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 9 of 15)
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him contented I would live, and contented I would


die. This, my mother, is the language of your
Harriett heart.

We are in the latitude of the Cape. The wea-
ther is cold, and will probably be so for a month.
The last winter we shall have. Ten weeks since
we left Salem. I often think, and often dream of
you. Is mamma happy ? Oil yes ! blest with the
rich consolations of the gospel, she cannot be un-
happy. But, mamma, the Heathen are wretched.
For their sake shall not some Christians leave
friends and country, cross the Atlantic, arid submit
to many hardships, to carry them the word of life ?
I do not repent, nor have I ever repented of my
undertaking. My health is as good as I could rea-
sonably expect. When I get to Calcutta, I will
tell you more of that.

When in the exercise of right feelings, I rejoice
that I am made capable of adding to the happiness
of one of Christ's dear missionaries. This is the
sphere, in which I expect to be useful, while life is
prolonged. This is what you calculated upon, and
I am now happy in seeing this wish daily accom-
plished. In heaven I hope shortly to recount to
you the many toils of my pilgrimage. My dear
mother, and my dear brothers and sisters, farewell
for the present. Lest I should forget, I mention it
now, request brother E. W. and all who are inter-
ested enough to inquire for me, to write me long
letters. Oh how acceptable will American letters
be. You icill think of it.

May 8. My dear Mr N. has been ill this week
past with the dysentery, so ill that he has kepi his
bed the greater part of the time. Should he fall a


victim to this painful disease, and leave me alone in
a strange land ! But I will not distrust the care of
my heavenly Father. I know he will never leave
nor forsake me, though a widowed stranger in a
strange country. The weather is rainy, the sea runs
high, and our room is often overflowed with water.
My health has been remarkably good since Mr N 's
sickness, and I have been able to attend upon him a
little. But think, mamma, how painful it must be
to the feeling heart to stand by the sick bed of a
beloved friend, see him in want of many necessaries,
which you cannot provide.

Four years to-day since my father's death. You,
my dear mother, have probably thought of it, and
the recollection is painful. Dear cousin C. has pro-
bably before this time entered .the world of spirits ;
and perhaps more of my dear Haverhill friends.

This life's a dream, an empty show.'

We find that we have taken passage in an old
leaky vessel, which, perhaps, will not stand the
force of the wind and waves, until we get to Cal-
cutta. But if God has any thing for us to do in
' Heathen Asia, we shall get there and accomplish it
Why then do we fear ? It is God,

* Who rides upon the stormy winds,
And manages the seas.'

And is not this God our God ?

May 10. Mr NewelTa health is much improved.
c I will bless the Lord because he hath heard the
voice of my supplications.' The weather is still
cold and unpleasant. We are tossing about on the
storiny waves, and are subjected to the numerous
inconveniences of a sea-faring life. We go at the


fate of 160 miles hi 24 hours. We hope to reach
our destined haven in six or seven weeks.

Scarcely a night passes, but I dream of my dear
mother, brothers and sisters. My sleeping hours
are pleasant. Doubtless, mamma sometimes dreams
of Harriet. Does she not ?

May 11. I have been reading what I have written,
and fear that mamma will conclude from some sen-
tences, that I am not so happy in my present situ-
ation, as she could wish. It has never been my
intention to leave this impression on your mind.
Believe me, my mother, in the sincerity of my
heart I can say, that with a very few exceptions, I
am happy all the day long. Though I am deeply
sensible of my want of many qualifications, which
would render a female highly useful among those of
her own sex in Asia, yet I delight in the thought,
that weak and unqualified as I am, a sovereign God
may see fit to make me the instrument of doing
some good to the Heathen, either directly or indi-
rectly. Recollect, mamma, that happiness is not
confined to any particular situation.

The humble cottager may enjoy as much happi-
ness, as the king on his throne. Blest with a com-
petency, what more do we want ? This God has
hitherto granted me ; and more than this, he has
often given me the enjoyment of himself, which you
know by happy experience is of greater value than
all this earth can afford :

* Give what thou wilt, without thee we are poor,
And with thee rich, take wliat thou wilt away." 1

I think I never enjoyed so much solid peace of
mind never was so free from discontent and melan-



choly, as since I have been here ; though I still
retain a sinful heart, and often am led to doubt the
reality of my being personally interested in the

May 14. You will not doubt but what my health
is excellent when I tell you, that I eat meat three
times a-day with a very good relish. I generally
drink water- gruel morning and evening, instead of
coffee and tea. The gingerbread, which the ladies
in Salem made for us, is still good. But we find
that the crackers, which Captain Pearson put up for
us, have been, and still are, more acceptable than
any thing else, which we have. The preserves,
which I brought from home, were almost useless ;
for - in a week or two after we sailed they grew
mouldy, and I gave them to the sailors. Those
which Mrs B. gave me, kept very well. Mr N.
relished them much in his sickness. I wish to
thank her.

May 17. Sabbath eve. This has been a plea-
sant day. We assembled in the cabin as usual, and
joined in the worship of God. I have enjoyed as
much this day, as I ever did in an American church.
The presence of Jesus is not confined to a temple
made with hands. Many hundreds flock to his
house every Sabbath. The word preached does not
profit them. They go, and return without a bless-
ing; while the believing two or three, who are
gathered together in his name, are favoured with
his presence. This thought often gives me great
encouragement, when lamenting my long absence
from the courts of the Lord. ' I have loved the
place where thine honour dwelleth.'


Two albatrosses caught to-day. They are very
pretty birds, about the size of a goose. We shal
have what we call a sea pie made of them. We aL
long to see land again.

May 20. This is probably a delightful month
with you. ' The winter is past, and the time of
the singing of birds is corned May health, peace,
and joy, reside in my dear-loved native dwelling.
Oh ! may my mother dear and all her children be
favoured with those joys, which the Gospel of Jesus
affords. Pray that Harriet may possess them too,
though far away from friends and home.

May 21. How does our dear Church flourish?
Is the little flock which our dear pastor is attempt-
ing to direct to glory, increasing in strength, piety,
and numbers ? And how is it with the pious few,
whom I left walking closely with God, like pilgrims
and strangers, and daily expectants of rest ? Oh !
that I were with them, to speak a word to our dear
sisters, and exhort them to be faithful unto the end.
But no, mamma, do not regard the opposition of
the world, or Satan ; but Oh ! be active, be engaged
in promoting piety around you. Oh ! that I had
done more for Jesus, when with you. Oh ! that
those evenings which were spent in vanity, had
been sacred to prayer ! Tell cousin J.. to exert
every faculty of his soul for God.

Mity 22. How does dear little A. do ? I should
love to see the sweet child. May he long live to
comfort his parents, and do good in the world !
Our dear Mr W. is probably now at Haverhill.
I 1 would have been pleasant to see him once more.
Do give my love to him. Will he write me one letter ?


M. I hope, has become very good, and is affording
you much assistance and comfort. C. likewise, and
little E. I hope, are great blessings to their dear
mother. Do kiss all the children for me. I shall
expect letters from every one. I shall not ask for
them : for mamma knows what I want. I cannot
yet give up the idea of having a visit from you,
when I get settled in my little Indian hut. Per-
haps E. S. or C. may accompany some Missionary
to Asia. If the mission-ship should be sent but
let me stop. I have thought more than ever, since
I left home, that I shall return to America again,
if deprived by death of my dear, dear Mr N. Oh !
that such an event might never happen. But life
is uncertain, particularly in burning India. I am
trying to familiarize my mind to every affliction.
We often converse of a separation. It is his wish,
that I should return to you immediately, should
such an event take place ; unless I am positive of
being more extensively useful among the Heathen.

May 24. Hope my Haverhill friends have en-
joyed as much comfort as I have, this holy Sabbath.

May 29. Do you not think, mamma, I have
acquired a little courage since I left home ? I have
had hco teeth extracted to-day; they came very
hard; but I think I shall have all my defective
ones taken out.

May &l. We have, this evening, been reading
some account of Birmah. Never before did I so
much feel my dependance on God. We are going
among a savage people, without the protection of a
religious government. We may possibly, one day,
die martyrs to the cause which we have espoused


But trusting in God, we may yet be happy, infi-
nitely more happy, than all the riches and honours
of this world can make us. I hope you will never
indulge an anxious thought about us. Pray often,
and pray earnestly for us. Oh ! how does the hope
of heaven reconcile me to a life of trials. When
my friends in America hear of my departure from
this vale of tears, let the thought, that I am at
rest in Jesus, influence them to rejoice rather than
to weep.

June 7. The weather grows warmer, and the
heat will probably continue to increase, until we
reach Calcutta. But we have fine winds, which
render the weather comfortable. Worship as usual
in the cabin to-day. We have commenced and
ended this Sabbath, nearly at the same time with the
Christians in India. If mamma and our other
friends were now to look on the map, they would
see us in the torrid zone, passing near the fertile
island of Ceylon. The idea of being within some
hundred miles of land is really pleasant. We have
had strong gales of wind, and heavy rains, attended
with thunder and lightning of late ; which might
terrify a heart, more susceptible of feeling than
mine. I know not how it is, but I hear the thun-
der roll, see the lightning flash, and the waves
threatening to swallow up the vessel,, and yet remain

June 9. We are now looking forward in expecta-
tion of shortly seeing the shores of Calcutta. The
idea of again walking on the earth, and conversing
with its inhabitants, is pleasing. Though, as we
often remark to each other, this- may be the plea-


santest part of our lives. We do not calculate upon
a life of ease.

June 10. We have been packing some of our
things to-day. Hope to reach port Sabbath-day, if
the winds prove favourable.

June 11. Some visitors from land to-day, two
birds and a butterfly. We suppose, that we are
about one hundred miles from land. The weather
unpleasant and rainy last night and to-day. I
dread rainy weather very much at sea. How does
dear E. do ? Is she a very good child ? Do, dear
mother, talk often to the children about their sister
Harriet. Do not let them forget me. I think much
of dear sister E. How happy should I feel, if she
were with me. Dear girl ! with what sensations do
I recal the scenes of other years ! I hope that she
is happy. Perhaps ere this, she has given herself
to God, and commenced a serious and devout life.
If this is the case, my heart congratulates her.
My mother, shall so much loveliness be lost ?

June 12. * Rejoice with us, my dear, dear mother,
in the gcodness of our covenant God. After seeing
nothing but sky and water for one hundred and
fourteen days, we this morning heard the joyful
exclamation of ' land, land /' It is the coast of
Orissa, about twenty miles from us. Should the
wind be favourable, we shall not lose sight of land
again until we get to Calcutta. We hope to see
the pagoda which contains the Idol Juggernaut, be-
fore sunset. The view of the Orisso coast, though
at a distance, excites within me a variety of sensa-
tions unknown before. For it is the land of Pagan
darkness, which Buchanan so feelingly describes.


June 13. A calm. Passed the temple of Jug-
gernaut, and the Black Pagoda ; but the weather
being hazy, we could not see them. In the after-
noon for the first time, spoke a vessel. An Ameri-
can ship from the Cape of Good Hope. It seemed
good to hear the voice of a human being not
belonging to our number. Agreed to keep company
during the night.

June 1 4. No public worship to-day. The last
night a sleepless, tedious one. Sounded every half
hour all night. The water shallow, and of a dirty
light green. Surrounded by shoals, in perpetual
danger of running upon them. Many vessels have
been shipwrecked here, and in the Hoogly river.
May that God, who has hitherto been our protector,
still stand by us. Anxiously looking for a pilot,
but no vessel in sight. The ship and brig close by
us. Pleasant having company. Spoken with the
brig to-day, owned by some one in Calcutta, and
manned by Bengalees. I could see them distinctly
with a spy glass. Lost sight of land. No sun for
three days.

June 15. We anchored last night. Dangerous
sailing in this place in the dark ; providentially
discovered a pilot's schooner this morning. Vessels
are sometimes kept waiting ten days or more for a
pilot. The pilot, an English lad., called the leads-
man, and the pilot's Hindoo servant, came on board,
bag and baggage. I should like to describe this
Hindoo to you. He is small in stature, about
twenty years of age, of a dark copper colour. His
countenance is mild, and indicates the most perfect
apathy and indolence. He is dressed in calico


trowsers, and a white cotton short gown. He is a
Mahometan. I should not imagine that he had
force enough to engage in any employment.

June 16. Last night by sunset the anchor was
thrown again. A heavy sea; the vessel rocked
violently all the evening. The water rushing in at
the cabin windows, overflowed our rooms. The
birth is our only place of refuge at such times.

About eleven the cable broke, and we were dashed
about all night in continual danger of running upon
some shoal. The anchor was lost, yet we were mi-
raculously preserved from a sudden and awful death,
by that God who rules the seas, and whom the winds
obey. I slept the greater part of the night sweetly ,-
though the dead lights were in, which made our
room excessively hot, and much confusion was on
deck ; all hands hard at work the most of the night.
What a blessing, Oh my mother, is health. Were
I on land, I think no one would be so free from
complaints as I. Even here, notwithstanding all
the fatigue to which I am unavoidably subjected, I
get along surprisingly. Saugor Island about two
miles from us. This is the island where so many
innocent children have been sacrificed by their pa-
rents, to sharks and alligators. Cruel, cruel ! While
I am now writing, we are fast entering the river
Hoogly. For several days past, we have had fre-
quent showers of rain. This is the time at which
the rainy season commences in Bengal. It is the
most unhealthy part of the year. The weather is
not uncomfortably warm.

12 o'clock. A boat filled with Hindoos from
Cudjeree, has just left our vessel. It is called a


port-boat. They have taken letters, which will be
sent post haste before us, to Calcutta. These Hin-
doos were naked, except a piece of cotton cloth
wrapped about their middle. They are of a dark
copper colour, and with much more interesting
countenances than the Hindoo we have now on
board. They appeared active, talkative, and as
though they were capable of acquiring a knowledge
of the Christian religion, if instructed. Their hair
is black ; some had it shaved off' the fore part of the
head, and tied in a bunch behind ; that of the
others, was all turned back. I long to become ac-
quainted with the Hindoo language.

1 odock. We are now so near land as to see
the green bushes and trees on the banks of the
river. The smell of the land air is reviving. We
hear the birds singing sweetly in the bushes.

5 o'clock. I wish my ever dear mother could be
a partaker of our pleasures. Were it in my power,
how gladly would I describe to you the beauties of
the scenery around us. After passing hundreds of
the Hindoo cottages, which resemble hay-stacks in
their form and colour, in the midst of cocoa-nut 9
banana, and date trees, a large English stone house
will appear to vary the scene. Here will be seen a
large white Pagoda through the trees, the place
where the idol gods are worshipped ; there a large
ancient building in ruins. Some Hindoos are seen,
bathing in the water of the Ganges ; others fishing ;
others sitting at their ease on the banks ; others
driving home their cattle, which are very numerous ;
and others, walking with fruit and umbrellas in their
hands, with the little tawny children around them


The boats frequently come to our vessel, and die?
Hindoos chatter, but it is thought best to take no
notice of them. This is the most delightful trial
I ever had. We anchor in the river to-night,
twenty-five miles from Calcutta. Farewell.

June 17. After a tedious voyage, we have, my
dear mother, arrived at Calcutta. We reached here
yesterday, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Mr N.
and brother J. went on shore immediately, and re-
turned in the evening. They called at the Police
office, entered their names, called upon Dr Carey
at his dwelling-house at Calcutta, were cordially
received, and by him invited to go immediately ta
Serampore*. They likewise saw Dr Marshman
and Mr Ward. I cannot say that our future pros-
pects are at present flattering, but hope before I
send you this, they will wear a different aspect.

Mr N. and J. will go on shore again this morn-
ing ; we hope to be permitted to land and reside
here for a season, but know not how it will be.

The English East India Company are violently
opposed to missions ; but I will tell you more at
some future time. Oh that their hearts might be

* A Danish Settlement, chosen as the seat of the Mission in the
year 1799. It is situated about fifteen miles north from Calcutta,
en the western bank of the Hoogly, a branch of the Ganges.
When Dr Carey, Dr Marshoaan and Mr Ward first settled there,,
they agreed to adopt this principle, that no one should engage in any
private trade* but tltat whatever -was procured by any member of the
family^ should be appropriated to the benefit of the Mission. In
consequence of this resolution, in the year 1814, the Missionaries
contributed not less than Seven Thousand Pounds Sterling towards
spreading Christianity in the East ; whether by Translations of the
Scriptures, preaching the Gospel, or the establishment of Schools.



opened to receive the blessings of the Gospel. Oh
my mother, my heart is pained within me at what
I have already seen of these wretched Pagans.
Here we are, surrounded by hundreds of them,
whose only object is to get their rice, eat, drink,
and sleep. One of the writer cast*, dressed in a
muslin cuprash and white turban, (which is the
common habit of that cast) who can talk English,
has just left the cabin. His name is Ram- Joy-Gos.
Your pious heart, my dear mother, would melt with
oompassion to hear him talk. Oh the superstition
that prevails through this country ! I am sure, if
we gain admittance into Asia, I shall plead harder
with American Christians to send Missionaries to
these Bengal Heathens, than ever a Missionary did

Three miles from Calcutta, a native came with a
basket of pine-apples, plantains, (which taste like a
rich pear) a pot of fresh butter, and several loaves
of good bread a present from one of Capt. H's.
friends. At night, I made a delicious meal on bread
and milk. The milk, though thin, was a luxury.
Yesterday and last night we were not uncomfortably
warm, as the day was cloudy, attended with a little
rain. But to-day it is excessively hot. I dare not
go on deck, for I burned my face so yesterday, that
it is almost ready to blister ; owing to my going on
deck without a bonnet. You have heard of the
natives dying -by being sun-struck.

I think I can say, I never felt better in America,
than 1 do here. Calcutta harbour is a delightful
place. But we are quite tired of the noise. The
natives are as thick as bees ; they keep a continual


chattering. I like the sound of the Bangalee much.

June 18. Yesterday afternoon we left the vessel,
and were conveyed in a Palanquin through crowds
of Hindoos to Dr Carey's.

No English lady is here seen walking the streets.
This I do not now wonder at. The natives are so
numerous and noisy, that a walk would be extremely
unpleasant. Calcutta houses are built almost entirely
of stone. They are very large and airy. Dr C.'s
house appeared like a 'palace to us, after residing so
long in our little room. He keeps a large number
of Hindoo servants. Mrs Carey is very ill at
Serampore. The Doctor is a small man and very
pleasant. He received us very cordially. This
morning we saw some of the native Christians.
Ram-Mo-Hund was one. They cannot talk English.
A son of Dr C.'s is studying law at Calcutta He
is an amiable young man*. An invitation to go to
Serampore to-morrow.

June 20. At Serampore. We came here last
evening by water. The dear Missionaries received
us with the same cordiality, as they would, if we
had been own brothers and sisters. This is the
most delightful place I ever saw. Here the mis-
sionaries enjoy all the comforts of life, and are
actively engaged in the Redeemer's service. After
a tedious voyage of four months at sea, think, my
dear mother, how grateful to us is this retired and
delightful spot. The mission-house consists of four

* Mr Jabez Carey the Dr's third son. He has since devoted
himself to Missionary labours, and is resident at Amboyna, where
he has all the schools, originally established by the Dutch, to su-
perin tench ED.


large commodious stone buildings Dr CareyX Dr
Marshman's, Mr Ward's, and the common house.
In the last we were accommodated with two large
spacious rooms, with every convenience we could
wish. It has eight rooms on the floor, no chambers ;
viz the two rooms above-mentioned, with two other
lodging rooms, the dining hall, where a hundred or
more eat, a large elegant chapel, and two large
libraries. The buildings stand close to the river.
The view of the other side is delightful*.

The garden is larger and much more elegant,
than any I ever saw in America. A few months
since, the printing-office was destroyed by fire.
This was a heavy stroke ; but the printing is now
carried on very extensively. There is a large
number of out buildings also ; the cook-house, one
for making paper, &c. &c.

June 21. Mr N. preached this morning in the
Mission chapel. Mr W. in the afternoon in the
Bengalee language to about fifty Hindoos and
Mussulmen. This afternoon, I shall ever recollect
with peculiar sensations. The appearance of the
Christian Hindoos wnen listening to the word of
life, would have reproved many an American Chris-
tian. Had you been present, I am sure you could
not have refrained from weeping. Had an opposer
of missions been present, his objections must have
vanished. He would have exclaimed, what hath
God wrought ! To hear the praises of Jesus sung
by a people of strange language ; to see them kneel
before the throne of grace ; to behold them eagerly

* On the other side, besides the Mausoleum, is seen the country
residence of the Governor General, the great Park, &c, ED.




catching every word which proceeded from the
mouth of their minister, was a joyful affecting scene.
Rejoice, my mother ; the standard of the blessed
Immanuel is erected in this distant Pagan land;
and here the Gospel will undoubtedly continue, till
the commencement of the bright millennial day.
In the evening, brother J. preached. How precious

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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 9 of 15)