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 8 of 15)
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splendours of this world.

You, my dear Miss F. will not forget to intercede
with Jesus in my behalf. You will pray for the
wretched Heathen in India; this will lead your
thoughts to those who have devoted their lives to the
work of spreading the Gospel among them. You
will feel interested in their exertions ; and as often
as the sun rises in the East, you will invoke for them
the blessing and protection of the* universal Parent.

When shall I be favoured with another interview
with you ? Will you not visit me this winter ? I
need not assure you, that it would be a source of
the highest gratification. Preparations for a long
voyage, together with visiting friends, have prevented
my answering your letter before. Do write me
again soon ; recollect that I have a special claim on
your indulgence. Affectionately yours,



Boston, Jan. 24, 1812.

NEITHER distance nor time has been able to
efface from my mind the recollection of that affec-


tion, which I once so sincerely professed to feel for
you, my beloved M. My pen would not thus long
have lain inactive, had inclination been consulted.
No ; be assured, that nothing less than important,
indispensable engagements has prevented me from
acknowledging the receipt of your kind letter, which
afforded me much pleasure. I hear from my friend
N. that you have been indisposed of late. Such, my
sister, is the lot of rebel man. Our world is doomed
to agonize in pain and sickness, the just desert of
sin. Pilgrims and strangers in a dry and thirsty
land, where no living waters flow, we, though so
young, feel the heavy effects of the first transgres-
sion. A composed and tranquil mind, a heart dis-
posed cheerfully to acquiesce in the dispensations of
heaven, however trying, is desirable indeed. But
this divine resignation is the gift of the Spirit.
May you be favoured with a disposition to rejoice
in God, not only when the calm sunshine of pros-
perity illumines your dwelling, but also when the
dreary tempests of affliction beat upon you. The
night of sorrow, though dark, is yet but short, if
we are the children of the Most High. As Kirke
White beautifully expresses the sentiment, ' Our
weary feet shall ere long greet the peaceful inn of
lasting rest."* How sweet will be the rest enjoyed
in that peaceful inn, after a life of repeated toil and
sufferings for Christ ! Let this idea stimulate us
to a life of exemplary piety.

If ever we are favoured with intimate communion
with God, and feel the value of that Gospel which
bringeth life and salvation, let us compassionate the
forlorn Heathen. Let our souls weep for those who


are unacquainted with the glad tidings : who spend
their wretched lives in worshipping dumb idols ;
whose lips have never been vocal with redeeming
love. Oh, when will the radiant star in the East,
direct them to Bethlehem ! Oh when will the high
praises of Immanuel resound from the lips of the
Hindoo in Asia, the Hottentot of Africa, and the
inhospitable Indian of our dear native America !

The glorious morn of the Millennium hastens.
With an eye of faith we pass the mountains, that
now obstruct the universal spread of the Gospel,
and behold with joy unspeakable, the beginning of
a cloudless day, the ' reign of peace and love.' Shall
we, my ever dear M. who fondly hope that we are
the lambs of Jesus'* flock, be content to live indolent,
inactive lives, and not assist in the great revolution
about to be effected in this world of sin ? Oh no ;
we will not let it be said, at the great day, that one
soul for whom the Son of God became incarnate,
for whom he groaned away a dying life, has perished
through our neglect. Let worldly ease be sacrificed ;
let a life of self-denial and hardships be welcome to us,
if the cause of God may thereby be most promoted,
and sinners most likely to be saved from destruction.

Notwithstanding all the encouragements which
the Scriptures afford to those who leave all things
for God, and devote their lives to his service, still
my heart often recoils at the evils of a missionary
life. The idea of taking a last farewell of friends,
and country, and all that is dear on earth, (a few
friends only excepted) is exceedingly trying. Yes,
my friend ; Harriet will shortly be an exile in a
foreign country, a stranger in a strange land. But


it is for God that I sacrifice all the comforts of a
civilized life. This comforts me ; this is my hope,
this my only consolation. Will M. think of me,
will she pray for me, when stormy oceans separate
us ? Will imagination ever waft her to the floating
prison or the Indian hut y where she, who was once
honoured with the endearing appellation of friend,
resides ? May we meet in heaven, where friends
will no more be called to endure a painful separa-
tion ! May peace and happiness long be inmates of
M.'s breast ! May she increase in the enjoyment of
her God, as days and years increase ! How can I
wish her more substantial bliss ? Shall I not be
favoured with one more undisturbed interview with
you ? Shall I not give you a parting kiss ? Shall I
not say, Farewell? Why may I not spend the
little remnant of my days with you? Must I be
separated ? But enough my heart is full ; gladly
would I fill my sheet with ardent expressions of
lasting friendship.

* But, hush, my fond heart, hush,
There is a shore of better promise ;
And I hope at last, we two shall meet
In Christ to part no more.'

A few more letters will probably close our corres-
pondence for ever. Will you write me immediately ?
M. will gratify me if she loves me. Will you not
visit Haverhill this winter ? I long to see you. I
cannot tell you how much I regretted the loss of
your society last summer. I have since been fa-
voured with an introduction to your dear Miss G.
A lovely girl. Affectionately yours,




Haver/till, Feb. 3, 1812.

THE long expected hour is at length arrived, and
I am called to bid an eternal adieu to the dear land
of my nativity, and enter upon a life replete with
crosses, privations, and hardships. The conflicting
emotions which rend my heart, imagination will
point out to my dear Miss H. better than my pen
can describe them. But still peace reigns many an
hour within. Consolations are mine, more valuable
than ten thousand worlds. My Saviour, my Sanc-
tifier, my Redeemer, is still lovely ; his comforts
will delight my soul. Think of Harriet, when
crossing the stormy ocean think of her, when wan-
dering over Hindostan's sultry plains. Farewell,
my friend, a last, a long farewell.

May we meet in yonder world, * where adieus
and farewells are a sound unknown f

Give dear Mrs W. a parting kiss from Harriet.

Write to and pray often for HARRIET.


Havtrhill, Feb. 1812.

ACCEPT, my ever dear Sarah, the last tribute of
heart-felt affection from your affectionate Harriet,
which you will ever receive. The hour of my de-
parture hastens ; when another rising sun illumines
the Eastern horizon, I shall bid a last farewell to a
beloved widowed mother, brothers and sisters dear,
and the circle of Haverhill friends. With a scene
so replete, with sorrow just at hand, how can I be


otherwise than solemn as eternity ! The motives
which first induced me to determine upon devoting
my life to the services of GOD in distant India^
now console my sinking spirits. Oh, how valuable,
how exceedingly precious, are the promises of the
gospel !

Eighteen years of my life have been spent in
tranquillity and peace. But those scenes so full of
happiness, are departed. They are gone ' with the
years beyond the flood,' no more to return. A
painful succession of joyless days will succeed ;
trials, numberless and severe, will be mine to share.
Home, that dearest sweetest spot, friends whose
society has rendered the morn of life pleasant, must
be left for ever ! The stormy ocean must be crossed ;
and an Indian cottage in a sultry clime, must
shortly contain all that is Harriet. Perhaps no
sympathizing friend will stand near my dying bed,
to wipe the falling tear, to administer consolation,
or to entomb my worthless ashes when my immortal
spirit quits this earthly tabernacle.

But why indulge these melancholy sensations?
Is it not for Jesus that I make these sacrifices and
will He not support me by his grace ? Oh, yes, my
heart replies, he will.

* The sultry climes of India then I'll choose ;
There will I toil, and sinners' bonds unloose ;
There will I live, and draw my latest breath ;
And, in my Jesus' service, meet a stingless death."

My friend, there is a rest for the weary pilgrim in
yonder world. Shall we meet there, ' when the long
Sabbath of the tomb is past ?'

Sarah, my much loved friend, farewell. Fare-


well, perhaps for ever. Though trackless forests
separate, though oceans roll between, Oh, forget not


These were the last letters written by Mrs
NEWELL, before her departure from America. On
the 6th of Feb. 181 2, when the Missionaries were
ordained at Salem, Mrs NEWELL was present. On
that interesting occasion, she manifested remarkable
tranquillity and resolution. Feb. 19, 1812, with
Mr Newell, and Mr and Mrs Judson, she sailed
from Salem, and took leave for ever of her native
land, amidst the prayers and benedictions of mul-

The following diary, written on her passage to
India, and addressed to her mother, was lately


March 9. To you, my beloved mother, shall
these pages be cheerfully dedicated. If they aiford
you amusement in a solitary hour, if they are in-
strumental in dissipating one anxious sensation
from your heart, I shall be doubly rewarded for
writing. Whatever will gratify a mother so valuable
as mine, shall here be recorded, however uninterest-
ing it might be to a stranger. The first week after
our embarkation I was confined to my bed with
sea-sickness. This was a gloomy week. But my
spirits were not so much depressed, as I once ex-
pected they would be. The attendants were oblig*.
ing, and I had every convenience which I could



wish on board a vessel. Feb. 24, the vessel sprung
a leak. We were in the greatest danger of sinking
during the night. The men laboured almost con-
stantly at the pump. Capt. H. thought it best to
alter the course of the Caravan, and make directly
for St Jago. The wind changed in the morning.
In a clay or two the leak was providentially disco-
vered, and prevented from doing any further injury.
Though much fatigued, sleep departed from me.
It was indeed an interesting night. Though a
sudden exit from life appeared more solemn than
ever before, yet I felt a sweet composure in confid-
ing in God, and in leaving the disposal of my life
with him.

We have no family worship, which we consider a
great affliction. Sabbath forenoon Mr N. or brother
J. read a sermon and perform the other exercises of
worship in the cabin. The captain and officers
favour us with their attendance. I have found
much enjoyment at these seasons. I often think
on my American friends, who are blessed with the
privilege of attending statedly on the means of
grace. My thoughts were particularly fixed on my
brethren and sisters the first Sabbath in March. I
thought that our dear pastor would not forget to
intercede with God for an absent sister, while sitting
at the communion table, where I have often had a
scat. I shall devote much of my time to reading
while on the water. There is but little variety in a
sea life. I have noticed with plcasurt that many
little articles, which I accidentally brought with me,
have contributed much to my comfort.

The vessel is very damp, and the cabin collects


some dirt, which renders it necessary that I should
frequently change my clothes, in order to appear
decent. I think I shall have clothes enough for
the voyage, by taking a little care. We have had
contrary winds and calms for ten days past, which
will make our voyage longer. How can it be that
I wish for those winds that waft me farther from my
dear mother, and all that I have in a much loved
native country. Surely this wish does not originate
from want of affection for my friends.

March 10. We have prayers regularly every
evening in brother J.'s room, which is larger and
more convenient than ours. We have met another,
brig, bound to America, as we imagine, but on ac-
count of contrary winds, which renders it difficult to
come near enough to speak with her, she has pro-
ceeded on her passage. This is the second vessel
which we have seen at a distance, going direct to
America ; but I have not been favoured with the
privilege of sending letters to you. Oh, how ar-
dently do I long to tell you, just how I am at
present situated, and that I am happy and contented.
We find there is great danger of speaking with any
vessel, lest it should prove to be a French privateer.
It is very difficult writing to-day, on account of the
constant motion of the vesseL The wind is favour-
able ; we go nearly seven miles an hour.

March 12. A heavy sea to-day ; the waves
have repeatedly broken on deck, and rushed with
violence down the gang-way into the cabin. Our
room has not yet been wet.

March 14. I have been on deck, and seen the
sailors take a turtle. They went out in a boat two


or three miles, and took it by surprise, with their
hands It weighs about twenty pounds. We have
learned how to make yeast. We have occasionally
flour-bread, nuts, apple-puddings, apple-pies, &c.
We have baked and stewed beans, twice a-week,
which you know are favourite dishes of mine, also
fowl, ham, &c. We drink tamarind- water, porter,
eyder, &c. I have been agreeably disappointed re-
specting our manner of living at sea, though we are
not free from inconveniences, by any means.

March 16. Yesterday morning, religious exer-
cises were performed as usual in the cabin. Several
pages in Law's Serious Call read. My thoughts
dwell on home, and my much-loved country, more
intensely on the Sabbath, than on any other day.
The sun rises much earlier here than in Haverhill.
At one I think you are going to church. Dined on
turtle soup yesterday ; do not like it. Saw a flying-
fish to-day ; breakfasted upon it. Several gales of
wind last evening. I do not know why it is that I
do not suffer more from fear than I do. Cousin J.
will tell you how dreary every thing appears, in a
dark evening, when the wind blows hard, and the
vessel seems to be on the point of turning over.
But we have been highly favoured, the weather hae
generally been remarkably pleasant.

March 17. I have just seen a third vessel,
bound, as we have every reason to think, to dear
America, We came so near her as to see the men
walking on deck : But Capt. H. received particular
orders to speak with no vessel on the passage. I
have a great desire to send you, my dear mother,
some communication. But this gratification I must


give up. Five weeks yesterday, since I bid you
adieu. Oh that you may never, for one moment,
regret that you gave me up, to assist in so great, so
glorious a work. I want more faith, more spiritu-
ality, more engagedness, in so good a cause. Pos-
sessed of these blessings, I shall be happy, while
crossing the tempestuous ocean, and when I become
an inhabitant of Pagan Asia.

March 18. I am sometimes almost sick for the
want of exercise. I walk fast on the deck three times
a- day, which is the only exercise I take. We have
seen a number of flying-fishes to-day, which look
very pretty. We are now more than 3000 miles
from home. I shall ever find a melancholy pleasure
in calling my mother's house in Haverhill, my home,
though the Atlantic floods roll between. Long
may the best of Heaven's blessings rest upon the
dwelling, where I have spent my playful years in
peace, and where in riper age I have known what
tranquillity is, by happy experience : Long may my
beloved mother, and dear brothers and sisters, enjoy
the blessing of my heavenly Father, and be strangers
to affliction and woe.

March 19. It is excessively warm to-day. We
are now in the torrid Zone ; while my dear mother,
brothers, and sisters, are probably shivering over a
large fire, I am sitting with the window and door
open, covered with perspiration. Brother and sister
Judson are asleep OH one bed, Mr N, lounging on
another, while I am writing. You know not how
much I think of you all, how ardently I desire to
hear from you, and see you. My time passes more


pleasantly than ever I anticipated. I read, and
sew, and converse at intervals; rise early in the
morning, retire early at night. I find Mr Newell
to be every thing 1 could wish for. He not only
acts the part of a kind, affectionate friend, but like-
wise that of a careful, tender physician.

March 20. I have been into a bath of salt water
this evening, which has refreshed me much. I
think I shall bathe regularly every other day. I
often think of many ways in which I could have
contributed to your comfort and happiness, and that
of my other dear friends, while with you. My
mother, my dear mother, can you, will you forgive
me for causing you so much pain, as I surely have
done in the course of my life, and for making you so
few returns for the unwearied care and kindness you
have ever shown me. I think that if your heart is
fixed, trusting in God, you will find consolation,
when thinking of my present situation. You will
be unspeakably happy in commending me to God,
and the word of his grace, and praying for my wel-
fare in Heathen lands.

March 21. A large porpoise was taken yester-
day. Cousin J. will describe this curious fish to
you. I have had a return of my old complaint, the
nervous head-ache. It has attended me for two or
three days very severely. I think it is in some
measure owing to the confined air of our lodging
room. This is one of the greatest inconveniencies
to which we are subjected. When I awake these
extremely hot mornings, I often think of our large
cool chambers. The heat is not all. It is also at-


tended with a disagreeable smell, occasioned by the-
bilge water which is pumped out of the ship. But
this is a light trial.

March 22. I have spent a quarter part of this
holy day on deck, reading, singing, conversing, &c.
I hope this has been a profitable and joyful Sabbath
to my dear mother.

Oh, how ardently do I long again to frequent the
courts of my God, and hear from his ambassadors
the joyful sound of the glorious gospel ! But though
in a humbler manner, yet I trust we find his grace
displayed towards us while meeting for his worship.
The weather is hot in the extreme ; we are within a
few days sail of the line. I have not found a stove
necessary more than once or twice since I left the
harbour. The weather has been much warmer than
I anticipated. But we keep pretty comfortable in
the air.

March 23. I cannot yet drink coffee or tea
without milk. We have water porridge night arid
morning, and sometimes chocolate, which is very
good. We have every necessary which is possible
on the ocean. I am thankful I feel no disposition
to complain. I have for the most part of the tune
since we sailed, enjoyed a great degree of real hap-
piness. The everlasting God is my refuge.

March 24. Mr Newell often regrets that he had
no more time to spend with you previous to our de-
parture. He often says, ' Harriet, how I do long
to see your dear mother P We often look the way
where Captain H. tells us Haverhill lies. But alas !
a vast ocean and the blue sky are all we can see.
But there is a land, my dear mother, where stormy


seas cannot divide the friends of Jesus. There I
hope to meet you and all my beloved friends, to
whom, on earth, I have bid adieu. Oh that, when
the followers of the Lamb are collected from the
East and West, from the North and South, Harriet,
an exile, in a distant land, with her mother, father,
brothers, and sisters, may be united in the family of
the M ost High in heaven !.

March 25. The weather is about as warm as
the extreme hot weather in America, last summer.
Mamma may possibly be called to fit out another
daughter for India. If so, I think some improve-
ment might be made upon her plan. We all feel
the want of more thin clothes. We are told, we
shall not be likely to suffer more from the heat in Ben-
gal, than we do now. We do not go more than a
mile an hour. Are within 1 60 miles of the Equator.
This is dear little Emily's birth-day. Sweet child !
will she ever forget her absent sister, Harriet, whom
once she loved ? Oh no ! I will not for one mo-
ment indulge the thought. I cannot bear to think
of losing a place in the remembrance of dear friends.

March 26. My attachment to the world has
greatly lessened since I left my country, and with
it all the honours, pleasures, and riches of life.
Yes, mamma, I feel this morning like a pilgrim and
a traveller in a dry and thirsty land, where no water
is Heaven is my home; there, I trust, my weary
soul will sweetly rest, after a tempestuous voyage
across the ocean of life. 1 love to think of what I
shall shortly be, when I have finished my heavenly
Father's work on earth. How sweet the thoughts
4?f glory, while I wander here in this waste wilder-


ness ! I still contemplate the path into which I
have entered with pleasure, although replete with
trials, under which, nothing but sovereign grace can
support me. I have at times the most ardent desires
to see you, and my other dear friends. These de-
sires, for a moment, are almost insupportable. But
when I think seriously of the object of my under-
taking, and the motives which first induced me to
give up all, and enter upon it, I enjoy a sweet se-
renity of mind, a satisfaction which the heaviest
trials cannot destroy. The sacrifices which I have
made are great indeed ; but the light of ImmanuePs
countenance can enliven every dreary scene, and
make the path of duty pleasant. Should I at some
future period be destitute of one sympathizing friend,
in a foreign sickly clime, I shall have nothing to
fear. When earthly friends forsake me, then ' the
Lord will take me up.' No anticipated trials ought
to make me anxious ; for I know that I can do and
suffer all things, ' through Christ, who strengthen,
eth me.' In his hands I leave the direction of
every event, knowing that he who is infinitely wise
and good, can do no wrong.

March 29. We crossed the Equator last night.
The weather still continues excessively hot. Heavy
gales of wind, and repeated showers of rain, render-
ing it necessary for the captain and officers to be on
deck, we had no religious exercises in the cabin.

March 31. It is six weeks, this evening, since
we came on board the Caravan. How rapidly have
the weeks glided away. Thus, my dear mamma,
will this short life pass. Why then do our thoughts
dwell so much upon a short separation, when there


is a world, where the friends of Jesus will never
part more ?

April 1. Three sharks caught to-day. In their
frightful appearance they far exceeded the descrip-
tion I have often heard given of them.

April 7. The weather grows colder as we draw
nearer the Cape. Some Cape birds are seen flying
on the water, called Albatrosses. We have had a
little piece of the gangway taken into our room,
which renders it much more pleasant and cool.
We can now sit together and read. Mr J. and N.^s
room is large and convenient.

May 1. Again, my ever dear mother, I devote
a few leisure moments to you, and my beloved bro-
thers and sisters. The winds and the waves are
bearing us rapidly away from America. I care not
how soon we reach Calcutta, and are placed in a
still room, with a bowl of milk, and a loaf of Indian
bread. I can hardly think of this simple fare with-
out exclaiming, Oh, what a luxury ! I have been
so weary of the excessive rocking of the vessel, and
the almost intolerable smell after the rain, that I
have done little more than lounge on the bed for
several days. But I have been blest with excellent
spirits, and to-day have been running about the
deck, and dancing' in our room for exercise, as well
as ever. What do some females do, who have un-
kind husbands in sickness ? Among the many sig-
nal favours I am daily receiving from God, one of
the greatest is a most affectionate partner. With
him my days pass cheerfully away ; happy in the
consciousness of loving and of being beloved. With

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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 8 of 15)