twice or thrice a day, during his illness. I
frequently prayed with him, and repeated to him promises of Scripture and verses
of hymns. . . . He gradually sank till the evening of the 28th. On that evening
was held our weekly prayer meeting. The questions of the Shorter Catechism under
consideration that evening (in usual course) were, "What benefits do believers
receive from Christ at death?" and "What at the resurrection?" I had just
finished catechising on these questions when Mr. Baillie was sent for by Dr.
Hewan. I feared that Mr. K. was worse. I had already read out to be sung the
Christian's dying song—
"My race is run, my
warfare's o'er," etc.
We had sung two verses when Mr. Baillie came and
whispered to me, "You had better finish; Mr. Edgerley is at his last." I
intimated this to the meeting, and we joined in earnest prayer for the departing
spirit. Accompanied by others, I proceeded to the chamber of death. Mrs. E.
requested me to pray. I prayed—for what else could one pray at such a
season?—that our friend might have a speedy and safe passage across the Jordan,
and a glorious entrance into the heavenly Canaan. The breathing became shorter
and shorter, and somewhere about eight o'clock of that Thursday evening all
became still. . . . There were standing around that bed the widow and the two
children of the departed, Mrs. Anderson, Miss Barty, Mr. Baillie, Dr. Hewan, and
myself. . . .
On Friday, May 29th, in compliance with a wish
which the deceased had expressed while yet with us, his remains were committed
to the dust near the spot where two other brethren "rest in their beds." And
there repose in dreamless sleep till the resurrection morning, all the
three—Jameson, Sutherland, and Edgerley.
The Rev. John Edmond, Glasgow, wrote an ode to
their memory, entitled "The First Three," from which a stanza or two may be
"We have buried our dead, dear to
Christ, in thy sand,
The redemption of Afric believing to see!
For we bought our Machpelah, a pledge for the land,
When we laid in thy bosom the first of the three.
Now the bond we had fastened in love and in trust
Death has riveted thrice—who would sunder the chain?
The voice of the fallen ones even from their dust
Cries Onward, still onward, Messiah must reign.
These three, these the first: Who will step where they lie?
Close not up your thinned ranks yet, ye warriors afield!
Who will go? shall be answered with, Lord, here am I;
And the breach in your phalanx anon shall be healed.
Who will follow to death? Who will follow to glory?
Who will spend to win souls in the wars of the Lamb?
Their names shall be woven in the lines of the story
That shall tell how He conquered the kingdoms of Ham.
With your shields, or upon them ! cried matrons of Greece,
As they sent forth their sons for their country's defence:
Shall the patriot dare more than the preacher of peace?
Shall our faith be called coward? our love a pretence?
To the rescue, young men! ye are brave, ye are strong!
With the Cross for your ensign, the word for your sword!
Till from Niger to Nile burst the dark lands to song,
When the sons of the Ethiop are sons of the Lord!"
That is the spirit in which to point the moral of
the deaths of missionaries. Let the appeal be to the heroism of the youth of the
Church and to the spirit of self-sacrifice in the parents; but let it not be
chilled by a policy of fear of climatic risks, commercialism, and expediency on
the part of those who are charged with finding spheres for those who give
themselves to the work, and with the duty of encouraging them in the midst of
their toils and trials, sicknesses and sorrows, until they pass beyond praise or
blame into the presence of Him who sees not as man sees, and accepts service
willed to be given as well as work done.
Mr. Edgerley left behind him a widow who
devotedly carried on the work as long as she was able, and who died in 1874; a
son, who has written his name in the annals of Calabar and in the hearts of the
natives, not only at the stations in which he laboured, but of the tribes he was
among the first to visit; and a daughter, who, after forty-two years' loving
labour among the women and children of Calabar, has recently retired from active
service amid the regrets of fellow-workers and of natives alike. The connection
of the Edgerley family with Calabar thus covers the first fifty years of its
In a letter dated Liverpool, 14th July 1857, Mr.
Anderson says: —
In compliance with the advice of all my brethren
in Old Calabar, and with the urgent and oft-repeated in-. junctions, cautions,
and remonstrances of our esteemed medical attendant, Dr. Hewan. Mrs. A. and I
embarked in the mail steamer Camiace on the 31st of May, and after a very
pleasant passage we reached this place on the 9th instant. It was judged by the
brethren, and felt by ourselves, that we needed a change of clime for a season,
for the recruiting of health and the prolongation of life. We have both been
greatly invigorated by the voyage, although, while on the deep, Mrs. A. had a
very sharp attack of fever, and I had several touches of ague.
At the Annual Missionary Meeting of the Synod on
May 5th, 1858, Mr. Anderson gave an address in which he pleaded the claims of
Old Calabar and the twenty or thirty millions on the West Coast of Africa. Only
the summary, which appeared in the June number of the United Presbyterian
Magazine, can be given here. He began by saying that he would not detract from
the claims of India or other fields,—"The field is the world,"— and proceeded:—
While one human being remains uninstructcd in
divine things, the missionary work is unaccomplished. The Church might do more,
should do more, shall do more. for her Lord, than she has ever yet done. In
behalf of Old Calabar and the adjacent countries, he urged—
1. Their necessities. The region is one of the
darkness and shadow of death. The darkness is like that of Egypt of old—it may
be felt. The inhabitants know nothing of the way of salvation. But the
inhabitants of that country, as of other heathen lands, are not merely a band of
unfortunates, but a company of criminals—an army of rebels, of mutineers; and
these rebels against the best Sovereign trample under foot all His laws. Would
that the Church were as patriotic as the world ! Down with the mutiny ! And,
blessed be God, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, though mighty for the
pulling down of strongholds. Remember the curse of Meroz: "Curse ye bitterly the
inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord against the
He urged—2. Their wrongs. How many cargoes of
slaves have been carried down from the Old Calabar River, in British ships, to
British colonies, there to toil on, on, on, —no rest in prospect but the
grave,—for the enriching of British subjects? "Britain's guilt and Afric's
wrongs"— neither the one nor the other can be cancelled till, in return for the
injuries inflicted on poor Africa, she be put, by Britons, in possession of the
best of blessings.
He urged in behalf of Old Calabar—3. Its
importance. It is the key of a large and densely populated region. From Calabar
access would be had to Kororofa, Adamawa, Bautshi, and Hamarua (Muri), and other
regions, where teeming millions await from our hands the bread of life.
He urged—4. The encouragements received during
the past twelve years. We have now the confidence of the people. We have
prevailed on them to abandon some of their most horrid and barbarous rites and
customs, such as human sacrifices on the death of free persons. The murder of
twin children is now forbidden among his own people by the most influential
chief in the country, King Eyo Honesty. Infanticide has been checked. The ordeal
of the esere (poison bean) has been greatly modified. The barbarities which in
former times were wont to be practised on slaves, such as cutting off ears,
pulling teeth, scorching hands and feet, etc., have been in great measure
abandoned. We have now command of the language of the people. Four of the
missionaries, besides several of the ladies of the Mission, are able to
communicate instruction to the people without the aid of interpreters. Several
very useful books have been printed in the Efik tongue. The whole of the New
Testament has been translated into that tongue, though not yet printed. The only
literature in the country is a Christian literature. Thirty-six individuals have
been received into Church fellowship. Nearly all are giving evidence of having
passed from death unto life. There is very little inducement yonder to make any
hypocritical profession of religion. We have three chapels and four schools, all
in active operation. A goodly band of native youths can read in their own tongue
and in English too) the Scriptures of truth. When the members of our churches
go, as they frequently do, for months at a time, to the district plantations and
palm-oil markets, they carry with them their books, cease from labour and from
merchandise on the Sabbaths, hold prayer meetings among themselves, invite
others to join them in their service; and arc thus becoming pioneers of truth,
heralds of mercy to the surrounding places. Another claim for Calabar is, a few
graves yonder. The requiem of three of the sleepers has been sung by your own
poet, Edmond—Jameson, Sutherland, Edgerley. We have taken possession of the
country by having secured therein a burial-place. "The kingdom of heaven is like
unto leaven." "No," say some of the servants; "missionaries and the Scriptures
should operate like the lightning —shake old-established systems of superstition
as by earthquake—carry off every evil, political and social, from the face of
the earth, as by the sweep of the tornado and the hurricane; yea, they should be
as the firebrand cast into the powder magazine." "No," says the Master; "I will
be as the dew unto Israel, working majestically, but calmly and silently." "The
remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as
the showers upon the grass," softly, gently diffusing their hallowed and
hallowing influences. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven," working
slowly, gradually, surely. Let the watchword of the Church be, Onwards! To
proceed swiftly, with comfort and honour, we must proceed surely. Our work is
one of faith, of patience, of labour, of perseverance—only begun. The Master
sees and notes every honest effort made for the advancement of His glory; and,
labouring for Him here or elsewhere, we may rest assured that He will prosper
these efforts, and that in "that day" they shall be neither forgotten nor
Dr. Adam of Liverpool says: "Mr. Anderson's
speech was allowed on all hands to be the speech of the evening. I remember
reading it in the Scotsman. ... I perfectly remember being thrilled by some fine
While Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were at home, the
Rev. Alexander Robb, M.A., who had laboured for four years at Goshen, Jamaica,
was appointed to Calabar for the purpose of translating the Old Testament, and
revising all existing translations, of superintending the work of translation,
and of training any promising young men who might be found suitable for the work
of the Mission. He and his wife (the daughter of the late Rev. Wm. Jameson)
sailed from Liverpool on January 21, 1858, and arrived in Old Calabar on
February 26. A teacher for Creek Town was also found in the person of Mr. Wm.
Timson, who, with his wife and child, sailed on March 20; and W. C. Thomson, who
had been ordained at home, left with his wife and arrived at Duke Town on May
25, in time to witness the final departure from Calabar of the Rev. Hope
Masterton Waddell and his wife, the pioneer missionaries, who were retiring
after sixteen years' labours in Jamaica and twelve in Calabar. Mr. Waddell has
graphically described his labours in these fields in his fascinating volume
entitled Twenty-Nine Years in the West Indies and in Central Africa. His name is
associated with the Training Institute at Duke Town. His wife survived till
1894, and he himself lived till the Mission had entered on its jubilee year,
dying on April 18, 1895. Mr Goldie's last letter to me, dated Creek Town, May
30, 1895, contains the following reference to Mr. Waddell's labours and death:
"He has been blessed with a long, devoted, and successful life in the mission
field, and he has now got the call for which he was waiting. Calabar Mission
will be his monument."
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