The materials for the record of the life and work of
William Anderson were widely scattered, and had to be gathered by degrees.
For most periods the material has been copious. The greatest difficulty I
experienced was in regard to the collection of material for the "Jamaica
Period," as the periodicals of the Scottish Missionary Society were scarce.
So far as I am aware, this is the first time that the life of a missionary
to Jamaica, who began as catechist and teacher, pursued his theological
studies there, was licensed and ordained as pastor of a congregation which
he was instrumental in forming, has been written.
The autobiographical reminiscences of his early days are
not a mere reprint of the papers that appeared in the United Presbyterian
Magazine during 1890, but are taken from Mr. Anderson's MS.
Autobiography and MS. Journal; and these and the letters and journals from
Jamaica show him in unconscious training for his great work in Old Calabar.
The "Calabar Period" contains, not only a record of Mr.
and Mrs. Anderson's work, but also the annals of Duke Town. In these pages
it will be possible to trace the social changes that have taken place during
the last fifty years—the decline of the power of the "king" and the chiefs,
and of the authority of the Egbo institution, on the one hand; and, on the
other, the growth of Consular jurisdiction, culminating in the establishment
of the British Protectorate, which has its headquarters at Duke Town. The
relations of the missionary and the trading communities are touched on. The
Consular staff is now another factor. It is desirable that the relations of
these three chief European factors that make for the welfare or otherwise of Calabar should be friendly —that they should understand one another's aims,
and should co-operate as far as possible for common ends, as was done at
certain crises in Mr. Anderson's time. In spite of "the talk of the Coast,"
which is too often reproduced as reliable fact in books of travel, there is,
I think, a growing understanding of one another among the various classes,
when a missionary wins the respect of all as Mr. Beedie did, and criticism
of one another is more discriminating and therefore useful.
The true story of Calabar,
however, is not the record of European civilisation and of Christianity in a
Presbyterian dress introduced among the people, but the emergence of the
native tribes from the night of superstition and barbarism into a
civilisation in which they shall remain Africans and not become
pseudo-Europeans. There is undoubtedly a danger of trade and British
protection fostering a pseudo civilisation. Despite what critics say,
Christian missions do this only in a minor degree and indirectly, and the
tendency of missionaries is rather to discourage than to encourage the aping
of a foreign civilisation. The native tendency is to go from one extreme to
another—from "fig-leaves" to "swallow-tails"! When the ancient system of
domestic slavery of which some account is given) has merged into the free
population of the future, a native Christian Commonwealth and Church will
grow and flourish.
Mr. Anderson's distinctive
work was done in the early days of the Mission. It was a work of liberation
of body and mind. It is to be valued, not only for the sake of the number of
scholars in the schools and of converts added to the Church, but also
because of the dawning of better days for the whole population, in the
decay of many evil customs, and in the creation of a public opinion and of a
moral standard, which will make it less difficult for the generations to
come to be men and Christians, than it was for their fathers and mothers
whether free or slave.
I have not attempted either a
character sketch of Mr. Anderson or an estimate of his work. "Deas
Cromarty's" Miniature in the British Weekly of Nov. 5, 1891, and a sketch by
me in the U. P. Magazine, March 1896, supply to a certain extent what is
lacking here. My aim has been to let the man reveal himself, and his work
speak for itself. My task has been simply to gather, arrange, and edit the
materials of what is really an autobiographical record of William Anderson's
It is to be regretted that
the material for an account of Mrs. Anderson's life and work is so scanty;
nevertheless, her name deserves to be placed beside that of her husband in
Mr. Anderson requested me to
prepare this Memoir, and supplied material. I have to thank the relatives
and friends who have kindly allowed me the use of letters quoted in the
following pages, and others whose contributions I have been unable to
insert. I have to thank especially Mr. John Cochrane, College Buildings, for
access to and use of literature.
My wife has copied most of
the Calabar journals from the U. P. Missionary Record and many letters, has
given much helpful assistance and advice, and has read the book both in MS.
and in proof.
The late Rev. R. M. Beedie
read the first 500 pages in proof and a chapter in MS., and to him I am
indebted for various valuable corrections. The book was delayed in part to
get the benefit of his revision, and the last few weeks of his life were
spent in this work, which he did con anion. The later portion, which touches
on his own association with Mr. Anderson at Duke Town, he did not see, and
it has since been amplified. It is too soon to estimate the greatness of the
loss which Old Calabar, and especially Duke Town, has suffered in the death
of Mr. Beedie. It was a great sorrow to me that I was not permitted to
return to Calabar along with Mr. Anderson in September 1895; it was still
greater grief that I was not permitted to go in September 1896 to the relief
of Mr. Beedie, whose colleague I was for a short time in 1892.
"To be baptized for the dead"
has become a mode of appeal at the death of a missionary; to be baptized for
the help of the few who remain in Calabar seemed to me then, and seems to me
still, a more necessary form of appeal; although it is to be hoped that in
the following pages the careers of those both men and women— who being dead
yet speak, will inspire self-consecration to Mission work in Old Calabar.
10 W. Mayfield, Edinburgh,
February 27, 1897.
Early Days in Scotland, 1812-1839
1812-1817 - Parentage—Buckholmside—Dalkeith—Ford—
1817-1819 - Clayhouses—Preaching—Ideas of Ministers and their Office— "Diet
of Visitation"—''Seeking the Lord"
1819-1823 - Reading—Sports—Schoolboy Days—Death of Aunt—Death of Father
1823-1828 - Sorrows—"Summer Sacrament"—Sabbath School—Reading—Ideal
World—Journey to Haddington—Departure from Ford—Nettlingflat— Engagement to
go to Fala Mains
1828-1831 - Fala South Mains—Avocations—Reading—Preaching
1831-1834 - Ford — Chestcrhill - Blackdub
—Reading— Preparation for Communion—Admission to the Church—Sabbath School
1834-1838 - Residence in Dalkeith—Death of
Friends—First Speech—Engagement to go to Jamaica under the Scottish Missionary
1839 - Leaving Dalkeith—Attendance at Sessional School, Edinburgh - Last
Communion at Ford—Glasgow—Galashiels—Farewell Meetings
Jamaica Period, 1839-1848
Voyage to Jamaica—Arrival—First Impressions and Beginning of
Catechist and Teacher at Carron Hall and Evangelist at Rose Hill —
Engagement to Miss Louisa Peterswald
The Proposed Mission to Africa—Mr. Anderson's Marriage to Miss Louisa
Peterswakl—Prevailing Mortality in Jamaica —1841
1842 - Formation of a Congregation at Rose Hill—Mr. Anderson's Ordination as
In charge at Canon Hill, 1843-44—License and Call to Rose Hill, 1844
Pastor at Rose Hill, 1845
Appointment to Old Calabar, 1846—Transference of the Agents of the Scottish
Missionary Society to Board of Missions of United Presbyterian Church, 1847—
Call to succeed late Rev. W. Jameson—Departure from Rose Hill, 1848
Old Calabar Period, 1849-1889, and Closing Years, 1889-1895
Map of Calabar
Introduction and Chapter 1
Voyage and Arrival at Old Calabar
First Impressions and Beginning of Work
Early Labours—Election of King Archibong I.—1849
The First Victory—"Society for the Suppression of Human Sacrifices in Old
Calabar" formed, and Law Abolishing Sacrifice passed, 15th Feb. 1850.
Signs of Progress
Return to Calabar—Death of King Archibong l.—1852
Mr. Anderson's First Severe Illness
Renewed Labours—Difficulties and Discouragements
The First Converts, 1853—Excursion up Qua River—First Marriage in Duke Town,
The Beginnings of the Native Church
Bombardment and Destruction of Old Town—Destruction by Fire of Duke Town
Calabar Slavery and Slave-holding in relation to Membership in the Church
Another Victory—Right of Sanctuary for the Innocent Vindicated —Egbo Blown
upon the Mission—Consular Intervention
Arrival of Rev. Zerub Baillie-Native Affairs—Consular Intervention Death of
Rev. Samuel Edgerley, senior—Furlough of Mr. and Mrs. Anderson—Address at
Missionary Meeting of Synod
Return to Calabar and Renewed Labours- Election and Coronation of Archibong
Struggle against Substitutionary Punishment
Labours and Conflicts, 1866-1867
A New Church on the Mission Hill
Refugee Widows—Duke Town at War with Okoyong
The Diffusion of the Gospel and of Ardent Spirits
Customs New and Old—The Year of Losses, 1870
The Rebuilding of Henshaw Town—Illness of King Archibong II.— The Blood-men
in Duke Town—Interposition of the Court of Equity—Death of Eyo VI.
Changes in Old Calabar—Death of Mr. Ashworth, 1871—Mr. George Thomson's
Sanatorium—Ordination of Ukpabio, 1872 —Arrival of Rev. D. Campbell—Deaths
of King Archibong II., etc.—"Young Calabar"
Abolition of Sabbath Market at Duke Town, 1873
Labours, 1874-1876—War between Duke Town and Henshaw Town
Visit as a Deputy to Jamaica, 1876-77, including Visits to Sister in America
Renewed Labours in Calabar, 1877-81—The Hopkins' Treaty, 1878 — Deaths of
Mr. A. S. Morton and King Archibong Ill., 1879 — Mrs. Sutherland on the
Effects of the Treaty—Mr. Anderson's Fortieth Annual Report, 1879
The Death of Mrs. Anderson, 1882
The Last Five Years of Active Service, 1884-1889
The Closing Years