Voyage to Jamaica—Arrival—First
Impressions and Beginning of Work
On Monday, Nov. 11th, 1839, Mr. Anderson and his
companions, Messrs. Scott and Buchanan, set sail in the Christian. Contrary
winds prevailed, and on the 14th the vessel was driven back into Lamlash Bay. On
the 15th, Mr. Anderson was very happy to be on terra firma again, and,
accompanied by Mr. Scott, took a pretty long walk on Arran. Peats and hills
reminded him of old days at Fala—Soutra Hill and the Red Brae. On the 30th, Mr.
Anderson wrote in his Journal:—
We left Lamlash on the morning of the 18th. Since
then I have been sea-sick both night and day. A year to-day I offered myself to
the Scottish Missionary Society.
He employed himself chiefly in reading, and
remarked that for many years he had not had so much time for reading. While
lying sick, he read the greater part of Williams' Narrative of South Sea Islands
Mission. A few extracts from his Journal may be given.
On December 8th he preached for the first time on
Delightful day. Awning up for the first time.
Preached on deck from Acts xvi. 30, 31. Seamen very attentive. Distributed
tracts after sermon. They were eagerly received. . . .
The want of my luggage putting me to inconvenience,
Captain M'Nielage kindly gave me a light coat, which is more suitable for our
present temperature than my own. I may jot down here that Captain M'.N. has been
very kind to me during my protracted seasickness. Frequently he slipped into our
berth with a bottle of ginger beer, which generally relieved me for a short
time. . . .
Monday, 9.— Began to read an old
acquaintance—Dick's Christian Philosopher, and a new acquaintance—Harris's Great
Teacher. Feel as much delighted with Dick as when I read him nine years ago by
"the farmer's ingle." On reading Harris, feel ashamed and confounded for having
heretofore paid so little attention to the gracious words which proceeded out of
the Saviour's mouth, though I have read them so frequently ; and have resolved
to make them the subject of special study for the future. . . .
Saturday, 21.— Finished the reading of Harris's
Great Teacher. As a whole, it scarcely comes up to my expectations. . . .
Friday, 27. Captain M'N. captured a dolphin
yesterday. The change of colours in a dying dolphin is really wonderful.
Saturday, 28.— I am beginning to enjoy sea-life.
Have much reason for gratitude.
Sabbath, Dec. 29.—Mr. Buchanan was to have
preached to-day, but was not prepared. I would have taken his place, but was
feeling squeamish. The captain desired service, and at his request I conducted
worship in the cabin in the evening. . . .
Monday, 30.— By way of recreation, engaged to-day
with several fellow-passengers in a rather novel employment, namely, the
manufacture of ginger beer! The captain kindly supplied us with material, and we
managed to brew something drinkable. He also kindly added a jacket to my scanty
Mr. Anderson spent the closing hours of the year
in fond recollection of old friends at Ford, and on New Year's Day 1840
re-dedicated himself to the service of God. He wrote in his Journal:—
Tuesday, 31.—Between 6 and 7 P.M. in Scotland. I
can imagine that I see the stars shining brightly over the lovely vale where
flows the little river Tyne. A hard frost has probably taken the ground. My
aunt—poor body—has by this time got her house "redd up for the New Year," and is
enjoying her pipe by her wee fireside, probably wondering where her laddie is
and what he is doing. Nearly four thousand miles of ocean roll between her and
me. Old George Miller may have taken his seat at the other side of the fire, and
the two may be enjoying a laugh at the guizards. But there is a sort of hurry
to-night—Lizzie and young George have still to go to Pathhead for some
commodities yet awanting. Miss Herdman looks in, but has no time to sit down.
Bell (Mrs. Elliot's servant) has been at Pathhead, and can only look in and
speak a kindly word in passing.
Peace be with all the loved ones in my native
1840.—New Years Day—on Atlantic Ocean—about 160
N. Lat. and 66 IV. Long.—My father's God and my own !
Anew I dedicate myself to Thee ! On Thine ocean would I subscribe with my hand
unto the Lord. I am Thine— save me. Let Thy gracious presence accompany me in
all my journeyings by land and by sea. May I enjoy much of Thy presence and
blessing during the year which has just commenced! Direct me in all my ways, and
make me instrumental in advancing Thy glory, and in promoting the best interests
of those whom Thou art sending me to instruct. I claim Thee as my only and
all-sufficient portion. Whom have I in the heavens but Thee? and there is none
on earth that I desire beside Thee.
Had a social hour in the cabin in the evening. We
have formed a goodly and an agreeable company at table when weather has
permitted us to take our meals in company, and we formed a very pleasant part)-
to-night. There are seven passengers, besides Mr. Scott, Mr. Buchanan, and
myself—namely, Mr. and Mrs. Bryce, Miss Gordon, Miss Small, and three young men
going out to be planters. We joined in singing Auld Lang Syne, which brought
back the memory of other days and distant scenes.
Thursday, Jan. 2.—At 1.30 Captain M'Nielage
remarked to mc that "we must soon see land now." The words had hardly escaped
him when the cry was heard, "Land ahead." Mr. Bryce had sighted Antigua from the
forecastle. On my return from the forecastle, my one straw hat, which I had put
on for the first time, was blown overboard, and when I got my last sight of it
it seemed on the way home again. Our course being altered a few points to the
south—for Antigua was right ahead of us we saw Guadeloupe away to our left.
Montserrat and Redonda soon lifted up their summits right ahead of us. With
Montserrat—so called by its discoverers from its resemblance to a mountain of
that name in Barcelona in Spain—in front of us and Antigua to the right, I was
strongly reminded of the view from Langlaw Brae of Arthur's Seat and Fife. Had a
Scotsman been the discoverer of the island, he would certainly have dubbed it
Arthur's Seat. Saba and St. Eustatius were visible in the evening. We regretted
that it was dark before we neared Antigua. We should have had a capital view of
it had it been daylight. We saw the trees distinctly before dark, and felt it
refreshing to see land again after six weeks' absence. Saw the flash and heard
the report of the 8 o'clock gun fired in English Harbour.
Friday, 3.—Went on deck at eight bells this
morning. Stars brilliant. Observed Nevis a short distance to the north.
Beautiful morning a little after six. The sun, preceded by the crescent moon,
rose majestically beyond Guadeloupe. On the north appeared Nevis and St. Kitts,
and west of them Saba and St. Eustatius. Montserrat is almost lost in the
distance behind us.
Sabbath, 5. Expect this to be our last Sabbath at
sea . . . p.m., Mr. Buchanan delivered an excellent discourse to us from 1 Cor.
vii. 27: "The time is short." he had to preach in the cabin, the weather not
being favourable for service on deck.
Seventeen years ago—on January 5, 1823—my father
left me. The Father of the fatherless has, however, cared for me, and here, on
the waves of the Caribbean Sea, I would this afternoon erect another Ebenezer,
and say, "Hitherto hath the Lord helped me." . . .
Two bells (5 P.M.) just struck. About 9.30 in
Scotland. Often remembering loved friends there—but not unhappy here. I think I
can already testify that Jesus is a good Master, for I am beginning to enjoy
life now as much as I did at home. I am learning that
"True happiness has no localities,
No tones provincial, no peculiar garb."
There is much that is pleasant as well as
awe-inspiring in viewing and contemplating the mighty ocean. How forcible the
reasoning of Jer. v. 22. . . .
Monday, Jan. 6.—San Domingo in view at 4.30 P.M.
Wednesday, 8.—Off Cape Tiburon. Almost a dead
calm. Heat intense and oppressive. San Domingo (or Hayti) is a large island. To
appearance it is a very beautiful country. Its mountains are lofty and finely
intersected by valleys. Its cliffs are bold, rugged, romantic. It is melancholy
to reflect, while gliding along its shores, that its inhabitants are sitting in
the region and shadow of death. O that those hills, on which my eye rests with
pleasure, on whose summits the clouds of heaven are reposing, on whose sides
other clouds are moving majestically, "like angel chariots by heavenly coursers
drawn," and which bear the verdure of perennial summer, were reverberating the
praises of the High and Holy One of Israel, as has often been clone by the
heath-covered mountains of my native land ! Not that I wish the sword of
persecution to be unsheathed in this lovely region, and the followers of the
Lamb compelled to wander to worship in glens or on hills; but in such a serene
climate how sweet would it be for a congregation of saints to assemble among-
the clouds, which love to linger amid such luxuriant verdure and delightful
scenery! Would not such a sublime spectacle savour more of heaven than of earth?
Would not something like the scene of Tabor be re-enacted? That the time is on
the wing when the vision shall be realised, I doubt not. The harvest of the
earth is surely ripe. May the great Lord of the harvest thrust more labourers
into His field! Soon may the physical grandeur of Hayti be surpassed and
eclipsed by the moral grandeur of missionary enterprise, and the majesty of
Jehovah's grace be exhibited in the illumination and conversion of this
The young missionary's vision of a Christianised
Hayti, or Haiti, is still, alas ! unrealised.
On Thursday the 9th of January 1840, Mr. Anderson
and his companion, Mr. Buchanan, landed at Port Maria, on the north-east side of
Jamaica. The interesting event is fully recorded in Mr. Anderson's Journal:—
About 4 p.m. Mr. B. and I bade farewell to the
captain and officers of the Christian, as also to our fellow-passengers. Mr.
Scott and Mr. B. and I held a prayer meeting before parting. Mr. B. had but
little luggage, and I had still less; but we had several large cases of books
for our schools. The captain and Mr. Bryce both about my own size, kindly
supplied me with several articles of apparel, so that I can better afford to
await the arrival of my luggage from Dalkeith. Mr. Campbell brought us and our
boxes to the wharf in two boats. On arriving at the wharf, a number of black
fellows, rather disreputable in appearance, seized our cases as soon as landed
and hurried them off to the custom-house. We soon bade goodbye to the mate and
the seamen who manned our boats.
A boy waited on us as soon as we landed, with a
kind invitation to us to go to Miss Hume's. We found that Miss H. is one of Mr.
Simpson's devoted adherents, and we received a heart)' welcome from her and a
few other friends, and she soon treated us to a capital tea. On passing Galina
Point, the Christian gave us a farewell salute by firing a gun, the report of
which fell on my ear somewhat sadly.
While in Miss Hume's we had a number of visitors,
all inquiring very kindly after Mr. Simpson, and all expressing earnest desire
for his speedy return.
Friday, 10.—After thanking God for the past, and
committing ourselves to Him for the future, Mr. B. and I were introduced to Miss
Prosser, at whose house we slept, or rather lay; for the difference between land
and sea, especially the night-long rustling of the wind among the leaves of" the
cocoanut trees, scarcely permitted us to sleep.
Visited Port Maria Church and the school on the
hilltop. Stood by the graves of Mr. Chamberlain and Mrs. Simpson. Rode up to
Galina p.m. to Mrs. M'Dowall's, where we met with a very kind reception. Fine
garden here, and fruits and flowers which are new to us.
Saturday, 11.—Returned to Port Maria A.M. Put
about somewhat by having no official document to show to the custom-house
officer about our luggage.
Mr. B. got a loan of a horse and went off to
Carron Hall, leaving me to conduct service at Port Maria, provided Mr. Cowan do
not send horses for us. Mr. C. sent, however, in the P.M., and I did not feel at
liberty to remain at Port Maria. Mr. C. sent a very kind letter of welcome—and,
how delightful ! also a letter from my warm friend Mr. Chisholm, about my left
luggage, assuring me that it is now on the way. 1 accordingly accompanied my
sable guide to my new abode, which I reached between eight and nine in the
evening, heartily tired of Jamaica roads, and thoroughly bespattered with
Jamaica mud. The rascal of a beast which I rode, Mulgrave by name, took me into
the middle of a deep puddle in the centre of the highway, and there lay clown
with me. Received the kindest welcome from Mr. and Mrs. Cowan. Mr. B. arrived
about an hour after me, but not so bemudded.
Sabbath, Jan. 12.—Enjoyed once more the privilege
of worshipping God "in the assembly of His saints." My mind too much at home,
however. What a contrast between a January Sabbath at home and a January Sabbath
here! There all close, muffled up, stoves, etc., and probably the ground covered
with snow. Here the clay warm, church quite open, a rosebush in full bloom a few
yards from the pew occupied by me, the trees and the ground everywhere covered
with verdure. When the sable congregation struck up St. Bridget's to the 39th
Paraphrase, the remembrance of Ford' tent and the third Sabbath of July of
bygone years was overpowering. Mr. Cowan preached from Eph. ii. 21. The Jamaica
Presbytery being to meet at Lucea on Wednesday, Mr. C. and his Presbytery elder,
James Anderson, left hi the P.M. to go the length of Mr. Jameson's, Goshen. Took
part in the evening meeting held in the schoolhouse, addressed shortly from Luke
xiii. 69. Have been delighted with the appearance of both congregation and
The next entry in Mr. Anderson's Journal contains
the first reference to the lady who was afterwards to become his wife:—
Monday, 13. — Attended school both A.M. and P.M.
Delighted with the way in which it is conducted by its excellent teacher, Miss
L. Peterswald. Glad to meet Mr. Moir [catechist] from Goshen, who has been very
sick, and has come hither for a few days' change.
Friday, 14.—Beginning to think that with such a
teacher as Miss L. it was hardly worth my while to come here to engage in
school-work. The work is doubtless rather heavy for a female,—about 160 in
attendance just now,—but really the school is better conducted than some of the
far-famed seminaries in the Scottish metropolis.
By February 14th, however, when he had gained a
closer acquaintance with school-work, and the need of teachers in the district,
he writes to his sister and her husband as follows: —
The school here is in a very flourishing
condition. It has been taught by a Miss Louisa Peterswald in a manner which
reflects great credit on her. Indeed, I had begun to think that with such an
able teacher as she is there was no use for me here. I have since changed my
opinion on this point, for I am beginning to feel that we have both as much work
as we can put our hands or heads, or both to, and that we could find ample
employment for several more teachers. In good weather we have about 170
scholars, and as the season advances we expect to have an increase of numbers.
Sabbath, 19.—Mr. Cowan being absent, no regular
sermon. Day wet, yet a goodly number of people assembled in the schoolroom,
where I conducted a prayer meeting, and addressed shortly from Josh. xxiv. 15
("Choose you this day whom ye will serve").1 Had an unexpected duty to
discharge, namely, to publish " purpose of marriage" between four couples.
Saturday,Jau.2$.—Rainy weather all week. Rode
down to Lucky Hill Pen with Mr. Moir. Bad roads, but much delighted with the
scenery. Had a fine feast of oranges in the evening from loaded trees by the
wayside. Went out to have a solitary walk and a quiet feast on the oranges; but
Mr. Moir soon captured me, and cautioned me against over-feasting on fruit. . .
Sabbath, 26.—Went with Mr. Jameson and Mr. Moir
to Goshen Church. Felt deeply interested in both persons and places, from
remembrance of letters and journals which Rose Street friends had kindly lent me
to read. Messrs. J. and M. began work at 9 A.M.—Mr. J. in church, Mr. M. in
school alias shed. Public service commenced about 11. Mr. J. preached from Rom.
xii. 11. In the P.M. he introduced me to his congregation, and I delivered a
brief address. On returning to the Pen, Mr. J. was seized with fever.
Saturday, Feb. 1.—Returned from Goshen on Monday,
and Mr. Cowan went thither to attend Mr. J. while fever should continue. Mr. C.
returned yesterday, with request that I should supply Goshen to-morrow. Rode
down to the Pen this p.m. Found Mr. J. improving. Notwithstanding Mr. Moir's
friendly warnings, renewed my visit to the orange trees, and feasted beside them
Sabbath, 2.—Mr. Moir and I began work at church
and school at Goshen at 9.30, and finished about 3.30. We felt a good deal
worn-out. We calculated that there must have been 700 people present at the
services. On returning to the Ten, found Mr. J. still improving, and had a long
and interesting conversation with him.
The next entry in Mr. Anderson's Journal mentions
his first visit to Rose Hill, where he was soon to find his principal sphere of
labour, and where he was to be instrumental in forming a congregation, of which
he became the first minister.
Sabbath, Feb. 9. Guided by one of our advanced
scholars, Maurice Gordon Mitchell by name,1 had a pleasant ride to Mr. Cowan's
out-station at Rose Hill. What lovely, magnificent scenery at and around Rose
Hill! I addressed \he people A.M. from Acts xvi. 30, 31, and P.M. from 2 Pet. i.
5-7. The audience was small, compared with that at Carron Hall or that at
Goshen, but it was considerable,—I suppose above 100,—and all were very
In a letter to his sister he gives additional
The temporary chapel stands very high. When I
turned the corner of the hill, where it is first seen, 1 saw a number of the
people looking for me very earnestly. The bell immediately began to toll, and I
soon found myself in the midst of my sable congregation.... In the afternoon I
was told there were more people outside than within the chapel, which was
nevertheless well filled.
The following entries in the Journal refer to
Unity, a place in which Mr. Anderson became deeply interested on his own and on
Miss Louisa l'eterswald's account :—
Tuesday, Feb. 11.—Rode with Mr. Cowan in the
evening to Unity, where he holds an evening meeting weekly. The locality is
populous and destitute. The old great house is in capital order—is about
half-way between Carron Hall and Port Maria. It is supposed that there is a
population of 1000 within a mile and a half of it. I addressed the meeting
briefly. The people seem anxious to have a teacher among them.
Tuesday, 18.—Went to conduct service at Unity,
but lost myself—I cannot well tell where. It was near nine o'clock before I
reached my destination, but I found the people still waiting, and was very happy
when I got among them.
Saturday, 29.—Rode down to Port Maria last
evening, and spent the night with Brother Buchanan. Came up to Unity A.M., and
opened a day school there. Had 25 scholars, of whom 17 were in alphabet. It is
intended that Miss L. P. be stationed there for a time. The field seems to be
important. I feel it an honour to have formally begun the work of the day school
here, and I trust that the Master Himself will take charge of the seminary. May
the work of instruction there be blessed in promoting the present and eternal
well-being of many ! Wonder what the station will be like, and if I shall be
spared to see it on Feb. 29, 1844.
On February 17th Mr. Anderson wrote to his
Preached yesterday at Rose Hill. Mr. Cowan has
committed the charge of that station principally to me. I find it hard enough
work to be a teacher five days in the week, and a preacher one.
A few items from the Journal may be of interest:—
Sabbath, March 1.—Remained at Carron Hall to-day,
and officiatedas precentor.
Tuesday, 3.—School examined to-day by a
Presbyterial Committee. Held meeting at Unity in the evening.
Monday, 9.—A very interesting Anti-Slavery
meeting held in the schoolroom in the evening. Interesting addresses were
delivered by Captain Stuart, Rev. Mr. Renshaw from United States, and Rev. Mr.
Whitehorn of this island.
Wednesday, 11.—A fine Total Abstinence meeting
this evening, addressed by the three gentlemen above named.
From a letter to the Rev. Andrew Elliot of Ford,
dated 16th March 1840, the following extracts may be given. After briefly
describing the voyage, he goes on to give his first impressions of Jamaica :—
During the week [after arrival] I attended the
school, more, however, as a scholar than a teacher. I was much pleased with the
excellent manner in which it was conducted by Miss Louisa Pcterswald, who is, I
believe, to proceed to a station called Unity, to remain there till a catachist
comes to take charge of that station. Are there any more in your congregation
ready to say, concerning this interesting field, "Here am I, send me"? Here is a
parish of 35,000 inhabitants, about 30,000 of whom are destitute of the means of
instruction. I blush for my countrymen when I reflect that for upwards of a
twelvemonth the Scottish Missionary Society has been advertising for teachers
and catechists and that so few have responded to the call. There are several
stations in this parish ripe for the reception of married catechists — indeed,
none should come out unmarried but those who are, like myself, to reside in the
mission family of the head station.
Mr. Cowan (being something like patron of the
parish) has appointed me to the interim pastorate of Rose Hill, a station about
five miles from this [Carron Hall]. The people were not consulted in the matter,
and I do not think the Veto Act extends this length, so that I have entered upon
my labours there without opposition. I never liked pluralities in theory, and I
do not like them in practice. 1 wish a teacher and catechist were located there.
The non-residence of a parson (by which dignified appellation the Rose Hill
people call me) is a great drawback on his usefulness. The people are
exceedingly anxious for instruction. If you could only see the intensity of
interest which is manifested by them when addressed on the things belonging to
salvation, and listen to the fervent "Amen" with which they respond to the
prayers which arc presented for them at a throne of grace, I think, my revered
friend, that you would be almost tempted yourself to come out to dispense among
them that bread of life for which they are hungering so much, and those
refreshing waters for which they thirst so eagerly. Oh! I often think it says
little for our students and preachers and ministers at home that one so weak and
worthless and illiterate as I should feel myself laid under the necessity of
preaching among the poor negroes the unsearchable riches of Christ.
But I am resolved to persevere in my work till I
am unable to do so any longer, or till better qualified teachers and preachers
come to take the work out of my hands, and to them I shall willingly resign my
This is a land of beautiful scenery, delightful
climate, and delicious fruits. Mr. Edwards, in his History of the West Indies,
says that when Columbus first discovered Jamaica, he approached it on the north
side, and, beholding that part of the country which now constitutes the parish
of St. Ann's (next parish to St. Mary's), he was filled with delight and
admiration at the novelty, variety, and beauty of the prospect. The whole of the
scenery is indeed superlatively fine, nor can words alone convey a just idea of
it. The country, at a small distance from the shore, rises into hills which are
more remarkable for beauty than for boldness, being all of gentle acclivity, and
commonly separated from each other by spacious vales and romantic inequalities;
but they are seldom craggy, nor is the transition from the hills to the valleys
oftentimes abrupt. In general, the hand of Nature has rounded every hill to the
top with singular felicity. . . . To enliven the scene, and add perfection to
beauty, the bounty of Nature has copiously watered the whole district. No part
of the West Indies which I have seen abounds with so many delicious streams.
Every valley has its rivulet, and every hill its cascade. In one point of view,
where the rocks overhang the ocean, no less than eight transparent waterfalls
are beheld in the same moment. Those only who have been long at sea can judge of
the emotion which is felt by the voyager at so enchanting a prospect.
I must say, however, from what I hear of some
districts of the island, especially on the south side, that water is scarce and
the climate exceedingly hot and unhealthy; such, however, is not the case where
the bounds of my habitation have been fixed, among the mountains of St. Mary's.
You are perhaps aware that a drawing of Carron Hall has been sent home to be
lithographed, and that if any of my friends in your neighbourhood wish to
possess themselves of copies, you can procure them from Mr. Marshall, Leith. Any
profit which may be derived from the sale of the drawing is to go to the fund
for building a new church at this station, and on this account I would like to
hear of a good number being disposed of. Mrs. Cowan will write to the ladies
after we receive the cask of clothing, etc., which they so kindly entrusted to
me. The proceeds of it will assist in liquidating the debt which still lies on
the school. I think it would form an additional bond of union betwixt the
churches of Ford and Carron Hall if the young people or the ladies of the former
would send out a strongly-bound Bible and two strongly-bound (gilt and ornament
no object) psalm-books for the pulpit and desk of the new church of the latter.
They need not be in a hurry, only I thought I would give them the hint. If
spared, I may perhaps give the people here the hint to send you something which
might be of service at a soiree.
Unity, Tuesday evening, March \J.— I had
dismissed the school and was about to sit down to finish my letter at Carron
Hall, when I received a message from Mr. Cowan, requesting me to go to Unity for
him to-night ; so at Unity I find myself, all alone in an old barrack-room,
tired enough, —for 1 assure you my office is no sinecure,—but having received
two newspapers (or rather two copies of the same newspaper), I find that if I do
not send to post to-morrow I cannot be in time for next packet, I must fill my
sheet to-night. Before leaving Carron Hall, I got word that my stray luggage is
at the Bay, i.e. Port Maria. I should have said before that Unity is half-way
betwixt Carron Hall and Port Maria. On my way down I met the mules going loaded
to Carron Hall, and with what do you think one of them was loaded ? Why, with
part of the contents of the Ford ladies' cask of clothes. There is scarcely such
a thing as carting here. Traffic is carried on chiefly by mules and hampers. I
have several times seen twelve oxen drawing a cart about the size of a
double-horse cart in Scotland. The heaviest load that I have ever seen is two
hogsheads of sugar. It is very inconvenient that everything except small
packages must be unpacked before they can be conveyed to the hill country.
We now return to his Journal:—
Wednesday, 18.—Rode down to Port Maria in the
A.M. Unpacked my chest of clothing and books. Felt in doing so as if I were
again at home. Pocketed some little mementoes—books and profiles. Returned to
Carron Hall in the evening.
Tuesday, 24.—Visited to-day by Mr. Moir from
Goshen and Mr. Black from Golden Grove, both of whom addressed the scholars. We
had a few happy hours together. Mr. Black is about to return home.
Sabbath, 29.—A very interesting day to me. Mr.
Moir and I exchanged for the day. He went to Rose Hill and I went to Middlesex,
the seat of a Scotch colony about ten or twelve miles from Carron Hall. Felt
quite at home among my country people, albeit they are nearly all Aberdeenshire
folk and have not the Lothian accent. Preached in the P.M. from Heb. xi. 16.
Delighted with the Sabbath school, and the old familiar Psalms repeated by the
children in very much the old familiar tone—" That man hath perfect
blessedness," "The Lord's my Shepherd, I'll not want," etc. My precentor—who had
a braid blue bonnet lying beside him—started "Bangor" to the plaintive strains
of the 137th Psalm. [Cf. Memoir of Rev. Win. Jameson, pp. 72-73. "Bangor" seems
to have been the favourite tune of the old Highland precentor, who sang it on
the occasion of Mr. Jameson's visit in April 1838.]
Monday, April 6.—My predecessor here (Carron
Hall) begins school operations to-day at Unity. The Lord bless her and smile on
her labour there as He has done here.
Wednesday, 15.—My first birthday spent out of my
native land. Feel myself here—as when far distant—to be but a cumberer of the
ground, and marvel that He bears with me so long.
Friday, 17.—Have had a meeting for the practice
of sacred music on the Friday evenings for several weeks. A very large meeting
this evening—school crowded—it being the evening of a day a good deal observed
here, namely, Good Friday. Mrs. C. and I (Mr. C. being absent thought it a pity
to allow such a congregation to disperse without "a few words," so I addressed
briefly from John xiv. 1 -3.
Sabbath, 19.—At Rose Hill as usual. In the
interval of worship was told of an old man who was sick in the village, and that
I was requested to visit him and give him "a mouthful of prayer." This reminded
me of a sable brother at Goshen who concluded his prayer with a petition " that
these few remarks might be accepted for the Saviour's sake." The account of the
visit is given in the Report for 1840.
Saturday, May 16.—At the first funeral I have
seen in this country. It was that of an old woman at Hazard. Was much struck
with the simplicity of the arrangements. The coffin lid not nailed or screwed
down, but tied on with four pieces of tape, one at each end, one at each side.
No handspokes as at home, but the coffin swung on three pieces of cloth—seemed
to be towels tied together—borne by six men from house to grave. Sang part of
Psalm 90. Read part of 1 Cor. xv. Addressed on Death, Resurrection, and
Judgment, and prayed, after which the dead was laid in her last bed. I did not
know till I came here—I believe that few at home do know—that the poorest of the
people here are in one respect at least on a par with the nobility of Britain,
for nearly every family has its own private burying-ground on its own territory.
It must strengthen the attachment of the people to their own settlements, to
reflect that the dust of their kindred lies there.
Sabbath, 24.—My first Communion season in
Jamaica. Felt a strange mixture of gladness and sadness during the service.
Recalling Communion Sabbaths at Ford, Gorebridge, Fala, Dalkeith, and Edinburgh.
Have much reason to say with the Psalmist, "My soul to dust cleaves —quicken
me." My thoughts have been more on things earthly to-day than on things
Sabbath, 31.—Formed a class of catechumens to-day
at Rose Hill. Twelve gave me their names- as anxious to receive regular
instruction, with a view of being received into Church membership.
Tuesday, June 23.—At Unity with Mr. Cowan,
examining the school taught there by Miss L. P., who was my predecessor at
Carron Hall. We were greatly pleased with the rapid progress made by the
children during the short time they have been under the tuition of Miss P. There
is a great advance since I (in a way) opened the school on Feb. 29. The Great
Teacher seems to countenance and bless in no ordinary degree the labours of His
handmaid employed here.
Sabbath, 28.—No sermon at Carron Hall to-day,
which caused a large assembly at Rose Hill. The schoolhouse being too small,
worship was conducted under two of the large mango trees in the neighbourhood.