Customs New and Old—The Year of
Old customs were dying hard, and new ones were
being established with difficulty. The visit of Consul Livingstone in the end of
1869 helped the reform movement of the women, but "ikpos," or devil-making,
still continued to be kept up, and "big days" to be engaged in.
Sabbath, July 25, 1869. — The mail steamers seem
destined to distract us a good deal Sabbath after Sabbath. The Lagos, however,
brought Mr. Lewis to us; which we felt to be a sort of compensation for the
discomposure caused by her arrival.
Sabbath, August 1.—Usual meetings and attendance.
Mr. Lewis concluded the native forenoon service, and showed that he had not
forgot his Efik amid his multifarious studies and engagements at home. lie
conducted the English service, and gave us a very suitable discourse.
Friday, 13.—An Egbo proclamation made to-day in
regard to the widows of the town. The "two or three weeks" specified by King
Archibong in January as the time after which they should all be set at liberty,
have not yet (it seems) elapsed. They are to be kept under more restraint than
ever, and are not to leave their places of imprisonment under pain of death.
Friday, Sept. 10.—In my visitations to-day at
what we call Bassy Henshaw's Town, fell in with rather an unusual spectacle
among the native population, viz., a mother surrounded by six of her children.
She sent for her husband soon after I entered, or rather, had seated myself on a
stool by the doorway, and I had a long crack with the family. I found that the
couple had had eight children, and that two of these had died in infancy. This
led me to speak of the world to which their two little ones had gone, of the
Great Shepherd who gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in His bosom,
and of what they, the parents and the other children, must do if they wished to
get to that "fine country."
Tuesday, Nov. 9. Her Majesty's ship Growler, with
Her Majesty's Consul on board, arrived. We trust that something will be done, or
at least spoken, now in behalf of our refugees, and on behalf of many still kept
as prisoners in the house of the dead.
Thursday, 11.—Consul Livingstone called a general
meeting of natives, missionaries, and merchants at King Archibong's this
morning, for the discussion of various points on which he supposed we were all
interested. The Consul spoke well on two very important matters closely
connected with the progress of the people: 1st, The evils of devil-making,
including the barbarity of compelling widows to continue for years as prisoners,
amidst discomfort and filth; and 2nd, the propriety of women going decently
dressed to market and to church. He enlarged on both points very well. The great
body of the natives present were of one mind with the Consul on both points.
King Archibong got very furious with me, as he considered me the instigator of
all the agitation made for changes in their "country fashion." He charged me
with being a great harbourer of runaways, which is in a sense true ; but he
wished it to appear that I am in the habit of sheltering bad slaves, i.e.
criminals. This led me to challenge King A. and all his supporters to name a
single criminal whom I had ever refused to give up to the authorities of the
country when required to do so. To this challenge there was not the slightest
response. As the Consul's speech was not generally understood, Mr. Goldic
generously relieved me of a difficulty by getting up and delivering, in Efik, an
excellent address against devil-making, and some other evils, of which the
Consul's statements and counsels were used only as a groundwork.
In regard to the dress-wearing, King Archibong
asked me rather sharply if I had ever known of him preventing any woman from
wearing a gown at church on Sunday. I was thankful to be able to answer, " No,
King Archibong, I have never heard that you did so; but I know that your laws
and customs are such that man}- women are afraid to put on gowns lest you make
palaver with them." King Archibong responded, to the great joy of multitudes of
listeners who were deeply interested in the matter, that "there is nothing to
hinder any woman from wearing a gown on Sunday from her house to church, and
from church to her own house."
This permission does not extend to the wearing of
dresses at all times and everywhere, but it is a permission which will doubtless
become expansive; and as it is a step in the right direction, we are grateful
for it. Good will result from this day's palaver.
Saturday, 13.—Two of the "princes," as agents for
King A., were early at us this morning with a message to this effect: "That King
A. wishes to be good friends with me and all the Mission; and that there is only
one thing makes him vexed with me, viz., that I do not always report to him when
runaways come to me, and that I have allowed some of the runaway widows to get
to Fernando Po."
I associated Mr. Lewis with me in the
negotiations with the young men. The following extracts from documents which we
exchanged will indicate the results:—
Nov. 13, 1869.
King Archibong's word sent to us this morning by
P. D. and P. E. is very good, and we agree to it. It is the old bargain between
town and Mission. When any slave runs away and comes to mission-house, then the
missionary must tell either the slave's master, or, if he do not know who is his
master, he must tell the king, and hear what both parties have to say; and when
palaver is set, he must send slave back, unless the master want to punish him
D. E. Lewis.
King Archibong ll. promises that, in the event of
those widows now in Fernando Po returning to Old Calabar, no palaver shall be
made with them on account of leaving their husband's house or the country, but
that he will protect them from any native whomsoever, and that they shall not be
prohibited or prevented from attending divine service in decent apparel every
Sabbath. W. Anderson and D. E. Lewis promise, on behalf of the Mission, to do
what they can 10 induce the widows to return to Calabar, and to place themselves
under King Archibong's protection.
P. E. Wm. Anderson.
P. E. D. E. Lewis.
Pro King Archibong II.
In the evening I called on the king for the first
time for many months. lie was quite pleasant, but I eschewed politics.
Friday, 19.—Rains now over. Roads dry and
pleasant, and weather not yet too hot; so I spent above four hours in the
forenoon in visiting the little villages or settlements on the south side of
Henshaw Town. The whole district is very beautiful, but I have not yet
discovered anything like a town in it. It occurs to me, however, that these
beautiful roads are not kept clear for nothing, or even for a small thing.
Therefore have resolved to traverse them as completely as possible during the
Saturday, Dec. 4.—Usual walk round town to
announce the Sabbath. The cloud which has long been gathering seems ready to
break. The great devil-making for the king's brother Eyo—who died, I think, five
or six years ago—is to be begun in earnest to-morrow. Saw King Archibong, and
expressed to him my regret that the affair was to begin on a Sabbath. He seemed
very cordial—assured me that he was very sorry for that himself—and explained
that as to-morrow is the day of the Calabar week nearest the new moon, on which
ikpos for men must necessarily begin, he could not help it; but he gave me his
promise that while the ikpo continues, whatever ma)- be going on in town,—I
understand him to mean that even should Egbo be running,—nothing shall be
allowed to prevent any man or woman from coming to church who ma)' be disposed
to do so. I expressed my thankfulness for this assurance; for, if honestly
meant, it will lead to a great improvement on old times, when no woman dared
appear on the street, and our only Sabbath congregation consisted of a few men
and trembling boys.
Sabbath, 5.—Aroused early by an immense firing of
cannon. Alas! our British men-of-war have taught the people that there is no
evil in firing guns on the sacred day. Brilliant flags are fluttering everywhere
throughout the town. We have had our usual services ; but more, we have had the
usual attendance, with this happy difference, that the majority present to-day
has been composed of women—native women! This is a great improvement on bygone
Sabbath, 12.—Again usual services and attendance,
and again the majority women. Between services—from 9.30 till 1.30—spent over at
Bassy Henshaw's Town. A few boys were with me, and, aided by them, I went into
every accessible quarter where human beings were to be found, uttered a law of
the most important truths of the gospel, and offered a brief prayer. Was rather
surprised when, at the close, my young lads informed me from their jottings that
we had been in twenty-one places, and that our auditors, "not counting any twice
over," had been 378. The town and suburbs are literally crammed at present with
people from all the surrounding quarters, who have come either to make or see
Thursday, 16.—To-morrow being a big Egbo day, I
gave our young people their Christmas holidays a day earlier than was purposed.
Very poor this time in the prize line—no books, no pictures, no toys, no
dresses. I made a distribution of a few of our fine new native books to a number
of the most deserving. Distributed also a few fish-hooks and teaspoons.
Saturday, 18.—According to the days of the
Calabar week, one of the biggest plays of the occasion fell to be held
to-morrow, but feel grateful that King Archibong has been prevailed on by
Europeans and natives to postpone it till Monday. To show our appreciation of
this concession, the most of the Europeans gratified the native gentlemen this
evening by becoming for a while spectators of their exhibition. The crowd
itself, which could hardly be below 8000, was to me a most interesting and
affecting spectacle. Time after time I sighed out to those near me, "Oh to have
all these to preach to to-morrow!"
Sabbath, 19.—Attendance not so good to-day.
Symptoms of exhaustion seem visible everywhere. There has been a very large
amount of drinking, though I have not seen a single person drunk. Drinking,
dancing, whirling, night-watching, and excitement, are now in the case of
multitudes succeeded by great languor. I have never seen such a sleepy
congregation in Calabar as I had this morning, and I told them so.
Monday, 20.—With most of the Europeans near, went
this evening to see the play which was postponed from yesterday. There was a
splendid display of silk, beads, ribbons, and large parti-coloured umbrellas. We
felt it but right to countenance their harmless tomfoolery by looking at it for
a little—on this ground : They had done what they considered a great thing to
please us ; why should we not do what we consider a very small thing in order to
Thursday, 23.—Great women's dance to-day. The
burden of the affair seems now to be over. Matters have been more comfortable
during its progress than we could at one time have expected. King Archibong has
in this matter kept his promise, for I have not heard of either man or woman
being kept from church or prayer meeting since its commencement.
Friday, 31.—The great devil-making only
terminated two days ago. Another affair of the kind begins to-day, viz., that
for the king's son Efium, who was, while he lived, one of the very best of our
schoolboys. His ikpo, however, will be but a small affair. During the late
celebration we were teased time after time by reports of persons being killed
for the dead. On one occasion it was confidently reported that the
representatives of an I bo tribe were in the town, who refused to eat any flesh
save human, and that King Archibong had actually given them a man to eat. The
river gentlemen as well as myself have made all diligent inquiry into the
matter, but we have not discovered any foundation for the report. The Duke Town
gentlemen deny that the king had done what was imputed to him; but, unhappily,
the humanity and veracity of a number of them are pretty much on a par—neither
the one nor the other being absolutely beyond suspicion; so that such stories,
even when they cannot be proved, cause us a good deal of painful solicitude. . .
1869 is fast passing away. Oh that to-morrow may
introduce the best New Year that Calabar has ever seen! Of 1870 may it be
recorded in the annals of eternity, in regard to every station and every
preaching-place in the whole land, and that in reference to multitudes, "This
man and that man were born then, this man and that man were born there! Amen.''
The year 1870 opened hopefully. One new ordained
agent—the Rev. John Granger—was added to the staff, and left for Calabar on
March 4. But ere the end of the year he and Messrs. Timson and Lewis died, and
the losses "created a crisis in the history of the Mission."
Monday, Jan. 3.—Resumed school to-day, after a
fortnight's vacation. Most of our young people here dislike vacations.
Sabbath, 9.—Thirty years have passed away since I
first addressed a black congregation. I find that during these long years I have
discovered nothing more interesting to myself, or to those who have heard me,
than the simple truths of the grand old gospel. I felt a favourite— "Choose ye
this day whom ye will serve"—as new and refreshing to my own mind to-day, and
also to my Calabar congregation, as it was to me, and appeared to be to a
Jamaica congregation, in January 1840.
Friday, 28.—Ephraim Duke, who has bee'n one of
the leading men of the town for twenty years, died this morning—another victim
Saturday, 29.—Round town as usual afternoon.
Found a number of the people solemnised on account of the death of Ephraim Duke.
Some of his boon companions look-grave, admit that drink killed him, and
forthwith go to the rum bottle for consolation. Many, many a Sabbath has the
word been preached to Ephraim in his own house. In one respect he was better
than his neighbours, for he generally summoned his wives to hear along with
himself; but, alas! the word never seemed to profit him.
Sabbath, 30.—After forenoon service in church,
went to Edibe-Edibe (north) and Henshaw Town. Met about forty people in all, to
whom I spoke of guilt and mercy. Fell in with one woman, very sick ; but, to my
delight, found that her mind was pretty well stored with gospel truth, and that
she seemed to be leaning on the one Saviour as her support in the day of
trouble. She had been for some time, unobserved by me, an attender at our town
meetings, and had also learned a good deal from Mrs. Sutherland. I could not
well explain why I walked out to that quarter to-day till I saw this poor sick
woman ; but when I left her I could say to the youth who accompanied me, "It
must have been the Holy Spirit who moved me to come here to-day, that I might do
a little good to this woman, and get a little good from her." I remembered that
it is written, "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy
Monday, Feb. 7.—Delighted to-day by a visit from
Bishop Crowther and Rev. Mr. Caiger from Sierra Leone.
Sabbath, 13.—Mr. Caiger preached in the afternoon
to the English congregation. This enabled me to g;o over the creek at midday,
when I called at twenty-three houses, and had a little serious talk with about
Friday, 25.—Out among the farms of Efut and
Edibe-Edibe about, seven hours to-day. I find no towns or even villages in the
district, but am glad to see that there is a desire on the part of many to have
a schoolroom and a teacher within an easy distance from their dwellings. A
worker might do well in such a locality. To a drone it would be quite an elysium.
Tuesday, March 1. — At Henshaw Town forenoon.
Sorry to see a great devil-making being carried on for our late church member,
John Sago. I could assure his mother, his sister, and his widow, that if John
were only allowed to come and speak to them he would at once put a stop to all
their nonsense. But, "It be we fashion."
Sabbath, 6.—King Archibong and several of his
friends attended church to-day—the first time for years. It was his violation of
the Sixth Commandment which led to a rupture of the friendly relations which had
subsisted between him and me. I could not help regarding it as a coincidence,,
that, owing to his entrance while the congregation were repeating the Moral Law,
the first salutation he heard from 250 voices, after taking his seat, was, "God
says, Thou shalt not kill." He and his friends were very attentive during the
whole of the services, especially during the dispensing of baptism, which was a
new thing to them.
Tuesday, April 5.—Glad to welcome a new brother—
Rev. Mr. Granger—to this field of labour.
Sabbath, 10.—The twenty-fourth anniversary of the
arrival of the Mission. Preached in Efik, forenoon, from Isaiah xxi. 10, on what
I represented as the motto of Christian minister or missionary: "That which I
have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you." I
gave a brief account of the origin and early days of the Mission. Glad that King
Archibong was present (for the fifth Sabbath morning, with the exception of one
day, when he was sick) and heard what I had to say on the matter. I could ask
all present, with a good conscience, if we in the Mission had not made it our
great and constant endeavour to prevail on all in the country to hear and obey
the word of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. Mr. Granger, who had newly
arrived, preached a capital sermon in the evening from that other motto, "For me
to live is Christ." Glad that we had what we consider a good turn-out of
Europeans. They seem to share with me the opinion that in Mr. Granger we have
"the right man in the right place."
Tuesday, May 10.—On an exploring expedition in
the Efut quarter from 8.30 A.M. till 2 P.M. Fell in with several settlements,
the inhabitants of which seem delighted by a first visit from a white man.
Thursday, 12.—Our preparatory meeting for
Communion on Sabbath. Dr. Robb and Mr. Edgerley happening to be "within the
bounds," kindly took part in the service.
Tuesday, 17.—Somewhat amused while on a visit
this forenoon to Henshaw Town. I observed that our little friend, who glories in
the appellation of Captain Duke, had procured a pair of smith's bellows and a
large assortment of blacksmith's tools, and I asked him what he meant to do with
them, seeing that there was no smith at hand. He replied quite coolly, "Oh, I
done send to Enyong to buy one blacksmith"! The artisans of our native land may
well be grateful that, whatever other hardships they ma)' be called on now and
then to endure, they are not liable to be sold or bought in any other way than
by voluntary, temporary contract, and that, too, only in reference to their
work, not in reference to body and soul.
Wednesday, 18.—Must plead guilty of being "an
observer. of times." Remembering to-day that twenty-two years have elapsed since
we left our mountain home in Jamaica. While feeling quite at home in Africa, and
willing to spend and be spent for the benefit of those around us, we often think
and speak of the Gem of the Caribbean, its lofty mountains and luxuriant
valleys, its glorious sunrisings and sunsets, its crowded sanctuaries and
hallowed Sabbaths. Our last look at Rose Hill church through tear-bedim med eyes
from the road on Woodside Hill, and the weeping company of old and young who
travelled with us from our little manse to Port Maria, on the 18th of May 1848,
are still fondly remembered by us.
On June 10 Mr. Timson died of pleurisy at Ikoneto,
after twelve years' service in Calabar.
Saturday, June 11.—We were startled shortly after
the hour of noon by the intelligence of the death of Mr. Tim-son. He left this
place last Saturday to all appearance in his usual state of health, and this
afternoon he is in his grave!
Monday, 20.—Held our English prayer meeting this
evening, on account of Messrs. Granger and Lewis being about to leave this
station—Mr. Granger [Mr. Granger died at Ikoneto of fever on December 9, 1870.]
for Ikoneto, Mr. Lewis [Mr. Lewis died on August 9. Mr. Anderson wrote of him in
a letter dated August 15, 1S70 : " Our departed brother came to Old Calabar for
the first time early in 1S65, and spent three years here. He then went home for
the double purpose of recruiting the bodily frame and prosecuting his studies
with a view to ordination. He returned to us in the end of July last year, and
was associated with me at this station till the third week of June, when he left
Duke Town for the purpose of occupying Old Town, left vacant of Europeans by the
departure for home of Dr. and Mrs. Robertson. When his removal to Old Town was
first mooted, I was disposed to object to the measure ; but as soon as I saw
that he expected ordination on going to that station, and that he considered his
declining to go thither would be equivalent to an indefinite postponement of his
ordination, I dropped all objection, and did what I could to forward his views."
Mr. Goldie wrote: "He was a man of much energy and life, giving himself
earnestly to his duties, and at the same time diligent in his studies here and
during his furlough at home, with a view to ordination. Of late he had an
addition to all this. He expected Mrs. Lewis to join him with their youngest
child, and set himself industriously to repair, with the aid of a carpenter, a
house at Duke Town, so as to commence housekeeping when she came. This he had
got accomplished when Dr. Robertson's leaving for home called him to Old Town,
and he immediately set-to to put the house in order there. I have no doubt that
these labours induced sickness, which has had the sad result we now lament, and
which furnishes a warning. Mr. Z. Baillie laboured diligently in manufacturing
bricks, and in building a church and dwelling-house, and when he had finished
them went home to die. Mr. Timson had just got into his new house at Ikoneto, in
the building of which . . . he had necessarily much labour and harassment, when
disease laid hold on him, which speedily issued in death. All victims to
overwork."—Record, November 1870.] for Old Town.
Monday, July 11.—Resttmed school-work, after a
fortnight's vacation, under a new arrangement. At a station like this, with (it
is supposed) about 6000 people in our immediate neighbourhood, it would be well
that at least one active, enterprising, well-trained European teacher, willing
to devote all his time and energies to school-work, be permanently stationed.
The missionary, when there is but one, would find the other work of the station
sufficient for all the time and strength he can devote to it. As matters are, we
must just do the best we can; and our new arrangement is, that William Cobham
take charge of the school A.M., while I attend to household visitation and other
work; and that I take the school P.M., while William officiates as a Scripture
reader in town and elsewhere.
Saturday, 16.—A long conversation with King Archi-bong,
during which I made a strong remonstrance in regard to Jigbo being abroad on
Sabbath. He reiterated his assurances that no Egbo runner would molest any
person, man or woman, on the way to or from church on God's day. "But when they
hear the Egbo bell, they are afraid to venture out; and how are they to know
that they will not be molested, unless they have your promise made to thou on
the subject?" No reply. "The best thing you can do is to stop all Egbo
proceedings on God's holy day."
Monday, August 8.—A sad bereavement to-day. Mr.
Lewis died at Creek Town about 12.30 P.M. he meant to come here for a change on
Friday last, but was prevented by the delay of the boat in which he was to come
down the river. But for this delay, his last days would have been spent—where
the most of his time in Calabar has been spent—with us at Duke Town. He is
greatly lamented by the people here, especially by the invalids, as he has done
a good deal in the doctoring line lately.
Sabbath, 14.—Both A.M. and P.M. endeavoured to
improve the departure of Mr. Lewis. Intimated that I looked on Mr. Lewis's death
as a trumpet-call to all the young men to prepare for their change. " We old men
may be called on to bury a number of you youngsters ere our time come. European
attendance good, and a great improvement in the river. JYo work going on, though
a steamer here. The steamer's captain and several of his officers and men
worshipped with us. This is as it should be.
In a letter dated August 15, 1870, Mr. Anderson
records the death of Mr. D. E. Lewis, and then goes on to say:—
'The question will force itself on my attention,
What effect is likely to be produced on the minds of the young men of the Church
by our repeated bereavements? I cannot help fearing that in the case of some the
effect will be injurious. I do fear that the deaths of our junior brethren will
have a tendency to damp the missionary seal of some of both students and
preachers, who, had our clime been notably healthy, would have been disposed to
cast in their lot with us. But this ought not to be the case. The things that
have befallen us should, I think, rather fire young men of holy zeal and
generous aspirations, and impel them to rush to the rescue. It would be a grand
triumph for Satan were the evil spirits who hover around 5 Queen Street,
especially during this month and the next, able to report in Pandemonium that
they had played their cards so well that not a student or a preacher of the
United Presbyterian Church will venture forth to be "baptized for the dead" in
Old Calabar. How gratifying to the Arch-Enemy to learn from his subtle
emissaries that they had thoroughly frightened Mr. A., who had repeatedly on his
knees vowed to devote himself to the work of the Lord in Old Calabar as a
missionary ; and Mr. B., who once purposed to go there as a doctor; and Mr. C,
who had once resolved to offer his services to the Mission as a teacher and
evangelist! But I hope and trust that there are among your young men right noble
and heroic spirits, who will not allow themselves to be made the laughing-stocks
of the devils—that there are Messrs. D. and E. and F. and G., of whom the
tempters will be constrained to confess that they can make nothing,seeing that
they are as stubborn and mulish as the veteran who hailed of old from Tarsus in
Cilicia; who have imbibed so much of his spirit, that they are actually
declaring to all who would dissuade them from their purpose, " We are ready, not
only to suffer, but to die in Calabar, for the name of the Lord Jesus." Should
not this be the spirit of every soldier of the cross ?
Did any of Havelock's Own falter when led on to
the rescue of countrymen and countrywomen in Lucknow? Did that noble man, James
Braidwood, captain of the London Fire Brigade, shrink from effort because
firemen had fallen at their post on previous occasions? Did any of the Light
Brigade—the immortal Six Hundred—flinch when the trumpet summoned them "to the
charge"? Did lifeboat crew ever turn a deaf ear to the strain, "Man the
And shall the cadets of the army of the Captain
of salvation remain unmoved, when from the graves of departed comrades the cry
is shouted by comrades worn and wean-, "Come over and help us"?
Years have passed away since I read with deep
interest the graphic account given in the newspapers of the presentation by the
Queen in person of the Crimean medals to the heroes who had returned from the
scenes of conflict and of victory. The question occurred to me at the time —it
has often occurred to me since—Did any of these brave men on that great day,
when—in the presence of masses of the population, including princes and
princesses of the blood, the elite of Britain's nobles and legislators, and
multitudes of young soldiers who had never "seen service"—they received from Her
Majesty's own hand their well-earned decorations, express or feel anything like
regret for having fought and bled for their country and their Queen? I trow not.
Another scene opens on the view—a greater day, a greater assemblage, a greater
Sovereign—and on that day, "when the King comes in His glory, seated upon the
throne of His glory, and all the holy angels with Him," with the crown of
righteousness to bestow upon all His faithful followers, will there be a single
feeling of regret in the minds of any of His servants, soldiers, missionaries,
or martyrs, because they have done too much or suffered too much for Him? I feel
convinced that, if it be possible for any painful feeling to enter into the
hearth of any of the human inhabitants of the world of glory, the only reason of
its existence would be that the subject of it had done so little, expended so
little, endured so little, for the sake of Him who sits in the midst of the
I borrow a sentiment from a Jamaica brother,
greatly beloved: "Crowns, immortal crowns are to gained here"— in Old Calabar.
Let not those who might be—who should be—candidates for the golden honours throw
their opportunity lightly away.
Our bereaved sister, Mrs. Lewis, who arrived
yesterday, August 23, in the mail steamer, and who considers the best thing she
can do is to return home by the same steamer, came to spend the afternoon with
us. Our evening prayer meeting was held with special reference to her and her
little ones. Mr. Edgerley and Mr. Burnett (Primitive Weslcyan brother from
Fernando Po) took part in the service.
Friday, 26.—As the Mandingo did not leave till 3
P.M. to-day, we have had the pleasure—though pleasure tinged with sadness—of
Mrs. Lewis's company for two whole days. She is wonderfully supported. Partly to
take up her attention, and partly that she might have something more of Calabar
to remember than her sorrows, I took her round Duke Town A.M. to-day, calling on
King Archibong and on several other gentlemen. All showed her the deepest
sympathy and the greatest kindness.
With reference to the losses, the Rev. Dr.
MacGill, the Foreign Mission Secretary, in the paragraphs prefatory to the
Report for 1870 regarding the Calabar Mission, wrote :—
Of few men connected with our Church did it seem
more fit to say that they were indispensable, than of William Timson, David
Lewis, and John Granger. These three missionaries have been removed in quick
succession, an inadequate number having been left behind; and it is one of the
hardest problems given to be worked out by the Mission Board, to find others to
be helpers of the living, or the successors of the dead. For a decade of years
we have been asking for ordained missionaries whom we might send to Calabar.
During that time we have sent one, and he has died. Within that period, indeed,
others have been sent—a medical missionary and two teachers ; and of this class
of agents previously in the field, two have been ordained, the one of whom [W.
Timson] has been taken, and the other [S. H. Edgerley] left. Of this same class,
whose preparatory studies for the ministry have been conducted, not in this
country, but in Calabar, there were two, one of whom is hopefully advancing, and
the other, having finished his preparations, was on the eve of his ordination.
He [D. E. Lewis] has been taken, and the other [James Lawson] has been left. We
have other faithful agents in the field, but only four ordained missionaries
[Anderson, Goldie, Robb, and Edgerley], who have all been there for periods
varying from fourteen to twenty-four years. This remnant of four evangelistic
missionaries, out of seven, is all that remains of the primary agency, which the
Church has virtually bound herself to supply, hi taking and keeping-possession
of such a field, and in saying over it to the Hearer of prayer, "Thy kingdom
come." All missions must contend with death as certainly as with sin; and surely
we must not faint in our warfare in a time like this, when the same six months
which tell us of three missionaries falling in our front rank in the mission
field, in the service of Christ, tell us of many more than three hundred
thousand not refusing to fight or to fall, in the battlefield, in the service of
an earthly nationality. In such days we are not to lay clown the weapons of our
warfare and to confess that our courage is gone.
God tries and tests the Churches as well as the
nations ; and when He has smitten our most difficult mission once and again and
a third time . . . we are called to humiliation, but not to cowardice. . . . We
may take occasion from these sad events to inquire whether the\r be not rebukes,
and whether the very number we send, or fail to send, to Old Calabar, is not an
index of the lack of zeal in the heart of the Church, and of the restraint of
Are we not too prone to find the only explanation
of our disappointments in the malignity of the climate? . . . We cannot say that
one of our lamented brethren would have been still in life had they been
ministers at home.
The Church dares not yield to these untoward
events, but must meet them with increased prayer and courage, as well as wise
precaution. Each of the brethren who has laid down his life in that land has
said, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, that
I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry I have received of the Lord
Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." In the same spirit the
surviving brethren are meeting the crisis, and arc calling for an addition of
one medical and four evangelistic missionaries, and the question remains, Is the
Church prepared, and has she men among our students, our licentiates, and our
younger ministers, ready to be baptized for the dead, and to obey this call?
In support of the Appeal from the Presbyter)' of
Biafra, Mr. Goldie wrote:—
In 1864 eight ordained missionaries were in the
field; nor was that number in any degree beyond the requirements of the Mission.
Now there are only four. . . . With a wider field under cultivation, we have but
one-half of the labourers. Two consequences result from this: the work unduly
presses on those who remain, while at the same time it is necessarily less
The four are all needed to supply present
vacancies. And we must look beyond these. Mr. Anderson and myself cannot hope to
be continued very much longer in the field, and it will take a new-comer from
one to two years to gain a ready use of the language, so as to be able
efficiently to take charge of a station.
Mr. Anderson, who was working without male
European assistance, wrote in his Report:—
Unless help be sent soon in the shape of one or
two vigorous, valorous young men,—if accompanied by young women of kindred
spirit and energy, so much the better,— I fear that ground will be lost rather
than gained at Duke Town.
Both Mr. Goldie and Mr. Anderson survived in
active service those then in the field in Calabar, and, with the exception of
Messrs. Beedie and Cruickshank, those who entered the service up to the date of
their death in 1895, when they left the staff of ordained men reduced as it had
never been since 1870. Since September 1892 there has been no addition to the
ordinary staff of ordained European missionaries, when nine in active service
stood on the roll, and eight were in the field. Since that date, two, Messrs.
Mackenzie and Golclie, have been removed by death; and three, Messrs. Luke,
M'Donald, and Marwick, no longer connected with that mission; leaving four,
Messrs. Beedie, Cruickshank, Deas, and Dean, one of whom, Mr. Beedie, is on
furlough, and another, Mr. Deas, at present (December 1896) in charge of the
Training Institute, available for station work. Duke Town is at present in
charge of a recently-arrived medical missionary; Creek Town has an ordained and
a medical missionary at it, and Ikorbfiong an ordained missionary; Ikoneto and
Adiabo are in charge of native pastors; but Ikotana, Emuremura, and Ungwana are
vacant of any European agents at all— a crisis graver than that of 1870.