Records of the Calabar Mission

2nd Jun, 1846
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Dublin, Ireland, 1822, the 17-year old son of Susan Hope and Alexander Waddell, both members of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, expressed an early interest in joining the ministry; however, he was discouraged in doing so due to a speech impediment. Young Hope Masterton Waddell never gave up on his dream. He was eventually apprenticed with a druggist before leaving to study for the Church. Three years later, he was accepted as a candidate for the mission in 1825 by the Scottish Mission Society, and in 1827 entered the United Secession Hall. Following Waddell's ordainment in 1829, he married Jessie Simpson and together they embark on a mission to Jamaica with the Church of Scotland Mission. Here he worked with the enslaved population of Cornwall until 1831, when the Baptist War slave revolt broke out. Many blame the revolt on the Christian and Baptist missions due to giving the slaves ideas about equality and freedom, and in its aftermath Waddell begins pushing to begin a mission to Old Calabar. The Calabar mission, with its origins in Jamaica was led by Rev. Hope M. Waddell. In 1846 a party landed in Old Calabar, now in Nigeria, and were received by a welcoming party consisting the King of Creek Town who also told the missionaries the reluctance of some of the chiefs to foreign missions on Efik soil. They were given space at a location called Mission Hill overlooking the Calabar River between Henshaw Town and Cobham Town. The mission held Sunday meetings at the compound of King Eyo Honesty II of Creek Town and in also Duke Town at the compound of the king of supportive chiefs. The missionary group was backed by the United Secession Church but the mission was brought under the supervision of the United Presbyterians in 1847. Waddell remained at the mission until 1859. He was joined by William Anderson, who had begun his career in Jamaica in 1839 then moved to Calabar in 1849 where he was to remain a dominant figure until 1891, and by Hugh Goldie who became the mission's leading Efik scholar and translator. Progress was at first slow, the mission concentrated partly on education and partly on preaching by which they hoped to effect both religious and social change. They were particularly concerned to alter such practices as ritual killing, the killing of twins and poison ordeals. In his attempts to stop the practice of infanticide in the area, Rev. Waddell pushed towards the building of a settlement for twins and their mothers so as to isolate them from the rest of the population, and allowing them to live. In addition, he managed to procure various agreements to abolish human sacrifice in the surrounding area. He also worked to limit the spread of what was most likely yellow fever in the villages, through use of calomel. While in Old Calabar he learned Efik and built a relationship with King Eyo Honesty II. Following a leave of absence in 1853, the relationship between Waddell and his colleagues at the mission began to become strained, a possible cause for his eventual retirement from the mission in 1858, although officially due to illness. Church membership remained small, but in the 1880s some growth was evident and the mission began a period of expansion of which the appointment of Mary Slessor to Okoyong was part.

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