The Closing Years
IN the Record for July 1889, Mr. Goldie referred
feelingly to the departure of Mr. Anderson. He wrote:—
In his departure the personal intercourse of a
long and intimate friendship ceases between us. . . . Connected with each other
in the Jamaica Mission, we have been still more closely and for a much longer
period associated in the Calabar Mission, helping to form each other's
character, as such close association must necessarily do, towards that
perfection, I trust, which shall be attained in the perfect and inseparable
union of the future. I shall ever cherish the recollection of his warm-hearted
friendship, which I have no doubt is reciprocated. May all blessing be his for
support and guidance in the part of his life's pilgrimage which yet lies before
Mr. Anderson's last letter for some time to
Calabar after his return to this country, until the operation for cataract, to
which he refers in the letter, had taken place, was fittingly addressed to Mr.
Goldie, and contains the following reference to Mr. Goldie's remarks:—
You are quite right in supposing your cordiality
towards me is fully reciprocated. Your place in my esteem and affection is
The letter is partly devoted to discussing
matters of business connected with the publication of Mr. Goldie's Calabar and
its Mission, which appeared in 1890.
The letter contains an account of Mr. Anderson's
homeward voyage, which was a very pleasant one, and of his movements in Scotland
after his arriva :—
We got into dock at Liverpool at midnight of
Thursday, May 16. I went direct to Dr. Adam's from the steamer, and stayed with
him from Friday till Tuesday, when I came to Edinburgh. I stayed a fortnight in
Edinburgh, and then went to Crieff for a fortnight. As usual, I greatly enjoyed
I received a very cordial welcome from the
Mission Board at its meeting on the last Tuesday of May. . . .
I have been at the great oculist, Dr. Argyll
Robertson. He gives me hope of restored vision by and by. . . . He says there is
growing cataract, which will not be ready for removal by operation for some
months. I went to him the other week to inform him that my one seeing eye (the
left) was getting dimmer and dimmer. That was just what he expected owing to the
progress of the cataract. "Just go on with the eye-drops, and come to see me at
the end of July." I take that as the warning that by the end of July the eye
will be altogether or almost dark. . . .
After this date you need expect no more letters
from me for months to come.
There is in a postscript written on July 2nd a
pathetic reference to his inability to read Mr. Goldie's account of his life in
the Ungzvana Ef'ik :—
My eyesight is so much failed, and Ungwaua Ef'ik
is so dim, that I have not been able to make out one sentence of the article
headed with my name, and no one here can help me! . . .
I left Calabar in debt a few notes or letters,
but I think I paid all by last mail; and now, returning ten pages for your four,
I consider you six pages in my debt!
I see three sermons preached every Sabbath, but
do not hear one. I have spoken a few sentences to Nicolson Street Sabbath
scholars, Edinburgh, and to Mr. Ingles's Sabbath School, Crieff; but I did not
get on well'. I have cost Her Majesty's dentist a great deal of thought and
trouble, but he can't do impossibilities. Gums too much wasted away. I suspect
my days of public speaking are over.
My sister and family very anxious for me to go to
them in Virginia West. But I have formed no plans for the future as yet.
In the same letter there are references to the
Rev. A. M. Porteous, B.D., Cullen, a native of Dalkeith, who resigned his charge
for mission service in Old Calabar. Mr. Anderson wrote in July:—
I have not yet seen Mr. Porteous, but hear the
highest eulogies in his favour from all quarters here.
Mr. Anderson was present at a farewell meeting
held in Buccleuch Street Church, Dalkeith, on the evening of Sabbath, August 25,
at which the Rev. James Fraser minister of the congregation, presided, and
delivered an address. He said :—
Fifty years ago come next month, I myself stood
before a Dalkeith congregation and took farewell, when about to engage in
Foreign Mission work, telling those I addressed that I would never see them in
the face again. A second time, years afterwards, I did the same thing; and here
I am once more before you, after half a century's labour in the Foreign Mission
field. It was by no wish of mine that I have discontinued my work in Old Calabar,
but because I feel unable any longer to bear the burden, and think I will be
doing a better work by staying at home and making room for younger brothers,
such as Mr. Porteous. I envy Mr. Porteous the prospect before him, and wonder
that more young men are not willing to offer themselves for the service of
Christ abroad. Foreign Mission work is not now the serious matter that it was
fifty years ago. Steam navigation has almost abolished distance; the nature of
the climate of Calabar has been ascertained ; the diseases of the country and
their remedies are known and understood; and Europeans know what to eat, drink,
and avoid. Better influences are at work in social life. Calabar is to be taken
under British government. Captains of vessels and traders are immensely superior
to those who preceded them in former days. Formerly Sabbath observance was
unknown ; but now ships' officers, as a rule, treat the Lord's Day with respect,
and conduct themselves with propriety towards the Mission.
The congregation I address has reason to feel
grateful for the privilege you have enjoyed of sending out so many labourers to
Old Calabar and other mission fields. . . . I have no doubt that in future days
the sending out of Mr. Porteous, your young fellow-townsman, will be looked to
with feelings of no ordinary satisfaction.
Mr. Porteous, after less than three years'
devoted service, first at Creek Town with Mr. Goldie, and then alone at Ikotana,
Cross River, died at Ikorofiong on January 26, 1892, of haematuric fever. What
Mr. Goldie described as his last message was uttered in the prayer: "May they
come, more and more, and of the right kind!" When will another ordained man
follow his noble example? Never were men of experience more needed in Calabar
than at the present time.
In the Record for March 1890 it was stated :—
The Foreign Mission Board in their Report last
year called the attention of the Synod to the fact that Mr. Anderson had reached
his jubilee year, and that the Synod passed the following resolution: "The Synod
hear with much interest that the Rev. William Anderson of Calabar has entered
upon his jubilee year of missionary-service. They congratulate him on the good
work which during his long career he has accomplished, both in the mission field
and on his occasional visits to the Church at home, and they express the hope
that in the evening of his days he may enjoy much comfort and happiness."
On his return from Old Calabar, Mr. Anderson met
with the Board, who communicated to him the resolution of the Synod, and
arranged for an address being presented to him on the completion of his fiftieth
year. The address was duly prepared and engrossed on parchment, beautifully
illuminated; and advantage was taken of the Workers' Meeting in connection with
the Mission Week in Edinburgh to present the address to Mr. Anderson. The
presentation was made by Mr. Duncan M'Laren, Chairman of the Board; and Mr.
Anderson, on accepting the address, made a most stirring and touching reply.
[Under the title "A Retrospect"' it appeared in The United Presbyterian Magazine
for April 1890.]
The following is a copy of the address:—
To the Rev. William Anderson, Missionary of the
United Presbyterian Church, Old Calabar.
Dear Mr. Anderson,—Fifty years having elapsed
since you first left this country for work in the mission field, the Foreign
Mission Board desire to congratulate you, and to express our thankfulness to God
that you have been spared to labour so many years. We recall with no ordinary
interest and satisfaction the work that you have been privileged to do, first in
Jamaica, and then in Calabar, not only with your living voice, but also with
your pen. You can look back upon the time when the darkness was unbroken in
Calabar, and the people were sunk in idolatry and its abominations; you now see
the people enlightened, education advancing, and many gathered into the
fellowship of the Church; and you have the unspeakable happiness of being able
to say that your labours have been owned of God as one of the agencies in
bringing about the blessed change. We recall also how much you have done on the
occasion of your visits to the home-land in the way of keeping alive the
interest of the Church in the Calabar mission field, and calling forth the gifts
and the prayers of the people on its behalf.
We rejoice that, even after so long and trying a
service, you are still favoured with a remarkable measure of health and
strength; and we earnestly trust that, though no longer labouring in the field
itself, you may be spared for a season to plead the claims of the people among
whom you have lived so long, and who are dear to you by many tender ties, so
that you may have the satisfaction of knowing that you are still working on
their behalf, and securing for them a still larger share of the sympathy and aid
of the Church. We trust that your mantle may fall on the younger men who are now
in the field, and that you may be cheered during your declining years by tidings
reaching you from time to time of multitudes of the dark children of Africa
being brought to a knowledge of the truth, and of those already gathered into
the Church devoting themselves to the service of the Master, and seeking still
further to extend the gospel among their benighted fellow-countrymen.— In name
of the Foreign Mission Board,
DUNCAN M'LAREN, Chairman.
James Buchanan, Secretary.
Edinburgh, December 1889.
During 1890, Mr. Anderson's "Autobiography" was
published in The United Presbyterian Magazine. The daughters of the Rev. W.
Morison, M.A., Rosehall U.P. Church, Edinburgh, copied the MS. for the press for
Mr. Anderson. This is how he acknowledged his indebtedness in a letter to Miss
Morison, dated 1 Gladstone Place December 20, 1890:—
I forget whether it was to sister Catherine or to
sister Helen that I gave a small coin long ago, and when father and mother
remonstrated against my action, I promised— as many bad boys do—that I would not
do the like again. But this has led me into a difficulty. I find, on balancing
accounts for the year in connection with the U.P. Magazine, that I am due to
yourself and sister or sisters the sum of------. Now my difficulty is, How can I
keep my promise to father and mother and remain an honest man? With your help I
might get out of it in this way. Let me know what book or books, or article or
articles, to the value of------, would be useful to yourself and sisters,
and—why—leave the rest to me.
Your father and mother, and indeed nearly all my
friends, frequently charge me with not visiting so frequently as I should. In
regard to your house, my thoughts run in this way:—
"'How doth the little busy bee
Improve each shining hour!'.
Why should a lazy loon like me
Intrude into the bower
Of cheerful, hallowed industry—
Father and mother, sisters three,
All toiling on incessantly
For benefit of all around;
And I—'a cumberer of the ground'?"
Here is another delightful letter—an invitation
to visit, with Mr. Anderson, the Menagerie in the Grassmarket:—
Misses Morison, My dear Ladies,—I once thought of
coming your length this evening to inquire whether you have yet seen my worthy
countrymen (nicknamed by some folks as Lions, Leopards, Monkeys, etc.) in the
Grassmarket. ... I went to see them on Christmas Day ; but the exhibitors had
hardly got matters in proper order then, and I have not been there since, owing
to the crush. Well, I mean to leave this place to-morrow at 1.30 to take a
parting look at my friends, and it would be easier for you to come round this
way than for me to go round your way; and, A.Z>., if any or all of you—with a
representative Douglas or two—will kindly come here at above hour, and take me
under your protection to my friends' cold lodgings, I shall feel myself highly
favoured and honoured. Leave passage money and all travelling expenses for me to
settle. ... If mother has not seen the animals, and would like to see them, I
should be proud of her company.
In February 1891, Mr. Anderson was present at the
farewell meeting held in the East U.P. Church, Perth, for Miss K.J. Hutton (now
Mrs. Marwick), held on the eve of her leaving- as a Zenana agent for Old Calabar.
Mr. Anderson took a great interest in all those in whose designation for the
mission field he took part.
In the Record for October 1891 it was stated:—
The name of the Rev. William Anderson, Old
Calabar, has been added to the list of annuitants under the Sacred and Infirm
Ministers' and Missionaries' Scheme. The long service of this brother for
forty-nine years in the foreign field renders him in every way worthy of the
regard of the Church and of its provision for the comfort of his old age. As an
expression of its sympathy with Mr. Anderson, and its admiration of his long and
faithful labours, the Board appointed him as the first annuitant under the
"Crichton Bequest," the whole annual income of which will be paid to him.
On the death of Mrs. Goldie, which took place at
Creek Town on August 20, 1891, Mr. Anderson wrote:—
Fifty-one years have passed away since, with her
husband, she joined the mission band in that gem of the Caribbean Sea, Jamaica.
Forty-four years ago the worthy couple were selected to go to the help of the
Lord against the mighty in dark Calabar. During all these years she has toiled
nobly, faithfully, and patiently in the work of the Lord. What she was to her
husband he only can tell; but all her contemporaries can testify of her value to
the Mission. August 20th was a happy day to her. Then was it said to her, "Come
up hither." And oh! the meetings and greetings beyond! Her sister Fuphemia, Mrs.
Sutherland, Mrs. Anderson, Margery Barty, and Mary Baillie, all awaiting to
welcome her home. But that same 20th of August was a day of sadness to those
The great day alone will declare the value of her
labours among the large numbers of destitute children, twins and orphans, and
others, of whom she generally had a full house. Many of these are now husbands
and wives, fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, heads of happy
Christian families. Through these the holy, happy influence of Mrs. Goldie will
go down to unborn generations.
Mr. Anderson was present at the ordination of the
Rev. Ebenezer Deas, as a missionary to Old Calabar, in Bristo Place U.P. Church,
Edinburgh, on Tuesday evening, Jan. 19, 1892, and delivered the address to the
new missionary. In the beginning of the address Mr. Anderson referred to what he
called his "four T's.," viz. Temper, Temperance, Temperature, and Time
(punctuality), attention to which he believed to be conducive to health in
Calabar. The address dealt with the missionary's position and work:—I. As
matters of vast importance. II. As of high honour.
III. As involving solemn responsibility, (1) as a preacher; (2) in regard to
prayer; (3) as regards house-to-house visitation. Counsels as to how to meet
hours of dejection and times of opposition followed ; and the address closed by
calling attention, IV. To the missionary's glorious
reward. I regret that I cannot find room for more than this brief outline of the
leading points of the address.
In May 1892, Mr. Anderson was present at the Free
Church Missionary Breakfast, Edinburgh. There I met him for the first time,
being introduced to him by Mr. Luke, then at home on furlough. He was, as
always, interested in meeting a new recruit. We sat beside him, and he kept the
table lively with his amusing remarks. The Rev. W. S. Peebles, formerly of Old
Calabar, came to greet him and Mr. Luke, and compliments in Efik passed between
them. Soon after, Mr. Anderson left on a visit to his nephews and nieces in
To his friend R. A. Douglas, Esq., Edinburgh, Mr.
Anderson wrote from Wheeling, West Va., on June 30, 1 S(j2 :—
I left Glasgow and Greenock in the State of
Nevada on Friday the 10th. Miss Currie and Miss Seton accompanied me to
Greenock. We reached Moville on Saturday, and lingered there for some hours for
Irish passengers and cargo. Left Moville about 5 P.M. Sea a little angry
—perhaps about some Home Rule palaver. When dinner-bell was rung at six, I felt
it prudent to keep my berth. That was my only absence from table during the
voyage. . . .
On morning of Tuesday, 21, we were off Sandy
Hook. In dock about 10. After passing Customs ... I encamped at New Jersey
Railway Station till 8.42, when I started by train for this place. Night journey
sometimes pleasant, sometimes eerie. . . .
Right glad and grateful to find all my loved ones
here well. I indeed feel that there is a want. The only and constant playmate
and companion of my childhood and a considerable part of my boyhood is no longer
to be seen here, and I am reminded of Mrs. Hemans' lines—
"O give my brother back to me!
I cannot play alone."
But all is well with her, and a voice comes to me
from her quiet resting-place on that hilltop, "Be ye also ready," "Be not
slothful." I am glad, however, to be among her children and her children's
children, and to see them all healthy, busy, and happy.
The two Presbyterian ministers are very kind. The
senior, Rev. Dr. Cunningham, who with his wife called on me at 1 Gladstone Place
[Edinburgh] last autumn, prevailed on me to preach for him last Sabbath morning,
and he says his people were all delighted to hear a Scotch sermon ''Luke x. 42;.
Other five pulpits are open and inviting me.
This is the place, Mrs. Douglas, for being duly
appreciated! The Edinburgh newspapers never speak of me as being a
"distinguished visitor," or "the great Rev. Dr. Anderson from Africa "!
Mr. Anderson's niece, Miss Elizabeth Clohan,
writes regarding his visit:—
We begged him to rest, and not preach during his
visit of '92, but we soon found that it was impossible for him to rest in our
sense of the word. He loved to preach. Of course, our meeting in '92 was
saddened by my mother's death, which occurred in '89; but I need not say
saddened, for death was never sad to uncle. Were it not for our hard winters, I
think uncle would have remained with us. He was much pleased with Dr. and Mrs.
Cunningham, who were equally fond of him. He feared our very changeable winters,
and went away with a half promise that, if we promised to keep him warm, he
would return. Dear as was Scotland and the loving Scotch friends, I think, as he
grew older, there was a longing for his own kith and kin, but still stronger was
his desire to die among his beloved people in Africa.
Uncle talked much of those "gone before" when he
visited us in '92.
My sister had married and died since his visit of
'76 and '77, so the two deaths were much in uncle's mind, as in ours. My
sister's child Dora lives with us, and was twelve years old in '92. You know how
fond uncle was of children, so Dora and he became fast friends. He called her
his "little guide," as she went with him on his daily walks.
On Sept. 8, 1892, Mr. Anderson wrote to his
friend Mr. Joseph Gilray, Edinburgh:—
I have been eleven Sabbaths in this country and
have had opportunity of hearing only two sermons. I have not been altogether
idle. I have delivered eighteen sermons and addresses, chiefly missionary. Have
not been allowed to confine attention to Presbyterian churches. Have preached in
two Lutheran, one Methodist Episcopal, and one "Disciples."
Am at present in heart of the old Slave States
(South). Find a good deal of the old pro-slavery or anti-negro feeling to be
pretty strong among the elderly generation of whites. . . . The Presbyterian
Hymnal (North) has the hymn intact beginning "Jesus shall reign," etc. Hymn
absent from Presbyterian Hymn Book (South). In the Methodist Episcopal, stanza
''Blessings abound where'er He
The pris'ner leaps to lose his chains," etc.
For the edification of the Methodists, I stated
that I missed the stanza, and then recited and commended it.
I did not make any definite arrangements about
lodgings when I left you. I told Mrs. M'Gregor that I might never return (that
is quite possible yet); and that, were I to return, I might find her dead, or
married, or flitted, or averse to being bothered with any lodger. She writes me,
however, that her door still stands open for me if I wish to re-enter it,
whether for a short period or a long. Well, 1 Gladstone Place [now 33 Sciennes
Road] has been my Edinburgh home since, I think, 1865, and I like the locality,
so I have made up my mind to return to my old quarters. Perhaps Providence may
open up a way of escape during winter from the rigours of your Edinburgh clime.
1 have mentioned eighteen addresses past. Future
prospect—Sabbath, 11, two addresses, Presbyterian church, Martinsburg; Tuesday,
13, one address, Methodist, Salem; Saturday, 17, pre-Communion sermon,
Baltimore; Sabbath, 18, Communion address and Missionary address, Baltimore—will
bring eighteen to twenty-four; but hope to hear a sermon (or see one preached)
on 18th. "As thy days, so shall thy strength be. Amen." . . .
This is my last letter for Europe for this
Mr. Anderson returned from America in the
beginning of October, and immediately resumed his mode of life-preaching,
attending meetings, etc. He presided occasionally or took part at the Noon
Prayer Meeting in the Free Assembly Hall. Here is a sample of his activity taken
from a post-card to Miss Duncan, Jan. 21, 1893:—
Have been very busy since Christmas. Was relieved
from preaching in Glasgow, New Year's Day. Busy day, though. Aided Mr. Morison,
Rosehall, at Communion in forenoon. At second Communion, afternoon, Newington.
Evening, addressed show people, Waverley Market. Sometimes at two prayer
meetings a day during Week of Prayer. Took part in several. Have taken part in
evening meetings at Rosehall, Newington, North Richmond Street. . . .
In his correspondence during these last years he
notes all the events that transpired in Calabar as he received the news. Thus,
in the same post-card, he writes:—
Sad news from O. C. again. Rev. J. W. M'Kenzie,
who left L'pool, Aug. 24, died at Ungwana, Dec. 16 . Only about three
months in the field! Death not to be attributed to climate. So brethren say. . .
. How mysterious are His ways! These young and to appearance vigorous young men
called away. Old cumberers like myself linger on !
Here is another little glimpse of the old man :—
I find that I am failing somewhat. Easily
fatigued— short walk makes breathless—very unwilling to move— shrink from
exchanging warm room for cold street. Bought annual ticket for Literary
Institute. Frequently spend a half or a whole hour there.
Mr. Anderson became famous for his
closely-written post-cards initialed WA. Here is a specimen one to Miss Duncan,
dated "7.4.93 " :—
E. U. M, [Edima Ufan mi, Efik for "my dear
friend."] I have taken a dislike to letter writing and become addicted to card
playing. Had I waited a little longer here on Wednesday, I might have had your
company on my visit to Miss Edgerley. She would have valued a visit from you.
Her address is "Mrs. Marwick,------"l I found her a little better than she had
been, though still confined to bed. ... I have never seen a bptter conducted
Exhibitor}' Missionary Meeting than that [Congo-Balolo] of last evening. Got
home (?) about eleven. Mr. Guinness is one of the ablest lecturers I have heard.
Had a kind male guide homewards, Rev. Mr. Brown, Dumbiedykes. Tho' he is a Kirk
minister, we did not fall out by the way. The cake ! the cake ! Thanks to donors
(I suppose two) for the same. Only sorry for its size. A 6d. one would have been
sufficient. Love to mother and all friends, not forgetting the Ford lassie,
In response to an invitation to visit Mrs. and
Miss Duncan at Burntisland, Mr. Anderson wrote on August 24 the following
"To go" or "not to go"? Question discussed as
attentively as Home Rule Bill for forty-eight hours. Discussion not yet
finished. The demon Obstruction ! Perfectly exhausting to illustrious colleague
[Gladstone] and myself. We must apply the gag. A steady hour's sunshine says
"Go." Opposition clouds and rain say "Don't." Must apply gag.
Tuesday last week saw Messrs. Dean and Weir, with
Miss Edgerley, off from Waverley to Liverpool. Miss E. meanwhile goes only to
Grand Canary. They left on Wednesday in Cameroon. Mr. Marwick arrived on Friday,
and is safe and sound in maternal home. Left all well in Old Calabar.
I am kept pretty well agoing. Sabbath before
last, Greenlaw; last Sabbath, St. Margaret's Parish Church. Engaged for three
Sabbaths in September. After that— where?
It was after my return from Calabar in August
1893 that I became intimately acquainted with Mr. Anderson, who became a
frequent visitor to, and met many Calabar friends old and new at my mother's
The following post-card to Mrs, Duncan, dated
September 13, 1893, refers to an accident which befel Mr. Anderson :—
Should have thanked you a day or two ago for the
Jamaica Presbyterian which you so kindly forwarded to me. I forwarded it to Miss
Edgerley—she being a native of Jamaica—to cheer her in her solitude at Grand
Canary, where she is for health. This is mail-day for Old Calabar, but I have
not written a line for it. Mrs. M'Gregor has been my amanuensis for (or on) two
cards. Not in trim for writing just now—left arm in sling. On Monday last week
attempted to step on car in motion. Got foot almost on step. Car jerked off
quickly. I fell to street, and in doing so broke one of the small bones of the
arm. Went to Dr. Peddie, who splintered it up in tight bandage. Bandage to
remain three weeks, then changed.
In spite of his accident, Mr. Anderson was able
to continue preaching, as the following post-card, dated September 18, shows :—
Dr. Peddie has just been here washing and
dressing arm. Progressing finely. Arm in sling, but preached twice yesterday
without pain or fatigue in North Richmond Street U.P. Texts—1 Pet. iv. 18, and
Rev. xiv. 3. Good audiences considering the season.
You would be laughing at my ignorance (I suspect
Mrs. M'Gregor was doing so). I thought that you must have A'island, B'island,
C'island, etc. etc., till Mrs. M'Gregor ventured to suggest that B'island might
be only a contracted form of Burntisland ! I am very teachable and
tractable—willing to learn from anybody and everybody. Calabar [mail] goes and
comes fortnightly now.
On October 31, Mr. Anderson wrote to Miss
Cold pretty trying outside now. Just hesitating
as to flying off to Grand Canary for four months. Very indolent—a packing up,
even on a small scale, seems a very formidable business.
Mr. Anderson decided to go to Canary, and left
Edinburgh, Caledonian Station, at 10.15 A.M. on December 4. Mr. H.
M. Stanley travelled by the same train. Mr. Anderson had a few minutes'
conversation with the explorer. A small company of friends had assembled to see
Mr. Anderson off, and the attention of the travelling public was drawn to the
veteran missionary. From Liverpool, Mr. Anderson wrote next day to Miss Duncan
Dr. Adam's son dangerously ill, so he boarded me
with an old friend, Miss Hickson, niece of the staunch old friend of the
Mission, Dr. William Fergusson.
To Mr. Gilray, Edinburgh, Mr. Anderson wrote from
the Sailors' Institute, Port Luz, Grand Canary, on December 28:—
Dear Friend Gilray,—You will have read or heard
ere now that the good ship Cameroon arrived here safely on the morning of
Thursday, 14th inst.
Our passage across the usually turbulent Bay of
Biscay was pretty rough, but that was only to be expected at the season of the
voyage. I have never had two more pleasant days at sea than the two last days I
was on board. 1 have never seen a finer sunset, even at sea, than that of the
Tuesday evening. The sun neared the horizon in great majesty—clouds of jasper,
sardius, and emerald gathering around him, till tier after tier above him and on
each side of him suggested the gates of Paradise and the glory of the Eternal
Throne as being only a few paces away on the other side of them. The Royal Hotel
[Edinburgh] lit up for the reception of George and May yon night was poor, poor
in comparison. I am reminded of Zerub Baillie's report of a sermon by Robbie
Flockhart. Robbie was preaching near the great confectioner's near the Tron
Church, of beauties or bliss of heaven. After using a number of other metaphors,
he wound up with this grand climax: "But, in fact, my freends, Fergussons shop
there's naething til't! "
Very pleasant climate this. Thermometer as yet
between 66° and 68°—doors and windows open—and no fires save in cooking places.
Sun up shortly after 7, continues shining till about 5.
"Canary Islands"—of old the "Fortunate" or
"Elysian Isles." Why now called Canary? Not, it seems, from the little yellow
songsters, of which there are multitudes in the country, but they are all in
cages. I have not seen a single bird of any kind since I came here, except in
cages; and I have not seen a single cat, nor a single specimen of the tribe. I
have seen one goat. Plenty of horses, asses, and muies—most of them most
barbarously treated. I wonder if anyone feeds the poor sparrows of Gladstone
Place and Sciennes Hill now!
I am not altogether idle here. Lots of ships here
from all nations. At an average, 100 steamers call here monthly—from north,
south, east, and west. Mr. Searle tells me that at some seasons of the year
fully 130 steamers call in the north. He has seen the number up to 150. Mr.
Searle (rhyme with pearl) and his noble wife are doing a great work here among
sailors, residents, and visitors. I was surprised to learn that they founded and
maintain the Institute on their own responsibility alone, and at their own
charges. . . .
New Years Day, 1894. . . . We had a pleasant
season yesterday afternoon. We introduced something new into Christian life and
work in Grand Canary, viz. the observance of the Lord's Supper according to our
Presbyterian form. Mr. Searle acted as elder on the occasion. lie is a Baptist,
and addressed the "little band and lowly" in almost the same words which I
addressed to Rosehall congregation on the first Sabbath of September, founded on
Pilate's "Ecce Homo!"—" Behold the Man!" Our number was small—communicants and
spectators; but we had representatives of four great denominations—Episcopal,
Wesleyan, Baptist, Presbyterian. Miss Edgerley and I were the representatives of
Presbytery. We mean to observe the ordinance monthly. . . . Preached to evening
congregation from Matt, xxvii. 22, Dr. Pentecost's division, as you and I heard
in Queen's Park.
On New Year's Day 1894, Mr. Anderson wrote to
Mrs. M'Gregor :—
It seems to me that it would appear very
ungrateful were I not to remember you on this day, and to wish you "A Happy New
Year and many returns," seeing that I have spent the last four New Year's
Days—'90, '91, '92, and '93—very comfortably in your hospitable abode. . . .
I suppose that you will miss me at the time of
the morning and evening sacrifice. But my place is, I trust, more than supplied
by Another, who appears to the spirit's eye as " One like unto the Son of Man."
You have still your Bible—His Word beside you, and eyes to read it; so that,
having this precious treasure, neither you nor I can be altogether solitary. The
longer I read the Book the more do I value it. I trust it is the same with you.
I am in a sense among strangers, and yet I hardly feel it to be so. Miss
Edgerley's presence has been one source of enjoyment. She reminds me that she
went to Old Calabar first in 1854 (forty years ago !), so that she and I have
many common subjects to discuss. She looks forward with joy to next month, when
she expects to set off once more for the dear old home—not in Britain or in
Jamaica, but in "the Dark Continent." . . .
Kindly let Miss Cameron, Miss Walker, and Lizzie
know that they are not forgotten by "the lad that's awa'" on this New Year's
To his cousin, Mrs. Gordon, Dalkeith, Mr.
Anderson wrote on January 8, 1894:—
I managed to preach in the saloon on the Sabbath
during which I was on board, but had to continue sitting in an arm-chair during
the whole service. The chair-foot was tied to the table-foot, but
notwithstanding that precaution, the captain had to catch hold both of the chair
and of me, once or twice, to prevent a tumble. . . .
On arriving here I felt it a great advantage to
find Miss Edgerley here. Her father and brother, both ordained missionaries, and
also her stepmother, slumber in the cemetery of Old Calabar. Miss E. and I board
at the Sailors' Institute, an institution founded by a worthy gentleman, E. W.
Searle, Esq., for the benefit of the seamen who visit this port. Mr. S. acts as
missionary at the Institute, visits the shipping, preaches on board ships,
preaches and holds meetings at the Institute, etc. etc. He toils hard, and is
ably supported by his excellent wife. She reminds me in some things of my own
Louisa, so energetic and so self-denying. I am glad to be able to assist them
somewhat in their evangelistic work. I generally deliver one address on a
week-day and preach twice on Sabbath. . . .
The population of the island is chiefly Spanish
and Popish. . . . Learned men tell us that the islands, when first visited by
Europeans, abounded in large dogs, and that the islands took their name from the
Latin word "canis," a dog! . . . Teneriffe is about fifty miles distant, and we
can see its peak to-day glittering white with snow.
On Jan. 22, Mr. Anderson wrote to Mrs. Douglas,
I was greatly astonished last Thursday evening on
sitting down at our tea-table. I had just come in from a long walk. When I sat
down, Miss Edgerley said to me, "Miss Hogg and Mrs. Rae [of Calabar] send you
their compliments." "How were they conveyed?" (I meant the compliments). "Both
ladies are in the port. I have just seen them." I was astonished. Miss Edgerley
then explained that Miss Hogg had been very ill—at death's door—and that the
doctors had hurried her off, but protested against her voyaging alone, so Mrs.
Rae had to accompany her thus far. ... As Miss Hogg had improved greatly during
the voyage hither, it was not considered necessary for Mrs. Rae to accompany her
to L'pool, so Mrs. Rae remains at one of the Las Palmas hotels, and she and Miss
Edgerley have arranged to return to Old Calabar by the first out-going steamer.
I continue to enjoy the place, the climate, and
the people connected with the Institute very much. . . . Last evening—Sabbath—we
had the largest congregation I have yet seen at the Institute. A Wesleyan
brother, Mr. Paulding, took the devotional part of the service. His sister is
wife of J. Hudson Taylor, head of the China Inland Mission. Mr. Paulding's wife
is pining away in consumption. My text was 1 Pet. iv. 18.
Writing to Mrs. M'Gregor, Edinburgh, on Feb. 9,
Mr. Anderson refers to visits to the Institute of Samuel Plimsoll, Esq., and
I think you will remember an M.P. who made
himself famous some years ago as the Champion of Seamen, and whose mark is, I
believe, on all British trading vessels up to this day. He and Mrs. P. attend
one of the Sabbath services and also the Bible class. ... At our last Bible
reading ex-M.P. Plimsoll and his wife were present. He gave us a fine address on
his own Christian experience. Among other things, he said: "When I was
travelling in India long ago, I felt very anxious one Sabbath to worship in some
Christian church. After a weary journey, I reached a mission station, and joined
the audience. The missionary gave out for his text, I Kings xix. 13: 'What doest
thou here, Elijah ?' and began to put some searching questions, as I thought,
direct to me. I began to feel somewhat uncomfortable, and to wonder whether I
did right in going there. I was somewhat startled, sir, when I came to your
place of worship and heard you give out the same text," etc. etc.
Miss Edgerley and Mrs. Rae set off for O. C. in
the Matadi on Jan. 24. My present purpose is to leave this place for L'pool in
the steamer advertised to leave this port on April 9. . . . Should you fall in
with an elderly lady with whom I was for some time a lodger— her name is, or
was, Mrs. M'Gregor—be so kind as to say to her that if she has changed, or is
about to change her name, or to flit, or if she would rather live a retired
life, and not be bothered any more with those troublesome people called lodgers,
that should I be spared to reach
Edinburgh, I can stay a week or two at Robinson's
till Providence makes my way clear for the future. ... In regard to lodgings, I
would not think any the less of you, or feel less grateful for all your past
kindness, were you to say . . . that you would be more comfortable were you
relieved of all lodger responsibility.
Writing again to Mrs. Douglas on March 7, Mr.
Anderson said :—
I am not altogether destitute of testimony that
my services have been beneficial to some. A number would like me to remain among
them. Some would like me to promise that, D.V., I will return. I avoid all
engagements on the ground that the future is not ours—that we know not what a
day may bring forth. I do not like to say to them that I should like to go
elsewhere [Calabar]. . . .
To oblige friends here, I have got my photo taken
at Las Palmas. It seems to me to be the best likeness that has ever been taken
of me. But this may be owing to my increasing blindness. . . .
The original inhabitants of the island, or the
original Spanish settlers, must have been splendid engineers. The roads and the
water conduits are splendid in the interior of the island. The scenery and the
farms are enchanting. No wonder that the ancients styled the islands, Elysian. .
I see from papers that old friend Mrs. YVaddell
has got home. "Be ye also ready."
To Mrs. M'Gregor and Mrs. Douglas, Mr. Anderson
wrote on April 7:—
Dear Ladies,—Only time for a few words. Matadi
here two days before her advertised time, and overcrowded. Friends, and even Mr.
Jones, chief of the Shipping Company, and his captain advise me not to go in
her. Now arranged and guaranteed to me that I go by Accra, due here on 21st. Two
members of the Mission on board, sick—or rather on sick list—Mr. Manson, who is
spending the day at the Institute, and Miss Johnstone, who can't leave ship.
Mr. Anderson arrived in Liverpool by Accra on
April 24, and, after spending a few days with Dr. and Miss Adam, went to
Edinburgh on May 2, in time to be present at the meetings of the United
Presbyterian Synod. After the meetings were over, Mr. Anderson lived a somewhat
solitary life, as the following note to Miss Duncan, dated June 8, shows:—
Laziness and love of solitude increasing rather
than diminishing. I have my solitary walks daily—very pleasa'nt. Walked on
Tuesday evening from 33 to summit of Calton Hill to hear the music. Had I had
company, I could not have stopped at pleasure to look at shop windows, at
placards on walls, passing vehicles, etc. etc. I would have required to watch
lest my companion should be speaking to me, and it would have been necessary for
him or her to scraugh out to make me hear. Alone—"I am monarch of all I survey."
Had an invitation to tea last evening from one of
the most respected families in Rosehall Church. My reply was
substantially—"Thanks. Tea at 4, prayer meeting at 8. That means—leave lodgings
at 3.30, return at 9.30. Six hours! Formidable. Remain where I am, I can read
half an hour, write half an hour, lie down and rest half an hour, or take a nap
if so disposed. Enjoy my solitary cup. Renew the process at pleasure. 7.30, off
to meeting. Back at 9.30. No feeling of exhaustion. Go to tea. Keep eye on
strain six hours to see things clearly—ear on stretch to try to catch what is
said to me. Speakers have to yell out when addressing me. The weary hours go
round. Get to bedroom worn out. Better not expect me." I did not go. Becoming
quite recluse, hermit, anchorite what more?
Had once some thought of going for a day or two
to your Convention [Bridge of Allan], but blind, deaf, dumb, —what good could I
either receive or communicate? I trust that the meeting will be profitable to
all who shall attend it. . . .
My engagements are not many nowadays—Edenshead
morning and evening, Sabbath, June 17. Sabbath, July 15, the old day of "Ford
Summer Sacrament" (these words set my heart aglow), Ford, forenoon, and Cranston
Parish Kirk, evening. First Sabbath, Sept., St. Mary's Free, evening. I have
sometimes had more continuous work.
In a post-card of June 13, Mr. Anderson wrote:—
Jamaica Presbyterian for May contained a fine
notice of my worthy old friend George Millar, Principal of Montego Bay Academy.
Miss Edgerley was for some years a boarder in his house. . . . Had a letter from
Miss E. last evening, of date May 8. . . . Wonderful changes, she says,—post
office, barracks, botanic garden, etc. etc.
On Sept. 19, Mr. Anderson wrote to Miss Duncan :—
Mind not yet made up as to where I should winter.
Three places of refuge—(1) Old Calabar, (2) Grand Canary, (3) Fir Cottage
Convalescent Home, near Southampton.
On Sept. 28, Mr. Anderson wrote to me:—
Dear friend Marwick,—I was delighted on the 18th
inst. by receipt of your communication of 22nd ult. Received at same time a note
from Mr. Weir, of Aug. 6. Is Creek Town favoured above Duke Town in postal
accommodation? I think that yours is the only letter that I have ever received
from Old Calabar within a month of date. . . .
I should have liked well had the way been clear
for my revisiting Calabar during the coming winter. . . .
Glad to see from your note that the [Mission]
Press is at work on important business—[Mr. Goldie's] Memoir of King- Eyo
VII., and Ukpabio's Translation [of Dr. J. H. Wilson's
The Gospel and its Fruits\ Kindly let me have a copy of each, and let me know
price of copies and postages. ... I have posted Scotsman of 22nd to Mr. Paton.
Ask a sight of it. Leader on printers' blunders will amuse you. I post for you
last Evening News. I enclose advertisement of The Lazy Age.
To Miss Duncan, Mr. Anderson wrote on Nov. 15 :—
Had rich treat on Sabbath evening in Augustine
Church, by seeing and hearing Rev. James Chalmers from New Guinea. He is a man
and a missionary of a right royal stamp. I never heard two more thrilling
missionary addresses. I introduced myself to him as from Old Guinea. He and I
fraternised very cordially.
Letters from Old Calabar to-day. My path thither
not made any plainer. I think it may be considered settled that, D.V., I leave
Liverpool for Grand Canary on Saturday, Dec. 1. . . .
I was among the crowd last evening at Literary
Institute, hearing (or rather seeing) Rev. S. R. Crockett.
Mr. Anderson left Edinburgh for Grand Canary on
Nov. 28, and spent a few days with Dr. and Miss Adam in Liverpool. On Dec. 13,
Mr. Anderson wrote to Miss Duncan from the Sailors' Institute:—
We had the quickest and the quietest voyage I
have ever experienced. Dropped anchor in Port Luz about 6 P.M., Saturday
evening, Dec. 8. Voyage seven days six hours. Hardly a ripple on the ocean
during the whole way. And the good steamer Bonny never gave an uncomfortable
plunge or jerk or roll. Captain Windham is an exceptionally pleasant man, and
evidently did not need to be instructed by my good friend Dempster to deal
kindly with his old missionary passenger.
Not yet entered on regular work. In so far as I
can see, my visit number two will be very much a second edition of number one.
Mr. Anderson records in letters to various
friends my brief visit to him on the afternoon of Sabbath, Dec. 16, when on my
way home with my wife and infant son, on account of the very serious illness of
A few of us were holding our usual prayer meeting
in the reading-room in the afternoon, when a stranger entered. Mr. Searle rose
and spoke to him, and showed him a seat. When service was concluded, Mr. Searle
asked me if I recognised the stranger. I felt obliged to reply, "No, I do not."
I was confounded when Mr. Searle announced his name.
Although Mr. Anderson was still suffering from
the effects of a cold he had contracted in Liverpool, and the afternoon was a
bleak one, he insisted on accompanying me part of the way to the landing-place.
Mr. Anderson took part in a Watch Night Service
on Dec. 31, and at 12.30 A.M. on Jan. 1, 1895, wrote to Mr. and Mrs. Douglas,
You have my first writing for the present year.
Six of us have just finished our little "Watch Night Service," and wished each
other all seasonable blessings.
On Jan. 9, Mr. Anderson wrote to Mrs. and Miss
I continue to aid Mr. Searle in his work, but
there does not seem the same life and energy in the locality as there were last
People sometimes murmur when missionaries—even
missionary ladies—are not able to stay for a prolonged period in the field. What
would they say if some of them should not be able to reach the field? We have a
case of that kind here just now. . . . [Mr. V. and his
wife] left Liverpool in Nov., but sea life told so much on her highly-strung
nervous system, that the ship doctor, glad to have got her so far alive—would on
no account allow her to proceed a single mile farther on her voyage. Her husband
went on to his station and his work, and she remains rusticating here in a state
of great perplexity and uncertainty. She is a splendid musician and a high-class
painter. Her Christmas present to me was a beautiful view of the scene of my
daily walks—the Hay of Confitel. She seems glad to have me to talk to and to
sympathise with her in what she feels to be "a fiery trial." . . .
Have been repcrusing—for the first time for fifty
years —the life of my valiant townsman, "Mansic Waugh, Tailor in Dalkeith,
written by himself." I never read the volume with more interest or amusement.
You must not think that I have given up all serious reading! The Bible I got
from you, Isobel, is my daily—my hourly companion.
To Mrs. M'Grcgor, Mr. Anderson wrote on Feb. 6:—
I preach sometimes on board the ships—especially
on those which have Scotch captains and crews.
The weather is not so invariably mild as when I
was last here. On the morning of Jan. 14, the sea, on both sides of the
Institute, rose higher than it had done for twenty-two years, and flowed into
and damaged a good many of the houses. During the night of Tuesday last there
blew quite a tornado, such as has never been seen or felt by the present
Mr. Anderson returned from Grand Canary in time
for the meeting of the Synod in the beginning of May. He had pleasant
intercourse on the voyage with Bishop Ingham of Sierra Leone, who afterwards
sent him a copy of his interesting volume, Sierra Leone: A Hundred Years Ago and
Now, and spoke of Mr. Anderson at Exeter Hall. [On hearing that I was engaged on
the Memoir, Bishop Ingham kindly sent me a brief note of reminiscence, and a
card of Mr. Anderson's, expressing approval of the Bishop's scheme of employing
West Indians in mission work in West Africa.] He was present at most of the
meetings, sitting as a "silent" member, seeing rather than hearing what was
going on. At the great missionary meeting on the Wednesday evening, he sat in
the front seat in the body of the hall, facing the platform and the speakers.
During the summer his public engagements were
comparatively few. On the evening of July 21 he preached in Rosehall U.P.
Church, Edinburgh, from John xvii. 1. On July 28 he was at Edenshead taking the
Communion services for Mr. Lawson, formerly of Calabar. On Aug. 4 and 1 1 he
preached in St. Leonard's Parish Church, Edinburgh. On Sept. 1 he dispensed the
Communion for the last time in Rosehall Church, and addressed the communicants
from Matt. xvii. 4.
With reference to Mr. Anderson's connection with
Rosehall congregation, the Rev. W. Morison, M.A., writes :—
Mr. Anderson joined the membership of Rosehall on
his return to Scotland after his retirement from the mission field in 1889.
While at home on furlough, five or six years before his retirement, he was as
good as a member. He was never absent either from the Sabbath services or the
weekly prayer meeting without sending a note to his minister mentioning the
cause of absence. He was always most ready to render service to the congregation
and the minister, whether to preach or give missionary addresses, or visit the
He often took part in the monthly Communion
service and at the Thursday evening meeting, and always with evident pleasure to
himself as well as to the people. His devotional language was exceedingly rich.
His prayers for those in sorrow, and especially for the bereaved, were very
tender, and moved all who heard him. They were tenderest of all when he was
remembering the relatives and colleagues of those who had died in the mission
It will be convenient to give the rest of Mr.
Morison's sketch in this place :—
In Mr. Anderson's intercourse with us at our
fireside he was always bright and cheery. He had much of the spirit of the boy
up to the last. On leaving our gate, after saying farewell before his final
return to Old Calabar, he buttoned his coat tight like a boy about to run a
race, set off at a brisk pace—ran rather than walked for a short distance, and
called back, "This is how I mean to do at Old Calabar."
He took great interest in the young people, liked
their society, and often asked them to read or sing to him. He liked well a good
Scotch song. He often brought gifts to the children—usually some good book.
He was one of the best Radicals I ever met. He
sent to the papers many letters [signed "Octogenarian"] in which he stated very
strongly the views he held on such questions as Disestablishment, Home Rule,
On the evening of Sept. 8, Mr. Anderson was the
principal speaker at a missionary service in North Richmond Street Church. I
spoke briefly on the changes which Mr. Anderson would find, when he returned to
Calabar, had taken place since his departure in 1889, and then Mr. Anderson
spoke of darkness and dawn in Calabar. The following evening he was present at
an exhibition of articles for a Calabar Mission Box, when the Rev. George
M'Donald gave an account of his work at Ungwana. The ladies of the congregation
presented Mr. Anderson with a dressing-gown, which he donned, and then recited,
by request, " The Missionary Hymn," which he had found in a newspaper, and which
was a favourite recitation of his. I accompanied him home, and he insisted on
walking back to the Surgeons' Hall, a car station, to save the horses stopping
specially for him, and he got off at Hope Park for a similar reason.
A few days after, I was at tea at his lodgings to
help him to pack up his books. He expected the Rev. James Robertson also, and
when the bell rang, hastily donned the dressing-gown that he might in the
capacity of an African chief in full dress receive his visitor! It was that
evening, after the books had been packed, and while he sat talking of the past
and the future, that he asked me to write his Memoir, as he had little
expectation of returning from his visit to Old Calabar.
On Sept. 15 he paid his last visit to his friends
in Dalkeith, and preached in Buccleuch Street U.P. Church in the forenoon from
Isa. xxi. 11, and in the afternoon addressed the young.
On Saturday, Sept. 21, on the eve of Mr.
Anderson's departure for Calabar, the news arrived of the death of the Rev. Hugh
Goldie at Creek Town on Aug. 18. On receipt of Mr. Beedie's letter I hurried to
33 Sciennes Road. Mr. Anderson came to the door himself, and I knew whenever I
saw him that he had received the news. Mrs. Miller of Rose Hill, Jamaica, was
with him. He declared that half the pleasure of his coming visit to Calabar had
been taken away. In an interesting little "In Memoriam" article which Mr.
Anderson pencilled while on the voyage, and which appeared in The Children s
Magazine, Nov. 1895, he wrote:—
By his departure Calabar has become to me
deprived of a great portion of its attractions. I had looked forward with great
delight to a revival of our youthful intercourse, expecting in his fellowship to
become young once more, and "to fight our battles o'er again." I might enlarge
on his geniality, his plodding perseverance, his conscientiousness, and what I
may call his stubborn adherence to the right. But I shall content myself with
saying that it will be well for myself and for all the brethren in the Mission
if we follow him as he followed Christ.
The following day Air. Anderson was present at
the forenoon service at Rosehall, and at the afternoon service at Uristo U.P.
Church, and in the evening addressed a crowded meeting in Newington U.P. Church
Hall. He spoke of his friendship with Mr. Goldie, and then of the work they and
Mr. Waddell had done in Old Calabar.
The two following days were devoted to
leave-taking, most of his friends calling on him to say good-bye. One of the few
visits he paid was one in company with Mr. John Cochrane to a blind lady, Miss
Cameron, his old friend and near neighbour. On Wednesday morning, Sept. 25, he
left the Caledonian Station for Liverpool. A large company of friends gathered
to see him off. A few hymns were sung with faltering lips. "A Bristo Poet" wrote
"A touching scene, that parting
Let scores the story tell,
Who met with tear-dimmed eyes to say,
Brave Anderson, farewell!
Again, with heart so strong and true,
Though on life's journey far,
Our friend has bid his home adieu,
And gone to Calabar."
Mr. Anderson was very fond of my little boy, who
had been born in Calabar, and we touk him to the station. Mr. Anderson kissed
the child tenderly, and wrote afterwards that the faces of my wife and my child
were the last he caught a glimpse of as the train steamed out of the station.
He spent a few days in Liverpool with Dr. and
Miss Adam, and on Saturday 29th embarked on the S.S. Benin, along with the Rev.
K. and Mrs. Deas, returning after furlough. The vessel was uncomfortably crowded
as far as Canary. During the rest of the voyage Mr. Anderson suffered a good
deal from the heat, partly due to his clothing not being sufficiently light. The
Benin arrived at Duke Town shortly after noon on Thursday, Oct. 31. "My
reception," wrote Mr. Anderson to home friends, "from Europeans and natives was
all that my warmest friends could have wished it to be."
Mr. Anderson stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Beedie
during the few weeks he was spared after his return to Old Calabar. The
narrative of the closing weeks will be best given in the words of Mr. Beedie, as
published in the Record for April 1896, and supplemented by a letter to me. In
the earlier part it describes the same events as Mr. Anderson did in his letters
to home friends. The letter will be read by many with mournful interest, as Mr.
Beedie himself has since passed away (on Jan. 31, 1897), in the midst of that
fruitful ministry of which Mr. Anderson wrote, and to the unspeakable loss of
Old Calabar. Mr. Beedie wrote:—
I need not say that we all looked forward with
great interest to his return here. We knew that the desire of his heart was to
end his days here, and be laid by the side of his " beloved Louisa," and we knew
that he had a very strong desire to speak a few more words to his old friends,
to whom he had so often spoken before.
When the mail steamer came in, we hastened on
board to meet and welcome him, and we were struck with the great change visible
on him since we had last seen him— over three years before. He looked hale and
strong for a man of eighty-four, but still it was plain that he was not the same
man. A very great crowd of the natives were waiting, and the women began to hug
him. I had to keep them away by force, fearing that they would take the breath
from him altogether. There was a great demonstration; school children marched
before singing hymns, and some hundreds crowded round the house, all anxious to
get a shake of his hand. We had in the end to put him into the room, and explain
to the people that he was not so strong as to be able to stand so much fatigue.
In the cool of the evening I went along with him
to the cemetery, and he said he was glad that the spot he had long ago fixed on
as his last resting-place had not been appropriated.
The first Sabbath after his return, it was
arranged that he should take the afternoon service ; but, as the hour
approached, the excitement threatened to unfit him, and I proposed that he
should just say a few words to the people, as they were all expectant. He seemed
quite pleased; and after the opening exercises I explained to the people that
Mr. Anderson did not feel able to take the whole service, but he would say a few
words to them. He then stood up and preached with all his old power, and
finished the service. He said, afterwards, that the arrangements we had made had
taken the nervousness away, and that he had felt quite comfortable.
During the few weeks we had the privilege of
having him with us—for privilege it was—he was as full of fun as ever, and was
constantly joking, in his old way; but there was a subdued tenderness about him
which told of living in the secret of God's presence.
At our November Communion I got him persuaded to
preside at the Communion and dispense both tables. He was very unwilling, but
finally agreed ; and that was the last Communion on earth. He seemed to have a
presentiment that it would be his last. He conducted our services every Sabbath
day—except the last two ; but he was in church at all the three services on both
When he had to acknowledge that he did not feel
able, he said he was quite aware that the "old machine" was about used up.
It may be interesting to give a note of his
texts. On Nov. 10 he preached in the afternoon from Num. x. 29. On Friday 15, at
the preparatory service, he preached from John xxi. 15. On Sabbath, 17, his
pre-Communion address in Efik was from John xix. 5, and the post-Communion
address in English from Ps. xlviii. 9. At the English service on Nov. 24 he
preached from Matt, xxvii. 22. On Dec. [ he preached at Henshaw Town in the
forenoon from Isa. xxi. 10, and has noted "as on 14.4.89." On Tuesday the 3rd he
addressed the prayer meeting from Luke xiv. 22, and on the forenoon of Sabbath
the 8th preached from the same text at Henshaw Town.
In a private letter to me, of date Dec. 30, 1895,
Mr-Beedie told of Mr. Anderson's illness and death:—
He took ill on Saturday morning the 21st. We all
thought he was dying—breathless and restless and pained. He thought himself
dying. However, he was up early on Sabbath morning and out at church at all the
three services. Of course he should not have been out, but he told me of some
man who said that he would go to the house of God as long as he could walk, and
when not able to walk he would crawl. On Sabbath night the illness returned, and
at 2 A.M. I tried his temperature and found it at 102°4'. I wakened Dr. Porter,
and we got him soothed, and he fell asleep.
Mr. Beedie said nothing of his own and Mrs.
Beedie's devoted attendance on Mr. Anderson; but Miss Slessor, who was at Duke
Town at the time recruiting after severe fever, wrote a touching account of the
I do not feel as if I could convey any idea of
the experience of that week of suffering and helplessness, fenced round by
devotion and prayer and service touching to see. Mr. and Mrs. Beedie have tended
him as if he had indeed been their very own father. Mrs. Beedie sang to him, and
comforted him with thoughts and words of Jesus, and day and night ministered to
him with all the gentle persistence which characterises her. He repeatedly
called for the "Bishop"—his name for Mr. Beedie; and he never called but the
response was ready. It was only when there was no more hope of recovery that Mr.
Beedie permitted the service to be shared by those of his native children who
were capable, and who hungered for the permission to help. It mattered not that
Mr. Anderson was unconscious of all their efforts, sometimes of their very
presence; that only seemed to double their anxiety to nurse and comfort and help
him, and every sentence which fell from his lips was watched for and treasured
and passed round to the waiting groups outside with affectionate eagerness. 1 le
wished to be spared till the Jubilee, but said, "Only if it be His will." He was
tried sadly by doubts for a few days. Satan seemed to bring all his sins to his
remembrance, and tried to take away his assurance of hope ; but 1 think that
during the last two days that frame of mind had passed away, and he repeatedly
said when asked how he felt, "Fine and comfortable," or "quiet," or "resting."
He was able to speak but little for three days, and when asked if he had
anything to say, he replied always "No!" Once he began, "There is a fountain
filled with blood." I was close by his back, and picked it up, repeating line
after line and verse after verse slowly; and on being asked again and again
whether that were it, he answered, "Ay! ay! that's it." His breathing was so
laboured that I always lay down and spoke over his shoulder, and one day I
called "Daddy, daddy, O!" as we speak here. He answered, "Ay! the poor old man
is here." I said, "The poor old man? Why, all things are yours: for ye are
Christ's, and Christ is God's." "Ay," he replied, "that's your charitable
opinion." When Miss Slessor remonstrated with him for mistrusting his Saviour's
grace, and reminded him that he must take his place as Christ's own in spite of
all that Satan might insinuate, he replied, "Ay, there's at least the fact even
for me, Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world, and, Come
unto Me all ye that labour," etc. But, as I have said, he began to be very quiet
and to lose consciousness at times. On Friday night, after a restless day, the
Government doctor came over, and Messrs. Barclay and Simmers stayed all night.
About half-past seven in the morning he passed quietly away, after exactly one
Mr. Anderson died on Saturday, Dec. 28, and was
buried the same afternoon. Mr. Beedie wrote:—
We have all a feeling of satisfaction that he has
got his desire—-to be laid beside his wife and where he spent the best of his
Miss Slessor described the funeral:—
We laid him beside his wife, amid the tears and
sobs of a crowd of his children and children's children; but after we had
reached the house we heard strains of thanksgiving too, from the spot where they
laid him, and "The home over there" and the "Sweet by and by" alternated with
the songs of Zion in the language of the country. Many thanksgivings and many
prayers were offered yesterday, beside the bed on which his body lay, by a group
of loving and mourning women, and fresh consecrations were made there to Him who
had lent so long to us such fathers and mothers as the Waddells, the Goldies,
and the Andersons.
The Government staff paid their tribute of
affectionate respect by attending the funeral, notwithstanding it was a day
advertised as a public holiday, at which they should have presided publicly.
The record of Mr. Anderson's life and work may be
completed by the mention of two facts which came out after his death. "Seldom
did any Mission Board receive a letter like that which came from William
Anderson, complaining that his retiring allowance of £120 was much too large,
and asking that half of it might be divided between the Aged Ministers' Fund and
Foreign Missions. Of course the Board declined to withdraw from himself the
means and the pleasure of exercising what liberality he thought fit." The Record
for March 1893 contained the following paragraph: — "'A Friend' has made a
generous offer of £600 to form the nucleus of a Capital Fund for providing
annuities to Zenana missionaries who may become incapacitated by old age or
sickness. The offer has been gratefully accepted by the Board." The "Friend" was
none other than the old missionary. "That fund, which other donations have now
raised to about £1200, will remain as a beneficent monument of the rare offering
which originated it."l
In his letter to Dr. Robson of Nov. 26, 1895, Mr.
I have been quite delighted by the many marks of
progress which I have witnessed in the work of the Mission. Crowded Sabbath
congregations, a crowded Sabbath school well supplied with teachers, well
attended prayer meetings and classes for instruction, numerous admissions to
Church fellowship, numerous applications for admission, and increased liberality
in contributions for sacred purposes, are substantial indications that our
worthy brother Beedie and his excellent helpmeet have not been labouring in vain
during these by-past years. There is one thing in particular which forces itself
on the attention of every kindly spectator, viz. the desirableness, indeed the
necessity, for a new and larger place of assembly. Sabbath after Sabbath large
crowds surround the church, being unable to obtain admission. Within, every inch
is occupied,—seats, passages, and pulpit steps all crowded. . . . The present
sanctuary has served its purpose well. I should well like to see another
monument of progress at Duke Town—a capacious temple consecrated to the service
of the One True God.
The new church [At my request, Mr. Beedie
furnished me with the following statistic?. which show how the congregation had
recovered from the split in 1882, and had entered on an era of prosperity:—"
When Mr. Anderson left in April 1889, there were 86 on the roll. There are now
on the revised roll for 1897, 290 native names. There are 20 European names on
the roll, making in all 310. Mr. Anderson's name was pill on the roll at the end
of 1895, but is now removed."] to be built at Duke Town is to be called the
Anderson Memorial Church. But Mr. Beedie, whose ministry has done so much under
God to create the need for the new church, and who to the last was engaged in
raising funds for it, has not been spared to see it erected to the memory of one
to whom he proved himself a devoted colleague and a worthy successor. It would
only be fitting to associate Mr. Beedie's name with that of Mr. Anderson in the
new church, for the names of Anderson and Reedie will be linked together for
many days to come in the memories of European and native in Old Calabar and in
the minds of not a few at home.