Renewed Labours in Calabar,
1877-81—The Hopkins' Treaty, 1878 — Deaths of Mr. A. S. Morton and King
Archibong Ill., 1879 — Mrs. Sutherland on the Effects of the Treaty—Mr.
Anderson's Fortieth Annual Report, 1879
Mr. Anderson left Scotland for Old Calabar on
October 20, 1877. With reference to his arrival at Duke Town, Mr. Anderson wrote
to Dr. MacGill, under date March 22, 1878:—
I arrived here about six in the evening of
Monday, November 26. Mrs. A. and Mr. Ross came on board to meet me. Glad to see
them and others belonging to the Mission looking so well. On arriving at the
Mission landing, we found it occupied by a large crowd, waving flags and
handkerchiefs, and cheering right heartily. Women and children constituted the
great majority of the assemblage. On attempting to step on shore, I was at once
laid hold of, and carried along part of the way. I had intended to give Mrs. A.
my arm, and to walk with her quietly up the hill; but I was snatched
unceremoniously from her side, and did not see her again for half an hour. I was
almost carried all the way to the mission-house, amid clapping of hands, waving
of handkerchiefs, and singing of hymns. On approaching the house, I was met by
our warm-hearted friend Miss Slessor, who had just risen from a bed of sickness.
On the following day I visited King Archibong, by whom I was very kindly
received. "You be father for we." "We belong to you," were two of his
expressions of welcome.
On looking round our premises, I found that, in
addition to his pastoral work, Mr. Ross had done great things in the way of
protecting and renovating several of the edifices. The erection of a capital
dwelling-house for himself, the complete renovation of the schoolroom, and the
roofing and painting of the church, represent an immense amount of anxiety and
toil on his part. Greatly cheered by seeing such crowded audiences at both the
The warfare between light and darkness still goes
on. It is plain that the Egbo law, repeatedly proclaimed for the saving of twin
life, is very much evaded, if not absolutely violated. The traders in the river
and the missionaries met King A. and gentlemen in the king's house here, and
urged on them the importance of seeing that their own laws were carried out in
their own territory, and also endeavoured to show them that it was their duty to
prevent deeds of blood in the small dependent villages and countries around
them. A similar meeting was held in the king's house at Creek Town, when the
Europeans urged King Eyo and gentlemen to use their influence on behalf of
humanity in the regions around.
We are receiving tokens for good. At our last
Communion, held last Sabbath, we had nine accessions to our membership: eight of
these—four men and four women— were received by baptism ; the ninth was a case
of restoration. One of the newly baptized is the chief of Henshaw Town. At a
public prayer meeting, held some weeks ago in this town, he made a public
renunciation of polygamy, expatiated on the sinfulness and the folly of
idolatry, and declared his adhesion to the religion of the Bible, which he
stated to be the only thing worth living for, being the only way in which we can
obtain peace with God, and the only thing which will avail us in the hour of
death and at the judgment-seat.
The Presbytery of Biafra met in Duke Town Church
on Wednesday, March 20, and ordained Mr. Robert M. Beedie to the office of the
ministry. May he be blessed, and made a blessing to many!
In regard to health, I have great reason for
gratitude. I feel better now than I did during the latter part of my stay in
Jamaica, and during the whole of my sojourn in Scotland. I suppose I may look on
the present season as what they call in America the Indian summer. The winter
will doubtless be here in His good time.
I feel quite satisfied that, in returning to Old
Calabar, I have simply followed the leadings of Providence, and that I am just
where the Master would have me to be. Other places have many attractions not to
be found here, but their necessities are not so great. Here, truly, the harvest
is plenteous but the labourers are few. And we are not only few, but some of us
are feeling that we are no longer what we once were, and that our clay of active
life is drawing towards evening. May we have grace given us to do the work
allotted to us while daylight still lingers, for the night cometh when no man
With best desires for your personal and relative
welfare, and with earnest prayer that every meeting of the Mission Board may be
blessed with the presence of Him who walketh in the midst of the seven golden
candlesticks, and that your deliberations and desires may be guided by infinite
On Sept. 6, 1878, an important agreement between
David Hopkins, Esq., H.B.M.'s Consul, and the chiefs of Calabar, was entered
into, in presence of the resident missionaries of Duke and Creek Towns and a
number of the European merchants and traders. The agreement, which consisted of
fifteen articles, related chiefly to such matters as twin children and twin
mothers, human sacrifices, the cscrc bean, the stripping of women, and widows,
and simply put a political seal on social reforms which had been carried mainly
by the moral influence of the Mission and European residents. " Consul Hopkins
acknowledged that such an agreement would have been impossible but for the
long-continued residence and teaching of our missionaries." [Dickie's Story of
the Mission in Old Calabar, p. 78, where the sis articles which are "the notes
of triumph of our Mission" are given.] The text of the agreement is given in
full in the Record for May 1879. Mr. Anderson highly approved of the vigour and
wisdom of the Consul, and wrote: "Such a man as Consul Hopkins merits all the
commendation which the friends of missions and of general progress are able to
give him." In the Annual Report for 1878, Mr. Anderson wrote further regarding
Consul Hopkins' visit:—
The Consul had a very busy time of it in this
river from August 20th till September 14th. His court was held publicly on board
the largest hulk in the river. At his special request, one of the senior
missionaries invoked Divine direction and blessing at the opening of each
meeting. He settled a number of trade palavers to the satisfaction of all the
parties more immediately interested. He embraced every opportunity of condemning
several remnants of oppression and injustice which still linger in the country.
He managed to prevail on the authorities to abolish one atrocious custom
connected with one of the grades of Egbo—a custom which had been dead and
buried, and revived again, three or four times within the last twenty years,
namely, the licence given to the runners of that grade, to strip females whom
they meet in their perambulations of every vestige of clothing. He did all that
man could do in the way of reproof, remonstrance, and counsel, to lead the
chiefs to prohibit the Egbo runners from flogging unprivileged parties whom they
may meet in the streets, but all that he could obtain on this point was a verbal
promise that ample warning should be given to the populace on the morning of
Egbo days, by the ringing of the big Egbo bell, ere the runners show face, and
by the runners themselves being instructed to keep sounding the hand-bells
attached to their persons whilst they are in possession of the town.
It was evident to all of us that the law for the
preservation and protection of twin children had been evaded by the Duke Town
people for a considerable period. The Consul prevailed on the authorities to
re-enact the law, and to make it more stringent than before, and also to accord
to the mothers of twins all the rights and privileges enjoyed by other women in
the country. One pleasant result of this arrangement was, that on the coronation
of the king (Archibong III.) on Sept. 6th, several twin mothers, who had been
kept for years in a sort of captivity in the mission premises, were stationed
within a few yards of the throne; and several of our little twin-fellows were
actually sporting on the dais or platform on which the ceremony took place. I am
not quite sure whether the king knows even yet of all this, but it was known,
and very gratifying, to many around him.
The Consul sent out to the neighbouring town of
Qua, and got the headmen there to enter into treaty with the British Government
for the abolition of human sacrifices, twin murders, etc., in their territory ;
and he got a promise from them that they will henceforth attend divine service
every Sabbath, and send their children regularly to school on week-days. I may
add that he occupied the Duke Town pulpit one Sabbath afternoon, and delivered a
good plain practical discourse (of course, through an interpreter) to a crowded
congregation of the natives. . . . Altogether his visit was the most pleasant,
and promises to be one of the most profitable, which we have ever yet received
in this quarter from any representative of H.B.M.'s Government. The sentiments
of the missionaries were expressed in an address, which they presented to him
after his more public work was over. I must not neglect to mention that he
succeeded in settling satisfactorily an old and complicated series of palavers,
which had long rendered Duke Town and Henshaw Town mutually hostile. The
reconciliation promises to be lasting.
On Jan. 3, 1879, Mr. A. S. Morton, teacher, died
in Duke Town mission-house. He and his wife (the eldest daughter of the Rev. Wm.
Timson) had returned to Calabar on Sept. 9th, 1878. Mr. Anderson preached a
touching funeral sermon in Duke Town Church on Jan. 5th, and on the 9th saw the
youthful widow on board the home-going mail steamer. On May 8, 1879, Mr.
Anderson wrote regarding the death of King Archibong:—
You will be concerned to learn that King
Archibong III. died during the night of Monday the 5th inst, or early on
Tuesday. Only eight months have passed away since his coronation, but he has
been de facto King of Duke Town for nearly seven years, viz. since the death of
Archibong II., on August 26th, 1872. He and I have got
on very comfortably together. I have found him always ready to listen to reason,
and anxious to oblige, which is more than I could say of several of his
predecessors. He has been long ailing. So long as he was able he attended the
Sabbath service conducted in his yard. He assented to all that was preached in
his hearing, but he never seemed to be awake to its importance. It can be truly
said of him that he was "a quiet prince." I shall ever gratefully remember him
as the abolisher of Sabbath markets in the territory of Duke Town.
I had not seen him for several days before his
death, as I knew that visitors were "not wanted." Mr. Edgerley, who is becoming
known among the natives as a physician, was sent for on Monday afternoon. Mr.
Edgerley at once saw that he was near his end, and doubtless did what could be
done for soul as well as body. The town is very quiet. Trade and work are being
carried on as usual. This indicates great improvement since the deaths of Eyamba
V. and Archibong I.
I trust that our Consul will be able to discover
a good successor to our late king, though I suspect that he will find it a
difficult task to accomplish.
In a letter to Mr. Chisholm, of date June 27,
1879, Mr. Anderson wrote:—
We had another visit of our Consul last week. He
did some more good work among us. The African Times for April contained a few
notices of his procedure here in September, substantially the same as in our
Annual Report, and from the same pen, too. . . .
Greatly grieved to see from the newspapers that
Dr. MacGill's health [Dr. MacGill died in June 1880.] is failing, and that the
Record is to have a new editor. [Rev. Dr. Jas. Brown, Paisley.] Who is the bold
man who will undertake that office so long as Dr. M. is to the fore?
I have to dedicate our new (native made) church
at Qua this evening. The grand new cathedral at Creek Town is to be consecrated
(?) on Saturday, July 5th; and at the same time we are to ordain another native,
Asuquo Kkanem, to the work of the ministry.
Miss Slessor went home by last week's mail, and
Mr. Goldie will be leaving us for a time in the middle of July.
Mrs. Sutherland, who had returned to Old Calabar
on Nov. 24, 1879, wrote on Dec. 16:—
I did not get to town among the people till
Sabbath the 30th. I did not see that moral improvement had advanced so rapidly
as I was led to expect, from the accounts given while I was at home, and after
the agreements had been entered into by Consul Hopkins and the natives of Old
Calabar. I could see the reason so far. The true and noble Consul Hopkins, King
Archibong III., and our dear Christian brother George Duke, all having died
within the year that I was away, Duke Town was left without a head. All those
having passed away had left such sad blanks, especially at Duke Town.
However, there is much to cheer us on in our
uphill work. The widows—who in former days were compelled to remain in their
yards for years in filth and starvation —are now all at liberty to leave the
place of mourning a few weeks after the death of their husbands, so that if any
remain after that it is their own wish. I was pleased to see the widows of the
late King Archibong moving about, some dressed in a dark print or blue gauze
made by themselves, others pointing to their heads, that I might look at their
nicely-plaited hair; from that I could see how long they had been out of Ikpo
house, their heads having been shaved ere they left their yards; and now their
hair, which I must say the}' take great pride in, had grown so that they could
plait it; two or three of them had about a hundred small plaits all stuck up
round their heads, reminding me of so many porcupines. What a change to them for
the better! Not so many years ago, a man such as the last King Archibong having
died, how many would have been put to death for him, and his widows shut up for
years; and how many of them dying ere the Ikpo for the great man was made, they
were not thought worthy of being put into a grave, but cast out in the bush.
Another thing which cheered my heart was to see
twin mothers allowed to walk about in town and go to market. When I came here to
Mr. Ross's house, I found a twin mother and child living in the yard. I saw that
there was no need why she should be under the protection of the Mission and
supported by us. ... I told her that we and she ought to take advantage of the
agreement that had been made for her and such as her, otherwise that agreement
entered into by Consul Hopkins and the chiefs of Old Calabar, as also the other
agreements, if not taken hold of, would fall to the ground. I promised to visit
her, to keep my eye on her; if she was sick or in want I would see to her. She
said, Yes, if I said she should go, she would do so. She went off without the
least fear, and seemed rather pleased with my decision in the matter. This, too,
is a change for the better. . . .
The Sabbath-school children turn out well, and
the attendance at church is good, though I should like to see more of the free
and head men attend, and give Mr. Anderson a little more of their help and
countenance ; he has far too much to do. Were he not blessed with such a good
constitution, he could never get through the work that he does. The Lord give
him many souls for his reward!
To few is it given in the mission field to write
forty Annual Reports. It was natural for Mr. Anderson in writing his to indulge
in retrospect. A portion of the Report may be given here :—
Fortieth Annual Report.
"These forty years."—On beginning this, my
Fortieth Annual Report, I cannot help recalling years long gone by. It was on
January 9, 1840, that I first set foot on the shores of loved Jamaica ; and I
entered forthwith on the discharge of the same duties in which I am still
engaged —preaching on Sabbath, and teaching and preaching during the week. On
Sabbath the 18th inst. (January 1880) I addressed both native and English
congregations here from the same text from which I first preached to an
assemblage of sable faces on the third Sabbath of January 1840: "Choose ye this
day whom ye will serve," Josh. xxiv. 15. I have seen a good many changes during
these forty years, but I find nothing new to preach. It is the same "old, old
story." I can cordially recommend His service and His recompense to all around.
I found the grand old gospel to be the support of youth; I find it to be the
staff of advancing years. What it was to me at eighteen, I find it to be at
But I must remember that it is not autobiography
which is at present wanted, but an account of the work and progress of the
station during the past year, so I go on to my report.
The number on the roll at December 31st was 94.
Sixteen of these were admitted during the year—two by profession and fourteen by
baptism. There were nine children baptized. We had, as in 1878, four deaths. Two
of the departed were elders, the others were members. One of the departed elders
was my excellent and amiable townsman, A. S. Morton, whose early removal from us
we greatly mourned. The other was George Duke, Esq., who for many years was one
of the chief advisers of our late kings. It was "about the eleventh hour" ere he
decided to cast in his lot with the people of God; but having once taken the
step, he never resiled. He was baptized in 1875; and from the day that he
joined us, we found him to be one of the best and most useful of the native
The native attendance on our Efik service has
been on the whole very good. For four or five months both church and school were
crowded during the afternoon service. We are back again to our usual number, a
considerable portion of the people being absent from the town, this being their
chief planting season. We consider 800 to 850 as being the aggregate number of
persons hearing the word, Sabbath after Sabbath, in Duke Town and neighbourhood;
but in connection with this number it seems only right to notice that there are
multitudes connected with the chief towns who are frequently away at markets or
farms for months together. Here, or elsewhere, there is a rotation of people in
the town, and, of course, at our Sabbath meetings; so that, if we have a regular
attendance of 850, we may safely infer that double that number has worshipped
with us during several Sabbaths of the year. But there is another conclusion
here involved, namely, that probably not more than two hundred either can or do
attend church for fifty-two Sabbaths in any one year. . . .
After Miss Slessor left, in the middle of the
year, I had no one to put in her place, so I myself took charge of the school on
the Mission Hill, and have continued to teach in it regularly. I like the work
well enough, but feel the want of the elasticity of earlier years; and, besides,
I can do little in the way of house-to-house visitation and in superintending
the other schools connected with the station. The attendance is about fifty.
The Centre School is taught by Wm. Cobham in the
large yard of the house of the late King Archibong. North Henshaw Town School
has been taught by James Ballantyne. The Qua School is taught by Myang Noang.
The authorities are not acting up to their agreement with the late Consul
Hopkins. They do not "all go to God's house on God's day," and they do not send
"all children to school."
We had much to lament and much to humble us. The
Church is still "few and feeble," and we have every now and then a fall. There
are multitudes who never enter the sanctuary ; and many of these are our old
scholars, who can read their Bibles fluently. There have been the usual number
of murders and other atrocities committed in this region. We have had to deplore
the death of our valued Consul Hopkins, who promised fair to be a power for good
in the whole of his large consulate. We are at present under a regency, which
does not seem to be an effective form of government here. As of old, "when there
was no king in Israel," every chief does very much "what is right in his own
eyes." Better to have one acknowledged chieftain or head, though of imperfect
character and attainments, than none, or several. I have been able to do very
little evangelistic work since Mr. Ross left. On his return I trust we shall be
able to get on with our work more vigorously and effectively.
Besides the "Lo, I am with you," and the
conviction that one is just where the Master has placed him, we had many other
things to comfort and to encourage. Another year of unbroken health is a matter
that calls for great thankfulness. A measure of acceptability among those to
whom we deliver the gospel message is not to be despised. We have had a few more
of the lost sheep gathered into the fold.
In conclusion, whether I limit my present
retrospect to the year which has passed away, or extend it over the four decades
referred to at the commencement, I feel called on to erect another Ebenezer,
bearing the old inscription, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us."
In his Annual Report for 1880, Mr. Anderson
... In the English service we have been tracing
the footprints of the great Apostle of the Gentiles for several months. The
contemplation of his marvellous career has proved interesting, and, I trust,
profitable to all who have attended this service. The attendance of our European
friends has generally been encouraging. I am glad to hear that our friends in
the Old Calabar River bear a very high character all along the coast for
sobriety, morality, and the observance of the Sabbath, which I consider to be a
very important element in morality. . . .
We had a very pleasing intimation, a few weeks
ago, from our Wesleyan brother, the Rev. Mr. Godman, at Sierra Leone. I suppose
that more than half a century has elapsed since a certain slave-ship left this
river with her freight of human live-stock. That vessel, like many others, was
captured by a British cruiser; her cattle taken to Sierra Leone, and there
transformed into free men and women. Among that vessel's cargo there was a youth
from this quarter who subsequently took the name of Peter Nicoll. Peter
cherished a lively recollection of his native region; and when he heard, thirty
years ago, that the gospel had reached his fatherland, he took a longing to
revisit it. He came here as a merchant, and also as an accredited member and
leader in the Wesleyan Church. He spent, I suppose, about two years here, doing
a little in the trading line, and greatly helping us as an elder of the Church,
seeing that he had not forgotten his native tongue. The supercargo began to
maltreat him, to seize his goods, etc. (a very different class of men from those
here now), so that he had to return to his store in Free Town, Sierra Leone. In
all our goings to and comings from home, we were welcome visitants at Peter's
shop. He was a very fine specimen of humanity—fully six feet high, of benign and
intelligent countenance, and, latterly, with head white as the wool. When not
doing much, he might be seen sitting in his store carefully studying some
portion of the Efik Scriptures, and generally with some philological question to
propose. We heard of our friend's death some months ago; and I was much affected
when, a few weeks ago, I received a note from Mr. God man, intimating, as one of
Peter's executors, that he (Peter) had left a legacy of £50 in favour of the
Mission in Old Calabar.
We have got a new king at Duke Town during the
year. He was crowned, under the auspices of the British Acting Consul—as was
duly reported at the time [It is to be regretted that "the few carefully
prepared paragraphs about the coronation and the state of parties in the town,
etc.," which Mr. Anderson sent home for publication in the Record, were not
published. An account from his pen appeared, however, in the African Times for
July 1880.]—on the 17th of April (1880). His style is King Duke Ephraim Eyamba
IX. [In the newspapers of Dec. 22, 1896, it was stated
that, on Nov. 19, "it was officially announced that King Duke ix. of Old Calabar
was dead. It was believed that death had taken place about six clays previously,
but, in accordance with native custom, earlier notice was not given. The
intimation was signed by 'Magnus Duke'a distant relative, who said the chiefs
and the people of the late monarch intended to perform the usual native rites
and hold the customary 'play and devil-making.' The rites usually last for
two or three weeks, and consist of firing guns,
native dances, and other revelry ; but there have been no human sacrifices since
the Protectorate was formed. The British here do not allow the natives to bury
the dead in their houses, but it was believed that in the case of King Duke it
was the intention to inter the body within the compound [of the] house occupied
up to his death by the deceased. King Duke was about sixty-five years of age,
and for a long time suffered from rheumatism. He lived at Duke Town. . . . It
was stated that with his death would cease the reign of the Old Calabar kings.
This was also said to be the last official 'Ju Ju' ceremony that would probably
take place on the river."
There are several inaccuracies in the preceding
statement. King Duke was not king of the region known as Old Calabar, but only
of Duke Town and its dependencies, as the late King Eyo VII. of Creek Town was
king of that town and its dependencies. In consular reports, etc., Old Calabar
is erroneously treated as synonymous with Duke Town. It is misleading to say
that there have been no human sacrifices for the dead since the Protectorate was
established. The practice was made illegal hy Egbo law in 1S50, and the Hopkins
Agreement in 1878 ratified previous engagements entered into between the chiefs
in Calabar and H.B.M.'s Consuls, and had practically died out in Duke Town and
Creek Town long prior to the establishment of the Protectorate in 1S91. As to
the burial of the dead, Sir C. Macdonald states in his first Report (p. 7) :
"The native law is that all chiefs and their wives are buried in the houses in
which they lived, whilst the bodies of domestic slaves and common people are
thrown into the nearest bush or into the river. It would be very difficult, and
lead to much bad feeling, were the first part of the native law to be interfered
with at present. As, however, the graves are by the same law obliged to be from
six to ten feet deep, I have made a compromise with the native chiefs to the
effect that when such a burial is about to take place, notice is at once to be
given to the sanitary officer, and an official is to attend and see that the
grave is of the regulation depth." King Duke must have been buried several days
before the public announcement of his death was made. It is probably correct to
say that he is the last of the Duke Town kings. No successor has been elected at
Creek Town to Eyo vn., who died in March 1S92, and it is probable that the
kingship of Duke Town, which has been merely nominal since the establishment of
the Protectorate, will also be allowed to lapse.] [For
Portrait see p. 583.]
As yet he has conducted himself in a very
satisfactory way; much better than some of us expected. He has repeatedly issued
proclamations for the preservation of twin children, and the proper observance
of the Sabbath. His rheumatic ailments prevent his regular attendance at public
worship. He is a liberal contributor to church collections and to certain kinds
of church work.
Mrs. Anderson has had an extra large number of
twin children and their mothers to look after during the year. No treaty with
England, no Egbo proclamation, and no publication of even the Divine law, can
speedily eradicate the superstitions of centuries. The bulk of the grown-up
generation are terrified about twin children. There is a sort of agreement
between the town authorities and Mrs. Anderson, that when twins are born, mother
and children are to be brought to her, and she is to take care of them a few
months, and then send them to their homes. There is often a difficulty in
carrying the latter clause into execution. Some have no home, and most of the
women find that the misfortune of having given birth to twins makes their former
dwelling to be a very cold home for them. Some husbands and fathers forget to
provide for such women and children. Mrs. Anderson has had a dozen of twin
mothers with their children under her care during the year. Had it not been for
the great liberality of our river friends, and the kindly and liberal
contributions of Sabbath schools and friends at home, I do not see how we could
have made ends to meet. Verily, God is good. He feedeth "the young ravens which
cry," and Me provides for the raven-complexioned babies too.
Another year of unbroken health calls for renewed
expressions of gratitude on our part to the Giver of all good. We feel, however,
that we are "wearin' awa'," and are rejoicing in the prospect of seeing among
us, ere long, fresh agents from both Scotland and Jamaica. By the time that our
expected brethren and sisters reach our time of life and our period of
service—say in 1920—the Efik Church should be strong and vigorous, and a centre
of light to all the regions around. It is so in a small way already, but
doubtless our assistants and successors shall see greater things than we can
expect to witness. Amen.
To Mr. Chisholm, Mr. Anderson wrote on Jan. 8,
. . . How cold with you! How comfortable with us!
Ther. generally 74°, 7 A.M.; ?8°, noon; 76°, 7 PM. Happy clime and happy land!
No snowstorms here— no hail-blasts—no colliery explosions—no earthquakes —no
general elections ! Only a little confusion now and then on "the Demise of the
My "taste and talent" for letter-writing fast
evanishing. I seldom write anything save on necessary business. I have failed a
good deal generally during the last two years. The right hand gets more and more
tremulous— the right ear more and more deaf—the right eye more and more dim—the
hinges of the system getting more and more stiff, especially in the knee
region—and very little brain work leaves a considerable amount of exhaustion.
The next paragraph of the letter was evidently
sent by Mr. Chisholm to the editor of the Record, in which it was published in
March 1881, preceded by the following introductory sentence :—
The following extract from a letter of the Rev.
W. Anderson to a friend was written without any view to publication, and is here
given as another among many proofs of how outsiders are bearing testimony to the
worth of our agents and the benefit of mission work :—
"On Saturday evening, the 1st Jan., about eight
o'clock, a Kruman came to the mission-house with a parcel wrapped in grey paper.
The mail had arrived three hours before, and I had a letter from our friend Mr.
Christie, intimating that he had sent me, in a rice barrel, a small package of
hasps and staples. The parcel felt heavy; and when Mrs. Anderson handed it to
me, I conjectured, and said, 'Oh, this is the package of hardware; Mr. Christie
must have forgotten to put it into the rice barrel, and just sent it loose.'
'But' (this was by and by)' what is the use of all this sealing-wax?' Lo and
behold, a purse containing forty-two sovereigns! and a most kindly letter from
fourteen of the river gentlemen, requesting my acceptance of the same. We could
hardly believe our eyes, and when we had assured ourselves that the coins and
the letter (itself worth gold) were realities —not phantoms—our hearts were
full. We could hardly speak to each other.
"Our expenditure, especially on account of twin
children and their mothers, was exceptionally heavy last year. We had, I think,
twelve mothers and twenty infants, for different periods during the year; of
course twelve mothers = twenty-four infants, but in several cases one child died
ere the mother reached us. Our river friends were very kind during the
year—sending us now and then a bag of rice, a quantity of preserved meats,
flour, etc. ; then they crowned the whole as aforesaid."
A letter to Mr. Chisholm, dated March 25, was
written after a severe illness, and tells of his recovery:—
I am just coming round from a very severe
illness, and am putting pen to paper to-day, in way of letter-writing, for the
first time for two months. I had felt out of sorts for several weeks, but kept
up till Sabbath, February 20, when, after the English evening service, I felt
quite prostrated, and was afterwards kept prisoner in my room for three weeks.
How it gladdened me to know that though to me two of the Sabbaths were what is
called "silent," the public work of the sanctuary went on all the same as if I
had been present. On Sabbath, Feb. 27, Prince James Eyamba—an elder, and also
superintendent of the Sabbath school—conducted both the Efik services, and Mr.
Goldie kindly came down from Creek Town and preached at the English service in
the evening. On Sabbath, March 6, Prince E. conducted the morning service, and
Mr. Goldie (Mr. Edgerley being on an exploring expedition) came down again to
our aid, and took the afternoon services, both Efik and English.
Sabbath, March 13, was our Communion Sabbath. Mr.
Edgerley spent the day with us, and conducted the whole of the services. He was
far from feeling well himself. I would fain have aided him, but felt constrained
to be dumb. I felt deeply grateful for being able to be present at all the three
diets of worship. The elders held the usual prayer meetings on week-day
evenings, the attendance being much larger than usual.
Last Sabbath, March 20, I was able to conduct all
the services, the elders conducting the devotional services at the Efik
meetings, so that at these I had only to preach two short sermons. At our
English meeting I took the lesson which came in due course, Acts xxvi., but I
felt several times, while reading and commenting, as if I had erred in not
reserving such an exciting and thrilling passage for one of my best and
Brethren, European and natives, were all very
kind and sympathising during our time of trouble. I cannot speak too highly of
the skill and attentiveness of our kind medical friend, Dr. Mackenzie. And, to
conclude, a new Ebenezer is requisite, with the old inscription, "Hitherto hath
the Lord helped us."
Mr. Anderson refers, in a letter to Mr. Chisholm
of June 17, to an illness of Mrs. Anderson's, and to the publication of the
Revised Version of the New Testament:—
Mrs. Anderson had strong fever for five days
lately, which left her much reduced. She is getting round slowly. Both Mrs.
Anderson and I would be the better of a little change ; and, as I wrote Mr.
Williamson some time ago, if I had a colleague, possessed of common sense, such
as Mr. Beedie, I could easily leave the station in his hands with comfort and
confidence—but "Not now, not now, my child."
I have been wondering which of my friends, if
any, would be remembering me on this day month—May 17. I suppose you would
hardly guess what I mean. The Revised New Testament was to be published on that
day—I wonder if anybody posted me a copy on the following Friday. I ordered a
dozen copies of the cheapest kind from Mr. Christie a good while ago. . . .
The coronation of Orok as King Duke
IX. on April 17, 1880, seems to have given
dissatisfaction, and led to disaffection on the part of the other native chiefs.
On June 17, Mr. Anderson wrote that Consul Hewett was expected on the 19th, and
that the election of a king would take place the following week. On June 25, Mr.
Anderson again wrote to Mr. Chisholm:—
Matters are not getting smoothed down yet. Our
Consul is here just now as our lodger—came on Sabbath last, and goes away
to-morrow (Sabbath) for three weeks or so; then he proposes coming back, staying
with us till October, and then goes home for a few months on furlough.
He has not yet proceeded with the election of a
king for Duke Town—means to do so soon after his return, and to go on with
coronation soon after election.
Mrs. A. has pretty well got over her fever, but
regains strength only slowly. I keep wonderfully well, though I have a good deal
Mr. Anderson had (as he said in his letter of
March 25 to Mr. Chisholm) " avoided all appearance of partisanship " towards any
of the disaffected parties in the town who were aiming at the displacement of
King Duke. The following letter, dated August 6, 1881, explains the unsettled
political condition of Duke Town at this period :—
. . . Our political affairs are still unsettled.
The Consul had arranged to come here on Tuesday last with our Commodore, Sir
Fred. Richards, but became very unwell, and was forbidden by the surgeon of the
Fleet from either travelling or working. The Commodore spent two hours with us
on Tuesday afternoon, inquiring how things stand. The Consul sent orders to our
acting king to get an election meeting held at once, so that he (Consul) may
have nothing to do but crozvu when he returns from the South Coast (to which the
Fleet doctor is taking him for health) in the end of October! I have written the
Consul that he is imposing too heavy a burden on our young man. My impression is
that all the electors will not meet if called on by him only, even though able
to say, "By Consul's orders"! I believe that the Eyamba faction will take a
pride in refusing to receive any order or instruction from the acting king.
Probably both election and coronation will have to await consular visit three
months hence! All this I look on as "much ado about nothing." The Consul had all
the freemen before him when he read instructions from Foreign Office anent the
quashing of [Acting Consul] Eastern's tomfoolery at former coronation, and could
have done all that was requisite in two days (or in two hours) then, as well as
he will be able to do it three months hence.
A letter to Mr. Chisholm, of date October 14-15,
1881, relates the death of Mrs. Sutherland:—
. . . Mrs. Sutherland was very poorly yesterday
when I was writing, but none of us (except Mrs. A.) thought that the change was
at hand. She died last evening between 8 and 9 o'clock. She herself did not seem
to be anticipating death. A call to all of us, and especially to one so infirm
as myself, to " be ready."
We bury the remains this afternoon beside those
of her husband at Creek Town. She has been a faithful and energetic worker. . .
In the Missionary Record for November 1881 the
following announcement appeared:—
Special circumstances have arisen in Old Calabar
which have led the Foreign Committee to the conclusion that a deputation should
be sent to that mission field at once, and they have accordingly taken the
responsibility of such a step. The Deputies will be able not only to attend to
the matters that are immediately pressing, but also to do the work that would
have fallen to a deputation going out in the ordinary course. The brethren who
have been selected by the Committee for this duty are the Rev. David Williamson
of Queensferry, and the Rev. David Marshall of East Calder. The Committee and
the Church, we are sure, have every confidence in the peculiar fitness of these
two brethren for such a duty—their acquaintance with our missionary operations,
their soundness of judgment, and their thorough fairness and impartiality. The
visit of the Deputies will be an event of very special interest in the history
of the Mission at Old Calabar. . . .
The Deputies sailed from Liverpool in the Corisco
on October 29. Mr. Anderson's next letter to Mr. Chisholm, dated December 31,
1881, tells of the visit of the Deputies, and of the decision at which they
arrived in the questions at issue between him and Mr. Ross:—
Our friends the Deputies arrived here on the 1st
inst. On the 6th they commenced investigation of Mr. Ross's palaver with his
brethren; had many a long and weary sederunt—generally 9 to I, and then 5 to 9
or 10. On one occasion the evening sederunt lasted from 5 till 11.30. Such hours
of business don't suit the intertropical part of the world. They closed their
investigations on the evening of Friday the 23rd, and on Saturday 24th announced
their finding—the chief part of which is that Mr. Ross be separated from the Old
Calabar Mission and proceed home without delay.
On Saturday evening, Prince James Eyamba, with a
number of his following who are Church members, sent in to the Deputies an
intimation of their withdrawal from the fellowship of the U.P. Church; and on
Sabbath morning Mr. Ross sent in his resignation of the office of the ministry
in the U.P. Church. On Sabbath, Mr. Ross and his followers held meetings in
James Eyamba's yard. . . .
I have long been considering a suggestion of your
own, viz. whether I should not retire from active life. I have never fully got
over the ailment which brought me to death's gates in February. Every little
extra exertion or annoyance brings a return of it. I felt that if Mr. Ross
carries out his present design of remaining in the country and setting up a
rival cause, I am not now in such vigour as to be able to cope with the
difficulties of the position. So, to clear the way for the free action of the
Presbytery and of the Deputies in regard to the present emergency, I have
tendered my resignation of my charge.
A special meeting of Presbytery was held, and
after Mr. Edgerley had been appointed and had agreed to go to Duke Town, Mr.
Anderson practically withdrew his resignation.
On January 7, 1882, Mr. Anderson wrote further to
Mr. Chisholm :—
On Tuesday evening a congregational meeting was
held, at which the Deputies published what they had done —specially in regard to
Mr. Ross—and why they had done so.
I would rather say as little as possible on the
matter, and leave it to Mr. Williamson to explain all things to you. He expects
to see you shortly after he reaches home. [Mr. Williamson stayed with Mr.
Anderson, and Mr. Marshall with Mr. Ross. Mr. Williamson, to ihe regret of the
Churches in Calabar and in Scotland, died of fever un January 30, 1882, on the
He and Mr. Marshall have conducted the business
with which they were entrusted with great care and pains, and have earned a good
name among both blacks and whites. . . .
Mrs. A. still continues very poorly. Sometimes
she seems as if she were passing away, but has always revived hitherto. Mr.
Marshall had a good New Year's sermon at English service last Sabbath evening
from " My times are in Thy hand," but she did not hear it.
I had a touching message from one of our native
members on Wednesday evening,—a slave-boy who had been long ailing,—viz. that he
did not think he would be alive after 9 o'clock that evening, and that he wished
very much that I would allow him to be buried in the Christian graveyard. I had
not seen him for some time, and did not know that the end was so near. I went
off at once to see him, but he was unable to speak. I spoke to him, and prayed
with him. He lingered on till 6 A.M. Thursday. We buried him with all the
respect accorded to all Church members. Our Deputies were with us during the
funeral service, but the congregation was such that I saw that it would serve
nothing to ask them to take an)' part in it.
Both Deputies have preached to both native and
English congregations with great acceptance. We have enjoyed their company very
much. Of course the enjoyment would have been greater had not their visit been
especially connected with Mr. Ross's case. . . .
Mr. and Mrs. Edgerley have just come from Creek
Town to take up their abode with us for a time. They are to occupy Mrs.
In the preceding narrative of this painful case
it has not been my aim to give such an account of it as would be proper in a
critical history of the Mission. The Deputies censured Mr. Anderson for certain
indiscretions, and recalled Mr. Ross, and behind or beyond their decision it is
not here needful to go.
KING DUKE IX.