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 22

Customs New and Old—The Year of Losses, 1870

Old customs were dying hard, and new ones were being established with difficulty. The visit of Consul Livingstone in the end of 1869 helped the reform movement of the women, but "ikpos," or devil-making, still continued to be kept up, and "big days" to be engaged in.

Sabbath, July 25, 1869. — The mail steamers seem destined to distract us a good deal Sabbath after Sabbath. The Lagos, however, brought Mr. Lewis to us; which we felt to be a sort of compensation for the discomposure caused by her arrival.

Sabbath, August 1.—Usual meetings and attendance. Mr. Lewis concluded the native forenoon service, and showed that he had not forgot his Efik amid his multifarious studies and engagements at home. lie conducted the English service, and gave us a very suitable discourse.

Friday, 13.—An Egbo proclamation made to-day in regard to the widows of the town. The "two or three weeks" specified by King Archibong in January as the time after which they should all be set at liberty, have not yet (it seems) elapsed. They are to be kept under more restraint than ever, and are not to leave their places of imprisonment under pain of death.

Friday, Sept. 10.—In my visitations to-day at what we call Bassy Henshaw's Town, fell in with rather an unusual spectacle among the native population, viz., a mother surrounded by six of her children. She sent for her husband soon after I entered, or rather, had seated myself on a stool by the doorway, and I had a long crack with the family. I found that the couple had had eight children, and that two of these had died in infancy. This led me to speak of the world to which their two little ones had gone, of the Great Shepherd who gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them in His bosom, and of what they, the parents and the other children, must do if they wished to get to that "fine country."

Tuesday, Nov. 9. Her Majesty's ship Growler, with Her Majesty's Consul on board, arrived. We trust that something will be done, or at least spoken, now in behalf of our refugees, and on behalf of many still kept as prisoners in the house of the dead.

Thursday, 11.—Consul Livingstone called a general meeting of natives, missionaries, and merchants at King Archibong's this morning, for the discussion of various points on which he supposed we were all interested. The Consul spoke well on two very important matters closely connected with the progress of the people: 1st, The evils of devil-making, including the barbarity of compelling widows to continue for years as prisoners, amidst discomfort and filth; and 2nd, the propriety of women going decently dressed to market and to church. He enlarged on both points very well. The great body of the natives present were of one mind with the Consul on both points. King Archibong got very furious with me, as he considered me the instigator of all the agitation made for changes in their "country fashion." He charged me with being a great harbourer of runaways, which is in a sense true ; but he wished it to appear that I am in the habit of sheltering bad slaves, i.e. criminals. This led me to challenge King A. and all his supporters to name a single criminal whom I had ever refused to give up to the authorities of the country when required to do so. To this challenge there was not the slightest response. As the Consul's speech was not generally understood, Mr. Goldic generously relieved me of a difficulty by getting up and delivering, in Efik, an excellent address against devil-making, and some other evils, of which the Consul's statements and counsels were used only as a groundwork.

In regard to the dress-wearing, King Archibong asked me rather sharply if I had ever known of him preventing any woman from wearing a gown at church on Sunday. I was thankful to be able to answer, " No, King Archibong, I have never heard that you did so; but I know that your laws and customs are such that man}- women are afraid to put on gowns lest you make palaver with them." King Archibong responded, to the great joy of multitudes of listeners who were deeply interested in the matter, that "there is nothing to hinder any woman from wearing a gown on Sunday from her house to church, and from church to her own house."

This permission does not extend to the wearing of dresses at all times and everywhere, but it is a permission which will doubtless become expansive; and as it is a step in the right direction, we are grateful for it. Good will result from this day's palaver.

Saturday, 13.—Two of the "princes," as agents for King A., were early at us this morning with a message to this effect: "That King A. wishes to be good friends with me and all the Mission; and that there is only one thing makes him vexed with me, viz., that I do not always report to him when runaways come to me, and that I have allowed some of the runaway widows to get to Fernando Po."

I associated Mr. Lewis with me in the negotiations with the young men. The following extracts from documents which we exchanged will indicate the results:—

Mission House,
Nov. 13, 1869.

King Archibong's word sent to us this morning by P. D. and P. E. is very good, and we agree to it. It is the old bargain between town and Mission. When any slave runs away and comes to mission-house, then the missionary must tell either the slave's master, or, if he do not know who is his master, he must tell the king, and hear what both parties have to say; and when palaver is set, he must send slave back, unless the master want to punish him for nothing.

Wm. Anderson.
D. E. Lewis.

King Archibong ll. promises that, in the event of those widows now in Fernando Po returning to Old Calabar, no palaver shall be made with them on account of leaving their husband's house or the country, but that he will protect them from any native whomsoever, and that they shall not be prohibited or prevented from attending divine service in decent apparel every Sabbath. W. Anderson and D. E. Lewis promise, on behalf of the Mission, to do what they can 10 induce the widows to return to Calabar, and to place themselves under King Archibong's protection.

P. E. Wm. Anderson.
P. E. D. E. Lewis.
Pro King Archibong

In the evening I called on the king for the first time for many months. lie was quite pleasant, but I eschewed politics.

Friday, 19.—Rains now over. Roads dry and pleasant, and weather not yet too hot; so I spent above four hours in the forenoon in visiting the little villages or settlements on the south side of Henshaw Town. The whole district is very beautiful, but I have not yet discovered anything like a town in it. It occurs to me, however, that these beautiful roads are not kept clear for nothing, or even for a small thing. Therefore have resolved to traverse them as completely as possible during the present season.

Saturday, Dec. 4.—Usual walk round town to announce the Sabbath. The cloud which has long been gathering seems ready to break. The great devil-making for the king's brother Eyo—who died, I think, five or six years ago—is to be begun in earnest to-morrow. Saw King Archibong, and expressed to him my regret that the affair was to begin on a Sabbath. He seemed very cordial—assured me that he was very sorry for that himself—and explained that as to-morrow is the day of the Calabar week nearest the new moon, on which ikpos for men must necessarily begin, he could not help it; but he gave me his promise that while the ikpo continues, whatever ma)- be going on in town,—I understand him to mean that even should Egbo be running,—nothing shall be allowed to prevent any man or woman from coming to church who ma)' be disposed to do so. I expressed my thankfulness for this assurance; for, if honestly meant, it will lead to a great improvement on old times, when no woman dared appear on the street, and our only Sabbath congregation consisted of a few men and trembling boys.

Sabbath, 5.—Aroused early by an immense firing of cannon. Alas! our British men-of-war have taught the people that there is no evil in firing guns on the sacred day. Brilliant flags are fluttering everywhere throughout the town. We have had our usual services ; but more, we have had the usual attendance, with this happy difference, that the majority present to-day has been composed of women—native women! This is a great improvement on bygone days.

Sabbath, 12.—Again usual services and attendance, and again the majority women. Between services—from 9.30 till 1.30—spent over at Bassy Henshaw's Town. A few boys were with me, and, aided by them, I went into every accessible quarter where human beings were to be found, uttered a law of the most important truths of the gospel, and offered a brief prayer. Was rather surprised when, at the close, my young lads informed me from their jottings that we had been in twenty-one places, and that our auditors, "not counting any twice over," had been 378. The town and suburbs are literally crammed at present with people from all the surrounding quarters, who have come either to make or see the ikpo.

Thursday, 16.—To-morrow being a big Egbo day, I gave our young people their Christmas holidays a day earlier than was purposed. Very poor this time in the prize line—no books, no pictures, no toys, no dresses. I made a distribution of a few of our fine new native books to a number of the most deserving. Distributed also a few fish-hooks and teaspoons.

Saturday, 18.—According to the days of the Calabar week, one of the biggest plays of the occasion fell to be held to-morrow, but feel grateful that King Archibong has been prevailed on by Europeans and natives to postpone it till Monday. To show our appreciation of this concession, the most of the Europeans gratified the native gentlemen this evening by becoming for a while spectators of their exhibition. The crowd itself, which could hardly be below 8000, was to me a most interesting and affecting spectacle. Time after time I sighed out to those near me, "Oh to have all these to preach to to-morrow!"

Sabbath, 19.—Attendance not so good to-day. Symptoms of exhaustion seem visible everywhere. There has been a very large amount of drinking, though I have not seen a single person drunk. Drinking, dancing, whirling, night-watching, and excitement, are now in the case of multitudes succeeded by great languor. I have never seen such a sleepy congregation in Calabar as I had this morning, and I told them so.

Monday, 20.—With most of the Europeans near, went this evening to see the play which was postponed from yesterday. There was a splendid display of silk, beads, ribbons, and large parti-coloured umbrellas. We felt it but right to countenance their harmless tomfoolery by looking at it for a little—on this ground : They had done what they considered a great thing to please us ; why should we not do what we consider a very small thing in order to please them?

Thursday, 23.—Great women's dance to-day. The burden of the affair seems now to be over. Matters have been more comfortable during its progress than we could at one time have expected. King Archibong has in this matter kept his promise, for I have not heard of either man or woman being kept from church or prayer meeting since its commencement.

Friday, 31.—The great devil-making only terminated two days ago. Another affair of the kind begins to-day, viz., that for the king's son Efium, who was, while he lived, one of the very best of our schoolboys. His ikpo, however, will be but a small affair. During the late celebration we were teased time after time by reports of persons being killed for the dead. On one occasion it was confidently reported that the representatives of an I bo tribe were in the town, who refused to eat any flesh save human, and that King Archibong had actually given them a man to eat. The river gentlemen as well as myself have made all diligent inquiry into the matter, but we have not discovered any foundation for the report. The Duke Town gentlemen deny that the king had done what was imputed to him; but, unhappily, the humanity and veracity of a number of them are pretty much on a par—neither the one nor the other being absolutely beyond suspicion; so that such stories, even when they cannot be proved, cause us a good deal of painful solicitude. . . .

1869 is fast passing away. Oh that to-morrow may introduce the best New Year that Calabar has ever seen! Of 1870 may it be recorded in the annals of eternity, in regard to every station and every preaching-place in the whole land, and that in reference to multitudes, "This man and that man were born then, this man and that man were born there! Amen.''

The year 1870 opened hopefully. One new ordained agent—the Rev. John Granger—was added to the staff, and left for Calabar on March 4. But ere the end of the year he and Messrs. Timson and Lewis died, and the losses "created a crisis in the history of the Mission."

Monday, Jan. 3.—Resumed school to-day, after a fortnight's vacation. Most of our young people here dislike vacations.

Sabbath, 9.—Thirty years have passed away since I first addressed a black congregation. I find that during these long years I have discovered nothing more interesting to myself, or to those who have heard me, than the simple truths of the grand old gospel. I felt a favourite— "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve"—as new and refreshing to my own mind to-day, and also to my Calabar congregation, as it was to me, and appeared to be to a Jamaica congregation, in January 1840.

Friday, 28.—Ephraim Duke, who has bee'n one of the leading men of the town for twenty years, died this morning—another victim of rum.

Saturday, 29.—Round town as usual afternoon. Found a number of the people solemnised on account of the death of Ephraim Duke. Some of his boon companions look-grave, admit that drink killed him, and forthwith go to the rum bottle for consolation. Many, many a Sabbath has the word been preached to Ephraim in his own house. In one respect he was better than his neighbours, for he generally summoned his wives to hear along with himself; but, alas! the word never seemed to profit him.

Sabbath, 30.—After forenoon service in church, went to Edibe-Edibe (north) and Henshaw Town. Met about forty people in all, to whom I spoke of guilt and mercy. Fell in with one woman, very sick ; but, to my delight, found that her mind was pretty well stored with gospel truth, and that she seemed to be leaning on the one Saviour as her support in the day of trouble. She had been for some time, unobserved by me, an attender at our town meetings, and had also learned a good deal from Mrs. Sutherland. I could not well explain why I walked out to that quarter to-day till I saw this poor sick woman ; but when I left her I could say to the youth who accompanied me, "It must have been the Holy Spirit who moved me to come here to-day, that I might do a little good to this woman, and get a little good from her." I remembered that it is written, "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand."

Monday, Feb. 7.—Delighted to-day by a visit from Bishop Crowther and Rev. Mr. Caiger from Sierra Leone.

Sabbath, 13.—Mr. Caiger preached in the afternoon to the English congregation. This enabled me to g;o over the creek at midday, when I called at twenty-three houses, and had a little serious talk with about 180 persons.

Friday, 25.—Out among the farms of Efut and Edibe-Edibe about, seven hours to-day. I find no towns or even villages in the district, but am glad to see that there is a desire on the part of many to have a schoolroom and a teacher within an easy distance from their dwellings. A worker might do well in such a locality. To a drone it would be quite an elysium.

Tuesday, March 1. — At Henshaw Town forenoon. Sorry to see a great devil-making being carried on for our late church member, John Sago. I could assure his mother, his sister, and his widow, that if John were only allowed to come and speak to them he would at once put a stop to all their nonsense. But, "It be we fashion."

Sabbath, 6.—King Archibong and several of his friends attended church to-day—the first time for years. It was his violation of the Sixth Commandment which led to a rupture of the friendly relations which had subsisted between him and me. I could not help regarding it as a coincidence,, that, owing to his entrance while the congregation were repeating the Moral Law, the first salutation he heard from 250 voices, after taking his seat, was, "God says, Thou shalt not kill." He and his friends were very attentive during the whole of the services, especially during the dispensing of baptism, which was a new thing to them.

Tuesday, April 5.—Glad to welcome a new brother— Rev. Mr. Granger—to this field of labour.

Sabbath, 10.—The twenty-fourth anniversary of the arrival of the Mission. Preached in Efik, forenoon, from Isaiah xxi. 10, on what I represented as the motto of Christian minister or missionary: "That which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you." I gave a brief account of the origin and early days of the Mission. Glad that King Archibong was present (for the fifth Sabbath morning, with the exception of one day, when he was sick) and heard what I had to say on the matter. I could ask all present, with a good conscience, if we in the Mission had not made it our great and constant endeavour to prevail on all in the country to hear and obey the word of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. Mr. Granger, who had newly arrived, preached a capital sermon in the evening from that other motto, "For me to live is Christ." Glad that we had what we consider a good turn-out of Europeans. They seem to share with me the opinion that in Mr. Granger we have "the right man in the right place."

Tuesday, May 10.—On an exploring expedition in the Efut quarter from 8.30 A.M. till 2 P.M. Fell in with several settlements, the inhabitants of which seem delighted by a first visit from a white man.

Thursday, 12.—Our preparatory meeting for Communion on Sabbath. Dr. Robb and Mr. Edgerley happening to be "within the bounds," kindly took part in the service.

Tuesday, 17.—Somewhat amused while on a visit this forenoon to Henshaw Town. I observed that our little friend, who glories in the appellation of Captain Duke, had procured a pair of smith's bellows and a large assortment of blacksmith's tools, and I asked him what he meant to do with them, seeing that there was no smith at hand. He replied quite coolly, "Oh, I done send to Enyong to buy one blacksmith"! The artisans of our native land may well be grateful that, whatever other hardships they ma)' be called on now and then to endure, they are not liable to be sold or bought in any other way than by voluntary, temporary contract, and that, too, only in reference to their work, not in reference to body and soul.

Wednesday, 18.—Must plead guilty of being "an observer. of times." Remembering to-day that twenty-two years have elapsed since we left our mountain home in Jamaica. While feeling quite at home in Africa, and willing to spend and be spent for the benefit of those around us, we often think and speak of the Gem of the Caribbean, its lofty mountains and luxuriant valleys, its glorious sunrisings and sunsets, its crowded sanctuaries and hallowed Sabbaths. Our last look at Rose Hill church through tear-bedim med eyes from the road on Woodside Hill, and the weeping company of old and young who travelled with us from our little manse to Port Maria, on the 18th of May 1848, are still fondly remembered by us.

On June 10 Mr. Timson died of pleurisy at Ikoneto, after twelve years' service in Calabar.

Saturday, June 11.—We were startled shortly after the hour of noon by the intelligence of the death of Mr. Tim-son. He left this place last Saturday to all appearance in his usual state of health, and this afternoon he is in his grave!

Monday, 20.—Held our English prayer meeting this evening, on account of Messrs. Granger and Lewis being about to leave this station—Mr. Granger [Mr. Granger died at Ikoneto of fever on December 9, 1870.] for Ikoneto, Mr. Lewis [Mr. Lewis died on August 9. Mr. Anderson wrote of him in a letter dated August 15, 1S70 : " Our departed brother came to Old Calabar for the first time early in 1S65, and spent three years here. He then went home for the double purpose of recruiting the bodily frame and prosecuting his studies with a view to ordination. He returned to us in the end of July last year, and was associated with me at this station till the third week of June, when he left Duke Town for the purpose of occupying Old Town, left vacant of Europeans by the departure for home of Dr. and Mrs. Robertson. When his removal to Old Town was first mooted, I was disposed to object to the measure ; but as soon as I saw that he expected ordination on going to that station, and that he considered his declining to go thither would be equivalent to an indefinite postponement of his ordination, I dropped all objection, and did what I could to forward his views." Mr. Goldie wrote: "He was a man of much energy and life, giving himself earnestly to his duties, and at the same time diligent in his studies here and during his furlough at home, with a view to ordination. Of late he had an addition to all this. He expected Mrs. Lewis to join him with their youngest child, and set himself industriously to repair, with the aid of a carpenter, a house at Duke Town, so as to commence housekeeping when she came. This he had got accomplished when Dr. Robertson's leaving for home called him to Old Town, and he immediately set-to to put the house in order there. I have no doubt that these labours induced sickness, which has had the sad result we now lament, and which furnishes a warning. Mr. Z. Baillie laboured diligently in manufacturing bricks, and in building a church and dwelling-house, and when he had finished them went home to die. Mr. Timson had just got into his new house at Ikoneto, in the building of which . . . he had necessarily much labour and harassment, when disease laid hold on him, which speedily issued in death. All victims to overwork."—Record, November 1870.] for Old Town.

Monday, July 11.—Resttmed school-work, after a fortnight's vacation, under a new arrangement. At a station like this, with (it is supposed) about 6000 people in our immediate neighbourhood, it would be well that at least one active, enterprising, well-trained European teacher, willing to devote all his time and energies to school-work, be permanently stationed. The missionary, when there is but one, would find the other work of the station sufficient for all the time and strength he can devote to it. As matters are, we must just do the best we can; and our new arrangement is, that William Cobham take charge of the school A.M., while I attend to household visitation and other work; and that I take the school P.M., while William officiates as a Scripture reader in town and elsewhere.

Saturday, 16.—A long conversation with King Archi-bong, during which I made a strong remonstrance in regard to Jigbo being abroad on Sabbath. He reiterated his assurances that no Egbo runner would molest any person, man or woman, on the way to or from church on God's day. "But when they hear the Egbo bell, they are afraid to venture out; and how are they to know that they will not be molested, unless they have your promise made to thou on the subject?" No reply. "The best thing you can do is to stop all Egbo proceedings on God's holy day."

Monday, August 8.—A sad bereavement to-day. Mr. Lewis died at Creek Town about 12.30 P.M. he meant to come here for a change on Friday last, but was prevented by the delay of the boat in which he was to come down the river. But for this delay, his last days would have been spent—where the most of his time in Calabar has been spent—with us at Duke Town. He is greatly lamented by the people here, especially by the invalids, as he has done a good deal in the doctoring line lately.

Sabbath, 14.—Both A.M. and P.M. endeavoured to improve the departure of Mr. Lewis. Intimated that I looked on Mr. Lewis's death as a trumpet-call to all the young men to prepare for their change. " We old men may be called on to bury a number of you youngsters ere our time come. European attendance good, and a great improvement in the river. JYo work going on, though a steamer here. The steamer's captain and several of his officers and men worshipped with us. This is as it should be.

In a letter dated August 15, 1870, Mr. Anderson records the death of Mr. D. E. Lewis, and then goes on to say:—

'The question will force itself on my attention, What effect is likely to be produced on the minds of the young men of the Church by our repeated bereavements? I cannot help fearing that in the case of some the effect will be injurious. I do fear that the deaths of our junior brethren will have a tendency to damp the missionary seal of some of both students and preachers, who, had our clime been notably healthy, would have been disposed to cast in their lot with us. But this ought not to be the case. The things that have befallen us should, I think, rather fire young men of holy zeal and generous aspirations, and impel them to rush to the rescue. It would be a grand triumph for Satan were the evil spirits who hover around 5 Queen Street, especially during this month and the next, able to report in Pandemonium that they had played their cards so well that not a student or a preacher of the United Presbyterian Church will venture forth to be "baptized for the dead" in Old Calabar. How gratifying to the Arch-Enemy to learn from his subtle emissaries that they had thoroughly frightened Mr. A., who had repeatedly on his knees vowed to devote himself to the work of the Lord in Old Calabar as a missionary ; and Mr. B., who once purposed to go there as a doctor; and Mr. C, who had once resolved to offer his services to the Mission as a teacher and evangelist! But I hope and trust that there are among your young men right noble and heroic spirits, who will not allow themselves to be made the laughing-stocks of the devils—that there are Messrs. D. and E. and F. and G., of whom the tempters will be constrained to confess that they can make nothing,seeing that they are as stubborn and mulish as the veteran who hailed of old from Tarsus in Cilicia; who have imbibed so much of his spirit, that they are actually declaring to all who would dissuade them from their purpose, " We are ready, not only to suffer, but to die in Calabar, for the name of the Lord Jesus." Should not this be the spirit of every soldier of the cross ?

Did any of Havelock's Own falter when led on to the rescue of countrymen and countrywomen in Lucknow? Did that noble man, James Braidwood, captain of the London Fire Brigade, shrink from effort because firemen had fallen at their post on previous occasions? Did any of the Light Brigade—the immortal Six Hundred—flinch when the trumpet summoned them "to the charge"? Did lifeboat crew ever turn a deaf ear to the strain, "Man the lifeboat"?

And shall the cadets of the army of the Captain of salvation remain unmoved, when from the graves of departed comrades the cry is shouted by comrades worn and wean-, "Come over and help us"?

Years have passed away since I read with deep interest the graphic account given in the newspapers of the presentation by the Queen in person of the Crimean medals to the heroes who had returned from the scenes of conflict and of victory. The question occurred to me at the time —it has often occurred to me since—Did any of these brave men on that great day, when—in the presence of masses of the population, including princes and princesses of the blood, the elite of Britain's nobles and legislators, and multitudes of young soldiers who had never "seen service"—they received from Her Majesty's own hand their well-earned decorations, express or feel anything like regret for having fought and bled for their country and their Queen? I trow not. Another scene opens on the view—a greater day, a greater assemblage, a greater Sovereign—and on that day, "when the King comes in His glory, seated upon the throne of His glory, and all the holy angels with Him," with the crown of righteousness to bestow upon all His faithful followers, will there be a single feeling of regret in the minds of any of His servants, soldiers, missionaries, or martyrs, because they have done too much or suffered too much for Him? I feel convinced that, if it be possible for any painful feeling to enter into the hearth of any of the human inhabitants of the world of glory, the only reason of its existence would be that the subject of it had done so little, expended so little, endured so little, for the sake of Him who sits in the midst of the throne.

I borrow a sentiment from a Jamaica brother, greatly beloved: "Crowns, immortal crowns are to gained here"— in Old Calabar. Let not those who might be—who should be—candidates for the golden honours throw their opportunity lightly away.

Our bereaved sister, Mrs. Lewis, who arrived yesterday, August 23, in the mail steamer, and who considers the best thing she can do is to return home by the same steamer, came to spend the afternoon with us. Our evening prayer meeting was held with special reference to her and her little ones. Mr. Edgerley and Mr. Burnett (Primitive Weslcyan brother from Fernando Po) took part in the service.

Friday, 26.—As the Mandingo did not leave till 3 P.M. to-day, we have had the pleasure—though pleasure tinged with sadness—of Mrs. Lewis's company for two whole days. She is wonderfully supported. Partly to take up her attention, and partly that she might have something more of Calabar to remember than her sorrows, I took her round Duke Town A.M. to-day, calling on King Archibong and on several other gentlemen. All showed her the deepest sympathy and the greatest kindness.

With reference to the losses, the Rev. Dr. MacGill, the Foreign Mission Secretary, in the paragraphs prefatory to the Report for 1870 regarding the Calabar Mission, wrote :—

Of few men connected with our Church did it seem more fit to say that they were indispensable, than of William Timson, David Lewis, and John Granger. These three missionaries have been removed in quick succession, an inadequate number having been left behind; and it is one of the hardest problems given to be worked out by the Mission Board, to find others to be helpers of the living, or the successors of the dead. For a decade of years we have been asking for ordained missionaries whom we might send to Calabar. During that time we have sent one, and he has died. Within that period, indeed, others have been sent—a medical missionary and two teachers ; and of this class of agents previously in the field, two have been ordained, the one of whom [W. Timson] has been taken, and the other [S. H. Edgerley] left. Of this same class, whose preparatory studies for the ministry have been conducted, not in this country, but in Calabar, there were two, one of whom is hopefully advancing, and the other, having finished his preparations, was on the eve of his ordination. He [D. E. Lewis] has been taken, and the other [James Lawson] has been left. We have other faithful agents in the field, but only four ordained missionaries [Anderson, Goldie, Robb, and Edgerley], who have all been there for periods varying from fourteen to twenty-four years. This remnant of four evangelistic missionaries, out of seven, is all that remains of the primary agency, which the Church has virtually bound herself to supply, hi taking and keeping-possession of such a field, and in saying over it to the Hearer of prayer, "Thy kingdom come." All missions must contend with death as certainly as with sin; and surely we must not faint in our warfare in a time like this, when the same six months which tell us of three missionaries falling in our front rank in the mission field, in the service of Christ, tell us of many more than three hundred thousand not refusing to fight or to fall, in the battlefield, in the service of an earthly nationality. In such days we are not to lay clown the weapons of our warfare and to confess that our courage is gone.

God tries and tests the Churches as well as the nations ; and when He has smitten our most difficult mission once and again and a third time . . . we are called to humiliation, but not to cowardice. . . . We may take occasion from these sad events to inquire whether the\r be not rebukes, and whether the very number we send, or fail to send, to Old Calabar, is not an index of the lack of zeal in the heart of the Church, and of the restraint of prayer.

Are we not too prone to find the only explanation of our disappointments in the malignity of the climate? . . . We cannot say that one of our lamented brethren would have been still in life had they been ministers at home.

The Church dares not yield to these untoward events, but must meet them with increased prayer and courage, as well as wise precaution. Each of the brethren who has laid down his life in that land has said, "None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto me, that I may finish my course with joy, and the ministry I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." In the same spirit the surviving brethren are meeting the crisis, and arc calling for an addition of one medical and four evangelistic missionaries, and the question remains, Is the Church prepared, and has she men among our students, our licentiates, and our younger ministers, ready to be baptized for the dead, and to obey this call?

In support of the Appeal from the Presbyter)' of Biafra, Mr. Goldie wrote:—

In 1864 eight ordained missionaries were in the field; nor was that number in any degree beyond the requirements of the Mission. Now there are only four. . . . With a wider field under cultivation, we have but one-half of the labourers. Two consequences result from this: the work unduly presses on those who remain, while at the same time it is necessarily less efficiently discharged.

The four are all needed to supply present vacancies. And we must look beyond these. Mr. Anderson and myself cannot hope to be continued very much longer in the field, and it will take a new-comer from one to two years to gain a ready use of the language, so as to be able efficiently to take charge of a station.

Mr. Anderson, who was working without male European assistance, wrote in his Report:—

Unless help be sent soon in the shape of one or two vigorous, valorous young men,—if accompanied by young women of kindred spirit and energy, so much the better,— I fear that ground will be lost rather than gained at Duke Town.

Both Mr. Goldie and Mr. Anderson survived in active service those then in the field in Calabar, and, with the exception of Messrs. Beedie and Cruickshank, those who entered the service up to the date of their death in 1895, when they left the staff of ordained men reduced as it had never been since 1870. Since September 1892 there has been no addition to the ordinary staff of ordained European missionaries, when nine in active service stood on the roll, and eight were in the field. Since that date, two, Messrs. Mackenzie and Golclie, have been removed by death; and three, Messrs. Luke, M'Donald, and Marwick, no longer connected with that mission; leaving four, Messrs. Beedie, Cruickshank, Deas, and Dean, one of whom, Mr. Beedie, is on furlough, and another, Mr. Deas, at present (December 1896) in charge of the Training Institute, available for station work. Duke Town is at present in charge of a recently-arrived medical missionary; Creek Town has an ordained and a medical missionary at it, and Ikorbfiong an ordained missionary; Ikoneto and Adiabo are in charge of native pastors; but Ikotana, Emuremura, and Ungwana are vacant of any European agents at all— a crisis graver than that of 1870.


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