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G. Drysdale (George Drysdale) Dempsey.

Tubular and other iron girder bridges, particularly describing the Britannia and Conway tubular bridges; with a sketch of iron bridges and illustrations of the application of malleable iron to the art of bridge-building. With wood engravings online

. (page 2 of 13)
Online LibraryG. Drysdale (George Drysdale) DempseyTubular and other iron girder bridges, particularly describing the Britannia and Conway tubular bridges; with a sketch of iron bridges and illustrations of the application of malleable iron to the art of bridge-building. With wood engravings → online text (page 2 of 13)
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we found that our anchor did not hold the ship,
and we were surely drifting on to the sand-banks,
and that we were already in a very dangerous
proximity to them. We knew that many ships
have been wrecked in this locality by being driven
on the banks by the force of the current, and
then capsizing. At one time it seemed that surely
this would be our fate, but in the last moment,
as it seemed to us, a breeze sprang up that filled
our sails and took us out of our perilous position.



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TwieNTY-ONie Y^RS in India. 27

In a few hours we were at the proper place, and
we again cast anchor and waited for the morn-
ing. With the dawn a pilot came aboard to take
us up to Calcutta. The first thing he said, as he
stepped onto our deck, was, "Well, I suppose you
have heard the news?*' "How should you sup-
pose so ?" our captain replied ; "we have not seen
a ship for more than two months." The pilot
replied, "The country is in a turmoil, lots of mas-
sacres, everybody killed up country ; but here are
the papers that will tell you all about it." With
what eagerness we seized those papers! From
them we learned of the mutiny in Bareilly, and
that Mr. Butler had probably escaped to Naini
Tal, a hill sanitarium in the mountains, about
seventy miles to the north of Bareilly.

Mrs. Owen read of the outbreak in Allahabad,
and of the destruction of the Mission premises,
including her own home, but she could get no in-
formation in regard to her husband. Her state
of mind can be imagined. Our progress up the
river was slow, as our captain determined not to
pay the price demanded for a steam tug to take us



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28 Twenty-on^ Years in India.

up, but to depend upon the wind and tide when
they were favorable, anchoring when they were
adverse. On the evening of the 21st of Septem-
ber we cast anchor off Garden Reach, just oppo-
site the ex-king of Oudh's palace, about four
miles below our proper moorings off the Strand
at Calcutta. Here we had our first experience of
the India climate, and of Calcutta mosquitos.
It was intensely hot, and the mosquitoes, like
the sepoys, thirsted for blood. It was a dreadful
night, but, as all such nights do, it ended at last.
We had letters of introduction to Messrs. Stewart
& Young, merchants from Glasgow, who had
shown Mr. Butler much kindness, and with whom
he was in communication as far as was possible
in those days. In course of the day they came
on board and took us to their home for dinner,
and then to a home they had secured and fur-
nished for us. They knew it would be some
months before we could proceed up country, and
it was out of the question to find a boarding-
house for us, so they rented a comfortable house
and furnished it with necessary furniture, and



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Tw^nTy-one Years in India. 39

put one of their own tried and trusted servants
in charge of it. In the evening they joined us in
our home at tea. Their kindness to us during
our stay in Calcutta, and for years afterward,
we can never forget. They were noble men, and
very dear friends as long as they lived, but they
have both been dead for many years.

Our detention in Calcutta was a trial to us,
but we could only make the best of it and wait
patiently for the Lord to show us our way. It
was a time of great excitement in Calcutta when
we landed. A plot had just been discovered to
murder all the foreign residents. A native prince
then visiting Calcutta, had arranged to give a
great entertainment in Botanical Gardens, which
are about four miles on the opposite side of the
river, but a heavy rain came on and prevented
the people from going. Before the day ended it
was learned that the sepoys had arranged to take
advantage of the absence of the officers and resi-
dents, and mutiny and seize the fort and the mint,
but the rain broke up all their plans. The native
regiments implicated were immediately disarmed.



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30 TwKNTY-ONE Years in India.

They were only permitted to carry their ramrods
after that day. The king of Oudh had a few days
before been locked up in the fort for fear of a
movement among the natives for his restoration.
There were many bad elements at work, and no
one knew what might happen any hour.

We received much attention and kindness
from missionaries and Christian friends. Mr.
Butler had created a very favorable impression in
Calcutta, and much interest was manifested in
our proposed mission, and we were told that our
progress would be watched with interest, and
that it was hoped that the remarkable progress
of our Church in the United States might even
be surpassed in India. We were informed that
great things were expected of our Church in In-
dia. We immediately began the study of the lan-
guage under a competent native teacher, and
made as good use of our opportunities as we
could to become acquainted with mission work
as it was being conducted in Calcutta at that
time. It was a time of anxiety; indeed, it was
about the darkest period of the mutiny when we



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JOEL JANVIER, BLIND AND AGED.

(Native Minister, from the Presbyterian Mission in Allababa«^I^



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TwKNTY-ONE YMRS in Ii^DIA. 3I

arrived. The first English soldiers landed about
the same time we did ; those who had been inter-
cepted by Lord Canning at the Cape of Good
Hope, who were on their way to China, just at
that time; but things had begun to brighten a
little. Already an avenging army was on the way
to the Northwest, and arrangements were rapidly
being made for another to follow, and the cheer-
ing news had just arrived that Delhi had fallen,
and all were hoping that the worst was past, and
so it proved. At the suggestion of our friend,
Mr. Owen, we engaged Caleb, a young man of
their Mission in Allahabad, as our teacher, whom
we found well qualified for the position. He was
a native Christian, and a special friend of Joel,
who had been given to Mr. Butler as his assist-
ant, by our Presbyterian brethren in Allahabad.
Joel was with Mr. Butler in Bareilly, and was
there when the mutiny broke out on the 31st of
May, 1857. He escaped by climbing a tree near
by, when the sepoys came and burned Mr. But-
ler's house, and Maria was killed by them. It
can well be imagined that we were interested in



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33 TwKNTY-ONE Years in India.

every thing pertaining to Joel, and it was very
pleasing to us to have Caleb, his friend, for our
teacher. Under his instruction we made rapid
progress, greatly to our advantage when, a few
months later, we came to make the journey up
country. The acquisition of the language is of
the greatest importance to a missionary, and he
can never do it so well as when he first arrives
in the country. If he puts it off, instead of grow-
ing less formidable it will become more so, and
the probabilities are that he will never master it.
I have often been asked if it is a difficult lan-
guage to learn. I should say, not especially so;
but it has some peculiarities that are only mas-
tered by long study and practice. But most suc-
ceed, at least fairly well, who are determined to
do it. We found that our detention in Calcutta
need by no means be lost time ; it gave us the op-
portunity to become somewhat acquainted with
the situation, greatly to our advantage in after
years. We knew very little of India when we
landed in Calcutta, and we devoted our best ef-
forts to acquiring a knowledge of the people, the



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Tw^NTY-ONK Years in India. 33

country, and the work we were entering upon.
How strange everything seemed when we first
landed! The people seemed especially so; some
were dressed, but more were only very slightly
so, to say the least. Strange sights were on every
hand, and a jargon of sounds fell upon our ears.
It seemed a new world to us, so very unlike any-
thing we had ever seen before or imagined. Cal-
cutta at that time presented strange contrasts of
wealth and poverty, refinement and ignorance, of
grandeur and squalor. These contrasts are still
seen there, as they are in all large cities, especially
in the East. It is, however, much improved from
what it was at that time. It is now a fine city ;
it has many splendid public buildings and pala-
tial private residences. The scene that presents
itself on the Strand of an evening is one of great
magnificence. On one side are the ships of all
nations at anchor; on the other, the Maidan, or
parade ground, with a line of fine business and
private residences in the background, and the city
lying farther back. Such a display of fiine equi-
pages as may be seen passing up and down at
3



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34 Twenty-one Years in India.

about sundown, or a little after, can hardly be
seen anywhere in the world. The turnouts of
wealthy natives, and the native princes with their
high-bred Arab horses and livery-men in most
gorgeous colors, present a most brilliant and
showy scene indeed.

We derived great pleasure and profit from
our intercourse with missionaries of different
Churches. Among them I may mention such men
as Dr. Duff, Mr. Lacroix, and Mullins, of the
London Missionary Society, and many others.
We visited the schools and colleges being con-
ducted by missionaries in Calcutta, and also vis-
ited Christian villages and out-stations in the
country round about; learned many things as to
methods of mission work, that served us well in
following years. We also took some lessons in
street preaching at this time. The missionaries
were somewhat divided on the subject. Dr. Duff
was a strenuous advocate of education as a
means of evangelization; but from the first it
seemed clear to me that both were to be utilized
to the fullest extent. And this was the view
adopted by our Mission from the first. So far as



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TwKNTY-ONE Years in India. 35

I know, we have never had the slightest discus-
sion as to preference of one of these over the
other. We believe in both with all our hearts. I
think at the present day nearly all missionaries
do the same.

The Calcutta Missionary Conference was a
great power in those days. This body did much
in helping to shape the action of Government on
many important subjects affecting the interest of
the people. Lord Canning was governor-general,
and was much criticised for lack of spirit in deal-
ing with the situation in the early part of the out-
break. But general opinion has much changed in
regard to his administration, which is now con-
sidered to have been judicious and dignified on
the whole.

I shall never forget some of the addresses I
heard Dr. Duflf deliver in those days, especially
one in the Free Church of Scotland, on the mu-
tiny. I think it was the most eloquent address I
have ever heard. I have never heard anything,
from even Bishop Simpson in his best days, equal-
ing it.



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36 Twenty-one Years in India.

Early in February we began to consider the
feasibility of undertaking the journey to Naini
Tal. We were very anxious to make it before
the extreme hot weather should set in, and Mr.
Butler was very anxious to have us do so, that
we together might lay our plans for opening our
work in the plains. We soon had a communica-
tion from him proposing to meet us in Agra. It
was thought that we might venture to undertake
the journey with a fair degree of safety. But all
means of travel were monopolized by the Gov-
ernment, it being a time of war; but we finally
succeeded in arranging for coolies to propel us,
we furnishing our own carriages.

Accordingly, on the 24th day of February,
1858, we started for Raneegunge, the terminus of
the railway, 112 miles from Calcutta. Here we
found our carriages, and began our long journey
to the northwest. We journeyed day and night
with changes of coolies every ten miles. There
is this to be said, the road was splendid. There
is no better road in the world than the Grand
Trunk road, stretching away from Calcutta to



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l^w^NTY-ONE Year^ in India. 37

Peshawur, the magnificent distance of i,8oo
miles.

We were nearly a fortnight in reaching Alla-
habad, a distance of 500 miles, and which may
now be made easily, and with comfort in twenty
hours. Here we were obliged to interrupt our
journey, as a gentleman had given me the use
of a carriage to this place for the sake of getting
it up country, and he was to furnish me a horse
dak from there on to Agra. So we were sepa-
rated from our party here. The others went on,
hoping to get coolies as they had so far on their
journey; but they failed in their expectation.
They succeeded, however, in pressing the horses
into their service belonging to the Dak Company,
that they foimd along the road every five miles,
and so succeeded in reaching Agra safely.

We followed in two or three days, and reached
Agra safely, where, to our great delight, we met
Mr. Butler. While we remained in Agra we put
up in a room in the Jawab, one of the buildings
of the Taj-Mahal. I will not attempt a descrip-
tion of this wonderful building, it has been so



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38 Twenty-one Years in India.

often described by others. I will only say it
was built by the Mogul Emperor Shah Jehan as
a mausoleum for his favorite wife, Mumtaz Ma-
hal. It is one of the most beautiful structures in
the world. It is a poem in marble. Twenty thou-
sand workmen were seventeen years in construct-
ing it, and the edifices connected with it, at a
cost of about nine million dollars. Much of the
labor was forced, the workmen receiving only a
scant allowance of rice for their daily consump-
tion.

From here we went to Meerut and spent a
few days in rest, and then started out to make the
journey by way of Landour and the mountains
to Naini Tal, which would take about twenty-
two days. If we could have gone by the direct
route we could have made the journey in two or
three days ; but the coimtry was in the hands of
the mutineers, and we could not tell when it
would be opened and practicable to go by it; so
we determined to take the long route by the moun-
tains. It was, in many respects, a very wearisome
journey ; though on the whole we enjoyed it. The



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Twenty-one Years in India. 39

climate was delightful, and the scenery in many
places grand. Our party consisted of Mr. and
Mrs. Butler and their little Julia, Mr. and Mrs.
Pierce and their little Marilla, who had made the
voyage with us from America; and Mrs. Hum-
phrey and myself, with Joel and Samuel and Bella.
Our party, all told, consisted of nearly seventy-
five people, so we made quite an imposing array.
Our last day's journey was very long and
fatiguing. We started as usual very early in the
morning, and it was near midnight when, after a
long climb up the mountain side that shuts in
Naini Tal on the west and north, we emerged
from the shadows and came into the moonlight at
the pass, and we looked down the mountain into
the valley below and caught our first glimpse of
the beautiful "Little Lake," as Naini Tal means.
How beautiful it was, shimmering in the moon-
light! I can hardly imagine heaven to be more
beautiful to a weary traveler from earth than
that lake and valley were to us, so weary, that
night. Mr. Parsons met us and welcomed us
to our home. We were escorted to a lovely little



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40 TwENTY-ON^ Years in India.

cottage. A fire was burning on the hearth, the
table was spread, and we were told this was to
be our home. We said, surely this is heaven !

Our long journey of almost two months was
ended ; we could now rest without fear of falling
into the hands of bloodthirsty enemies. How
much we had to thank our Heavenly Father for
that night! This was to be one of our mission
stations ; so it was home for a time, and we could
rest in peace and safety. Later it was my
home for about fourteen years. I shall have
more to say in regard to our work in this lovely
place farther on.



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CHAPTER III.

The Sepoy Mutiny of 1857.

It may not be inappropriate now briefly to
consider some of the causes which led to the
mutiny of 1857. The year opened as others, with
nothing to indicate that anything unusual was
about to take place; but soon unpleasant rumors
began to be heard of dissatisfaction and uneasi-
ness in the native army. There was, however,
nothing in this particularly alarming, as such
demonstrations were not uncommon. It is a re-
markable fact that British power in India had
been established by a native army, officered by
Englishmen. The native soldiers are calls Sepoys,
which means soldiers. From the time of Clive,
they have always had a few British soldiers in
their army in India ; but the chief dependence has
been upon the native force. The natives were
brave, and when trained and armed, after the
41



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42 TWEINTY-ONE YEARS IN InDIA.

English system, and led by English officers, made
excellent soldiers. They were much superior to
the native armies of the country. This was, no
doubt, due to the influence of their officers upon
them, to their training, and superior weapons.
Their failure to overthrow the English was prob-
ably owing to the fact that they were not accus-
tomed to independent action. They depended
upon their officers, and without them they were
unable to face the enemy. Their courage and
skill seemed to forsake them when left to their
own resources. When the mutiny broke out there
were but comparatively few European soldiers in
the country. There were not more than four or
five thousand in all of the Northwest, over against
a native army of fifty or sixty thousand.

The native army was a great power for good
in the hands of the English, but in the hands of
designing and mischievous men it might become a
menace to the power that created it. In the early
months of that year, there was in the minds of
many a feeling of suspense; there seemed to be
something in the air indicating a gathering storm.



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TwENTY-ON^ Years in India. 43

It was reported that Chapatties (a kind of native
bread) were being mysteriously circulated over
the country from place to place. No one knew the
meaning of it, but all felt it boded no good, but
rather evil in some form. The old musket about
this time was superseded by the modem rifle, and
trouble arose about the cartridges used with the
new weapon. It was reported that they were
lubricated with cow's fat and lard. The Hindus
worship the cow, and to bite the cartridge thus
prepared, they said, would break their caste.
Everything pertaining to swine is an abomina-
tion to a Moslem, so both classes of sepoys had a
grievance, and were up in arms about the new
cartridge. The Nineteenth Native Infantry, sta-
tioned at Berhampore, about a hundred miles
north of Calcutta, had forcibly opened the Bells
(small structures where their arms were stored
when not in use) and seized their guns and am-
munition, and refused to use the new cartridge.
Their conduct was so insubordinate and mutinous
that it could not be overlooked ; accordingly, on
the 30th of March they were disarmed and dis-



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44 l^W^NTY-ON^ Y^ARS IN InDIA.

missed from the service. On the 6th of Febru-
ary an officer of the Thirty-fourth Native Infan-
try, stationed at Barackpore, just a few miles to
the north of Calcutta, was informed by a sepoy of
his company, that the four regiments stationed at
that place had determined to mutiny and murder
their officers, burn their residences, plunder their
property, and proceed to Fort William and seize
it. Though the order of drill had been changed
so that they might not be required to bite the cart-
ridge, they were also assured that the cartridges
were not different from those they had been ac-
customed to use with their former weapons; but
they were still dissatisfied and positively refused
to use them. A sepoy of this r^ment shot one
of the officers, severely wounding him. This
sepoy was hanged and the r^ment was disarmed
and disbanded. The Government now became
alive to the danger that menaced it A general
feeling of alarm prevailed among Europeans ; all
felt that they were standing on a mine that might
at any moment explode and involve them in a
common ruin. It is now known that it was



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Twenty-one Years in India. 45

planned, that on a certain day — ^the 31st of May
— ^all over the country the sepoys should rise, mas-
sacre all Europeans, bum and plunder their
dwellings and property, and so sweep from the
land ever3^hing Christian. Providentially the
movement was precipitated by the native troops
in Meerut, a large military station in the north-
west. There was a regiment of European sol-
diers here at the time, with a large force of na-
tive soldiers, both cavalry and infantry. It seems
that a considerable number of men of one of the
cavalry regiments refused to use the new cart-
ridge, and were put under arrest, and were tried
by court-martial, and were sentenced to prison for
ten years at hard labor. They were stripped of
their uniforms, and irons were riveted upon their
ankles on the parade ground. As they were be-
ing marched to the place of confinement, they
called upon their comrades to rise and deliver
them. The next day the native regiments muti-
nied, burned their barracks, murdered as many of
their officers and Europeans as they could, opened
the prison, liberating the prisoners, burned the



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46 TwENTY-ON^ Years in India.

residences of Europeans, and destroying all the
public property possible, then marched off to
Delhi, forty miles distant. Delhi is a historic
city in India; it has been the famous capital of
many dynasties which have ruled the country, and
it has been rendered especially celebrated by the
reigns of the Mogul kings. Though the country
was ruled by the English, a remnant of this power
still existed in form. Bhadur-Shah, the last of
the Mogul kings, had been permitted to keep up
the semblance of royalty in the fort at Delhi. He
had greater influence with all classes and creeds
than any other, and it was natural that the dis-
affected and insubordinate should gather about
him. He was disaffected towards the British
Government, as it had decided that the title to
royalty should cease with him. The royal family
had been informed of this decision, and although
they seemed to acquiesce, they were smarting un-
der what they felt to be a great injustice and in-
dignity, and were only biding their time when
they might retaliate. The mutiny of the native
army seemed tg affgrd the opportimity desired.



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TwENTY-ONK Years in India. 47

The troops that had risen against the Enjj-
lish in Meerut, upon arriving in Delhi, were
joined by those stationed at that place, and they
at once broke out into open rebellion and pro-
ceeded to murder all Christians they could find,
and plunder their property, and then proclaimed
Bhadur-Shah king. The sepoys everywhere fol-
lowed the example thus set them by the sepoys
of Meenit, and at once rose in open mutiny, mur-
dering and plundering all Christians, and marched
off to Delhi and joined the standard of Bhadur-
Shah. So this became the great center of the
mutiny in upper India. They made this their
stronghold, and here laid out their full strength.

To the north lay the Panjab, the land of five
rivers, as the word indicates. The word is de-
rived from two words, panch, five, and ab, water,
literally five waters, which is contracted into Pan-
jab. This was the home of the Sikhs-, a brave and
warlike nation, which had only a short time be-
fore been conquered by the British, and their
country annexed to the British possessions. The
danger was that they might join with the Hin-



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48 Tw^NTY-ON^ Y^ARS IN InDIA.

dustanees against their conquerors. Had they done
so it would seem that nothing could have saved
the British power from overthrow. It seems re-
markable that they did not. Sir John Lawrence
was commissioner of the Panjab at that time.
Through his influence, under God, with the grand
men associated with him — such as Edwards, Nich-
olson, Montgomery, and many others, thoroughly
versed in controlling and governing the rough
and wild people of the northern frontier — the
Sikhs and many other tribes always ready to join
in an affray when opportunity offers, were not


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Online LibraryG. Drysdale (George Drysdale) DempseyTubular and other iron girder bridges, particularly describing the Britannia and Conway tubular bridges; with a sketch of iron bridges and illustrations of the application of malleable iron to the art of bridge-building. With wood engravings → online text (page 2 of 13)