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William and Louisa Anderson
Part III - Old Calabar Period, 1849-1889, & Closing Years, 1889-1895
Chapter 23


The Rebuilding of Henshaw Town—Illness of King Archibong II.— The Blood-men in Duke Town—Interposition of the Court of Equity—Death of Eyo VI.

Sabbath, Jan. 1, 1871.—Usual meetings and attendance. Mow much reason have I for gratitude on review of the past year! My strength scarcely now what it was a few years ago. On Sabbath, November 27th, I was able to take only a part in the services of the day; but how many brethren would be glad were they able to record to-day, "Unfit for full duty only one Sabbath during the past year"! But I can do more than this. I can gratefully acknowledge that I have been unfit for dut)' only one Sabbath during, I think, the past twelve or thirteen years. Must recall, too, to-night the bereavements of the Mission during the past year. The youngest taken—the oldest left. There is a mystery here; but to my mind the mystery consists more in what has been permitted by Providence to befall us, than in what has been absolutely inflicted on us. How many bereaved families in Germany and France to-day adoring the hand of Providence in their losses, yet marvelling that the demon of war should have been let loose on them for the gratification of a very few individuals ! Whatever they may think of the policy of William and Napoleon, they ought to be ready to say, "Just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of saints!"

In a letter of 16th January Mr. Anderson wrote:—

I have dated this from Duke Town Manse. We are now in the new premises which, in 1866, we were authorised to have erected. I still like the old house better. The expense has been three times more than I could have wished ; but the house is by far the best and the strongest in the country, and fifty years hence (in 1921) it may prove to have been the cheapest.

At the beginning of 1871 Dr. Robb spent some time under the roof of Mr. Anderson, where he passed through an attack of fever—"an experience," remarks the Record, "he has often had before, especially during the first forty months after his arrival from Jamaica, his residence in which did not render him proof against the malaria of Africa, though he did not succumb to it." The Record for June 1S71 contains the following:—

He Dr. R. glances at the question, whether we should not look again for [European] agents to Jamaica, and mentions the following suggestive facts: that there have been connected with the Calabar Mission nineteen persons domiciled in the tropics, only three of whom have died ; and that of fifteen who came direct from Europe ten are dead, the surviving five being females, including two who with their husbands are now in Britain.

The Mission Board has never tried the experiment of sending volunteers for Calabar to Jamaica for a year or two as a preparation for Africa. To make the test a real one, recruits would need to be sent to the low-lying malarial districts, not to the healthy hill-stations. Mr. Jameson suffered from fevers in Jamaica, and died of fever in Calabar, and it appears to me not improbable that he might have died of fever had he remained in Jamaica. Both Messrs. Anderson and Goldie were several times at death's door from fever in Calabar, though they seem to have enjoyed good health in Jamaica; and Dr. Robb himself, owing to fevers, had eventual!}' to leave Calabar and return to Jamaica. Organic soundness and good general health, with Providence and prudence to guard them, are the physical requisites for Calabar. We return to Mr. Anderson's Journal.

Sabbath, Feb. 5.—A day of rather special interest. Mr. Esien Ukpabio preached the morning sermon. A very excellent discourse it was, and listened to with respect and interest by the native audience. The caste feeling is nothing here compared with what it seems to be in India, but is sufficiently strong to be mischievous at times. The freemen of this morning's audience did not appear to despise the message or messenger, though they well knew that he had once belonged to the humblest class in the community.

Friday, 17.—Present at an interesting conference between the young men of Henshaw Town and our esteemed friend Captain Hopkins, at present Acting Consul for Her Britannic Majesty in this part of the world. Henshaw Town lies about half a mile from the mission premises, nearly south by west. It has been a mere village ever since I came to the country, though in old days it was a town of some importance. Lately, some of the young men, whose forefathers dwelt there, have returned to the locality, and begun "to rebuild the old wastes." Whatever occurs within half a mile of the mission premises must be a matter of interest to the missionary and to the Mission.

King Archibong has sanctioned the rebuilding of the town, but the young men fear that he would not sanction several regulations which they wish to make, such as— that twins shall be treated like other children; that substitutionary punishment be strictly prohibited; that women shall be permitted to wear clothes at all times; that no work or marketing or Egbo procedure be permitted on the Sabbath, etc. Hence their anxiety for the moral support of Her Majesty's Consul and the European residents and traders. Captain Hopkins seems to be very much of my own mind in the matter, viz., that "Young Calabar" should receive every encouragement in his project, ahvays provided that he abstain from doing anything which might justly be construed as an act of rebellion against King Archibong.

Saturday, .18.—Round town as usual, announcing the Sabbath. Saw King Archibong for the first time for several weeks. He has been very unwell. Spoke a little of the importance of preparing for the great change. Me hears in silence, but evidently disregards what is said.

Friday, 24.—Went round town to-day to announce Sabbath, that it might not be said, as hinted last Saturday, that Egbo arrangements had been made in ignorance that next day was Sabbath. Talked seriously, perhaps severely, to King Archibong about this perpetual interruption to our work by Sabbath profanation by Egbo. I said, "King Archibong, all men know that you are sickly. Now, I know that here—and I think that in some places at home too—-we Christians beg God plenty for you; we ask Ilim to make you well, and to spare your life for a long time; but I tell you the truth, King Archibong: when I hear about Egbo coming up so often on Sunday— and he can't do so if you no will—the thought comes into my head, Perhaps we Christians must change our prayer, and say to God, 'O God! it be no use to beg any more for King Archibong, for he no will to hear what Thou sayest, and he no will to stop his Egbo from spoiling Thy holy day. Better take him away, and give Calabar another king, who will help us to do Thy work, and will not allow old fashions to stop that work.' Now, King Archibong, do you wish me to pray so in church on Sunday, and to beg all my Christian friends at home to pray so?" A most emphatic, "No, I no want that," was the reply. "Then you must not let us be troubled any more on God's day." "Nothing will trouble you next Sunday."

Friday, March 3.—King Archibong kept his word. No Egbo annoyance last Sabbath.

Sabbath, 5.—Communion again round. A very comfortable day, save for the heat. Had the curiosity to take a thermometer with me to the pulpit in the afternoon, at 3.30: when about to commence Efik discourse it stood at 970, at the commencement of the English service 960.

Saturday, 11.—King Archibong began to expatiate to me to-day, on my weekly visit, about the presumption of the Henshaw Town "boys" in wishing to have a king for themselves. He "no will for that." "But, King Archibong, these 'boys' no ran away from Duke Town; I think they tell you before they begin to build Henshaw Town." "Yes, but they no tell me they want to have a king for themselves." "But, King Archibong, you often say that every man be king in his own house in Calabar; so, if two or three houses join in one, say they want headman for all of them, what harm in that?" "They want to do bad thing for us in Old Calabar; we no well." I knew what the hint referred to, having been informed by others. King Archibong and friends fear that Henshaw Town men contemplate some changes in Egbo, and that, if a headman be recognised among them by Europeans, they will be wanting a share of the komey (or tribute) paid by the shipping. I said to King A. that I thought the young men wanted to do good, and not evil, to Calabar. "They tell me five things they want to do in their town: they want to stop all idiong (sacrifices to idols or imaginary deities). Well, you be a man for idiong; but suppose George Duke or any man in Duke Town tell you he no will make idiong in his own house, will you compel him to do so?" "No." "Then (2) they want their women to wear proper clothes; do you want to stop that?" "No, but that no be we fashion." "True, but the young men want to begin God's fashion, which they can't keep in another man's town. And (3) they want to stop all work, all play, all Egbo, on God's day, that man may have nothing to do on God's day but do God's work, hear His word, etc. Anything bad in that?" "No, I no want anything to, spoil God's Sunday." "Then (4) they no want to kill or send away twins. And (5) they no want to flog or to kill one man because his master or some other man do wrong. I think all these five things are quite right, and that you, King Archibong, no will try to make them do what is wrong." "No." "Well, that is all that they tell me they want to do; they no want to have king past you, or king same as you. In our country every town has its headman (mayor or provost), and its own particular fashions, but Queen is over all. So, suppose Henshaw Town have its own fashions and its own headman, it is only one town; you be king for country." "We see what come up by and by."

Tuesday, 25.—Took Mrs. Anderson [Mrs. Anderson, who left Old Calabar for Scotland in poor health, returned in September greatly benefited by her visit. "Few have done or continue to do more self-denying and efficient service for Old Calabar than Mrs. Anderson" {Record, Oct. 1871).] on board the Biafra in the evening, bade her farewell for a time, and bade adieu to Mr. and Mrs. Roe, who are returning by same vessel to their island home, Fernando Po.

Wednesday, 26.—At Consul's court, held on board one of the trading vessels. King Archibong and friends were prevailed on, I am happy to say, very easily, to enter into treaty for the abolition of substitutionary punishments. Henshaw Town application was then taken into consideration. The young men stated their wishes, purposes, and claims in a very masterly way, but it was evident that King A. suspected that they meant more than they expressed. He heard their statements, however, with great good temper; he seemed, indeed, to be in exceedingly good humour; but "we no will for two kings, for we be all one family," was the most that could be got from him and his supporters.

Sabbath, 30.—Induced by King A.'s remark, above quoted, to pay particular attention to the Henshaw Town part of the congregation, and I noticed that more young-men came to church from the small village of Henshaw Town than from the large town of Duke Town; that they are much better dressed than their Duke Town cousins; and that more of them use their books during the service. I am sorry to say that none of them are Church members — I think all are polygamists; yet a community under such regulations as they propose to make would be a great advance on such a place as Duke Town, as it has been for at least a quarter of a century. I trust that they will be enabled to conduct their affairs with discretion, and that they will be successful in wresting themselves from the grasp of Duke Town heathenism.

Friday, May 5.—Just got to Henshaw Town in time to save a poor woman's life. Heard a sound of wailing in one of the houses as for the dead. On stepping into the yard, found a woman lying partly beside, partly over, what appeared to be the dead body of another woman, and lamenting bitterly the death of her sister. She kept hammering away with her fists on the head and chest of the supposed corpse, bawling the while, "Give me back my sister." Some other women were loitering about, viewing the scene with utter indifference. I stood for a little, overawed by the sacredness of sorrow, and marvelling at this new way of manifesting grief for a departed relative. But, lo ! when there was a lull of the tempest for a few seconds, the corpse opened its eyes! I suspected something amiss, and demanded an explanation, when I was informed that last evening the fellow-slave (hence claimed as sister) of the screaming mourner had gone out on the river in a small canoe, in company with the woman whom I had looked on as dead, and that in a little while the so-called "sister" had been seized and killed by a crocodile, whilst her companion escaped. On her appearance in the morning without her companion, the poor woman had been seized by this frantic damsel, and beat till nearly dead, every thud being accompanied by the cry which had arrested my attention, "Give me back my sister." The half-murdered woman was the slave of a different family from that of her assailant. She was renewing her operations, but stopped on my declaring that, if she laid her hands on that woman again, I should use my influence to get her hanged. The poor victim was speechless, and all but pulseless. A few blows more would have finished her, and about half a dozen of other grown-up women looking on with utter unconcern! I gave them a volley of my best Efik. I then got hold of the young men, reported what I had seen and heard, prescribed as I best could for the poor victim, and had the satisfaction of seeing the termagant sitting fast bound hand and foot to a large post when I was leaving the town. I knew that she would not be too severely dealt with.

Saturday, 6.—Usual turn round town afternoon. King Archibong asked me if to-morrow be God's day. "Yes." "I am sorry for that; for big Egbo must live for Antaro Young's devil." "Well, king, you know what God says about His day." "Yes; I will try to stop him." He at once called one of his young men, and sent to the head of the Young family, to say that as to-morrow is God's day, he had better put off the big Egbo till Thursday, i.e. till the return of the Calabar day of the same name as tomorrow.

I also went off to the same gentleman. He is one of the old school. He represented to the king's messenger, and also to me, that he had his goats all ready for the feast; that multitudes of visitors from other places expected the chop to-morrow, so that he must keep the day; but as it would be God's Sunday, he would not wish any Idem (Egbo runner) to parade the streets, so that no one who wishes to go to church shall be molested by the way. Even this concession, when compared with former days, is matter of thankfulness.

Sabbath, 7.—The young men of Henshaw Town took a strong measure to-day in the right direction. They had made a proclamation yesterday that they would allow no water to be carried from their spring to-day. Notwithstanding the proclamation, a multitude of Duke Town damsels went as usual at low water for their accustomed burdens, but found the spring fenced in and its gate locked, so that they had to return to their homes with empty jars, or else go to Duke Town spring for water, which, however, is not so well liked as that from Henshaw Town.

Sabbath, 21.—A day of solemn interest. Text, native service, A.M., Isa. xliv. 3, 4, 5. After sermon, four of our young people—two male and two female—were received into Church fellowship by the ordinance of baptism.

Monday, 29.—King Archibong seriously ill. He summoned a meeting of gentlemen to-day, at which he implored them to aid him in discovering who was killing him with ifot (witchcraft). No one could tell him who was doing so; but they issued a proclamation to this effect: that whoever it be who is making the king sick, he must put away the ifot at once !

Tuesday, 30.—King A. sent portions of his clothes today to his brother, Adam Archibong, for distribution among the various families in town, that the mbia-idiong connected with these families may try to discover who is causing the sickness. It is rumoured that the "blood-men" are to be appealed to. The town-people, especially those belonging to the families of Queen Archibong, Prince Duke, the Eyambas, Iron Bar, etc., are evidently alarmed, and consider that mischief is brewing.

Friday, June 2.—Great idiong made by the Eyamba family to-day. The abia-idiong hints that one of King A.'s female domestics is the cause of his illness ; but, from prudential considerations, it is agreed not to report her.

Saturday, 3.—The Duke family made idiong to-day, which pointed to same author of illness as did yesterday's operations, namely, to one of the king's female domestics. This was reported to him to-day; but when he heard it he became quite furious,—declared that it could be none of his own people, and named several parties whom he himself suspected of damaging him with ifot—Queen Archibong, Ephraim Adam, Prince Duke, Prince Eyamba, and Okien, and one or two more. The gentlemen hurried away from the conference rather unceremoniously. The blood-men belonging to King A.'s clan now pouring into town. The king has named the above parties to some of his underlings ; and they are declaring that, if they can lay hands on any of the parties named, they will hang them at once, as the Creek Town blood-men did Egbo Eyo. Took my usual walk round town in the afternoon, to announce Sabbath. All the town in commotion; all preparing weapons of war. Some carrying off their effects to the plantations. I invited the blood-men, who were all quite respectful in their bearing towards me, with all others I saw, to come to church to-morrow. Learned at a later hour, when several refugees came to spend the night on the mission premises, that the blood-men had been well supplied with liquor, and that they were plundering right and left, and that guards were placed round the town, to prevent any others from getting to the mission-house.

Retired at usual hour, but restless. While tossing about, it flashed on my recollection—doubtless in answer to prayer for Divine guidance and aid—that I had seen somewhere in print, "No more bodies of armed men to come into Duke Town." Where can I have seen that? In some Parliamentary Blue-Book. Oh, to have the Blue-Book here! But was it not in one of our own Missionary Records} A sleepless missionary may follow the example of a sleepless emperor, and study " the book of the records of the chronicles " (Ksth. vi. 1). I got up about eleven o'clock, got alight, and pored over several volumes of the Record of the United Presbyterian Church. After considerable search, Etireka! on page 119 of the Record for August 1851, I thus read: "Article 2.—That no more bodies of armed men are to come into Duke Town." I went to the refugee in next apartment, and assured him that he was safe. He too read with joy the above clause. I felt so happy that—I slept soundly.

Sabbath, 4.—Supposing King Archibong to be unfit for business, and considering the work to be one of necessity and mercy, I wrote as follows:—

"Sabbath,
June 4, 1871.

"Duke Town Gentlemen,—My friends, I was very sorry last evening to see so many of the blood-people come into town. After I come to my house I begin to remember that some treaty live about that thing between you and our Queen, so I search and find that treaty. All of us white men know that the blood-people cannot come into town. Suppose king or gentlemen, no call them to come in. So, as your friend, and to prevent palaver with Consul, I tell you that there is such a treaty. Some of you may have forgot about it. You may find it among the king's books. It is dated February (I think the 15th) 1851, and signed by gentlemen of Duke Town and about twenty chiefs of the blood-men. In the second article of that treaty it is agreed by you all, 'That no more bodies of armed men are to come into Duke Town.' So you see this coming into town of the blood-men is a breaking of treaty; and the best thing you can do is to send them quietly away, so that there may be no new palaver between you and the Consul.

"Another thing: see that there be no giving of esere; for you are bound by treat}', as well as God's word, not to kill the innocent.

''As some of you see yesterday, my back pain me very much, so that I am not able to go back to town to-day. Better you all, like good gentlemen, come to church, hear God's word, and beg Him to make King Archibong's sickness done.—I am, gentlemen, your true friend,

"Wm. Anderson."

To this I received the following reply:—

"June 4, 1871. " Wm. Anderson, — Dear friend, King Archibong and all gentlemen say when the all plantation blood-men come here, we shall stop them to do any things bad for town ; because they heard that king have sick, so that make they come and see king when they come up here, we will not let them do any bad, and we no let them stop but three days for town ; they come for see king only for sick, and king self say nobody will do any bad for town.

"King Archibong, and Gentlemen of D. T."

This reply is very smooth and plausible, and quite worthy of a place in the annals of Calabar diplomacy, but it tallies ill with the fact that a ring of sentinels has been encircling the town all night to prevent anyone from leaving it. I observed several of the warriors on guard, not far from the church, while we were holding our morning meeting. I went to them, pencil and paper in hand, and told them that I should feel obliged by their enlightening me on four points: "Your names? Whence come ye? Who sent you here? For what purpose are you planted here?" But I had scarcely mentioned these four points when they vanished. At the close of public worship in the evening I called the attention of our river friends to the state of the town, informed them of the existence of the treaty referred to, and requested them to use their powerful influence for the preservation of the public peace. My appeal to them was, as it had been on all previous emergencies, very cordially responded to, and on the morning of

Monday, 5th, I received a note from Mr. Muir, Chairman of the Court of Equity, kindly inviting me to attend a meeting of the Court, which was to be held in the forenoon.

This Court is entrusted by the Consul, under sanction of Her Majesty's Government, with the oversight of the natives in regard to the observance of treaties; so that the state of the town was quite a legitimate matter for their consideration. Attended the meeting; repeated my statement of last evening, and showed the Court the abstract of the treaty regarding the blood-men as given in our Missionary Record. With scarcely a word of discussion it was agreed to suspend all trading operations immediately; to keep up the suspension so long as any blood-men were in the town; and to write at once to King Archibong, informing him of this resolution, and adding, that if the blood-men be not sent out of the town by sunset this evening, the members of the Court will write, by steamer leaving to-morrow at sunrise, for the Consul and a man-of-war, and certifying that if this step should be rendered necessary, a heavy fine would assuredly be inflicted on the town. I am informed that King A. was very indignant when this communication was made to him; but he soon felt his helplessness. The great majority of the inhabitants rejoiced at the interposition of the whites, and King A. (as usual) had to yield to the demand made, and a double, or rather triple, proclamation was forthwith issued, to this purport: "No blood-men to be brought from the plantations; those in town must go away at once; and the person who is making the king sick must desist." But for the prompt interposition of our European friends, I believe that some fearful work would have been done. This is not my own opinion only. Some of the most intelligent natives feel quite certain that, but for this interposition, there would have been a renewal of the scenes described in the Record for August 1852.

The people of Uda (King Archibong's mother is from that locality) came to town to-day with their most powerful mbiam, and dispersed a quantity of it in the marketplace, in order to counteract the evil influence which is causing the king's sickness.

Tuesday, 6.—The blood-men avowedly leaving the town, but I suspect that numbers are only doffing their war dress and assuming the appearance of civilians. But the authorities have reported to the Court of Equity that the town is evacuated by the plantation people, and I have no evidence on which to found any counter statement.

Wednesday, 7.—Refreshing, amidst local disagreeables, to have a visit from our excellent Gaboon friends; some faces among them well known, others new—Messrs. Marshall and Murphy and partners, and Mr. Gillespie and Miss Boughton. Delighted to see in Mr. Gillespie a lineal descendant of the great and good Gillespie of the venerable the Westminster Assembly of 1643. May the descendant prove to Gaboon what the ancestor has been to Britain ! Along with our foreign friends—should I call them so?—we had two of our own fraternity, Dr. Robertson and Mr. G. Thomson [architect] from Glasgow. May each in his sphere be made a blessing!

Thursday, 8.—In town in the forenoon. The town has somewhat the appearance of a camp. There seem to be "breakers ahead" somewhere. No confidence is felt in the king. It is not known what his next freak may be.

Friday, 9.—Have good information that the king's retainers renewed their covenant of blood to-day, and that they are ready to perform any deed of violence which he may recommend. The fear of the white men alone keeps him in check. Many feel grateful to me for my letter of Sabbath morning. But for it, they say, mischief would have been on that day.

Saturday, 10.—Another oasis in the desert, in the shape of a donation of books from friends in Alloa. This is not the first time that my library has been replenished from that quarter. Spurgeon's two ponderous volumes on the Psalms, M'Leod's Christus Consolator, and Beecher's Addresses, are well worthy of grateful acknowledgment. Another benefactor sends Memoir of that grand apostolic man, W. C. Burns, latterly in China.

Sabbath, 11.—Usual services, and nearly the usual attendance. Externally all quiet, but the minds of the people are not so.

Monday, 12.—Poring over biography of Burns, and on that account ashamed to speak of being Mondayish. It would be well were our friends at home, when offering special prayer for missions on the second Sabbath of the month, or at any other time, to have in view the important sentiments so well expressed on pp. 386-7 of this admirable and remarkable man. How true is it that "it is possible to lose the life of faith even while seeking the propagation of the faith,—to leave house and home and kindred for Christ's sake and the gospel's, and yet in a heathen land to breathe little of either the love of Christ or the grace of the gospel "! "Brethren, pray for us!'

Thursday, 15.—Ekri Tabaka people came to town today with their biggest juju. They paraded the town, drumming, dancing, and gesticulating like madmen. They were accompanied by the king's family juju. Surely all evil influences must be banished from the neighbourhood now, and the king must forthwith recover from his illness, even although the Edinburgh physician pronounces the case hopeless! If King A. would only take the advice of the white doctor, and keep quiet, and be in all things temperate, he might linger on for a long time to come; but he aggravates his distemper (heart disease) by fretful-ness and bursts of passion.

Wednesday, 21.—Saw King A. to-day for the first time for several weeks. He is much thinner than when I saw him last; but he is suffering no pain, and was in a wonderfully placid, even cheerful, mood to-day. I spoke to him a little on the all-important subject, but in reference to that he seems unimpressible.

Sabbath, 25.—Church more densely packed at the native service this morning than I have ever seen it before. A number of the great ladies were present for the first time, each accompanied, of course, by a large retinue. In such an' attendance as that to-clay, Mrs. Sutherland sees something of the fruit of her house-to-house perambulations and instructions. The ladies themselves w jre, on the whole, what may be called tee// dressed,—thanks to Mrs. Sutherland's efforts for that,—though some of them were both barefooted and bareheaded! The attendants are mostly in native attire.

Wednesday, 28.—King Eyo of Creek Town died on Sabbath last. He was the last survivor of the old men at Creek Town, and I trust that with him the night of heathenism has in great measure passed away from his quarter of the country. Some of our intelligent young men here are already predicting "better days henceforth for Creek Town." May it be so! As for Duke Town, I fear that the old regime will not pass away with King Archibong. There are too many freemen of the same stamp for that. If Henshaw Town men prosper, however, and be not over-elated by their newly-acquired influence, the work may be expected to make progress here, independently of Duke Town. I should like, ere I go hence, to see the whole of the surrounding wilderness rejoice and blossom as the rose.


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