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 11 of 15)
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darkness of Heathenism is scattered, and the benign
influences of the Holy Spirit are felt. Here Jesus has
a people formed for his praise, redeemed by his pre-
cious blood from eternal woe, and made heirs of bliss
everlasting. Bless the Lord, O our souls, and all that
is within us, bless and praise his holy name. Last
Sabbath afternoon, I shall ever remember with pecu-
liar emotions. Mr Ward, a Missionary blessed and
beloved of our God, preached in Bengalee to a large
collection of Hindoos and Mahometans. The dear
converted natives appeared to enjoy the precious sea-
son greatly. To hear them join in singing one of
Zion's songs ; to see them kneel before the throne of
Almighty grace, and listen with eagerness to the word
of life, was sufficient to draw tears of joy from eyes
which never wept before. After service each dear
Christian Hindoo of both sexes came to us with looks
expressive of their joy to .see new Missionaries ; and,
offering us their hands, they seemed to bid us a
hearty welcome. I said to myself, such a sight as
this would eternally silence the scruples, and the
criminal opposition to missions, of every real believer
While such persons would intercede for the success
of Missionaries, and praise the Lord for what he has
already done for these once degraded wretches, they



would weep and repent in dust and ashes for their
former criminality. Oh ! that every American might
be prevented by sovereign grace from opposing or
discouraging those who feel willing to engage in this
work, lest the blood of the Heathen, at the last day,
should be required at their guilty hands.

Last evening, while thousands were preparing for
the impure and idolatrous worship of Juggernaut,
the native Christians assembled at the Missionary
Chapel for prayer. Their engagedness in prayer,
though I could not understand a word they said,
made a deep impression on my mind,


" Serampore, June 27, 1812.

I HAVE taken my pen with an intention of writing
my dear Miss H. a very long letter. I know she
will not expect the wife of a Missionary to study
correctness of style, or to make her handwriting ap-
pear beautiful ; the easy, unreserved, unstudied
style of a friend will better suit her. 'They that
cross the ocean change their climate^ but not their
minds? This is confirmed by my own experience.
In this distant Heathen land, far from the dear spot
of my birth, my attachment to my American friends
is as strong as ever. Those whom I once loved, I
now sincerely, strongly love, though the anticipation
of meeting them again in this world is totally relin-
quished. But would you infer from this, that a
separation from the friends I love so dearly, renders
me unhappy ? Far otherwise, my dear Miss H.
Let me assure you (and do you remember it for the


encouragement of those females who anticipate walk-,
ing in the same path), that I never enjoyed more
solid happiness, never was so free from discontent
and anxiety, as since I left my native country. It
is true I have suffered many privations and incon-
veniences, and some hardships ; but I have likewise
had many blessings, and found valuable sources of
pleasure, which I did not expect. Since I have
been in India, every wish of my heart, as it respects
..temporal things, has been gratified. The voyage
was tedious, but remarkably pleasant. We were
blest with a commander, who treated us with uniform
respect, kindness, and attention. Our accommoda-
tions were good, and we spent many happy hours
in our little rooms. The sight of land was very
pleasant, as you will imagine. Sailing up the river
Hoogly, we were delighted with the variegated
charming scenes around us. When we reached
Calcutta, we were surrounded by the tawny natives,
and half stunned with their perpetual chattering.
We had some interesting conversation with the
Circars, who could talk English, on board the
vessel. While our astonishment was excited at
hearing their superstitions, how could our hearts
remain unaffected about their wretched state ! We
were affectionately received by the good Dr Oarey,
at his mansion at Calcutta, and treated with the
greatest hospitality. Imagine to yourself a large
stone house, with six lofty, spacious keeping and
lodging rooms, with the same number of unimproved
rooms below ; such is the building. Imagine a small
bald-headed man of sixty ; such is the one whose
name will be remembered to the latest generation


He is now advanced to a state of honour, with six
thousand dollars a-year. We accepted his invita-
tion to visit the mission family at Serampore ; took
a boat, and at eleven the next evening reached the
happy dwelling of these friends of ImmanueL Here
peace and plenty dwell, and we almost forget that
we are in a land of Pagan darkness. Dr CareyV
wife is ill;: he has only one son residing with him,
who has lately commenced preaching, aged sixteen*.
Felix is stationed at Rangoon, where he has lately
married a native ; William is at Cutwa ; Jabezf is
studying law at Calcutta. Mr Ward superintends
the printing. Mrs Ward has the care of providing
for the whole mission family. Dr and Mrs Marsh-
man are engaged in schools. Mrs Marshman has
had twelve children; six are dead. She has now
thirteen, six ,of h,er own, and seven adopted ones.
These schools are productive of much good.

We attended the worship of the great god of the
Hindoos a fortnight since. The idol was taken
from his temple, and bathed in the sacred waters of
the Ganges. Here were thousands of our fellow-
creatures, washing in the river, expecting to wash
away their sins. A sight which will not admit of
description. My heart, if insensible as steel before,;
was pained within me, when witnessing such a scene,
Oh, the beauty of the Gospel of Jesus! Shall a
Christian be found in America, who is opposed to,
missions ? Forbid it, Heaven ! To-day the great
Juggernaut is removed from his temple, placed on
his car, and drawn in .triumph through the assem-i

* Mr Jonathan Carey, his fourth and youngest son. ED.
f- See Note, p. 144*


bled mass of worshippers. Some will probably sa-
crifice their lives, and this only three miles distant
from Serampore. While writing, I hear the dium,
and the instruments of idol music.

July 21. I have only time to tell my dear Miss
H. that I shall this day leave Calcutta for the Isle
of France. I have not time to read the above, but
send it full of errors. Do write me ; do let me hear
soon from all my American friends.

In the greatest haste, yours,

Love to dear Mr and Mrs W.


JWiszion~house, Serampore, July 14, 1813.

How is my dear, ever dear Elizabeth ? Happy,
I would hope, in the possession of every temporal
blessing heart can wish, and in the still richer bless-
ings of the Gospel. To tell you that I long ardently
to see you, would be only saying what you already
know. Though at a great distance from you, the
ties are still strong which unite me to you. Never
shall I cease to love you. I have given our dear
mother many particulars, respecting my past and
present situation and prospects. Such is our un-
settled state at present,, that I can say little or
nothing to any one. The Harmony has not yet
arrived, we are daily expecting her. No determi-
nation can be made without the other brethren.
The East India Company have ordered us to return
ta America. We have relinquished the idea of
stationing a mission at Burmah entirely. Several


ether places have been thought of, but it is still un-
certain where we shall go. You will, perhaps,
hardly credit me when I tell you, that it is fully as
expensive living here as in America. I am disap-
pointed greatly in this respect. Some things are
cheap ; others very dear. As soon as we fix upon
a station, I am positive I shall write you to send
me a box of necessaries from America. Tell mamma
that my bed-quilt I shall value very highly. India
calico bears the same price here as in America.
English calicoes, an enormous price. Common
English stockings between 3 and 4 rupees. The
country stockings 1 rupee, and they are not worth
half that. Some articles of provision are very high,
and likewise house rent ; and yet we are told that,
no where in Asia can we live so cheap as here. We
have excellent accommodations at the Mission-house;
indeed we have every thing at present to make
us happy. We shall remove to some rooms in the
Garden, when the Harmony appears, whore all our
brethren will be invited to stay till we leave Bengal.
I love these dear Missionaries very much. I never
expected so many kindnesses from them. Mrs
Marshman has a lovely school of English young*
ladies, where they are instructed in embroidery,
working muslin, and various other things. Miss,
Susan Marshman of 14, is studying Latin, Greek,
and Hebrew. Mrs Ward is a motherly woman,
very active and kind. Miss Hobson, a niece of Dr
C. from England, is here, a very pretty girh Lieu-
tenant Moxon from the Mahratta country is likewise
at the Mission-house. Mr Carapeit Aratoon, the
Armenian, and wife, are residing here. These,


with Drs Carey, Marshman, and Mr Ward's fami-
lies, and all the scholars, make the Mission family
immensely large. Serampore is a charming place.
We frequently walk out to admire its beauty. About
a week since I went to Gundle Parry, with Mrs
Ward and family, to visit Mrs Kemp, a charming
woman, much like our dear Mrs B. There I saw
something of Eastern luxury, so much celebrated.
We spent the day, returned home in the evening in
the budgerow, saw two dead bodies burning on the
shore, and a Bengalee wedding. Yesterday we
crossed the river at Barry-pore, and walked over
the Governor General's park ; saw the wild beasts,
variety of birds, &c. One of the most delightful
places I ever saw. Artificial hills and dales sup-
plied the want of real ones.

This is the rainy season, but very pleasant. It
is sometimes excessively hot ; but a shower of rain
sools the air. The jackalls make a tremendous
yell every night under our windows ; the noise is
like a young child in great distress. I find the
musquetoes very troublesome, though not so large
.and numerous as I expected. I have not seen one
snake yet. I bathe every day, which is very re-
freshing. I have not yet suffered half so much
from the heat as I calculated. I can sew or read
all day, except an hour or two at noon, very com-
fortably. I have often thought that you would like
the climate of Bengal. I think I shall enjoy at
least as good health here as in America. When I
first came here, I disliked all the fruit of the coun-
try but pine-apples, and those made me ill. The


mangoes, plaintains, guavas, &c. were all alike dis-
agreeable. But I love them all now.

We were obliged to submit to a great many in-
conveniences on our passage, and were exposed to
many dangers. But on the whole, I think no mis-
sionaries ever had a pleasanter voyage to the East
Indies. I used to think when on the water, that I
never should return to America again, let my cir-
cumstances in Asia be as bad as they could be. But
I think now, that the long tedious voyage would not
prevent my returning, if nothing else prevented.

Mr Robinson, one of the Baptist missionaries,
married a lady from Calcutta, about 15 years of age,
and set sail for Java. They slept in the open air
for a fortnight on deck ; were out in a violent storm,
and returned to Calcuta again. How different this
from our comfortable passage. Oh, that we might
be ever grateful to God for past favours, and learn
to trust Him for the time to come. Surely we,
above most others, have reason to say, ' Hitherto
hath the Lord helped us.'

I regret that time obliges me to be so short. But
you shall have letters by the Caravan sufficiently
long to make up for this short one. I will begin a
journal on the morrow, and write in it every day,
till I can send it you. I will not be so negligent
again. I have many letters partly written to friends,
but must leave them now. My time has been so
much occupied since our arrival, that I have scarcely
found leisure to write a line. I hope soon to be
more at liberty.

Do give love to Sarah, Caroline, Moses, Charles,


and Emily. I shall write them all by t" e Caravan,
and shall expect letters from every one of them.
Kiss them all for me. Dear, dear Elizabeth, must
I leave you ? But I shall talk with you again in A
week or two. Till then, and ever, I shall love to
call you my dear sister, and subscribe myself your



MANY have been the changes through which I
have passed, since I left my beloved country. I
have found many precious sources of enjoyment,
and have had some light afflictions. Our voyage
was comparatively short, but very tedious.

But one week after we left the harbour, the vessel
sprung a leak, and we were for some time under the
apprehension of perishing. Many gales of wind
threatened our vessel with instant destruction ; but
our gracious God preserved us from every danger,
and brought us in safety to these sultry shores,
where hundreds of missionaries are needed.

Though a mission among the Heathen is attended
with many difficulties and discouragements, yet I do
not feel sorry that I have joined the little company
engaged in one. Since I have been here, I have
been more decidedly positive than ever before, that
a pious female, deeply interested for the Heathen,
can greatly increase the usefulness of a missionary,
and promote the good of the mission. Let me give
you one instance of this truth. Mrs Marshman has
had twelve children ; (6 are dead, and 7 adopted


ones fill their places.) With this numerous family,
she has been engaged in a school for 13 years, con-
sisting of 20, 80, 40, and sometimes 50 children.
These children are mostly half-cast, i. e. their fa-
thers are Europeans, their mothers natives. The
good done in this school is incalculable. The chil-
dren are not only instructed in all the branches of
education taught in our American academics, but are
particularly instructed in the religion of the blessed
Gospel. I drank tea with her and her little family
a day or two since under a large tree.


I FEEL more and more willing to be any thing,
or to do any thing, that the cause of Jesus might
be prospered. I am not discouraged by the trials
of a missionary life.

July 15. Spent the greater part of this day in
my room alone. Mr N. went to Calcutta this
morning to carry letters to the captain of the ship
Francis. Went with Mrs Ward to one of the mis-
sion buildings in the garden, to see the rooms intend-
ed for us. There are four convenient pretty rooms,
with bathing apartments, which they have kindly
offered us and our missionary company. In the
afternoon called upon Mrs M.* The good woman,
as usual, busily engaged in her school. How firm
a constitution must she have, to occupy a station
attended with so many cares. At four P. M. ano-
ther message from government was received. Mr
N. and Mr J. ordered to appear before the police
* Mrs Marshman, we presume.

31 RS NEWELL. 171

again, to receive further commands. Mr J. imme-
diately took the Buggy [chaise] and set out for
Calcutta. In the evening went with Nancy,* and
Mrs W/s family, to the car of Juggernaut, which
stands in the road. A huge building five stories
high ; images painted all over it ; two large horses,
with a charioteer made of wood in front ; with
many wheels, drawn by the natives with large cables.
From the car we walked through the Bazar [market]
to the temple where the great god of the Hindoos is
now residing a horrid object indeed ! Not allowed
to enter the temple ; but could see him plainly
a log of wood, painted red, with large hideous eyes.
Little images were kept for sale in the Bazar. We
walked through an immense crowd of Hindoos home.
I was confused with the noise and bustle of the
place, and excessively wearied with my long walk.

July 16. Called with Mrs W. upon Mrs Cara-
peit, the Armenian. Mr Carapeit, has gone with
brother Kristno on a mission to Jessore will be
absent four weeks. Mrs C. very ill ; can only talk
Hindostanee. Brother J. returned about sunset.
A letter from Mr Newell. He states that a collec-
tion has been made for us among the friends of
missions in Calcutta. Mr Thomason presented
500 rupees already collected.

How dark and intricate are the ways of Provi-
dence ! We are ordered by government to leave the
British territories, and return to America immedi-
ately. Captain H. will be ready to sail in three
weeks. He has requested a clearance, but it has
been absolutely refused him, unless we engage to
* Mrs Juclson.


leave India with him. Thus is our way hedged up ;
thus are all our prospects blasted. We cannot feel
that we are called in Providence to go to Birmah,
Every account we have from that savage, barbarous
nation, confirms us in our opinion, that the way is
not prepared for the spread of the Gospel there.
The viceroy would not hesitate to take away our
lives for the smallest offence. The situation of a
female is peculiarly hazardous. But where else can
we go ? Must we leave these Heathen shores ?
Must we be the instruments of discouraging all the
attempts of American Christians, to give these na-
tions the word of life ? My spirit faints within me.
These are trials great and unexpected.

9 6 dock. Just returned from family worship in
the chapel. My depressed spirits are a little re-
vived. The good Dr Marshman felt deeply inte-
rested for us, and has been interceding in our behalf.
Not mine, O Lord, but thy will be done. I know
that the gracious Redeemer will take care of his
own cause, and provide for the wants of his little
flock. How consoling this ; I will trust him, and
doubt no more.

July 17. I find that writing has become quite
pleasant now I am alone. My natural cheerfulness
has returned, and I hope I shall never again make
myself unhappy by anticipating future evils, and
distrusting the care of my heavenly Father. I
have been taking a solitary walk in the mission gar-
den; a charming retreat from the bustle of the
world How happy would a walk with my dear
absent mother, or dear brothers and sisters, make
me ; and yet much as I long for their society, I am.

31 RS NEWELL. 173

not willing to return to them. Yes, I am positively
unwilling to go to America, unless I am confident
that God has no work for me to do here. How far
preferable to me would be an obscure corner of this
Pagan land, where the wretched idolaters would
listen to the Gospel of Jesus, to all the glittering
splendour of a civilized land.

July 18. My dear Mr. N. returned last evening
fatigued in body and depressed in mind. There is
now no alternative left but a return to America, or
a settlement among some savage tribe, where our
lives would be in constant danger. Lord, we are
oppressed ; graciously undertake for us. We know
not which way to direct our steps. O that the
Harmony would arrive. Insurmountable obstacles
attend us on every side. Pity us, O ye friends of
Immanuel ; pity our perplexed situation, and inter-
cede with the prayer-hearing Redeemer for direction
in the path of duty.

A prayer- meeting in the mission chapel on our
account the dear Baptist brethren deeply inte-
rested for us. Fervent were their prayers that
God would direct our steps ! Four prayers offered,
three hymns sung, one chapter read. The exer-
cises were all calculated to comfort our hearts.

I hear the distant sound of Heathen voices.
These miserable wretches are probably engaged in
some act of idol worship ; perhaps in conveying the
log of wood, which they call Juggernaut, to his
former place of residence. A conference in the
chapel this evening. The bell calls us to breakfast
at eight in the morning. Immediately after, we
have worship in the phapel. At half past one we
p %



dine, at seven drink tea, go directly to the chapel
again. Sabbath morning and evening service in
English ; afternoon in Bengalee. Monthly prayer-
meeting, Monday morning. Weekly prayer meet-
ing, Tuesday evening. A lecture for the chil-
dren, Wednesday evening. A conference Saturday

WITH respect to the climate, manners of the
people, &c. we have selected from Mrs NewelPs
journal the following particulars :

July 18. Excessively warm weather ; but not so
hot as the last July in America. The Bengal
houses are made so as to admit all the air stirring.
In the room where I now keep there are four large
windows, the size of American doors, with Venetian
blinds, and three folding doors. There are no glass
windows. A bathing house is commonly connected
with each lodging-room, and verandas to walk in, in
the cool of the day. The floors of the houses are
made of stone ; the partitions and walls white washed.

July 20. From nine to eleven last evening I
spent in walking in the garden with Mr Newell. I
do not suffer the least inconvenience from the even-
ing air in this country. When on the ocean, we
were very cautious of tfie least exposure ; but here,
physicians, and every 1 one else, advise walking in
the evening. The jackalls are all that I am afraid
of here.

Mr Judson preached yesterday morning; Mr
Ward in the Bengalee, afternoon ; Mr Newell in
the evening. Some good people from Calcutta


present at worship, a large collection of hearers, all
very attentive. Dr Marshman returned to-day from
Calcutta. Brought us some intelligence which has
revived our spirits a little. He has had some con-
versation with Mr Rickets, the secretary, about us.
He said the Caravan should have leave to depart, if
we would engage to leave the British territories,
and that possibly we might have leave to go to the
Isle of France or Madagascar. So then we shall
not go to America in the Caravan, but wait the
arrival of our dear brethren in the Harmony, and
then conclude which way to direct our steps. The
Lord is merciful, and full of compassion.

July 21. Intend going to Calcutta to-morrow,
should the weather permit. I like the climate of
Bengal much. I do not long for a seat by an Ameri-
can fire-side, nor for pleasant winter-evenings, as I
once thought I should ; but feel perfectly contented
and satisfied with this hot, sultry weather. I am
obliged to guard against heating my blood by walk-
ing in the sun, or by using too violent exercise.
Fevers, and the prickly heat, are in consequence of
this imprudence. Rosy cheeks are never seen in
India, except where a lady uses paint.

July 24. Went early on Wednesday morning in
the mission budgerow to Calcutta, k*; company with
brother and sister Judson, Lieutenant Moxon, Miss
Hobson, and Mr Newell. Spent the day and night
at Dr Carey ""s house. The air of this confined place
does not agree with me ; a severe head-ache kept me
all day within doors. Wednesday morning, break-
fasted with Captain Heard at his house. I hope my
dear mother and other friends will have an opportu-


irity of seeing and thanking him on his return for
his kindness to us. Heard of Mr Thomson's death
of Madras. He had received positive orders from
government to return to England, chargeable with
no other crime than that of preaching the gospel.
He has now gone to his everlasting home, and will
trouble his opposers no more. Tired of the confu-
sion and noise of Calcutta, I reached Serampore last
evening. Found friends to welcome our return.
Why these great favours ? Mr and Mrs Robinson,
Mr and Mrs Moore and family at the mission house.
Mrs R. the second wife of Mr R. is about 15 years
of age, country born ; i. e. has an English father
and native mother., Mr and Mrs M. a charming
couple, are stationed at Patna ; have come hither
on account of their health.

July 25. I have become a little familiarized to the
sound of the Bengalee language. It has become
quite natural to say chene for sugar, tony for water,
&c. &c. One servant's name is Bozu, another Lol,
another Golove, another Ram Done. Ram is the
name of one of their gods, and is therefore often
added to their own name..

July 26. I am happy in finding, that the expec-
tations of my American friends, respecting my health
in India, will r,>t be disappointed. I think I can
say, that I never felt so strong in the summer sea-
son, nor ever had such an excellent appetite, as since
1 have been here. The weather is sometimes ex-

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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 11 of 15)