Letters and Articles: 1–12

Amess, Mina
Article: From Miss Mina Amess, Akpap, Calabar.
Published in the Women's Missionary Magazine [April 1914] [April 1914]

GD.X.260.19xxii b
Dundee City Archives

GD.X.260.19xxii b

Letter from Miss Mina Amess, Akpap, Calabar, describing the work at her mission. As this letter is included with the preceding item [GD.X.260.19xxii a] it was decided to reproduce it here. Miss Amess was a fellow worker of Miss Slessor's and often mentioned in her letters.

From the Women's Missionary Magazine of April 1914?

Mrs McGregor came over for our Communion, and also for the formal opening of the new church. That ceremony took place on the Friday. We had a good turn-out, and a liberal collection – £6, 3s. 3d. Then, on the Sabbath morning we had about 450 people at the service, even a larger attendance than we had when Ma was here. Several couples have renounced polygamy, and are now married properly. We are glad that at last a stand has been taken against this old custom.

We are now free of debt, and have £18 in hand for complete lining for the roof, paint, and cement for the floor. This building is now quite nice and serviceable as it is, so none of these extras will be done until the people themselves, at the ordinary church collections, give the amount that will be required. The people at Ifakko, Usun-Eauk, and Obio-aka-nkpa are all paying for their own teachers, and also gave money to buy a table and chair for each of the schools.

The progress of the past months has cheered us greatly, but while we rejoice in good church attendances and liberal collections, we want far more than these, we want a band of real Christian natives who will be a power for good amongst their own people. The Church members and catechumen members are beginning to realise their responsibilities more.

(untitled and unsigned. One page of four paragraphs written in the style of Mary Slessor) (undated)
Dundee City Archives


This item consists of one manuscript page in an unidentified hand, but similar script, to that of Miss Slessor. As two passages have been found to be from Miss Slessor’s letters to Miss Crawford, it is possible that all these passages represent part of a collection of extracts from Miss Slessor's writings made by some person unknown.

Were I to record some of the manifestations of God’s power & guidance & loving patience to myself through times of loneliness & stress, it would doubtless strengthen the faith of His people.

It is so sweet when Christ rules in a home to see the love & loyalty to Him in the giving up of one another for His sake. (from Miss Slessor's letter to Miss Crawford, dated 6th September 1907: see GD.X.260.03)

Thank God for His restraining grace as well as for His electing grace. (from Miss Slessor’s letter to Miss Crawford, dated 6th November 1907: see GD.X.260.05

May God get His proper place as the Chosen & then all will be well for He is able to (?) (?) we sometimes make the (Choos – ?) & the doing our business too much & then we get trouble.

Article: A private letter of 16th August gives a glimpse of Miss Slessor’s work. Published in the Women’s Missionary Magazine (December 1902) 16th August (1902)
Dundee City Archives


The author gives us a picture of a typical day in the life of Miss Slessor at the time of her visit, and goes on to list the major changes that have occurred in Okoyon since she took up residence there.

Presumed source Women’s Missionary Magazine of December 1902

A private letter of 16th August ?1902 gives a glimpse of Miss Slessor’s work. (Author unknown)

I came to Akpap on 22nd July and found Miss Slessor well and busy amongst her children. There are six little boys, only two of them can walk; four little girls and two big ones. Miss Slessor goes out at 6 A.M. to a village about three miles off to hold a school. She comes home at 10, when there is always someone waiting for a palaver with her. In the afternoon she has school in the house here, when a good many lads come, all very anxious to learn. After tea, she attends the sick. Every fourth day is market day, on which she has a lot of visitors. They come to her with their troubles, big and little, and her word is law. On Sabbath mornings at 6, she goes to the village where she has the school, and holds a short service. Some of the boys who attend the school, go with her to a still more distant place. When she comes home she has two meetings in different villages, and in the evening she goes to some big yard and has a service for children.

There is a great change on the people of Okoyon since I first saw them, thirteen years ago. At that time fourteen persons were caught to be put to death because the chief’s son had died. We had much ado to save them – but there is nothing like that now. Formerly no husband would live with his wife, if she became the mother of twins, nor were the twins allowed to live. The other day I saw a mother quite happy with a pretty little twin child.

There are other changes. When the market-day falls on our Sabbath, no market is held. One needs to know the people and live among them to see what the Gospel has done for them.

Article: Miss Slessor, whose furlough now falls due,……Published (it is presumed) in the Women’s Missionary Magazine (March 1904)
Dundee City Archives


Presumed to be from the Womens Missionary Magazine of March 1904?

Miss Slessor, whose furlough now falls due, has chosen to spend it in Old Calabar, rather than return to the homeland. She intends to enter the Inokon country by way of Itu and the Enyon Creek, with the hope of extending mission operations in that direction.

Article: Miss Slessor, who,……Published in the Women’s Missionary Magazine (January 1913). (Includes a passage from a letter written by Miss Slessor) (January 1913)
Dundee City Archives


A report on Miss Slessor’s stay in the Canary Islands and her improved health on her return to Calabar. Letter No. GD.X.260.12, dated October 1912 to Miss Crawford, written while at Grand Canary, describes this trip in more detail.

From the Women’s Missionary Magazine of January 1913?

MISS SLESSOR, who, as many of our readers know, was far from well for some time, went recently to Grand Canary for greatly needed rest and change. We rejoice to report that she has received much benefit. We have pleasure in passing on the following extract from a private letter, written on board ship on her return voyage to Calabar,as a proof of this. Referring to the time spent in the Islands, Miss Slessor writes: “It was worth waiting a lifetime for, so perfect was it all. It will ever be a dream of beauty and joy to hold in memory. Well, it has come to a close in one sense, but I am so well, so changed altogether that of course it is *not* done, and I trust it will be like Elijah’s meal in its results. Thank God with me for all the goodness and tender mercy. He has made to pass before me these last two months.

Article: Extension work in Calabar. Published (it is presumed) in the Women’s Missionary Magazine (January 1911) (Includes a quote from a letter of Miss Slessor’s) (January 1911)
Dundee City Archives


Miss Slessor announces her commitment to moving to Ikpe.

Presumed to be an article from the Women’s Missionary Magazine of January 1911?

Extension work in Calabar – As many of our readers know, Miss Slessor has long had a desire to open new ground up the Enyong Creek, among a people who have given strong proofs that they are stretching out their hands to God. News has come that she has visited Ikpe, a day and a-half’s journey from Use, to make arrangements for opening work there. Writing to a friend, Miss Slessor says: “Do pray that I may be helped, for the need of these poor people is great and infinite. I have done the thing now and am committed to it. The site is cleared for the Ikpe Mission House, and the first fifty sheets of corrugated iron have gone up. I am in the dark on many points, but my mind is in perfect peace, that God will work and carry it through, for the Pillar leads.

Article: Miss Slessor’s Return to Darkest Africa. Published in the Women’s Missionary Magazine (November 1907)
Dundee City Archives


An account of a meeting held in the Assembly Hall, ? Edinburgh prior to Miss Slessor’s return to Calabar. A plea for more personnel to help with the mission work in Calabar, and for prayer, is made by Miss Slessor, together with Miss Peacock and Miss Reid.

From the Women’s Missionary Magazine of November 1907?

Miss Slessor’s Return to Darkest Africa.

A farewell meeting to Miss Slessor was held in the Assembly Hall on the evening of 7th October, presided over by Dr.Robson, Miss Peacock and Miss Reid being also present.

Miss Peacock told how the burden of the unreached parts of Calabar had weighed upon her and her colleagues. As the home Church held out no hope of support, Miss Slessor had offered a native house at Ikotobon, and she and Miss Reid went there last March to work among the Ibibio people, who are a race very far down, physically, morally, and spiritually. They started a school for the men and boys. One lad, Efiong, has become a new creature in Christ Jesus. On being asked how it was that he became a Christian, he replied, “I don’t know, but I heard the gospel, and God just showed me and I believed.

Miss Reid described the sad down-trodden look in the faces of the women, and recalled to us the fact that these are our sisters. One woman, who had been helped with medicine, clasped her hand and said, “The God of Efiong bless you.” She knew nothing about the God of Abraham, but knew that the God who had changed the life of that lad must be good.

On rising to speak Miss Slessor met with a very hearty reception. She began by saying it was not a weak cause that they had come to plead. There have been sixty years of work in Old Calabar. The second chapter of the history of the Mission is to be written now. God has had to employ the British Government to do what we could not do; and the British soldiers have been humane. patient, and tactful with the natives. Had it not been for the work of the Church, they could not have done what they have; and they will never hold the country without gospel light. Itu was the slave-market and was kept by the north-country people. The soldiers penetrated beyond. All honour to our soldiers; they deserve our prayers as well as our criticism. The Governor had asked again and again, “Why don’t you move in?

Miss Slessor went on to tell how a deputation of the natives waited upon her and said, “We are going to sit down till you come with us; we have money laid aside, and you must come.” She engaged a boy and went up to Itu. The women especially came crowding in to the worship. These women became Christians and have been true missionaries; outspoken in their devotion to Christ. There is now a congregation testifying for Christ. Miss Slessor then told of the call to Arochuku. Two missionaries went up to a village and took a boy with them. He is now the head of the Church there. From this work in Arochuku six congregations have sprung, five of them have Christian men and women, the sixth has been taken up by Miss Reid and Miss Peacock. In a country like that, women must go first, not men. Wherever a punitive expedition has been, the natives will not believe in men, they plead for women.

Miss Slessor told of a Christian man who had presented twenty-seven children of his own for baptism the day he was baptised himself. Another man came up once to Arochuku asking Miss Slessor to follow him to his home. She went up with Mr Wilkie. He took them into his semi-European house with a court, in which stood a table and chairs. They sat down, and a box was brought forward in which were some books, a Bible, catechism, an ink bottle, etc. They asked whose box it was. “My boy’s,” was the reply. “Where is your boy?” “My boy is dead. I had a son, and I thought he would bury me when I was dead. There is nothing I have left undone. I got Christian traders to come in and teach him, and I got another boy taught with him to keep him company. *I want God*” the man continued fiercly, “and you won’t leave me till I find Him.” Miss Slessor said, “Oh, father, God is here! He is waiting for you.” Half-an-hour later a silent company went away, but the man got God: of couse he did. Now he is a Christian. He has twins living there that he has taken in from Ibibio. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

We hold the money and the power, and we hold everything, and what are we going to do with that great land? It is not twenty men or a score of women that we want; it is a *host* to take possession of it for Christ. This is a new opportunity. Something more than money is wanted, and a kneeling prayer of a few monutes twice daily. We have not learned to pray yet. If we had a praying people we would have a missionary Church and a victorious Church. The Church will have to set times apart just for praying, and keep on. The command is, “Teach them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Teach them by prayer and by the power of the Holy Ghost. If we are in living union with Christ, the men and women and money will come. May it be that Calabar will be marvellously helped by the faith and love of the Church.

Mrs. Duncan M’Laren said Miss Slessor’s dauntless spirit was clamouring to be back in Africa. Africa claimed her, and for Africa she was eager to labour on to the end. We were there not to praise her, but to praise her Lord, the Lord who has guided her, and whose gift she is to our Church, and who has kept her through manifold dangers safe to this hour. There are times when the beckoning hand is seen, when the voice is heard distinctly, “Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward.” There are also times when it needs the God-given vision to see the guiding hand. We feel that our friend has this vision, and she at least has not been disobedient to the heavenly vision. We all feel humbled when we hear what she and her brave colleagues have done. Do we not feel that we must make a great change in our policy after this night?

We say farewell to Miss Slessor, praying to God that it may indeed be a “faring well” with her to the end of the journey. May we so hold the ropes that when she comes again bringing her sheaves with her, we may in a humble measure rejoice with her. In God’s keeping we may safely leave her, praying that the Lord may preserve her going out from this time “even for evermore.

Enthusiastic meetings in connection with Miss Slessor’s return to West Africa, and the forward movement there, have also been held in Glasgow and in Aberdeen.

Article: The Passing of Miss Slessor. Published in the Record of the Home and Foreign Mission Work of the UF Church of Scotland. (February 1915) (February 1915)
Dundee City Archives


An article in the Record of the Home and Foreign Mission Work of the United Free Church of Scotland, of February 1915.

Miss Slessor’s passing is announced and some extracts from her last letter are shared with the readers.

The Passing of Miss Slessor

As these pages are passing through the press we learn from the newspapers of the death of Miss Mary M. Slessor in Calabar. The announcement will cause the keenest regret throughout the Church. “Few women or men have served God and man better than Miss Slessor has”, said the Rev. J. K. MacGregor, who so graphically told the story of her career in the ‘Record’ in August 1913. We refer readers meanwhile to that article for an admirable appreciation of her remarkable personality. We hope that an adequate record of her life and labours will be undertaken by some competent pen: it would prove one of the most interesting biographies of women ever published, and would stimulate missionary enthusiasm in the Church, especially among young people, as few books have done.

One could only know Miss Slessor’s fine character by coming into personal contact with her. Something of her rare spirit breathes through her letters, and we venture to print a few extracts from a communication we recently received from her which now bears a pathetic interest. It was in answer to a request we made for a contribution on some aspect of her work. She first referred humorously to the article about her in the ’Record’, which had sent her flying into the bush to a remote out-station where “she could blush unseen”, and remain hidden until the episode had been forgotten.

Isaac did not feel more dazed when he turned down that hillside than I did after I had grasped the full meaning and possible outreach of that ‘Record’. I left it behind me and came to this heathenish locality, which always keeps me lowly in the fight with naked, unashamed heathenism. For it is borne in upon me here that ‘not by might nor by power, but by Thy Spirit’ is the only leverage. Man and Mary Slessor are simply nothing. I can get obedience and respect, and gifts and heaps of things, but not one soul can I move to its own salvation. A fine corrective to blarney!

As to the proposed article, she wrote:

For one thing, I haven’t the time; and for another, I haven’t the strength, either physical or mental. When one gets into the sixth decade one is on the wrong side of the line, and the pace does not slacken on the mission field. It needs husbanding of odd moments to get the tale put in at all. If I were sitting down in Edinburgh and a kindred spirit asked me questions, I might recall the dear fellow-labourers and the days in Calabar when it wasn’t a picnic. White and black, there were giants in those days, and were I to record some of the manifestation of God’s power and guidance and loving patience to myself through times of loneliness and stress, it would doubtless strengthen the faith of His people; but to sit down and conjure it all up and then write it out, makes me feel faint. One cannot do much amidst schoolboys and visitors, and sick folk and a household, and through the long sleepless nights which are now my portion. It would be too strenuous, and as the shadows lengthen and no sound of a fellow-traveller’s voice comes up behind, and so much lies to be sorted out before the sun goes down, one’s energies are watched like a miser’s hoard. If I tell you that I am pledged to two towns, close on ten miles of hill road away, and that this parish is absolutely beyond me, and that villages all around are crying out for help, not to speak of a congregation unshepherded at Use, you will understand how chary I am of writing even a letter that takes the nervous strength out of me. …. So I think I shall just have to write you a small friendly letter now and then to prove that I am not too soured and cynical……Mr Macgregor and his dear wife are so good to me, and it is my greatest rest-time and enjoyment to be with them. They are fine gold through and through. Cannot you send some more? – we sadly need it.

At the end she whimsically excuses the “apparent slovenliness” of her letter: “I’ve had a fractious, newly vaccinated baby on my knee under the pad, and she doesn’t like it any more than I do.” A modest and gallant spirit!

Article: The Slessor Mission Hospital. Published in the Women’s Missionary Magazine, (December 1905) (December 1905)
Dundee City Archives


Extract presumed to be from the “Women’s Missionary Magazine”, dated Dec. 1905?

The Slessor Mission Hospital

While not a branch of our women’s work, it is interesting to record that the hospital, which is to be erected at Itu in the Ibo country, is to be called the Slessor Mission Hospital. The advance into this district is largely owing to the initiative given by Miss Slessor, who, it will be remembered, elected to devote the furlough to which she was entitled to exploring the regions beyond Old Calabar.

Article: The Order of St. John……Published in the Women’s Missionary Magazine, August 1913 August 1913
Dundee City Archives

A description of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem with which Miss Slessor has been invested. She describes the occasion on which it was given to her in a letter to Mr Charles Partridge (See Letter no. 81, 10th August 1913)

From the Women’s Missionary Magazine of August 1913

The Order of St. John had origin in Jerusalem and Acre as an international lay confraternity for the relief of the Crusaders. The Grand Priory of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England was dissolved at the same time as the monasteries, but was reconstituted in 1827, and was granted a Royal Charter in 1888. The Badge of the Order is a Maltese Cross of white enamel, with a lion and unicorn in alternate angles. King George V. is the Sovereign Head and Patron of the British Order; H.R.H. The Duke of Connaught is the Grand Prior.

Of this ancient and honourable Order, whose present work is entirely devoted to the relief of the sick and suffering, Miss M. M. Slessor, our veteran missionary in Calabar, has been enrolled an Honorary Associate. It is a unique honour to a missionary, but none could have better deserved such recognition. Her long, noble, self-sacrificing service was brought to the notice of the Grand Prior of the Order by His Excellency the Governor of Southern Nigeria, Sir Frederick Lugard, through the Secretary of State for the Colonies. It is unnecessary here to tell at length the story of her work; it is well known to all our readers. (An account of some aspects of the earlier years appears in the current number of the “Missionary Record”.(Note))

We all unite in offering to Miss Slessor hearty congratulations on receiving this decoration, and we pray that she may be long spared not only to wear the badge of the Order, but to continue that work for the relief of suffering (of which the badge is the symbol), to which she has already given so nobly thirty-six years of her life.

Editorial Note: This article is included here as “item GD.X.260.22i”

Mary Mitchell Slessor. Article from the “British Weekly”. (1913)
Dundee City Archives


An undated article on Mary Slessor from the “British Weekly”. It appears to have been written soon after the appearance of the article in the “Record” August 1913 (see item GD.X.260.22ii)


Until now I have never dared to put my honoured friend’s name at the head of an article. Knowing the depth and reality of her puritanism, I was pretty certain that she would dislike any notice of herself; and not even to make the world aware of her original character and remarkable work should one give a moment’s uneasiness to that valiant soul away in the shadows of Calabar: shadows which her faith and sincerity, her courage and love have done so much to lighten. But the “U.F.Missionary Record” for this month has broken in upon her severe modesty with the chief facts of a life which is without parallel amongst women, and I may venture to add a few words of my own. I met her when she was home for her first furlough: a quiet, self contained, firm young woman, who left a mark of her own, so that through all the following years the portrait remained: that of a worker for whom the chosen task is everything; a servant of humanity for whom difficulties and dangers hardly exist. Her infrequent visits to Scotland deepened the impression of a singularly concentrated nature fixed on the Christian ideal that man, anywhere and everywhere, is a salvable creature; that the “savage” is a child, but not a brute beast; that “missionary work” means getting at the heart of this child and teaching it to live, bit by bit, as wise mothers teach.

This radically simple faith, united to as simple a courage, took Mary Slessor to Calabar thirty-six years ago and has kept her there, living right amongst the natives, always more and more “up-country”; at their service, one might say their mercy, day and night, save for one jealously guarded hour on Sunday afternoon, when “Ma’s” curtain is drawn and her bairns, bigger or smaller, must leave her alone with her Master: the invisible, compelling Master who sent to Calabar the Andersons, the Goldies, and Euphemia Sutherland, and others of a kind and sturdy band whose health proved miraculously superior to malaria, and whose work laid the foundation for the South Nigerian Protectorate. Of that Protectorate the real founders are the missionaries; and Mary Slessor is now receiving from the British Government some of the tribute due.

For some years she has been an appointed magistrate to hold courts and decide cases. She had been doing so informally, on her own personal authority, long before. She is now made an Associate of the Order of St. John, revived from Crusading times, and certainly, never did knight go forth to succour the crusaders with an outfit so unassuming or a spirit so humane. The little medal is quite in place on the Scottish woman’s plain gown; but I know how Miss Slessor will regard it. She forgets the great world, except when a British officer passes her way and her girls make tea for him, or a few books and papers arrive, and something stirs and aches a little, and “Ma” feels the weight of all her dark family resting on soul and body. “An uncrowned queen”? Yes, by deep, pitiful love and service; by strenuous oversight and teaching and homely toil; by intimate knowledge of a people’s ways and language such as a scholar might covet; by the “dash” and coolness that win through dangers and mesmerise the barbarian; by the fixed purpose that has become life itself and cannot cease.

By all these Mary Slessor, to those who personally know her, stands a genius among women because she has “consecrated” a good Scots head and a vigorous Scots will to the redemption of a people with an absolute contempt for convention and the un-needful. There have been days of criticism; but I expect they are over. They ought to be. When she stands up – unwillingly – to speak of her work, the effect cannot be rendered in any words at my command. The remembrance of a meeting in Aberdeen, during her last furlough, will never leave me. The steady control of the face, the calm intensity of the words, few, yet out of a storehouse and charged with all the force of human need, human desire to meet that need. She told three little tories. A fourth, and some of us would have sobbed aloud. The air was tense with spiritual drama like that of the early Christian days.

In a recent letter Miss Slessor speaks of the gaps in the stations. One missionary is “alone” here, another “alone” there, and “other doors are locked”…… “Oh that the scores of unattached women at home would come for six months at a time! Our girls could attend them as interpreters.

Women are going everywhere and doing incredible things. Will some not set out to open those locked doors?


Johnston, James
Pictorial Tract. Mary M. Slessor, the “Uncrowned Queen” of Old Calabar. 4 pages Scottish Temperence League (1914?)
Dundee City Archives


Pictorial Tract” of four pages– undated, but probably 1914 – with a picture of Miss Slessor on the front page. It incorporates a blank pledge proforma. Published by The Scottish Temperance League.

It comprises a historical review of Miss Slessor’s work, and unusually emphasises her temperence work.

The author would appear to have used the article on Miss Slessor by the Rev. J.K.MacGregor published in the “Record”, August 1913, (See GD.X.260.22i) as one of his sources.
MARY M. SLESSOR The “Uncrowned Queen” of Old Calabar by James Johnston, F.R.Hist.S., Author of “Grenfell of Labrador,” etc.

Scotia has no greater living heroine than Miss Mary M. Slessor, whose record of achievement forms a romantic story in the annals of Old Calabar missions, on West African shores. Entering in 1914, on her 38th year of service under the banner of the United Free Church of Scotland, she has shown to the world what a “woman of action” can do in the warfare against suffering, cruelty, degradation, and heathenism in one of the darkest lands on the face of the earth.

Essentially energetic, resolute, businesslike, supremely courageous, and not in the least sentimental, Mary Slessor has been eminently endowed with the true heroic quality – an immense spiritual enthusiasm sternly directed to practical issues.

Of humble stock, born considerably over sixty years ago in the granite city of Aberdeen, Mary Slessor later accompanied her parents to Dundee, where her life’s battle began in childhood as an obscure power-loom weaver. Her Christian zeal blossomed early by the endeavours which she made for the social and spiritual uplift of a shockingly degraded area in that city. Even in those far past days Miss Slessor displayed the qualities which, developed under the storm and stress of circumstances in Calabar, have made her such a force for righteousness amid savage tribes.

A staunch abstainer and born evangelist, Mary Slessor faced with composure the worst of roughs in Dundee, and won respect for her message.

To this day, it is said, Miss Slessor remembers these lads- grandfathers some of them now are – and she delights to tell of those who have done well in life.

But her passion travelled beyond the limits of the Tay city. Arrested by the needs of the heathen world, Mary Slessor equipped herself for the call, and was accepted by the United Presbyterian Church as a lady missionary, sailing in 1876 for Duke Town, in Calabar territory, Southern Nigeria, to embark on a career which has shed lustre on all engaged in the cause of humanity the world o’er.

There for nigh forty years, neither faltering nor slackening, with the will and energy to spend herself in work at the call of the Spirit, she has played a noble part in leading out a nation on the highway of civilisation. Than the mission at Old Calabar, both on the seaboard and hinterland, few enterprises for humanity’s sake have had more stirring, tragical, and fruitful issues. Courageous deeds mark every stage of its progress, the outcome of which are visible to-day in the successive stations of light which shine on the lower and upper reaches of the Cross and Calabar waterings, where dense mangrove swamps, rich tropical forest verdure, and savage beast, challenge the white man’s foot and coming.

Labouring for a while at Duke Town, Miss Slessor then went inland to Old Town, to live right in the midst of a race where every village had a feud with its neighbours, and life was cheap. A man scarce ventured alone through the bush, and women going for water to the springs took their lives in their hands. Meanwhile the missionary toiler entered into their thoughts, learned their family relationships and acquainted herself with the cross currents of native opinion; in a word, practised the art of “thinking black,” by which Miss Slessor gained unrivalled knowledge and influence. Her mastery of the Efik language is reputed unequalled by that possessed by any other European. Not satisfied with her role in the coast region, Miss Slessor obtained permission at the end of twelve years, to penetrate the regions beyond, and settled at Okoyong, lying between the Cross and the Old Calabar rivers, and there, almost single-handed, essayed the redemption of one of the most savage and blood-thirsty tribes in Equatorial Western Africa. She had to live close to God if she were to live at all, surrounded by the wild, and at that time cannibal tribe of the Okoyong. Daily, terrible crimes met her gaze - the horrors of witchcraft, the poison-bean ordeal, murder of twin children, sacrifice of slaves, trial by burning oil, and like cruelties. Not repelled by these inhumanities, this heroic woman, when the Okoyongs continued their wanderings to Akpap, went with them, and erected her thatched abode adjoining their huts.

Than in the case of Miss Slessor, a woman’s sainthood, determination, courage, and tact, exhibited under the most trying conditions, never had more conspicuous reward. As the first, and for several years, the sole European who resided among them, her influence over this fighting race was extraordinary. By a strong will and fearless spirit, under God, Mary Slessor, the once plain factory girl, wrought gloriously in checking the savagery of lawless combatants, shielding the helpless and young, making peace terms in periods of war, and pleading, not in vain, for the freedom of condemned slaves.

The lone white pioneer woman became a power in the land, which Sir Claude Macdonald, then British Governor, recognised by appointing her British Consul for the Okoyong province. Strange were the scenes afterwards witnessed when fierce chiefs appeared at the missionary heroine’s Native Court and “palavers”, and bowed to her judgments and counsels. Miss Slessor’s sphere of operations gradually extended, and all over the country, as she moved from village to village, the people flocked to her for medicine, protection, and aid. Nothing came amiss to her who was known as “Queen,” and showed herself just as ready to take to her arms the castaway child in the bush, as she was energetic in persuading a belligerent chief that “Ma’s” law was just and good.

Remarkable as the triumphs of her work have been in promoting race pacification, raising the status of native women, establishing schools for children, etc., Miss Slessor’s mind was far too broad to be confined to any specified line of activities. Her recognition of the value of skilled manual toil for the natives was seen in founding the Hope-Waddell Industrial Training Institution in 1895, while the help that she has given in opening up the country to trade has been enormous.

Noticeable, too, is the fight which Miss Slessor has made against the abominations of the gin traffic. No one in Southern Nigeria knows better than she, the havoc wrought by the gin trader upon the hapless natives. Pathetic to relate, it has been this pioneer’s lot, after combating cannibalism and slavery, to be engaged in resisting the sale of gin and other spirituous liquors which, far and wide, have imposed another slavery on the land. All friends of temperance are grateful to Miss Slessor’s witness to this great cause on African shores.

Frequently she has received thanks from state officials and others for services to her adopted land, and quite recently was enrolled as an Honorary Associate of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem in England, of which the king is Sovereign Head and Patron, the only form of official honour conferred on women in Great Britain.

The foremost crusading missionary that the Calabar Mission has had, Miss Slessor has finally made Itu(Note) her mission home, originally the site of the greatest slave-markets on the Cross River, and there in the sunset of life nobly spent, she still labours for the cause she loves.

Miss Slessor has stood for an ideal, the ideal of doing good to her fellow- creatures, in a sphere where she felt that humanity most needed the guiding instinct and the specialised insight of woman.

It will certainly be admitted that in Mary Slessor, a good woman has made the corner of God’s footstool which she occupied, better for her appearing.

Editorial Note: Actually, by 1914, Miss Slessor was at Ikpe

Note: The lower half of the fourth page comprises a “Pledge” to be completed by those promising “to abstain from all Intoxicating Liquors” and sent to the Scottish Temperance League.

Need this in a different language?