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 12 of 15)
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cessively hot and sultry, but to me not uncomfort-

July 27. Moved last Friday to a retired, pretty
room in the garden. Letters from the brethren at


the Isle of France. Rejoice to hear of their safe ar-
rival there. Long to see them. They will undoubt-
edly be here in a few days. How welcome will their
arrival be to us. Mr Newell, Mr Judson, and Nancy
[Mrs Judson] went to Calcutta this morning. Ano-
ther order from government received last Saturday ;
and now our fate will be decided. I long to know
the result. I do not intend to have one anxious
feeling about our future destiny. I know that
the cause of Zion is precious to the blessed Jesus,
and that he will provide graciously for those who
trust in him. I have spent the day alone.

July 28. I love dear Mrs Ward more and more
every day. She is remarkably obliging and kind to
us. I go constantly to her for advice. Mr Newell
returned this afternoon from Calcutta. We have
obtained liberty from the East India Company to go
to the Isle of France. A vessel will sail for that
place next Saturday, commanded by Captain Chim-
minant, a serious man. But he cannot accommodate
us with a passage. No other vessel is expected to
sail at present. We hear that the English Gover-
nor favours missions ; that a large field for useful-
ness is there opened; 18,000 inhabitants ignorant
of Jesus. Is not this the station that Providence
has designed for us ? A door is open wide, shall we
not enter and begin the glorious work ? This must
be a subject for fervent prayer.

July 29- A world of changes this ! Early this
morning brother Judson called at our room, unex-
pectedly from Calcutta. Captain Chimminant has
agreed to carry two of us in his vessel, to the Isle
of France, for 600 rupees. Sail next Saturday.


How can such a favourable opportunity be neglected?
Halted long between two opinions. If we go we
shall relinquish the pleasure of meeting the dear
brethren, and sister Roxana [Mrs Nott.] Perhaps
we shall never see them more. They may conclude
to labour in some distant part of the Lord's vine-
yard, and we be separated from them through life.
I shall go far away, without one single female ac-
quaintance ; the dangers of a long voyage must be
hazarded at a critical period. But here let me stop,
and review all the way in which God has led me,
since I left my mother's house, and the land of my
birth. How have I been surrounded with mercies !
What precious favours have I received ! And shall
I doubt ? Oh, no ; my heart gladdens at the thought
of commencing with my ever dear companion the
missionary work, and of entering upon missionary
trials and arduous engagements. So plain have
been the leadings of Providence thus far, that I
cannot doubt its intimations. I will go, leaning on
the Lord,, and depending on him for direction, sup-
port, and happiness. We shall leave the dear mis-
sion family at Serampore, when another rising sun
dispels the darkness of the night. Have packed all
our things to-day ; fatigued much, and very sleepy.
The wanderer and the stranger will, ere long, repose
sweetly on the bosom of Jesus. It is sweet to be
a stranger and a wanderer for such a friend as this.
A valuable present from my dear Mrs Marshman.
Thus are all my wants supplied. O for more thank-
fulness ! When will this heart of adamant be sus-
ceptible of stronger emotions of gratitude ? Bless
the Lord, O my dear American friends, for his


kindness to me a stranger hi a strange land. O
pray that these abundant mercies may melt me into
deep contrition.

July 30. I have this morning taken my leave of
my dear Serampore friends. After a visit of six
weeks, I regret parting with them exceedingly.
But such are the changes of this changing world.
Friends must be separated; the parting tear will
often flow. How consoling the hope, that there is
a world where separation will be for ever unknown.
A pleasant time in going from Serampore to Cal-
cutta in the budgerow, with brother Judson and Mr
Newell. AVent on board the ship ; much pleased
with the accommodations. Our birth is on deck, a
cool, pretty place. Dined at Dr Carey's; spent
the afternoon at Mr Myers's, a charming family,
willing to assist us in every thing. Mr and Mrs
Moore now residing with them. Drank tea with
Mrs Thomson, one of the kindest, best of women.
More money collected for us. Mrs T. has provided
me with many necessaries. Went to church with
Mr and Mrs T. in the evening; a most elegant
church ; heard Mr T. preach.



Serampore, July 1812.
My ever dear sister C.

I CANNOT forget you among the numerous friends
I have in America, but must say a few words to
you, though in great haste. Can it be possible that
I shall never see you again in this world? Have
we then parted to meet no more this side eternity ?
We probably have. But what is this short separa-


tion ? Nothing, when compared to eternal separation,
which will take place at the last day, between the
friends and enemies of Jesus. My dear C. listen,
I entreat you, to a sister who loves you, who ar-
dently wishes for your everlasting happiness. Make
the Friend of sinners your friend, now while an op-
portunity is presented. Oh, let not the adversary
of souls cheat you out of an interest in the Saviour !
Gladden the heart of your dear widowed mother, of
saints and angels, by becoming a devout and holy
follower of Jesus. Mamma has no child now to go
with her to the sacramental supper ; will not our
dear C. renounce the world and all its vanities, em-
brace religion, and in the morning of her life openly
consecrate herself to God ? Think how much good
you might do among your dear brothers and sisters.
Perhaps you might, be made the instrument of res-
cuing them from endless death. It may possibly
be that I may never write you again ; will you not
then, my dear girl, seriously think of these things ?
I hope we shall meet in heaven after death, no more
to part. But we never shall, unless our hearts are
renewed, and we are made the friends of Immanuel
in the present life.

Farewell, my dear girl ; comfort the heart of your
mother, and make her declining days as happy as
possible. Do write me. From your sister


* Dear Mother, Calcutta, July 31, 1812.

* WITH a week's employment before me this day.


I take my pen to write you a few lines. By reading
my inclosed journal you will become acquainted with
our reasons for leaving Bengal and going to the
Isle of France. We sail early to-morrow morning ;
have furniture and a thousand little necessaries to
get to-day.'

* I go without one female companion ; but I go
with renewed courage, rejoicing that the Lord has
opened us a way to work for him. 1 have received
favours unmerited, unexpected, and great.'

* My health is really excellent ; I never felt so
well in America.'

After stating that the inhabitants of the Isle of
France are chiefly French, she observes, ' I long to
engage in the great object for which I left my home.
I shall begin to study the French language with Mr
N. on the passage. Capt. Chimminant talks French.

* ' Oh, for more ardent piety !' '

The following letter from Mr Newell to Mrs At-
wood, completes the affecting history of Mrs Newell.

Port Louis (Isle of France), Dec. 10, 1812.

' ON account of the unhappy war between us and
England, it is probable I shall have no opportunity
for a long time of sending directly to America. I
inclose this letter to Joseph Hardcastle, Esq. of
London, depending on his benevolence to pay the
postage at the General Post Office there, without
which it would not be forwarded. I beg your parti-
cular attention to this circumstance, because it is
the reason why my letter is not longer, and also the



reason why I do not write to my other friends.
You will oblige me by informing my friends of this ;
particularly Drs Woods, Griffin, and Worcester.

' When I sit down to address you, my dear mo-
ther, from this distant land, to me a land of strangers
and a place of exile, a thousand tender thoughts arise
in my mind, and naturally suggest such inquiries as
these : How is it now with that dear woman to
whom I am indebted for my greatest earthly bless-
ing the mother of my dear Harriet ? And mine
too ; (for I must claim the privilege of considering
you as my own dear mother.) Does the candle of
the Lord still shine on her tabernacle, and is the
voice of joy and praise yet heard in her dwelling ?
or, what is not improbable in this world of disap-
pointment, has some new affliction, the death perhaps
of a dear child, or of some other beloved friend,
caused her heart again to bleed and her tears to
flow ? Ah ! my mother, though we may live many
years, and see good in them all, yet let us remem-
ber the days of darkness, for they too will be many,
It is decreed by Infinite Wisdom alone, that through
much tribulation we must center into the kingdom of
heaven. You, my dear mother, have had your
share of adversity ; and I too have had mine. But
we will not complain. Sanctified afflictions are the
choicest favours of Heaven. They cure us of our
vain and foolish expectations from the world, and
teach our thoughts and affections to ascend and fix
on joys that never die. I never longed so much to
see you as I have these several days past. What
would I now give to sit one hour by that dear f) re-
side, where I have tasted the most unalloyed pica-



sure that earth affords, and recount to you and the
dear children, the perils, the toils, and the suffer-
ings, through which I have passed since I left my
native land. In this happy circle I should for a

moment forget .

' Yes, my dear friends, I v/ould tell you how God
has disappointed our favourite schemes, and blasted
our hopes of preaching Christ in India, and has
sent us all away from that extensive field of useful-
ness, with an intimation that he has nothing for us
to do there, while he has suffered others to enter in
and reap the harvest. I would tell how he has
visited us all with sickness^ and how he has afliicted
me in particular by taking away the dear little babe
which he gave us, the child of our prayers, of our
hopes, of our tears. I would tell you but, Oh !
shall I tell it or forbear ?

6 Have courage my mother, God will support you
under this trial ; though it may for a time cause your
very heart to bleed. Come then, let us mingle our
griefs, and weep together ; for she was dear to us
both ; and she too is gone. Yes, Harriet, your
lovely daughter is gone, and you will see her face
no more ! Harriet, my own dear Harriet, the wife
of my youth, and the desire of my eyes, has bid me
a last farewell, and left me to mourn and weep !
Yes, she is gone. I wiped the cold sweat of death
from her pale, emaciated face, while we travelled
together down to the entrance of the dark valley.
There she took her upward flight, and I saw her
ascend to the mansions of the blessed ! O Harriet !
Harriet ! for thou wast very dear to me. Thy last


sigh tore my heart asunder, and dissolved the
charm which tied me to earth.

* But I must hasten to give you a more particu-
lar account of the repeated afflictions with which
God has visited me.

* Harriet enjoyed good health from the time we
left you, until we embarked on our voyage from
Calcutta to the Isle of France; (excepting those
slight complaints which are common to females in
her situation). During the week previous to our
sailing for this place, she went through much fa-
tigue in making numerous calls on those dear
friends in Calcutta, who were anxious to see her,
and who kindly furnished her with a large supply
of those little things which she was soon expected
to want, and which n account of her succeeding ill-
ness, she would not have been able to prepare on the
voyage. The fatigue of riding in a palanquin, in
that unhealthy place, threw her into a fever, which
commenced the day after we were on board. She
was confined about a week to her couch, but after-
ward recovered, and enjoyed pretty good health.
We left Calcutta on the 4th of August, but on ac-
count of contrary winds and bad weather, we were
driven about in the Bay of Bengal without making
much progress during the whole of that month.
On or about the 27th, it was discovered that the
vessel had sprung a leak ; and on the 30th, the leak
had increased to such an alarming degree, as to
render our situation extremely perilous. A consul-
tation of the officers was called, and it was deter-
mined to put about immediately, and make the


nearest port, which was Coringa, a small town on
the Coromandel coast, about 60 miles south of
Vizigapatam. We got safe into port on Saturday
Sept. 5th. The vessel was found to be in a very
bad case." 1

[Four days before the arrival of the vessel in port,
Mrs Xewell was seized with severe pain in the sto-
mach and bowels, the disease of the country ; but
in three days after going on shore, she was so far
recovered as to write thus in her journal : f Have
been able to sit up most of the day. Begin to look
around me a little ; find myself again surrounded
with Hindoo cottages, and the tawny natives as
thick as bees."* On the 19th of September they re-
embarked, and Mrs N. enjoyed comfortable health
till nearly three weeks after leaving Coringa, and
about three weeks before reaching the Isle of France,
when she became the joyful mother of a fine healthy
daughter. Four days after, in consequence of a
severe storm of wind and rain, the child took cold,
and died on the evening of the next day, after
having been devoted to God in baptism.

On the 14th of October, Mr N. writes thus in his
journal : ' About eight o'clock last evening, our
dear little Harriet expired in her mother's arms. A
sweet child. Though she had been but five days
with us, it was painful, inexpressibly painful, espe-
cially to the mother, to part with her. To-day,
witli many tears, we committed her to a watery
grave. " So fades the lovely blooming flower,' &c,
May God sanctify this bereavement to us, and Oh,
may he spare my dear wife !

About a week after Mrs N/s confinement, the



symptoms of a consumption appeared. Though
Mr N. feared the worst, he did not consider her
case as fatal, till the last fortnight of her life, which
commenced about ten days after their arrival at the
Isle of France. Mr N. immediately on their arri-
val, called in the aid of Dr Burke, the chief sur-
geon of the British army in that island, and of Dr
Walluz, a Danish physician, a friend with whom
they had become acquainted at Serampore, who had
lately buried his wife in Bengal, and had come to
the Isle of France fo? his health. There was but
little alteration in Mrs N.'s health, (excepting that
she gradually lost strength) till about a fortnight
before her death, when she declined more rapidly,
and all hope of her recovery was extinguished.
About four o'clock P. M. on Monday, the 30th of
November, her eye-sight failed her, soon after which
she calmly, and with apparent ease, expired, seven
weeks and four days after her confinement. These
events, with all the attending circumstances, are
related by Mr N. with great tenderness and particu-
larity. He then proceeds as follows :]

' There, my dear mother, I have finished the
story of Harriet's sufferings. Let us turn from the
tale of woe to a brighter scene ; one that will glad-
den your heart, as I am sure it does mine. During
this long series of sufferings, the bare recital of
which must affect every feeling heart, she meekly
yielded to the will of her Heavenly Father, without
one murmuring word. ' My wicked heart,' she
writes, ' is inclined to think it hard, that I should
suffer such fatigue and hardship. 1 sinfully envy
those whose lot it is to live in tranquillity on land-


Happy people ! Ye know not the toils and trials of
voyagers across the rough and stormy deep. Oh for
a little Indian hut on land ! But hush my warring
passions ; it is for Jesus who sacrificed the joys of
his Father's kingdom, and expired on a cross to re-
deem a fallen world, that thus I wander from place
to place, and feel no where at home. How reviving
the thought ! How great the consolation it yields
to my sinking heart ! I will cherish it, and yet be

* In view of those sufferings which she afterwards
experienced, she writes thus : ' I hope to reach the
place of our destination in good health. But I feel
no anxiety about that. I know that God orders
every thing in the best possible manner. If He so
orders events, that I should suffer pain and sickness
on the stormy ocean, without a female friend, ex-
posed to the greatest inconveniences, shall I repine,
and think he deals hardly with me ? Oh no ! Let
the severest trials and disappointments fall to my lot,
guilty and weak as I am, yet I think I can rejoice
in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation.'

* In the first part of her sickness which succeeded
the birth^ our babe, she had some doubts^ which,
occasionally interrupted her spiritual comfort ; but
they were soon removed, and her mind was filled
with that peace of God which passeth all under-
standing. When I asked her, a few days before
she died, if she had any remaining doubts respecting
her spiritual state, she answered with an emphasis,
that she had none. During the whole of her sick-
ness she talked in the most familiar manner, and
with great delight, of the death and the glory that


was to follow. When Dr Burke one day told her,
those were gloomy thoughts, she had better get rid
of them ; she replied, that on the contrary they were
to her cheering and joyful beyond what she could
express. When I attempted to persuade her that
she would recover, (which I fondly hoped) it seemed
to strike her like a disappointment. She would
say, c You ought rather to pray that I may depart,
that I may be perfectly free from sin, and be where
God is.'

* Her mind was from day to day filled with the
most comforting and delightful views of the charac-
ter of God and Christ. She often requested me to
talk to her on these interesting subjects. She told
me that her thoughts were so much confused, and
her mind so much weakened, by the distress of body
she had suffered, that she found it difficult steadily
to pursue a train of thought on divine things, but
that she continually looked to God and passively
rested on him. She often spoke of meeting her
friends in Heaven. ' Perhaps,' said she, ' my dear
mother has gone before me to Heaven, and as soon
as I leave this body I shall find myself with herl
At another time she said, ' We often talk of meet-
ing our friends in Heaven ; but what would Heaven
be with all our friends, if God were not there.'

4 She longed exceedingly for the brethren to arrive
from India, that we might form ourselves into a
church, and celebrate the dying love of Jesus once
more before she died. Her desires to enjoy the
benefit of this ordinance were so strong, and our
situation so peculiar, that I thought a deviation
from the usage of our churches in this instance


would be justifiable ; and accordingly on the last
Sabbath in November, the day before she died, I
gave her the symbols of the body and blood of our
Lord ; and I trust it was a comfortable season to
us both.

' A few days before she died, after one of those
distressing turns of coughing and raising phlegm,
which so rapidly wasted her strength, she called me
to come and sit on the bed beside her, and receive
her dying message to her friends. She observed, ^
that her strength was quite exhausted, and she could ,
say only a few words; but feared she should not
have another opportunity. ' Tell my dear mother,'
said she, ' how much Harriet loved her. Tell her
to look to God and^aeep near to Him, and He will
support and comfort her in all her trials. I shall
meet her in heaven, for surely she is one of the dear
children of God.' She then turned to her brothers
and sisters. ' Tell them,' said she, ' from the lips
of their dying sister, that there is nothing but reli-
gion worth living for. Oh . l exhort them to attend
immediately to the care of their precious, immortal
souls. Tell them not to delay repentance. The
eldest of them will be anxious to know how I now
feel with respect to missions. Tell them, and also
my dear mother, that I have never regretted leaving
my native land for the cause of Christ. Let my
dear brothers and sisters know, that I love them to
the last. I hope to meet them in heaven ; but Oh,
if I should not' Here the tears burst from her
eyes, and her sobs of grief at the thought of an
eternal separation, expressed the feelings that were
too big for utterance. After she had recovered a


little from the shock, which these strong emotions
had given to her whole frame, she attempted to speak
of several other friends, but was obliged to sum up
all she had to say in c Love and an affectionate
farewell to them all.' Within a day or two of her
death, such conversation as the following passed be-
tween us.

' Should you not be willing to recover, and live
a while longer here ?

' On some accounts it would be desirable. I wish
to do something for God before I die. But the ex-
perience I have had of the deceitfulriess of my heart
leads me to expect, that if T should recover, my
future life would be much the same as my past has
been, and I long to be perfectly free from sin.
God has called me away before we have entered on
the work of the mission, but the case of David af-
fords me comfort ; I have had it in my heart to do
what I can for the Heathen, and I hope God will
accept me.

' But what shall I do, when you are gone ? How
can I bear the separation ?

* Jesus will be your best friend, and our separa-
tion will be short. We shall soon, very soon, meet
in a better world ; if I thought we should not, it
would be painful indeed to part with you.

' How does your past life appear to you now ?

6 Bad enough ; but that only makes the grace of
Christ appear the more glorious.

' Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
My beauty arc, my heavenly dress ;
Midst flaming worlds in these array'd,
With joy shall I lift up my head.'


w When I told her that she could not live through
the next day, she replied, ' Oh, joyful news ; I
long to depart/ Sometime after, I asked her, How
does death appear to you now ?' She replied, ' Glo-
rious ; truly welcome. 1 During Sabbath night she
seemed to be a little wandering ; but the next morn-
ing she had her recollection perfectly. As I stood
by her, I asked if she knew me. At first she made
no answer. I said to her again, ' My dear Harriet,
do you know who I am ?' My dear Mr Newell,
my husband," was her reply ; but in broken accents
and a voice faltering in death.

4 The last words which I remember, and which I
think were the last she uttered relative to her de-
parture, were these, ' The pains, the groans, the
dying strife." ' How long, O Lord, how long !'

6 But I must stop, for I have already exceeded
the bounds of a letter, though I have come far short
of doing justice to the dying deportment of this dear
friend. Oh ! may my last end be like her's. I
would now proceed to discharge the duty, which
Harriet's dying request imposed on me, of adminis-
tering consolation to you, and of beseeching the
clear children to make a right improvement of this
afflicting dispensation ; but I hope the God of all
consolation will himself wipe away your tears, and
fill your heart with comfort; and that Harriet's
dying in treaties, and tears, and sighs, may be carried
by the Spirit of Truth to the hearts of the children,
and of her other young friends, and may fasten con-
viction on their minds, and engage them to follow her
so far as she followed Christ. With these hopes, I
must at present bid them all an affectionate farewell.


' Harriet offered to give me her property by will,
but I declined accepting it. She then proposed be-
queathing a part of it to the Board of Commissioners,
but my time was so completely taken up in attend-
ing on her, that I had no opportunity of having a
will duly executed till it was too late.

c The brethren in Bengal have written to me.
The Harmony arrived in Calcutta a few days after
I left there ; the brethren all ordered away, as we
were. They are coming hither, and I daily expect

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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 12 of 15)