Harriet Atwood Newell.

Memoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell, wife of the Rev. S. Newell, American missionary to India, who died at the Isle of France, Nov. 30, 1812, aged nineteen years; online

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Online LibraryHarriet Atwood NewellMemoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell, wife of the Rev. S. Newell, American missionary to India, who died at the Isle of France, Nov. 30, 1812, aged nineteen years; → online text (page 10 of 15)
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the privileges I now enjoy !

June %2. I have every thing here which heart
could wish, but American friends. We are treated
with the greatest possible kindness. Every thing
tends to make us happy and excite our gratitude.
You would love these dear Missionaries, could you
see them.

June 24. I have just returned from a scene,
calculated to awaken every compassionate feeling.
At nine in the morning we took a budgerow^ and
went three or four miles up the river to see the wor-
ship of Juggernaut The log of wood was taken
from his pagoda and bathed in the sacred waters of
the Ganges. The assembled worshippers followed
the example ; and thousands flocked to the river,
where, with prayers and many superstitious rites,
they bathed. Miserable wretches ! Oh that Ame-
rican Christians would but form an adequate idea
of the gross darkness which covers this people !

July 14. A letter from Calcutta informs us,
that the Frances will sail for America in a day or
two. With this information I must be expeditious
in writing. As the Caravan will sail in a short
time, I shall neglect writing now to many of my
dear friends, to whom I shall then be very parti-
cular. I hope the contents of this little book will


be gratifying to rny dear mother. She will remem-
ber that they were written while the events were
passing^ and that they were the feelings of the
moment. You will therefore feel disposed to pass
over all errors, and think it like the private conver-
sation of one of your daughters.

I am sure I love my dear, dear mother, and my
beloved brothers and sisters ; and all my dear Ameri-
can friends, as well now, as I did on the morning
when I took my last farewell of home. I long to hear
from you all. Whenever you think of m e, think, I
am happy and contented ; that I do not regret com-
ing here. But life is uncertain, especially in this
country. Should God in judgment, remove far from
me lover, and the best of friends, and leave your
Harriet a lonely widow in this land of strangers, say,
my mother, ever dear, shall I be a welcome child in
your house ? I know not what would be my feelings,
should such unknown trials be mine. Perhaps I
might feel that here I ought to stay. But I want
to feel, that a aether's Iwuse and a mother's arms^
are open to receive me, should my all be removed
before me into the latd of darkness. Assurance of
this gives me joy.

My dear mother, unite vith me in praising God
for one of the best of husbarsls. Oh would
have been my wretchedness, had I found Mr N. a
cold inattentive partner. But he it all that I could
wish him to be. Do give much love to ?11 my friends
in Haverhill. I cannot stop to particularize them.
They are all dear to me, and I shall write to many of
them by the Caravan. Dear mother, if I supposed
you had one anxious thought about me, I should not


feel happy. I think I see you surrounded by your
dear family, taking comfort in their society, and bless-
ing God for one child to consecrate to the work of a
mission. Oh that you might find the grace of Jesus
sufficient for you ! As your day is, so may your
strength be ! Trust in God, he will support you un-
der every trial. I hope to meet my dear mother, and
brothers, and sisters, in heaven, where we shall never
be separated.

Farewell, my dear, dear mother. May you enjoy
as large a share of earthly bliss, as your God shall
see best to give you ; and Oh, that the joys of that
gospel, of which the Heathen are ignorant, may be
yours in life, and in the solemn hour of dissolution,
Farewell. A letter to our dear Miss H. almost
finished, lies by me ; will be sent by the Caravan.
One to Mr Dodge likewise. Love to botfi.


The first of the following letters tfas begun at sea,
and finished after her arrival in India.

My dear Mrs K. April 14, 1812.

MOST sensibly d? I feel the loss of the society of
my Christian fronds in Kaverhill, with whom I
often took sw^ct counsel. How repeatedly have I
commemorated the death of the blessed Jesus at his
table, wJth my sister and mend, my ever dear Mrs
K. The ties are still strong which attach my heart
to her .; and though I no more anticipate another
meeting with her on earth, yet I hope to sit with


her at the gospel feast in heaven, where all parting
tears will be wiped away. Two months this day
since I left my native shores and became a resident
of this floating prison. The change has been great
indeed which the last months have effected in my
situation. Many have been the inconveniences and
privations, to which I have been subjected. I have
relinquished a life of ease and tranquillity, in the
bosom of my relatives and friends, for the hardships
of a voyage across the Atlantic, and a habitation in
an unhealthy clime among the Heathens. But I
am far from being unhappy. I have found many
valuable sources of enjoyment, and I believe I can
say in the sincerity of my heart, that notwithstand-
ing my separation from every object which once I
loved, yet I never was happier, or more contented
in my life. In one bosom friend I find the endear-
ing qualities of a parent, a brother, and a husband,
all united. This sympathy alleviates every sor-
row ; his prayers diffuse joy and consolation through
my heart ; and while he lessens my earthly griefs, he
points me to that world, where the weary are at rest.

June 9, lat. 10. long. 36.

"We are rapidly hastening to the place of our des-
tination. A few days more will probably land us
on the shores of Asia. I feel, my dear Mrs K. a
mixture of pleasing and melancholy sensations, as I
approach nearer Calcutta. Melancholy, because I
can see none of my friends there, and it is an un-
healthy, sultry region, which the gospel has never
illuminated; pleasing, because a hope is indulged that
ere long the darkness of Paganism will be scattered,
and the news of salvation be diffused far and wide.



My health has been remarkably good, since we
crossed the Equator the last time. This I consider
a very great blessing, and some encouragement that
I shall enjoy the same favour in India. The wea-
ther is excessively hot ; the nights are very uncom-
fortable, owing to the confined air of our rooms.
But what is this compared with India ? The recol-
lection of departed pleasures often casts a gloom
over my present enjoyments. ' I think of the days
of other years, and my soul is sad.' How does dear
Haverhill, my much loved native town, appear?
How are its dear inhabitants ? How is the little
flock of Jesus, of which you are a member ? How
flourishes that dear society of praying females ? How
is our dear pastor? Are the weekly conferences
continued ? Are there many who attend them ? Are
there many inquiring the way to Zion ? Are there
any new converts to the power of truth ? Are there
numbers daily added to the church of such as shall
be saved? Were I with my dear Mrs K. how
gladly would I particularize. But I must stop. In
one or two years I may have an answer to these
questions. Oh that it might be such an answer as
will gladden my heart, and cause our little Mission
band to rejoice. I hope that it will not be long be-
fore glad tidings from the East, will give you joy.

Oh that this infant Mission might ever live before
God. May that quarter of the globe, where so many
wonderful transactions have been performed, be
filled with the glory of God. Oh that the standard
of IinmanuePs cross were already erected in Heathen
Asia, and that Mahometans and Pagans were pros-
trated before it. I cannot but hope that the labours


of our missionary brethren will be abundantly suc-
cessful in winning souls to Christ, and that we shall
afford them some comfort and assistance in the ar-
duous, but glorious work.

June 16.

My dear Mrs K. I think will congratulate us on
again seeing land. I have been walking on deck,
and have seen a boat filled with Hindoos approach
our vessel. I like their appearance much, and feel
more reconciled to the idea of living among them
than ever before. My heart burns within me while
I write. O, my friend, will these degraded Pagans
ever be brought to Jesus ?

Serampore, July 14.

I have not time to review what I wrote to you,
my dear Mrs K. on board the Caravan, but send it
you full of errors, with a promise to write you
shortly again by vessels which will soon go to Ame-
rica. Do let me hear from you : I long to have
letters from Haverhill. You will be kind enough
to visit my dear mother often, and console her with
your pious conversation. 1 think much of her. Oh
that Jesus would support her under all her trials.
Dear woman ! Mrs K. do not forget me, though I
am far away. Let me have your prayers, and the
prayers of all my Christian friends in America. A
short farewell. Affectionately yours, HARRIET.

Respects and love to your dear mother and sister,
and all other dear friends.

Mission House, Serampore, June 27, 1812.

I HAVE just received the welcome intelligence


that a vessel bound to America will sail in a few
days. With sensations of pleasure unknown before,
I have taken my pen to address a brother, who,
though far distant, is unspeakably dear to my heart.
1 cannot tell you how I long to see you ; nor how
much joy a letter from you would give me. Neither
distance, nor a long absence, has in the least dimi-
nished my affection for you. No, my brother ; al-
though the pathless ocean rolls between, and I no
more anticipate another interview with you on earth ;
yet I love you, ardently and sincerely love you.
Your happiness will ever make me happy. I some-
times indulge the fond hope that Almighty grace
will incline your heart to visit this distant Heathen
clime, and here proclaim the joyful news of salvation
to multitudes of dying Pagans, immersed in super-
stition and wretchedness. But if this laborious part
of the vineyard should not be assigned you, Oh that
your days might be spent in winning souls to Jesus,
in happy America, where you can enjoy ease and
security, in the bosom of your friends. I feel as-
sured, that my dear brother will be gratified by a
recital of the various scenes through which I have
passed, since I bid a last farewell to our dear mater-
nal abode, and left my country. I suffered all the
horrors of sea-sickness the first week after I left
Salem harbour. At the conclusion of the week we
were, one dark and stormy night, alarmed by the
intelligence, that our vessel had sprung a leak, and
that, unless Providence interposed, we should sink
in twenty-four hours. In this trying hour I thought
of death, and the thought was sweet. Nothing but
anticipating the long-continued anxiety and distress


of my dear American friends, made such a sudden
exit from life, in such an awful manner, melancholy
and painful. But God, who is rich in mercy, in-
terposed in our behalf the following day, by sending
a favourable wind, which enabled the mariners to
repair the vessel, when their strength was nearly
exhausted by long pumping. We proceeded on our
passage with pleasant weather, favourable winds,
few heavy gales, until we reached the Cape of Good
Hope. The weather was then cold and boisterous,
the sea rough, and our room was repeatedly over-
flowed with water. The newly discovered shoals
round the Cape, rendered this part of the voyage
extremely dangerous. The first land we saw was
the Orissa coast, 114 days after sailing. The sight
of the adjacent country, after we entered the river
Hoogly, was beautiful beyond description. Leaving
America in the winter, and for a length of time seeing
nothing but sky and water, think what must have been
our delight to gaze upon the trees, the green grass,
the little thatched cottages of the Hindoos resembling
a stack of hay, the elegant buildings of the English,
the animals feeding, and the Hindoos themselves
rambling near the shore. My friend Nancy* and
I were detained two days on board the Caravan, after
our arrival at Calcutta. This was a time of great
confusion. The Hindoos, of every class, flocked
around our vessel like bees round a hive. We were
carried in palanquins to the house of Dr Carey,
Professor of the College at Fort William of the
Oriental Languages. No white female is seen
walking in the streets, and but few gentlemen.

* Mrs Judson.


English coaches, chaises, chairs, and palanquins
are numerous. Every street is thronged with the
natives. If you ride in a chaise, it is necessary for
a Hindoo to run before and clear the way. The
houses in Calcutta, and indeed all the buildings, the
Hindoo huts excepted, are built with stone, or brick
white- washed. These are lofty, and have an ancient
appearance. Some of them are very elegant. There
are many half English children in Calcutta. There
is a charity school close by Dr Carey's, supported
by subscription, managed by the Baptist mission-
aries, consisting of about 100 Portuguese children.
Here they enjoy the benefit of religious instruction*.
We attended the English church one evening.
This is an elegant building. The Friday after our
arrival, we took a boat, and came to Serampore, 15
miles from Calcutta. This is a delightful place,
situated on the river Ganges. It is inhabited chiefly

* This refers to * the Benevolent Institution,' which was begun
in 1810 ; and ' such,' say the Missionaries, * has been the gener-
ous feeling among all ranks of people on the propriety of affording
Christian instruction to this class of youth, that in the last year
(i. e. 1814) the subscription for the support of the Institution, ex-
ceeded a Thousand Pounds sterling.' The number of children
admitted on this Institution from the beginning, has been above
500. At present there are about 200 in attendance, and above 50
more at a school of the same kind at Serampore There are three
classes for whom the Missionaries wish to provide Christian educa-
tion. First, The descendants of European parents born in J ndia,
who in general pay for their education. Second, The descendants
of Koman Catholic and other indigent parents, chiefly Portuguese,
who are taught in the Benevolent Institution. Third, The children
of the Natives ; schools for whom are the most important of all
others, and may be carried to any extent, if funds are provided by
the Public. ED.


by Danes. This retired spot is best calculated to
prepare us for our future trials, and our arduous
work. There are five large buildings belonging to
the Mission ; viz. the printing-office, the common
house, Dr Carey's, Dr Marshman's, and Mr Ward's
dwelling houses, besides several convenient out-
houses, one for making paper, one for cooking, &c.
&c. There is one of the most delightful gardens
here I ever saw. It contains a large number of
fruit trees, plants, flowers, &c. The fruit is not as
good as ours. Mangoes, plantains, pine-apples,
cocoa-nuts, are very plentiful now. Dr Carey
spends much of his time at Calcutta. Dr and Mrs
Marshman have large schools of English and half
English children, about eighty in both schools.
The boys are instructed in Chinese and other lan-
guages. These children all eat with us in the hall,
and attend prayers morning and evening in the
Mission chapel. Many of them are sweet singers.
Mr Ward superintends the printing. Here a large
number of Hindoos are employed. Mrs Ward has
the care of providing for the whole Mission family.
Servants are numerous. This is necessary, for their
religion will not permit them to do but one kind of
work : for instance, one servant will sweep a room ;
but no persuasion will be sufficient to make him
dust the things. The church of Christian natives
is large. It is a delightful sight to see them meet
together for the worship of God. The missionaries
preach to them in Bengalee. They sing charmingly
in their language. We went in a budgerow, (a boat
with a little room in it, cushions on each side, and
Venetian blinds), the 24th of this month, to see the


worship of the Hindoo god, Juggernaut, a few miles
from Serampore. They took the idol, a frightful
object, out of the Pagoda, and bathed him in the
water of the Ganges, which they consider sacred.
They bathed themselves in the river, repeated long
forms of prayer, counted their fingers, poured muddy
water down their children's throats, and such like
foolish superstitious ceremonies, in honour of their
god. Thousands on thousands were assembled to
perform these idolatrous rites. In witnessing these
scenes, I felt more than ever the blessedness, the
superior excellence of the Christian religion. The
Hindoos are very well formed, straight black hair,
small, near a copper colour. Their dress is cool and
becoming. It consists of white muslin, or cotton
cloth wrapped about them. Some wear white muslin
turbans. I shall write you again, my dear brother,
by the Caravan, and other vessels which will shortly
sail to America. I can then give you a more cor-
rect history of the Hindoos, the manners and cus-
toms of this country, &c. You will wish to know
whether I regret coming to this distant land. / do
not ; but feel an increasing satisfaction, in thinking
of my arduous undertaking. Since I have been an
eye witness of the idolatry and wretchedness of the
Asiatics ; and find it confirmed by the long experi-
ence of the Baptist missionaries, whose names will
be remembered with honour by the latest genera-
tions, that females greatly promote the happiness
and usefulness of missionaries, I am inclined to
bless God for bringing me here. I have not as yet
had sufficient trials to shake my faith. Providence
has smiled upon us, and we know but little of the


hardships of a mission. But we shall shortly leave
these abodes of peace and security, and enter upon
that self-denying life, among a savage people, upon
which we calculated when we left our native country.
It is not determined where our future lot will be cast.
With respect to my connection with Mr Newell,
let me tell you that I am, and ever have been, per-
fectly satisfied with my choice. He is all that I
could wish ; affectionate, obliging, attentive, and in
one word, every way deserving of my strongest
attachment. It shall be my study through life, to
render him happy and useful in the fatiguing path
which he has selected. Oh that God would grant
me the accomplishment of my wishes in this respect !
I have enjoyed far better health than I expected,
when I left home. I have been miraculously sup-
ported through the fatigues of our tedious voyage.
This is the rainy, hot season, and the most un-
healthy in the year; but I think I never felt
better in America ; though many around us are
suddenly dropping into eternity. There have been
ten deaths in the mission family the last year.
This is a sickly, dying clime. You are probably
still at New Haven, I hope making great profi-
ciency in your studies, and preparing for eminent
usefulness in the world. Oh, my brother, shall we
meet in Heaven, or shall we be separated for ever ?
Let us be solicitous to obtain an interest in Jesus,
whatever else we lose. When the glad tidings
reach this distant land, that a brother of mine, dear
to my heart, has been redeemed from eternal woe,
and become a disciple of the blessed Immanuel ;
Oh how will this delightful intelligence make me


rejoice ! how it will gladden the days of separation 1 ,
I long to see our dear mother. Do your utmost,
my dear John, to make her happy. The thought
of meeting her in a world where there will be no
parting, is sweet. All my beloved brothers and
sisters will ever be dear to me. I cannot tell you
how much I think of you all. I feel much happier
than ever I expected to feel, in this Heathen land.
I am glad I came here ; I am glad that our dear
mamma was so willing to part with me, and that
no opposition prevailed with me to relinquish tire
undertaking. Let me hear from you, my dear, by
every vessel bound to Asia. You know not how
large a part of my happiness will consist in receiving
letters from my American friends. Every particu-
lar will be interesting. For the present I must bid
you farewell. May you be distinguished for your
attachment to the cause of Jesus, and be made an
eminent blessing to your dear friends, and to the
world. Oh that by sanctifying grace you might
shine as a star of the first magnitude in Heaven,
when dismissed from this life of toil and pain.
Farewell, my dear, my ever dear brother, a short
farewell. While I live, I shall ever find pleasure
in subscribing myself your affectionate sister,



Serampore, June, 1812.

I HAVE found* my dear sister, that the trifling
afflictions I have already had, have been more sane*


tified to me, than all the prosperity of my former
life. They have taught me that this is a state of
discipline, that permanent bliss must proceed from
God alone, and that heaven is the only rest that
remains for the children of God.

While I write, I hear the dear Christian natives
singing one of ZionV songs in the mission chapel.
The sounds are melodious ; they remind me of that
glorious day, when the children of Jesus, collected
from Christian and Heathen lands, will sing the
song of Moses, and the Lamb, on the blest plains of
the new Jerusalem.


Calcutta, June, 1812:

THE last request of my dear Mrs C. (when quit-
ting the beloved land of my nativity), and the sin-
cere affection which I feel for her, are my principal
inducements for ranking her among the number of
my American correspondents. v

I have witnessed scenes this morning calculated to
excite the most lively sensations of compassion in the
feeling mind, My heart, though so often a stranger
to pity* has been pained within me. Weep, O my
soul, over the forjorn state of the benighted Heathen ;
and, O that the friends of Immanuel in my Christian
country would shake off their criminal slothfulness,
and arise for the help of the Lord against the mighty,
in lands where the prince of darkness has long been
adored. The worship ; of the great god of the Hindoos
has this day been celebrated. We were apprised yes-
terday at sunset of its near commencement, by the



universal rejoicing of the natives, which lasted through
the night. This morning we went in a budgerow to
see the worship. Between fifteen and twenty thou-
sand worshippers were assembled. The idol Jugger-
naut was taken from his pagoda, or temple, and bath-
ed in some water taken from the river Ganges, and
then replaced in his former situation with shouts of
joy and praise. This I did not see, the crowd was so
great. After this, the people repaired to the river
side, where they bathed in the sacred waters, said
their prayers, counted their fingers, poured the mud-
dy water down their infants' throats, and performed
many other superstitious ceremonies with the utmost
solemnity, and with countenances indicative of the
sincerity of their hearts. Many of the females were
decked with garlands of flowers, nose-jewels, large
rings round their wrists, &c. Some deformed wretches
and cripples attracted our attention, and excited our
compassion. One man, bent almost to the ground,
was supported by two of his companions, to the holy
Ganges. There he doubtless hoped to wash away the
pollution of his heart, ignorant of the blood of Jesus
which does indeed cleanse from all sin. Oh ! that an
abler pen than mine would delineate to my dear Mrs
C. this idol worship. Surely her pious heart would
|je filled with tender sympathy for these benighted
Asiatics, and her prayers would become more con-
stant, more fervent, for the introduction and spread
of the blessed Gospel among them. Gladly would
American believers leave the healthy civilized land
of their birth, and spend their lives in preaching
Jesus to the natives of India, did they but know
how wretched, how ignorant, they are, and how


greatly they need the Gospel. Do Christians feel
the value of that Gospel which bringeth salvation?
Let us leave the melancholy subject, and turn to
one calculated to fill our minds with holy joy and de-
vout thanksgivings to God. In this land of darkness,
where the enemy of souls reigns triumphant, I see the
blessedness of the Christian religion. Yes, my friend,
there is in Heathen Asia a favoured spot, where the

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Online LibraryHarriet Atwood NewellMemoirs of Mrs. Harriet Newell, wife of the Rev. S. Newell, American missionary to India, who died at the Isle of France, Nov. 30, 1812, aged nineteen years; → online text (page 10 of 15)