Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

William and Louisa Anderson
Part III - Old Calabar Period, 1849-1889, & Closing Years, 1889-1895
Chapter 14

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

The arrival of the Rev. Zerub Baillie on June 22, 1856, was a valuable addition to the staff, and lightened Mr. Anderson's work considerably. Shortly after his advent Mr. Anderson wrote:—

Mr. Baillie is getting on exceedingly well. He is just the man for Old Calabar—strong-bodied, sober-minded, energetic, contented, and cheerful. lie is quite a favourite with the Duke Town people, both old and young, bond and free. Hundreds of the people, ladies as well as gentlemen, have visited him, to see his chemical apparatus and operations, many of which have filled them with astonishment. His medical knowledge, experience, and skill recommend him powerfully to the people. He promises fair to be a great blessing both to the Mission and to the country.

Mr. Baillie relieved Mr. Anderson of the burden of the afternoon work at school, and he wrote regarding the Mission family at Duke Town:—

I am exceedingly comfortable here with Mr. and Mrs. Anderson. Mrs. A. anticipates my every want, and is a most agreeable, pleasant person. They have a large family (I think about twelve or thirteen) of native children, who have no other home. They are trained up to habits of industry and cleanliness, and it is a pleasant thing to hear them, morning and evening, repeating passages and praying in their own tongue. On the Sabbath evening all give an account of what they have heard at the various meetings during the day. Some of them have memories which would put to the blush many children in Scotland of a similar age.

In his station Report for 1856, Mr. Anderson mentions that Mr. Baillie, since his arrival, had been actively and zealously engaged along with himself in carrying on the work, and that the Rev. Samuel Edgerley, who also resided at Duke Town, had been engaged with the Mission press. The following details are taken from the Report:—

Mr. Baillie, Mr. Haddison, and I have held on an average three meetings each on the morning of the Lord's day. Mrs. Anderson and Miss Barty have also together held meetings with the women in several yards. I should suppose that the word is spoken to about three hundred souls. . . .

The English service at two P.M., conducted by Mr. Edgerley, Mr. Baillie, and myself, has been attended by upwards of one hundred, including children. A few from the ships in the river have been present with great regularity. The psalmody has been admirably conducted by Dr. Hewan.

The Sabbath school, which is held from three to four, has been attended by from sixty to eighty. All the agents take a part in conducting these classes; and whilst they are being taught in the church I have an advanced class in my own house.

The Wednesday evening prayer meeting, conducted chiefly by Mr. Edgerley, Mr. Baillie, and myself, has been well attended. The exercises are devotional, expository, and catechetical. At this meeting we have gone over the history of the Apostle Paul, Acts xvii.-xxviii., the whole of our Lord's Parables, and the questions of the Shorter Catechism, from 91st to 107th, and 1st to 22nd.

On Thursday evening Mrs. Anderson has a class of women, whom she has been instructing in the elementary doctrines of the gospel. The only constant attendants have been the few Sierra Leone people who reside on the Mission Hill.

The attendance at the week-day school during the first six months ranged from twenty to forty, and during the second six months from sixty to seventy; but eighty have been frequently present. The most of these have been moving on satisfactorily. Miss Barty, J. Haddison, and I have shared in the labours of the school during the whole year; and Mr. Baillie, who is a great accession to the Mission, since his arrival has well done his part in it.

The story of the work is carried on by the following extracts from Mr. Anderson's Journal:—

Jan. 6, 1857-—Heard to-day of several murders having been committed at Old Town on account of the death of Otu George. This is a direct violation of the treaty made with Mr. Hutchinson about a year ago.

8.—An opportunity offering, and having full proof that several persons have been put to death at Old Town, 1 communicated information respecting the same to H.B.M.'s Consul at Fernando Po.

30.—Saw a barbarous flogging inflicted on an unoffending young woman near Henshaw Town. Protested strongly against the practice of Egbo runners flogging those who are guilty of no crime. I felt the more at liberty to speak to all parties concerned, as the chief actor in the bloody for it was bloody transaction was one of my old scholars. Though I felt bound some months ago to state formally to the native gentlemen that I did not write about their Egbo affairs to Queen Victoria, 1 now felt it needful to say that people of all countries and of all colours, who should hear of such occurrences, would cry "Shame!" on account of some of their foolish and cruel customs. II.M.S. Merlin arrived in the evening.

Feb. 1, Sabbath. — One of our little adopted and baptized daughters left us this evening after a brief illness. Poor little sufferer! But she is now in far better keeping than ours. "Of such is the kingdom of God."

Not long after she "fell asleep" the soul of another was driven from Old Calabar into the world of spirits; but what a contrast in life and in death between the helpless infant and the hardened murderer! The murderer referred to was called Young Antika. He was the eldest son of the late Antika Cobham. One of the numerous cold-blooded murders perpetrated by him is reported in the United Presbyterian Missionary Record for March 1847, p. 43. How many atrocities in the way of murdering and mutilating he has committed between 1846 and 1856, I cannot tell. On a Sabbath evening in September last, he killed one of his wives at one blow. On my representing to his uncle, H. Cobham, now head of the Cobham family, that such a monster ought not to be allowed to walk at large, the reply was, "It only be wife he kill; no palaver live for that." Henry's views of matters were afterwards changed, however, when the same pest went about with a loaded musket watching his opportunity to shoot him. The blood - people in the plantations had also got information of the murder of the wife, who, it appears, had been a connection of some of the leaders of that fraternity, and they were clamorous in their demands that the murderer should be delivered into their hands, to be by them put to death. The Cobham family declined to do this, so that the blood-people put their plantations under ban—would allow no Cobham Town person to go to the plantations—would allow no produce to be brought to Cobham Town. A deputation of blood-men came to Cobham Town last night or this morning, and in order to make "palaver set," it was agreed by both parties that the murderer should undergo the esere ordeal, with I believe; a tacit understanding that, should it fail, other measures should be taken to ensure death. The esere took effect, but ere it had time to cause death—all parties concurring—a rope was adjusted round the dying man's neck, and, being hung up thereby to the roof-tree of the palaver-house, which is at once the hall of judgment and the place of execution, the soul was hurried into the presence of the Righteous Judge.

Monday, 2.—It may be right here to jot down that I heard nothing of the execution of Young Antika till to-day, though we arc so near Cobham Town. I may also state that I do not journalise on the Sabbath, though events occurring on that day are frequently, in my mem., entered under date of "Sabbath." This I do, considering that it adds to the perspicuousness of a journal to have the events of the clay recorded under the date of the occurrence, whatever be the time of their entry. On expressing to H. Cobham my regret that his nephew had been condemned and executed on the Sabbath, he excused himself on the ground that the clay was far spent ere their judicial procedure was begun, and had he not heard God's word in the morning?

The Consul held a meeting this morning in Old Town mission-house, in presence of Mrs. Sutherland, Dr. Hew an, Mr. Baillie, and myself, with the headmen of Old Town. The individual chiefly implicated in the murders professed ignorance as to the nature of the treaty made with the Consul a year ago, and pleaded that he had not killed any person, seeing that it was under the ordeal of the escre that the persons had died. As it appeared that Efium Cobham, the acknowledged head of the town, had had no hand whatever in the administration of the escre, and as he and all parties pledged themselves not to allow such a thing again, the Consul judged it best to allow the matter to drop. He felt we all felt—that were he to make any violent demonstration in regard to the matter, serious though it was, the Old Town people would, probably be afraid to rebuild their town, and be led to feel and act like a band of outlawed murderers; whereas, were they to rebuild and reoccupy their town, they would be more accessible than at present to the influences of civilisation and Christianity.

Feb. 27.—-This day finished a translation into Efik of Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews. Have found the exercise of translating this important portion of Holy Writ both pleasant and profitable.

March 17.—Witnessed a good many of the funeral rites of the natives this afternoon. The deceased had been nurse to Antaro Young. The coffin, a large chest, 7 feet long, 3 or 4 broad, and 3 or 4 deep, was placed under a sort of canopy, and around it marched, and sometimes danced, a band of women, for about an hour at a time. Native instruments of music (or rather of noise) were being played all the time, while the hired mourners played their parts most vigorously. Thinking, I suppose, that it would vary the entertainment somewhat, Antaro requested me to "read burial service in English." I expressed my readiness to conduct a service in Efik, provided he would command quiet and attention. This did not suit his taste, however, and he would not consent to my ''speaking without a book." Finally he agreed to send a boy for my Bible, and I agreed to say or read a few words both in English and Efik. I accordingly spoke a few words on the all-important concerns of eternity in both languages; but, from the strong drink which had been freely circulated, I soon began to fear that 1 was breaking the rule laid down in Matthew vii. 6.

28.— It is with deep sorrow that I am constrained to record that the greater portion of Duke Town gentlemen went this afternoon to the neighbourhood of Parrot Island, and there sacrificed a poor albino girl. Some say that such sacrifice is made to Ndem Efik, to make him bring plenty ships to the country, while others say that the rite is intended to keep away sickness from the town. How Satan does manage to deceive men ! 1 suppose that some have faith that the observance will lead to the former result, and others that it will lead to the latter. Have not heard of any sacrifice of the kind being made since 1851. I am glad to be informed that Cobham Town, Henshaw Town, and Creek Town have had nothing whatever to do with the matter.

30.—A Duke Town gentleman, Edem Oku by name, who took an active part in the murderous ceremonial of the 28th, was this day summoned, without a moment's warning, to his final account. Without any apparent cause, he suddenly dropped down dead. A few of his former companions seem to be a good deal impressed by the solemn dispensation. Mr. Baillie and I are taking advantage of the event, and improving it as we best can, as a lesson to survivors to stand in readiness to meet their God.

March 3.— In company with all the brethren I visited Ikorofiong, or Upper Ekrikok. I had never been up the river farther than Ikoneto, so that the scenery was new to me. We had a very hearty reception from the people of the town, who expressed themselves as quite willing to have a missionary to reside among them. There are several excellent sites for missionary premises in the immediate vicinity of the town, or rather towns. A station here would form a fine stepping-stone to the Egbo Shan' country, on the confines of which, I believe, the town we visited stands. Probably the agricultural population of that region would be more ready to receive the word of truth, having less to distract their minds than their commercial brethren in Old Calabar.

April 10.—The eleventh anniversary of the commencement of the Mission was celebrated at Creek Town. This was the second time there had been public services, the first being at Duke Town the previous year. Mr. Waddell says: "The services were conducted by myself, with a few words explanatory, and a hymn. Mr. Edgerley followed with a prayer in English. Mr. Anderson prayed both in English and in Efik, and preached the anniversary sermon in English, a very appropriate and excellent discourse, from Acts xxii. 22,23. Mr. Goldie followed with an address in Efik; and Mr. Baillie concluded with prayer, a hymn in Efik, and the benediction."

The following are from Mr. Anderson's Journal:

April 14.—Went towards Efut in the w\\. Found Efut itself to be too far for me, but had two cheering little meetings of a family kind at settlements about midway between this and Efut. Little Andrew Somerville, who accompanied me, read in our little Efik Catechism, with great fluency, to both parties, which appeared to astonish them not a little. At one of the places I told the family who he was, and how he had come under my care. It turned out that several of the wives of the household had been intimate with his mother,—they had never till to-day heard of her child's preservation, visit to England, etc., so that they smote upon their breasts in great wonderment and pleasure. They then subjected his face to a complete investigation, tracing, as I understood, the lineaments of their departed friend in his features.

Sabbath, 26. — H.M.S. Firefly came up the river shortly after midday. When she first appeared, she was mistaken for the mail steamer. In the P.M. we were very happy to have our Consul, Captain Davies, and a number of the officers of the Firefly worshipping with us in our humble sanctuary. By acting thus, gentlemen bearing Her Majesty's commission can cheaply and greatly forward the good cause at the different mission stations which they visit.

28.—At a meeting this afternoon, called by the Consul at the Duke's house, for the discussion of sundry matters, I was delighted to see the high ground taken by the Consul, in protesting to the Duke and his superstitious fraternity, against some of their barbarous practices— especially against the sacrifice of the albino girl, near Parrot Island, on the 28th ult. I trust that his remonstrances will do good.

Mrs. Edgerley returned to Calabar, accompanied by her son, Mr., afterwards the Rev. Samuel H. Edgerley, arriving on 30th July 1856. Mr. Edgerley, senior, died at Duke Town on the 28th May 1857. Mr. Anderson wrote regarding his illness and death as follows:—

Mr. Edgerley had a rather severe attack of illness about the beginning of May, but he had got pretty well over it by the middle of the month. So well was he as to be able to step over and spend the greater portion of a day at our house. About the 22nd of the month his illness returned. By the 25th it was evident that it might terminate in death. ... I visited Mr. E. daily, sometimes twice or thrice a day, during his illness. I frequently prayed with him, and repeated to him promises of Scripture and verses of hymns. . . . He gradually sank till the evening of the 28th. On that evening was held our weekly prayer meeting. The questions of the Shorter Catechism under consideration that evening (in usual course) were, "What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death?" and "What at the resurrection?" I had just finished catechising on these questions when Mr. Baillie was sent for by Dr. Hewan. I feared that Mr. K. was worse. I had already read out to be sung the Christian's dying song—

"My race is run, my warfare's o'er," etc.

We had sung two verses when Mr. Baillie came and whispered to me, "You had better finish; Mr. Edgerley is at his last." I intimated this to the meeting, and we joined in earnest prayer for the departing spirit. Accompanied by others, I proceeded to the chamber of death. Mrs. E. requested me to pray. I prayed—for what else could one pray at such a season?—that our friend might have a speedy and safe passage across the Jordan, and a glorious entrance into the heavenly Canaan. The breathing became shorter and shorter, and somewhere about eight o'clock of that Thursday evening all became still. . . . There were standing around that bed the widow and the two children of the departed, Mrs. Anderson, Miss Barty, Mr. Baillie, Dr. Hewan, and myself. . . .

On Friday, May 29th, in compliance with a wish which the deceased had expressed while yet with us, his remains were committed to the dust near the spot where two other brethren "rest in their beds." And there repose in dreamless sleep till the resurrection morning, all the three—Jameson, Sutherland, and Edgerley.

The Rev. John Edmond, Glasgow, wrote an ode to their memory, entitled "The First Three," from which a stanza or two may be quoted:-

"We have buried our dead, dear to Christ, in thy sand,
The redemption of Afric believing to see!
For we bought our Machpelah, a pledge for the land,
When we laid in thy bosom the first of the three.
Now the bond we had fastened in love and in trust
Death has riveted thrice—who would sunder the chain?
The voice of the fallen ones even from their dust
Cries Onward, still onward, Messiah must reign.
These three, these the first: Who will step where they lie?
Close not up your thinned ranks yet, ye warriors afield!
Who will go? shall be answered with, Lord, here am I;
And the breach in your phalanx anon shall be healed.
Who will follow to death? Who will follow to glory?
Who will spend to win souls in the wars of the Lamb?
Their names shall be woven in the lines of the story
That shall tell how He conquered the kingdoms of Ham.
With your shields, or upon them ! cried matrons of Greece,
As they sent forth their sons for their country's defence:
Shall the patriot dare more than the preacher of peace?
Shall our faith be called coward? our love a pretence?
To the rescue, young men! ye are brave, ye are strong!
With the Cross for your ensign, the word for your sword!
Till from Niger to Nile burst the dark lands to song,
When the sons of the Ethiop are sons of the Lord!"

That is the spirit in which to point the moral of the deaths of missionaries. Let the appeal be to the heroism of the youth of the Church and to the spirit of self-sacrifice in the parents; but let it not be chilled by a policy of fear of climatic risks, commercialism, and expediency on the part of those who are charged with finding spheres for those who give themselves to the work, and with the duty of encouraging them in the midst of their toils and trials, sicknesses and sorrows, until they pass beyond praise or blame into the presence of Him who sees not as man sees, and accepts service willed to be given as well as work done.

Mr. Edgerley left behind him a widow who devotedly carried on the work as long as she was able, and who died in 1874; a son, who has written his name in the annals of Calabar and in the hearts of the natives, not only at the stations in which he laboured, but of the tribes he was among the first to visit; and a daughter, who, after forty-two years' loving labour among the women and children of Calabar, has recently retired from active service amid the regrets of fellow-workers and of natives alike. The connection of the Edgerley family with Calabar thus covers the first fifty years of its history.

In a letter dated Liverpool, 14th July 1857, Mr. Anderson says: —

In compliance with the advice of all my brethren in Old Calabar, and with the urgent and oft-repeated in-. junctions, cautions, and remonstrances of our esteemed medical attendant, Dr. Hewan. Mrs. A. and I embarked in the mail steamer Camiace on the 31st of May, and after a very pleasant passage we reached this place on the 9th instant. It was judged by the brethren, and felt by ourselves, that we needed a change of clime for a season, for the recruiting of health and the prolongation of life. We have both been greatly invigorated by the voyage, although, while on the deep, Mrs. A. had a very sharp attack of fever, and I had several touches of ague.

At the Annual Missionary Meeting of the Synod on May 5th, 1858, Mr. Anderson gave an address in which he pleaded the claims of Old Calabar and the twenty or thirty millions on the West Coast of Africa. Only the summary, which appeared in the June number of the United Presbyterian Magazine, can be given here. He began by saying that he would not detract from the claims of India or other fields,—"The field is the world,"— and proceeded:—

While one human being remains uninstructcd in divine things, the missionary work is unaccomplished. The Church might do more, should do more, shall do more. for her Lord, than she has ever yet done. In behalf of Old Calabar and the adjacent countries, he urged—

1. Their necessities. The region is one of the darkness and shadow of death. The darkness is like that of Egypt of old—it may be felt. The inhabitants know nothing of the way of salvation. But the inhabitants of that country, as of other heathen lands, are not merely a band of unfortunates, but a company of criminals—an army of rebels, of mutineers; and these rebels against the best Sovereign trample under foot all His laws. Would that the Church were as patriotic as the world ! Down with the mutiny ! And, blessed be God, the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, though mighty for the pulling down of strongholds. Remember the curse of Meroz: "Curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof, because they came not to the help of the Lord against the mighty."

He urged—2. Their wrongs. How many cargoes of slaves have been carried down from the Old Calabar River, in British ships, to British colonies, there to toil on, on, on, —no rest in prospect but the grave,—for the enriching of British subjects? "Britain's guilt and Afric's wrongs"— neither the one nor the other can be cancelled till, in return for the injuries inflicted on poor Africa, she be put, by Britons, in possession of the best of blessings.

He urged in behalf of Old Calabar—3. Its importance. It is the key of a large and densely populated region. From Calabar access would be had to Kororofa, Adamawa, Bautshi, and Hamarua (Muri), and other regions, where teeming millions await from our hands the bread of life.

He urged—4. The encouragements received during the past twelve years. We have now the confidence of the people. We have prevailed on them to abandon some of their most horrid and barbarous rites and customs, such as human sacrifices on the death of free persons. The murder of twin children is now forbidden among his own people by the most influential chief in the country, King Eyo Honesty. Infanticide has been checked. The ordeal of the esere (poison bean) has been greatly modified. The barbarities which in former times were wont to be practised on slaves, such as cutting off ears, pulling teeth, scorching hands and feet, etc., have been in great measure abandoned. We have now command of the language of the people. Four of the missionaries, besides several of the ladies of the Mission, are able to communicate instruction to the people without the aid of interpreters. Several very useful books have been printed in the Efik tongue. The whole of the New Testament has been translated into that tongue, though not yet printed. The only literature in the country is a Christian literature. Thirty-six individuals have been received into Church fellowship. Nearly all are giving evidence of having passed from death unto life. There is very little inducement yonder to make any hypocritical profession of religion. We have three chapels and four schools, all in active operation. A goodly band of native youths can read in their own tongue and in English too) the Scriptures of truth. When the members of our churches go, as they frequently do, for months at a time, to the district plantations and palm-oil markets, they carry with them their books, cease from labour and from merchandise on the Sabbaths, hold prayer meetings among themselves, invite others to join them in their service; and arc thus becoming pioneers of truth, heralds of mercy to the surrounding places. Another claim for Calabar is, a few graves yonder. The requiem of three of the sleepers has been sung by your own poet, Edmond—Jameson, Sutherland, Edgerley. We have taken possession of the country by having secured therein a burial-place. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven." "No," say some of the servants; "missionaries and the Scriptures should operate like the lightning —shake old-established systems of superstition as by earthquake—carry off every evil, political and social, from the face of the earth, as by the sweep of the tornado and the hurricane; yea, they should be as the firebrand cast into the powder magazine." "No," says the Master; "I will be as the dew unto Israel, working majestically, but calmly and silently." "The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass," softly, gently diffusing their hallowed and hallowing influences. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven," working slowly, gradually, surely. Let the watchword of the Church be, Onwards! To proceed swiftly, with comfort and honour, we must proceed surely. Our work is one of faith, of patience, of labour, of perseverance—only begun. The Master sees and notes every honest effort made for the advancement of His glory; and, labouring for Him here or elsewhere, we may rest assured that He will prosper these efforts, and that in "that day" they shall be neither forgotten nor unacknowledged.

Dr. Adam of Liverpool says: "Mr. Anderson's speech was allowed on all hands to be the speech of the evening. I remember reading it in the Scotsman. ... I perfectly remember being thrilled by some fine passages."

While Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were at home, the Rev. Alexander Robb, M.A., who had laboured for four years at Goshen, Jamaica, was appointed to Calabar for the purpose of translating the Old Testament, and revising all existing translations, of superintending the work of translation, and of training any promising young men who might be found suitable for the work of the Mission. He and his wife (the daughter of the late Rev. Wm. Jameson) sailed from Liverpool on January 21, 1858, and arrived in Old Calabar on February 26. A teacher for Creek Town was also found in the person of Mr. Wm. Timson, who, with his wife and child, sailed on March 20; and W. C. Thomson, who had been ordained at home, left with his wife and arrived at Duke Town on May 25, in time to witness the final departure from Calabar of the Rev. Hope Masterton Waddell and his wife, the pioneer missionaries, who were retiring after sixteen years' labours in Jamaica and twelve in Calabar. Mr. Waddell has graphically described his labours in these fields in his fascinating volume entitled Twenty-Nine Years in the West Indies and in Central Africa. His name is associated with the Training Institute at Duke Town. His wife survived till 1894, and he himself lived till the Mission had entered on its jubilee year, dying on April 18, 1895. Mr Goldie's last letter to me, dated Creek Town, May 30, 1895, contains the following reference to Mr. Waddell's labours and death: "He has been blessed with a long, devoted, and successful life in the mission field, and he has now got the call for which he was waiting. Calabar Mission will be his monument."


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus