A Sketch of the Burman Empire. from a Map of India extra Ganjem.
Published by Mess.rs Butterworth & Son, 43, Fleet Street, London: for M.rs Judson’s Account of the American Baptist Mission in the Burman Empire
American Baptist Mission
The Burman Empire
In A Series of Letters Addressed To A
Gentleman in London.
Joseph Butterworth and Son,
43, Fleet Street. 1827mdcccxxvii.
It may not hitherto have been generally known in England, that in the year 18121812, the Rev. Adoniram Judson engaged in a Mission to the Burman Empire, under the direction of the American Board of Baptist Missions; and settled at Rangoon, on the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal. After encountering many difficulties and privations, during the first six years of his residence in that country, he acquired a thorough knowledge of the language; translated a considerable part of the New Testament; and composed Tracts, which were circulated among the natives of Burmah. Much inquiry on the subject of religion was thus excited, and several genuine converts were formed into a Christian Society, conducting themselves in every respect consistently with their Christian profession.
Mrs. Judson’s health having suffered greatly from the effects of the climate, her removal to a colder latitude became necessary, which occasioned her visit to England on her way to America, in the summer of 18221822. The particulars she communicated concerning the inhabitants of the Burman Empire, and the rise and progress of the Burman Mission, were in this country new and highly interesting. She was, therefore, earnestly requested to write a detailed account of the Mission, which might be printed for general information. In compliance with this request, on her voyage to America, she commenced, and during her residence there completed, the first Fourteen Letters which are contained in the present volume. The remainder were written after her return to Burmah.
It appears that female education forms no part of the Burman system: on the contrary, national prejudice is strongly opposed to the principle. Slavery is carried on, vi A3v vi similar, in many respects, to that which prevailed under the Mosaic dispensation. When the father of a family is overwhelmed with debt, he has recourse to the sale of his wife and children; and if the sum he receives for them be not sufficient, he offers himself in order to balance the account. Not unfrequently, under the despotic government of the Empire, a tax is levied on an individual far beyond his ability to pay, and he is put to the torture until he has entered into an engagement to produce the sum required: the sale of his wife and children takes place for this purpose. Hence there are multitudes of slaves in the Burman Empire. But those slaves whose situation is peculiarly calculated to excite compassion, are children whose parents die involved in debt. The creditor immediately lays claim to the helpless orphans, and either retains them for his debt, whatever may be its amount, or sells them for an equivalent sum. To redeem a few female orphan slaves of this description, is an object which Mrs. Judson proposes to herself, in order to commence with them a system of instruction; hoping that, should her labours succeed, their conduct in after life may convince the Burmans of the utility of female education.
The profits from this publication, if any should arise, will be appropriated to the redemption from slavery and to the education, of female children in Burmah, under the immediate superintendance of Mrs. Judson.
Preface To The First Edition
A connected account of the origin, progress, and success, of the American Baptist Mission to the Burman Empire, was first suggested by friends in Bengal, who were desirous of a better acquaintance with particular circumstances, than could be obtained from any publication extant.
On embarking for Europe, I indulged the hope of being able to commence a work of this kind, during the passage; but my ill state of health, together with the scanty materials then in my possession, induced me to defer it until a more favourable period.
In England and Scotland, I found a high degree of interest, relative to the Burman Mission; excited, principally, by a few articles of intelligence which had found their way from these shores across the Atlantic, and which continually prompted the inquiry, How shall we obtain all the information which has been transmitted to your American Board? Frequently was the request reiterated, to make a compilation of documents, in such a form as to give a history of events, from the commencement of the mission to the present time.
From no one was this request more forcibly and constantly made, than from that esteemed friend to whom these letters are addressed; who, from my first arrival in England, until my departure for my native shores, manifested the affectionate concern of a father, and spared no exertions to increase my comfort, improve my health, and enhance my usefulness. He entered warmly into our missionary views, and endeavored to cherish the flame, already kindled, in his circle; and his last request, received at the very moment of my embarkation at Liverpool, had no inconsiderable influence in prevailing on me to commence the present compilation.
Since my arrival in this country, my health has so far declined as to prevent my imparting to my beloved friends that viii A4v viii oral information which I had so fondly expected and ardently desired. This circumstance has been an additional inducement to devote every moment of leisure, and respite from pain, to the compilation of this work; and it is to me no v small source of consolation, that, while endeavoring to obtain my health, in my secluded and retired situation, I have been able to prepare and present to my Christian friends, a concise view of the faithfulness and mercy of God, as exhibited in the formation of a little church, in one of the largest heathen empires in the world.
While I consider the following letters as a substitute for verbal communications, I cannot refrain from bespeaking the candour of my friends in perusing them.
Much additional interesting matter would have been communicated, more attention to style and elegance of expression would have been given, and more particularity in selection and arrangement would have appeared, had my health allowed. This must be my apology for omissions and errors of every kind. But, poor as is the garb in which these letters are attired, a full conviction that the providential circumstances therein detailed, will have a tendency to excite grateful emotions in the hearts of many of God’s dear children, induces me to make an immediate and joyful offer of this little work.
I gladly embrace the present opportunity to express my thanks, and sense of obligation, for the continued and innumerable proofs of Christian affection, which have been manifested by the Board of Managers of the General Convention; by female societies; and by many individuals, in their endeavors to add to my comfort and aid me in my designs, since my arrival in this country.
That the blessings of thousands, ready to perish, may descend upon all interested in the missionary cause; and that every individual who shall peruse these letters may raise his heart to God, in prayer for the conversion of the heathen, is the sincere and constant desire of
Washington City, 1823-03March, 1823.
Mission To The Burman Empire. &c.
Ship Amity, 1822-08August, 1822.
My Dear Sir,
After such continued proofs of your affectionate regard, and kind concern in my welfare, it would, indeed, be the height of ingratitude, should I longer delay to comply with the request, so often made, to write you a particular and connected account of the origin, progress, and sucess, of the American Baptist Mission to the Burman Empire.
My present state of convalescence, together with freedom from interruptions during my passage to America, I am happy to say, allow the gratification of my feelings in complying with your wishes; and, though an employment of this nature will have a tendency to refresh my mind with scenes of trial, the very recital of which is appalling to human nature, it will, at the same time, recal to my recollection the tender mercies of our heavenly Father, whose unseen hand has supported, sustained, and delivered, when no created arm could succour, and whose loving-kindness B 2 B1v 2 has been richly experienced in the very storms of adversity. To honour of Divine grace would I record, that we have never encountered trials greater than we have been enabled to bear, and a way for escape from imminent danger and peril has always been provided.
Previously to a personal relation, a slight sketch of the Burman Empire, its geographical situation, government, and some of the principal traits in the character of its inhabitants, may not be uninteresting.
This empire comprises the former kingdoms of Arracan, Ava, and Pegue,whose sovereigns were displaced by the celebrated Alompra, the founder of the present dynasty, or by his successors. This, and some adjacent countries, have sometimes been termed Indo- Chinese nations, as situated between India Proper and China. The empire of Burmah, in its present state, is about 1200 miles in length, and 8 or 900 in the broadest part. It extends from the 9th to the 28th degree North latitude, and from the 91st to the 108th East longitude; and contains a population estimated at about nineteen millions. The northern part of the country is barren and mountainous; but the plains and valleys, situated more southerly, are very fertile. The climate is considered salubrious, and the natives are remarkably healthy and vigorous. The government is strictly monarchical. The emperor is an absolute sovereign, and is regarded as the sole lord and proprietor of life and property in his dominions; and, without the concurrence of any, his word is irresistible law. Four private ministers of state, (called Atwenwoon) and four public ministers of state, (Woongyee) are the organs of administration. The latter compose 3 B2r 3 the supreme court of the empire, (Tlowtdau) in the name of which all imperial edicts are issued.
The Burman empire is divided into districts, each of which is governed by the viceroy, (Myoowoon) and a court, (Yongdau). The district courts are composed of a president, (Yawoon)—chief magistrate, (Ski-kai) —collectors of the port, (Akoukwoon)—auditors, (Narkandau)—and secretaries, (Saragyee).
The members of the district courts, and the wives, relations, and favourites of viceroys, have also the privilege of holding private courts, and of deciding petty causes subject to appeal to higher authority.
The Burmans are Boodhists or a nation of atheists. They believe that existence involves in itself the principles of misery and destruction: consequently, there is no eternal God. The whole universe, say they, is only destruction and re-production. It therefore becomes a wise man to raise his desires above all things that exist, and aspire to Nigban, the state in which there is no existence. Rewards and punishments follow meritorious and sinful acts, agreeably to the nature of things. Gaudama, their last Boodh, or deity, in consequence of meritorious acts, arrived that state of perfection, which made him deserving of annihilation,—the supreme good. His instructions are still in force, and will continue till the appearance of the next deity, who is supposed now to exist somewhere in embryo, and who, when he appears, as the the most perfect of all beings, will introduce a new dispensation. The Boodhist system of morality is pure, though it is destitute of power to produce purity of life in those who profess it.
The Burmans are a lively, industrious, and energetic B2 4 B2v 4 race of people, and farther advanced in civilization than most of the Eastern nations. They are frank and candid, and destitute of that pusillanimity which characterizes the Hindoos; and of that revengeful malignity which is a leading trait in the Malay character. Some of their men are powerful logicians, and take delight in investigating new subjects. Their books are numerous; some of them written in the most flowing, beautiful style: and much ingenuity is manifested in the construction of their stories.
All the boys in the empire are taught by the priests, who are dependent for their support on the contributions of the people; but no attention is given to female education, excepting in a few instances in the higher classes of society.
From the above observations, my dear Sir, you may form some idea of the Burmans; but, on the sanguinary nature of their government, prudential reasons urge my silence.
Still hoping for an interest in your prayers,
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
Ship Amity, 1822-08August, 1822..
My Dear Sir,
I now commence a relation of those views and feelings, which first induced Mr. Judson to engage in missions5 B3r 5
Soon after he had graduated, at one of our American universities, he commenced making a tour of the United States. Some providential circumstances, while on his journey, led him to doubt the truth of those deistical sentiments which he had recently adopted. His mind became so deeply impressed with the probability of the Divine authenticity of the Scriptures, that he could no longer continue his journey; but returned to his father’s house, for the express purpose of examining thoroughly the foundation of the Christian religion. After continuing his investigations for some time, he became convinced that the Scriptures were of Divine origin, and that he himself was in a lost situation by nature, and needed renovation previous to an admittance into heaven. It now became his sole enquiry, What shall I do to be saved?
A theological seminary at Andover, Massachusetts, was about this time established; but the rules of the institution required evidence of evangelical piety in all who were admitted. Mr. Judson was desirous of entering this college, for the purpose of being benefitted by the theological lectures; but hardly ventured to make application, conscious that he was destitute of the proper qualifications. His ardent desire, however, of becoming acquainted with the religious students, and of being in a situation to gain religious instruction, overcame every obstacle, and he applied for admittance; at the same time assuring the professors of his having no hope that he had been a subject of regenerating grace. He was, notwithstanding, admitted; and, in the course of a few weeks, gained satisfactory evidence of having obtained an interest in Christ, and turned his attention to those studies which 6 B3v 6 were most calculated to make him useful in the ministry.
Some time in the last year of his residence in this theological seminary, he met with Dr. Buchanan’s Star in the East. This first led his thoughts to an Eastern mission. The subject harassed his mind from day to day, and he felt deeply impressed with the importance of making some attempt to rescue the perishing millions of the East. He communicated these impressions to the professors and students, but they all discouraged him. He then wrote to the Directors of the London Missionary Society, explained his views, and requested information on the subject of missions. He received a most encouraging reply, and an invitation to visit England, to obtain in person the necessary information.
Soon after this, Messrs. Nott, Newell, and Hall joined him, all of them resolving to leave their native land, and engage on the arduous work of missionaries, as soon as Providence should open a way. At a meeting of the Massachusetts Association, Mr. Judson and his associates presented a paper, which first made known to the public their missionary designs. This, together with further representations and conversations, originated the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.
Shortly after the formation of this Board, Mr. Judson was authorised by its members to go on a mission of inquiry to England, and to ascertain what degree of assistance could be obtained, in case our own funds should be inadequate to the undertaking. On his voyage thither, the ship was taken by a French privateer; and, as if to try the purity of his missionary 7 B4r 7 zeal, Mr. Judson was put on board, and, after being detained as a prisoner for several weeks, was safely conveyed to the dungeon of a French prison in Bayonne. Through the assistance, however, of an American gentleman, who saw Mr. J. conveyed through the streets, he procured his release, and, after a most difficult struggle to obtain official passports from Napoleon, (it was in 18111811,) he was allowed to proceed through the country, and to pass the Channel to England. In that highly favoured land, he obtained all the assistance, encouragement, and information he desired, and returned again to America, after an absence of nearly a year.
A few months after his return, the Board came to a resolution of sending the missionaries in the first ship ready to sail for the East.
Mr. Rice, another student at Andover, whose mind had long been impressed with the melancholy situation of the heathen, but who, hithero, had been undetermined, now offered himself to the Board, and begged to be allowed the privilege of accompanying his brethren.
In the winter of 18121812, Mr. and Mrs. Newell, Mr. Judson and myself, embarked from Salem, on board the Caravan; at the same time the other three missionaries sailed from Philadelphia.
We arrived in Calcutta, in May, after a pleasant passage of four months. But our heavenly Father saw our unfitness to engage in his service, previously to our entering disciplinary school. In our native country we had never known trials, or adversity; and though we had, I trust, endeavoured to count the cost, and expected a frequent cloudy sky in our missionary 8 B4v 8 atmosphere, it was our prevailing hope, that our sun would still shine bright.
And now, my dear Sir, I need make no apology for detailing circumstances relating to the government of the Honourable East India Company. You well know the prejudices which existed, relative to this subject, before the renewal of the charter in 18131813. We arrived in Calcutta during the administration of Lord Minto. A few days after our landing, we received orders to return immediately to America, in the same ship in which we came; and our captain was refused a port- clearance, unless he would enter into an enagagement to take us back. This was an occurrence we did not expect, and was aimed at the foundation of our dearest hopes. Our friends in Calcutta informed us that there was no method of evading this order, unless we could obtain permission to go some place not under the Honourable Company’s government. It was then our wish to go to the Burman empire; but the existing difficulties between the English and Burman governments, rendered the attempt presumptuous. We accordingly made application for permission to go to the Isle of France, which was readily granted. One vessel only was on the point of sailing, and she could accommodate but two passengers. The situation of my friend, Mrs. Newell, rendered it necessary that she should arrive at some home as early as possible. Mr. and Mrs. Newell, therefore, embraced the opportunity this ship presented.
We were detained in Calcutta two months longer. The government noticing our continuance, supposed, probably, that we intended remaining in Bengal, and issued a most peremptory order for our being sent 9 B5r 9 immediately on board one of the Honourable Company’s vessels, bound to England. Mr. Rice had, in the mean time, joined us. A petty officer accompanied Messrs. Rice and Judson to their place of residence, and requested them not to leave it without permission. We saw our names inserted in the public papers, as passengers on board a certain ship, and now there appeared very little hope of our escape. Mr. Rice and Mr. Judson, however, soon ascertained that a ship would sail for the Isle of France in two days. They applied for a pass from the chief magistrate, but were refused.—They communicated to the captain of the ship their circumstances, and asked if he would venture to take them on board without a pass? He replied that he would be neutral; that there was his ship, and that they might do as they pleased.
With the assistance of the gentleman in whose house we were residing, we obtained coolies (porters) to convey our baggage, and, at twelve o’clock at night, we embarked, though the gates of the dockyards were closed, and the opening of them, at that time of the night, was quite contrary to the regulations of the Company. The next morning the ship sailed. She had proceeded down the river, for two days, when a government despatch arrived, forbidding the pilot to go farther, as passengers were on board who had been ordered to England. It was one o’clock in the morning when this prohibition was received. and as the vessel had, providentially, anchored near the only English dwelling within several miles, we immediately went on shore.
The next morning, the captain, though very kind B5 10 B5v 10 and obliging, informed us, that his duty to his employers and government, required that our baggage should be removed; and that we could proceed no farther. We were successful in procuring boats for our conveyance, word was returned to the governor that no such persons were on board, and the ship was allowed to go on her way.
We knew not what course to take, feeling assured that, should we return to Calcutta, we should be sent to England, and, if we continued at the place in which we then were, we should certainly be discovered. We therefore went down the river as far as Fultah, about fifty miles from Calcutta, where we procured lodgings. Here we partook, in some measure, of the feelings of those who are every moment expecting a discovery; and, though we were conscious of having done our duty, in thus refusing to comply with the orders of government, we could not help feeling somewhat alarmed at the arrival of every boat at the Ghaut, and the appearance of every new face. We had continued in this situation four days, anxiously applying to every ship passing down the river, for admittance, to whatever port bound. We had given up all hope for escape, and thought we must return again to Calcutta, when a letter was handed to Mr. Judson, containing a pass to go on board the ship we had so lately left. We knew not who procured it, but our hearts rejoiced, we thanked God, and took courage. The ship had been gone down the river four days, and was probably out at sea. It was then dark, and we were about seventy miles from Saugar, the place where the ship lay, if not gone to sea. But there was no alternative. We went on board our boats, the boatmen11 B6r 11 men rowed hard all night and all the next day, at the close of which we had the inexpressible pleasure of discovering the ship safely anchored in Saugar roads, having been detained much longer than expected, from the circumstances that some of the Lascars had not arrived.
These providential occurrences, my dear Sir, had such a tendency to strengthen our trust and confidence in God, that we now felt assured he had something for us to do, and that he would, in his own time and way, mark out our path before us. The precious moments we enjoyed, in sweet communion with God, more, far more, than compensated for our unexpected trials.
We seriously thought of making an effort to establish a mission on the island of Madagascar, thinking it was, perhaps, the design of Providence in sending us to the Isle of France, for that purpose. With these views we immediately commenced studying the French language, continued it during our passage, and for some time after our arrival.
The intelligence of the death of our beloved friend, Mrs. Newell, was a shock we were not prepared to expect. On our voyage we had constantly anticipated the pleasure of again meeting our friends and early associates, Mr. and Mrs. Newell. It had scarcely entered our thoughts that either of them would be no more. But we were, by this solemn providence, taught a lesson we had been backward in learning, that our dearest plans might be defeated by the call of death!
After our feelings had, in some measure, subsided, we made enquiries respecting Madagascar, but, finding it impossible there to establish a mission, our attention was again turned to the East. Governor Farquhar 12 B6v 12 had received orders from the supreme government in Bengal, to have an eye on those American missionaries. He, however, very kindly and politely informed us that we were at liberty to go where we wished, so far as he was concerned, and we accordingly embraced the first opportunity which presented itself for our return to India.
While at the Isle of France it was thought advisable, both by Mr. Rice and Mr. Judson, that the former should return to America, and attempt establishing Foreign missionary societies among the Baptists.
After three months’ residence at the Isle of France, we embarked for Madras, at which place we arrived in 1813-06June, 1813. Here, again, we were assured of the hostile disposition of the Honourable Company’s government towards missionary exertions, as manifested in a late attempt to send to England our former missionary associates, the Rev. Messrs. Nott and Hall, who had proceeded to Bombay. Our excellent friend, Mr. M., was, probably, the instrument in the hands of God, of their continuance in Bombay.
Mr. Judson’s first object, therefore, was to ascertain what ships were lying in the Madras roads, and he found the only one which would sail, previously to information being given to the Supreme government in Bengal of our return to India, was bound to Rangoon. A mission to the Burman empire, desirable as it was, we had been in the habit of viewing with a kind of horror, and, though dissuaded from the attempt by our friends at Madras, we now saw the hand of Providence pointing to that region, as the scene of our future labours.13 B7r 13
As I shall frequently be obliged to have recourse to letters and documents, long since published in America, allow me, in this place, to insert a few extracts from a letter written at this time, as descriptive of our state of feeling when about to embark.
My heart often sinks within me, when I think of living among a people whose tender mercies are cruel. But, when I reflect upon their miserable state, as destitute of the Gospel, and that it is easy for our heavenly Father to protect us in the midst of danger, I feel willing to go, and live and die among them; and it is our daily prayer that it may please God to enable us to continue in that savage country. Farewell to the privileges and conveniences of civilized life! Farewell to refined Christian society! We shall enjoy these comforts no more; but Burmah will be a good place to grow in grace, to live near God, and be prepared to die. O, my dear parents and sisters, how little you know how to estimate your enjoyments, in your quiet homes, with all the comforts of life! How little you know how to prize dear Christian society, as you have never been deprived of it! How little you can realize the toils and perplexities of traversing the ocean; and how little you can know of the solid comfort of trusting in God, when dangers stand threatening to devour! But these privations, these dangers and toils, and these comforts, are ours, and we rejoice in them, and think it an inestimable privilege that our heavenly Father has given us, in allowing us to suffer for his cause.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
Ship Amity, 1822-08September, 1822.
My Dear Sir,
Our residence in Madras was very short. When our dear friends, Among these kind friends, who were solicitous for our welfare, I would mention the Rev. Mr. M. Thompson, with whom you are well acquainted, and Mr. Strachan. at that settlement, saw we were determined on going to Burmah, they did all in their power to smooth the way before us, by preparing those articles which they considered necessary on our first arrival. Among other things, a valuable European woman servant was provided. We sent her on board two days before we went ourselves. On the --06-2222d of June we embarked for Rangoon. The ship was just getting under way, when the servant, above mentioned, fell on the floor, apparently in a fit, but all our endeavours to recover her were ineffectual, for she never breathed more. It was too late to supply her place, and we were obliged to proceed without an attendant. I was immediately taken dangerously ill, and thought, indeed, that the time of my departure was at hand, and that all my toils and perplexities were at an end. But a particular account of our dangerous voyage, and the gloomy prospects on our first arrival in Burmah, is given in a letter from Mr. Judson to the Board of Missions.—We commended ourselves to the care of God, and embarked in a crazy old vessel, 15 B8r 15 manned entirely by native sailors, the captain being the only person on board that could speak our language, and we had no other apartment than what was made by canvass. Our passage was very tedious. Mrs. Judson was taken dangerously ill, and continued so, until, at one period, I came to experience the awful sensation, which necessarily resulted from the expectation of an immediate separation from her, who was the only remaining companion in my wanderings. About the same time, the captain being unable to make the Carnicobar island, where he intended taking a cargo of cocoa nuts, we were driven into a dangerous strait, between the Little and Great Andamans, two savage coasts, where the captain had never been before, and where, if we had been cast on shore, we should (according to all accounts) have been killed and eaten by the natives. But, as one evil is sometimes an antidote to another, so it happened with us. Our being driven into this dangerous, but quiet channel, brought immediate relief to the agitated and exhausted frame of Mrs. Judson, and conduced essentially to her recovery. And, in the event, we were safely conducted over the black rocks, which we sometimes saw in the gulf below; and, on the eastern side of the island, found favourable winds, which gently wafted us forward to Rangoon. But, on our arrival here, other trials awaited us.
We had never before seen a place where European influence had not contributed to smooth and soften the rough features of uncultivated nature. The prospect of Rangoon, as we approached, was quite disheartening. I went on shore, just at night, to take a view of the place, and the mission house; but so dark, 16 B8v 16 and cheerless, and unpromising did all things appear, that the evening of that day, after my return to the ship, we have marked as the most gloomy and distressing that we ever passed. Such were our weaknesses, that we felt we had no portion here below, and found consolation only in looking beyond our pilgrimage, which we tried to flatter ourselves would be short, to that peaceful region, where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest. But if ever we commended ourselves, sincerely and without reserve, to the disposal of our heavenly Father, it was on this evening. And, after some recollections and prayer, we experienced something of the presence of Him who cleaveth closer than a brother; something of that peace which our Saviour bequeathed to his followers—a legacy, which we know, from this experience, endures when the fleeting pleasures and unsubstantial riches of the world are passed away. The next day Mrs. Judson was carried into the town, being unable to walk, and we found a home at the mission house erected by Mr. Chater. We soon began to find that it was in our hearts to live and die with the Burmans. We gradually became reconciled to the place, and from a conviction of the superior importance of this to any unoccupied station, and a hope that, notwithstanding the frightful accounts we had received, we should find it practicable to remain, we were induced to pitch our tent. We applied very soon to the study of the language, and in this we have been closely engaged to the present time, so far as Mrs. Judson’s health, and my numerous interruptions have permitted.
We now, my dear Sir, felt ourselves, in every sense 17 B9r 17 of the word, on heathen ground. Not an individual of any description with whom we could unite in social prayer. We were surrounded by despotism, avarice, and cruelty; and the darkness, the dreadful moral darkness, of heathen idolatry, was evident, wherever we turned our eyes. Our tongues could not perform their office, for the language of the Burmans was then to us a perfect jargon, and no animating prospect of speedily overcoming this difficulty cheered the gloomy scene. Yet our heavenly Father suffered us not to despond. He compelled us to feel the full force of those precious promises, relative to the conversion of the heathen, which encourged us to look forward with a degree of hope, which has since astonished ourselves. We found the language extremely difficult, and we had no teacher who understood both the English and Burman languages. Our only mode of ascertaining the names of the objects which met our eye, was by pointing to them, in the presence of our teacher, who would immediately speak the names in Burman; we then expressed them as nearly as possible by the Roman character, till we had sufficiently acquired the power of the Burman.
As the state of the mission, from the period abovementioned to the present time, has been transmitted to the American Board, a selection and compilation of those statements, will principally constitute my future narrative:—From a journal, commenced 1813-07July, 1813, and continued until 1815-09September, 1815, the following extracts are taken.We feel disappointed in not finding Mr. Carey in Rangoon, as he would be able to afford us some assistance in the acquisition of the language. He has 18 B9v 18 gone to Ava, having received an order to vaccinate some of the members of the royal family. Mrs. Carey is a native of the country, though of European extraction. She has the entire charge of the family, being familiar with the language, which enables her to give directions to the servants. This circumstance relieves me from every concern of this nature, so that I devote my whole time to the study of the language, which we find very difficult; but, with diligence and perseverance, I doubt not we shall be able to read, write, and speak it, in a few years, with ease. Our teacher is a good-natured, intelligent man. Although it is contrary to the cast of a Hindoo, he sits in a chair by us, and will eat with us. When he first came, he was not very willing to instruct me, appearing to feel that it was rather beneath him to instuct a female, as the females here are held in the lowest estimation. But when he saw I was determined to persevere, and that Mr. Judson was as desirous that he should instruct me as himself, he was more attentive. As it respects our food, we get along much better than we expected. We have no bread, butter, cheese, potatoes, or scarcely any thing to which we have been accustomed. Our principle food is rice and curried fowl, and fowls stewed with cucumbers. But, instead of murmuring that we have no more of the comforts of life, we have great reason to be thankful that we have so many. There are no English families in Rangoon, and there is not a female in all Burmah with whom I can converse. The country presents a rich and beautiful 19 B10r 19 appearance, every where covered with vegetation and, if cultivated, would be one of the finest in the world. But the poor natives have little inducement to labour, or to accumulate property, as it would, probably, be taken from them by their oppressive rulers.— Many of them live on leaves and vegetables, which grow spontaneously, and some actually die with hunger. At the present time there is quite a famine. Every article of provision is extremely high; therefore many are induced to steal whatever comes in their way. There are constant robberies and murders committed. Scarcely a night passes, but houses are broken open, and things are stolen; but our trust and confidence are in our heavenly Father, who can easily preserve and protect us, though a host should encamp about us. I think God has taught us, by experience, what it is to trust in him, and to find comfort and peace in feeling that he is every where present. O, for more ardent, supreme love to him, and greater willingness to suffer in his cause! Rangoon, 1813-08-08August 8th. I again take my pen, though I have nothing new to communicate; yet I feel a pleasure and satisfaction, too great to be neglected, in writing to those dear friends, whom I never expect to see again, till I meet them in the eternal world. We are still going on in the language, though our progress is so slow that it is hardly perceptible. You can form no idea of the difficulties of acquiring a language, like this, without a dictionary, grammar, or even teacher, who understands both the English and Burman. We should be quite discouraged, were we not convinced that the acquisition of this is the only 20 B10v 20 means by which we can communicate religions truths to this perishing people. From our first embarking for India, we have had our eye on this empire, as a final residence; but we have been repeatedly discouraged by the dreadful accounts we have had of the ferocity and barbarity of the natives, together with the many privations we must suffer among entire heathens. Several missionaries have made an attempt to reside here, but have been discouraged, and left the place, without effecting any thing. And some of these missionaries, we had reason to think, possessed much more piety and devotedness to missions than ourselves. No wonder, then, that we were discouraged. But, after our heavenly Father had severely tried us, in causing us to be driven from place to place; he shut up every door, and made us feel willing to take our lives in our hands, and to come to this heathen land, to spend the remainder of our days. But, will you believe me, when I say we are cheerful and happy? though we find the government and people just as we expected; though we find ourselves almost destitute of all those sources of enjoyment to which we have been accustomed, and are in the midst of a people, who, at present, are almost desperate, on account of the scarcity of provisions; though we are exposed to robbers by night, and invaders by day, yet we both unite in saying we never were happier, never more contented in any situation, than the present. We feel that this is the post to which God hath appointed us; that we are in the path of duty; and in a situation, which, of all others, presents the most extensive field for usefulness. And, 21 B11r 21 though we are surrounded with danger and death, we feel that God can, with infinite ease, preserve and support us under the most heavy sufferings. But, for these feelings, we are indebted wholly to the free, rich, and sovereign grace of our Redeemer, and are still dependent on him for a continuance of them; for it is not three months since we looked at this situation, with all that dread and horror which you can imagine. It is our daily prayer, that we may be continued here, and be made a blessing to the poor Burmans, who are perishing for lack of knowledge. But we mourn our unfitness to be engaged in the great work of communicating religious knowledge to the dark and benighted mind of a heathen. Our only hope is in God. We know that he can bless his own truth to the salvation of sinners, though it may be communicated in ever so broken a manner; and by the meanest of creatures. We rejoice that this great, this powerful God, is our father and our friend, and has opened a way of access for us sinners, and has commanded us to open our mouths wide, with the promise that he will fill them. He hath also said, he will give the heathen to his Son, for an inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. We cannot but hope the glorious day is drawing near, when the promise will be fulfilled; and that among other heathen nations, Burmah, cruel, avaricious, idolatrous Burmah, will say to Jesus, What have I any more to do with idols? Come thou, and reign over us. O my dear parents and sisters, pray for us, that we may be humble, prayerful, and entirely devoted to the cause of Christ. Pray for these poor people, who 22 B11v 22 have altars and temples in high places, for the worship of the prince of darkness. They are immortal like ourselves, they are bound to the same eternity, and, like us, they are capable of enjoying or suffering endless happiness or eternal misery. 1814-09September, 1814. Not more refreshing to the thirsty sons of Afric is the cooling stream; or more luxurious to the meagre, half-starved native Andaman, is a morsel of food, than your letters, my dear sisters, to our weary and famished feelings. Two long years and a half had elapsed since we left our native country, without our hearing one word from any of our American friends. Thirteen months of this time have been spent in the cruel, avaricious, benighted, country of Burmah, without a single Christian friend, or female companion of any kind. Our home is in the mission house, built by the English Baptist Society, on the first arrival of Messers. Chater and Carey in this country. It is large and convenient, situated in a rural place, about half a mile from the walls of the town. We have gardens enclosed, containing about two acres of ground, full of fruit trees of various kinds. In the dry season our situation is very agreeable. We often enjoy a pleasant walk, within our own enclosure, or in some of the adjoining villages. 1814-09-28September 28th. This is the first Sabbath that we have united in commemorating the dying love of Christ at his table. Though but two in number, we feel the command as binding, and the privilege as great, as though there were more; and we have indeed found it refreshing to our souls. 1814-12-11December11th. To-day, for the first time, I have 23 B12r 23 visited the wife of the viceroy. I was introduced to her by a French lady who has frequently visited her. When we first arrived at the government-house, she was not up, consequently we had to wait some time. But the inferior wives of the viceroy diverted us much by their curiosity, in minutely examining every thing we had on, and by trying on our gloves and bonnets, &c. At last her highness made her appearance, dressed richly in the Burman fashion, with a long silver pipe in her mouth, smoking. At her appearance, all the other wives took their seats at a respectful distance, and sat in a crouching posture, without speaking. She received me very politely, took me by the hand, seated me upon a mat, and herself by me. She excused herself for not coming in sooner, saying she was unwell. One of the women brought her a bunch of flowers, of which she took several and ornamented my cap. She was very inquisitive whether I had a husband and children, whether I was my husband’s first wife—meaning by this, whether I was the highest among them, supposing that Mr. Judson, like the Burmans, had many wives— and whether I intended tarrying long in this country. When the viceroy came in I really trembled; for I never before beheld such a savage looking creature. His long robe and enormous spear not a little increased my dread. He spoke to me, however, very condescendingly, and asked if I would drink some rum or wine. When I arose to go, her highness again took my hand, told me she was happy to see me, that I must come see her every day. She led me to the door; I made my salaam, and departed. My only object in visiting her was, that if we should get into 24 B12v 24 any difficulty with the Burmans, I could have access to her, when perhaps it would not be possible for Mr. Judson to have an audience with the viceroy. We intend to have as little to do with the government people as possible, as our usefulness will, probably, be among the common people. Mr. Judson lately visited the viceroy, when he scarcely deigned to look at him, as Englishmen are no uncommon sight in this country; but an English female is quite a curiosity. 1815-01-11January11th, 1815. Yesterday we left the mission house and moved into one in town, partly through fear of robbers, and partly for the sake of being more with the natives, and learning more of their habits and manners. We shall also be in a way of getting the language much sooner, as we shall hear it spoken more frequently here, than we could in the house we have left. 1815-01-18January18th. Our ears continually filled with the intelligence of robberies and murders. Last night a band of fifteen or twenty attacked a house very near the one we had just left, and, after stabbing the owner, robbed the house of every thing they could find. The robbers were armed with large knives, spears, and guns, which put all the people around in such fear, that none dared to go to the assistance of the sufferers. This evening Mr. Judson and myself went to see the person who was stabbed. We found him lying on his bed, in great distress, surrounded by his Burman friends, who appeared to sympathize with him in his affliction. The poor man was anxious to know if Mr. Judson could tell whether he would live, by feeling25 C1r 25 ing his pulse; but Mr. Judson told him he was not a physician. The viceroy is very much enraged at this daring attempt, and has sent one of his principal officers, with three hundred men, in search of the perpetrators. All these things teach us the great need of the gospel among this poor people. They also teach us the need of being constantly prepared for a sudden, violent death. O, that the time may soon come, when this people will be able to read the Scriptures of truth in their own language, and believe in that Saviour, who is not only able to save them from such dreadful crimes, but save their immortal souls from eternal misery! 1815-01-20January20th, In consequence of the robbery committed a few days ago, the viceroy ordered seven thieves to be executed. It was dark when they arrived at the place of execution. They were tied up by the hands and feet, and then cut open, and left with their bowels hanging out. They are to remain a spectacle to others for three days, and then be buried. Their immortal souls entered the eternal world without ever having heard of Him, who was put to death as a malefactor, to save the guilty. A native of respectability came to our house soon after the execution, and Mr. Judson asked him where the souls of the robbers had gone? He said he did not know; and asked if the souls of wicked men did not enter into other bodies, and live in this world again? Mr. Judson told him no, but they were fixed, immoveably, in another state of existence. 1815-01-22January22th. To-day we have witnessed the Burman ceremonies of burying a person of rank and respectability.C 26 C1v 26 spectability. He was nephew to the current viceroy, and son of a neighboring governor. He was killed in Rangoon, accidentally, by the discharge of his gun. The procession commenced by a number of Burmans, armed with spears and bamboos, to keep the crowd in order. Some of the inferior members of government succeeded; then all the articles of use and wearing apparel of the deceased, such as his beetle box, drinking cup, looking-glass, &c. The father and train preceded; the wife, mother, and sisters followed the corpse in palanquins. The viceroy, his wife, and family, on large elephants, concluded the procession. The crowd, which was very great, followed promiscuously. All the petty governors and principal inhabitants of Rangoon were present; yet there was as perfect order and regularity as could have been observed in a Christian country. The corpse was carried some way out of town, to a large pagoda, and burnt, when the bones were collected to be buried. At the place of burning great quantities of fruit, cloth, and money, were distributed among the poor, by the parents of the deceased youth. 1815-01-27January27th. On the opposite side of the river, there is a province of the Burman Empire, governed by one who is not under the control of the viceroy of Rangoon. This governor was returning from the great funeral above mentioned, and had nearly reached his house, when a man on a sudden started up, and, with one stroke, severed his head from his body. In the bustle and confusion of his attendants, the murderer escaped. He was, however, found, and the plot discovered. It had its origin with the head steward of the governor, who intended, after the execution of 27 C2r 27 his master, to seize on his property, go up to the king, and buy the office which his master had lately occupied. He was put to the torture, and the above confession extorted from him. He was afterwards treated in the most cruel manner, having most of his bones broken, and left to languish out his miserable existence in a prison, in chains. He lived five or six days in this terrible condition. All who were concerned with him were punished in various ways. The immense property of this governor goes to the king, as he left no children, though several wives remain. 1815-03-20Sabbath-day, March 20th. To-day, as usual, we came out to the mission house, that we might enjoy the Sabbath in a more quiet way. We had but just arrived, when one of our servants informed us that there was a fire near the town. We hastened to the place whence the fire proceeded, and beheld several houses in flames, in a range which led directly to the city; and as we saw no exertions to extinguish it, we concluded the whole place would be destroyed. We set off immediately for our house in town, that we might remove our furniture and things that were there; but when we came to the town gate, it was shut. The poor people, in their fright, had shut the gate, ignorantly imagining they could shut the fire out, though the walls and gates were made entirely of wood. After waiting, however, for some time, the gate was opened, and we removed in safety all our things to the mission house. The fire continued to rage all day, and swept away almost all the houses, walls, gates, &c. We felt grateful to God that not a hair of our heads was injured; and that, while thousands of families were deprived of a shelter from the C2 28 C2v 28 burning sun, we had a comfortable house, and the necessaries of life. Though we are here exposed to thieves and robbers, yet He who has preserved us in every emergency, is still our trust and confidence, and is still able to protect us. We feel that our privileges and enjoyments are so far superior to all around us, that, instead of complaining of our privations in this heathen land, we ought to be very thankful for the many and great mercies we enjoy. 1815-04-16April16th. Mr. F. Carey has lately returned from Calcutta, and much refreshed our minds with letters and intelligence from our friends.—We are so much debarred from all social intercourse with the rest of the Christian world, that the least intelligence we receive from our friends is a great luxury. We feel more and more convinced that the gospel must be introduced into this country, through many trials and difficulties; through much self-denial and earnest prayer. The strong prejudices of the Burmans; their foolish conceit of superiority over other nations; the wickedness of their lives, together with the plausibility of their own religious tenets, make a formidable appearance in the way of their receiving the strict requirements of the gospel of Jesus. But all things are possible with God, and he is our only hope and confidence. He can make mountains become vallies, and dry places streams of water. 1815-08-20August20th. To-day, Mr. F. Carey, his wife and family, left us for Ava, where they expect to live. We are now alone in this great house, and almost alone as it respects the world. If it were not that Burmah presents such an unbounded field for missionary29 C3r 29 sionary exertions, we could not be contented to stay in this miserable land. But we are convinced that we are in the very situation in which our heavenly Father would have us to be, and if we were to leave it, for the sake of enjoying a few more temporal comforts, we should have no reason to expect his blessing on our exertions. We frequently receive letters from our Christian friends in this part of the world, begging us to leave a field so entirely rough and uncultivated, the soil of which is so unpromising, and enter one which presents the prospect of a more plentiful harvest. God grant that we may live and die among the Burmans, though we should never do any thing more than smooth the way for others. 1815-09-03September3d. Heard the dreadful intelligence of the loss of Mr. F. Carey’s vessel, wife and children. and all his property! He barely escaped with his . life! How soon are all his hopes blasted! He set out for Ava in a brig, which belonged to the Burman government, having his furniture, medicine, wearing apparel, &c. on board. The brig had been in the river about ten days, when she upset, and immediately went down. Mrs. Carey, two children, all the women servants, and some of the men servants, who could not swim, were lost. Mr. Carey endeavoured to save his little boy (three years old), but finding himself going down, was obliged to give up the child. As it respects ourselves, we are busily employed all day long. I can assure you that we find much pleasure in our employment. Could you look into a large open room, which we call a verandah, you would 30 C3v 30 see Mr. Judson bent over his table, covered with Burman books, with his teacher at his side, a venerable looking man, in his sixtieth year, with a cloth wrapped round his middle, and a handkerchief on his head.— They talk and chatter all day long, with hardly any cessation. My mornings are busily employed in giving directions to the servants, providing food for the family,&c. At ten, my teacher comes, when, were you present, you might see me in an inner room, at one side of my study table, and my teacher the other, reading Burman, writing, talking &c. I have many more interruptions than Mr. Judson, as I have the entire management of the family. This I took on myself, for the sake of Mr. Judson’s attending more closely to the study of the language; yet I have found, by a years’s experience, that it is the most direct way I could have taken to acquire the language; as I am frequently obliged to speak Burman all day. I can talk and understand others better than Mr. Judson, though he knows more about the nature and construction of the language. A new viceroy has lately arrived, who is much beloved and respected by the people. He visited us soon after his arrival, and told us that we must come to the government-house very often. We have been once or twice since, and have been treated with much more familiarity and respect than the natives of the country. After he had moved into his new house, he gave an invitation to all the English and Frenchmen to dinner. The viceroy and his wife did every thing in their power to amuse the company. Among other things were music and dancing. The wife of the 31 C4r 31 viceroy asked me if I knew how to dance in the Engglish way? I told her it was not proper for the wives of priests to dance. She immediately assented, and thought that a sufficient reason for my declining. She then asked what kind of teacher Mr. Judson was? I told her, speaking in their idiom, that he was a sacred teacher, that is, a teacher of the will of the true God. The Burmans have a very great regard for their priests. They consider them a higher order of beings than other men. This was the cause of the marked attention we received from her ladyship. I wish I could write you something about the conversion of the Burmans, or their eagerness to hear the word of God. No missionary has ever attempted to preach among the natives, so that we are hardly able to judge how the gospel would be received, if publicly preached. Yet their firm belief of the divine origin of their religion, renders it improbable, to human appearance, that they would willingly receive the gospel. We often converse with our teachers and servants on the subject of our coming to this country, and tell them, if they die in their present state, they will surely be lost. But they say Our religion is good for us, yours for you. But we are far from being discouraged. We are sensible that the hearts of the heathen, as well as those of Christians, are in the hands of God, and in his own time he will turn them unto himself. Much wisdom and precaution are necessary in our present situation. A little departure from prudence might at once destroy the mission. We still feel happy and thankful that God has made it our duty to 32 C4v 32 live among the heathen. Though we have met, and continue to meet, with many trials and discouragements, yet we have never, for a moment, regretted that we undertook this mission. This climate is one of the most healthy in the world. There are only two months in the year when it is severely hot. We doubt not but you pray much for us, in this miserable land, deprived of all Christian society. We need very much, very much grace, that we may persevere, and bear a faithful testimony to the religion of Jesus. Adieu, my sisters. May God be with you, and grant you much of his presence, is the sincere and ardent prayer of your still affectionate sister.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
Bradford, Massachusetts, 1822-09September, 1822.
My Dear Sir,
My only excuse for the length of the preceding letter, is the continued connexion of those events which I could not well separate. I have thus far introduced in my relation many more extracts from my own, than from Mr. Judson’s letters.—During the first years of our residence in Burmah, I was in the habit of noting little occurrences much more frequently than Mr. Judson, as his whole time and thoughts were exclusively devoted to the acquisition of the language. 33 C5r 33 I ought, under some circumstances, to make an apology for saying so much about our personal concerns; but, when I recollect how frequently you urged me to be particular in my relation, and to send you every thing that had ever been printed, I feel that an excuse of any kind is unnecessary.
A letter written about this time to Mr. Newell our former associate, is a continued description of our plans and prospects:A few days since we welcomed yours of --12-18December 18th, the only one we have recived since you left us, at Port Louis. It brought fresh to my mind a recollection of scenes formerly enjoyed in our dear native country. Well do I remember our first interesting conversations on missions, and on the probable events that awaited us in India. Those were happy days. Newell and Judson, Harriet and Ann, then were united in the strictest friendship— then anticipated spending their lives together, in sharing the trials and toils, the pleasures and enjoyments, of a missionary life. But, alas! behold us now! In the Isle of France, solitary and alone, lies all that was once visible of the lovely Harriet. A melancholy wanderer, in the Island of Ceylon, is brother Newell; and the savage, heathen empire of Burmah, is destined to be the future residence of Judson and Ann! But is this seperation to be for ever? shall we four never again enjoy social, happy intercourse? Yes, my dear brother, our seperation is of short duration. There is a rest, a peaceful, happy rest, where Jesus reigns, where we four shall soon meet, to part no more. As Mr. Judson will not have time to write to you by this opportunity, I will endeavour to give you some C5 34 C5v 34 idea of our situation here, and of our plans and prospects. We have found the country, as we expected, in a most deplorable state, full of darkness, idolatry, and cruelty,—full of commotion and uncertainty. We daily feel that the existence and perpetuity of this mission, still in an infant state, depend in a peculiar manner on the interposing hand of Providence, and, from this impression alone, we are encouraged still to remain. As it respects our temporal privations, use has made them familiar, and easy to be borne; they are of short duration, and, when brought in competition with the worth of immortal souls, sink into nothing. We have no society, no dear Christian friends; and, with the exception of two or three sea captains, who now and then call on us, we never see a European face. When we feel a disposition to sigh for the enjoyments of our native country, we turn to eyes on the miserable objects around. We behold some of them labouring hard for a scanty subsistence, oppressed by an avaricious government, which is ever ready to seize what industry has hardly earned; we behold others sick and diseased, daily begging the few grains of rice, which, when obtained, are scarcely sufficient to protract their wretched existence, and with no other habitation to cover them from the burning sun or chilly rains, than that which a small piece of cloth, raised on four bamboos, under the shade of a tree, can afford. While we behold these scenes, we feel that we have all the comforts, and, in comparison, even the luxuries of life. We feel that our temporal cup of blessings is full, and runneth over. But is our temporal lot so much superior to theirs? O, how infinitely superior spiritual blessings! 35 C6r 35 While they vainly imagine to purchase promotion, in another state of existence, by strictly worshipping their idols, and building pagodas; our hopes of future happiness are fixed on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world. When we have a realizing sense of these things, my dear brother, we forget our native country and former enjoyments, and feel contented and happy with our lot, with but one wish remaining, that of being instrumental in leading these Burmans to partake of the same source of happiness with ourselves. Our progress in the language is slow, as it is peculiarly hard of acquisition. We can, however, read, write, and converse with tolerable ease; and frequently spend whole evenings very pleasantly in conversing with our Burman friends.— We have been very fortunate in procuring good instructors, Mr. Judson’s teacher is a very learned man, was formerly a priest, and resided at court. He has a thorough knowledge of the grammatical construction of the language, likewise of the Pali, the learned language of the Burmans. We are very anxious to hear from our dearest brethren, Nott and Hall. We firmly believe they will yet be permitted to stay in India, notwithstanding their repeated difficulties. They have, indeed, had a trying time: but, perhaps, it is to prepare them for further usefulness. We have not yet received our letters from America, or had the least intelligence what were the contents of yours. Ours were sent to the Isle of France about the time we arrived in Madras, and the vessel which carried them has not been heard of since. You may 36 C6v 36 easily judge of our feelings of disappointment. You can hardly form an idea of what eagerness we receive every scrap of intelligence from any part of the Christian world. Write us long and frequent letters. Any thing respecting yourself or the other brethren, will be interesting to us. I do not ask you to excuse this long letter, for I doubt not your interest in our concerns.
The above extracts will give you some idea of the state of the country, and of our mode of living, during the two first years of our residence in that heathen land. Yet we never felt a desponding sensation. Those providential occurrences, which directed us thither, were referred to, as a kind of assurance that we were in the path of duty; we were convinced that we had followed the leadings of Providence, and doubted not, that by the time we were qualified to communicate religious truth, the present apparently insurmountable obstacles would be removed, and that some way would be opened for the establishment of the mission. A disciplinary school, however, was still open for our benefit.
After the first six months of our residence in Rangoon, my health had been on the decline, and as there was no medical aid in the country, Mr. J. felt the necessity of my going to some foreign port for its restoration. Such was the state of our infant mission, that I could not consent that Mr. J. should accompany me. I therefore embarked in 1814-01January, 1814, for Mad ras, at which place I entirely recovered, and returned in the April following. During my absence, Mr. Judson had no individual Christian with whom he could converse, or unite in prayer. He, however, pursued his 37 C7r 37 great object, the acquiring of the language; and during this interval, was much encouraged by accounts from our dear native country, of the rapid increase of a missionary spirit.
It would perhaps be unnecessary for me to mention the circumstances of our becoming Baptists on our passage out to India, were it not in connexion with the formation of the present Baptist Board of Missions. A missionary impulse, before unknown, was given to the Baptist denomination throughout the United States, by the indefatigable exertions of Mr. Rice, and by the circumstance of there being a missionary on heathen ground, of their own order, looking to them for encouragement and co -operation.
On the 1814-05-1818th of May, 1814, a meeting of Baptist ministers, from most of the States, took place in Philadelphia, for the purpose of forming a General Convention, in order to concentrate the energies, and direct the efforts of the denomination, in sending the gospel to the heathen.
Perhaps no event (remarks one who was present) has ever taken place among the Baptist denomination in America, which has excited more lively interest, than the late missionary convention. It was, indeed, a sight no less novel than interesting, to behold brethren who had hitherto been personally unknown to each other, collecting from north to south, from Massachusetts to Georgia, a distance of more than a thousand miles, for the important purpose of forming a General Convention.
How much encouragement Mr. Judson, in his solitary situation, derived from the above-mentioned event, may be seen from the following extracts from his 38 C7v 38 journal, which also narrate his first attempt to communicate religious instruction to his teacher.Rangoon, 1815-09-05September5th, 1815. Received a copy of the proceedings of the Baptist Convention in the United States, and letters from the Secretary of their Board of Foreign Missions. These accounts from my dear native land were so interesting, as to banish from my mind all thoughts of study. This general movement among the Baptist churches in America, is particularly encouraging, as it affords an additional indication of God’s merciful designs in favour of the poor heathen. It unites with all the Bible Societies in Europe and America, during the last twenty years, in furnishing abundant reason to hope, that the dreadful darkness which has so long enveloped the earth, is about to flee away before the rising Sun.— Do not the successes which have crowned some missionary exertions, seem like the dawn of a morning in the East? Oh, that this region of Egyptian darkness, may ere long participate in the vivifying beams of light! None but one who has had the experience, can tell what feelings comfort the heart of a solitary missionary, when, though all the scenes around him present no friend, he remembers, and has proofs that there are spots on this wide earth, where Christian brethren feel that his cause is their own, and pray to the same God and Saviour, for his welfare and success. Thanks be to God, not only for rivers of endless joys above but for rills of comforts here below. 1815-09-09September9th. Called on the viceroy to pay my respects, on his return from an expedition to Martaban. He and his family have always treated me with civility, on learning that I was a minister of religion. 39 C8r 39 On my return, was visited by Mr. Babasheen, an aged Armenian, in high office under government. The ideas of the Armenian on the subject of practical religion, are very similar to those of the Roman Catholics. This gentleman supposes, that having been christened in infancy, having confessed to his priest at stated times, &c. he shall certainly be saved. I told him, except a man be born again, he cannot enter into heaven. He inquired how a man could be born again. I related to him the conversation of our Lord and Nicodemus, which was all new to him. He called for his Armenian Bible, which was kept carefully wrapped up in a cloth, and having read the chapter, said that I was right, and that our Bibles were the same. Then holding out his hand, Here, said he, pointing to his wrist, is the root of the religion. This finger is the Armenian church, this the Roman Catholic, this the English, &c. All are the same. I told him that the Bible was indeed the same, but those only who adhered to it would be saved. Ah, said he, you cannot speak the language fluently. I find it difficult to understand you. When you can talk better, come and see me often, and I shall get wisdom. I was ready to reply, Poor man, ere that time comes you will probably be in the grave; but contented myself with lifting up my my heart unto God. 1815-09-30September30th. Had the following conversation with my teacher. This man has been with me about three months, and is the most sensible, learned, and candid man, that I have ever found among the Burmans. He is forty-seven years of age, and his name is Oo Oungmeng. I began by saying, Mr. J―― is dead. Oo.—I have heard so. J—His soul is lost, I 40 C8v 40 think. Oo.—Why so? J.—He was not a disciple of Christ. Oo.—How do you know that? You could not see his soul. J—How do you know whether the root of the mango tree is good? You cannot see it; but you can judge by the fruit on its branches. Thus I know that Mr. J―― was not a disciple of Christ, because his words and actions were not such as indicate the disciple. Oo.—And so all who are not disciples of Christ are lost! J.—Yes, all, whether Burmans or foreigners. Oo.—This is hard. J.— Yes, it is hard, indeed; otherwise I should not have come at all this way, and left parents and all, to tell you of Christ. [He seemed to feel the force of this, and after stopping a little, he said,] How is it that the disciples of Christ are so fortunate above all other men? J.—Are not all men sinners, and deserving of punishment in a future state? Oo.—Yes; all must suffer, in some future state for the sins they commit. The punishment follows the crime, as surely as the wheel of a cart follows the footsteps of the ox. J.—Now according to the Burman system, there is no escape. According to the Christian system there is. Jesus Christ has died in the place of sinners; has borne their sins, and now those who believe on him, and becomes his disciples, are released from the punishment they deserve. At death they are received into heaven, and are happy for ever. Oo.—That I will never believe. My mind is very stiff on this one point, namely, that all existence involves in itself principles of misery and destruction. J— Teacher, there are two evil futurities, and one good. A miserable future existence is evil, and annihilation or nigban is an evil, a fearful evil. A happy future existence is alone good. Oo.—I admit that it is best, if it could 41 C9r 41 be perpetual; but it cannot be. Whatever is, is liable to change, and misery, and destruction. Nigban is the only permanent good, and that good has been attained by Gaudama, the last deity. J.—If there be an eternal Being, you cannot account for any thing. Whence this world, and all that we see? Oo.—Fate. J.—Fate! the cause must always be equal to the effect. See, I raise this table; see, also, that ant under it: suppose I were invisible; would a wise man say the ant raised it? Now fate is not even an ant. Fate is a word, that is all. It is not an agent, not a thing. What is fate? Oo.—The fate of creatures, is the influence which their good or bad deeds have on their future existence. J.—If influence be exerted, there must be an exerter. If there be determination, there must be a determiner. Oo.—No; there is no determiner. There cannot be an eternal Being. J.—Consider this point. It is a main point of true wisdom. Whenever there is an execution of a purpose, there must be an agent. Oo.—[After a little thought] I must say that my mind is very decided and hard, and unless you tell me something more to the purpose, I shall never believe. J.—Well, teacher, I wish you to believe, not for my profit, but for yours. I daily pray the true God to give you light, that you may believe. Whether you will ever believe in this world I don’t know, but when you die I know you will believe what I now say. You will then appear before the God you now deny. Oo.—I don’t know that. 1815-10-04October4th. Was called to attend the funeral of captain C――. At the grave, saw several persons present who could understand me in English, and accordingly42 C9v 42 cordingly gave them an exhortation before prayer. May the Lord grant his blessing. 1815-10-16October16th. An opportunity of sending to Bengal occurs, by which I shall forward this, I know not whether to call it a letter or journal. But something of this sort, I propose continuing, to be addressed to the Corresponding Secretary; though it be not a journal in the strict acceptation of the word, that is, an account of every day. If a missionary, during his first years, should attempt keeping such a narrative, he might find little to insert under most of the dates, but the number of pages read, new words acquired, and idle conversation with the natives—idle, indeed, in substance, but not in purpose, being indispensable to his thoroughly attaining the phraseology and pronunciation of the language. I am sometimes a little dispirited, when I reflect, that for two or three years past I have been drilling at A, B, C, and grammar. But I consider again, that the some one must acquire this language, buy dint of application; must translate the Scriptures, and must preach the gospel to the people in their own tongue, or how can they be saved? My views of the missionary object are, indeed, different from what they were when I was first set on fore by Buchanan’s Star in the East six years ago. But it does not always happen that a closer acquaintance with an object diminishes our attachment and preference. We sometimes dissocer beauties as well as deformities, which are overlooked in a superficial view: when some attractions lose their force, others more permanent are exerted; and when the glitter, in which novelty invested the object, has 43 C10r 43 passed away, more substantial excellencies have room to disclose their influence: and so it has been with me, I hope, in regard to the work of the missions. I remain, Rev. and dear, Sir, yours affectionately in the Lord.
Some of the principal difficulties in obtaining a thorough knowledge of the Burman language, are enumerated in the following letter from Mr. J. to the Rev. Mr. Bolles, in Salem:Rangoon, 1816-01-16January16th, 1816. Your letter of 1816-03March, 1815, I lately received, and read with real satisfaction. Neither brother Rice, nor any of the others that you mention, have been heard of in these parts. May they not be far distant! Whenever they shall arrive, I hope to be of some real service to them in their preparatory studies, and to be able, in a short time, to give them information on many points, which it has cost me months to acquire. I just now begin to see my way forward in this language, and hope that two or three years more will make it somewhat familiar; but I have met with difficulties that I have no idea of before I entered on the work. For a European or American to acquire a living oriental language, root and branch, and make his own, is quite a different thing from his acquiring a cognate language of the west, or any of the dead languages, as they are studied in the schools. One circumstance may serve to illustrate this. I once had occasion to devote a few months to the study of the French. I have now been above two years engaged in the Burman. But if I were to chuse between a Burman and a French book, to be examined in, without previous study, I should, without the least hesitation, choose the French. When we take up a western language, 44 C10v 44 the similarity in the characters, in very many terms in many modes of expression, and in the geneal structure of the sentences, its being in fair print, (a circiumstance we hardly think of,) and the assistance of grammars, dictionaries, and instructors, render the work comparatively easy. But when we take up a language spoken by a people on the other side of the earth, whose very thoughts run in channels diverse from ours, and whose modes of expression are consequently all new and uncouth; when we find the letters and words all totally destitute of the least resemblance to any language we have ever met with, and these words not fairly divided, and distinguished, as in western writing, by breaks and points, and capitals, but run together in one continuous line, a sentence or paragraph seeming to the eye but one long word; when, instead of clear characters on paper, we find only obscure scratches on dried palm leaves strung together, and called a book; when we have no dictionary, no interpreter to explain a single word, and must get something of the language, before we can avail ourselves of the assistance of a native teacher,— Hoc opus, hic labor est. I had hoped, before I came here, that it would not be my lot to have to go alone, without any guide, in an unexplored path, especially, as missionaries had been here before. But Mr. Chater has left the country, and Mr. F. Carey was with me very little, before he left the mission and the missionary work altogether. I long to write something more interesting and encouraging to the friends of the mission; but it must not yet be expected. It unavoidably takes several45 C11r 45 ral years to acquire such a language, in order to converse, and write intelligently on the great truths of the gospel. Dr. Carey once told me, that after he had been some years in Bengal, and thought he was doing very well, in conversing and preaching with the natives they (as he was afterwards convinced) knew not what he was about. A young missionary, who expects to pick up the language in a year or two, will probably find that he has not counted the cost. If he should be so fortunate as to obtain a good interpreter, he may be useful by that means. But he will learn, especially if he is in a new place, where the way if not prepared, and no previous ideas communicated, that to qualify himself to communicate divine truth intelligibly, by his voice or pen, is not the work of a year. However, notwithstanding my present great incompetency, I am beginning to translate the New Testament, being extremely anxious to get some parts of Scripture, at least, into an intelligible shape, if for no other purpose than to read, as occasion offers, to the Burmans with whom I meet. My paper allows me to add nothing more, but to beg your prayers, that, while I am much occupied in words and phrases, and destitute of those gospel privileges you so richly enjoy, in the midst of your dear church and people, I may not lose the life of religion in my soul.
Thus were we situated, when an event occurred, which wrung our hearts with anguish; the mention of which I cannot prevail on myself to omit, though not strictly connected with my missionary relation. I allude to the death of our first-born, our only son. Deprived, as we were, of every source of enjoyment 56 C11v 46 of a temporal nature, our every affection was entangled by this darling object. When our heavenly Father saw we had converted the precious gift into an idol, he removed it from us, and thereby taught us the necessity of placing our supreme affections on Him. A letter written soon after this severe affliction, to a friend in, America, describes, in some measure, our state of feeling.1816-05-10May10th, 1816. The sun of another holy Sabbath has arisen upon us, and though no chiming of bells has called us to the house of God, yet we, two in number, have bowed the knee to our Father in heaven; have invoked his holy name; have offered him our feeble praise; have meditated in his sacred word; and commemorated the dying love of a Saviour to a perishing world. Inestimable privileges! not denied even in a land where the prince of darkness reigns! Since worship, I have stolen away to a muchloved spot, where I love to sit and pay the tribute of affection to my lost, darling child. It is a little enclosure of mango trees, in the centre of which is erected a small bamboo house, on a rising spot of ground, which looks down on the new made grave of our infant boy. Here I now sit; and, though all nature around wears a most romantic, delightful appearance, yet my heart is sad, and my tears frequently stop my pen. You my dear Mrs. L, who are a mother, may imagine my sensations; but, if you have never lost a first-born, an only son, you cannot know my pain. Had you even buried your little boy, you are in a Christian country, surrounded by friends and relatives who could sooth your anguish, and direct your attention to other objects. But, behold us, solitary and 47 C12r 47 alone, with this source of recreation! Yet this is denied us— this must be removed, to show us that we need no other source of enjoyment but God himself. Do not think though I write thus, that I repine at the dealings of Providence, or would wish them to be otherwise than they are. No: though he slay me, I will trust in him, is the language I would adopt. Though I say with the prophet, Behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, yet I would also say with him, It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. God is the same when he afflicts, as when he is merciful: just as worthy of our entire trust and confidence now, as when he intrusted us with the precious little gift. There is a bright side, even in this heavy affliction. Our little Roger is not lost: the little bud which began to open into a beautiful flower, is now rapidly expanding in a more propitious clime, and reared by a more unerring hand. He is now, I doubt not, in the immediate presence of that Saviour, of whom he was ignorant in this world, and Adores the grace that brought him there,Without a wish without a care;That washed his soul in Calvary’s stream,That shortened life’s distressing dream.Short pain, short grief, dear babe, was thine,Now joys eternal and divine! Who would not, from motives of gratitude love a Being who has made such provision for a perishing world! who can, on account of the merits of the Redeemer, consistently with his own perfections, raise 48 C12v 48 polluted sinners from the lowest state of degradation, and make them fit for the enjoyment of himself! They who know thy name will put their trust in thee.
The following elegant effusion was written and presented on the occasion, by the Rev. J. Lawson, Calcutta:Hush’d be the murmuring thought! Thy will be done, O Arbiter of life and death! I bow To thy command. I yield the precious gift, So late bestowed, and to the silent grave Move sorrowing, yet submissive. O, sweet babe! I lay thee down to rest. The cold, cold earth, A pillow for thy little head. Sleep on, Serene in death. No care shall trouble thee. All undisturbed thou slumberest; far more still, Than when I lull’d thee in my lap, and sooth’d Thy little sorrows till they ceased.— Then felt thy mother peace; her heart was light As the sweet sigh that ’scap’d thy placid lips, And joyous as the dimpled smile that play’d Across thy countenance.— O, I must weep To think of thee, dear infant on my knees, Untroubled, sleeping! Bending o’er thy form, I watched with eager hope to catch the laugh, First waking from thy sparkling eye, a beam, Lovely to me, as the blue light of heaven. Dimm’d in the agony of death, it beams no more! O, yet once more I kiss thy marble lips, Sweet babe! and press with mine thy whiten’d cheeks Farewell, a long farewell!— Yet visit me In dreams, my darling! Though the vision’d joy Wake bitter pangs; still be thou in my thoughts, And I will cherish the dear dream, and think I still possess thee. Peace, my bursting heart!— Oh! I submit. Again I lay thee down, 49 D1r 49 Dear relic of a mother’s hope. Thy spirit, Now mingled with cherubic hosts, adores The grace that ransom’d it, and lodg’d it safe Above the stormy scene.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
A. H. J.
Baltimore, 1822-12December, 1822.
My dear sir,
From our first embarking in the missionary enterprise, afflictions and trials had ever been intermixed with our most prosperous circumstances. But on this we had calculated; though we often found ourselves unprepared to meet trials in that way, which an unerring Providence saw necessary. Our hopes, relative to the gradual progress and final success of the mission, were, until now, very sanguine; and we fondly trusted that whatever trials would have a tendency to retard or impede its advancement, would be averted. But not so. The gradual decline of Mr. Judson’s health, began to effect a revolution in our missionary plans, hopes, and prospects. His anxiety to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to the Burmans, had induced him to apply more closely to the study of the language than an eastern climate would allow. This circumstance, together with the want of exercise and proper diet, reduced him to an alarming state of debility and nervous affection. The following letters will give you some idea of our situation at this time:D 50 D1v 50 1816-08-16August18th, 1816. I again, my dear parents, take my pen to address you — must again tell you of trials and afflictions, which have, more or less, been our lot from our first engaging in the mission. Mr. Judson, in consequence of too close application to study, during the hot season, has so far injured his head and nerves, that he is entirely unable to study, or attend to any thing. His illness has been gradually increasing for four months, and it is now three, since he laid aside study altogether. For some time after his eyes were affected, I read to him in Burman, and in this way he was enabled to continue his studies. But now the state of his nerves is such, that he cannot even hear me read. His digestive powers are so weak, that he is unable to take any nourishment, except rice and vegetables. We are seriously contemplating a voyage to Bengal, hoping that the sea air, or some medical assistance, may be beneficial. We cannot comprehend the design of Providence in these things. If we go to Bengal, the mission must, at least, for a time, be given up, as there is no one to continue here. Whether we shall ever be able to return, or not, is uncertain. We had fondly hoped that, by the time the language was acquired, a wide and effectual door would be opened for the preaching of the gospel. But our hopes are blasted, and our brightest prospects darkened. And now, my dear parents, I think I hear you say, Are you not discouraged yet? Is it not best entirely to abandon your object, and come home to America, and settle down in peace and quiet? No! by no means. We will still intercede with our heavenly Father, not only to return us to this mission, but to make this affliction tend greatly to its advancement.51 D2r 51 ment. Or, if we may not be permitted to return, we will beg and plead with others to come, and go on with the mission. We will tell them that it is possible for the missionary families to live in Burmah without molestation. We will tell them what our eyes have seen, and what our eyes have heard, of the dreadful delusions of this people, and how much they need the commiseration of the Christian world. We will do more. We will return to Burmah with them, and spend the remainder of our days, though deprived of health and strength, in assisting them to acquire the language, and encouraging them in their arduous work. No, my dear parents, our hearts are fixed on this mission; and, with grace assisting us, we shall relinquish it only with our lives. A few days after the death of our little boy, her highness, the viceroy’s wife, visited us, with a numerous retinue. She really appeared to sympathize with us in our affliction, and requested Mr. Judson not to let it too much affect his health, which was already very feeble. Some time after her visit, she invited us to go out into the country with her, for the benefit of our health, and that our minds, as she expressed it, might become cool. We consented ; and she sent us an elephant, with a howdah upon it, for our conveyance. We went three or four miles through the woods. Sometimes the small trees were so near together, that our way was impassable, but by the elephant’s breaking them down, which he did with the greatest ease, at the word of the driver. The scene was truly interesting. Picture to yourselves, my dear parents, thirty men with spears and guns, and red caps on their heads, which partly covered their shoulders, then a huge elephantD2 52 D2v 52 phant caparisoned with a gilt howdah, which contained a tall, genteel female, richly dressed in red and white silk. We had the honour of riding next to her ladyship; after us, three or four elephants, with her son and some of the members of government. Two or three hundred followers, male and female, concluded the procession. Our ride terminated in the centre of a beautiful garden of the viceroy’s. I say beautiful, because it was entirely the work of nature —; art had no hand in it. It was full of a variety of fruit trees, growing wild and luxuriant. The noble banyan formed a delightful shade, under which our mats were spread, and we seated ourselves to enjoy the scenery around us. Nothing could exceed the endeavours of the vice-reine to make our excursion agreeable. She gathered fruit, and pared it; culled flowers, and knotted them, and presented them with her own hands; which was a mark of her condescension. At dinner she had her cloth spread by ours, nor did she refuse to partake of whatever we presented her. We returned in the evening, fatigued with riding on the elephant, delighted with the country and hospitality of the Burmans, and dejected and depressed with their superstition and idolatry —; their darkness, and ignorance of the true God. Though we have never said any thing to the viceroy’s family on the subject of religion, yet they perceive a great difference between us and the other foreigners who occasionally visit them. Mr. Judson seldom goes to the government-house, as it is easier for me to have access to her ladyship, than for him to do business with the viceroy. She treats me with great familiarity; but I am generally reserved and serious in her presence, 53 D3r 53 yet manifest a tender concern for her welfare, with which she is much pleased. I do not yet despair of finding some opportunity to introduce the subject of religion to her, in such a way as may not appear intrusive or disgusting. Were I to appear before her in the character of a teacher, she would think me far beneath her notice, and perhaps forbid my approaching her again: therefore, I think it most judicious to convince her, by my conduct, that I am really different from other females who surround her, and so far to gain her confidence and affection, that I can gradually introduce the subject, without her perceiving my object. 1816-09-14September14th. Sorrow may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Yes, my dear parents, I can write of mercies, as well as afflictions. The dark cloud, which hung over us, when I last wrote, is dispersed; and the sun of prosperity, when more brilliant by contrast, once more shines upon us. We are still in Rangoon, and our prospects brighter than ever. A few days after my last date, a pious captain from Bengal offered us a passage to Calcutta. This circumstance determined us on going, as Mr. Judson’s health continued to decline; and we made preparations accordingly. The captain, who resided with us, during his stay in Rangoon, suggested the idea of Mr. Judson’s taking exercise on horseback every morning with him, and for this purpose procured a horse. This exercise was at first painful; but, by persevering in it, and adopting a more generous diet, he found he was not growing worse, as he had been for the three last months. Still, however, his disorder appeared obstinate, and urged the necessity of a voyage to sea. 54 D3v 54 We had got every thing in readiness, even an order from the viceroy, without which no female can leave the country, when we received the joyful intelligence that Mr. Hough and his family had arrived in Bengal, and would soon join us at Rangoon. I immediately gave up the idea of going, though we still thought a voyage necessary for Mr. Judson. The vessel, however, in which we were to sail, was destined much longer than we expected. During this time the distressing pain in Mr. Judson’s head was less frequent, and, by persevering in his course of exercise and change of diet, we began to hope that he might be restored to health, without going to sea, and we therefore relinquished the voyage altogether. His health is now much better, though he is not able to study so closely as formerly. The vice-reine has lately been called to Ava, but the viceroy still remains. I regretted her going, on several accounts. She had evidently become much attached to me. I had an opportunity of trying the sincerity of her friendship at the time we procured our order for going to Bengal. I went to her with a petition, which Mr. Judson had written, and, contrary to Burman custom, appeared without a present. She was in an inner room, with the viceroy, when I presented the petition; and, after hearing it read, she said it should be granted. She called her secretary, and directed him to write an official order, have it regularly passed through all the offices, and impressed with the royal stamp. I was determined not to leave her until I received the order, as it would be very difficult to obtain it, unless delivered in her presence. It was not long after the order was sent for the government-house,55 D4r 55 ment-house, before one of her under officers came in, and told me it would be a long time before my order would pass through the several offices, and that I had better return to my house, and he would bring it me. The viceroy’s wife asked me if that would answer my purpose? Being perfectly acquainted with the object of the man, I replied, that I had had much anxiety on account of this order, and, if it was her pleasure I preferred waiting for it. She said it should be as I wished, and ordered the man to expedite the business. Being ill, she did not leave her room through the day, and I had an opportunity of conversing much with her. Among other things, she asked what was Mr. Judson’s object in coming to this country? Before I had time to answer, an elderly woman present, with whom I had had considerable conversation on the subject of religion, replied that Mr. Judson had come to tell the Burmans of the true God, &c.; and went on and related all that I had ever said to her. The viceroy’s wife then asked me what was the difference between the God I worshipped, and Gaudama? I had begun to tell her, when one of her people brought in a bag of silver. After she had given orders respecting the money, she wished me to proceed. I had but just begun the second time, when two or three members of government came in, and there it ended. My order was delivered me towards evening; and then I made her a present, expressed the obligations I was under, and bid her good evening. When an order of this kind is procured by the under officers, it costs about twenty five five dollars, besides much trouble and perplexity. My health is tolerably good, my time was never so completely occupied as at present, and I would not 56 D4v 56 change situations with any person on earth. For a month or two past, I have been employed in writing a little Catechism for children, in the Burman language. It is just completed, and I am teaching it to a few children under my care who are learning to read. Thus, my dear parents, I have given you a general account of our circumstances for several months. I must now conclude, and prepare my letters to send to Calcutta, by the present opportunity. Rest assured that this letter leaves us in more comfortable circumstances than we have ever before enjoyed in this place. But we need more grace, more humility, and more devotedness to the cause of God. Do not let a day pass without praying for us.
From Mr. Judson to Dr. Staughton, still farther particulars are communicated:1816-08-03August3d, 1816. Four months have now elapsed since I was seized with a nervous affection of my head and eyes, which has prevented my making any advance in the language, and, the greater part of the time, has incapacitated me for even writing a letter. I had fully made up my mind to take passage to Bengal with Captain Kidd, a pious man, who has been living with us for the last two months, when the news reached us that brother Hough had arrived in Bengal, and might be expected here in a few weeks. I consequently concluded to wait, for the present, and take some future opportunity of trying the sea air, and getting some medical assistance, without which, I have for some time feared I should never be able to apply myself again to my studies. Within a few days, however, I have felt more relief from the pain and distressing weakness of my eyes, than I have known since I was 57 D5r 57 first taken; and I begin to hope that measures I am now pursuing will issue in my recovery, without a sea voyage. Since the 1816-04-1111th of last April, I have not been able to read a page in a Burman book. During this period I found that I could attend, with less pain, to the compilation of a Burman grammar, than to any other study. And this I was induced to persevere in, from the hope that, if I was never again able to prosecute the study of the language, the knowledge I had hitherto acquired, would not be wholly lost to a successor. The grammar is now completed, and I fully intended to forward you a copy by this conveyance; but I find that, in my present state, it is impossible for me to transcribe it. All that I can do at present, is to send you a copy of a Burman tract, which has been chiefly composed during the same period, and which I accompany with an English translation. The Burman original is pronounced by my teacher and others, not only intelligible, but perspicuous; and to get this printed was one object that I had in view in going to Bengal. Brother Hough has, however, just sent round a press and types, which are now in the Rangoon river; and as he expects to follow himself, the first opportunity, and, as I have heard, he understands the printing business, I hope the time is not far distant when we shall have a bit of bread to give to the starving, perishing Burmans around us. It will probably be impossible to keep the press long in Rangoon. It will be ordered up to Ava as soon as the news of such a curiosity reaches the king’s ears. Nor is this to be regretted; under the overruling providence of God, it may open a wide door to D5 58 D5v 58 missionary exertions. Two of us would remove to Ava. But we could not subsist there, without an intermediate station at Rangoon. In this view of things, it would be very desirable that another man should be found to accompany brother Rice. If I should say two men with brother Rice, as I wish to do, it might appear inconsistent with something I wrote some time ago. However, the press and a station at Ava, quite alter the circumstances. I have been led to think and inquire more about Ava of late, by a report that is in circulation, that I am soon to be ordered up to Ava myself. And the more I think of it, the more I am inclined to believe that it is the way in which the gospel is to be introduced into this empire. The British Baptists have made a noble beginning in Western India. It remains for American Baptists to make an attempt on the Eastern side. As for myself, I fear I shall prove only a pioneer, and do a little in preparing the way for others. But, such as I am, I feel devoted to the work, and, with the grace of God, and the help of the Society, am resolved to persevere to the end of my life.
A letter of the same date, to Mr. Rice, will shew what considerations prevented discouragement under such circumstances:If any ask what success I meet with among the natives? tell them to look at Otaheite, where the missionaries laboured nearly twenty years, and, not meeting with the slightest success, began to be neglected by all the Christian world, and the very name of Otaheite was considered a shame to the cause of missions; but now the blessing begins to descend. Tell them to look at Bengal also, where Dr. Thomas had 59 D6r 59 been labouring seventeen years, that is, from 17831783 to 18001800, before the first convert, Krishnoo, was baptized. When a few converts are once made, things move on. But it requires a much longer time than I have been here, to make a first impression of a heathen people. If they ask again what prospect of ultimate success is there? tell them, as much as that there is an Almighty and faithful God, who will perform his promises, — and no more. If this does not satisfy them, beg them to let me stay and make the attempt, and let you come, and to give us our bread; or, if they are unwilling to risk their bread on such a forlorn hope, as has nothing but the word of God to sustain it, beg of them, at least, not to prevent others from giving us bread. And if we live some twenty or thirty years, they may hear from us again. I have already written many things home about Rangoon. This climate is good, better than any other part of the East. But it is a most wretched place. Missionaries must not calculate on the least comfort, but what they find in one another, and in their work. However, if a ship was lying in the river, ready to convey me to any part of the world I should choose, and that too with the entire approbation of all my Christian friends, I should not, for a moment, hesitate on remaining. This is an immense field; and, since the Serampore missionaries have left it, it seems wholly thrown on the hands of the Americans. If we desert it, the blood of the Burmans will be required of us! In encouraging young men to come out as missionaries, do use the greatest caution. One wrongheaded, conscientiously obstinate man, would ruin us. Humble, quiet, persevering men; men of sound, 60 D6v 60 sterling talents, of decent accomplishments, and some natural aptitude to acquire a language; men of an amiable, yielding temper, willing to take the lowest place, to be the least of all, and the servant of all; men who enjoy much closet religion, who live near to God, and are willing to suffer all things for Christ’s sake, without being proud of it; — these are the men we need.
On the 1816-10-1515th October, 1816, we had the happiness of welcoming to our lonely habitation, our friends, Mr. and Mrs. Hough, who were sent out by the same Board under whose patronage we then were. After a seclusion from all society for three years, it was no common gratification to meet again with Christian friends, from our dear native country. Our missionary prospects also began to brighten, and to wear a more encouraging aspect than ever before. Mr. Judson’s health was much improved; a grammar was prepared to assist Mr. Hough in the acquirement of the language; the first tract ever written in Burman, relative to the true God, was ready for printing, and a press, types, and printer were at hand to execute it. Mr. Hough immediately applied to the study of the language, and, in a very short time, obtained such a knowledge of the character as enabled him to put in operation the first printing press ever set up in the Burman empire.—The following joint letter, from Messrs. Hough and Judson, was written soon after the arrival of the former:Rangoon, 1816-11-07November7th, 1816, It is with peculiar satisfaction that we are, at length, enabled to address a letter to the Board, in a joint capacity. We had a joyful meeting in this place, on the 1816-10-1515th ult. Mr. 61 D7r 61 Hough has settled in one part of the mission house; and we are now united, both as a church of Christ, and as a mission society. Our regulations, on the latter point, we here submit to the Board. It will be evident, at first sight, that these regulations have a prospective view, and are framed somewhat differently from what they would have been, had we not expected that our number would soon be enlarged. But we hope the time is not far distant, when they will receive the signatures of others also. It is true that one of us remained about three years in this place, without uttering any Macedonian cries. But, we apprehend, that the time is now come, when it is consistent with the strictest prudence to lift up our voice, and say, Come over the ocean and help us. By a residence of three years in this country, many doubts, which at first occurred, are removed; and many points concerning the practicability of a mission, and the prospect of success, are ascertained. We cannot now enter much into detail; but we desire to say, that we see the mission established in this land. We unite in opinion, that a wide door is set open for the introduction of the religion of Jesus into this great empire. We have at present no governmental interdict to encounter, and no greater obstacles than such as oppose the progress of missionaries in every heathen land. It appears to us (and may it so appear to our fathers and brethren) that God, in removing the English mission from this place, and substituting in their stead an American mission, is emphatically calling on the American churches to compassionate the poor Burmans, and to send their silver, and their 62 D7v 62 gold, and their young men, to this eastern part of the world, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. It is with great pleasure that we announce the valuable present of a press and Burman types, made us by the Serampore brethren. We are now closingin a room, for a temporary printing office; and hope, very soon, to issue a gospel tract, which has been in readiness some time; and which is intended to give the heathen around us some idea of the way of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ. But we cannot move one step in the way of printing without money. We therefore beg an immediate appropriation, not only to liquidate the expenses already incurred, but to enable us to proceed in this all-important part of our work. The accounts of the mission press, we propose to keep distinct; and they shall be transmitted, together with the accounts of the mission. We know not how long the press will be permitted to remain in Rangoon; we should not, however, deprecate its removal to Ava. Such a measure would, doubtless, tend to the furtherance of the cause, and the introduction of religion into the very heart of the empire, where Satan’s seat is. But, in this case, more men, and more money, would be imperiously demanded; and, we trust, that the patronage of the Board will not fail in these necessary points. We desire, humbly, to repeat to the Board, what the first missionaries from the Baptist Society in England said to their friends, when on the point of embarkation in the great work, which seems destined to illuminate Western India with the light of the gospel: We are, said they, like men going down into a well; you stand at the top, and hold the ropes. Do not let 63 D8r 63 us fall. Hold us up, brethren and fathers; and if health and life be spared us, we hope, through the grace of God, to see Eastern India also beginning to participate in the same glorious light. Many years may intervene in the latter, as well as the former case; many difficulties and disappointments may try your faith and ours. But let patience have her perfect work; let us not be weary of well doing; for, in due time we shall reap, if we faint not.
A letter written by Mr. Hough, 1817-02-20February 20th, 1817, contains some interesting particulars relative to the mission; and also describes the Burman mode of burying the priests:I could not, before I came here, form any idea how my time would be occupied, after I should become engaged in the work for which I came hither; and, therefore, made promises to write more, and oftener, than I fear I shall be able to do. I often think how happy I should be, could I step into your house, or you into ours, and spend a few hours in telling you all my mind; how I feel, and what I want to be done for these poor Burmans. But while this pleasure is denied me, there is a hope constantly administering to my mind a sweet consolation, that we shall see each other in a better house not made with hands. Such a hope as this I would not exchange for any consideration; no, not even for the felicity of meeting all my friends again in this world. Since I have been here, I have felt, in a good degree, assured that I am in the path of duty. I am in a work with which my soul is delighted. My spiritual enjoyments seem much to have increased, and I am enabled to look forward, with an increased confidence, to the end of this, and 64 D8v 64 to another existence. I am not, however, free from a state of uncertainty on the subject of my own salvation; yet, on self-examination, my heart appears to have its hold on Divine truth strengthened; and, surrounded with objects of human kind, in a most lamentable state of religious debasement, it is impossible for me not to esteem the precious gospel of the grace of God, as the richest source of sacred consolation. I can say truly, I had no idea of a state of heathenism before I saw it. A warm-hearted Christian in America would think that a poor miserable idolater would leap for joy at the message of grace. But it is not so in Burmah— Here Satan binds their captive mindsFast in his slavish chains. The few with whom brother Judson has conversed, since I have been here, appear inaccessible to truth. They sit unaffected, and go away unimpressed with what they have heard. They are unconvinced by arguments, and unmoved by love; and the conversion of a Burman, or even the excitement of a thought towards the truth, must and will be a sovereign act of Divine power. We long to see that act of power displayed: even one instance would fill us with joy. Brother Judson has never yet been abroad to preach. He has applied himself constantly to the study of the language, with a view to the translation of the New Testament. We both concur in the opinion, that, before preaching be undertaken, to any considerable degree, some portion of the Scriptures should be in circulation. The Burmans, when any thing is said to them on the subject of divine truth, inquire for our holy books; 65 D9r 65 and it is a pleasing fact, that scarcely a Burman, with the exception of females, is capable of reading. Besides, during the progress of translation, many theological terms, appropriate to the different branches of doctrine, may be familiarly acquired, and their use established; which, without much consideration, might be erroneously employed, and thus wrong ideas conveyed. Having, therefore, press and types here, we cannot, conscientiously, withhold from this people the precious oracles of God. This opinion has influenced us to issue, as soon as preparations could possibly be made, two small tracts — one a Summary of Christian Doctrine, and the other a Catechism. The one I was enabled to print the latter part of the last, and the other the first of the present month — a copy of each I send you. By them you will see how much we need a new fount of types; many of the letters are almost illegible. These two little tracts are the first printing ever done in Burmah; and it is a fact, grateful to every Christian feeling, that God has reserved the introduction of this art here, for his own use. Having been hitherto employed for the most part of the time in a printing-office, it has been impossible for me to make those advances towards an attainment of the language, that I have desired, and that otherwise would have been the case. While my progress is necessarily slow in acquiring the language, I am comforted under the reflection, that my employment is of that kind which will rather assist, than retard my advance, and that, without two or three year’s study, I can be instrumental in conveying the knowledge of everlasting life to the Burmans. I am now thankful 66 D9v 66 for that Divine direction of my earlier years, which placed me in my honoured father’s office, to acquire knowledge of a business, which it was impossible for me then to imagine would be applied to that use, in which I hope it is, on the other side of the globe, amongst the heathen.
A few extracts from Mr. Hough’s journal will close this letter:When a priest dies, he has peculiar honours paid him. Several months since, a neighbouring priest died, or returned, for the Burmans think it undignified to say that a priest dies; his body was immediately wrapped up in tar and wax; holes were perforated through his feet, and some distance up the legs, into which one end of a hollow bamboo was inserted, and the other fixed in the ground; the body was then pressed and squeezed, so that its fluids were forced down through the legs, and conveyed off by means of the bamboos; in this state of preservation the body has been kept. For some days past, preparations have been making to burn this sacred relic, and to-day it has passed off in fumigation! We all went to see it, and returned sorry that we had spent our time to so little profit. On four wheels was erected a kind of stage, or tower, about twelve or fifteen feet high, ornamented with paintings of different colours and figures, and small mirrors. On the top of this was constructed a kind of balcony, in which was situated the coffin, decorated with small pieces of glass, of different hues, and the corpse, half of which was visible above the edge of the coffin, entirely covered with gold leaf. Around the tower and balcony were fixed several bamboo poles, covered with red cloth, 67 D10r 67 displaying red flags at their ends, and small umbrellas, glittering with spangles; among which was one larger than the others, covered with gold leaf, shading the corpse from the sun. Around the upper part of the balcony was suspended a curtain of white gauze, about a cubit in width, the lower edge of which was hung round with small pieces of isinglass; above the whole was raised a lofty quadrangular pyramid, graduating into a spire, constructed in a light manner, of split bamboo, covered with small figures, cut out of white cloth, and waving to and fro, for some distance, in the air. The whole, from the ground to the top of the spire, might measure fifty feet. This curious structure, with some living priests upon it, was drawn half a mile by women and boys, delighted with the sport, and in the midst of a large concourse of shouting and joyous spectators. On their arrival at the place of burning, ropes were attached to the hind end of the car, and a whimsical sham contest, by adverse pulling, was for some time maintained, one party seemingly indicating a reluctance to have the precious corpse burned. At length, the foremost party prevailed, and the body must be reduced to ashes! Amidst this, there were loud shoutings, clapping of hands, the sound of drums, of tinkling and wind instruments, and a most disgusting exhibition of female dancing, but no weeping or wailing. The vehicle was taken to pieces, the most valuable parts of which were preserved, and the body consumed. Although the Burmans have every motive, according to their system of religion, to practise good works, yet no people can be worse. Their religious motives are wholly inadequate to the production of 68 D10v 68 any good, or to maintain private and public morality. It may be said of the Burman, as of every other pagan religion, there is no power in it to make men better, and its best precepts are no criterion, by which to judge of the moral character of its devotees. The Burmans are subtle, thievish, mercenary, addicted to robbery and fraud; truth and honesty are not known among them as virtues. They are excessively prone to gambling and sporting. The government of the country is in the will of the sovereign, who considers his subjects as slaves: in short, every person coming into the country reports himself the king’s most willing slave. The viceroy of Rangoon acts with a power limited only by the king. He punishes criminals with severity. The mildest manner of suffering death is to have the head taken off, which is done with a large knife, and at one stroke. Reprieves from extreme desert, however, are often purchased with money; but when a malefactor is destitute of friends and money, he dies without mercy. 1817-01-26January26th. For some time past, it has been discovered that a gang of persons have been digging under some of the pagodas, to possess themselves of whatever treasures are deposited beneath them, and a few days since, four persons were apprehended in the act. They were condemned to death. One of the servants came in this afternoon, and informed me he had been to see them executed. Brother Judson and myself immediately hastened to the place. It was a most shocking scene! Four Burmans were fastened to a high fence, first by the hair of the head and neck, their arms were then extended69 D11r 69 tended horizontally, as far as they could be stretched without dislocation, and a cord tied tight around them; their thighs and legs were then tied in their natural position; they were ripped open from the lowest to the highest extremity of the stomach, and their vitals and part of their bowels were hanging out; large gashes were cut in a downward direction on their sides and thighs, so as to bare the ribs and thigh bones: one, who I suppose was more guilty than the rest, had an iron instrument thrust side-long through the breast, and part of his vitals pushed out in the opposite direction. Thus, with the under jaw fallen, their eyes open and fixed, naked, excepting a small cloth round the middle, they hung dead. 1817-02-07February7th. This afternoon we heard that seven men were carried to the place of execution. We went to witness the affecting scene. On our arrival there, we heard the report of a gun, and looking about, we saw a man tied to a tree, and six others sitting on the ground with their hands tied behind them. Observing the man at the tree, we saw a circular figure painted on his stomach, about three inches in diameter, for a mark to shoot at, for he was to die in this way. At that moment, there was another discharge of a musket; but the shot again missed; a third and fourth time he was fired at, but without effect. At every shot there was a loud peal of laughter from the surrounding spectators. He was then loosed from the tree, and a messenger sent to the governor, who returned with a reprieve. His younger brother, who was one of the seven, was then tied to the tree. The first shot slightly touched his arm; the second struck him in the heart, and he instantly expired; at the same moment, the 70 D11v 70 remaining five, each at one blow, were beheaded. We saw a man put his foot on one of the trunks, and press it with as little feeling as one would tread upon a beast. Their bodies were then dragged along on the ground a short distance, and their heads taken up by the hair and removed. The two brothers, when condemned to die, requested to be shot, asking, at the same time, to be pardoned if the fourth shot should miss. The elder brother was therefore spared, while the fate of the other was more lamentable. The superstitious Burmans suppose, from the circumstance of the request of the two brothers, and the escape of the elder one, that some charm prevented his death. The crimes of these poor creatures were various. One had been digging under a pagoda, another had stabbed a woman, but had not killed her; the others, as nearly as we can learn, were robbers. 1817-02-08February8th. We learnt to-day, that the man who was yesterday reprieved, has twice before, for his evil conduct, been carried to the place of execution in other places, and shot at, six times each, without being hit. He is now considered to be a wonderful man, and that a bullet cannot prove him mortal. Being asked how he became a robber? he replied, because he had not been made governor, or raised above the grade of the common people. He is now raised to a high rank among the governor’s attendants. Thus, my dear brother, it can be truly said, that Burmans are politically and morally wretched; but we know the Lord is able to bring to pass a reformation among them. Surrounded by such a people, we continually feel our situation dangerous, and our security is only in the providence of God. Who would not pity the 71 D12r 71 Burmans, viewing them as described in the above letter? We feel assured of the continuation of your prayers for their conversion, and our success.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
A. H. J.
Baltimore, 1822-12December, 1822.
My Dear Sir,
I trust you will not be discouraged, and think our letters tedious, while following us through those years of darkness. You perceive that our prospects were gradually brightening; that a vast difference existed between our circumstances, in the years 18131813 and 18171817, though there had been no real conversions. One dark cloud, however, was suffered to rise, so threatening in appearance as nearly to annihilate our most cherished hopes; yet it proved only the harbinger of a brighter day. Previously to these gloomy appearances, a few letters were written, respecting our increasingly encouraging prospects, which shall here be inserted. In 1817-03March, 1817, Mr. Judson wrote the following letter to the Corresponding Secretary of the Baptist Board of Missions:Since the beginning of this year, we have printed two tracts; the one a view of the Christian religionseven pages, one thousand copies; the other catechism, of six pages, 12mo. three thousand copies. 72 D12v 72 After which, finding we had paper sufficient for an edition of eight hundred copies of St. Matthew, we concluded to undertake this one gospel, by way of trial, and as introductory to a larger edition of the whole New Testament. I am now translating the eleventh chapter, and in the printing room the third half sheet is setting up. Having premised thus much concerning the present posture of our affairs, I proceed to mention the circumstances which induced me to take up my pen at this time. I have this day been visited by the first inquirer after religion, that I have seen in Burmah. For, although in the course of two years, I have preached the gospel to many, and though some have visited me several times, and conversed on the subject of religion; yet I have never had much reason to believe that their visits originated in a spirit of sincere inquiry. Conversations on religion have always been of my proposing; and though I have sometimes been encouraged to hope that truth had made some impression, never, until to-day, have I met with one who was fairly entitled to the epithet of Inquirer. As I was sitting with my teacher, as usual, a Burman of respectable appearance, and followed by a servant, came up to the steps, and sat down by me. I asked him the usual question, where he came from? to which he gave me no explicit reply; and I began to suspect that he had come from the governmenthouse, to enforce a trifling request, which, in the morning we had declined. He soon, however, undeceived and astonished me, by asking, How long a time will it take me to learn the religion of Jesus? I replied, that such a question could not be answered. 73 E1r 73 If God gave light and wisdom, the religion of Jesus was soon learnt, but without God, a man might study all his life long, and make no proficiency. But how, continued I, came you to know any thing of Jesus? Have you been here before? No. Have you seen any writings concerning Jesus? I have seen two little books. Who is Jesus? He is the Son of God, who, pitying creatures, came into this world, and suffered death in their stead. Who is God? He is a Being without beginning or end, who is not subject to old age or death, but always is. I cannot tell how I felt at this moment. This was the first acknowledgement of an eternal God, that I had ever heard from the lips of a Burman. I handed him a tract and catechism, both of which he instantly recognised, and read here and there, making occasional remarks to his follower, such as, This is the true God — this is the right way, &c. I now tried to tell him some things about God and Christ, and himself; but he did not listen with much attention, and seemed anxious only to get another book. I had already told him two or three times that I had finished no other book; but, that in two or three months, I would give him a larger one, which I was now daily employed in translating. But, replied he, have you not a little of that book done, which you will graciously give me now? And I, beginning to think that God’s time was better than man’s, folded and gave him the first two half sheets, which contain the first five chapters of St. Matthew; on which he instantly rose, as if his business was all done; and having received an invitation to come again, took leave. Throughout his short stay, he appeared different from any Burman I have met with. E 74 E1v 74 He asked no questions about customs and manners, with which the Burmans teaze us exceedingly. He had no curiosity, and no desire for any thing, but more of this sort of writing. In fine, his conduct proved that he had something on his mind, and I cannot but hope that I shall have to write about him again. 1817-03-24March24th. We have not yet seen our inquirer; but to-day we met with one of his acquaintances, who says, that he reads our books all the day, and shows them to all who call upon him. We told him to ask his friend to come and see us again. 1817-03-26March26th. An opportunity occurs of sending to Bengal. I am sorry that I cannot send home more interesting letters. But I am not yet in the way of collecting interesting matter. I have found, that I could not preach publicly to any advantage, without being able, at the same time, to put something into the hands of the hearers. And, in order to qualify myself to do this, I have found it absolutely necessary to keep at home, and confine myself to close study, for three or four years. I hope, however, after St. Matthew is finished, to make a more public entrance on my work, than has yet been done. But many difficulties lie in the way. Our present house is situated in the woods, away from any neighbours, and at a distance from any road. In this situation we have no visitors, and no passing travellers, whom we can invite to stop and hear of Christ. My attempts to go out and find auditors, have always occasioned such a waste of time, and interruption of study, as would not often be indulged in or justified. We are very desirous of building a small house near town, on some 75 E2r 75 public road. We wish for further instructions, and further explanations of the views and intentions of the Board. The approaching triennial convention, also, we contemplate with the deepest interest. May God give abundant wisdom, and zeal, and an outpouring of his Holy Spirit. Permit me to close with a word in behalf of Eastern missions. Great Britain and the United States appear to be the only countries which can, at present, take a very active part in missionary concerns. The British are fully occupied with India, Africa, and the South Sea Islands. East of the British possessions in India, are Burmah, Siam, several other Indo-Chinese nations, the great empire of China, Japan, thence north, indefinitely, and southward, the numerous Malayan Isles. With all these countries the British are no more connected than the Americans. The British are under no greater obligations to evangelize them than the Americans. They are not nearer the English, in point of transportation, than the Americans. And, furthermore, throughout all these countries, the British are suspected and feared, but not the Americans. The idea that the Western continent belongs to the Americans, and the Eastern continent to the British, however plausible at first sight, cannot bear a moment’s examination. I apprehend, that all the northwestern Indians, and the inhabitants of those parts of South America, which are accessible, will scarcely outnumber the inhabitants of this single Empire of Burmah. And, on what principle can the Americans, who are perhaps half as numerous as the British, be let off with one-twentieth, or one-thirtieth part of the work? But when we apply the work to the Baptists, it is still E2 76 E2v 76 more decisive. There are about five hundred Baptist churches in Great Britain, which average about one hundred members each. There are two thousand in America, which average nearly the same. Behold Ireland, also, almost as destitute as South America. And suppose the British should say, This is the proper province of our missionary exertions. Let us leave Asia and Africa to the Americans, and not send our young men to the antipodes.
The following letter, dated 1817-08August, 1817, to a young lady, a friend of mine, who had often encouraged me in my contemplated undertaking, may not be wholly destitute of interest:When I left my native country, my dear Mary, my anguish was mitigated, my tears were dried, by the consideration that I there left many congenial souls, who, though prevented accompanying me, would assist me by their prayers, encourage and animate me by their letters, and keep alive the missionary spark in my soul, by their constant assurances that I was not alone, but at all times aided and supported by them. It is now four years that we have resided in this country; and, though no Burman has renounced idolatry and embraced the religion of Christ, yet the seed is beginning to be scattered, which may spring up and bear fruit in some future time. Burmah presents a field for vast, unbounded usefulness! But neither revelation, nor the experience of ages, warrants us to expect immediate success. What nation has changed its gods in a day? What nation, so far advanced in civilization as the Burman, has renounced its system of religion at the first mention of a new one? We are not to look for miracles; but we are warranted to 77 E3r 77 expect the accomplishment of those ends, which God, in his wise providence, has connected with a steady, persevering use of means. We are firmly persuaded that the country of Burmah will eventually become Christian — that the way is now preparing, the seed sowing; but how long before the harvest will be ripe, we leave for God to determine. It has been Mr. Judson’s object to get well grounded in the language, and to do some preparatory work, for the benefit of future missionaries before he made a formal disclosure of his design to the king. We have not, by any means, taken pains to keep our object secret. On the contrary, we have improved every opportunity to communicate religious truth to those Burmans who have visited at the mission house. This we have considered as the path of present duty. Since Mr. Hough’s arrival, he has printed a tract of considerable length, being a view of the Christian religion, which Mr. Judson had previously composed; and also a small catechism for children, and St. Matthew’s gospel. These are in circulation, and are well understood by those who read them. Many have called at the mission house, to inquire more particularly into the new religion. But we have frequently observed, in these inquirers, a fear lest others should discover their inclination to inquire. Sometimes, when two or three intimate friends have been seriously engaged in conversing on religious subjects, if others, with whom they were not acquainted, called at the same time, they would be silent, and take their leave. This makes us feel the importance of trying to obtain the patronage of government. In a few months, Mr. Judson will complete a dictionary of the Burman 78 E3v 78 language; after which, he will, perhaps, go up to Ava, the residence of the king. If we were convinced of the importance of missions before we left our native country, we now see and feel their importance, as well as their practicability! We could then picture to ourselves the miserable situation of heathen nations; but we now see a whole populous empire, rational and immortal like ourselves, sunk in the grossest idolatry; given up to follow the wicked inclinations of their depraved hearts, entirely destitute of any real principle, or the least spark of true benevolence. Let those who plead the native innocence and purity of heathen nations, visit Burmah. The system of religion here has no power over the heart, or restraint on the passions. Though it forbids, on pain of many years’ suffering in hell, theft, and falsehood, yet I presume to say, there is not a single Burman in the country, who, if he had a good opportunity, without danger of detection, would hesitate to do either. Though the religion inculcates benevolence, tenderness, forgiveness of injuries, and love of enemies — though it forbids sensuality, love of pleasure, and attachment to worldly objects, yet it is destitute of power to produce the former, or subdue the latter, in its votaries. In short, the Burman system of religion is like an alabaster image, perfect and beautiful in all its parts, but destitute of life. Besides being destitute of life, it provides no atonement for sin. Here, also, the gospel triumphs over this and every other religion in the world. This is the grand difference — this makes the gospel good news indeed, to the heavy laden and sin-sick soul. My dear Mary, how precious does Christ appear, 79 E4r 79 when conversing with these Burmans, and how desirous is one to open their blind eyes, that they may behold his preciousness! But this is the prerogative of God alone; and if he has any dear children here, any chosen ones, whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, from the foundation of the world, he will open their eyes, he will show them his glory, he will compel them to come in. How interested you would be, could you meet with my little society of females, on the Sabbath. Interested, I say — yes, you would be interested, if it were only from this circumstance, that these poor idolaters enjoy the means of grace, and sit under the sound of the gospel. I have generally fifteen or twenty. They are attentive while I read the Scriptures, and endeavour to teach them about God. One of them told me, the other day, that she could not think of giving up a religion which her parents, grand-parents, &c. &c. had embraced, and accepting a new one of which they had never heard. I asked her if she wished to go to hell, because her progenitors had gone there? She replied, If, with all her offerings and good works on her head, (speaking in their idiom,) she must go to hell, then let her go. I told her, if she went to hell, after having heard of the Saviour, her very relations would contribute to torment and upbraid her, for her rejection of that Saviour of whom they had never heard, and that even she herself would regret her folly when it was too late. If I do, said she, I will then cry out to you to be my intercessor with your God, who will certainly not refuse you. Another told me, that she did believe in Christ, and prayed to him every day. I asked her if 80 E4v 80 she also believed in Guaaudama, and prayed to him. She replied, she worshipped them both. I have several times had my hopes and expectations raised, by the apparent seriousness of several females, as Mr. Judson has in regard to several men; but their goodness has been like the morning cloud and early dew, which soon pass away. Four or five children have committed the catechism to memory, and often repeat it to each other.
The following letter describes some of the offerings made by the Burmans at their festivals, and also contains a description of the celebrated pagoda at Rangoon:Five years have passed away, since I took the last view of my dear native land; since I bid the last farewell to our little Bradford circle. But the parting pangs are not forgotten; the wounds which were then made, often, to this day, open and bleed afresh. I now realize what we so often anticipated, the trials and privations, the pleasures and enjoyments, incident to the wife of a missionary among the heathen. I now behold with my eyes that idolatry, infatuation, and delusion, the very recital of which has so often affected the hearts, and excited the fervent prayers of our little society, when surrounding the social altar for prayer and praise, in our native town. And I must say, my eye affecteth my heart; for I cannot but weep and mourn over the deluded multitude who are this day collected in immense crowds, to offer that homage and adoration to an idol, which is due to God alone. This is the season for the great feast of Gaudama. It commenced yesterday, and is to continue for three days. It is observed all over the country; but I presume the multitude collected in this place is much 81 E5r 81 greater than at any other, excepting Ava. Priests and people come in boats, from a great distance, to worship at the pagoda in this place, which is supposed to contain a relic of Gaudama. The viceroy, on these days, goes out in all the pomp and splendour possible, dressed and ornamented with all his insignia of office, attended by the members of government and the common people. After kneeling and worshipping at the pagoda, they generally spend the day in amusements, such as boxing, dancing, singing, theatrical exhibitions, and fire-works. Most of the older people spend the night at the pagoda, and listen to the instructions of the priests. Great and expensive offerings are made at this season. One last year, presented by a member of government, cost three thousand ticals, or twelve hundred dollars. It was a kind of portable pagoda, made of bamboo and paper, richly ornamented with gold leaf and paintings. It was a hundred feet in height, and the circumference of its base about fifty. Half way up its height, was a man ludicrously dressed, with a mask on his face, white wings on his shoulders, and artificial finger nails, two inches in length, in the posture of dancing. This offering was carried by sixty men, preceded by a band of music, and followed by the officer who made it, and his suite. Other offerings presented at this festival are various kinds of artificial trees, the branches and twigs of which are filled with cups, bowls, handkerchiefs, and garments of all descriptions; these are given to the slaves attached to the pagoda, who, the week following, have something like a fair to dispose of their offerings. The pagoda, to which such multitudes resort, is E5 82 E5v 82 one of the largest and most splendid in the empire. To give an accurate description of this noble edifice, requires an abler pen than mine; and perhaps a better one, of its construction and dimensions, cannot be given, than that which has already been presented to the public by Colonel Symes, of a similar pagoda at Pegue. The beauty and variety of its appendages, however, are far superior. After having ascended the flight of steps, a large gate opens, when a wild, fairy scene is abruptly presented to view. It resembles more the descriptions we sometimes have in novels, of enchanted castles, or ancient abbeys in ruins, than any thing we ever meet in real life. The ground is completely covered with a variety of ludicrous objects, which meet the eye in every direction, interspersed with the banyan, cocoa-nut and toddy trees. Here and there are large open buildings, containing huge images of Gaudama; some in a sitting, some in a sleeping position, surrounded by images of priests and attendants, in the act of worship, or listening to his instructions. Before the image of Gaudama, are erected small altars, on which offerings of fruit, flowers, &c. are laid. Large images of elephants, lions, angels and demons, together with a number of indescribable objects, assist in filling the picturesque scene. The ground on which this pagoda is situated, commands a view of the surrounding country, which presents one of the most beautiful landscapes in nature. The polished spires of the pagodas, glistening among the trees at a distance, appear like the steeples of meeting-houses in our American sea-ports. The verdant appearance of the country, the hills and valleys, 83 E6r 83 ponds and rivers, the banks of which are covered with cattle, and fields of rice; each, in their turn, attract the eye, and cause the beholder to exclaim, Was this delightful country made to be the residence of idolaters? Are those glittering spires, which in consequence of association of ideas, recal to mind so many animating sensations, but the monuments of idolatry? O, my friend! scenes like these, productive of feelings so various and opposite, do, notwithstanding, fire the soul with an unconquerable desire to make an effort to rescue this people from destruction, and lead them to the Rock that is higher than they. We feel strongly encouraged to hope, (though our present prospects are not very flattering,) through the prayers and intercessions of our dear American friends, that this rural, this delightful country, will one day be inhabited by the friends of Jesus; and that houses will be raised for his worship, on the ruins of these idolatrous monuments.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
A. H. J.
Baltimore, 1822-12December, 1822.
My Dear Sir,
Thus far had the mission advanced, thus encouraging were our prospects, when the combination of a variety of circumstances induced Mr. Judson to take a voyage to sea. A tract, catechism, and St. Matthew’s gospel, 84 E6v 84 were printed in the Burman language, and had begun to be in circulation. Mr. Judson was now desirous to commence, in a more public manner than ever before, the preaching of the gospel; at the same time he felt the importance of making a beginning in a way the least calculated to excite the predjudices of the natives.He had heard of the conversion of several Arrakanese, who were residing in Chittagong, a port belonging to the government of the Honourable East India Company, and which is only ten days sail from Rangoon. To obtain one of these native converts, who spoke the Burman language, to assist in his first public communications, and to improve his health, which was evidently on the decline, were two principal objects Mr. Judson had in view, in embarking for Chittagong, in a vessel which was expected to return immediately.
For the first two months after his departure, the mission remained much in the same state. Some interesting events occurred, as stated in the following letter to the Rev. Dr. Baldwin:1818-01-18January18th. Yours of 1817-03-28March 28th, together with magazines, &c. I had the pleasure of receiving a month ago; and, as Mr. Judson is absent, and a good opportunity of sending to Bengal offers, I cannot deny myself the gratification of writing. Mr. Judson embarked for Chittagong, five weeks ago, and expects to be absent three months only. The mission is nearly in the same state as when Mr. Judson last wrote. His dictionary was nearly completed, after which he intended, either to go to Ava, or to commence preaching in a more public manner than ever before. Our hopes have frequently been 85 E7r 85 raised by the serious appearance of some of the Burmans, but none have yet heartily embraced the religion of Jesus, and become his disciples. My little female meeting is still encouraging; between twenty and thirty attend every Sabbath. They sometimes hear with apparent attention, sometimes ask pertinent questions, and some of them say they worship the true God only, and have left off going to the pagodas to worship. But how much truth there is in these assertions time alone will determine. Last Sabbath, after reading and conversing as usual, I told them of the anxiety of Christians in America for their conversion, of the formation of societies, the contributions of the poor, and the earnest and fervent prayers, which were continually ascending on their account. The tears came into the eyes of some of them, who feelingly said, And do they indeed do so much for us? But the Burmans, in general, are mad on their idols; they are not, like professed Christians in America, partly engaged in religion, and partly in the world; but their whole souls seem engaged in idolatry; they evidence at once that they believe what they assert. Even at this moment, while writing, my ears are almost stunned with the noise and confusion occasioned by preparations for fire-works, to be exhibited at the approaching festival. Could you, my dear sir, witness but once this annual feast; could you behold the crowded streets, the splendid offerings, the gay attire, and the enthusiasm of their devotions, you would readily admit, that nothing short of an Almighty arm, could break down these barriers, these strong barriers, and cause the introduction of the gospel. But even these seasons, these momentary triumphs of Satan, are 86 E7v 86 not destitute of advantages to the cause of Christ. We have opportunities, by these means, of distributing tracts and portions of scripture, among those who come from distant towns and villages, where the name of Christ is still unknown. The Spirit of God may water seed sown in this way, and cause it to spring up, to the eternal confusion of the adversary of souls, who induced their attendance on this festival with a different object. We still live in a quiet manner, unmolested by government, or robbers. The viceroy’s family treat us with respect and affection, now and then sending us an elephant, to accompany them in their excursions. Her highness, the vicereine, professes a particular regard for me, and I, in return, have presented her with a translation of St. Matthew’s gospel, a tract, and catechism, and have had two or three opportunities of conversing with her privately on the subject of religion. How much she reads in the former, or believes in the latter, I am unable to say; but neither produce any visible effects. She ordered the instructress of one of her daughters, to give the catechism to her child to commit to memory. 1818-01-30January30th. The Burman, Mr. Judson mentioned some time ago, as being the first serious inquirer, and the one who has excited the most hope, came to-day to the mission-house. It is now almost a year since he first came, and with much apparent anxiety inquired, How long time will it take me to learn the religion of Jesus? We have since frequently inquired, but obtained little information respecting him, until to-day. Soon after his first visit, he was appointed governor of a cluster of 87 E8r 87 villages, situated on the Syriam river in the country of Pegue. He has been at Rangoon but once since, and then on business by order of the viceroy, and obliged to return immediately. I asked him if he had become a disciple of Jesus Christ? He replied, I have not yet, but I am thinking and reading in order to become one. I cannot yet destroy my old mind; for when I see a handsome patso, (a cloth the Burman men wear,) or a handsome gownbown, (the handkerchief worn on the head,) I still desire it. Tell the great teacher, when he returns, that I wish to see him, though I am not a disciple of Christ. He requested the remaining part of St. Matthew’s gospel, also catechisms and tracts for his followers. I gave all of his attendants tracts; on which he said to them, Take and read them attentively, and when you have embraced the doctrines they contain, come here and converse with the teacher. I asked the number of inhabitants in the villages he governed, and whether he would collect them together to hear the gospel, should Mr. Judson make him a visit on his return. He said there were about a thousand houses, and the inhabitants were Talings, (natives of Pegue, who speak a language different from the Burmans,) but he would receive a visit from Mr. Judson as a great favour, and would call his people together to hear him preach. There was something so interesting and encouraging in the appearance of this Burman, so meek and unassuming, considering the dignity of his office, that hopes are again raised concerning him. But whether he will continue to examine the Christian religion, and finally become a true disciple, or the reverse, time alone will determine. 88 E8v 88
The following letter was written to Mrs. C.:It is now four long years and a half, since we took up our residence in this spiritually benighted land, and to this day do we offer our thanks to God, for having brought and continued us here. To this day can we testify that God is good; that he is a faithful, covenant-keeping God, who is worthy of the entire trust and confidence of all his creatures. Never, for a moment, has he left us to feel, that our first views of the practicability of missions, were visionary; consequently, we have been preserved from those distressing, agonizing feelings, resulting from regret and disappointment in a darling enterprise. On the contrary, we feel that missions to the heathens are not only practicable, but the very blood of their souls will be required at the hand of those Christians, who neglect to make exertions to send the gospel among them. This is all that is required of the Christian world. God will not call us to an account for not converting the heathen. This, this is the work he reserves for himself. But he will call us to an account for not using the means; this part of the work he has assigned to his creatures to perform. Neither have we any reason to be discouraged, because the first communications of Divine truth have not been efficacious. It would be almost a miracle, for these Burmans to throw away a system of religion which they have been accustomed to consider sacred, from time immemorial, on the very first intimation of its being false, or on the first intelligence that there is another and a better. They must have time to examine, to read our sacred writings, and to see the effect our religion produces on its 89 E9r 89 professors, before they will feel inclined to embrace the humbling doctrines of the gospel. They do not feel themselves in such a wretched, perishing situation, as we view them, consequently they do not see the necessity of embracing the offers presented. We hope our friends and patrons will not be discouraged, because no one of the Burmans who has heard the gospel, has embraced it; but continue to strengthen and encourage us by their prayers and communications, and in time, we doubt not, they, with us, will reap an abundant harvest. We are anxiously looking for the arrival of the missionaries, who, we hope, have long since left America. God grant that they may prove true missionaries of the cross, prepared and willing to suffer whatever may await them. We consider the circumstance, that other missionaries should have their hearts turned toward the Burman Empire, as an indication of God to strengthen and establish this mission, and a prelude of his more merciful intentions, to turn the Burmans from idolatry, to serve the living God. Mr. Judson is absent, or he would write to Mr. C. You will readily imagine my situation to be very lonely in his absence. Nothing but a sense of duty could have induced me to consent to his departure. Mr. Hough, however, is very kind, and affords me every assistance in his power.
About the same date as the preceding letter, Mr. Hough, to a friend in Boston, wrote thus:When I think how dependent I am on God; how easy it is for him to withdraw the light of his countenance from me, and leave me cheerless, amidst the 90 E9v 90 darkness of pagan ignorance; and then, again, how easy it is for him to enable me to persevere, and that he will answer prayers offered for blessings; I cannot but receive, with the liveliest gratitude, the assurance you give me, that I am remembered in the prayers of my brethren at home; and I sometimes think their prayers may be heard for me, when my own are excluded. It seems you have entertained some hopes from a contest, which existed some time ago, between the king and priests of Burmah. That has terminated, not to the disadvantage of the one, nor the advantage of the other. The king persecuted them as long as he pleased, and then let them alone; they now quietly perform their functions, which consist principally in committing to memory their religious books, and patrolling the streets to receive the willing offerings of the people, which afford them subsistence. They, with the religion of the country, appear to be now in a prosperous state, though I believe the king is not very friendly to either. Should he exterminate the priesthood, I have no idea that the ministers of the gospel would become a substitute; or, should he abolish the present system of religion, that he would do it in favour of Christianity. The ears of the poor old man have never heard the joyful news, and the law of nature requires that he should soon pass into eternity. The heir apparent is, I understand, a mild prince. His accession to the throne, on the king’s demise, will undoubtedly be attended with difficulties, and perhaps tracked with blood. Should he finally succeed, and the country remain at peace any length of time, He, by whom kings rule, may in his 91 E10r 91 providence open a wide door, which no man can shut, for the admission of the word of life. It is also quite as possible, that much affliction and trouble await us. It is more than six months since I finished printing St. Matthew, and more than that since the tract was put into circulation. To say that none read, none inquire, would be wrong; many do both; and, we are entitled to hope, because truth is in circulation. Since printing St. Matthew, I have been studying the language, but have not yet been able to penetrate far into it. I have but a glimpse of its genius and construction. The attainment of this language, I am persuaded, is the labour of years; and I sometimes think it folly for one past thirty years of age, to attempt it. I was happy to hear, that the missionaries who are now coming here are so young. I wish they were five years younger: or rather, I wish some pious, active boys, sixteen or seventeen years of age, of unquestionable conversion, and willing to give themselves up wholly to God, would come over here, and begin upon the language. You may think this a strange wish. I think so too; but it is not a hasty or inconsiderate one.
In the order of events, I must now, my dear Sir, give you a particular description of that dark period, when the Burman mission, surrounded undoubtedly by invisible enemies, seemed on the very verge of destruction. Three months of Mr. Judson’s absence had nearly expired, and we had begun to look for his return, when a native boat arrived, twelve days from Chittagong, bringing the distressing intelligence that neither Mr. J. nor the vessel had been heard of at that 92 E10v 92 port. I should not have given so much credit to this report, as to have allowed it to harass my feelings, had it not been corroborated by communications from my friends in Bengal, which arrived just at this time. From the circumstance that the vessel had not reached the port of destination, I knew not what conclusion to draw. Hope, at times, suggested the idea, that the ship’s course might have been altered, that she might yet be safe; but despondency more frequently strove to convince that all was lost. Thus was I, for four months, in that agonizing state of suspense, which is frequently more oppressive than the most dreadful certainty.
Two or three days after the arrival of the above intelligence, Mr. Hough received an order, couched in the most menacing language, to appear immediately at the court-house, to give an account of himself. This, so unlike any message we had ever before received from government, spread consternation and alarm among our teachers, domestics, and adherents; some of whom followed Mr. Hough at a distance, and heard the appalling words, from some of the petty officers, that a royal order had arrived, for the banishment of all foreign teachers. As it was late when Mr. Hough arrived at the court-house, he was merely ordered to give security for his appearance, at an early hour on the approaching day, when, to use their own unfeeling language, if he did not tell all the truth relative to his situation in the country, they would write with his heart’s blood.
Our embarassments, at this period, were greatly increased by the circumstance, that the viceroy and his family, who had always been our steady friends, 93 E11r 93 had been recently recalled to Ava; and the present viceroy, with whom we had but a slight acquaintance, had left his family at the capital. Mr. Hough was not sufficiently acquainted with the language, to allow of his appealing in person to the viceroy, and as it is not customary for females to appear at his court, in the absence of the vicereine, we had nothing before us, but the gloomy prospect of being obliged to submit to all those evils, in the power of petty officers to inflict, upon those unprotected by higher authority.
The following days, Friday and Saturday, Mr. Hough was detained at the court-house, and under the necessity of answering through an interpreter, the most trivial questions; such as, what were the names of his parents, how many suits of clothes he had, &c. all which were written down in the most formal manner imaginable. The court would not allow him to retire for any refreshment; and this, together with several other petty grievances, convinced us that it was their object to harrass and distress us, as much as possible; feeling safe in the idea that circumstances were such that we could not appeal to the viceroy. Sunday morning arrived, another message was received from the court-house, (the viceroy does not usually attend those courts, as cases of importance are submitted privately for his decision,) for Mr. Hough’s appearance, that the examination might be continued. The court has now pushed the matter too far, and we resolved to ascertain whether those orders for examination emanated from the viceroy, or whether he was entirely ignorant of the whole matter. My teacher, coming in just at that time, drew up a respectful petition, stating the grievances to which Mr. Hough had 94 E11v 94 been subjected, and the present order for his appearing in public on our sacred day — and requesting that it might be the pleasure of his highness that those molestations should cease. Mr. Hough readily accompanied me to the government-house; and when we had reached the outer court, I caught the eye of the viceroy, who sat surrounded by the officers of his court, but who recognized me, and, in a very condescending manner, called me to come in and make known my request. I presented my petition to one of the secretaries, who was immediately ordered to read it; at the conclusion of which, the viceroy inquired, in an austere manner, of the very officer who had been most forward in making Mr. Hough’s situation unpleasant at the court-house, and who happened now to be seated not far from the voice which issues life of death,Why the examination of this foreign teacher had been thus prolonged? — at the same time giving a written order that Mr. Hough should not be called on his sacred day, and that he should be molested no more. The petty officers of government now saw their plan defeated, which probably was, to make Mr. Hough feel himself in their power, thinking he would then offer them a large reward to be liberated. We, however, ascertained the fact, that a royal order had arrived, for the banishment of all the Portuguese priests in the country (there were three only). To ascertain who they were, the viceroy had issued an order that all the foreign priests should be summoned to the court-house, not intending that any but the Portuguese should undergo an examination, farther than to ascertain that they were not Portuguese.95 E12r 95
About this time the cholera began to rage among the native population. This disorder had never been known in the Empire before, and the dreadful ravages made in Rangoon filled every one with terror and alarm. It was in the midst of the hottest season of the year, and there was no prospect of the disorder subsiding until the commencement of the rains. The beating of the death drum, and other instruments used at funerals, sounded all the day long, a melancholy dirge in our ears, and, in emphatic language, said, Be ye also ready. We had no reason for supposing that we should escape this fatal disorder, more than others; at the same time, we knew ourselves to be in the hands of him who had said, A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. And thus it proved; for not an individual within our enclosure suffered from the cholera, though our neighbours died around us. The Burmans attempted to account for the origin of this disease, by supposing that some evil spirits had entered the city, and were continually traversing the streets, and from pure maliciousness, destroying the inhabitants. The natives resolved on endeavouring to dispossess them, by making a most tremendous noise, which, in the opinion of a Burman, was sufficient to alarm evil spirits, however malicious or obstinate. The signal for commencement was given at the court-house, by firing cannons; when immediately every Burman in town began beating on his house with clubs, or any thing which would make a noise. No one ventured to remain inactive, as it had previously been asserted, that the evil spirits would enter the houses of those who made no noise. This was 96 E12v 96 continued for three successive nights; but notwithstanding the unheard-of uproar, the evil spirits refused to move, and the disorder continued to rage for months afterwards.
Our trials and dangers were not a little increased at this period, by a report in circulation, that difficulties existed between the English and the Burman governments; and that an attempt would be soon made by the English to take the country. This report seemed confirmed by the circumstance, that there had been no arrivals from any English port for some months past, and that the few remaining captains were making every possible effort to hasten the departure of their ships. Should actual hostilities commence, we were well aware the removal of the mission, at least for a time, would be the consequence. The only remaining ship was now on the eve of departure, and unless we embraced this opportunity for leaving the country, there was nothing before us but dangers the most appalling. For a particular account of the remaining part of this distressing season, I must have recourse to my journal, then transmitted to America.1818-06-18June18th. I am still, my dear parents, in the same lonely situation as when I last wrote, full of anxiety and suspense. I know not what conclusion to draw from the circumstance of receiving no intelligence from Mr. Judson. It is now six months since he left me, and not a single line has ever been received relative to the ship. I hardly know what prevents my entire discouragement under such circumstances. But I am trying to bear this state of uncertainty, as a heavy affliction, a painful chastisement, from my heavenly Father, inflicted, no doubt, for wise 97 F1r 97 and gracious purposes. Perhaps it is only a prelude to greater afflictions. Perhaps this is the school in which I am to be taught the rudiments of suffering, and to prepare for those heavy trials, which, without these first lessons, crush as soon as inflicted. I feel, however, a dreadful conflict; sometimes inclined to complain of these dark dispensations of Providence, at others, endeavouring to make this language my own, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him. My female meetings have been on the decline ever since Mr. Hough’s examination at the court-house. Formerly, upwards of thirty attended; now, seldom more than ten or twelve. Thus, you see that nothing but darkness, gloom, and disappointment surround me. I endeavour to study, at least part of the day, for unless I do my duty, I fear I shall lose the benefit of this affliction. 1818-07-02July2d. Mr. Hough, for some time past, has been desirous to have Mrs. H., myself, and his children, go to Bengal. But I have ever felt resolved not to make any movement until I hear from Mr. Judson. Within a few days, however, some circumstances have occurred, which have induced me to make preparations for a voyage. There is but one remaining ship in the river; and if an embargo is laid on English ships, it will be impossible for Mr. J. (if he is yet alive), to return to this place. But the uncertainty of meeting him in Bengal, and the possibility of his arriving in my absence, cause me to make preparations with a heavy heart. Sometimes I feel inclined to remain here alone, and hazard the consequence. I should certainly conclude on this step, if any probability existed of Mr. Judson’s return. This mission has F 98 F1v 98 never appeared in so low a state as at the present time. It seems now entirely destroyed, as we all expect to embark for Bengal in a day or two. Alas! alas! how changed our prospects since Mr. J. left us. How dark, how intricate the providence which now surrounds us! Yet it becomes us to be still, and know that He is God who has thus ordered our circumstances. 1818-07-14July14th. Alone, my dear friends, in this great house, without an individual, excepting my little girl and Burmans, I take my pen to relate the strange vicissitudes through which I have passed within a few days. Although I commence my relation by saying I am alone, yet I am easy and tranquil, because I am resolved on a course which may appear to you and others, rash and presumptuous, but to me the path of duty, and the one I ought to pursue. On the 1818-07-055th of this month, I embarked with Mr. Hough and his family for Bengal, having previously disposed of what I could not take with me. I had engaged Mr. Judson’s teacher to accompany me, that in case of meeting him in Bengal, he might go on with his Burman studies. But the teacher, fearing the difficulties arising from his being a Burman, broke his engagement, and refused to go. My disinclination to proceed in the course commenced had increased to such a degree, that I was on the point of giving up the voyage myself; but my passage was paid, my baggage on board, and I knew not how to separate myself from the rest of the mission family. The vessel, however, was several days in going down the river; and when on the point of putting our to sea, the captain and officers ascertained that she was in a dangerous99 F2r 99 ous state, in consequence of having been improperly loaded, and that she must be detained for a day or two at the place in which she then lay. I immediately resolved on giving up the voyage, and returning to town. Accordingly the captain sent up a boat with me, and engaged to forward my baggage the next day. I reached town in the evening, spent the night at the house of the only remaining Englishman in the place, and to-day have come out to the mission-house, to the great joy of all the Burmans left on our premises. Mr. Hough and his family will proceed; and they kindly and affectionately urge my return. I know I am surrounded by dangers on every hand, and expect to feel much anxiety and distress; but at present I am tranquil, intend to make an effort to pursue my studies as formerly, and leave the event with God. How distressed, my dear parents, you would feel, did you know my real situation in Rangoon! But, before you receive this, there will no doubt be some change, I hope favourable, as but one circumstance could make it more distressing. 1818-07-16July16th. The vessel, in which Mr. Judson sailed, has this day arrived! I have been to see the captain, who informs me that he was not able to make Chitagong, and that, after being tossed about in the bay for three months, he made Masulipatam, a port north of Madras, on the coast. Mr. J. left the ship immediately, for Madras, hoping to find a passage thence to this place. This is all the intelligence I have obtained, as it is four months since an arrival either from Bengal or Madras. But even this has afforded me a little relief, as I have hitherto had reason to fear, that the ship and all were lost, though I am still in a state of suspense,F2 100 F2v 100 pense, relative to Mr. J’s return. There is not however, so much reason to suppose that hostilities between the English and Burman governments will immediately commence, as this ship came direct from an English port. This circumstance will render my stay here, alone, much less dangerous, and perhaps before many days, Mr. J. will arrive, when I shall see very clearly the hand of Providence in my leaving the ship. 1818-07-25July25th. Mr. and Mrs. Hough have returned to the mission-house, the ship not being able able to proceed for some weeks, so that I shall not be obliged to remain in this place alone, as I expected; and I am hoping and praying, that previously to their departure, Mr. Judson may arrive, that I may not under the necessity of living in this dreadful country, and out here in the woods, without a friend and protector. I am hoping against hope, for it is the general opinion of all foreigners here, that there will be no arrival at present, from any English settlement. There is, however, a vague report, though I know not its origin, that a ship left Madras some time since for this place, but was to touch at the Nicobar islands; on which account, she has not yet arrived. I cling to this, as my last hope, which a little relieves my distressed, anguished mind. O, how it would sooth my feelings, how it would comfort my heart, could I unite with some of my dear American friends in social prayer! How it would mitigate the gloom and loneliness of my situation, were some of them present to strengthen my confidence in Jehovah; to suggest motives for my patiently bearing affliction; and to urge my quietly acquiescing in the wise dispensations of the best of Beings! 101 F3r 101 I have again commenced my studies, and keep myself closely engaged until two o’clock. This I find the best method to avoid dejection; besides, my conscience will not permit me to sit idly down, and yield to those desponding feelings, in which a Christian should not indulge. 1818-08-02August2d. How will you rejoice with me, my dear parents, when I tell you, that I have this moment heard that Mr. Judson has arrived at the mouth of the river? This joyful intelligence more than compensates for the months of dejection and distress which his long absence has occasioned. Now, I feel ashamed of my repinings, my want of confidence in God, and resignation to his will. I have foolishly thought, because my trials were protracted; they would never end; or rather, that they would terminate in some dreadful event, which would destroy all hope of the final success of the mission. But now, I trust, our prospects will again brighten, and cause us to forget this night of affliction, or to remember it as having been the means of preparing us for the reception of that greatest of blessings — the conversion of some of the Burmans.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
A. H. J.
Baltimore, 1822-12December, 1822.
My Dear Sir,
My last gave you a relation of the trying scenes through which we passed at Rangoon, during the absence102 F3v 102 sence of Mr. Judson. His trials were no less severe, as you will perceive from the following letters to the Corresponding Secretary of the Board:Madras, 1818-05-28May28th, 1818. In former letters I have stated my circumstances, at the close of last year, and the reasons whisch induced me to leave Rangoon, on a visit to Chittagong: particularly the prospect of a direct passage, and speedy return in the same ship, an opportunity of very rare occurrence in Rangoon. Since that time, a series of unexpected providences have befallen me, which, though uninteresting in detail, must be briefly mentioned, in order to account for my present situation. When we left Rangoon, 1817-12-25December 25th, we expected a passage of ten or twelve days. At the expiration of a month, however, by reason of contrary winds, and the unmanageableness of the ship, in the difficult navigation along the coast, we found ourselves still at a great distance from port; and the season being so far advanced, as to deprive us of the hope of more favourable winds, the captain and supercargo agreed on a change of the ship’s destination, and made sail for Madras. Previous to leaving the coast, we put into Cheduba, a place under Burman government, for a supply of provisions. I was unable to go ashore, but took the opportunity of sending a tract by the boat. It happened to be conveyed directly to the governor, and he ordered it to be read in his presence. Soon after, when our captain had an audience, the governor inquired after the writer of the tract: who he was, and how long he had been in the country. The captain evaded some questions, for fear of detention, I suppose, and 103 F4r 103 merely stated that the writer was a foreigner, who had resided in Rangoon about four years. No, replied the governor, that is not to be credited. You cannot make me believe that a foreigner, in so short a time, has learned to write the language so well. It must have been written by some other person. The captain related this to me on his return. I felt particularly gratified by this testimony to the perspecuity of the style, and thought it not unworthy of mentioning, because it could not be suspected, as others which had been made to me personally, of having been a mere compliment. The ship’s destination was changed on the 1818-01-2626th of January. We retraced our course for a few days, and then stood to the westward. It was with the most bitter feelings, that I witnessed the entire failure of my undertakings, and saw the summits of the mountains of Arracan, the last indexes of my country, sinking in the horizon, and the ship stretching away to a distant part of India, which I had no wish to visit, and where I had no object to obtain. It was, however, some mitigation of my disappointment, that I should, in all probability, be able to return to Rangoon, and resume my missionary business, much earlier than if I had visited Chittagong. But even the consolation of this hope was not long allowed me. We had, indeed, a quick passage across the bay; but, on drawing near the Coromandel coast, the wind and current combined to prevent our further progress, and at the expiration of another month, having for a long time subsisted on nothing scarcely but rice and water, and being now reduced to very short allowance, we concluded to make sail for Masulipatam, a port north 104 F4v 104 of Madras, which we doubted not we should be able to reach in a very few days. In this, again, we were disappointed, and through the unmanageableness of the ship, or the mismanagement of the captain, were detained at sea nearly another month. During this period, we were sometimes in great distress, deeming ourselves very fortunate when able to get a bag of rice, or a few buckets of water, from any native vessel which happened to pass. Once we sent the long boat to the shore, and obtained a considerable supply of water, which was a great relief. But of rice we could obtain no sufficient supply, and all other articles of provision were quite out of the question. The low state to which I was at length reduced, occasioned a partial return of the disorder of my head and eyes, to which I was subject two years ago. This, with other circumstances united, left me no other source of consolation but resignation to the will of God, and an unreserved surrender of all to his care; and, praised be his name, I found more consolation and happiness in communion with God, and in the enjoyments of religion, than I had ever found, in more prosperous circumstances! Finally we did reach Masulipatam, and I left the ship on the 1818-03-1818th of March, twelve weeks after embarking at Rangoon. I waited at Masuly a few days until it was ascertained that the ship would unlade her cargo, and remain several months. And as there was no prospect that season of reaching Madras by sea, the only port on the coast where I could hope to find a vessel bound to Rangoon, I was under the necessity of taking a journey by land: distance about three hundred miles. I accordingly hired a palanquin and 105 F5r 105 bearers, and arrived here on the 1818-04-088th of April. My first aim was of course, the beach, and my first inquiry, a vessel bound to Rangoon. But my chapter of disappointment was not yet finished. No vessel had sailed for Rangoon this year; and such, it was understood, was the unsettled state of the Burman country, that none would probably venture for some time to come. Here I have remained ever since, under very trying circumstances. I have scarcely heard from Rangoon since I left, or been able to transmit any intelligence thither, by a conveyance to be depended on. The weakness of my eyes prevents my application to study, or attempt at any exertion. I am making no progress in missionary work. I am distressed by the appalling recollection of the various business which was pressing on me at Rangoon, and which made me very reluctant to leave home for the shortest time. Now, I have been detained twice as long as I had anticipated, and have, withal, wholly failed in my undertaking. Where, my rebellious heart is ready to cry, where is the wisdom of all this? But it is wise, though blindness cannot apprehend. It is best, though unbelief is disposed to murmur. Be still, my soul, and know He is God. Rangoon, 1818-10-09October9th, 1818. My last was dated Madras, 1818-05-28May 28, 1818. At that place I remained waiting for a conveyance to Rangoon, until the 1818-07-2020th of July, when I took passage on board an English vessel. During my stay at Madras, I experienced great kindness and hospitality in the families of the Rev. Mr. Thompson, chaplain, and the Rev. Mr. Loveless missionary; and received such proofs of Christian F5 106 F5v 106 affection from many dear friends, as rendered parting with them very painful, though my detention in Madras had, in other respects, been almost insupportable. We anchored at the mouth of Rangoon river, on the --08-2020th of August. The next morning, when the pilot came on board, I was overwhelmed with the intelligence, that, on account of the dangerous situation of affairs, the mission had been broken up, and that Mr. Hough and his family, and Mrs. Judson, had taken passage for Bengal. To my great relief, however, it was added, that, before the ship left the river, Mrs. Judson’s reluctance to leave the place had so increased, as to force her back to the mission-house alone; and further, that the ship being found unfit for sea, was still detained. The examination which brother Hough sustained, during my absence, and the persecution of the Roman Catholic padres, have made us feel more deeply than ever, the precarious situation of this mission, and the necessity of proceeding with the utmost caution. It was only through the favour of the viceroy, that the padres were allowed to remain here, when they arrived from Ava, under sentence of banishment. And it is only through his mediation, and the influence of large presents made to the king, that the order of banishments is reversed, if indeed it be reversed, a report not yet confirmed. One malicious intimation to the king would occasion our banishment; and banishment, as the Burmans tell us, is no small thing, — being attended with confiscation of all property, and such various abuses, as would make us deem ourselves happy to escape with our lives. Such a situation may appear somewhat alarming 107 F6r 107 to a person accustomed to the liberty and safety of a free government. But, let us remember, that it has been the lot of the greater part of mankind to live under a despotic government, devoid of all security for life or property a single moment. Let us remember, that the Son of God chose to become incarnate under the most unprincipled and cruel despot that ever reigned. And shall any disciple of Christ refuse to do a little service for his Saviour, under a government where his Saviour would not have refused to live and die for his soul? God forbid. Yet faith is sometimes weak — flesh and blood sometimes repine. O, for grace to strengthen faith, to animate hope, to elevate affection, to embolden the soul, to enable us to look danger and death in the face! Still more, to behold, without repining, those most dear us suffering fears and pains, which we would gladly have redoubled on ourselves, if it would exonerate them. We feel encouraged by the thought, that many of the dear children of God remember us at the mercy seat. To your prayers I desire once more to commend myself, the weakest, the most unqualified, the most unworthy, and the most unsuccessful of all missionaries.
In four or five weeks, after the arrival of Mr. Judson, we had another joyful meeting with missionary friends, sent from our native country. The Rev. Messrs. Colman and Wheelock, for several years previously to their leaving America, had thought and felt much on the subject of missions, and could not rest contented, to sit down as ministers of the gospel, in their own country, while the wall of Jerusalem lay waste, in a foreign land. They literally panted 108 F6v 108 to become the heralds of salvation, to those who were in darkness, and the shadow of death; and though their prospects of being early and happily settled, over opulent congregations, were flattering, they relinquished them all, and, at an early period, made known their views and wishes to the Board of Missions. Extracts from their letters, on this subject, to the corresponding secretary, I cannot omit transcribing, as they are so very descriptive of the spirit they ever continued to exhibit until their lamented death.
Mr. Colman wrote thus: Since I came to the above conclusion, my mind has been unwavering. It is true, mountains, at times, have arisen between myself and the Eastern world. My way has been hedged up by difficulties, which, to the eye of human reason, might appear insurmountable. But duty has constantly appeared the same. Indeed, I esteem missionary work, not only a duty for me to perform, but a privilege for me to enjoy; a privilege which I value more than the riches of the earth. Only give me the rich satisfaction of holding up the torch of truth, in the benighted regions of Burmah! This is the object which lies nearest my heart; for this I can cheerfully leave my native land, and the bosom of my beloved friends. I pant to proclaim the gospel to those who are ignorant of it; to present to their minds that firm foundation, on which my own hopes of eternal happiness are built. I took to Burmah as my home, and as the field of my future toils. To the wretched inhabitants of that empire I long to present the Bible, the fountain of knowledge, and to direct their wandering steps to the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls. Nor can I refrain from cherishing the hope that my feeble 109 F7r 109 labours among them will be crowned with the blessing of heaven. Some, I trust, will be induced to forsake the worship of idols, and to bow the knee to Him on whose vesture and thigh is written King of kings, and Lord of lords. Prompted, as I believe, by a deep sense of the worth of souls, and by the command of our blessed Saviour, who says, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature; and encouraged by his promise of constant assistance and direction to his servants, I, voluntarily and joyfully, offer myself to be your missionary to the Burman empire. May the Lord preside over your deliberations, and grant me, if it can be consistent with his holy will, the unspeakable happiness of proclaiming the love of Jesus to the miserable heathen.
Mr. Wheelock appears to have been inspired by the same missionary zeal, and closes his application to the Board with the following lines: — To you, honoured fathers, is my mind directed, as to those, who, under God, must decide my case. To you I offer, freely and joyfully offer myself, to become your missionary, to aid those already under your patronage, to turn the poor Burmans from idols, to serve the living and true God. And, O! if it is consistent, that one so unworthy and so unqualified as myself, should engage in this glorious work, deny me not, I beseech you, the unspeakable privilege; deny me not the fondest, the most ardent desire of my soul, that can, in this world, be gratified. To deny me this, would be to deprive me of the greatest happiness which, in this world, I can possibly enjoy. I would rather be a missionary of the cross, than a king on a throne. Let the men of this world possess its glittering toys; let the miser 110 F7v 110 grasp his cankered gold; let the voluptuary enjoy his sordid pleasures; let the ambitious ascend to the pinnacle of earthly honour; but let me enjoy the sweet satisfaction of directing the poor pagans to the Lamb of God. I court no greater good; I desire no greater joy; I seek no greater honour. To Burmah would I go; in Burmah would I live; in Burmah would I toil; in Burmah would I die; and in Burmah would I be buried!
These two young gentlemen, the one twenty-three, and the other but twenty years of age, were readily received by the Board, and soon ordained as missionaries to the East. In 1817-11November, 1817, they embarked for Calcutta. The scene, at their departure, was very interesting and affecting, and very pathetically described, in the following lines, by the Rev. Dr. Baldwin: See that ship, her sails now bending, Destin’d far to Indian seas; See her canvas wide extending Catch the ling’ring wish’d-for breeze; Richly freighted With ambassadors of peace. See the solemn crowd assembling, Anxious each the scene to view; Some are weeping, others trembling: While a mother presses through, And, with anguish, Bids her only son adieu. See a father’s heart dissolving, While he gazes on his son; Ev’ry tender thought revolving, Turns away, and weeps alone; Softly saying, Father, let thy will be done! 111 F8r 111 See a scene no less distressing, Where a mother’s anguish’d heart, Fondly to her bosom pressing, Cries, My son, and must we part? O, my Saviour! Ever keep him near thy heart. See that maiden’s arms entwining, Hanging on her brother’s breast; Tears, and grief, and love combining, Still she cries, though much distress’d, Go, my brother, Go and make the Burmans blest. Sisters too, with fond embraces, Stand o’erwhelm’d upon the shore; Gazing on each other’s faces, Weeping, part to meet no more! Griev’d and pensive, God’s mysterious ways adore. While the crowd were silent standing, Solemn prayer devoutly flow’d, Clouds of incense like, ascending Up before the throne of God; For our brethren While they’re sailing o’er the flood. Go, ye heralds of salvation, Go, proclaim Redeeming blood; Publish to that barb’rous nation, Peace and pardon from our God: Tell the heathen, None but Christ can do them good. While the gospel trump you’re sounding, May the Spirit seal the word; And through sov’reign grace abounding, Burmans bow and own the Lord; Gaud’ma leaving, God alone shall be ador’d. 112 F8v 112 Distant though our souls are blending, Still our hearts are warm and true; In our prayers to heaven ascending, Brethren, we’ll remember you: Heaven preserve you Safely all your journey through. When your mission here is finish’d, And your work on earth is done; May your souls, by grace replenish’d, Find acceptance through the Son; Then admitted, Dwell for ever near his throne. Loud hosannas now resounding, Make the heav’nly arches ring; Grace to sinful men abounding Ransom’d millions sweetly sing; While, with rapture, All adore their heavenly king! Boston, 1818-01January, 1818.
During their passage to the East, these young missionaries were remarkably blessed in their endeavours to instruct the sailors. The greater part of the crew became hopefully pious, before the completion of the voyage. They arrived at Rangoon, in 1818-09September, 1818, and greatly animated and encouraged us by their interesting appearance. An account of their first arrival, and the meeting of the mission family, is described by Mr. Colman in the following letter:Rangoon, 1819-02-20February20th, 1819. With much pleasure I inform you of your arrival in Burmah. Five months we were on board the Independence, four in Bengal, and one upon our passage from Calcutta to this port. Various circumstances conspired to make the shores of this heathen land appear agreeable to 113 F9r 113 us. We had long been in an unsettled state, and exposed either to the dangers of the ocean, or to the influence of a sickly climate. It was delightful to find ourselves at the end of our tedious journey, and safe from all the perils through which we had passed. But another consideration served much to animate us — we had reached the field in which we were destined to labour. Here we hoped to spend the remainder of our days, to scatter the good seed of the kingdom, and to see some plants of righteousness springing up, and yielding fruit to the glory of God. When we arrived at the landing-place, we found our beloved brethren waiting to receive us. Our feelings, for a short time, destroyed the power of utterance. We could do no more than take each other by the hand. In about an hour the ladies came on shore, when the whole mission family met, and, by mutual expressions of joy and love, attracted universal attention. From the shore we were conducted to the king’s godown, where we were strictly searched. We then proceeded to the mission-house. Our feelings were indescribable when we stepped beneath its roof, and found ourselves encircled by that dear company which we had desired so long to enjoy. That was a season of rejoicing. How swiftly and pleasantly the hours passed away! How cheering and varied was the conversation! How fervent were the prayers and thanksgivings to Almighty God! For more than a week we were assiduously employed in getting our things through the customhouse. Our articles were strictly examined. The most trifling of them did not escape minute investigation. Having undergone this tedious operation, we 114 F9v 114 were compelled by the custom of the country, to make several presents to persons in authority. It is admitted that the viceroy has the first claim. Feeling the importance of securing his favour by every lawful means, we thought the opportunity good to pay him a visit, and, in presenting our gift, to request his protection. We found him seated in an open house, situated in the midst of a spacious garden. Before him were a number of his officers, and a few persons presenting petitions. Behind him, at a short distance, were a group of artizans, of different occupations, whom he constantly employs. His excellency received us in a very gracious manner, appeared much pleased with our present, and gave us the assurance that we should remain free from molestation beneath his authority. Surely there is reason for gratitude, that we are permitted to stay in this heathen land! Little dependance, however, can be placed in the government. Things here are continually changing. The lives and property of the people are at the arbitrary disposal of a single individual. The whole country, and all which it contains, are supposed to be his property. Hence, he gratifies his inclination, without the least restraint. While, therefore, we acknowledge with gratitude the protection of earthly rulers, we feel the necessity of putting all our confidence in the Lord Jehovah. He can either dispose them to favour us, or defend us from their injustice and cruelty. There is, certainly, no reason to fear, while we have such a powerful Friend. It is true that, in consequence of several reports which reached us, we once entertained some serious apprehensions respecting our personal safety in Burmah; but, as we approached 115 F10r 115 its shores, these apprehensions vanished; and, since that time, we have felt as secure amidst these habitations of cruelty as though we were in a Christian land, and enjoyed the protection of an equitable government. Sickness and the want of a teacher have greatly impeded my progress in the language. I had studied but five days, when I was suddenly taken with an expectoration of blood from my lungs. The discharge was small, but it greatly reduced my strength. My weakness was so great that I was compelled to relinquish my studies, and almost entirely to abstain from conversation. This was a severe trial. It caused great searchings of heart. It led me seriously to examine the motives which induced me to come to this heathen land. For two months I was extremely weak. But He who took away my health has, to a considerable degree, restored it again. Once more I have returned to my studies. By the assistance of a teacher I have read the catechism, tract, and a few of the first chapters of St. Matthew. I have copied brother Judson’s grammar, and half of his dictionary. The latter I hope to finish in two or three months. With real pleasure I look forward to the time when I shall obtain a knowledge of this difficult language. Brother Judson has performed a mighty task. He has now the great satisfaction of preaching to the poor heathen the words of eternal life. Hitherto he has principally confined his exertions to those who visit him; but soon his labours will be more public. We have recently purchased a small piece of land, adjoining the mission premised, on which a place of worship is now erecting. Here brother Judson intends to 116 F10v 116 spend the principal part of his time. Among other considerations, I will mention two which induced us to adopt this plan. We concluded that this method of communicating divine truth, would be least calculated to offend the powers which be. And, as the necessity of preaching the gospel is acknowledged, it is best also, if possible, to pursue that course which will not excite the suspicions of a cruel and despotic government. The secluded situation of the house which we now occupy, had considerable influence upon our minds. It is situated upon no public road, and is almost entirely concealed from the view of passengers by lofty trees. This we conceive to be an important reason why so few inquire concerning the gospel. The house which is now building stands upon one of the roads which lead to the great pagoda. The passing there is immense, especially on worship days. We trust our American friends will pray that from the house which we devote to the service of God, streams of salvation may flow to all the surrounding country.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
A. H. J.
Baltimore, 1823-01January, 1823.
My dear sir,
The time has now arrived for the relation of those events which constituted a new and highly important era in the mission.
117F11r117 Hitherto preparations only had been making. Now, the most essential part of a missionary’s work was actually commenced: I mean the public preaching of of the gospel. We had frequently been cast down, but were not destroyed; we had been dejected, but not forsaken; and now we saw the way gradually opening for the promulgation of the gospel, while a variety of circumstances combined to convince us, that God would yet make it manifest, that he had not, thus far, continued the mission for nought.
Our mission family, from two, had been increased to six. (Mr and Mrs. Hough had embarked for Bengal.) An unusual spirit of prayer and supplication evidently existed among us, and it seemed the inquiry of every individual, What can, what shall we do, for the conversion of the Burmans? And though our newly arrived friends could not speak the language, they were continually encouraging those of us who could, and spent much time in prayer for them.
The Zayat, the Burman name for a place for public worship, was erected. Centuries had rolled away, millions of Burmans had been ushered into eternity, and God, the Creator of the universe, had never before seen an altar erected in Burmah for Himself; had never before heard the voice of prayer and praise ascend in the Burman language. You, my dear Sir, who have now become so intimately acquainted with the circumstances of the mission, and have so minutely followed us for the last six years, can easily imagine the impulse and excitement produced by the preceding consideration. From this time, Mr. Judson transmitted to the corresponding Secretary, in the form of a journal, every thing that occurred, of any interest; from 118 F11v 118 which, and a few letters, written by different individuals of the mission family, you will perceive the origin and progress of the first Christian church ever established in the Burman empire: and though, in point of numbers, the success has not bee splendid, you will, I doubt not exclaim with us, What hath God wrought!
1818-02-24February24th, 1819, Mr. Judson wrote thus:—Some months have elapsed, since I had the opportunity of addressing the Board. During this time, I have been employed in reading Burman, holding conversations on religion, writing some things preparatory to a more public communication of the gospel, and superintending the erection of a Zayat, a place of public resort. Since brother Hough left Rangoon, the remaining families are so small as to be able to find accommodation, though rather crowded, in the mission-house, and we concluded to defer building another, and to appropriate a small part of the sum remitted by you for that purpose (about two hundred dollars), to the erection of a public place on one of the principal roads leading from the city to the great pagoda. There it is our intention, as fast as we are able to converse intelligibly, to spend a considerable part of our time; and, if we find the attempt practicable under this government, to have stated public worship. We succeeded, after much difficulty and delay, in purchasing a small piece of ground, adjoining the mission premises, and at the same time, opening on the public road; the building is slowly going forward, and we hope will be ready to receive company in about a month. The measure seems, at present very promising, though it may eventuate in our banishment from the country. 119 F12r 119 It will, at least, draw us out of our present retired and almost invisible situation, bring us into public view, and make us accessible to the multitudes who pass and repass on business and worship. O that it may prove a Bethel, a house of prayer and praise!There are several persons of whom we cherish some hope; but our hopes have been so frequently raised and depressed, that we know not what to say. There is certainly a considerable number, whose sentiments have been changed; and who may be considered in the state of many nominal Christians, somewhat enlightened and partially convinced; but I cannot say that I have ever met with a single person, on whose mind were discoverable the special operations of the Holy Spirit. The little number of inquirers is frequently diminished by removal to other parts of the country, by death, or by a sudden alarm from government; and again enlarged by new acquaintances. Thus a little light is, we hope, gradually spreading around, though so slowly and so ineffectually, as to claim but little notice, and to excite but faint and wavering expectations of immediate success. It is still a source of much gratification to me, that I am at length able to converse, if not fluently and acceptably, at least intelligibly, in this most difficult language; that I can sit down in the midst of several poor heathen, wholly ignorant of their God and Saviour, and, in a short time, enrich their minds with precious truths, which with the Divine blessing, are sufficient to save their souls. This is a privilege indeed: a privilege which I beg the Board to allow me to enjoy all my days, nor remove me elsewhere, while there remains any rational prospect of success. 120 F12v 120 I do indeed feel deeply grateful for the comfortable supply of our necessary wants, without which we could not enjoy the privilege of imparting the gospel to these heathen. I should be happy personally to express my gratitude to all who furnish this supply, and especially to my honoured patrons, the Board. I hope that their care and kindness will not be in vain. I trust that the blessing of many, ready to perish, will ultimately rest on all who contribute to and pray for the Burman mission.
1819-04-04April 4th, 1819, Mr. Judson again commenced his journal as follows:—My close application to the Burman dictionary, during the year 18171817, and my subsequent loss of nearly a year, in the unsuccessful attempt to visit Chittagong, have occasioned a long interruption in my journal. Since my return to Rangoon, the little I have had to say, I have communicated in letters. With this day, a new and I hope important era in the mission, I resume the journal. To-day, the building of the Zayat being sufficiently advanced for the purpose, I called together a few people who live around us, and commenced public worship in the Burman language. I say commenced, for though I have frequently read and discoursed to the natives, I have never before conducted a course of exercises which deserved the name of public worship, according to the usual acceptation of that phrase among Christians; and though I began to preach the gospel, as soon as I could speak intelligibly, I have thought it hardly becoming to apply the term preaching (since it has acquired an appropriate meaning in modern use), to my imperfect, desultory exhortations 121 G1r 121 and conversations. But I hope, though with fear and trembling, that I have now commenced a course of public worship, and regular preaching. This would have taken place just a year ago, had I returned to Rangoon, as I expected; and still earlier, had I not been under a government, where I thought it prudent to gain a considerable acquaintance with the language, before commencing public operations, lest I should be unable properly to vindicate my conduct, when called to a judicial account. The congregation to day consisted of fifteen persons only, besides children. Much disorder and inattention prevailed, most of them not having been accustomed to attend Burman worship. May the Lord grant his blessing on attempts made in great weakness, and under great disadvantages; and all the glory will be His! 1819-04-06April6th. This evening I went, for the second time, to hear a popular Burman preacher. On our arrival, we found a Zayat, in the precincts of one of the most celebrated pagodas, lighted up, and the floor spread with mats. In the centre was a frame raised about eighteen inches from the ground, where the preacher on his arrival, seated himself. He appeared to be about forty-five years old, of very pleasant countenance, and harmonious speech. He was once a priest, but is now a layman. The people, as they came in, seated themselves on the mats, the men on one side of the house, and the women on the other. It was an undistinguished day, and the congregation was very small, not more than one hundred. When we entered, some said, There come some wild foreigners; but when we sat down properly, and took G 122 G1v 122 off our shoes, they began to say, No, they are not wild; they are civilized. Some recognized me, and said to one another, It is the English teacher; a name by which I am commonly known. The preacher soon took notice of us, entered into some conversation, invited us to visit him, and so on; but on learning that I was a missionary, or, in their idiom, a religionmaking teacher, his countenance fell, and he said no more. The people being now convened, one appointed for the purpose, called three times for silence and attention. Each person then took the flowers and leaves which had been previously distributed, and placing them between his fingers, raised them to his head, and in that respectful posture remained motionless, until the service was closed. This ceremony we of course declined. When all things were properly adjusted, the preacher closed his eyes, and commenced the exercise, which consisted in repeating a portion from the Burman sacred writings. His subject was the conversion of the two prime disciples of Gaudama, and their subsequent promotion and glory. His oratory I found to be entirely different from all that we call oratory. At first, he seemed dull and monotonous; but presently, his soft mellifluent tones won their way into the heart, and lulled the soul into that state of calmness and serenity, which, to a Burman mind, somewhat resembles the boasted perfection of their saints of old. His discourse continued about half an hour; and at the close, the whole assembly burst out into a short prayer, after which, all rose and retired. This man exhibits twice every evening, in different places. Indeed he is the only popular lay preacher in the place. As for the priests, they preach on special occasions 123 G2r 123 only, when they are drawn from their seclusion and inactivity, by the solicitations of their adherents. 1819-04-11April11th, Lord’s day. There were about as many present at Burman worship in the Zayat, as last Sunday. They behaved with rather more order; but it seemed impossible to secure their fixed attention. Those who, in the course of the week, engaged to attend, forgot their engagement; so that the assembly consisted entirely of people who lived around us. I never felt so deeply the immense difficulty of making a first impression on a heathen people. 1819-04-25April25th, Lord’s day. Yesterday we completed the Zayat, set up the front stairs, and laid open the entrance from the road. This morning I took my seat on the floor, in the open porch, under a solemn impression of the great responsibility attached to my new mode of life. In the forenoon the members of the mission family came over to have our usual worship, having concluded to hold it for a few Sundays in the Zayat, rather than in the house, in order to give the Burmans some idea of the place. In the afternoon our people came together, and several came in from the road, so that we had an assembly of between twenty-five and thirty, besides children. At the close of the service, I distributed several tracts to the strangers. 1819-04-26April26th, Monday. The forepart of the day quite barren. Studied with my teacher, as usual. Towards night had an audience of about a dozen, several of whom were from the neighbouring village of Kambet. These paid particular attention. 1819-04-27April27th, Tuesday. One of the most attentive G2 124 G2v 124 of the hearers last night, came again, with a petty officer from another village. They staid the most of the day, received a great deal of instruction, and left, with a promise that they would come as often as the distance of their residence permit. Considerably encouraged to-day, with the hope that God is preparing a people in this benighted land. 1819-04-28April28th, Wednesday. Nothing interesting through the day. At night, encountered a bitter opposer; he had visited Bengal, and some foe to missions had poisoned his mind: he manifested a most virulent spirit. I felt that he would gladly be foremost in destroying us. But through Divine grace I was enabled to treat him with meekness and gentleness, and he finally left me politely. He appeared to be rich, and had several followers. In the evening there were some hopeful appearances in Mrs. J’s female meeting, which she has recommenced since public worship has been set up at the Zayat. 1819-04-29April29th, Thursday. A young man of twentyfour, by name Moung Koo, happened to stroll in last Sunday, and was present at worship. He appeared to be rather wild and noisy, though his manners were respectful. He took a tract and went away. This morning, he made his appearance again, and has been with me about two hours. I have been enabled, through Divine assistance, to impart much religious instruction, and especially to expatiate with some feeling, on the love and sufferings of the Saviour. The truth seems to have taken hold of his mind, and though he is quick and sensible, and has some savage fire in his eye, he is very docile, and ready to drink in the truth, without the numberless cavils and objections which are so common125 G3r 125 mon among the Burmans. He engaged to come next Sunday, promised to pray constantly, and gave me his name to pray for him, that he might be a disciple of Christ, and be delivered from hell. I feel considerable attachment to this young man, and my heart goes forth to the mercy seat, in behalf of his precious soul. 1819-04-30April30th, Friday. I was agreeably surprised, in the morning, to see the young man of yesterday come again so soon. He staid all the forenoon, and seemed desirous of hearing as much as possible about religion. Several others came and went. A very busy day; hardly time to prepare these minutes to be forwarded by a vessel which leaves this port for Bengal, early to-morrow morning.
The following letter to Mrs. S. describes the encouraging appearances, at this time, among the females who attended my Wednesday meetings:Your affectionate letter of 1818-01-27January 27, 1818, I received on the arrival of our new missionary associates, and should have answered it by the last ship which sailed for Bengal, but ill health prevented my writing to any of my American friends. Accept my sincere thanks for the favour, and be assured that your and Dr. S.’s letters often animate and encourage our minds. As you are particularly interested in this mission, I hesitate not to write discouraging as well as encouraging circumstances, to present the dark as well as the bright side of the case; and although this method will sometimes occasion painful feelings, it will excite to fervent and persevering prayer, and prevent the severe disappointment, which is frequently the result of false colouring. You have doubtless, my dear Mrs. S—, heard of the series of trials through 126 G3v 126 which this mission passed during the last year. The bright prospect which animated us just before Mr. Judson’s departure for Chittagong, passed away in a moment, and was succeeded by an apparently impenetrable cloud. The arrival of the brethren C. and W. greatly rejoiced us, and caused us to feel that this mission was still an object of the care of Providence. But our rejoicings were quite checked by their both being taken with bleeding at the lungs, and other symptoms of debility. Brother Coleman has been gradually recovering, and is able to apply closely to the study of the language, though he is still so weak at the lungs as to be hardly heard when leading in prayer: but brother Wheelock has been growing weaker, has a violent cough, and every symptom of a fixed consumption. We have now given up all hope of his recovery. We consider Mr. and Mrs. Coleman a valuable acquisition to the mission, enjoy much in their society, and exceedingly regret that the present weak state of his lungs forbids our expecting much from his public labours for a length of time. Since Mr. Judson has commenced public preaching in the Zayat, I have begun again to have my female meetings, which were given up, in consequence of the scattered state of the Burmans around us, at the time of our government difficulties. I attend with them every Wednesday evening at seven o’clock, as they are more at leisure in the evening than any other time. My last meeting was very animating and the appearance of the females (thirteen in number, all young married women) very encouraging. Some of them very inquisitive, and after spending two hours seemed loth to go. One said, she appeared to herself 127 G4r 127 like a blind person just beginning to see. And another said, she believed in Christ, prayed to him daily, and asked what else was necessary to make her a real disciple of Christ. I told her she must not only say that she believed in Christ, but must believe with all her heart. She again asked what were some of the evidences of believing with the heart. I told her the manner of life would be changed; but one of the best evidences she could obtain would be, when others came to quarrel with her and use abusive language, if, so far from retaliating, she felt a disposition to bear with, to pity, and to pray for them. The Burman women are particularly given to quarrelling, and to refrain from it would be a most decided evidence of a change of heart. But, my dear Mrs. S――, we have no reason to expect that the adversary of souls will let us long go on quietly in our exertions to undermine his kingdom here. Will he not make every possible exertion for the destruction of this infant cause? Yes; but though he rage, he can go no farther than the length of his chain, which is held in the right hand of Him, who loves his church, who keeps it as the apple of his eye, and who, if any of his elect are among this idolatrous people, will keep them from the destructive influence of inferior power. What though the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? What though the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and his cause? He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. He will set his son upon his holy hill, he will give the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. These precious promises 128 G4v 128 my dear Mrs. S—, dissipate our desponding fears, and cause us at times to feel, that in the Lord we have everlasting strength, that He will yet look on us with a favourable eye, and crown our exertions with success. We hope our friends at home will not be discouraged, or cease to pray fervently for the prosperity of this mission. If they knew all the circumstances and the difficulties we have to encounter, so far from being discouraged, they would perceive the greatest ground for encouragement. Through the kindness of the Board, our temporal wants are comfortably supplied, for which we wish to express our gratitude. Accompanying is a Siamese catechism, which I have just copied, that you may see the form and manner of writing this language. I have attended to the Siamese language for about a year and a half, and, with the assistance of my teacher, have translated the Burman catechism, tract, and the gospel of St. Matthew into that language. I have also translated one of the Siamese books into English, and would send it to you if it was not so bulky and so much labour to copy. It is an account of the incarnation of one of their deities, when he existed in the form of a great elephant! The perusal of it, I dare say, would afford you much amusement, as well as excite your commiseration for a people who are so deluded as to believe such fictitious stories.
Continuation of Extracts from Mr. Judson’s Journal.Rangoon, 1819-04-01April1st, 1819. I perceive that one large parcel, forwarded in the year 18161816, never reached America. It contained, among other things, my journal 129 G5r 129 from 1815-10October 1815, to 1816-02February 1816. On looking over the original minutes, I perceive one article only that is worth transcribing. The article will, at least, serve to give some account of myself, during a period which must appear to be unaccounted for in the letters which have reached the Board: 1816-01-01January1st, 1816. The greater part of my time for the last six months has been occupied in studying and transcribing, in alphabetical arrangement, the Pali Abigdan, or dictionary of the Pali language, affixing to the Pali terms the interpretation in Burman, and again transferring the Burman words to a dictionary, Burman and English. With the close of the year I have brought this tedious work to a close; and find, that the number of Pali words collected, amounts to about four thousand. It has grieved me to spend so much time on the Pali; but the constant occurrence of Pali terms in every Burman book, made it absolutely necessary. The two languages are entirely distinct. The Burman is a language sui generis, peculiar to itself. It is true we cannot know what affinity it has to some of the Indo-Chinese languages, that are yet uninvestigated; but it is essentially different from the Sungskrit, the parent of almost all the languages in India Proper, and indeed from every language that has yet come under the cognizance of Europeans. The Pali, on the other hand, is a dialect of the Sungskrit, and was introduced into this country with the religion of Boodh. This personage, whose proper name is Guaaudama, appeared in Hindostan, about two thousand three hundred years ago, and gave a new form and dress to the old transmigration system, G5 130 G5v 130 which, in some shape or other, has existed time immemorial. The Brahmans, in the mean time, dressed up the system after their fashion; and these two modifications, Brahmanism and Boodhism, struggled for the ascendency. At length, the family of Guaaudama, which had held the sovereignty of India, was dethroned, his religion was denounced, and his disciples took refuge in Ceylon and the neighbouring countries. In that island, about five hundred years after the decease and supposed annihilation of their teacher or deity, they composed their sacred writings, in that dialect of the Sungskrit which had obtained in Ceylon; thence, they were conveyed, by sea, to the IndoChinese nations. Boodhism, however, had gained footing in Burmah, before the arrival of the sacred books from Ceylon. It is commonly maintained, that it was introduced by his emissaries before his death. It is obvious, that the introduction of a new religion, and new sacred writings, must have great effect on the language of a people. And, accordingly, (not to speak of the influence which the Pali has had on the general construction of the Burman language,) a considerable number of words in common use, and a very great proportion of theological terms, are of Pali origin. Thus, though the Pali is now a dead language, cultivated by the learned only, some knowledge of it is indispensable to one who would acquire a perfect knowledge of the Burman, and especially to a missionary, who intends to translate the Scriptures, and who ought, therefore, above all others, to be perfectly acquainted with the terms he employs. With these views, I was desirous of laying a little foundation for such further improvements in the language,131 G6r 131 guage, as necessity should require, adamagedapproximately 3 words And having done this—having a vocdamagedapproximately 3 words reference, correction, and enlargement damagedapproximately 3 words to devote my whole time again to the damagedapproximately 3 words 1819-05-01May1st, 1819. Burman day of damagedapproximately 2 words course many visitors. Among the rest, damagedapproximately 2 words a man who was with me several hours damagedapproximately 2 words from his silence and reserve, excited littldamagedapproximately 2 words hope. Today, however, I begin to thdamagedapproximately 2 words him. Moung Koo came again at night, and damagedapproximately 2 words pretty well. These two men, with two persons from Kambet, of the 27th of the last month, I call the fruits of the week. But let us see who of them will remember the day of worship. 1819-05-02May2d, Lord’s day. About three o’clock the quiet and modest Moung Nau came in, and took his usual place. For the others we looked in vain. About thirty present at worship. Very few paid much attention, or probably received any benefit. 1819-05-03May3d. Among the visitors of to-day was a respectable man, formerly an officer, now a merchant, resident at Little Bridge, a village contiguous to Kambet. After long and various conversation, in which he paid close and respectful attention, he said that he was a person not a little versed in Burman literature; but that he now saw he had erred in all; he regretted that he had lived two years in the neighbourhood, without knowing me; to-day was an auspicious day; he wished to become my disciple, would read my writings with attention, and come as often as possible. 1819-05-05May5th. Moung Nau has been with me several hours. I begin to think that the grace of God has 132 G6v 132 damagedapproximately 3 words He expresses sentiments of rependamagedapproximately 3 words faith in the Saviour. The subdamagedapproximately 3 wordsfession is, that from all the darkness, damagedapproximately 3 wordses and sins of his whole life, he has damagedapproximately 2 wordser Saviour but Jesus Christ; no where damagedapproximately 2 wordsook for salvation; and therefore he prodamagedapproximately 2 wordse to Christ, and worship him all his life damagedapproximately 2 words damagedapproximately 3 wordsalmost too much to believe, that God damagedapproximately 2 wordsn to manifest his grace to the Burmans; but this day I could not resist the delightful conviction, that this is really the case. Praise and glory be to his name for evermore. Amen. 1819-05-06May6th. Moung Nau was again with me a great part of the day. He appears to be slowly growing in religious knowledge, and manifests a teachable, humble spirit, ready to believe all that Christ has said, and obey all that he has commanded. He is thirty-five years old—no family—middling abilities—quite poor—obliged to work for his living, and therefore his coming day after day to hear the truth, affords stronger evidence that it has taken hold of his mind. May the Lord graciously lead his dark mind into all the truth, and cause him to cleave inviolably to the blessed Saviour. 1819-05-09May8th. Burman day of worship. Thronged with visitors through the day. Had more or less company, without intermission, for about eight hours. Several heard much of the gospel, and engaged to come again. Moung Nau was with me a great part of the day, and assisted me much in explaining things to new comers. Towards night, a man came in, by name Moung Shway Oo, whom I think it time to mention 133 G7r 133 particularly, as he has visited me several times; and though, like Moung Nau, apparently backward at first, he appears to be really thoughtful. He is a young man of twenty-seven, of very pleasant exterior, and evidently in good circumstances. Poor Moung Koo, who appeared so forward at first, alas, too forward! has quite discontinued his visits. No news yet from the villages of Kambet and Little Bridge. 1819-05-10May9th, Lord’s day. Moung Shway Oo came in the morning, and staid through the whole day. Only two or three of all I conversed with yesterday came again. Had, however, an assembly of thirty. After worship some warm disputation. I begin to feel that the Burmans cannot stand before the truth. In the course of the conversation Moung Nau declared himself a disciple of Christ, in presence of a considerable number; and even Moung Shway Oo appeared to incline the same way. 1819-05-10May10th. Early in the morning Moung Nau came to take leave, being obliged to go to a distance after timber—his usual occupation. I took him alone, and prayed with him, and gave him a written prayer to help him in his private devotion. He received my parting instructions with great attention and solemnity; said he felt that he was a disciple of Christ —hoped that he should be kept from falling—desired the prayers of us all—expressed a wish that, if he held out some time after his return, we would allow him to profess Christ in baptism, and so he departed. The Lord Jesus go with him, and bless him. He is poor. I felt a great desire to give him something; but thought it safer to put no temptation in his way. If, on his return, he still cleave to Christ, his profession 134 G7v 134 will be more satisfactory than it would be if he had any expectations from me. 1819-05-11May11th. Had more or less company from morning till night. Among the rest of Moung Shway Oo, and two or three others, who appear to be pretty well satisfied that the Boodhist religion has no foundation. Conversation was very animated, and somewhat encouraging; but I wanted to see more seriousness, and more anxiety to be saved from sin. Heard much to-day of the danger of introducing a new religion. All agreed in opinion that the king would cut off those who embraced it, being a king who could not bear that his subjects should differ in sentiment from himself, and who has, for a long time, persecuted the priests of the established religion of the empire, because they would not sanction all his innovations. Those who seemed most favourably disposed, whispered me, that I had better not stay in Rangoon and talk to common people, but go directly to the lord of life and death. If he approved of the religion, it would spread rapidly; but, in the present state of things, none would dare to prosecute their inquiries, with the fear of the king before their eyes. They brought forward the case of the Kolans, a sect of Burmans, who have been proscribed and put to death under several reigns. I tried to set them right in some points, and encourage them to trust in the care of an Almighty Saviour; but they speak low, and look around fearfully, when they mention the name of the owner of the sword. 1819-05-13May13th. Had company all day, without intermission. Almost noon Moung Nau came in, having given up his journey, on account of the unfaithfulness 135 G8r 135 of his employer. His behaviour and conversation were very satisfactory. He regrets the want of a believing associate, but declares his determination of adhering to Christ, though no Burman should ever join him. Moung Shway Doan, a man who has attended two Sundays, and made some occasional visits, was with me several hours. He professes to have felt the truth of this new religion, ever since he first heard about it, and now desires to be a disciple of Christ. He has obtained, I find, considerable knowledge of the Christian system; but does not appear to have much sense of his own sins. May the Spirit teach him what man cannot. 1819-05-15May15th. Moung Nau has been with me all day, as well as yesterday. He is anxious to be received into our company, and thinks it a great privilege to be the first among the Burmans in professing the religion of Jesus Christ. He has been told plainly, that he has nothing to expect in this world but persecution, and perhaps death; but he thinks it better to die for Christ, and be happy hereafter, than to live a few days, and be for ever wretched. All the members of the mission have, at different times, conversed with him, and are satisfied that a work of grace is begun in his heart. 1819-05-16May16th, Lord’s day. In the forenoon, a man came in from Kyaikasan, a neighbouring village, and listened with more apparent sincerity than is commonly manifested during the first visit. He had received a tract about a year ago, and had thought considerably on the subject. About the usual number were present at worship; 136 G8v 136 but a larger proportion than common were strangers. A lawyer belonging to the viceroy, and some other respectable persons, were present, and gave me much trouble, without, I fear, receiving any benefit. Moung Shway Doan was present, and appeared pretty well after worship. Moung Shway Oo has, I suppose returned to Henthadah, the next city above Rangoon. He took no leave of me; yet I cannot give up all hope of him. At his last visit, he said he should constantly read my writings, and pray to the eternal God. 1819-05-17May17th. Moung Nau has received an advantageous offer to go to Ava, in the employ of a boat owner. We were afraid to dissuade him from accepting it, as he has no way of getting a living; and equally unwilling to have him absent several months. At length we advised him not to go, and he at once acquiesced. 1819-05-20May20th. For several days there have been no visitors at all. I ascribe it partly to the distress which presses on all ranks of people, on account of the heavy tax which is now raising. Yesterday we received an order to pay, on account of our servants, forty-eight ticals of pure silver, equal to thirty dollars. To-day, after having made every inquiry, we applied to the viceroy. He replied, that it was an extraordinary tax, and must be paid; but that we might be excused from paying it to the proper officer, and have the privilege of paying it to himself! We were, therefore, obliged to produce the money. 1819-05-21May21st. Had several attentive hearers; among the rest Moung Ay, who says that the good news has taken hold of his mind. I have been so frequently disappointed in visitors, who appeared promising the 137 G9r 137 first time, but never came again, that I have lost all credit in early professions; yet I cannot but hope well of this man, especially as Moung Nau appeared to like him better than any other inquirer. 1819-05-22May22d. We have taken Moung Nau to live with us, intending to employ him in copying some small things for distribution, which we cannot get printed at present, and allow him ten ticals a month. Our principal object, however, is to keep him in the way of instruction, hoping that he will ultimately be useful to his countrymen. At night, Moung Ay came the second time, and appeared anxious to know the way of salvation. But I am grieved to find that he is going away on business to-morrow morning, and will be absent a long time. 1819-05-23May23d, Lord’s day. The Kyaikasan villager, Moung Nyo, mentioned last Sunday, came again, with three companions. He staid the whole day, and appears to be in the same state of mind as Moung Ay. Both say, they are convinced that there is an eternal God; that having denied him all their lives, and, of course, lived contrary to his commands, their sins are great; and that the news of salvation through the death of the Son of God, is good news. Thus far they venture. But whether the Spirit has given, or will give them true love to the Saviour, and thus enable them to trust in him, we must leave for time to ascertain. 1819-05-24May24th. A ship, long expected from Bengal, came up the river, but was obliged at night to anchor a few miles below the town. 1819-05-25May25th. In the afternoon the captain came on shore. We received a few loose letters from Bengal. 138 G9v 138 Had the mortification to find that most of our letters were in a parcel and box stowed away in the hold. 1819-05-26May26th. Out all day; but unable to get hold of the precious articles. 1819-05-27May27th. In the afternoon had news that the parcel was sent ashore; and at the same moment received peremptory orders from the collector of the district, to pay four hundred and fifty ticals of pure silver. The order was communicated through the same medium as the last, and all the circumstances conspire to convince us, that it is done by the authority of the viceroy; and if he succeeds in getting this money, it will most assuredly be the beginning of a system of extortion, which will make it impossible for us to remain at Rangoon. What shall we do? We cannot expose the funds of the Board to the mercy of a government which demands hundreds at once. We cannot go up to Ava just now, and seek redress of the emperor. The viceroy would interdict the measure, as the object would be apparent. This viceroy had been in office but a short time, and we were not particularly acquainted with him. The poor parcel lost its value. We glanced at a few of the most important letters; and hastened to lay our case before two Europeans, who hold places under government. Both promised to use their influence. Late at night, after the evening levee, we received information from them both, that they had forgotten our case. We have nothing, therefore, to do, but to commit it to Him who will not forget us, and retire to rest with aching hearts. 1819-05-28May28th. Applied again to one of the officers, 139 G10r 139 in whom I have most confidence. Spent the forenoon in drawing up a memorial (to be presented to the viceroy as a last resort), stating our object in coming to the country, our means of support, and our ministerial character. At noon, received news from the officer applied to in the morning, that he had been before the raywoon, the second in government, and stated the impropriety of taxing ministers of religion; that the raywoon summoned the head of the district, and having ascertained that the order did not emanate from the viceroy himself, dismissed him with a reprimand. O, what a relief to our burdened hearts! Thanks be to a gracious Saviour! In the afternoon succeeded in getting the box, in which most of our letters were deposited. Enjoyed a happy season, in devouring much private and public intelligence from our dear friends and native land. These are the first letters that have been forwarded from Bengal for eight months. 1819-06-03June3d. Have had but little company in the Zayat for several days. In the intervals, have been happy in examining the magazines and other publications, lately received—a pleasure peculiar to a missionary in a heathen land. 1819-06-06June6th, Lord’s day. Had two interesting visitors. They were present at worship, and staid till dark—certain they should come again—but will they? After partaking of the Lord’s supper in the evening, we read and considered the following letter of Moung Nau, which he wrote of his own accord:— I, Moung Nau, the constant recipient of your excellent favour, approach your feet. Whereas my 140 G10v 140 Lord’s three have come to the country of Burmah, not for the purpose of trade, but to preach the religion of Jesus Christ, the Son of the eternal God, I, having heard and understood, am, with a joyful mind, filled with love. I believe that the Divine Son, Jesus Christ, suffered death, in the place of men, to atone for their sins. Like a heavy-laden man, I feel my sins are very many. The punishments of my sins I deserve to suffer. Since it is so, do you, Sirs, consider, that I, taking refuge in the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ, and receiving baptism, in order to become his disciple, shall dwell one with yourselves, a band of brothers, in the happiness of heaven, and (therefore) grant me the ordinance of baptism. At the time of writing this, not having heard much of baptism, be seems to have ascribed an undue efficacy to the ordinance. He has since corrected his error; but the translator thinks it most fair and impartial to give the letter, just as it was written at first. It is through the grace of Jesus Christ, that you, Sirs, have come by ship, from one country and continent to another, and that we have met together. I pray my Lord’s three, that a suitable day may be appointed, and that I may receive the ordinance of baptism. Moreover, as it is only since I have met with you, Sirs, that I have known about the eternal God, I venture to pray, that you will still unfold to me the religion of God, that my old disposition may be destroyed, and my new disposition improved. We have all, for some time, been satisfied concerning the reality of his religion, and therefore voted to receive him into church fellowship, on his being 141 G11r 141 baptized, and proposed next Sunday for administering the ordinance. 1819-06-20June20th, Lord’s day. For the last fortnight, have but little company at the Zayat, owing, probably, to the rains which have now fully set in. The town has also been in great confusion, in prospect of the viceroy’s departure for Ava. We have been called on to pay another tax of fifteen ticals—got off with paying half. Have had several other molestations from petty officers of government. Concluded to postpone Moung Nau’s baptism, till the viceroy be fairly off. He left Rangoon yesterday, and has arrived at the next village, which is a kind of rendezvous to the vast multitude of boats that accompany him. To-day Moung Shway Doan appeared again, after an absence of several weeks, and a little revived our hopes concerning him. Several whom I have particularly mentioned, have discontinued their visits, though I am satisfied that they are discontinued their visits, though I am satisfied that they are convinced of the falsity of the Burman religion, and of the truth of the Christian. I cannot possibly penetrate their motives. Whether, after several visits, they meet with some threatening suggestion, that awakens their fears of persecution; or whether, at a certain stage in their inquiries, they get such an insight into the gospel, as rouses the enmity of the carnal heart, I am not able from my experience hitherto to ascertain. 1819-06-21June21st. The town is in the utmost anxiety and alarm. Order after order has reached our viceroy, to hasten his return to Ava, with all the troops under arms. Great news is whispered. Some say there is a rebellion; some say the king is sick; some that he is 142 G11v 142 dead. But none dare to say this plainly. It would be a crime of the first magnitude; for the lord of land and water is called immortal. The eldest son of his eldest son (his father being dead), has long been declared the heir of the crown; but he has two very powerful uncles, who, it is supposed, will contest his right; and, in all probability, the whole country will soon be a scene of anarchy and civil war. 1819-06-22June22d. Out all the morning listening for news, uncertain whether a day or an hour will not plunge us into the greatest distress. The whole place is sitting in sullen silence, expecting an explosion. About ten o’clock a royal despatch boat pulls up to the shore. An imperial mandate is produced. The crowds make way for the sacred messengers, and follow them to the high court, where the authorities of the place are assembled. Listen ye—The immortal king (wearied it would seem with the fatigues of royalty) has gone up to amuse himself in the celestial regions. His grandson, the heir apparent, is seated on the throne. The young monarch enjoins on all to remain quiet, and wait his imperial orders. It appears that the prince of Toung Oo, one of his uncles, has been executed, with his family and adherents, and the prince of Pyee placed in confinement. There has probably been bloody work; but it seems, from what has transpired, that the business has been settled so expeditiously, that the distant provinces will not feel the shock. 1819-06-23June23d. Had some encouraging conversation with Moung Thahlah, a young man, who has been living in our yard several months. He has lately made me many visits at the Zayat, and appeared very 143 G12r 143 thoughtful and teachable. To-day, on being asked the state of his mind, he replied with some feeling, that he and all men were sinners, and exposed to future punishment; that, according to the Boodhist system, there was no way of pardon; but that, according to the religion which I taught, there was not only a way of pardon, but a way of enjoying endless happiness in heaven; and that, therefore, he wanted to believe in Christ. I stated to him, as usual, that he must think much on the love of Christ, and pray to God for an enlightened mind and new heart, and then gave him a form of prayer suited to his case. In the evening female-meeting, his sister, Ma Baik, whose husband also lives in our yard, manifested considerable feeling (especially when Mrs. Judson prayed with her alone), and expressed strong desire to obtain an interest in the Saviour. 1819-06-27June27th, Lord’s day. There were several strangers present at worship. After the usual course, I called Moung Nau before me, read and commented on an appropriate portion of scripture, asked him several questions concerning his faith, hope and love, and made the baptismal prayer, having concluded to have all the preparatory exercises done in the Zayat. We then proceeded to a large pond in the vicinity, the bank of which is graced with an enormous image of Gaudama, and there administered baptism to the first Burman convert. O, may it prove the beginning of a series of baptisms in the Burman empire, which shall continue in uninterrupted succession to the end of time! 1819-07-04July4th. News arrived that the prince of Pyee died in prison of his broken limbs. The emissaries of 144 G12v 144 the new king are searching in every direction for the adherents and protegés of his deceased uncles. 1819-07-04July4th,Lord’s day. We have had the pleasure of sitting down, for the first time, to the Lord’s table, with a converted Burman; and it was my privilege,— a privilege to which I have been looking forward with desire for many years,—to administer the Lord’s Supper in two languages. And now let me, in haste, close my journal for transmission to the Board.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
A. H. J.
Baltimore, 1823-01January, 1823.
My dear sir,
You have seen the power and grace of God displayed in the conversion of one Burman, the first probably who ever ventured publicly to profess the religion of Christ. To discover in an ignorant, heathen Boodhist, such evident marks of a new disposition, so soon after the commencement of public preaching, far exceeded our most sanguine expectations, and excited that trust and confidence in God, which, we then thought, would forbid future discouragement. This convert became an invaluable assistant in the Zayat, often helping Mr. Judson to certain modes of expression, peculiar to a Burman, and absolutely necessary to his understanding the truths 145 H1r 145 communicated. This child-like spirit and heavenly temper is farther described in the following letter to Mrs. S――, dated Rangoon, 1819-06-03June 3d, 1819:It is only three or four weeks since we sent a parcel to Bengal, in which was a letter in answer to yours of 1818-01January, 1818. But your kindness in writing again before the reception of that, is very grateful to my feelings, and I take this early opportunity of commencing a letter, which I shall continue as events occur, until a vessel sails for Bengal. In my last, I mentioned Mr. Judson’s commencing public preaching in a building which we had erected for that purpose, and which you will in future know by the name Zayat. Little did I think, when I last wrote, that I should so soon have the joyful intelligence to communicate, that one Burman has embraced the Christian religion, and given good evidence of being a true disciple of the dear Redeemer. This event, this single trophy of victorious grace, has filled our hearts with sensations hardly to be conceived by Christians in Christian countries. This circumstance has convinced us, that God can and does operate on the minds of the most dark and ignorant, and that he makes his own truths, his own word, the instrument of operation. It serves also to encourage us to hope that the Lord has other chosen ones in this place. As Mr. Judson has given some account of the first impressions of this man, and as I have had him particularly under my instruction since his conversion, I will give you some of his remarks in his own words, with which you will be much interested: Besides Jesus Christ, I see no way of salvation. He is the Son of the God who has no beginning, no end. He so loved H 146 H1v 146 and pitied men that he suffered death in their stead. My mind is sore on account of the sins I have committed during the whole of my life, particularly in worshipping a false god. Our religion, pure as it may be, does not purify the minds of those who believe it—it cannot restrain from sin. But the religion of Jesus Christ makes the mind pure. His disciples desire not to grieve him by sinning. In our religion there is no way to escape the punishment due to sin; but, according to the religion of Christ, he himself has died in order to deliver his disciples. I wish all the Burmans would become his disciples; then we should meet together as you do in your country; then we should be all happy together in heaven. How great are my thanks to Jesus Christ for sending teachers to this country, and how great are my thanks to the teachers for coming! Had they never come and built that Zayat, I should never have heard of Christ and the true God. I mourn that so much of my life passed away before I heard of this religion. How much I have lost! It is peculiarly interesting to see with what eagerness he drinks in the truths from the Scriptures. A few days ago I was reading with him Christ’s sermon on the mount. He was deeply impressed, and unusually solemn. These words (said he) take hold on my very heart; they make me tremble. Here God commands us to do every thing that is good in secret, not to be seen of men. How unlike our religion is this! When Burmans make offerings to the pagodas, they make a great noise with drums and musical instruments, that others may see how good they are. But this religion makes the mind fear God, it makes it of its own accord147 H2r 147 cord fear sin. When I read this passage, Lay not up for yourselves treasures, &c. he said, What words are these! It does not mean that we shall take the silver and gold from this world and carry them to heaven; but that, by becoming the disciples of Jesus, we shall live in such a manner as to enjoy heaven when we die. We have taken him into our employ for the present, as a copyist, though our primary object was to have him near us, that we might have a better opportunity to know more of him before he received baptism, and of imparting to him more instruction than occasional visits can afford. Mornings and evenings he spends in reading the Scriptures, and when we all meet in the hall for family worship, he comes and sits with us; though he cannot understand, he says he can think of God in his heart. 1819-06-04Wednesday, 4th. I have just had a very interesting meeting with the women, fifteen in number. They appeared unusually solemn, and I could not help hoping that the Holy Spirit was hovering over us, and would ere long descend, and enlighten their precious immortal souls. Their minds seem to be already prepared to embrace the truth, as their prejudices in favour of the Burman religion are apparently destroyed. They also appear to be convinced that the atonement for sin provided in the gospel, is suitable for persons in their situation. But they frequently say, the great difficulty in the way of their becoming Christians, is the sinfulness of their hearts, which they cannot yet overcome. O, for the influences of that Spirit, which can alone effect the mighty change! Pray much, my dear Mrs. S—, pray particularly for these perishing females, who H2 148 H2v 148 begin to feel the power of sin, and I trust also to fear the consequences. After meeting this evening Moung Nau, the Burman convert, came in, and observed that the truths were solemn which had been communicated, and his mind was uneasy. I asked the reason. He said, he found he had many sins remaining in his heart, and he knew not whether Christ would save him. I told him Christ came to save such lost, helpless sinners as he thought himself; and if he put his trust in Him he would surely save him, though his sins were ever so numerous. It rejoices our hearts to see such evident marks of the operations of the Holy Spirit in this man, and we feel, in hearing his simple communications of the exercises in his mind, that we are more than compensated for all the days of darkness and discouragement which we have spent in this heathen land. 1819-06-17June17th. I must now, my dear Mrs. S—, finish my letter, as we hear a vessel is to sail for Bengal in a few days, and I have twenty unanswered letters now before me. The town at present is all in confusion, on account of the enormous taxes which have been lately levied, and the speedy departure of the present viceroy for Ava. He has been here only a year and a half, and though he has not been recalled by the king, he is about to depart on a visit, as he says, to his family, who are still at Ava, but it is probable that he will not immediately return. The expenses of his journey are defrayed entirely by the poor people, who are at such times exceedingly oppressed. In addition to this, there has been an extra tax levied for the king, from the payment of which not a single family has been exempted, not even slaves and 149 H3r 149 foreigners, who have escaped on every other occasion. We too have had our trials and perplexities, in consequence of the levy on this tax. The first demand was moderate, not exceeding thirty dollars. This we did not intend to pay, if we could possibly avoid it. We accordingly applied to the viceroy; but he said it was a tax from which he himself was not exempt— we must therefore pay it. We had no other appeal.
Mr. Judson’s Journal continues thus:—Rangoon, 1819-07-06July6th, 1819. First day of Burman Lent. All the members of government went to the great pagoda, and took the oath of allegiance to the new king. At night a large company came in—all disposed to condemn and ridicule, and persecute—influenced by one very virulent opposer, who has been here before. When the storm was gathering, Moung Nau withdrew. A most trying time, chiefly rendered so, by its being an indication of the spirit which generally prevails among this people, though commonly restrained by politeness, and which, we fear, may issue in something worse, and more to be dreaded, than our own personal inconvenience and persecution. Heard, at the same time, that several of the people who live about us, and commonly attend worship, had privately gone to the pagoda, and made an offering. All these circumstances conspire to make us feel desolate, and put our trust in God alone. 1819-07-10July10th. Some pleasant conversation with Moung Thahlah. Seldom a day passes, in which he does not spend an hour or two with me or Moung Nau. This man is rather superior to the common Burmans, in point of abilities, and though not very 150 H3v 150 learned, he has read much more than the generality. He is much superior to any one resident on our premises; and, if converted, would be a valuable acquisition to the mission. 1819-07-12July12th. Company all day. Moung E, whose name I have not yet mentioned, though he has made several visits, broke through his usual reserve, and acknowledged his love for this religion, and thought he should become a disciple, and not return to Savoy, whence he lately came on some government business. Moung Thalah appears to be really earnest in his desires to become a disciple of Christ. His sister, Ma Baik, who was lately drawn into a high quarrel with a neighbour, expresses much sorrow, and says that the circumstance has convinced her, more than ever, of the evil of her heart, and the necessity of getting a new nature before she can be a disciple. Much encouraged by the events of the day. The Lord can bless the feeblest means, the most unworthy instruments. Praised be his name. 1819-07-13July13th. The sixth anniversary of the commencement of the mission. 1819-07-18July18th, Lord’s day. Discoursed on Matt.vii.13. concerning the broad way to destruction, and the narrow way to life; the hearers considerably attentive. To-day our viceroy has returned to Rangoon, being forbidden to proceed to Ava, before taking the oath of allegiance to the new King. 1819-07-19July19th. Had some particular conversation with Moung Thalah on his spiritual state. He says, that the more he reads and hears of the Christian religion, the more inclined he becomes to believe and embrace it; but fears that his weakness and sinfulness incapacitate151 H4r 151 citate him for keeping its holy precepts, as it becomes a professing disciple. 1819-07-29July29th. Finished revising the tract for a new edition. Have considerably enlarged it, particularly by adding several prayers; so that it now stands, A view of the Christian Religion, in four parts, Historical, Practical, Preceptive, and Devotional. We intend sending the manuscript to Serampore, with a request to brother Hough, that he will get it printed, in a large edition of five thousand copies. The first edition of one thousand is nearly exhausted. Such indeed is the demand for it, since the opening of the Zayat, that we should have given away all the copies long ago, had we not been doubtful about a fresh supply. 1819-07-30July30th. Had several attentive visitors; one of them staid two hours, and appeared very unwilling to leave. His mild manners and apparent openness of heart, tended to heighten my desires and stimulate my prayers, for the salvation of his precious soul. 1819-08-01August 1st, Lord’s day. Several respectable and wealthy people present at worship. One of them visited me several months ago, and received a tract. Since then, he has thought much, and conversed with some of his friends about the new religion. Yesterday, he sent word he was coming to worship, with several others. He was rather reserved to-day, and said but little; yet sufficient to show that he has imbibed some new notions, which, whether they issue in conversion or not, will, I trust, prevent his ever settling down in his old system. His name is Oo Yah. 1819-08-02August2nd. The family of the old gentleman of yesterday, came to see Mrs. Judson, saying, that their father had sent them to listen to the instructions of 152 H4v 152 the female teacher. They appear to be one of the most civilized families we have met with; behaved with much politeness and respect, and begged leave to come again. 1819-08-03August3rd. Several neighbours of Oo Yah spent some time at the Zayat, and listened attentively. 1819-08-07August7th. Brother Wheelock embarked for Bengal; but in so low a state, that we fear the voyage, instead of being beneficial, will tend to shorten his life. 1819-08-08August8th, Lord’s day. Several strangers present at worship—a larger assembly than usual. 1819-08-19August19th. Had more company than for a fortnight past. Very little intermission through the day. Just at night, three strangers came in, and listened with remarkable attention. They appeared to be particularly impressed with the value of a happy immortality, as far superior to any thing which the Burman system can offer, and also with the love of Christ, as far surpassing all other love. 1819-08-20August20th. Several Mahometans came in, having heard, as they said, that I denounced all religions but the Christian. We had a long debate on the Divine Sonship of Jesus Christ. At first it was very offensive to them; but when the doctrine of the Trinity was explained to them, they had no other objection to make, but that the Koran denied that God had a Son. They appeared to be somewhat desirous of knowing what is truth; said they should come again, and must either convert me to Mahometanism, or themselves become converted to Christianity. I discovered afterwards, that one of them was a priest; but he kept in the back ground, and said nothing. 1819-08-21August21st. Have not lately mentioned Moung 153 H5r 153 Thalah, though he has continued to visit me regularly. To-day I had a conversation with him, which almost settled my mind that he is really a renewed man. He, however, thinks he is not, because he finds his heart so depraved, that he cannot perfectly keep the pure commands of Christ. 1819-08-22August22nd,Lord’s day. Two of the adherents of the Mangen teacher, the popular preacher whom I mentioned some time ago, were present at worship. I had much conversation with them; in the course of which, I so clearly refuted their system, in two or three instances, that they could not refrain from an involuntary expression of assent and approbation. They directly said, however, that it was impossible for them to think of embracing a new religion. I never saw more clearly the truth of our Saviour’s words, Ye will not come unto me. After worship, had another conversation with Moung Thalah. He hopes that he is a disciple of Jesus Christ in heart; but wants to know whether a profession of religion is indispensable to salvation. He fears the persecution that may hereafter come on those who forsake the established religion of the empire. I gave him such explanation as I thought suitable, and left him, with the solemn consideration, that unless he loved Christ above his own life, he did not love him sincerely, and ought not to hope that he is interested in his redemption. His sister, Ma Baik, is in a very similar state. She has been particularly attentive and solemn in her appearance for some time past. In such cases, it is a great consolation to reflect, that the tender, compassionate Saviour, will not break H5 154 H5v 154 the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking taper. He will strengthen and restore the one, and the other he will light up with his own celestial fire. 1819-08-24August24th. Another conversation with Moung Thalab, which at length forces me to admit the conviction that he is a real convert; and I venture to set him down the second disciple of Christ among the Burmans. He appears to have all the characteristics of a new-born soul, and though rather timid in regard to an open profession, has, I feel satisfied, that love to Christ, which will increase and bring him forward in due time. 1819-08-26August26th. Was visited by Moung Shway-gnong, a teacher of considerable distinction. He appears to be half deist and half sceptic, the first of the sort I have met with among the Burmans. He, however, worships at the pagodas, and conforms to all the prevailing customs. We had a very interesting debate, in which we cleared up some preliminaries, preparatory, I hope, to future discussions. Just at night, the viceroy, returning from an excursion of pleasure, passed by our road, for the first time since the Zayat was built. He was seated on a huge elephant, attended by his guards and numerous suite, and, as he passed, eyed us very narrowly. Several Burmans were sitting round me and Mrs. Judson. After he had passed some time, two of his private secretaries came in, with viceregal order, signifying his highness’s desire to see the manner in which printing is executed. I replied, that the teacher who understood printing had gone to Bengal, taking the types with him and that it was impossible to comply with the order. They departed with evident dissatisfaction. 155 H6r 155 1819-08-27August27th. In order to obviate the bad effects of the report of the officers of yesterday, I went to the government-house, intending to have a personal interview with the viceroy. After waiting two hours in the levee hall, he made his appearance, and, on recognizing me, immediately inquired about the press and types. I told him my story, and when he understood that I was ignorant of the art of printing, he appeared satisfied to let the matter rest. In the course of the few words which passed between us, he said, that he wished to get several Burman books printed. He seemed to be more kindly disposed towards me than formerly; but it seems impossible to introduce the subject of religion in his presence, surrounded, as he always is, with a crowd of courtiers and secretaries, petitioners, and lawyers. Had but just returned home, when the teacher Moung Shway-gnong, came again, and staid from noon till quite dark. We conversed incessantly the whole time; but I fear that no real impression is made on his proud sceptical heart. He, however, promised to pray to the eternal God, through Jesus Christ, and appeared, at times, to be in deep thought. He is a man of very superior argumentative powers. His conversation would probably shake the faith of many. 1819-08-28August28th. A great deal of company all day long. Quite worn out with incessant toil. At night, the viceroy again passed, as the day before yesterday; and the same secretaries came in, saying, that it was the viceroy’s desire, that I should translate, and get printed, if possible, some historical writings of my country. I told them I would take the first opportunity of calling on his highness. 156 H6v 156 1819-08-31August 31st. A man, by name Moung Ing has visited the Zayat five or six days in succession. At first, a variety of other company prevented my attending much to him, and he conversed chiefly with Moung Nau, and employed himself in reading St. Matthew. He once told Moung Nau, that he had long been looking after the true religion, and was ready to wish that he had been born a brute rather than to die in delusion, and go to hell. Sunday, I conversed with him largely, and his attention, during worship, was very close and solemn. To-day, he has made me half inclined to believe that a work of grace is begun in his soul. He says, that he formerly had some idea of an eternal God, from his mother, who was christened a Roman Catholic, in consequence of her connexion with a foreigner; but that the idea was never rooted in his mind, until he fell in with the Zayat. Within a few days, he has begun to pray to this God. He is quite sensible of his sins, and of the utter inefficiency of the Boodhist religion; but is yet in the dark concerning the way of salvation, and says, that he wants to know more of Christ, that he may love him more. Lord Jesus give him the saving knowledge of thine adorable self! 1819-09-01September1st. Moung Thalah continues to express similar sentiments to those already noted; is still afraid of persecution and death; but professes to be labouring to obtain that love to Christ, and faith in him, which will raise him above the fear of man; and particularly requests us to pray that he may obtain these graces. 1819-09-03September3rd. A great crowd of company through the whole day; the teacher, Moung Shway- 157 H7r 157 gnong, from ten o’clock till quite dark, with several of his adherents. He is a complete Proteus in religion, and I never know where to find him. We went over a vast deal of ground, and ended where we began, in apparent incredulity. After his adherents, however, were all gone, he conversed with some feeling; owned that he knew nothing, and wished me to instruct him; and when he departed, he prostrated himself and performed the sheeko, This act gave rise to the first gleam of hope, that Divine truth had begun to operate on his mind. an act of homage which a Burman never performs but to an acknowledged superior. After he was gone, Moung Ing, who had been listening all the day, followed me home to the house, being invited to stay with Moung Nau, through the night. We conversed all the evening, and his expressions have satisfied us all, that he is one of God’s chosen people. His exercises have been of a much stronger character than those of the others, and he expresses himself in the most decided manner. He desires to become a disciple in profession, as well as in heart, and declares his readiness to suffer persecution and death for the love of Christ. When I stated the danger to which he was exposing himself, and asked him whether he loved Christ better than his own life? he replied, very deliberately and solemnly, When I meditate on this religion, I know not what it is to love my own life. Thus the poor fisherman, Moung Ing, is taken, while the learned teacher, Moung Shway-gnong, is left. 1819-09-05September5th, Lord’s day. A very dull day—not one stranger present at worship. In the evening, 158 H7v 158 Moung Thahlah was a spectator of our partaking of the Lord’s supper. Moung Ing could not be present. He lives at some distance, and is getting ready to go to sea, in pursuance of his purpose before he became acquainted with us. We have endeavoured to dissuade him from going, and to keep him near us; but we are afraid that his circumstances will not allow him to comply with our advice and his own inclinations. 1819-09-06September6th. Spent the evening in conversing with Moung Byaay, a man who, with his family has lived near us for some time, a regular attendant on worship, an indefatigable scholar in the evening school, where he has learned to read, though fifty years old; and a remarkably moral character. In my last conversation, some time ago, he appeared to be a thorough legalist, relying solely on his good works; but yet sincerely desirous of knowing and embracing the truth. The greater part of the evening was spent in discussing his erroneous views; his mind seemed so dark and dull of apprehension, that I was almost discouraged. Towards the close, however, he seemed to obtain some evangelical discoveries, and to receive the humbling truths of the gospel, in a manner which encourages us to hope that the Spirit of God has begun to teach him. The occasion of this conversation was my hearing that he said he intended to become a Christian, and to be baptized with Moung Thahlah. He accordingly professes a full belief in the eternal God, and his Son Jesus Christ. 1819-09-10September10th. A visit from Moung Ing. It appears that he has been confined at work, on board the vessel in which he is engaged, and has not been ashore 159 H8r 159 for several days. As the vessel is certainly going tomorrow, he got leave of absence for a short time, and improved it in running out to the Zayat. I was exceedingly glad, as it afforded me an opportunity of giving him some parting instructions, and praying with him alone. He appears very well indeed. He is quite distressed that he has so far engaged himself; and appears desirous of getting off, and returning to us, if possible; but I have very little hope of his succeeding. I believe, however, that he is a real Christian, and that, whenever he dies, his immortal soul will be safe, and that he will praise God for ever for his transient acquaintance with us. The Lord go with him and keep him. 1819-09-11September11th. Moung Shway-gnong has been with me all day. It appears that he accidentally obtained the idea of an eternal Being, about eight years ago; and it has been floating about in his mind, and disturbing his Boodhist ideas ever since. When he heard of us, which was through one of his adherents, to whom I had given a tract, this idea received considerable confirmation; and to-day he has fully admitted the truth of this first grand principle. The latter part of the day we were chiefly employed in discussing the possibility and necessity of a Divine revelation; and I think I may say, that he is half inclined to admit all this. His is certainly a most interesting case. The way seems to be prepared in his mind for the special operation of Divine grace. His conversion seems peculiarly desirable, on account of his superior talents and extensive acquaintance160 H8v 160 ance with Burman and Pali literature. He is the most powerful reasoner I have yet met with in this country, excepting my old teacher, Oo Oungmen, (now dead) and he is not at all inferior to him. 1819-09-15September15th. Moung Thalah spent the evening with me, in asking several questions on difficult passages in St. Matthew. At the close, I asked him whether he yet loved Christ more than his own life? he understood my meaning, and replied, that he purposed to profess the Christian religion, and began to think seriously of being baptized. His sister, Ma Baik, appears to have lost her religious impressions. 1819-09-16September16th. After having lately made two unsuccessful attempts to get an interview with the viceroy, I this day succeeded. He inquired about the historical writings. I told him I was not so well acquainted with that style of writing in Burman, as with the religious style, and then presented him with a tract, as a specimen of what I could do. He delivered it to a secretary; and on hearing the first sentence, remarked that it was the same with a writing he had already heard, and that he did not want that kind of writing. I suppose that one of the secretaries, to whom I had formerly given a tract, presented it without my knowledge. 1819-09-18September18th. Moung Shway-gnong has been with me a few hours; had spent the greater part of the day with Oo Yah, the merchant whom I mentioned some time ago, conversing on religion. Our interview chiefly passed in discussing his metaphysical cavils. 1819-09-19September19th Lord’s day. The teacher and Oo Yah came to worship according to their agreement of 161 H9r 161 yesterday, accompanied with part of the family of the latter, and several respectable men of their acquaintance; so that the assembly consisted of about fifty. Some paid profound attention, and some none at all. After the exercises, Oo Yah seemed afraid to have it appear that he had any acquaintance with me, and kept at a distance. They finally all dropt away but the teacher, who stayed, as usual, till quite dark. He is, in many respects, a perfect enigma; but just before he left, a slight hope began to spring up in our minds, that his proud heart was yielding to the cross. He confessed that he was constrained to give up all dependance on his own merits and his literary attainments; that he had sinned against God all his life long, and that, therefore, he deserved to suffer hell. And then he asked, with some feeling, how he could obtain an interest in the merits and salvation of Jesus Christ? He appears to have a considerable share of that serious solemnity which I have observed to characterize the few who persevere in their religious inquiries, and which has been wanting in every instance of mere temporary promise. O, that he may be brought in, if it is not too great a favour for this infant mission to receive! 1819-09-20September20th. One of the three visitors of the 1819-08-1919th of August, came again; and, though a long interval has elapsed, his appearance is quite encouraging. He says, feelingly, that he knows nothing, is distressed at the thought of dying, in his present ignorance and uncertainty, and wants to find some kind of salvation. 1819-09-26September26th, Lord’s day. Moung Shway-gnong came with several adherents. Some warm conversation162 H9v 162 tion before worship, but nothing personal. During worship, discoursed from Fear not them that kill the body, &c. My discourse was chiefly intended for Moung Thahlah and Moung Byaay; but the latter was absent, on account of sickness. After worship the teacher immediately departed with his people, without even saying a word. Fear he has taken some offence. 1819-10-06October6th. Conversation with Moung Thahlah and Moung Byaay, which revives my hopes of their coming forward before long. They are both growing in religious knowledge, and give evidence of being in the exercise of gracious feelings. 1819-10-07October7th. Was rejoiced in the morning, to see the teacher, Moung Shway-gnong, come again so soon. We spent the whole day together, uninterrupted by other company. In the forenoon, he was as crabbed as possible—sometimes a Berkleian—sometimes a Humite, or complete sceptic. But in the afternoon he got to be more reasonable, and before he left, he obtained a more complete idea of the atonement than I have commonly been able to communicate to a Burman. He exclaimed, That is suitable—that is as it should be, &c. But whether this conviction resulted from a mere philosophic view of the propriety and adaptedness of the way of salvation, through Jesus Christ, or from the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit, time must discover. I hardly venture to hope the latter. O Lord, the work is thine. 1819-10-23October23d. Have for some days been wondering at the long absence of the teacher. To-day heard a report that he has been summoned by the viceroy to give an account of his heretical sentiments. 163H10r163 At night, Moung Thahlah and Moung Byaay presented a paper, professing their faith in Jesus Christ, and requesting to be baptized—but in private. We spent some time with them. They appear to have experienced Divine grace; but we advised them, as they had so little love to Christ as not to dare to die for his cause, to wait and reconsider the matter. 1819-10-29October29th. The teacher came again, after an interval of three weeks; but he appears to be quite another man. He has not been personally summoned, as we heard; but through the instigation of the Mangen teacher, he was mentioned before the viceroy, as having renounced the religion of the country. The viceroy gave no decisive order; but merely said, Inquire further about him. This reached the ears of Moung Shway-gnong, and he directly went to the Mangen teacher, and, I suppose, apologized, and explained, and flattered. He denies that he really recanted, and I hope he did not. But he is evidently falling off from the investigation of the Christian religion. He made but a short visit, and took leave as soon as he could decently. 1819-11-01November1st. One of the greatest festivals in the year. The crowds are truly immense and overwhelming. We vacated the Zayat, as we have several days, of late, began to question whether it is prudent to go on boldly, in proclaiming a new religion, at the hazard of incensing the government, and drawing down such persecution, as may deter all who know us from any inquiry. 1819-11-02November2d. This is the birth-day and the coronation-day of the new king. All the grandees of the 164 H10v 164 empire have been for some time past been assembling at Ava, to be present at the august celebration. 1819-11-06November6th. The two candidates for baptism again presented their urgent petition, that they might be baptized, not absolutely in private, but about sunset, away from public observation. We spent some hours in again discussing the subject with them and with one another. We felt satisfied that they were humble disciples of Jesus, and were desirous of receiving this ordinance purely out of regard to his command, and their own spiritual welfare; we felt that we were all equally exposed to danger, and needed a spirit of mutual candour and forbearance and sympathy; we were convinced that they were influenced rather by desires of avoiding unnecessary exposure, than by that sinful fear, which would plunge them into apostacy, in the hour of trial; and when they assured us, that if actually brought before government, they could not think of denying their Saviour, we could not conscientiously refuse their request, and therefore agreed to have them baptized to-morrow at sunset. The following is a literal translation of the paper presented this evening:— Moung Byaay and Moung Thahlah venture to address the two teachers:—Though the country of Burmah is very far distant from the country of America, yet the teachers coming by ship, the long way of six months, have arrived at this far distant country of Burmah, and town of Rangoon, and proclaimed the propitious news, by means of which we, having become acquainted with the religion, know that there is an eternal God in heaven, and that there is a Divine Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, deserving of the highest 165 H11r 165 love; and we know that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Divine Son, endured on account of all his disciples, sufferings and death, even severe sufferings on a cross, in their stead. On account of our sins, we were like persons laden with a very heavy burden. On account of our many sins, we found no deliverance, no place of refuge, and our minds were distressed. In this state remaining, the two teachers produced the sacred system from the Scriptures, and we became informed of the existence of the one God; and of the facts, that the Divine Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, redeemed with his sacred life all who love and trust in him, and in order to save his disciples from hell suffered death in their stead. Now we know, that we have sinned against the sacred One, and we know, assuredly, that if we become the disciples of the Divine Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved from the hell which we deserve. We desire to become disciples, and with the two teachers, like children born of the same mother, to worship the true God, and observe the true religion. On searching in the scriptures, for ancient rules and customs, it does not appear that John and other baptizers administered baptism on any particular time, or day, or hour. We, therefore, venture to beg of the two teachers, that they will grant, on the 6th day of the wane of the Tanzoungmong moon (1819-11-07Nov. 7th) at six o’clock at night, we may this once receive baptism at their hands. 1819-11-07November7th, Lord’s day. We had worship as usual, and the people dispersed. About half an hour before sunset the two candidates came to the Zayat, accompanied by three or four of their friends; and, 166 H11v 166 after a short prayer, we proceeded to the spot, where Moung Nau was formerly baptized. The sun was not allowed to look upon the humble, timid profession. No wondering crowd crowned the overshadowing bill. No hymn of praise expressed the exultant feelings of joyous hearts. Stillness and solemnity pervaded the scene. We felt, on the banks of the water, as a little, feeble, solitary band. But perhaps some hovering angels took note of the event, with more interest than they witnessed the late coronation; perhaps Jesus looked down on us, pitied and forgave our weaknesses, and marked us for his own; perhaps, if we deny him not, he will acknowledge us another day, more publicly than we venture at present to acknowledge him. In the evening, we all united in commemorating the dying love of the our Redeemer; and I trust we enjoyed a little of his gracious presence in the midst of us. 1819-11-10November10th. This evening is to be marked as the date of the first Burman prayer meeting that was ever held. None present but myself and the three converts. Two of them made a little beginning, such as may be expected from the first essay of converted heathens. We agreed to meet for this purpose every Tuesday and Friday evening, immediately after family worship, which in the evening has for some time been conducted in Burman and English, and which these people, and occasionally some others, have attended. 1819-11-14November14th, Lord’s day. Have been much gratified to find, that this evening the three converts repaired to the zayat, and held a prayer meeting of their own accord. 1819-11-26November26th. On taking our usual ride, this 167 H12r 167 morning, to bathe in the mineral tank, we were accosted on one of the pagoda roads, by the Mangen teacher, and peremptorily forbidden to ride there in future on pain of being beaten. On our return we inquired into the affair, and find that the viceroy has really issued an order, at the instigation of this teacher, that henceforth no person wearing a hat, shoes, or umbrella, or mounted on a horse, shall approach within the sacred ground belonging to the great pagoda, which ground extends, on some sides, half a mile, and comprises all the principal roads: so that in future we must take a circuitous route in the woods, if we wish to visit our usual place of resort. This consideration, however, is very trifling, compared with another. The viceroy’s order is quite unprecedented in Rangoon, and indicates a state of feeling, on the subject of religion, very unfavourable to our missionary designs. Since the death of the old king, who was known to be in heart hostile to religion, people have been more engaged than ever, in building pagodas, making sacred offerings, and performing the public duties of their religion. They are just now engaged in new gilding the great pagoda, called Shwaay Dagon, which is considered the most sacred in the country, on account of its containing six or eight hairs of Gaudama. Ever since the affair of Moung Shway-gnong, there has been an entire falling off at the Zayat. I sometimes sit there whole days, without a single visitor, though it is the finest part of the year, and many are constantly passing. We and our object are now well known throughout Rangoon. None wish to call, as formerly, out of curiosity; and none dare to 168 H12v 168 call from a principle of religious inquiry. And were not the leaders in ecclesiastical affairs confident that we shall never succeed in making converts, I have no doubt we should meet with direct persecution and banishment. Our business must be fairly laid before the emperor. If he frowns upon us, all missionary attempts within his dominions will be out of the question. If he favours us, none of our enemies, during the continuance of his favour, can touch a hair of our heads. But there is a greater than the emperor, before whose throne we desire daily and constantly to lay the business. Oh! Lord Jesus, look upon us in our low estate, and guide us in our dangerous course! 1819-11-21November21st. Moung Shway-gnong has been with us the greater part of the day, and a little revived our hopes concerning him. 1819-11-27November27th. This day brother Colman and myself came to a final decision to proceed to Ava without delay, and lay our business before the emperor. 1819-11-29November29th. Letters from Bengal and America; the first for six months. Learnt the particulars of the melancholy end of our lamented brother Wheelock. The news of his death reached us some time ago. The tract which we forwarded is not yet printed; a circumstance which occasions us much regret, as we hoped to have obtained some copies to carry up to Ava. 1819-12-04December4th. Another visit from Moung Shwaygnong. After several hours spent in metaphysical cavils, he owned that he did not believe any thing that he had said, and had only been trying me and the religion,169 I1r 169 ligion, being determined to embrace nothing, but what he found unobjectionable and impregnable. What (said he), do you think that I would pay you the least attention, if I found you could not answer all my questions, and solve all my difficulties? He then proceeded to say, that he really believed in God, his Son Jesus Christ, the atonement, &c. Said I (knowing his deistical weakness), Do you believe all that is contained in the book of St. Matthew, that I have given you? In particular, do you believe that the Son of God died on a cross? Ah(replied he), you have caught me now. I believe that he suffered death; but I cannot admit that he suffered the shameful death of the cross. Therefore (said I), you are not a disciple of Christ. A true disciple inquires not whether a fact is agreeable to his own reason, but whether it is in the book. His pride has yielded to the Divine testimony. Teacher, your pride is still unbroken. Break down your pride, and yield to the word of God. He stopt, and thought. As you utter these words (said he), I see my error: I have been trusting in my own reason, not in the word of God. Some interruption now occurred. When we were again alone, he said, This day is different from all the days on which I have visited you. I see my error in trusting in my own reason; and I now believe the crucifixion of Christ, because it is contained in the Scripture. Some time after, speaking of the uncertainty of life, he said, he thought he should not be lost, though he died suddenly. Why? Because I love Jesus Christ. Do you really love him? No one that really knows him, can help loving him. And so he departed. I 170 I1v 170 1819-12-10December10th. A few days ago we succeeded in purchasing a boat for the journey to Ava, after having spent a whole week in search. Have since been employing workmen to cover it, and put it in order. Yesterday we applied to the viceroy for a pass to go up to the golden feet, and lift up our eyes to the golden face! He granted our request in very polite terms. I must now close up my journal to be sent on board ship to-morrow morning. We expect to leave Rangoon in about a week. My next will probably contain some account of our journey up the river, and our reception at court. O Lord, send now prosperity; yet not my will, but thine be done!
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
A. H. J.
Baltimore, 1823-01January, 1823.
My dear sir,
You perceive that we were not allowed to proceed long in the use of those means, which presented the fairest prospect for the rapid success of the gospel in the Burman empire. Christians, living under Christian governments, cannot imagine the terror and alarm infused into the mind of a Burman, at the idea of coming into contact with any person invested with authority. The Zayat had been visited by thousands, 171 I2r 171 many had been induced to examine seriously the Christian religion, and a universal spirit of inquiry had been excited; yet when it was rumoured abroad that this single sentence, Inquire further, had proceeded from the lips of the viceroy, on the accusation of the teacher, all, with one accord, forsook us, and passed on, without venturing to look at their former place of resort. In this situation, our work had apparently come to a stand. One course only remained to be pursued, that of presenting a petition for toleration to the emperor. The result will be seen from Mr. Judson’s journal, which shall be continued, after the insertion of a letter, describing the evening school, a short time before established, and the Burman method of instructing in the first rudiments of reading:Rangoon, 1819-08-04August4th, 1819. In school. I have just been round to all the scholars, one by one, to hear them read their lessons, and am now going to spend the remaining hour, while the Burman teacher looks over them, in writing to you. How curious would the sounds, kwa kwaa, kwe kwee, kwo, kwoo, &c. which are now ringing in my ears, sound in yours! Yet, uncouth as they would appear to you, or as they did, at first, to me, they have now become musical, and when considered as introductory to an acquaintance with the word of God, are productive of most pleasant sensations. But, in order that you may see me, just as I am situated, I will be a little particular in describing the school. The Zayat, in which it is kept, is situated thirty or forty rods from the missionhouse, and in dimensions is twenty-seven by eighteen feet. It is raised four feet from the ground, and is divided into three parts. The first division is laid entirelyI2 172 I2v 172 tirely open to the road, without doors, windows, or a partition in the front side, and takes up a third part of the whole building. It is made of bamboo and thatch, and is the place where Mr. Judson sits all the day long, and says to the passers by, Ho! every one that thirsteth, &c. The next, and middle division, is a large airy room, with four doors and four windows, opening in opposite directions, made entirely of boards, and is white-washed, to dinstinguish it from the other Zayats around us. In this room, we have public worship in Burman on the Sabbath; and, in the middle of it I am now situated at my writing-table, while six of the male scholars are at one end, each with his torch and black board, over which he is industriously bending, and emitting the sounds above described. The third, and last division, is only an entry way, which opens into the garden, leading to the mission-house. In this apartment all the women are seated, with their lights and black boards, much in the same position and employment as the men. The black boards on which all the Burmans learn to read and write, answer the same purpose as our slates. They are about a yard in length, made black with charcoal and the juice of a leaf, and letters are clearly imprinted with a species of white stone, a little similar to our slate pencils. A lesson is written out on this board by an instructor, and when a scholar is perfect master of it, it is erased, and a new one written. The Burmans are truly systematic in their elementary instructions, and a scholar is not considered qualified to read without spelling, until he has a perfect knowledge if all the various combinations of the letters. 173 I3r 173 1819-08-29August29th. When I wrote the above, I intended writing a little every evening; but my time has been so completely occupied, during this last month, together with the increasing weakness of my eyes, that I have not found an hour’s leisure, until this evening. Our school is getting on well, though in number it has diminished rather than increased. Two of the scholars, who began with their letters, are now reading without spelling; and it is a truth, which affords no little satisfaction, that their knowledge of letters is first employed in reading a catechism, concerning the eternal God, and his Son Jesus Christ, of whom they never heard, till they met with us. Thus they will insensibly obtain ideas of their Creator, and ever, in after life, associate the ideas of religion and reading. We begin to see the word of God taking effect around us. The Burmans now believe that we have come here to do them good, and seek their advantage. During four or five years, they supposed, notwithstanding our assertions to the contrary, that we had come here merely to obtain their wisdom, and to return to our native country, to communicate it to others. But seeing, after we had acquired their language, that instead of returning, we built a place for public worship, in which Mr. Judson spends all his time in preaching the new religion, they changed their opinion; and some of them acknowledge that it must be a singular religion, and one worthy of attention, to produce such effects. Three Burmans now give good evidence of being real Christians, though only one has been baptized. Two or three others give us much encouragement, and we hope will prove to be real Christians. Moung Nau, I mentioned, in my last 174 I3v 174 letter, as being the first Burman convert. Moung Thahlah has been serious for a long time, and has, of late, given us reason to hope that he is a true Christian. He is an amiable young man, and considerably superior to the common Burmans. The love of Christ, in dying for sinners, appears to have deeply impressed his mind, and he speaks of it with much feeling. He says, The love of Christ is no common love. Besides Jesus, I see no way of salvation. He has a clear and distinct understanding of the way of salvation by Christ, reads the Testament much, and unties with us, daily, in family worship, which is conducted both in English and Burman. It is very animating to see the solemnity of these two Burmans, when they come to worship; and we often feel, that if we see no further success, we are amply recompensed for the years of darkness and anxiety, which we have passed here. Mr. and Mrs. Colman are still with us; the only two, out of the six, who have joined us since we have lived in Rangoon. We are very happy in their society. They are entirely devoted to the work of the mission, and make every thing subservient to its promotion and prosperity. They apply closely to the study of the language, in which they have made great proficiency. We esteem it a peculiar favour in Providence, that our only remaining associates, and, indeed, our only society in Rangoon, should, in every respect, be of the right stamp. Our mission, on the whole, is in a more prosperous state than we have hardly dared to hope it ever would be, under this capricious government. We trust a little vine is here planted, which is so enclosed and 175 I4r 175 hedged by the protecting care of the Vine-dresser, as to prevent its destruction by the wild beasts of the forest. We have two or three interesting inquirers, who, we hope, will finally be brought to a saving knowledge of the truth. But we want more labourers, who are already qualified to enter on this work. Mr. Judson not only finds his hands full, but abundantly more employment than he is able to perform. His eyes and head, of late, have been considerably affected, which prevents his going on with the translation of the Scriptures as he intended. 1819-11-20November20th. We have had the inexpressible pleasure of witnessing the baptism of two Burmans, since my last date, who gave good evidence of being true Christians. One is Moung Thahlah, whom I have mentioned above, and the other is the oldest member of the school, by Moung Byaay. He has been indefatigable in learning to read, though the only spare time he had was in the evening, after he had been working hard through the day. The first thing he began to read, without spelling, was the catechism, which he committed to memory as he read. He soon began to inquire more particularly concerning the religion of Christ, and manifested an ardent desire to become a true disciple. We trust his inquiries have issued in a saving knowledge of the truth. The two last mentioned disciples were baptized rather privately, on account of the general alarm which has prevailed of late among our acquaintance. But, instead of wondering that they were desirous of being baptized in private, we felt that it was a strong evidence in their favour, that 176 I4v 176 they should desire baptism at all, under existing circumstances. Our three Burman converts now have a prayermeeting among themselves, every Sabbath evening, besides uniting with Mr. Judson twice in a week, and with us all every day in family worship. Their appearance is so different from common Burmans that we are led to exclaim, What hath God wrought! Mr. Judson has written to the Board a particular account of the persecuting spirit, which has, of late, been manifested. We feel more for our converts than we do for ourselves, as they would be the first to feel the effects of a tyrannical, despotic government. Situated as we now are, you will readily imagine we feel the necessity of committing ourselves and this infant church into the hands of our heavenly Father, and of waiting his guidance and direction. The adversary of souls could not patiently see us going on prosperously, without making a struggle to overthrow us. But how much he will be able to effect, is known only to Him, who is our guardian and protector, and who will restrain the remainder of that wrath, which will not redound to his own glory. We have lately been obliged to shut up the Zayat altogether, and all our inquirers have forsaken us, except one, a very learned man, who still visits us, though rather privately. A spirit of persecution has begun to manifest itself, and so alarmed all our acquaintance, that they have quite discontinued their visits. This falling off at the Zayat has determined Mr. Judson to make the only and last attempt, that of presenting a memorial to the young king. We are 177 I5r 177 now all engaged in making preparations for the journey. Brother Colman accompanies Mr. Judson. Mrs. Colman and myself remain in Rangoon. I felt very desirous of going, as the lady of the old viceroy, who is my particular friend, is now at Ava, and would give me a very favourable reception. Her husband is next in rank to the king, and has the management of all the affairs of the kingdom. But Mr. Judson thinks it too hazardous an undertaking, as no foreign female has ever yet appeared at the Burman court. What will be the result of this expedition, we leave for God to determine, on whom alone we depend, and to whom alone we look for success. If he is now about to introduce the gospel into this country, he will incline the king to give us free toleration; but if he has work to do for us elsewhere, we desire to submit, and acquiesce in his sovereign will. It is now an important crisis in the mission. O, that Christians in America, would, with one united voice, plead with God, that these perishing millions may not be lost, by putting far away from them the words of eternal life. We trust we have some sense of the greatness of this undertaking, and of the importance of being spiritual, and heavenly minded.
Extracts from Mr. Judson’s Journal.1819-12-12December12th, Lord’s day. We were much gratified at seeing the tutor, Moung Shway-nong, at worship, for the first time since he was accused before the viceroy. The news of our intended expedition to Ava, has probably emboldened him. We proposed his accompanying us, but he declined. I5 178 I5v 178 1819-12-18December18th,Saturday. Have spent all the past week in making preparations for our journey. 1819-12-19December19th, Lord’s day. Had worship for the last time. Disappointed in not seeing the teacher; but the disappointment somewhat alleviated by the attendance of one of his acquaintance, an elderly man, by name Oo Yan, by profession a doctor, who listened with the strictest attention, and, in his subsequent conversation, discovered a truly inquisitive spirit. 1819-12-21December21st. After having made arrangements for the residence of our families in town, during our absence, brother Colman and myself embarked. Our boat is six feet wide in the middle, and forty feet long. A temporary deck of bamboos is laid throughout, and on the hinder part of the boat, the sides are raised with thin boards, and a covering of thatch and mats tied on, so as to form two low rooms, in which we can just sit, and lie down. Our company consists of sixteen, besides ourselves—ten rowmen—a steersman —a headman, whose name is inserted in our passport, and who, therefore, derives a little authority from government—a steward or cook for the company, which place is filled by our trusty Moung Nau—our own cook—a Hindoo washerman—an Englishman, who has been unfortunate all his life, and wishes to try the service of his Burman majesty; and this last mentioned personage may be called our gunner, he having charge of several guns and blunderbusses, which are indispensable, on account of the robbers that infest the river. We have been much perplexed, in fixing on a present for the emperor, without which no person unauthorized179 I6r 179 authorized can appear in his presence. Our funds were evidently inadequate to the purchase of articles which would be valuable to him, in a pecuniary point of view; when we considered also, that there ought to be a congruity between the present and our character, we selected that book, which we hope to be allowed to translate under his patronage—the Bible, in six volumes, covered with gold leaf, in Burman style, and each volume enclosed in a rich wrapper. For presents to other members of government, we have taken several pieces of fine cloth, and other articles. Thus manned and furnished, we pushed off from the shores of Rangoon. The teacher, Moung Shwaygnong, had not been to see us for several days, ashamed probably of having declined accompanying us; but just as we were pushing off we saw his tall form standing on the wharf. He raised his hand to his head, and bade us adieu, and continued looking after the boat, until a projecting point shut Rangoon and all its scenes from our view. When shall we redouble this little point? Through what shall we pass, ere the scene now snatched away be re-presented? The expedition on which we have entered, however it may terminate, is unavoidably fraught with consequences momentous and solemn, beyond all conception. We are penetrating into the heart of one of the great kingdoms of the world, to make a formal offer of the gospel to a despotic monarch, and through him, to the millions of his subjects. May the Lord accompany us, and crown our attempt with the desired success, if it be consistent with his wise and holy will! At night, we moored by the bank of Kyee-myendaing180 I6v 180 daing. It was near this place that, a few days ago, one of the boats belonging to Mr. G., late collector of Rangoon, was attacked by robbers, and the steersman and another man killed at a single shot. We felt unwilling to remain at this village, but found it necessary. 1819-12-22December22d. We set off early in the morning, and at noon reached Kyoon-oo, a cluster of villages, near one of which, about twenty miles from Rangoon, we remained the rest of the day. 1819-12-23December23d. Passed from the Rangoon outlet into the great A-rah-wa-tee river, (vulgarly called Irrawaddy,) and reached Ran-gen-tsen-yah, a village twenty miles from Kyoon-oo. On the 1819-12-2424th, passed Da-noo-byoo, and on the 1819-12-2626th, Hen-thah-dah, both large towns. Fresh reports of robbers. On the 1819-12-3030th, reached Kah-noung, a considerable town, about ninety miles from Rangoon. Here we met a special officer from Bassein, with a detachment of men, sent in pursuit of a band of robbers, who lately made a daring attack on a large boat, wounded and beat off the people, and took plunder to the amount of fifteen hundred ticals. The commander offered us an escort for the journey of to-morrow, which lies through a dangerous tract of country; but we declined accepting it, as we should have been obliged to give the people presents, without deriving any substantial assistance in the hour of danger. Strict watch all night. 1820-01-01January1st, 1820. Passed a remarkably high, rocky mountain, the side of which, for a considerable extent, is indented with numerous recesses, containing images of Gaudama, all carved out of the solid rock. 181 I7r 181 1820-01-02January2d. Passed the large towns of Shwaydoung and Pah-doung, on the opposite sides of the river, and reached Pyee (vulgarly called Prome), one hundred and twenty miles from Rangoon—a place of great note in Burman history, and the seat of an ancient dynasty of kings. The town itself is in a state of dilapidation; but the environs apear flourishing. Confirmed reports of a most daring robbery, committed a little higher up, on the boat of the governor of Taroke-man, who was going up to Ava, with about fifty men and seven thousand ticals. The robbers came down upon the people, while they were cooking on shore, shot the governor through the body, and carried off all the treasure. Feel the necessity of redoubling our precautions for several days. Agree, that part of us only leave the boat at a time—the rest to stand by the guns. 1820-01-17January17th. Reached Pah-gan, a city celebrated in Burman history; being, like Pyee, the seat of a former dynasty. It is about two hundred and sixty miles from Rangoon. 1820-01-18January18th. Took a survey of the splendid pagodas, and extensive ruins, in the environs of this once famous city. Ascended, as far as possible, some of the highest edifices, and at the height of one hundred feet, perhaps, beheld all the country round, covered with temples and monuments of every sort and size—some in utter ruin—some fast decaying—and some exhibiting marks of recent attention and repair. The remains of the ancient wall of the city stretched beneath us. The pillars of the gates, and many a grotesque, decapitated relic of antiquity, chequered 182 I7v 182 the motley scene. All conspired to suggest those elevated and mournful ideas, which are attendant on a view of the decaying remains of ancient grandeur; and though not comparable to such ruins as those of Palmyra, and Balbec (as they are represented), still deeply interesting to the antiquary, and more deeply interesting to the Christian missionary. Here, about eight hundred years ago, the religion of Boodh was first publicly recognised, and established as the religion of the empire. Here then Ah-rah-han, the first Boodhist apostle of Burmah, under the patronage of king Anan-ra-tha-men-zan, disseminated the doctrines of atheism, and taught his disciples to pant after annihilation, as the supreme good. Some of the ruins before our eyes, were probably the remains of pagodas designed by himself. We looked back on the centuries of darkness that are passed. We look forward, and Christian hope would fain brighten the prospect.— Perhaps we stand on the dividing line of the empires of darkness and light. O, shade of Shen Ah-rah-han! weep o’er thy falling fanes; retire from the scenes of thy past greatness. But thou smilest at my feeble voice. Linger then, thy little remaining day. A voice mightier than mine, a still small voice, will ere long sweep away every vestige of thy dominion. The churches of Jesus will soon supplant these idolatrous monuments, and the changing of the devotees of Boodh will die away before the Christian hymn of praise. After leaving Pah-gan, the river turns to the east. We walked across the point of land formed by the curve of the river, and rejoined the boat at Nyoung-oo. on the 1820-01-2020th we reached Gnah-hmyah-gnay, a solitary and dangerous place, and moored under a little point 183 I8r 183 of land. Late in the evening, a large boat, full of men, suddenly turned the point, and bore down upon us. Our headman warned them off; but they paid no attention, and made no reply; on which he fired a gun over them. They then called out to forbear, and sheered off. The adventure quite indisposed us for sleep. We planned anew the minutiæ of operation, in case of attack, and kept a strict watch all night. 1820-01-22January22d. Passed the confluence of the Kyendon and the A-rah-wah-tee, and proceeded up the latter. The former is the smaller of the two, but it is said to be navigable for large boats twenty days distance from the confluence. It penetrates into the Cassay country, which lies north of Burmah, and to which thirty thousand troops have lately marched from Ava, to quell a rebellion, occasioned by the accession of the new emperor. We are now beyond the region of the robbers, and are allowed to sleep in comparative quiet. 1820-01-25January25th. Passed Old Ava, the seat of the dynasty immediately preceding the present, and Tsah-gaing, a place of some note, distinguished for its innumerable pagodas, and the residence of one or two late emperors; and about noon, drew up to O-ding-mau, the lower landing-place of New Ava, or Ahmarapoor, about three hundred and fifty miles from Rangoon. At our present distance of nearly four miles from the city, (and we cannot get nearer this season,) it appears to the worst advantage. We can hardly distinguish the golden steeple of the palace, amid the glittering pagodas, whose summits just suffice to mark the spot of our ultimate destination. 1820-01-26January26th. We set out early in the morning, 184 I8v 184 called on Mr. G., late collector of Rangoon, and on Mr. R., who was formerly collector, but is now out of favour. Thence we entered the city, passed the palace, and repaired to the house of Mya-day-men, former viceroy of Rangoon, now one of the public ministers of state (Woon-gyee). We gave him a valuable present, and another of less value to his wife, the lady who formerly treated Mrs. Judson with so much politeness. They both received us very kindly, and appeared to interest themselves in our success. We however did not disclose our precise object; but only petitioned leave to behold the golden face. Upon this his highness committed our business to Moung Yo, one of his favourite officers, and directed him to introduce us to Moung Zah, one of the private ministers of state (A-twen-woon), with the necessary orders. This particular favour of Mya-day-men prevents the necessity of our petitioning and feeling all the public ministers off state, and procuring formal permission from the high court of the empire. In the evening, Moung Yo, who lives near our boat, called on us, to say that he would conduct us to-morrow. We lie down in sleepless anxiety. To- morrow’s dawn will usher in the most eventful day of our lives. To-morrow’s eve will close on the bloom or the blight of our fondest hopes. Yet it is consoling to commit this business into the hands of our heavenly Father,—to feel that the work is His, not ours; that the heart of the monarch, before whom we are to appear, is under the controul of Omnipotence; and that the event will be ordered in the manner most conducive to the divine glory and the greatest good. God may, for the wisest purposes, suffer our hopes to 185 I9r 185 be disappointed; and if so, why should short-sighted, mortal man repine? Thy will, O God, be ever done; for thy will is inevitably the wisest and the best! 1820-01-27January27th. We left the boat, and put ourselves under the conduct of Moung Yo. He carried us first to Mya-day-men, as a matter of form; and there we learnt, that the emperor had been privately apprized of our arrival, and said, Let them be introduced. We therefore proceeded to the palace. At the outer gate, we were detained a long time, until the various officers were satisfied that we had a right to enter; after which we deposited a present for the private minister of state, Moung Zah, and were ushered into his apartments in the palace-yard. He received us very pleasantly, and ordered us to sit before several governors and petty kings, who were waiting at his levee. We here, for the first time, disclosed our character and object—told him that we were missionaries, or propagators of religion; that we wished to appear before the emperor, and present our sacred books, accompanied with a petition. He took the petition into his hand, looked over about half of it, and then familiarly asked several questions about our God and our religion, to which we replied. Just at this crisis, some one announced that the golden foot was about to advance; on which the minister hastily rose up, and put on his robes of state, saying, that he must seize the moment to present us to the emperor. We now found, that we had unwittingly fallen on an unpropitious time, it being the day of the celebration of the late victory over the Cassays, and the very hour when his majesty was coming forth to witness the display made on the occasion. When the minister was dressed, he 186 I9v 186 just said, How can you propagate religion in this empire? But come along. Our hearts sunk at these inauspicious words. He conducted us through various splendour and parade, until we ascended a flight of stairs, and entered a most magnificent hall. He directed us where to sit, and took his place on one side; the present was placed on the other, and Moung Yo, and another officer of Mya-day-men, sat a little behind. The scene to which we were now introduced really surpassed our expectation. The spacious extent of the hall, and the number and magnitude of the pillars, the height of the dome, the whole completely covered with gold, presented a most grand and imposing spectacle. Very few were present, and those evidently great officers of state. Our situation prevented us from seeing the further avenue of the hall; but the end, where we sat, opened into the parade, which the emperor was about to inspect. We remained above five minutes, when every one put himself into the most respectful attitude, and Moung Yo whispered, that his majesty had entered. We looked through the hall, as far as the pillars would allow, and presently caught sight of this modern Ahasuerus. He came forward, unattended—in solitary grandeur, exhibiting the proud gait and majesty of an eastern monarch. His dress was rich, but not distinctive; and he carried in his hand the gold-sheathed sword, which seems to have taken the place of the sceptre of ancient times. But it was his high aspect and commanding eye that chiefly rivetted our attention. He strided on. Every head, excepting ours, was now in the dust. We remained kneeling, our hands folded, our eyes fixed on the monarch. When he drew near, we caught his attention.187I10r 187 tention. He stopped, partly turned towards us—Who are these? The teachers, great king, I replied. What, you speak Burman—the priests that I heard of last night? When did you arrive? Are you teachers of religion? Are you like the Portugese Priest? Are you married? Why do you dress so? These, and some other similar questions, we answered; when he appeared to be pleased with us, and sat down on an elevated seat, his hand resting on the hilt of his sword, and his eyes intently fixed on us. Moung Zah now began to read the petition and it ran thus:— The American teachers present themselves to receive the favour of the excellent king, the sovereign of land and sea. Hearing that, on account of the greatness of the royal power, the royal country was in a quiet and prosperous state, we arrived at the town of Rangoon, within the royal dominions, and having obtained leave of the governor of that town, to come up and behold the golden face, we have ascended, and reached the bottom of the golden feet. In the great country of America, we sustain the character of teachers and explainers of the contents of the sacred Scriptures of our religion. And since ist is contained in those Scriptures, that, if we pass to other countries, and preach and propagate religion, great good will result, and both those who teach, and those who receive the religion, will be freed from future punishment, and enjoy, without decay or death, the eternal felicity of heaven,—that royal permission be given, that we, taking refuge in the royal power, may preach our religion in these dominions, and that those who are pleased with our preaching, and wish to listen to 188 I10v 188 and be guided by it, whether foreigners or Burmans, may be exempt from government molestation, they present themselves to receive the favour of the excellent king, the sovereign of land and sea. The emperor heard this petition, and stretched out his hand. Moung Zah crawled forward and presented it. His majesty began at the top, and deliberately read it through. In the mean time, I gave Moung Zah an abridged copy of the tract, in which every offensive sentence was corrected, and the whole put into the handsomest style and dress possible. After the emperor had perused the petition, he handed it back without saying a word, and took the tract. Our hearts now rose to God for a display of his grace. O, have mercy on Burmah! Have mercy on her king! But, alas! the time was not yet come. He held the tract long enough to read the two first sentences, which assert that there is one eternal God, who is independent of the incidents of mortality, and that beside him, there is no God; and then, with an air of indifference, perhaps disdain, he dashed it down to the ground! Moung Zah stooped forward, picked it up, and handed it to us. Moung Yo made a slight attempt to save us, by unfolding one of the volumes which composed our present, and displaying its beauty; but his majesty took no notice. Our fate was decided. After a few moments, Moung Zah interpreted his royal master’s will, in the following terms: In regard to the objects of your petition, his majesty gives no order. In regard to your sacred books, his majesty has no use for them, take them away. Something was now said about brother Colman’s 189 I11r 189 skill in medicine; upon which the emperor once more opened his mouth, and said, Let them proceed to the residence of my physician, the Portuguese priest; let him examine whether they can be useful to me in that line, and report accordingly. He then rose from his seat, strided on to the end of the hall, and there, after having dashed to the ground the first intelligence that he had ever received of the eternal God, his Maker, his Preserver, his Judge, he threw himself down on a cushion, and lay listening to the music, and gazing at the parade spread out before him. As for us and our present, we were hurried away, without much ceremony. We passed out of the palace gates with much more facility than we entered, and were conducted first to the house of Mya-day-men. There his officer reported our reception; but in as favourable terms as possible; and as his highness was not apprized of our precise object, our repulse appeared probably to him, not so decisive as we knew it to be. We were next conducted two miles, through the sun and dust of the streets of Ava, to the residence of the Portuguese priest. He very speedily ascertained that we were in possession of no wonderful secret, which would secure the emperor from all disease, and make him live for ever; and we were accordingly allowed to take leave of the reverend Inquisitor, and retreat to our boat. At this stage of the business, notwithstanding the decided repulse we had received, we still cherished some hope of ultimately gaining our point. We regretted that a sudden interruption had prevented our explaining our objects to Moung Zah, in that familiar and confidential manner which we had intended; and 190 I11v 190 we detemined, therefore to make another attempt upon him in private. 1820-01-28January28th. Early in the morning we had the pleasure of seeing our friend, Mr. G., coming to our boat. It may not be amiss to mention, that he is the collector who was chiefly instrumental in relieving us from the exorbitant demand, which, a few months ago was made upon us in Rangoon. He now told us that he had heard of our repulse, but would not have us give up all hope; that he was perfectly acquainted with Moung Zah, and would accompany us to his house, a little before sunset, at an hour when he was accessible. This precisely accorded with our intentions. In the afternoon, therefore, we called on Mr. G.. and he went with us into the city. On the way, we paid a visit to the wife of the present vieceroy of Rangoon, whose eldest son is married to the only daughter of the present emperor. We carried a present, and were, of course, kindly recceived. Thence we went to the house of Moung Zah, some way beyond the palace. He received us with great coldness and reserve. The conversation which we carried on, chiefly through Mr. G., it is unnecessary to detail. Suffice it to say that we ascertained, beyond a doubt, that the policy of the Burman government, in regard to the toleration of any foreign religion, is precisely the same with the Chinese:that it is quite out of the question, whether any of the subjects of the emperor, who embrace a religion different from his own, will be exempt from punishment; and that we, in presenting a petition to that effect, had been guilty of a most egregious blunder, an unpardonable offence. 191 I12r 191 Mr. G. urged every argument that we suggested, and some others. He finally stated, that if we obtained the royal favour, other foreigners would come and settle in the mpire, and trade would be greatly benefited. This argument alone seemed to have any effect on the mind of the minister; and looking out from the cloud which covered his face, he vouchsafed to say, that if we would wait some time, he would endeavour to speak to his majesty about us. From this remark it was impossible to derive any encouragement, and having nothing further to urge, we left Mr. G., and bowing down to the ground, took leave of this great minister of state, who under the emperor, guides the movements of the whole empire. It was now evening. We had four miles to walk by moon light. Two of our disciples only followed us. They had pressed as near as they ventured to the door of the hall of audience, and listened to words which sealed the extinction of their hopes and ours. For some time we spoke not. Some natural tears we dropt, but wiped them soon.The world was all before us, where to chooseOur place of rest, and Providence our guide. And, as our first parents took their solitary way through Eden, hand in hand, so we took our way through this great city, which, to our late imagination, seemed another Eden; but now, through the magic touch of disappointment, seemed blasted and withered, as if smitten by the fatal influence of the cherubic sword. Arrived at the boat, we threw ourselves down 192 I12v 192 completely exhausted in body and mind. For three days we had walked eight miles a day, most of the way in the heat of the sun, which, even at this season, in the interior of these countries, is exceedingly oppressive; and the result of our travels and toils has been—the wisest and best possible—a result, which if we could see the end from the beginning, would call forth our highest praise. O, slow of heart to believe and trust in the overruling agency of our own Almighty Saviour! 1820-01-29January29th. We again rose early, and having considered the last words of Moung Zah, wrote down our request in the most concise and moderate terms, and sent it to Mr. G., with a message, that he would once more see Moung Zah, lay the paper before him, and ascertain, unequivocally, whether there was any possibility of gaining our point, by waiting several months. The rest of the day, and the next being Lord’s day, we remained in the boat. 1820-01-31January31st, Monday. Mr. G. called upon us, with our little paper in his hand. I have shewn your paper to Moung Zah, and begged him not to deceive you, but to say distinctly what hopes you might be allowed to entertain; he replied, Tell them, that there is not the least possibility of obtaining the object stated in this paper, should they wait ever so long. I now thought of one more expedient; and taking out the manuscript tract the emperor threw down, I handed it to Mr. G. This is a brief view of the Christian religion. Do you present it, in our name, to Moung Zah, and persuade him to read it, or 193 K1r 193 hear it read. We have indeed no hope of its efficacy; but it is our last resort, and God may help us in the extremity. He took it with some feeling, and promised to do his best. Before leaving us, he communicated the important intelligence, that the emperor, flushed with his late victory over the Cassays, had determined on war with Siam, and intended, next fall, to march in person to Pegue, below Rangoon, and there establish his head-quarters. After Mr. G. left us, we went to visit Mr. R. We were formerly acquainted with him in Rangoon; and he would now have assisted us, had he not been out of the favour of the new emperor. We related all our proceedings, and the disappointment of our hopes. I knew it would be so, replied he, when you first called on me; but I was not willing to discourage you from making trial for yourselves. He then related the following story, with the substance of which we were previously acquainted: About fifteen years ago, the Roman Catholic priests converted to their faith a Burman teacher of talents and distinction. They took great pains to indoctrinate him thoroughly in their religion, and entertained great hope of his usefulness in their cause. After his return from Rome, whither they had sent him to complete his Christian education, he was accused by his nephew, a clerk in the high court of the empire, of having renounced the established religion. The emperor, who, it must be remembered, was far from approving the religion of Boodh, ordered that he should be compelled to recant. The nephew seized his uncle, cast him into prison and K 194 K1v 194 fetters, caused him to be beat and treated unmercifully; and at length had recourse to the torture of the iron mall. With this instrument he was gradually beaten, from the ends of his feet up to his breast, until his body was little else but one livid wound. Mr. R. was one of those that stood by and gave money to the executioners, to induce them to strike gently. At every blow, the sufferer pronounced the name of Christ; and declared, afterwards, that he felt but little or no pain. When he was at the point of death, under the hands of his tormentors, some persons, who pitied his case, went to the emperor, with a statement, that he was a madman, and knew not what he was about; on which the emperor gave orders for his release. The Portuguese took him away, concealed him until he was able to move, and sent him privately in a boat to Rangoon, and thence by ship to Bengal, where he finished his days. Since then, the Roman priests, of whom there are only four in the country, have done nothing in the way of proselyting, but confined their labours to their own flocks, which are composed of the descendants of foreigners. The man who accused his uncle, is now the very first of the private ministers of state, taking rank before Moung Zah! Furthermore, the present chief queen, who has great influence with his majesty, is, and ever has been, particularly attached to the religion and the priests of Boodh. Mr. R. also confirmed the information we had received of approaching war with Siam. Our case could not be more desperate. We directly returned to the boat, and ordered our people to sell off all unnecessary articles, and be ready to start, as soon as our passport could be obtained. 195 K2r 195 1820-02-01February1st. Went to Mya-day-men, and applied for a passport to Rangoon. He appeared willing to oblige us; but said we must make formal application to Moung Zah. 1820-02-02February2d. Went to various places, and made various inquiries and applications for a passport. Ascertained that it was absolutely necessary in our case, to procure a special one from the high court of the empire. 1820-02-03February3d. Sent our headman, and some of our people, with a petition to Moung Zah. After they had gone off, we called on Mr. G. He informed us that the tract had been presented to Moung Zah, and read in his presence. After listening to the whole of it, instead of throwing it down, or even returning it, he committed it to one of his people to keep, saying to Mr. G., The doctrines and commands are very good: but it will be a long time before Burmans can be convinced that there is a God and Saviour. After this interview with Moung Zah, Mr. G. was summoned before the emperor. His majesty, among other things, inquired about the foreign teachers. Mr.G. told him our country, our character, and our object. The emperor observed that the Portuguese priest had told him very different things; particularly, that we were a sect of Zandees (a race very obnoxious to former emperors). Mr. G. endeavoured to vindicate our character; but the emperor appeared quite averse to hearing any thing in our favour. What, said he, laughing, they have come, presuming to convert us to their religion! Let them leave our capital. We have no desire to receive their instructions. Perhaps they K2 196 K2v 196 may find some of their countrymen in Rangoon, who may be willing to listen to them. Mr. G. now advised us to obtain a royal order, protecting us personally from molestation, while we should remain in the country; otherwise, said he, as it will be notorious that you have solicited royal patronage, and been refused, you will lie at the mercy of every ill-disposed person. This suggestion to Mr. G. occupied our thoughts the rest of the day. We finally concluded, that, as such an order would cost several hundred ticals, we would prefer trusting in the Lord, to keep us and our poor disciples. At night, our people returned. They had found Moung Zah, had presented the petition for a passport; to which he made no other reply, but Come to-morrow. 1820-02-04February4th. Sent the people early in the morning with a handsome present to Moung Zah. They returned late at night. He accepted the present, and assured them he would do our business to-morrow. 1820-02-05February5th. Sent the people as usual, our trusty Moung Nau accompanying them, with a quantity of silver. This did the business. Late in the evening, I had the pleasure of taking into my hand the pointed palm-leaf. It has cost us the value of thirty dollars. 1820-02-06February6th. Pushed off from the beach of O-ding- mau. I could moralize half an hour on the apt resemblance, the beauty of congruity, between the desolate state of our feelings and the sandy barren surface of this miserable beach. But ’tis idle all. Let the 197 K3r 197 beach and our sorrow go together. Something better will turn up to-morrow. 1820-02-12February12th. Reached Pyee, 230 miles from Ava; our descent on the river being, of course, much more rapid than our ascent. Here, to our great surprise, we met with the teacher, Moung Shway-gnong. He had come up from Rangoon, a few days ago, to visit an old acquaintance, who was dangerously ill; expects to return shortly; would gladly go with us, if we could wait a day or two. We stated to him all our adventures at court, the distressing result of the expedition, and the present danger of propagating or professing the religion of Christ, and wound off with the story of the iron mall. He appeared to be less affected and intimidated by the relation than we could have expected. Indeed, his language was rather too high for the occasion. I therefore told him that it was not for him that we were concerned, but for those who had become disciples of Christ. When they were accused and persecuted, they could not worship at the pagodas, or recant before the Mangen teacher. He felt the force of the reflection, and tried to explain his past conduct. Say nothing, said I; one thing you know to be true, that, when formerly accused, if you had not, in some way or other, satisfied the mind of the Mangen teacher, your life would not now be remaining in your body. Then, said he, if I must die, I shall die in a good cause. I know it is the cause of truth. He then repeated, with considerable emphasis, the most prominent points of his present faith, as follows:—I believe in the Eternal God, in his Son Jesus Christ, in the atonement which Christ has made, and in the writings of the apostles, as the true and 198 K3v 198 only word of God. Perhaps, continued he, you may not remember, that during one of my last visits, you told me, that I was trusting in my own understanding, rather than in the Divine word. From that time I have seen my error, and endeavour to renounce it. You explained to me also the evil of worshipping at pagodas, though I told you, that my heart did not partake in the worship. Since you left Rangoon, I have not lifted up my folded hands before a pagoda. It is true, I sometimes follow the crowd, on days of worship, in order to avoid persecution; but I walk up one side of the pagoda, and walk down the other. Now, you say, that I am not a disciple. What lack I yet? I was now satisfied that he had made a little advance since our last interview, which required a corresponding advance on my side. I replied, therefore, Teacher, you may be a disciple of Christ in heart, but you are not a full disciple. You have not faith and resolution enough to keep all the commands of Christ, particularly that which requires you to be baptized, though in the face of persecution and death. Consider the words of Jesus, just before he returned to heaven, He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved. He received this communication in profound silence, and with that air, which I have observed to come upon him, when he takes a thing into serious consideration. Soon after, I hinted our intention of leaving Rangoon, since the emperor had virtually prohibited the propagation of the Christian religion, and no Burman, under such circumstances, would dare to investigate, much less to embrace it. This intelligence evidently aroused him, and showed us that we had more interest in his heart than we thought. Say not so, 199 K4r 199 said he, there are some who will investigate, notwithstanding; and rather than have you quit Rangoon, I will go myself to the Mangen teacher, and have a public dispute. I know I can silence him. I know the truth is on my side. Ah, said I, you may have a tongue to silence him, but he has a pair of fetters and an iron mall to subdue you! Remember that. This was the substance of our conversation, though much more prolix; and he left us about 9 o’clock at night. This interview furnished matter for conversation till past midnight, and kept us awake much of the remainder of the night. Perhaps, on arriving in Rangoon, we shall find the disciples firm, and some others seriously inquiring. Perhaps we shall discover some appearances of a movement of the Divine Spirit. Perhaps the Lord Jesus has a few chosen ones, whom he intends to call in, under the most unpropitious and forbidding circumstances. Perhaps he intends to show, that it is not by might, nor by power, but by his Spirit. In a word, perhaps, in the last extremity, God will help us. Ought we, then, hastily to forsake the place? Ought we to desert those of the disciples that we cannot take with us, and some others, for whom Christ died, in such an interesting crisis of their fate? Would it be rashness to endeavour to trust in God, and maintain the post, though disallowed by government, and exposed to persecution? But, again, can we bear to see our dear disciples in prison, in fetters, under torture? Can we stand by them, and encourage them to bear patiently the rage of their persecutors? Are we willing to participate with them? Though the spirit may be sometimes almost willing, is not the flesh too weak? 200 K4v 200 Pondering on such topics as these, a little ray of hope seemed to shine out of the darkness of our despair. But it was not like the soft beam of the moon, which kindly shines on the path of the benighted pilgrim, and guides him to a place of shelter. It was rather like the angry gleam of lightning, which, while for a moment it illumines the landscape around, discloses the black magazines of heaven’s artillery, and threatens death to the unwary gazer. 1820-02-18February18th. Arrived in Rangoon. 1820-02-20February20th, Lord’s day. In the evening I called the three disciples together, and gave them a connected account of the affair at Ava, that they might have a full understanding of the dangers of their present condition, and the reasons of our intended departure from Rangoon. We expected, that after being destitute of all the means of grace for some time, and after seeing their teachers driven away from the presence of their monarch in disgrace, they would become cold in their affections, and have but little remaining zeal for a cause thus proscribed and exposed to persecution. We thought, that if one out of the three remained firm, it was as much as we could reasonably hope for. But how delightfully were we disappointed! They all, to a man, appeared immoveably the same, yea, rather advanced in zeal and energy. They vied with each other, in trying to explain away difficulties, and to convince us that the cause was not yet quite desperate. But whither are the teachers going? was, of course, an anxious inquiry. We told them, that it was our intention never to desert Burmah; but that since the emperor had refused to tolerate our religion, we thought it necessary to leave, for 201 K5r 201 a time, those parts of the empire which are immediately under his dominion; that there is a tract of country, lying between Bengal and Arrakan, which, though under the government of Bengal, is chiefly inhabited by Arrakanese, who speak a language similar to the Burman, the district being really a part of Arrakan, one component part of the present Burman empire; that formerly a teacher from Bengal (De Bruyn) lived at Chittagong, the principal town in that district, and baptized several converts, who, at his death, were left destitute of all instruction to the present time; and that, in view of these considerations, it was our purpose to proceed thither, in hope of finding that toleration which was denied us in Rangoon. We then asked them severally what they would do? Moung Nau had previously told us that he would follow us to any part of the world. He was only afraid that he should be a burden to us; for, not being acquainted with another language, he might not be able to get his living in a strange land. As for me, said Moung Thahlah, I go where preaching is to be had. Moung Byaay was silent and thoughtful. At last he said, that as no Burman woman is allowed to leave the country, he could not, on account of his wife, follow the teachers; but (continued, he, with some pathos), if I must be left here alone, I shall remain performing the duties of Jesus Christ’s religion; no other shall I think of. This interview with the disciples rejoiced our hearts, and caused us to praise God for the grace which he has manifested to them. 1820-02-24February24th. We have spent three or four days in enquiring about Chittagong, and the prospect of getting a passage directly thither, or by the way of Bengal. K5 202 K5v 202 This evening, Moung Byaay came up with his brother-in-law, Moung Myat-yah, who has lived in our yard several months, and formerly attended worship in the Zayat. I have come, said Moung Byaay, to petition that you will not leave Rangoon at present. I think, replied I, that it is useless to remain under present circumstances. We cannot open the Zayat; we cannot have public worship; no Burman will dare to examine this religion; and if none examine, none can be expected to embrace it. Teacher, said he, my mind is distressed; I can neither eat nor sleep, since I find you are going away. I have been around among those who live near us, and I find some who are even now examining the new religion. Brother Myat-yah is one of them, and he unites with me in my petitions. (Here Myat-yah assented that it was so.) Do stay with us a few months. Do stay till there are eight or ten disciples. Then appoint one to be the teacher of the rest; I shall not be concerned about the event; though you should leave the country; the religion will spread of itself. The emperor himself cannot stop it. But if you go now, and take the two disciples that can follow, I shall be left alone. I cannot baptize those who may wish to embrace this religion. What can I do? Moung Nau came in, and expressed himself in a similar way. He thought, that several would yet become disciples, notwithstanding all opposition, and that it was best for us to stay a while. We could not restrain our tears at hearing all this; and we told them, that as we lived only for the promotion of the cause of Christ among the Burmans, if there was any prospect of success in Rangoon, we had no desire to go to another place, and would, therefore, re-consider the matter. 203 K6r 203 1820-02-26February26th. Moung Shway-boo, a sedate and pleasant man, who came to live in our yard just before we went to Ava, accompanied Moung Myat-yah to the usual evening worship. When we were about breaking up, Moung Thalah began conversation, by saying, Teacher, your intention of going away, has filled us all with trouble. Is it good to forsake us thus? Notwithstanding present difficulties and dangers, it is to be remembered, that this work is not yours or ours, but the work of God. If he give light, the religion will spread. Nothing can impede it. After conversing some time, I found that Moung Louk, another inhabitant of the yard, had been listening without. Accordingly, he was invited to take his seat with the inquirers. Moung Byaay now began to be in earnest, his arm was elevated, and his eyes brightened. Let us all, said he, make an effort. As for me, I will pray. Only leave a little church of ten, with a teacher se tover them, and I shall be fully satisfied. Moung Nau took a very active part in the conversation. The three new ones said nothing, except that they were desirous of considering the religion of Christ. Neither of them however, was willing to admit, that as yet, he believed any thing. We felt that it was impossible for us all to leave these people, in these interesting circumstances; and, at the same time, we felt it very important that Chittagong should not be neglected. Under these circumstances we came to the conclusion, that Brother Colman should proceed immediately to Chittagong, collect the Arrakanese converts, and form a station, to which new missionaries from the Board might at first repair, and to which I might ultimately flee, with those of the 204 K6v 204 disciples that could leave the country, when we found that persecution so violent, as to suppress all further inquiry, and render it useless and rash to remain; that I should remain in Rangoon, until the state of things became thus desperate, and then endeavour to join brother C. in Chittagong; but that if, contrary to our expectation, the Rangoon station should, after a lapse of several months, appear to be tenable, and that for an indefinite time, and some work be evidently going on, brother C., after settling one or two missionaries in Chittagong, to keep that place, should rejoin me in Rangoon. 1820-02-27February27th, Lord’s day. Had private worship in the Zayat—the front doors closed—none present but the disciples and inquirers. 1820-02-28February28th. A visit from Moung Shway-gnong. He had considered (he said) my last words, that one must believe and be baptized, in order to be a full disciple; it was his desire to be such; and he wanted to know what outward rules, in particular, he must observe, in case he should become a professor. I told him, that the disciples of Christ, after baptism, were associated together; that they assembled every Lord’s day for worship; and that, from time to time, they received the sacrament of bread and wine. I then warned him of the danger of self-deception, and of the persecution to which disciples were exposed in this country, and advised him to reconsider the matter most thoroughly, before he made a definite request for baptism. After he had gone, Oo Yan (mentioned 1819-12-19Dec. 19th) came in—was disappointed in not finding Moung Shway- gnong, having agreed to meet him at the mission- 205 K7r 205 house. We had a long conversation on doctrinal points, in which he discovered a very acute, discriminating mind. 1820-03-02March2d. Another visit from Oo Yan. Venture to indulge a little hope, that truth is beginning to operate on his mind. 1820-03-05March5th, Lord’s day. Private worship as last Lord’s day. In the evening, received the sacrament of bread and wine. Moung Nau was not present, having gone on a visit to Bau-lay his native place. Had a refreshing and happy season, with the two other disciples. Two of the inquirers were spectators. 1820-03-08March8th. In the evening, had a very pleasant and instructive conference with the disciples and inquirers. Moung Thalah appeared to great advantage; took the lead in explaining truth to the new ones, and quoted Scripture with singular facility and aptness. He has most evidently very correct views of the doctrines of grace. Moung Myat-yah appears to begin to discern the excellence of the Christian system, and to have some right feelings towards the Saviour. 1820-03-10March10th. Moung Shway-gnong and Oo Yan have been with me several hours; but the interview has afforded very little encouragement. The former said but little on his own account—appearing chiefly desirous of convincing and persuading his friend, that he might gain (as I secretly suspected), some companion of his own rank in life, before he embraced the new religion. The latter acted on the defensive, and spent all his time in raising objections. He was ready to admit, that the atheistic system of the Boodhists was not tenable; but endeavoured to fortify himself on a middle system, between that and the Christian; the 206 K7v 206 very system in which Moung Shway-gnong formerly rested, and which for distinction’s sake, may be fitly termed the semi-atheistic. Its fundamental doctrine is, that Divine wisdom, not concentrated in an existing spirit, or embodied in any form, but diffused throughout the universe, and partaken in different degrees by various intelligences, and in a very high degree by the Boodhs, is the true and only God. This poor system, which is evidently guilty of suicide, Oo Yan made every possible effort to keep alive; but I really think, that, in his own mind, he felt the case to be hopeless. His mode of reasoning, however, is soft, insinuating, and acute; and so adroitly did he act his part, that Moung Shway-gnong, with his strong arm, and I, with the strength of truth, were scarcely able to keep him down. 1820-03-13March13th. The teacher and Oo Yan, with two of their friends, came and spent several hours. The former stayed later than the others, and attended evening worship. I asked him, whether there was any point in the Christian system, on which he had not obtained satisfaction. He replied that he was not yet satisfied as to the propriety of God’s appointing one particular day in the week, for assembling together, in distinction from all other days. I saw, at once, why he had always been so remiss in attending worship on the Lord’s day; and I therefore proceeded to state the nature of positive commands, and their peculiar excellence, as the best test of obedience; that it was evidently beneficial for the disciples of Christ to assemble sometimes; that God, in appointing that such an assembly should be held at least one day in seven, must be supposed to be guided by 207K8r207 wisdom, infinitely transcending that of the man; that if the disciples of Christ are to meet once at least in seven days, it is evidently best to have the day of meeting designated, in order to secure their general union and concert; and that the first day of the week had at least this claim to preference, that it was the day on which our Saviour rose from the dead. I descanted on these points to his apparent satisfaction; but let us see whether he will come next Lord’s day. Later in the evening had an instructive conference with Moung Myat-yah and Moung Shway-boo. They both appear to have obtained some of that light, which, like the dawn of morning, shineth more and more unto perfect day. 1820-03-15March 15th. Another visit from the teacher, accompanied with his wife and child. Again discussed the necessity of assembling on the Lord’s day. Found that the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s supper are, in his mind, liable to similar objections. Forsook, therefore, all human reasoning, and rested the merits of the case on the bare authority of Christ: Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Notwithstanding the remains of his deistical spirit, however, I obtained, during this visit, more satisfactory evidence of his real conversion, than ever before. He said, that he knew nothing of an eternally existing God, before he met with me; that, on hearing that doctrine, he instantly believed it; but that it was a long time before he closed with Christ. Can you recollect the time? said I. Not precisely, he replied; but it was during a visit, when you discoursed concerning the Trinity, the Divine sonship of 208K8v208 Jesus, and the great sufferings which he, though truly God, endured for his disciples. He afterwards spoke, with much Christian feeling, on the preciousness of the last part of the sixth chapter of St. Matthew, which he heard me read the day before yesterday, at evening worship. 1820-03-21March21st. Moung Thahlah introduced one of his relations, by name of Moung Shway-bay, as desirous of considering the Christian religion. Spent an hour or two in conversing with him. He was afterwards present at evening worship, and stayed to converse, after the rest had retired. 1820-03-22March22d. Another conversation with Moung Shway-bay. See an interesting letter written by him at page 265. He appears to be under deep religious impressions. His language and his looks evince an uncommon solemnity of spirit, an earnest desire to be saved from the wrath to come. After praying with him, I left him in company with Moung Thahlah. 1820-03-23March23d. In the morning, Moung Thahlah informed me that he and his friend had set up the greater part of the night, in the Zayat, reading, and conversing, and praying. In the afternoon, Moung Shway-bay came in himself. His expressions are very strong; but I have no reason to doubt his sincerity. It only seems strange to us, that a work of grace should be carried on so rapidly, in the soul of an ignorant heathen. He presented a writing, containing a statement of his faith, and an urgent request to be baptized next Lord’s day. 1820-03-24March24th. Spent all the evening with Moung 209K9r209 Shway-bay. Feel satisfied that he has experienced a work of Divine grace; but think it advisable to defer his baptism, until Sunday after next, in order to allow him full time to re-examine the religion, and the founda tion of his hopes. 1820-03-26March26th, Lord’s day. Three women present at worship—acquaintances of Moung Shway-gnong. They have visited Mrs. Judson once or twice before. The principal of them renounced Gaudama some years ago, and adopted the semi atheistic system, but without obtaining any real satisfaction. Two years ago, she met with a copy of the tract, which gave her an idea of an eternally existing God; but she knew not whence the paper came. At length, Moung Shway-gnong told her that he had found the true wisdom, and directed her to us. Her case appears very hopeful. In the evening, after worship, had a protracted conversation with the disciples and inquirers, on account of brother Colman’s intended departure tomorrow. Moung Shway-bay appeared very well indeed. Moung Myat-yah said, Set me down for a disciple. I have fully made up my mind, in regard to this religion. I love Jesus Christ; but I am not yet quite ready for baptism. After we dismissed them, they went over to the Zayat, of their own accord, and held a prayer meeting. And here I must close my journal. We have spent the last evening with our very dear brother and sister Colman. They expect to embark to-morrow morning. Our parting is mournful; for happy, uncommonly happy, has been our past intercourse. Nothing but a sense of duty could force the present 210 K9v 210 separation. We hope that it will be of short duration, and that we shall soon reunite our labours in Chittagong or Rangoon.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully.
Baltimore, 1823-02February, 1823.
My dear sir,
After the departure of our beloved friends, Mr. and Mrs. Colman, we again found ourselves in our former solitary situation, with this exception, that our faithful and affectionate Burmans remained with us, and often comforted our hearts, by the daily exhibition of spiritual mindedness, and sincerity in their profession.
The importance of having a branch of the Burman mission established at Chittagong, was obvious, from the consideration that this district was under the British government, and separated from the Burman territory only by a river. Mr. and Mrs. Colman arrived at that place in 1820-06June, 1820, and made a most encouraging beginning. They had erected a house in the midst of the native population, and made rapid progress in the acquisition of the language, which was commenced while in Rangoon. Mr. Colman had begun to communicate the truths of the gospel publicly, and had witnessed their effect on the mind of his teacher, when these animating prospects were blasted by the 211 K10r 211 sudden, unexpected, and lamented death of this valuable missionary. But even this heavy affliction is attended with circumstances of mercy. Mr. Colman was permitted to live, until he had given to the Christian world one of the most striking instances of Christian decision and pure missionary zeal, ever exhibited since the commencement of modern missions.
In Chittagong he might have lived comfortably in civilized Christian society, under the protection of the English government, and been usefully employed in missionary avocations. But in imitation of the Redeemer, and prompted by feelings of compassion for immortal souls, he chose his residence in a native village, where he was surrounded by poverty, ignorance, and delusion, and where too, he fell a martyr to his zeal! The Christian spirit of this excellent man may be discovered in the following extract from a letter, which he wrote to a friend in 1821-01January, 1821:— For six months past, I have been so engaged in missionary work, that the dear land of my nativity has occupied but few of my thoughts. A short time since, however, the Memoir of Henry Martyn was put into my hands; and while reading the account of his departure from England, the sad but joyful morning on which I bade adieu to America, came fresh to my remembrance, and a train of sensations were excited, of which I have often been the subject. I walked out in the virandah, and the sun was sinking in the west; I fancied that I saw my far distant brethren rising from sweet repose, and engaging in the various duties of life. Their countenances passed before my mind; and while recollecting that I should enjoy their society no more on earth, my thoughts were quickly transported to that happy world, in which all whose names are written in the Book of Life shall be united, never again to part. Reflections like these often cheer the hour of solitude, and produce emotions indescribably pleasant.212 K10v 212
Happy Colman! The few short years he was allowed to labour on mission ground were faithfully improved; he was early released from a life of toil and privation, and admitted into the presence of Him, from whom he doubtless heard these transporting words: Well done good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
A very interesting letter from Mrs. Colman to Mr. Colman’s mother, detailing the particulars of his death, having just been received, is inserted, with a view of exhibiting to the world another instance of the power of religion to support the Christian, under the most appalling circumstances:Chittagong, 1822-09-26Sept.26, 1822. Your letter of 1821-08-28August 28th, 1821, was duly received. While reading the account which it contains of the death of Mr. H. Pearce, I little suspected it would so speedily fall to my lot to communicate to you intelligence of a similar nature. Alas! it is my painful duty to mention a death, in which you are more deeply interested than in that of the above, and which, should you not have previously heard of it, will awaken in your bosom the tenderest sorrow. Your affectionate son, the amiable and dearly beloved companion of my joys and sorrows, is no more! How trying and mysterious are the dispensations of Providence! On the arrival of your letter, which was the 1822-06-088th of June, Mr. C. was well, and enjoyed an unusual flow of spirits. He was warmly engaged in the cause of his Divine Master, and his life, to human appearance, was never more necessary. But, just at this interesting period, Infinite Wisdom saw fit to remove him. On the 1822-06-2828th of June he was attacked by an intermittent fever. He took 213K11r213 such medicines as are commonly used in similar cases. They produced a good effect; and such were the favourable symptoms of his disease, and so slight his sufferings during the first five days, that neither of us apprehended the least danger. On the sixth day, however, he suddenly grew worse, and early in the evening the fever came on in a more alarming manner than it had done at any preceding time. I gave him some medicine, which considerably abated its violence. He became quite composed, and after speaking a few words to me, fell into a gentle sleep. I remained by him in a state of great anxiety, but still thought there was every appearance of his having a comfortable night, and I determined, as I saw his disorder increasing so fast, that should we both be spared until the next day, I would remove with him to Chittagong, hoping that a change of air might prove beneficial. But, alas! he was not permitted to behold the light of another sun. After remaining composed for a short time, I had the disappointment to perceive that he grew extremely restless. I awoke him; and, oh! what agony of mind I felt, when I found that delirium had made its approach! It was then about eleven o’clock. After this, the fever increased in a rapid and violent manner, and rendered ineffectual every effort which I made to save a life so dear to me. His sufferings were very extreme, until towards the close, when it pleased God to lessen their severity. Although unable to speak, yet he seemed entirely delivered from pain, and breathed his last without a groan or struggle. I am sensible, my dear mother, that this event will be peculiarly trying to you. I am sure it has left me most disconsolate and afflicted. It has indeed 214 K11v 214 been almost too much for my feeble nature to sustain. But, however severe our sufferings, let us rest satisfied that the event has been ordered by unerring wisdom. If God condescends to number the hairs of our head, and to take notice of even the sparrow which falleth to the ground, certainly he is not indifferent to those events which relate to the prosperity of his own kingdom. God knew perfectly well what would be the result of our going to Cox’s Bazar. It was according to his holy will that there Mr. C. should be visited with sickness, and that sickness should terminate in death. May we therefore be enabled to exercise that submission which is pleasing in his sight, and to say, with an afflicted saint of old, Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him! Let it also be our consolation, that the dear subject of this letter was fully prepared for heaven, and that his happy spirit, now released from this world of sin and suffering, is enjoying the company of angels and glorified beings, and drinking full draughts of bliss from that river of pleasure which flows at the right hand of God and the Lamb. He did not put off the concerns of eternity until confined to a sick bed. No: while blest with health, and in the full possession of his rational powers, he made it his business to prepare for a dying hour. During the last eighteen months of his life, his mind was unusually solemn, and seemed to be under a strong presentiment that he should be early removed from this world. Frequently, when under the influence of these impressions, he has conversed in the most solemn and impressive manner respecting his own dissolution. One of these seasons, in particular, is deeply engraven on my memory.215 K12r 215 mory. Coming one day from his place of retirement, he seated himself by me, and when a placid and heavenly air, conversed with me concerning an early separation, and intreated me to prepare my mind for such an event, as he fully believed his time on earth was short. He remarked, the prospect of death was animating, and that he had not a desire to live, but for my sake, and that of the poor heathen. You may well imagine, my dear mother, that the subject was then painful to my feelings; but it now affords me great satisfaction to reflect on these seasons. I believe that God was then preparing him for exactly the sudden death that awaited him, and for a state of heavenly existence. I rejoice that you are surrounded by Christian friends, who will feel it their privilege to sympathize with you on this melancholy occasion. And may God, of his infinite mercy, pour into your bosom the balm of heavenly consolation, conduct you safely through this vale of tears, and at last, may we both have a happy re-union with our beloved friend in that world where distracting sorrows and separations are unknown!
Our little church at Rangoon, at this time, 1820-02February, 1820, consisted of only five members, two foreigners and three Burmans. Its rapid and encouraging increase together with some domestic affliction, is described in Mr. Judson’s journal, as follows:1820-03-27March27th. Brother and sister Colman took leave of us, and embarked for Bengal. 1820-03-28March28th. We have converted one of the rooms, lately occupied by brother Colman, into a sort of chapel for evening worship, and conversation with 216 K12v 216 those of the disciples and inquirers who live on the mission premises, and for stated worship on Lord’s day; thus finally abandoning the Zayat, where since our return from Ava we have had worship on Lord’s day, with closed doors. The little chapel we call the new Zayat. May its blessings prevail above the blessings of its progenitor! 1820-04-01April1st. In the evening we had a final conversation with Moung Shway-bay, See an interesting letter written by him at page 265. and became fully satisfied with the evidences of his conversion. We therefore expressed our willingness to receive him into church fellowship, and I announced to him my intention of baptizing him to-morrow, on which he expressed his gratitude and joy. 1820-04-02April2d, Lord’s day. At night, after dark, we went privately to the accustomed pond, and baptized the new disciple. Afterwards, sat down to the table of the Lord—two foreign and four native communicants. Three inquirers were admitted to be spectators. 1820-04-11April11th. A visit from Oo Yan, accompanied by two of his friends, who have been before. Long conversation on topics of the Christian religion. 1820-04-14April14th. The women, mentioned 1820-03-26March 26th, spent most of the day with Mrs. J. They regularly visit about once a week. I mention the visit of to- day, because it has afforded pretty satisfactory evidence that the principal one of the company, by name Mah Men-lay, has experienced Divine grace. Her husband is one of the visitors, who came with Oo Yan on the 1820-04-1111th. 1820-04-15April15th. Moung Shway-bay, has for some 217L1r217 days, been talking of a visit to Shway-doung, his native place, to communicate the treasure which he had found, to his numerous relations and friends. This evening, after expressing his desires, he said, it had occurred to him, that it might be proper to ask permission or license so to do. Not that he aspired to set up as a teacher; far from that; but he wanted to feel, that, in communicating the gospel, he was proceeding in a regular, authorized manner. He thought that if two or three disciples could be raised in each of the large towns, it would much facilitate our operations. He was sure that at least one in ten of his relations and friends, on hearing his story, could not help embracing the new religion. I secretly exulted at hearing his proposal, so evidently the result of Christian principle, and exhorted him to constant self- examination and prayer, as the means of discovering his own duty and the Divine will. 1820-04-16April16th, Lord’s day. Early in the morning, the teacher Moung Shway-gnong came in, after an absence of just a month. He was soon followed by Oo Yan and his two friends. They spent the whole day with me; all appear hopeful. The teacher remained, as usual, after the others had left, and thereby afforded me an opportunity for private conversation. He admitted that all his objections to positive commands were removed; and that it was his desire to be a full disciple; but when urged closely on the subject, he intimated that his wife and friends were opposed to his taking any decided step; and that if he did, he was, moreover, exposed to imminent danger of persecution and death. He mentioned these things with so much feeling, and such evident consciousness of simpleL 218 L1v 218 ple weakness, as completely disarmed me. My heart was wrung with pity. I sincerely sympathized with him, in his evident mental trials. I could not deny the truth of what he said; but gently hinted, as thy day is, thy strength shall be, and proposed the example of the apostles and martyrs, the glory of suffering for Christ, &c. But the thought of the iron mall, and a secret suspicion, that if I was in his circumstances, I should perhaps have no more courage, restrained my tongue. We parted with much solemnity, understanding one another better than ever before. I shall not probably see him again very soon, as it is too dangerous for a man of his distinction to be seen coming frequently to the mission-house. 1820-04-20April20th. Mah Men-lay and her friends have been with Mrs. J. all day. She gives inncreasing evidence of being a real disciple; but is extremely timid, through fear of persecution. One of her remarks deserves notice, as a natural expression of true Christian feeling. I am surprised, said she, to find this religion has such an effect on my mind, as to make me love the disciples of Christ more than my dearest natural relations. She is a woman of very superior discernment and mental energy. One of the women who has frequently accompanied her in her visits, met with a tract at old Pegue, about six weeks ago, and came all the way to Rangoon, chiefly, she says, on that account. This day I have finished the translation of the epistle to the Ephesians, begun before I went to Ava, but intermitted on account of the weakness of my eyes. It is with real joy that I put this precious writing into the hands of the disciples. It is a great accession219 L2r 219 sion to their scanty stock of Scripture, for they have had nothing hitherto but St. Matthew. I intend to give them the Acts, as fast as my eyes will allow. 1820-04-30April30th, Lord’s day. One of the busiest days I have ever spent. Not a multitude of visitants, as formerly. That we cannot expect in present circumstances. But, beside the usual evening assembly, there were eight or ten present at worship, some of whom were with me from nine in the morning till ten at night. Mah Men-lay and her company were with Mrs. J., who has had a serious attack of the liver complaint, for a fortnight past, and is now in a course of salivation. Oo Yan, after having searched out all their difficult points of religion, came to-day to the ne plus ultra—How are sin and eternal misery reconcileable with the character of an infinitely holy, wise, and powerful God? He at length obtained such satisfaction, that he could not restrain laughing, from pure mental delight, and kept recurring to the subject, and repeating my remarks to those around him. He was accompanied, as usual, by his two friends, Moung Thay-ay and Moung Myat-lah, husband of Mah Men- lay. With these came also one Moung Yo, a disciple of Moung Shway-gnong, a poor man, but a sharp reasoner. He was, or pretended to be, on the semi- atheistic plan. See 1820-03-10March 10th. After ascertaining his precise ground, I used an argument, which, in a late combat with Oo Yan, I found quite invincible. It is simply this: No mind, no wisdom—temporary mind, temporary wisdom—eternal mind, eternal wisdom. Now, as all the semi-atheists firmly believe in eternal wisdom, this concise statement sweeps, with L2 220 L2v 220 irresistible sway, through the very joints and marrow of their system. And though it may to others seem rather simple and inconclusive; to one acquainted with Burman reasoning, its effect is uniformly decisive. No sooner is this short sentence uttered, than one significantly nods his head, as if to say, There you have it. Another cries out the oponent, You are undone, destroyed. Another says, Talk about wisdom; where else will you find it? The disputant himself, who was perhaps preparing a learned speech about the excellence and efficacy and eternity of wisdom, quite disconcerted by this unexpected onset, sits looking at the wreck of his system, and wondering at the simple means which has spread such ruin around him; presently he looks up (for the Burmans are frequently candid), and says, Your words are very appropriate. And perhaps his next question is, How can I become a disciple of the God you worship? All the visitors to- day, and indeed all the semi-atheists, are despisers of Gaudama, and the established religion of the land. Moung Shway-gnong has disseminated this heresy in Rangoon for several years; but since he has become acquainted with us, he frequently tells his adherents, I know nothing; if you want true wisdom, go to the foreign teacher, and there you will find it. I have reason to believe that this heresy is not confined to Rangoon, but is taking root in various parts of the country, and preparing the way for the Christian religion. O, for toleration—a little toleration. We will be content to baptize in the night, and hold worship in private; but we do pray that we may not be utterly banished from the land; that we may not be cut up root and branch. O, that these poor souls, who are 221 L3r 221 groping in the dark, feeling after the truth, may have time and opportunities to find the precious treasure, which will enrich them for evermore. We are all looking with anxiety towards the golden feet. Our viceroy, Moung Shway-thah, has gone thither on a visit; and it is doubtful whether he will return, or his rival, Mya-day-men. If the latter, there is some reason to hope that we shall keep footing in Rangoon, at least during his administration. 1820-05-05May5th. Another visit from Moung Myat-lah and his wife, which has afforded us good reason to hope, that he also has become a true believer. His wife appears the same as usual. They are both gaining courage in regard to an open profession of the Christian religion, and begin to wonder at the backwardness of their formal oracle, Moung Shway-gnong. 1820-05-08May5th. Moung Thah-ay, the friend of Moung- Myat-lah, has spent most of the day with me, and given equally good evidence of being a true disciple. He was formerly an officer under government, and amassed considerable property, which he mostly spent in building pagodas and making offerings. But he obtained no satisfaction, found no resting place for his soul, until he became acquainted with the religion of Jesus. He now rests in this religion with conscious security—believes and loves all that he hears of it— and prays that he may become fully a true disciple of the Saviour. Both of these men are respectable householders, rather above the middling class. They live in a little village called Nan-dau-gong, about half a mile from the mission-house. Moung Myat-lah has a large family; but Moung Thah-ay has none; and were it 222 L3v 222 not for an aged mother who depends on him, he would follow me, he says, throughout the world. 1820-05-12May12th. The three visitors from Nan-dau-gong have been with us part of the day. One characteristic trait in these people is a particular love for the Scriptures. They almost quarrel with one another for the only copy of the Ephesians, which I have given them, and I therefore determine to spare them another, as soon as it is done. They say, that the translation of this epistle is plainer and more easily understood than that of St. Matthew; which is very encouraging to me, as I executed it without the assistance of any person, not even of a Burman teacher. My old teacher went to Ava some months ago; and I am now afraid to employ another, lest he should become too well acquainted with the disciples and inquirers, and betray them to government. 1820-05-14May14th, Lord’s day. A very busy day with the Nan-dau-gong visitors, and the usual evening assembly. 1820-05-18May18th. Mah Myat-lah and Mah Doke, who have frequently accompanied their relation, Mah Men- lay, came to-day by themselves. They appear to be under solemn religious impressions, sensible of their sin and danger, and anxious to obtain an interest in the Saviour; but are yet unenlightened, in regard to the way. Mah Baik also, sister of Moung Thahlah, who formerly afforded us some encouragement, but afterwards fell off, has recommenced visiting us. We hope, that during several months’ confinement, she has not in vain meditated on the truths she formerly heard. She says, that her mind is changed; that she loves the Saviour, and trusts in Him alone for salvation from sin and hell, and desires to become his disciple223 L4r 223 ciple in full, by receiving baptism. Her husband, Moung Nyo-dway, and Moung Thah-yah, another resident in our yard, whom, I think, I have not yet mentioned, are constant attendants on evening worship, and seem to be making slow advances in the knowledge and love of Divine truth. Moung Shway- bay, the last baptized, begins to appear to great advantage—has very correct ideas of the gospel system —and communicates truth to the inquirers with much feeling and animation. In zeal for the extension of the Redeemer’s kingdom, he surpasses the older disciples. This is the man, who, from not knowing that there was such a being in the universe as a God, became a speculative believer, a penitent, a hopeful recipient of grace, and a candidate for baptism, all in the space of three days. Some of the above-mentioned have, on the contrary, been several months in making similar attainments, and are yet found wanting. Thus diverse are the operations of the Holy Spirit. 1820-05-22May22d. Spent several pleasant hours with some of the Nan-dau-gong people. Mah Men-lay ventures at last to request baptism, but wishes to wait a little, to see whether her husband and some of her friends will not join her. 1820-05-23May23rd. A visit from the doctor, Oo Yan, after a long interval. He appears to be fully convinced of the truth of the Christian religion, and of his own dark and sinful state. He compares himself to a person who rejoices, at intervals, in the light of a glow- worm; but finds, alas! that it is but momentary. He was accompanied by Moung Myat-lah, who appears almost decided. Says he is going to visit his former teacher, Moung Shway-gnong, and persuade him 224 L4v 224 to join the Nan-dau-gong company, in receiving baptism. 1820-05-26May26th. A visit from Moung Shway-gnong. He seems to have made no advance, in any respect, since his last visit. 1820-05-28May28th, Lord’s day. A considerable company at worship. After worship had a difficult discussion with Oo Yan, on the reconcileableness of the Divine veracity with the doctrine of vicarious atonement. In the evening Moung Myat-yah (mentioned 1820-03-26March 26th), and Moung Thah-yah, requested baptism. The former has given satisfactory evidence for some time. The latter has been constant in attending on the means, and appeared somewhat hopeful; but we did not expect that he would come forward so soon. 1820-05-29May29th. Moung Thah-yah has been greatly distressed, since he found that we doubted the reality of his conversion. He appears to be really in earnest, and his conversation this evening constrains us to believe that he is the subject of true Christian exercises. 1820-06-03June3rd. Another visit from Moung Shway- gnong, more encouraging than the last. He was accompanied by several of the inquirers. Mah Myat- lah and Mah Doke, gave some evidence of being subjects of a work of grace. In the evening, determined to receive Moung Myat-yah and Moung Thah-yah into church fellowship. 1820-06-04June4th, Lord’s day. All the visitors of yesterday, and some others, present at worship. In the evening, administered baptism to the two new disciples. 1820-06-16June16th. Received letters from Bengal. News from Bombay, that a Mahomedan has professed 225 L5r 225 the gospel, and from Java, that brother Robinson has baptized the first Chinese convert. Thus there seems to be a beginning in several very important stations. May the little one become a thousand! Rejoiced to hear that brother Colman had safely arrived at Bengal, and embarked in a boat for Chittagong, and that thus far he had not met with any molestation or interruption from the police. May he get a footing at Chittagong for everything here, in regard to toleration, grows darker! 1820-06-25June25th, Lord’s day. Had an interview with the principal one of the Nan-dau-gong visitors, from which I conclude, that they are far from daring to profess the Christian religion, though I feel satisfied that they have received it in their hearts. The Mangen teacher has returned from Ava, with fresh eclat, and recommenced his ecclesiastical operations. He came down under the special patronage of the new Ya-woon, or vice-governor of the place. It is the prevailing report, that no viceroy will be sent down until the emperor is nearly ready to march, in person, to conduct the Siamese war; and that, at any rate, the old viceroy, Mya-day-men, from whom we hoped to receive some protection, will be detained at Ava. 1820-06-27June27th. Mrs. J., after having been through two courses of salivation for the liver complaint, at length despairs of recovering, without some proper medical assistance. For a few days, we have hoped that she would get some relief from the various applications which have been made, though at the expense of an almost total exhaustion of strength; but this morning to our utter disappointment, the disorder has returned with increased violence; and her constitution L5 226 L5v 226 appears to be rapidly failing. I have intended, for some time past, to send her alone to Bengal; but she has become too weak, and the present circumstances of the case are too alarming, to allow such a measure; and I have, therefore, concluded to accompany her. We have a special inducement to embrace the opportunity afforded us by the ship which lately brought our letters, since, if we reject this, we shall have to wait several months for another opportunity, during which time, Mrs. J. will, in all probability, be placed beyond the reach of medical assistance. 1820-07-09July9th. Moung Nyo-dway and Moung Gway request baptism. We have had a good hope of the former for some time. With the latter we are very slightly acquainted, though he has been a constant attendant on evening worship, for nearly two months. This application, however, is approved by some of the most discerning in the church. The Nan-dau-gong people hope that they shall get grace and courage enough to profess the Christian religion, by the time I return from Bengal. 1820-07-15July15th. Have been very busy all the past week in getting ready for the voyage. In procuring a governmental passport, received essential assistance from Mr. Lansago (a Spaniard), the present collector of the port, and one of the chief magistrates of the place during the absence of the viceroy. He has also promised to protect the people whom we leave on the mission premises. 1820-07-16July16th, Lord’s day. A few days ago, we concluded to receive the two new applicants for baptism; but I thought it most prudent (partly by way of trying their sincerity), to send them a message, suggesting, 227 L6r 227 that since I was greatly occupied in getting ready for sea, and since one of them was not so well acquainted with the doctrines of religion as was desirable, it might be better to defer their baptism till my return. This morning they came up in much trouble. They stated, that as they had fully embraced the Christian religion in their hearts, they could not remain easy without being baptized, according to the command of Christ; that no man could tell whether I should ever return or not; and that it was their earnest petition, if I could possibly find time, and thought them worthy of the ordinance, that I would administer it to them before I went away. They did not wish me to go out to the usual place, as that was at some distance, but would be baptized in a small pond near the mission-house. Moung Gway said, that though he was very ignorant, he knew enough of this religion to love it sincerely, and to trust in Christ for salvation from all his sins. I re-examined them both, stated to them the great danger of professing a foreign religion, &c. and on their urging their request, I told them I would baptize them in the evening. Was obliged to be out all the afternoon, getting our things aboard the ship, as we expect to move down the river to-morrow morning. At night baptized the two new disciples, after which we all partook of the Lord’s supper for the last time. 1820-07-17July17th. Ship to be detained two days. In the forenoon, the teacher, Moung Shway-gnong came in. I received him with some reserve; but soon found that he had not stayed away so long from choice, haveing been ill with a fever for some time, and occupied also with the illness of his family and adherents. He 228 L6v 228 gradually wore away my reserve; and we had not been together two hours, before I felt more satisfied than ever, from his account of his mental trials, his struggles with sin, his strivings to be holy, his penitence, his faith, his exercises in secret prayer, that he is a subject of the special operations of the Holy Spirit, that he is indeed a true disciple. He stayed all day. In the afternoon, the five Nan-dau-gong visitors, the doctor Oo Yan, and several others, came together, and we had much interesting conversation. Towards the close, Moung Shway-gnong, as if to bring things to a crisis, addressed me thus: My lord teacher, there are now several of us present, who have long considered this religion. I hope that we are all believers in Jesus Christ. I am afraid, replied I, to say that; however, it is easily ascertained; and let me begin with you, teacher. I have heretofore thought that you fully believed in the eternal God; but I have had some doubt whether you fully believed in the Son of God, and the atonement he has made. I assure you, he replied, that I am as fully persuaded of the latter as the former. Do you believe then, I continued, that none but the disciples of Christ will be saved from sin and hell? None but his disciples. How then can you remain, without taking the oath of allegiance to Jesus Christ, and becoming his full disciple, in body and soul? It is my earnest desire to do so, by receiving baptism; and for the very purpose of expressing that desire, I have come here to-day. You say, you are desirous of receiving baptism, may I ask, when you desire to receive it? At any time you will please to give it. Now—this moment, if you please. Do you wish to receive baptism in public or in private? 229 L7r 229 I will receive it at any time, and in any circumstances that you please to direct. I then said—Teacher, I am satisfied, from your conversation, this forenoon, that you are a true disciple; and I reply, therefore, that I am as desirous of giving you baptism, as you are of receiving it. This conversation had a great effect on all present. The disciples rejoiced; the rest were astonished; for though they have long thought that he believed the Christian religion, they could not think that such a man could easily be brought to profess it, and suffer himself to be put under the water by a foreigner. I then turned to Moung Thah- ay, one of the Nan-dau-gong people, who, I hope, is a true believer.—Are you willing to take the oath of allegiance to Jesus Christ? If the teacher, Moung Shway-gnong, consents, replied he, why should I hesitate? And if he does not consent, what then? I must wait a little longer. Stand by, said I, you trust in Moung Shway-gnong, rather than in Jesus Christ. You are not worthy of being baptized. Moung Myat-lah, on being similarly interrogated, wished to consider a little longer. Oo Yan was still further from committing himself. Of the women present, I interrogated Mah Men-lay only. She had evidently a considerable struggle in her mind, probably on account of her husband’s having just declined. At length, she said, if I thought it suitable for her to be baptized, she was desirous of receiving the ordinance. I told her, that her reply was not satisfactory. I could not consent to baptize any one, who could possibly remain easy without being baptized, and then I related the story of the two last disciples; after which the party broke up. 230 L7v 230 In the evening I laid the case of Moung Shway- gnong before the church, and we joyfully agreed to receive him to communion, on his being baptized. 1820-07-18July18th. In the morning, the teacher again made his appearance; I again asked him whether he preferred being baptized in the day or in the evening; and he again left it to my decision: on which I advised him to wait till night. He appeared very well through the day—his deportment solemn—his conversation spiritual. Just at night, I called in two or three of the disciples, read the account of the baptism of the eunuch, made the baptismal prayer, and then proceeded with the teacher to the accustomed place, went down into the water, and baptized him. On my return, I found that Mah Men-lay, whom I had left with Mrs. Judson, had gone away. As soon as she saw that the teacher had actually gone to be baptized, she exclaimed, Ah! he had now gone to obey the command of Jesus Christ, while I remain without obeying. I shall not be able to sleep this night. I must go home and consult my husband, and return. In the evening, we again partook of the Lord’s supper, in consequence of the admission of the teacher, and my expected departure on the morrow. We had just finished, when, about nine o’clock, Mah Men-lay returned, accompanied by the two other women from her village. She immediately requested to be baptized. The disciples present assented without hesitation. I told her that I rejoiced to baptize her, having been long satisfied that she had received the grace of Christ; and, it being very late, I led her out to the pond, near the house, by lantern light, and thus baptized the tenth Burman convert, and the first 231 L8r 231 woman. Mah Men-lay is fifty one years old, of most extensive acquaintance through the place, of much strength of mind, decision of character, and consequent influence over others. She is, indeed, among women, what Moung Shway-gnong is among men. On returning to the house, she said, Now I have taken the oath of allegiance to Jesus Christ, and I have nothing to do but commit myself, soul and body, into the hands of my Lord, assured that he will never suffer me to fall away. Several of the visitors spent the night at the mission house. 1820-07-19July19th. In the morning we all met for worship. After I had prayed, Moung Thahlah and Moung Shway- bay both prayed, with much propriety and feeling. In the course of the forenoon, Mah Men-lay’s husband, and Moung Thah-ay, and the doctor, and several others came in, so that we had quite a house full. At noon we set out for the river, followed by near a hundred people, the women crying aloud, in the Burman manner, and almost all deeply affected. When we entered the boat,, I called the teacher and Mah Men-lay, and a few others, to go with us to the ship, which lay at some distance in the river. The rest remained on the wharf, bidding us farewell, telling us to come back soon, &c. Thus we left the shores of Rangoon. Those who accompanied us to the ship, stayed an hour or two, and returned. We stood as long on the quarter- deck, looking at them, as the others had stood on the wharf looking at us. 1820-07-20July20th. The ship having been unable to move yesterday, on account of the anchor’s being foul, the teacher, Moung Shwway-gnong, espied the masts from his village, and came off in a boat, with his wife and 232 L8v 232 another woman. Soon after, most of the Nan-dau- gong people came to the mission house, and finding that the ship had not dropped down, came off, accompanied by several of our own people. We were much gratified by this fresh proof of their attachment; but the ship got under weigh immediately, and they were obliged to leave us for the last time. 1820-07-21July21st. Reached the search village, and passed the customary examination. 1820-07-22July22d. Continued to move down with the tide. At night, anchored near the Elephant, in full view of the sea. 1820-07-26July26th. We have been obliged to wait till this time, on account of the threatening appearance of the weather. This morning ventured over the bar; the pilot soon after left us, and we find ourselves once more launched into the boundless ocean. Mrs. J.’s disorder experienced a slight abatement about a week before we embarked, in consequence of our succeeding in raising a very large blister on her side. This temporary relief enabled her to prepare for the voyage, and to get on board ship with more ease and facility than we had expected. Since, however, we have been lying at anchor, the pain has returned with as much violence as ever. Yesterday she was confined to her couch the whole day. 1820-08-18August18th. Early this morning we arrived in Calcutta, and repaired to the house of brother Lawson. Mrs. J. appeared rather better during the voyage; but we fear that she has obtained no essential benefit. Serampore, 1820-08-27August27th. Induced by the more heathful climate of this place, we removed hither to- 233 L9r 233 day, and found a resting place in the house of brother Hough, not far from the mission premises. 1820-09-07September7th. I am happy to be able to state, at length, that Mrs. J. appears to be on the recovery, particularly since our removal to Serampore. Dr. Chalmers, however, who now attends her, does not allow her to think of returning to Rangoon for the present. It is, therefore, my prevailing intention, to leave her under his care, and return myself by the first opportunity. Serampore, 1820-10-24October24th. At the last date, Mrs. Judson appeared to be on the recover. Since that time, our hopes have been alternately raised and depressed. But, for a few days past, notwithstanding the present cool season, and the best medical advice, her unfavourable symptoms have been all aggravated; and this morning, we received in writing the definitive opinion of Dr. Chalmers, that her disorder is a chronic affection of the liver, which cannot be removed but by a voyage to America, or at least a protracted stay in Bengal, under the care of a physician; and that a return to Rangoon precludes all hope of recovery. I feel, therefore, under the distressing necessity of leaving her in Bengal, and returning alone to Rangoon by a vessel which is expected to sail by the first of next month. I wish here to express our great obligation to Dr. Chalmers, who has frequently attended Mrs. Judson, though he had to cross the river from Barrackpore, for that purpose, and who, from regard to the cause in which we are engaged, declined accepting any thing by way of remuneration. Calcutta, 1820-10-31October31st. Yesterday we took leave of brother Hough and family, with whom we have 234 L9v 234 spent a very quiet and happy sojourn of two months, and came down to this city, in order to my embarkation. But our views have undergone a very great change, in consequence of meeting with Dr. Macwhirter, who, as well as Dr. Chalmers, is of the first eminence in his profession. His opinion does not indeed differ from that of Dr. C. in regard to the nature of Mrs. J.’s disorder, or the course of medicine to be adhered to; but he thinks that he can give such general prescriptions, as will render a return to Rangoon less dangerous than we expected. Mrs. J. therefore feels encouraged to join me in taking passage in the vessel before mentioned, which is still to be detained a few days. 1820-11-23November 23rd. Having taken leave of our dear and excellent friends, Mr. and Mrs. Townley (missionaries from the London Society), with whom we have had the happiness of living several days; Mr. and Mrs. Lawson, and others of the Baptist mission; and Mr. Ward, a young gentleman from our own country, whose attachment to us and the cause of Christ, has been manifested in a series of the most polite attentions and substantial kindnesses; we are just embarking in the Salamanca, the same vessel which, two years ago, conveyed Colman and Wheelock to the same place to which we are now destined. 1821-01-03January3rd, 1821. A most tedious passage from Bengal, of nearly six weeks, occasioned by a continued succession of head winds and calms; but we hope the protracted voyage has been beneficial to Mrs. J.’s health. This forenoon we came in sight of the Elephant Grove, so called from its fancied resemblance to that animal. It marks the western limit of the Rangoon outlet of the A-rah-wa-tee; and the sight 235 L10r 235 awakened all our feelings of anxiety and desire: anxiety to hear of the welfare of the little church which we have so long left in yonder wilderness, the progress of the inquirers, and the disposition of the present government of the place twoards the mission—desire to recommence our missionary labours, to proclaim the blessed gospel, to feed the sheep and lambs of Christ’s flock. 1821-01-04January4th. A pilot came on board.—The principal articles of intelligence we have obtained from him are, that Mya-day-men is viceroy of Rangoon; that the Roman Catholic priest, whose name occurs in the account of our visit to Ava, is dead; and that thirty thousand troops have marched through Rangoon to the fromtiers of Siam, preparatory to a war with that country. At night, came to anchor in full sight of the towering summit of Shway-day-gong. 1821-01-05January5th. As we drew near the town, we strained our eyes to distinguish the countenances of our friends, amid the crowd that we saw assembled on the wharf. The first that we recognized was the teacher, Moung Shway-gnong, with his hands raised to his head, as he discerned us on the deck; and, on landing, we met successively with Mah Men-lay, and Moung Thahlah, and several others, men, women, and children, who, after our usual examination at the custom-office, accompained us to the mission house. Soon after, Moung Nau, and others, came in, who had not, at first, heard of our arrival. In the evening, I took my usual seat among the disciples; and when we bowed down in prayer, the hearts of all flowed forth in gratitude and praise. 1820-01-06January6th. In the morning we went to the government-house.236 L10v 236 vernment-house. The lady of the viceroy received Mrs. J. with the familiarity of a friend. We sat some time conversing with her. She informed us that she was now Woon-gyee-gah-dau, and was allowed to ride in a wau; (a vehicle carried by forty or fifty men;) dignities which very few Burman ladies attain. While we were sitting with her, the viceroy just made his appearance, stalking along, as usual, with his great spear. He looked down upon us a moment, saying, Ah! you are come; and then passed on. But he speaks to no one, and does no business at present, being absorbed in grief, on account of intelligence which reached him a few days ago, of the death of his favourite daughter, one of the chief queens of the present emperor. 1821-01-07January7th, Lord’s day. Had worship, and administered the Lord’s supper. Most of the disciples present; but some of them unavoidably detained, in consequences of the distress which presses upon all ranks of people, occasioned by the expedition to Siam. 1821-01-13January13th. Have spent the past week in getting our things in order, and receiving visits from the disciples and inquirers. Yesterday, Moung Gway, the only one of the baptized whom we had not seen, returned from the woods, on hearing of our arrival; and I am now able to record (and I do it with the most heartfelt satisfaction and grateful praise to the preserving Saviour), that, though they have, for the space of six months, been almost destitute of the means of grace, and those who lived in our yard have been dispersed, and forced, through fear of heavy extortion and oppression from petty officers of government, to fly into the woods, or take refuge under some government237 L11r 237 ment person who could protect them; yet not one of them has dishonoured his profession, but all remain firm in their faith and attachment to the cause, I do not, however, perceive that any of them have made the least advance in any respect whatever; nor was this to be expected, as they have not even enjoyed the privilege of meeting for worship. The same remarks are to be made concerning the four Nan-dau-gong people, companions of Mah Men- lay, who appeared to be hopefully pious before we left. The doctor Oo Yan, with whom we did not feel so well satisfied, has been with me repeatedly; and, in the last interview, gave good reason to hope that he also is a true convert. He seems at length to have obtained light and satisfaction on the two difficult points which have so long perplexed him; namely, the doctrine of vicarious atonement, and the possibility of being a disciple of Christ by keeping the two commands of grace: Repent and Believe; without perfectly keeping the two immutable commands of merit—Love God entirely, and Love others as yourself. O, how interesting is it to see (you can almost see it with your eyes) the light of truth dawning upon a precious soul, hitherto groping in darkness! If Oo Yan prove a true convert, he will be a most precious acquisition to our cause, next to Moung Shway- gnong. He is a man of talents and respectability. His words are as smooth as oil, as sweet as honey, and as sharp as a razor. In respect to Mah Baike, she has given way to her violent temper, and involved her husband in debt; and though she now professes to repent and desire baptism, and though we have some hope that she is 238 L11v 238 not destitute of grace, and we feel obliged at present to put her away from us, as a wicked person. The most important event (and that relates of course to Moung Shway-gnong), remains to be mentioned. It will be remembered that he was accused before the former viceroy, of being a heretic, and that the simple reply, Inquire further, spread dismay among us all, and was one occasion of our visit to Ava. Soon after Mya-day-men assumed the government of this province, all the priests and officers of the village where Moung Shway-gnong lives, entered into a conspiracy to destroy him. They held daily consultations, and assumed a tone of triumph; while poor Moung Shway-gnong’s courage began to flag; and, though he does not like to own it, he thought he must fly for his life. At length, one of the conspiracy, a member of the supreme court, went into the presence of the viceroy, and, in order to sound his dispsition, complained that the teacher, Moung Shway- gnong, was making every endeavour to turn the priest’s rice-pot bottom upwards. What consequence? said the viceroy: Let the priests turn it back again. This sentence was enough; the hopes of the conspiracy were blasted; and all the disciples felt that they were sure of toleration under Mya-day-men. But this administration will not probably continue many months. In the course of the week I forwarded a letter to Mr. Lansago (Who left this place for Ava, above a month ago), informing him of my return, and begging him to endeavour to efface the unfavourable impression concerning us, which the late Roman Catholic priest made on the mind of the emperor. 239 L12r 239 1821-01-20January20th. The Nan-dau-gong people have made us several visits during the week. They are evidently growing in knowledge and grace; and will I hope, ere long, be ready to profess Christ in his appointed way. This afternoon, Mrs. J. went to their village, to fix on a spot for the erection of a small school-house. Mah Men-lay has, of her own accord, proposed to open a school in the precincts of her house, to teach the girls and boys of the village to read; in consequence of which, the latter will not be under the necessity of going to the Burman priests for education, as usual. When we found that she had really made a beginning, we told her that some of the Christian females in America would, doubtless, defray the expenses of the undertaking, and make some compensation to the instructress. On Tuesday evening we recommenced our usual Tuesday and Friday evening prayer meetings; but we expect to have very few present, as most of the disciples who formerly lived around us are afraid to return, on account of the present general distress, from which we are unable to protect them. 1821-01-21January21st, Lord’s day. All the disciples but one, and all the hopeful inquirers, were present at worship; who, together with some others, made up an assembly of about twenty-five adults, all paying respectful and devout attention: the most interesting assembly, all things considered, that I have seen yet. How impossible it seemed, two years ago, that such a precious assembly could ever be raised up out of the Egyptian darkness, the atheistic superstition of this heathen land! After worship, two of the Nan-dau- 240 L12v 240 gong people had some particular conversation with Moung Thahlah, about baptism. Much encouraged by the general appearance of things this day. Why art thou ever cast down, O my soul and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: the God of the Burmans, as well as David’s God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance, revealed in the salvation of thousands of these immortal souls! 1821-01-24January24th. Received a visit from Moung Yah, the man whom, some years ago, I designated as the first Inquirer. His deportment and conversation were not, indeed, so modest and encouraging as formerly; but yet the burden of his request was still, more of the writings of Jesus Christ. After his former visit, he was appointed to the government of a place at some distance; but he is now in the situation of justice of peace, under the present viceroy, and is much occupied in business. It was under this man that some of the disciples, who formerly lived in our yard, took refuge during our absence; and they still continue to adhere to him. He professes to love the religion of Christ; but I fear that he has very indistinct ideas, and that his mind is diverted by the cares of business, from a due attention to the one thing needful. 1821-01-25January25th. Received a visit from a young priest and a noviciate, who reside in a neighbouring kyoung (a house inhabited by priests). They stayed with me above an hour, and paid more candid attention to Divine truth than I have ever been able to obtain from any gentlemen of the (yellow) cloth. On pressing the question, whether they did not sometimes doubt the correctness of their religion? they confessed 241 M1r 241 in the affirmative, and finally condescended to accept a tract; but it will be torn to pieces as soon as it reaches the hands of their superiors. 1821-01-31January31st. Received a visit from the teacher, Oo Oung-det, of the village of Kambet. He has disseminated the semi-atheistic doctrine for several years, and formed a small party among his neighbours, who pay no respect to the priests and the religion of Gaudama. We had a most interesting conversation of about two hours, in the presence of a large company, most of whom came with him. He successively gave up every point that he attempted to maintain, and appeared to lay open his mind to the grand truths of an eternal God, eternal happiness, &c. Moung Shway- gnong seconded me, and discoursed in a truly impressive manner, until the attention of the old man was so completely fixed, that his friends with difficulty persuaded him to take leave. 1821-02-04February4th. Oo Oung-det repeated his visit. He acknowledges himself convinced of the existence of an eternal God, and appears to be desirous of knowing the whole truth; but business prevented his staying long. 1821-02-12February12th. Had a long conversation with Oo Oung-det, in which I at length endeavoured to unfold to his view the whole mystery fo the gospel, the way of salvation through the atonement of the Son of God, to which our previous conversations have been little more than preparatory. But his proud heart evidently repelled the humiliating doctrine. So true it is that the cross of Christ is the sure touchstone of the human heart. His nephew, however, Moung Oung-hmat, listened with the air of an awakened man. During a M 242 M1v 242 temporary suspense of conversation, I was much gratified by hearing him whisper to his uncle, Ask him more about Jesus Christ He received a form of prayer with eagerness, and listened to my parting instruction with some feeling. 1821-02-16February16th. Moung Ing has returned. He is the second Burman whose heart was touched by Divine grace. We rejoiced to see his face again, notwithstanding his rough and unprepossessing appearance, occasioned by the hardships through which he has passed since he left us. On his arrival at Bike, a town far below Rangoon, he shewed his copy of St. Matthew to the Roman Catholic priest stationed there, who directly committed it to the flames; and gave, instead of it, a writing of his own device. But, through Divine grace, our poor friend retained his integrity, and remained steadfast in the sentiments which he formerly embraced. 1821-02-19February19th. Spent several pleasant hours with Moung Ing. During his residence at Bike he was not satisfied with being a solitary disciple, but undertook to dispute with both Portuguese and Burmans; and found two or three who were disposed to listen to him. He is to return thither within a fortnight: but wishes to be baptized previously. 1821-02-20February20th. This is the second evening in which Mrs. J. and myself have had an interview with the viceroy and his lady in their inner apartment. Her highness gave us some very encouraging hints on the subject of religious toleration; and promised to introduce us to the emperor, on his visiting Rangoon next fall, in prosecution of the war with Siam. 1821-02-25February25th, Lord’s day. Moung Ing presented 243 M2r 243 his petition for baptism and admission into the church; and we unhesitatingly agreed to grant his request next Lord’s day. Not one of the disciples has given more decided evidence of being a sincere and hearty believer in the Lord Jesus. 1821-03-04March4th, Lord’s day. Moung Ing received baptism immediately after worship in the afternoon. Several of the hopeful inquirers witnessed the administration. 1821-03-11March11th, Lord’s day. We partook of the Lord’s supper in the evening; pursuant to a resolution of the church, to celebrate this ordinance on the second Sunday after the change of the moon, in order to avail ourselves, uniformly, of light evenings. After the ordinance, Moung Ing immediately took leave, for the purpose of returning to Bike. He is laden with various writings in Burman and Portuguese, for distribution among the people of that place.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
Baltimore, 1823-02February, 1823.
My dear sir,
From the preceding letters, you will learn much of the character, and perceive the evidences of real conversion, exhibited by those who made a public profession of religion.M2 244 M2v 244
From the strength of intellect manifested by several interesting characters, in the following journal of Mr. Judson, you will, I doubt not, form a high idea of the natural capacity of the Burmans:1821-04-25April25th, 1821. Some time previous to the last date, I resolved on opening the Zayat, and residing there as formerly; but soon relinquished the intention for a time, in consequence of engaging Moung Shway- gnong to assist me in a thorough revision of those parts of the New Testament which are translated, but not yet printed; namely, the epistle to the Ephesians, and the first part of the Acts. We have, at length, finished the revision; and I this day recommence occupying the Zayat. 1821-05-04May4th. Several days have passed, without any encouraging occurrence. The Zayat never attracted less company, and I began to fear that the good old times of 18191819 would never again return. A case, however, has just occurred, which reminds me of those times. I never before met with an instance of such openness of mind, and readiness to receive the truth, on first communication. The man is a regular- bred Boodhist, without the least tincture of semi- atheism; and yet, strange to say, he listened to the truth with unprecedented candour, and apparent eagerness, for above two hours. I am sure I shall see him again—but yet, what have I found more fallacious than first appearances? 1821-05-05May5th. Mr. Lansago arrived from Ava last night. I have just had an interview with him. On receiving my letter, he mentioned us before the emperor, who remembered that we were Zandees. Mr. L. contradicted the aspersion; said we were true men, &c.; to which his majesty made no reply. 245 M3r 245 Mr. Ignatius, the principal Roman Catholic priest in Rangoon, is going to Ava, by order of the emperor, to take the place of the old priest, in the medical line. Mr. L. thinks that the emperor will not come down to Rangoon, and that the Siamese war will not be continued. 1821-05-06May6th, Lord’s day. From various causes, there were only three of the baptized present at worship, and yet we had an assembly of above twenty adults, in all the various stages of religious inquiry; some almost ready to profess religion, and some just beginning to open their eyes to the wonders of redeeming love. Among the rest were two aged men, devout worshippers of Gaudama, and constant attendants on the lectures of the Mangen teacher. They listened with fixed attention to a long discourse, from the parable of the pharisee and publican; and one of them declared himself pleased with the doctrine. There was also present, for the first time, a relation of Moung Shway-bay, from the upper part of the country, who has received considerable information from his cousin. He was so much delighted with some things which he heard, that, in the midst of the discourse, he broke out into audible expressions of approbation. 1821-05-12May12th, Saturday. Have had several attentive listeners during the past week. Some of my old visitors from Kambet, and other villages, begin to find that the doors of the Zayat are again open. 1821-05-14May14th. A succession of company through the day. A priest of some note listened with much apparent candour, and some expressions of approval. 1821-05-15May15th. Despatched the manuscript of Ephesians, and the first part of the Acts, to Serampore 246 M3v 246 requesting brother Hough to procure an edition of six hundred of each, at the expense of the Board. At night, received a visit from Moung Gway, brother-in-law to Moung Shway-bay. He was accompanied by one Moung Thah-ee, an intractable, furious creature, noted for brow-beating and silencing every antagonist. He professes to be a strict Boodhist, without the least doubt on the subject of religion; but having heard of my object in coming to this country, wishes to give me an opportunity of making him doubt. I found him extremely difficult to manage, and finally told him, that he must get a humble mind, and pray to the true God, or he would never attain true wisdom. This threw him into a passion. He said he would have me to know that he was no common man. He could then dispute with governors and kings, &c. I then gave him a tract, which he affected to disdain, but finally received, and went away. 1821-05-16May16th. Moung Gway called to apologize for his companion’s conduct. He said, that from being always victorious in disputation, he had become insolent and overbearing; but that he was really inquiring after the truth, and had been reading the tract attentively. Moung Gway himself seems to be favourably disposed to the Christian religion. 1821-05-14May17th. Moung Thah-ee spent the whole evenning with me. I find that he has a strong mind, capable of grasping the most difficult subject. He listened to the truth with much more attention and patience than at first. 1821-05-18May18th. Moung Thah-ee came again, accompanied by several of his admirers. At first he behaved with some propriety, and allowed conversation to proceed247 M4r 247 ceed in a regular manner. But soon he descended into his own native element, and stormed and raged. When I found that he would be utterly unreasonable, and not permit me even to finish a sentence, I remained silent, and suffered him to display himself. When he was quite exhausted, I took an opportunity to exhibit a brief view of the reasons which convinced me that the religion of Gaudama was false, and the Boodhist Scriptures fictitious; and then challenged him to refute my statement. But he declined, saying that we were both tired, and he would finish the debate some other time. 1821-05-19May19th. A succession of company all the day. At night, Moung Thah-ee came alone, intending to have some private conversations; but no opportunity offered. 1821-05-20May20th, Lord’s day. Encountered another new character, one Moung Long, from the neighbourhood of Shway-doung, a disciple of the great Toung-dwen teacher, the acknowledged head of all the semi- atheists in the country. Like the rest of the sect, Moung Long is, in reality, a complete sceptic, scarcely believing his own existence. They say he is always quarreling with his wife, on some metaphysical point. For instance: if she says, The rice is ready; he will reply, Rice! What is rice? Is it matter, or spirit? Is it an idea, or is it nonentity? Perhaps she will say, It is matter; and he will reply, Well, wife, and what is matter? Are you sure there is such a thing in existence, or are you merely subject to a delusion of the senses? When he first came in, I thought him an ordinary man. He has only one good eye; but I soon discovered,248 M4v 248 covered, that that one eye has great a quantity of being, as half a dozen common eyes. In his manners he is just the reverse of Moung Thah-ee—all suavity and humility, and respect. He professed to be an inquirer after the truth; and I accordingly opened to him some parts of the gospel. He listened with great seriousness; and, when I ceased speaking, remained so thoughtful, and apparently impressed with the truth, that I began to hope he would come to some good, and therefore invited him to ask some question relative to what he had heard. Your servant, said he, has not much to innquire of your lordship. In your lordship’s sacred speech, however, there are one or two words which your servant does not understand. Your lordship says, that in the beginning God created one man and one woman. I do not understand (I beg your lordship’s pardon) what a man is, and why he is called a man. My eyes were now opened, in an instant, to his real character; and I had the happiness to be enabled, for about twenty minutes, to lay blow after blow upon his sceptical head, with such effect, that he kept falling and falling; and though he made several desperate efforts to get up, he found himself at last prostrate on the ground, unable to stir. Moung Shway-gnong, who had been an attentive listener, was extremely delighted to see his enemy so well punished; for this Moung Long had sorely harassed him in times past. The poor man was not, however in the least angry at his discomfiture; but, in the true spirit of his school, said, that though he had heard much of me, the reality far exceeded the report. Afterwards he joined us in worship, and listened with great attention, as did also his wife. 249 M5r 249 1821-05-21May21st. Moung Thah-ee came again, with several others; but he was so outrageous, and vulgar, and abusive, that I found it impossible to hold any rational conversation with him; and he finally went away in a great passion, saying, that he had been sent by some men in authority to spy us out, and that by to-morrow he would bring us into trouble. Such threatenings tend to sink our spirits, and make us realize our truly helpless, destitute condition, as sheep in the midst of wolves: Lord, behold their threatenings, &c. 1821-05-27May27th, Lord’s day. A very busy day. Had scarcely dismissed the few Europeans, who attend English worship in the morning, when the Burman visitors began to come in; and though many of the disciples were absent, we finally had an assembly of thirty persons, who paid most earnest and uninterrupted attention to a discourse of about half an hour, from the text,—By one man’s disopedience many were made sinners. A few, who visited the Zayat during the past week, were present for the first time. One of them, by name Moung Hlay, may be named among the hopeful inquirers. Moung Long was again present, and another disciple of the Toung-dwen teacher, of equal powers of mind; but these keen metaphysicians are, I fear, far from the kingdom of heaven. 1821-06-03June3rd, Lord’s day. A new acquaintance of last week, of Siamese extraction, and Moung Hlay, and Moung Long, were present with the usual assembly. Mah Myat-lay, sister of Mah Men-lay, appears to be resolved, at length, to profess religion. 1821-06-04June4th. Moung Long spent two or three hours with me, in which I endeavoured to lay before him all M5 250 M5v 250 the evidences of the truth of the Christian religion. His wife proves to be as sharp as himself, and has been harrassing Mrs.J. with all sorts of questions about the possibility of sin’s finding entrance into a pure mind, or of its being permitted under the government of a holy sovereign. I have this day taken Moung Shway-bay into the service of the mission. He bids fairer than any other member of the church to be qualified, in due time, for the ministry: for though inferior to Moung Thah-lah in fluency of speech, and to Moung Shway-gnong in genius and address, he is superior to the former in consistency of character, and gravity of deportment, and to the latter in experimental accquaintance with Divine things, and devotedness to the cause. But the principal trait of character which distinguishes him from the rest, and affords considerable evidence that he is called by higher authority than that of man to the Christian ministry, is his humble and persevering desire for that office—a desire which sprung up in his heart soon after his conversion, and has been growing ever since. I intend to employ him, at present, as an assistant in the Zayat, on a small allowance of seven or eight rupees a month, which I hope the Board will approve of. In that situation, he will have an opportunity of improving in those qualifications which are requisite to fit him to be a teacher of religion among his fellow-countrymen. 1821-06-08June8th. The Siamese spent several hours with me. His mind is just on the poise between Boodhism and Christianity. 1821-06-10June10th, Lord’s day. Moung Long again present—all eye and ear. Mrs. J. pronounces his wife 251 M6r 251 the most superior woman, in point of intellect, that she has met with in Burmah. After evening worship, Mah Myat-lay presented her petition for admission into the church, which was granted, and next Sunday appointed for her baptism. The evidences of her piety are of the most satisfactory kind. We esteem her quite as highly as her sister Mah-Men- lay, though she is far inferior in external qualifications. 1821-06-11June11th. Moung Long and his wife spent most of the day with us. Their minds are in a truly hopeful state, though still greatly governed by the maxims of the Toung-dwen school. Their main enquiry to-day was—How they could obtain faith in Christ? May the Holy Spirit solve their difficulties, by giving them an experimental acquaintance with that saving grace! 1821-06-14June14th. An intimate friend of the Woon-gyee- gah-dau told Mrs. J. to-day, in the presence of her highness, who, by silence, assented to the correctness of the remark, that when the emperor, and others in government, said that all might believe and worship as they pleased, the toleration extended merely to foreigners resident in the empire, and by no means to native Burmans, who, being slaves of the emperor, would not be allowed, with impunity, to renounce the religion of their master. This remark accords with all that we heard at Ava, and may be depended on (nothwithstanding some private encouragement we have received from the viceroy and his wife), as affording a correct view of the state of religious toleration in this country. It is a fact, that, except ino ur own private circle, it is not known that a single individual has actually renounced Boodhism, and been initiated into the Christian religion. 252 M6v 252 Mah-Myat-lay informs us, that the news of her intended baptism has been rumoured among her neighbours, and excited a great uproar. She is not, however, disheartened; but rather wishes that her baptism may not be deferred until Sunday, lest some measures be taken to prevent it. I expect that she will present herself for baptism to-morrow evening. 1821-06-15June15th. According to the purpose mentioned under the last date, Mah Myat-lay received baptism, about sun-set, at the usual place. 1821-07-03July3rd. Moung Thahlah was married to a woman resident in our yard, a usual attendant on public worship; the event somewhat noticeable, as being probably the first Christian marriage ever performed between persons of pure Burman extraction. 1821-07-14July14th. The first day of Burman Lent. The Woon-gyee-gah-dau, notwithstanding all she has heard from Mrs. J., set out, most zealously, in her course of religious performances; and the whole town seems to be following her example. Many cases of hopeful inquiry, and interesting religious conversation, have occured within the last month; but they passed away without much apparent fruit, and are, therefore, not worthy of notice. Moung Long and his wife are the most promising at present; and I begin to indulge some slight hope, that they will obtain Divine grace. In the interval of receiving company, I have lately been employed in translating; have finished the Gospel and Epistles of St. John, those exquisitely sweet and precious portions of the New Testament, and am now employed on the latter part of the Acts. I find Moung Shway-bay a most valuable assistant, in 253 M7r 253 all parts of missionary work. Moung Shway-gnong also begins to be dissatisified with being a mere disciple, and hopes that he shall some time be thought worthy of being a teacher of the Christian religion. These two, with Mah-Men-lay, are, at present, the flower of our little church. I have no reason, however, to complain of the conduct of any, considering the great disadvantages under which they all labour. Some have grown comparatively cold; but none have forgotten their first love. Praise for ever be to Him, Who is faithful to his promises,And faithful to his Son! 1821-08-04August4th. Am just recovering from the second fit of sickness which I have had this season. The first was the cholera morbus; the present has been a fever. The second day after I was taken, Mrs. J. was seized with the same disorder; and, for several days, we were unable to help one another. Through Divine mercy, however, we contrived to get our medicines from time to time, and are now in a convalescent state, so far as the fever is concerned. Mrs. J., however, is suffering severely under the liver complaint, which, notwithstanding continual salivations, is making such rapid and alarming advances, as to preclude all hope of her recover, in this part of the world. 1821-08-06August6th. Came to a final conclusion to send Mrs. Judson to America, for the reasons assigned in a letter to the corresponding Secretary, accompanying this number. 1821-08-21August21st. Mrs. J. embarked for Bengal.
I remain, my dear Sir, Very affectionately and respectfully,
Washington, 1823-03March, 1823.
My dear sir,
Thus far had the mission proceeded, when loss of health forced me from Rangoon, and all the interesting scenes which I had so long witnessed. Those only who have been through a variety of toil and privation to obtain a darling object, can realize how entirely every fibre of the heart adheres to that object, when secured. Had we encountered no difficulties, and suffered no privations in our attempts to form a church of Christ, under the government of a heathen despot, we should have been warmly attached to the individuals composing it, but should not have felt that tender solicitude and anxious affection, which, in the present case, we experienced.
Rangoon, from having been the theatre in which so much of the faithfulness, power, and mercy of God had been exhibited—from having been considered, for ten years past, as my home for life—and from a thousand interesting associations of ideas, had become the dearest spot on earth. Hence you will readily imagine that no ordinary consideration could have induced my departure. With the providential and merciful circumstances attending my voyage to England, and with all that transpired, during my residence under your hospitable roof, you are well acquainted. I hasten, therefore, to communicate the intelligence, which, from time to time, has been received from the mission in Rangoon, since my departure.
Soon after the last date in Mr. Judson’s journal, 255 M8r 255 another attempt, with greater probability of success, was made to destroy the teacher, Moung Shway- gnong. The chief of his village, in connexion with several priests, drew up, and presented, a document to the viceroy, in which Moung Shway-gnong was accused of having embraced sentiments, which aimed at the destruction fo the Boodhist religion, and prejudicial to the existing authorities. The viceroy replied, that if their assertions were true, Moung Shway-gnong was deserving of death. The teacher and his friends had closely watched the proceedings of the accusers, and took measures accordingly; and, as soon as he ascertained that the viceroy uttered an encouraging word to his persecutors, he procured a boat, embarked his family, secretly fled to the mission-house, to disclose to Mr. Judson his situation, and, after furnishing himself with tracts and portions of Scripture, proceeded up the river to Shway-doung, a town about a hundred miles from Rangoon. From the last accounts, he was busily employed in disseminating his heretical sentiments, and had excited much commotion among the inhabitants of that place. Thus it was, as in the days of the apostles, when the disciples of Christ were persecuted, they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Moung Shway-gnong’s easy and rapid escape, may appear almost incredible to one accustomed to a well-regulated police, in civilized countries. But not so, when it is known that the government officers in Burmah take cognizance of those cases only, under their immediate control; that there is nothing throughout the empire like a public newspaper, in which the delinquent may be so described as to occasion detection; and that the 256 M8v 256 only mode of travelling is in boats: consequently, thousands are at all times on the river.
Moung Shway-gnong’s accusation and escape, howver, produced, as formerly, much alarm among the disciples and inquirers,—the former attending public worship as privately as possible, while the latter almost entirely withdrew. Mr. Judson was obliged to shut up the Zayat altogether, and confine his religious instructions to those who occasionally called at the mission-house. You will recollect, my dear Sir, that Mr. J., at this time, was entirely alone; not an individual to give him an encouraging word. Under existing circumstances it would not have excited surprise to find that he was occasionally dejected and depressed. But, at this period, his mind was particularly impressed with the importance of completing the translation of the New Testament, and he resolved to engage immediately in this great work, and wait the farther openings of Providence, in regard to preaching.
An extract from a letter written by Mr. J. at this time, exhibits his reasons for this course:Yesterday, feeling myself wholly at a loss, I committed myself to the guidance of the Lord Jesus, with some uncommon feelings of faith; and soon after, my mind became more settled on pursuing the translations, as being the most honourable to God, the most beneficial to my own soul, and the most conducive to the real interest of the mission. 1821-11-03November3rd. The mission sustained a heavy loss in the death of Moung Thahlah, the second convert. In a state of perfect health, he was attacked with the cholera, and expired in less than nineteen hours. Mr. 257 M9r 257 Judson was not apprized of his illness, until he became insensible; consequently, the state of his mind, in that trying hour, was unknown; but, from the evidence previously given, there is no doubt that his glad spirit found itself in the presence of the Saviour, on its emancipation from the body. The death of Moung Thahlah was more severely felt, as he was one of the few Burmans in the habit of leading in social prayer. In this exercise, he very much excelled; frequently expressing ideas apt and spiritual, clothed in the most appropriate and edifying language. He was a young man of fine talents, superior education, and had a peculiarly interesting mode of communicating religious truths. But our hopes of his future usefulness were early blasted by his premature and sudden death, and we could only say in this, as in many other cases, Verily thou art a God that hideth thyself, &c.
I will now, my dear Sir, close this series of letters, with Mr. Judson’s last journal, received only a few days since, just in time for me to communicate the latest intelligence. From this journal, you will perceive what reason we have for rejoicing and encouragement, and what renewed motives are presented for future trust and confidence in God. Surely Burmah, with other heathen nations, will shortly become subject to the moral government of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!1821-12-09December9th, 1821, Lord’s day. I begin to hope that one more Burman has felt the vivifying influence of Divine truth. He is an old acquaintance of Moung Ing; and received from him his first serious impressions. He has visited me several times; but 258 M9v 258 it was not till to-day that he expressed his determination to worship the eternal God all his life long. He is a man in low life, has no family, and his name is Moung Thah. Moung Yo, one of the semi-atheists of Pahtsooan- doung, formerly a disciple of Shway-gnong, has recommenced visiting me, accompanied by one Moung Bo, of very similar character, lately returned from Martaban. They are both men of sterling sense, and considerable learning, and have almost renounced Boodhism in all its forms; for I begin to find that the semi-atheism, which I have sometimes mentioned, is nothing but a refined Boodhism, having its foundation in the Boodhist scriptures. 1821-12-11December11th. Received a note from Dr. Price, communicating the animating intelligence of his arrival off the mouth of the river. 1821-12-13December13th. Enjoyed the great satisfaction of welcoming brother and sister Price at the place of landing, and of conducting them to the mission house. 1822-01-20January20th, 1822. Another season of rejoicing occasioned by the arrival of brother Hough and his family. 1822-03-12March12th. Have had nothing to notice lately, except the progress of the translation. During a few months past, I have finished St. Matthew (a new translation), St. Mark, and St. Luke, and this day pass into Romans, the intermediate books being previously done. 1822-06-30June30th. Am just recovering from severe illness. A few weeks ago, I was taken with a fever, slight at first, but daily increasing in violence, until the event became very dubious. On recovering from the effects of the fever, and just resuming the translation, I was 259 M10r 259 suddenly seized with the cholera morbus, though that disease is not now prevalent in the place; and several hours of suffering elapsed, before medicine took effect. This, with the quantity of opium and laudanum administered deprived me of the little remaining strength which the fever left me, and I am now scarcely able to hold a pen. It is singular that last rainy season I was subject to these same diseases, though in different order; and I ascribe it to the ascendancy which the climate of Rangoon is obtaining over my constitution. If it be the will of God, I feel desirous of living to finish the New Testament in Burman: a work which must otherwise be suspended for some time. 1822-07-14July14th, Lord’s day. For several months past I have been so engrossed in the translation, that I have not solicited company so much as formerly, nor found time to mention the noticeable events of a missionary nature, that have occasionally transpired, especially as they have passed away without much permanent result. Within a few weeks, however, there have been several circumstances of such an encouraging kind, as induces me to mention them in connexion. The first that excited our attention was the case of Men-oo a blind girl, resident in our yard, under the medical care of brother Price. She received her first ideas of religion from Moung Shway-bay, and after attending evening worship a few times, appeared to have her heart opened to Divine truth. About the same time, Moung Myat-lay received some new excitement, that induced him and his neighbour, Moung Thah-ay, to recommence attending public worship, which they have not done since Moung Shway-gnong’s persecution and flight. They are both, we hope, true Christians, 260 M10v 260 but have not yet obtained sufficient light and courage to profess religion. The case of May Mee is somewhat similar. She is an old woman—a disciple of Moung Shway-gnong—formerly acquainted with Mrs. J., but apparently unsusceptible of any impressions. It is now two or three months since she commenced visiting us, and listening with uncommon attention to religious conversation. At length she began to attend public worship regularly; and, during the last interview, she manifested much of that deep solemnity, which has uniformly characterized the newly converted. Last in order, but not least in interest, is the case of Mah Doke. She is a relation and inmate of the Nan-dau-gong sisters, and her name sometimes occurs in the journal about two years ago, in connexion with theirs. She was once equally forward with Mah Myat-lay; but subsequently lost her impressions, and remained quite stupid, till within a few weeks, during which time she has been more frequent in her visits, and more serious and attentive. Last Sunday she requested baptism; and to-day she has undergone a particular examination, to the great satisfaction of us all. Add to these circumstances, that Moung Shway-gnong has lately returned from the interior, on a visit, and concluded to stay a while with us partly as teacher to brother Price. He was evidently grown in religious experience; his conversation is more spiritual, and he seems more attached than ever to us and the cause. 1822-07-15July15th. Received a visit from Pah Kyah, an old disciple of Moung Shway-gnong. His father was an adherent of the celebrated Kolan, who suffered under the last king for semi-atheism. This man has 261 M11r 261 been an anti-boodhist all his life: but having, from long opposition to all around him, become inveterately attached to his peculiar sentiments, seemed to be the last person to consider and embrace a new religion. He obtained some ideas of God from Moung Shway- gnong, but not sufficient to induce him to visit us before to-day. Our conversation related chiefly to the law of God, and the nature and evil of sin, points to which he was entirely ignorant. He professed to believe and acquiesce in what he heard; but I fear that his feelings are at variance with his professions. 1822-07-20July20th. My hopes of finishing the New Testament without interruption, all blasted, by the arrival of an order from the king, summoning brother Price to Ava, on account of his medical skill. I must of course accompany him, and endeavour to take advantage of the circumstance, to gain some footing in the capital and the palace. But it is most repugnant to my feelings to leave my present pursuits and prospects in Rangoon. May the Lord direct! 1822-07-21July21st, Lord’s day. Another visit from Pah Kyah. He has meditated deeply on what he heard at the last interview; and though his first appearance was rough and forbidding, he drinks in Divine truth, and yields to its soul-subduing power. A larger assembly this day than usual, consisting of above thirty persons. After worship, Mah Doke was approved by the church, and baptized. In the evening, had a particular conversation with Men-oo, the blind girl, and rejoiced to learn the extent of her religious knowledge; and still more, to discover some evidences of a work of grace. 1822-07-25July25th. Pah Kyah came again, accompanied 262 M11v 262 by his sister, Mah Thah-oo, who, I am told, has been reading the tract, day and night, and came prepared to believe all she should hear. A most interesting forenoon with these people and several others. 1822-07-27July27th. May Zoo at length claims to be mentioned—an old phariasical woman, who formerly attended the Zayat, for no other purpose, apparently, but to make a display of her wisdom. She had lately become more quiet and humble, but with so much of the old leavenremaining, that I had no hope of her. To-day, however, she informs me, that three Sundays ago, the truth entered her mind, and that she lay all the ensuing night without sleep, meditating on the wondrous character of God, and the strange things she had heard. 1822-07-28July28th, Lord’s day. All the new inquirers, above- mentioned, have been with me some part of the day. Mah Doke, the last baptized, begins to take an active part in conversation, and appears to great advantage. She came accompanied by her friend, Mah Ing, a very infrequent visitor, on account of the opposition of her husband. He has lately gone on a journey, and, during his absence, she ventures to attend worship. She is a most attentive listener; but her timidity and reserve render it difficult to ascertain the state of her mind. I understand, however, that she occasionally joins the three Nan-dau-gong sisters in their female prayer meeting, and is highly esteemed by them. 1822-08-04August4th, Lord’s day. A crowded assembly at worship, as on the two last Lord’s days. Oo Nyo, a former disciple of Moung Shway-gnong, and May Dway, an old woman, lately cured of blindness by brother Price, deserve to be classed among the inquirers. The latter is more noticeable, as having been a 263 M12r 263 professed devotee of the strictest class, and for a long time quite unaffected by all she heard concerning our religion. 1822-08-05August5th. Moung Shway-gnong took his departure for Shway-doung the residence of his family, intending to join us again, on our way to Ava. 1822-08-06August 6th. Moung Long, the one-eyed metaphysician, and bosom disciple of the Tong-dwen teacher, arrived this day from Shway-doung, with his wife, May Wen-yo. The latter listened with the same candid attention and good sense, which formerly distinguished her, while her husband retains his characteristic scepticism, politeness, and inflexibility. 1822-08-07August7th. May Mee came to request baptism. When I perceived her aim, I endeavoured to impress her mind with the solemn responsibility of a Christian profession, and the great dangers to which she was exposing herself in this world; enforcing my statement, as usual, with the story of the iron mall; and she went away in much distress. Mah Ing sent her friend Mah Doke to inquire, whether it was lawful for her to procure a divorce from her husband, previous to being baptized; or, if not, whether she might worship before the great pagoda, in obedience to his command. Both questions were answered to the negative. A most difficult, distressing case. Her husband has threatened to accuse her to government, and cause her to be put to death. Men-oo also requested baptism; and I feel satisfied that she has experienced divine grace, as well as May Mee and Mah Ing. 1822-08-17August17th. Having been very busy, for several days past, in making preparations for our journey to Ava, 264 M12v 264 on which we are ordered to set out the 1820-08-2020th, in a boat furnished by government. May Mee and May Zoo continue to visit occasionally, and both desire to be baptized; but with this difference, that the former hesitates, and the latter is urgent. Mah Ing has been obliged to stay away, on account of her husband. Pah Kyah professes that his mind is completely settled, and wishes to comply with all the commands of Christ. 1822-08-18August18th, Lord’s day. Company all the day. After worship, May Zoo and Men-oo were approved by the church and baptized. 1822-08-19August19th. Early in the morning, Moung Thay- ay, mentioned 1822-07-14July 14th, came in, and taking me aside, knelt down, raised his folded hands in the attitude of reverence, and made a very pathetic and urgent application for immediate baptism. He stated, that he had considered the Christian religion for above two years; that his mind was completely settled on every point; and that, though he had been harassed with many fears, he was now resolved to enter the service of Jesus Christ, and remain faithful until death, whatever the consequences in this world might be. 1822-08-20August20th. May Mee, finding herself unable to hold out any longer, presented herself for baptism, and with Moung Thah-ay, was examined before the church, and approved. The latter received baptism immediately. May Mee will come to-morrow. Our dpearture is delayed for two or three days, in consequence of the death of the viceroy, Mya-day- men, which took place this afternoon. 1822-08-21August21st. Early in the morning, I administered baptism to May Mee, the eighteenth Burman 265 N1r 265 convert. Two more still remain: Moung Myat-lah and Mah Ing; the one deterred by fear of government; the other, by the fear of her husband. Add to these a desirable number of hopeful inquirers; and I feel, that I am leaving, at least for a time, one of the most interesting fields of labour, that was ever opened to a missionary. But the path of duty seems to lead to Ava; and it is infinitely easy for God to open there a more interesting field. We are ordered to put our baggage on board the boats to-morrow, and be ready to start the day following.
That your valuable life may long be continued, a blessing to your friends, your circle, and your country, and that in heaven you may meet an innumerable multitude of heathen souls, whose conversion was effected by your unknown instrumentality, is the constant prayer of,
The following Letter, enclosed in one from Mr. Judson, written by the Burmese convert, Moung Shway-bay, who is mentioned at pages 208, and 216 it is thought will interest the Christian public, and is therefore here given as extracted from an American publication.
Translation of a Letter, Written by Moung Shway-bay, to Rev. Dr. Baldwin.
Moung Shway-bay, an inhabitant of Rangoon, a town of Burmah, one who adheres to the religion of Christ, and has been baptized, who meditates N266N1v266 on the immeasurable, incalculable nature of the divine splendour and glory of the Invisible, even the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, and takes refuge in the wisdom and power and glory of God, affectionately addresses the great teacher Baldwin, a superintendent of missionary affairs in the city of Boston, of America.Beloved Elder Brother, Though, in the present state, the places of our residence are very far apart, and we have never met, yet by means of letters, and of the words of teacher Yoodthan, who has told me of you, I love you, and wish to send you this letter. When the time arrives in which we shall wholly put on Christ—him, in loving whom we cannot tire, and in praising whom we can find no end, and shall be adorned with those ornaments, which the Lord will dispense to us out of the heavenly treasure-house, that he has prepared, then we shall love one another more perfectly than we do now. Formerly I was in the habit of concealing my sins, that they might not appear; but now I am convinced, that I cannot conceal my sins from the Lord who sees and knows all things; and that I cannot atone for them, nor obtain atonement from my former objects of worship. And accordingly, I count myself to have lost all, under the elements of the world, and through the grace of the faith of Christ only, to have gained the spiritual graces and rewards pertaining to eternity, which cannot be lost. Therefore, I have no ground for boasting, pride, passion, and self-exaltation. And without desiring the praise of men, or seeking my own will, I wish to do the will of God the Father. The members of the body, dead in trespasses and sins, 267 N2r 267 displeasing to God, I desire to make instruments of righteousness, not following the will of the flesh. Worldly desire and heavenly desire being contrary, the one to the other, and the desire of visible things counteracting the desire of invisible things, I am as a dead man. However, He quickens the dead. He awakens those that sleep. He lifts up those that fall. He opens blind eyes. He perforates deaf ears. He lights a lamp in the great house of darkness. He relieves the wretched. He feeds the hungry. The words of such a benefactor, if we reject, we must die for ever, and come to everlasting destruction. Which circumstance considering, and meditating also on sickness, old age, and death, incident to the present state of mutability, I kneel and prostrate myself, and pray before God, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who has made atonement for our sins, and make me holy, and give me a repenting, believing, and loving mind. Formerly I trusted in my own merits, but now, through the preaching and instruction of teacher Yoodthan, I trust in the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ. The teacher, therefore, is the tree; we are the blossoms and fruit. He has laboured to partake of the fruit, and now the tree begins to bear. The bread of life he has given, and we eat. The water from the brook which flows from the top of Mount Calvary, for the cleansing of all filth, he has brought, and made us bathe and drink. The bread of which we eat, will yet ferment and rise. The water which we drink and bathe in, is the water of an unfailing spring; and many will yet drink and bathe therein. N2 268 N2v 268 Then all things will be regenerated and changed. Now we are strangers and pilgrims; and it is my desire, without adhering to the things of this world, but longng for my native abode, to consider and inquire, how long I must labour here; to whom I ought to show the light which I have obtained; when I ought to put it up, and when disclose it. The inhabitants of this country of Burmah, being in the evil practice of forbidden lust, erroneous worship, and false speech, deride the religion of Christ. However, that we may bear patiently derision, and persecution, and death, for the sake of the Lord Jesus Christ, pray for us. I do thus pray. For, elder brother, I have to bear the threatening of my own brother, and my brother-in-law, who say, We will beat, and bruise, and pound you; we will bring you into great difficulty; you associate with false people; you keep a false religion; and you speak false words. However, their false religion is the religion of death. The doctrine of the cross is the religion of life, of love, of faith. I am a servant of faith. Formerly I was a servant of Satan. Now I am a servant of Christ. And a good servant cannot but follow his master. Moreover, the divine promises must be accomplished. In this country of Burmah, are many strayed sheep. Teacher Yoodthan, pitying them, has come to gather them together, and to feed them in love. Some will not listen, but run away. Some do listen and adhere to him; and that our numbers may increase, we meet together, and pray to the great Proprietor of the sheep. Thus I, Moung Shway-bay, a disciple of teacher Yoodthan, in Rangoon, write and send this letter to 269 N3r 269 the great teacher Baldwin, who lives in Boston, America. N.B. Translated from the Burman original, 1823-09-23Sept. 23, 1823. A. Judson, Jun.
Extract of a Letter from Rev. A. Judson, Jr. to the Rev. Dr. Baldwin.
Rangoon, 1823-12-07December, 7, 1823.
Reverend and Dear Sir,
I had the inexpressible happiness of welcoming Mrs. Judson once more to the shores of Burmah, on the 1823-12-055th inst. We are now on the eve of departure for Ava.
My last letter from brother Price mentions, that the king has inquired many times about my delay, and the queen has expressed a strong desire to see Mrs. Judson in her foreign dress. We sincerely hope that her majesty’s curiosity will not be confined to dress.
Mr. and Mrs. Wade appear in fine health and spirits, and I am heartily rejoiced at their arrival, just at the present time.
None scarcely of the letters from America by the Bengal have reached me. The ship in which they were forwarded from Calcutta to this port, being supposed to be lost off the coast. My last from you, therefore, is 1822-10-18Oct. 18, 1822; and previous to Mrs. Judson’s arrival, I had not heard from her for nearly fourteen months.
I enclose the translation of a letter from Moung Shway-bay, which has been lying by me some time, 270 N3v 270 for want of a good opportuity of conveyance. He received Mrs. Baldwin’s present to-day, and directly obliged me to write out a translation of the note accompanying it, and was highly gratified with both.
The appearance of this short letter, renders it unnecessary to say that I write in haste, occasioned by the state of our affairs, in prospect of immediate removal; and have only time to add that I remain
A. Judson, Jun.
Mission House, Rangoon, 1823-12-11Dec. 11, 1823.
My Dear Friend,
Shall I attempt to describe the sensations produced by finding myself in this much-loved spot?—Yes, I am really in Rangoon, at my own study table, and surrounded by the same scene I have so frequently described to you.
It appears to me now all a dream that I have been in England, in America, and through all my wanderings am at last returned, and find the same scene I left. Who has so much cause for gratitude and thankfulness as myself? Who is under so great obligations to be entirely and exclusively devoted to God as I am? Goodness and mercy have followed me all my days, but the kind, protecting care of God has been most conspicuously seen during my two years absence from Rangoon.
In my usual style I will give you, my dear friend, 271 N4r 271 an account of myself since I last wrote, as you are so kind as to express so much pleasure in reading my little narratives. On the 1822-06-2222nd June last, with a joyful heart, I left my native shores for India, followed by the prayers of thousands, who were collected on the wharf to witness our departure. In a fine new ship, a large airy cabin, with a kind obliging captain, I found myself most pleasantly situated, and under the direction of our heavenly Father, the winds and waves were propitious, for we reached the sand heads in the Bay of Bengal in a hundred and five days from Boston. During our voyage, I had the happiness of witnessing a most decided change in the captain, who, for two months previously to our arrival at Calcutta, devoted his whole time to the subject of religion, and is resolved, on his return passage, to conduct worship himself among his sailors on the Sabbath.
On my arrival in Bengal, you will readily imagine my first inquiries were to ascertain what intelligence had been received from Mr. Judson, and what prospects of my speedy departure. The information received from the former was animating and encouraging; but respecting the latter, sad indeed, as it was expected that no ship would sail for several months, as very serious difficulties existed between the Burman and British Governments. For several days my mind was in a state of constant anxiety, but was instantaneously relieved, by noticing a paragraph in the paper, advertising a ship for Rangoon. I immediately engaged my passage, and after a month’s residence in the kind and hospitable family of the Rev. Mr. Thomason, I embarked for Rangoon, where I safely arrived in nineteen days.272 N4v 272
I dare not attempt to describe my feelings as the ship advanced towards the Burman coast. It was late in the evening when the vessel anchored; but the first object which caught my eye, as the boat rowed toward the shore, was Mr. Judson. From long expectation and disappointment, he had acquired such an habitual sadness and dejection of spirit, that it required all my exertion to disperse it, and make him Mr. J. again. He had not heard a word from me for thirteen months, (owing to the failure of my letters) and the very day I arrived, he had in despair yielded all hope of my existence! I soon had the happiness of meeting Mah Men-lay, Moung Shawway-bay, and others who are still an honour to their profession. Mah Myat-lay, the second female who was baptized, died in the triumphs of hope a few months ago. She longed for the hour of her release, and assured those who stood around her that she would soon be in the presence of Christ. Is not this one instance of the power of divine grace more than a compensation for all our days of darkness and distress, formerly spent in preparation for our work?
Mr. Judson has his boats in readiness to proceed to Ava, and to-morrow we go on board. He has obtained considerable favour from high officers in Government, and thinks our prospects at Ava very encouraging. The king’s own brother, a very powerful prince, has his attention excited by the Christian religion, and has lately written a very kind, affectionate letter to Mr. Judson, requesting his speedy return to Ava, and to bring with him all the sacred books. See page 188. A foreign female has never yet been introduced to the 273 N5r 273 Burman Court, consequently much curiosity is excited by the expectation of my arrival. May the God of Heaven be our protector, and give us that wisdom which is profitable to direct. I feel, my dear friend, that I am about to begin anew my missionary work, and need more grace, more resolution, and more spirituality of feeling than ever before. We shall be surrounded by despotism and idolatry, but the God of Jacob is our hope, and in his hands we are as safe as in our own loved America. He has evidently pointed out to us the path of duty, and shall we fear to follow where he leads? It is easy for God to open the heart of the King and Queen, and make them a nursing father and mother to the little church in Burmah. We cannot hope and expect too much from God. He has commanded us to open our mouths wide, and he will fill them.
You shall hear from me on my arrival at the capital, for I am resolved to keep you acquainted with all our steps. I write this in great haste, being surrounded by women and children, who are waiting their final instructions. My schools will commence at Ava; my hopes respecting them are very sanguine. I am much gratified by your remarks relative to The History of the Burman Mission. The first edition was all sold before I left America, though in so poor a dress. Please to transmit to Mr. Lawson (who is the Agent for our Board) all the money that has been collected for the school, with this direction:—For Mrs. Judson’s Schools in the Burman Empire. I will give a particular and faithful account of the commencement and progress of my darling plan, for the information of those who are interested in the schools. Mr. JudsonN5 274 N5v 274 son would write, but every moment of his time is employed in preparing and arranging our baggage. He will write after our arrival at Ava.
The translation of the New Testament is finished. We will send you a copy of the whole when printed.
I know you will excuse this hasty, imperfect letter; but could you know all the circumstances under which I write, you would not be surprised at the inaccuracies. I could not think of leaving Rangoon without informing you of my safe arrival. Let us assist each other in our way to heaven. Your letters will animate and encourage me; mine may interest you, from the circumstance of being written in a heathen land. We shall, I trust, soon meet in heaven; may our hearts, our best affections, be there long before us. This life is a vapour, it will soon pass away, and nothing will remain, excepting the services we now perform for Christ. Be pleased to present our warmest affections to our friend *****, whom I shall never forget to love and respect. May you be blessed my dear friend, and be made increasingly useful, is the sincere wish of
Ann H. Judson.
On the Arah-wah-tee, 1823-12-31Dec. 31, 1823.
Come, my dear friend, transport yourself for a few moments from your retired home, and refresh your imagination with a view of our floating conveyance majestically passing the fertile banks of the 275 N6r 275 Arah-wah-tee (Irrawaddy). And had your eye the same power as imagination, could it rove with equal rapidity over this widely extended globe, it would doubtless be induced to rest on worthier and more interesting objects, but could not find two happier than your friend Ann and her beloved Judson. It is one of those bright days peculiar to an Indian clime; the cool refreshing breezes from the mountains with which we are now encircled, while they unite with the influence of the sun to produce a most delightful temperature of air, invigorate our frames, and exhilirate our spirits; the verdure and variety of scenery exhibited on the banks of this noble river, every where interspersed with native villages, and peasants’ tents, all conspire to increase those pleasant sensations which our peculiar situation and circumstances are calculated to excite. Our boat is so curiously constructed, and so unlike every thing in your civilized part of the world, that I hardly know in what language to give a description so as to present it clearly to your view: it is a rude, uncouth thing, and could you behold it floating down the river Thames, you might imagine that some ingenious fisherman had attached a pair of wings to his little hut, and was conveying it on a boat to your great metropolis, to gratify the curious gaze of the idle multitude. It is fifty feet in length and seven in width. Our rooms or cabins, two in number, are built on the top, the boat being too shallow to admit any thing of the kind within, and constructed it in the form of a Burman house, with a sloping roof. The rooms extend half the length of the boat, the one we occupy is made of rough boards, with a thatched roof, the other (occupied276 N6v 276 pied by the servants) of bamboo and mats. The wings are formed by the extension of the floor on each side, which makes a passage for the boatmen, without entering our rooms. This heavy unwieldy thing is urged forward almost entirely by manual force, and is either drawn with ropes by the boatmen walking on the banks, or pushed by long poles. But so strong is the current at this season, and the wind always against us, that our progress is slow indeed. Yet in the midst of these inconveniences and privations, we are happy, because the object we have in view will bear examination. Were we thus penetrating into the heart of this heathen empire for the purpose of accumulating property, or gaining honour or renown, from our fellow-creatures, it would not be an object sufficient to support our minds under present circumstances, in anticipation of future evils. But we are assured that we are in the service of Him who governs the world, who has said to his disciples, Go into all the world, &c.; and this is our support, and the reward of all our exertions, Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Not a hair of our head can be injured, but with the permission of Him whose precious name we would make known to these unenlightened heathen. Yes, my dear friend, the consideration of the object we have in view, and the brightening prospects relative to ultimate success, fill us with joy, and make us happy, though in this rude, solitary boat, far, far away from all christian society, and no individual associate besides ourselves. Our faithful Moung Ing is the only native Christian with us, the others being at present scattered according to circumstances. Three are already at Ava waiting 277 N7r 277 our arrival, and Mah-men-lay and others will follow, as soon as their domestic concerns will allow. Moung Ing, with whom you are already well acquainted, is a firm, solid, and consistent Christian. He unites with us daily in family worship, and frequently leads in prayer, in our occasional religious conferences, when he exhibits much spiritual feeling and strength of intellect. We intend him for the teacher of our girls’ school, the commencement of which is I trust at hand.
1824-01-20Jan. 20, 1824.
Again I take up my pen to converse a little with you, though at this immense distance, and knowing, as I do, that you can make no response for months and perhaps years. Yet it is a precious privilege to communicate our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances, to those we love, though a reply be not the immediate result. Now I will suppose you sitting the other side of the trunk on which my writing-desk is placed, and go on with my relation. We are slowly progressing towards the capital of this very populous empire, and have thus far been preserved from the numerous dangers with which we are continually surrounded. No robbers have yet made their appearance, though we are frequently cautioned by the villagers to be on our guard. We have our fire-arms in readiness every evening, and when we have taken every precaution in our power, commit ourselves to the care of our heavenly Father, and lie down and sleep as quietly, and feel as safe, as if we were at Bradford America. or in London. As the season is so cool and dry, we almost daily get a walk on the banks, and through the villages; and at such seasons the natives are extremely 278 N7v 278 amused at our strange appearance, having never before seen a foreign female. As soon as we enter a village or town, one calls to another to come quick and look, when the women and children run out of their houses and follow us till we enter the boat. Some will run several rods before us, in order to have a fair view as we approach them. If we happen to stop under the shade of a banyan, as is frequently the case, all the old men and women in the village are called and brought to see what their eyes never before beheld. But on such occasions we never experience any thing like insult or disrespect; on the contrary, the exclamation is, Ha-ba-byce, how handsome they are, how modest their dress, not even their hands are visible. We seldom let them know we understand their language, as our stay is not sufficiently long to enter on religious subjects. In one instance, however, the boat being a long time in doubling a point of land which we had walked over, and the multitude being assembled as usual, Mr. J. introduced the subject of religion, when all were immediately silent and attentive. Two or three white-headed heathen who were present, encouraged it by asking pertinent questions. A decent looking man, who appeared to be the school- master of the village, coming into the circle just at this time, Mr. J. handed him a tract, and requested him to read aloud. The subject of the tract was an account of the existence, perfections, and requirements of the eternal God, our lost state by nature, and redemption through Christ. When he had proceeded half way through, he stopped, and exclaimed to the multitude, that these were great subjects, that such a writing was worthy to be copied, and requested 279 N8r 279 Mr. J. to remain while he copied it. He was informed that he might keep the tract, on condition that he constantly read it to his neighbours. Many joined in the petition that we would pass the remainder of the day and night in the village; but our boat coming up, we were obliged to leave them, not however until we had sent up many secret petitions that the Holy Spirit might bless that single tract to the salvation of many of the dark, ignorant souls. A few days ago we had an especial cause of gratitude to God for his preserving care, when in imminent danger. In passing through one of the strong rapids, with which this river abounds, the rudder struck the bottom, which turned the boat immediately across the current, and laid her on her side. It being a cold morning our door was shut, and the boat being on her side, it was some moments before we could get it open, which circumstance for a short time occasioned us to feel all the horrors of shipwreck. Every thing outside of the cabins, such as rice, cooking utensils, and the boatmen’s mats, were all afloat. The steersman, however, had presence of mind enough to cut the rudder from the boat, which enabled the boatmen to raise her from her side, and after drawing her to the shore, and repairing her rudder, we proceeded on our way, feeling more than ever our dependance on God, and the importance of having our minds at all times stayed on him. Our fears have been considerably excited for a few days past, on beholding the martial movements of the country. We understand that the Emperor is determined on war with the English, and has ordered an army to proceed with all possible dispatch to Arrakan. Yesterday we passed the headquarters280 N8v 280 quarters of the troops, and war-boats are continually passing us. We know not what effect this war will have upon our mission, or how much our own lives will be endangered from the suspicion that we are English. But we always have this consolation, that God reigns, and that the greatest, as well as the smallest events are under his direction.
Ava, 1824-02-16Feb. 16, 1824.
I must now finish this long letter, as a gentleman is on the point of going to Bengal, and has kindly offered to take letters. We arrived in safety at this city twenty days ago, after a pleasant trip of six weeks; we had not a house to cover our heads on our arrival, nor could we procure one which was sufficient to shelter us from the burning rays of the sun. We were therefore obliged to remain in our boat until we could build: you will, I am sure, smile, when I tell you that we built a house, and moved into it, in just a fortnight from our arrival; it consists of three rooms and a verandah, delightfully situated on the bank of the river. The ground was given last year to Mr. J. by the king, and is considered our own. The house we now inhabit is designed for the school-house for my girls, as soon as we can get another built for our own use. The school has already commenced with three little girls, whose shrill voices are now ringing in my ears, while they read their lessons: they are fine children, and improve as fast in reading and sewing as any children in the world. I doubt not the school will rapidly increase, as soon as we have time to look around and make a selection. The Emperor, on account of the present war with the English, is rather 281 N9r 281 prejudiced against foreigners, consequently Mr. J.’s reception at court was rather cool. I have not yet been at the palace, as the king and all the royal family went to Umera-poora, in a day after our arrival, where they remain until the completion of the new palace in the city, when they will take possession in usual form, and Ava will in future be their residence. My old friend, the lady of the viceroy of Rangoon, came to see me as soon as she heard of my arrival, and has promised to introduce me at court on the return of the royal family. Her husband died during my absence, and with his death all her power and distinctions cease. She is a well-informed, sensible woman, and there is much more hope of her attending to the subject of religion in her private situation, than when she was in public life. In a day or two after our arrival, Mr. J. introduced me to Prince M. and his Princess; they treated us with the greatest kindness. The Princess took me into her inner apartments, made me a handsome present, and invited me to visit her frequently, and ordered her cart to be prepared to convey me home. Prince M. is intelligent, desirous of obtaining foreign information, and has for some time been examining the Christian religion! Oh! that a merciful God would enlighten his mind, and make him a real disciple of the blessed Redeemer. I hope to gain some influence over the Princess, and induce her to read the New Testament, which is now in her own language. She is surrounded at all times by twenty or thirty females, and who knows but religious conversation may be blessed to them, though the Princess herself should never be benefited. We have here an uncommon field for usefulness,282 N9v 282 fulness, and if we may be only allowed to remain, there is no doubt but much good would be done. My health has been much improved during my voyages, and I begin to hope that I may last yet some years; but we are, in a literal sense, alone. We have not half the means of obtaining intelligence from our friends as when in Rangoon; and as for society, it is so far out of the question, that we hardly think of mentioning it. Dr. Price is our only missionary associate; but he has married a native wife, and lives the other side of the river. Mr. J. preaches every Sabbath in the Doctor’s house, where he has something of a congregation. We also have worship in Burman every evening in our own house, so that a faint ray of light is beginning to appear in this dark city.
Remember me most affectionately to ſ, whose likeness is now hanging before me, and is almost the only ornament in our little house. Pray kindly write a line to Miss H., of Liverpool, and inform her that the box of articles she forwarded arrived just as I was leaving Calcutta. They were most acceptable, as we have daily occasions for distributing them. Say also that I intend writing to her very soon. Do not forget to pray for
On board the Irawaddy Gun-boat, Sixty miles above Prome, 1826-03-1212th March, 1826.
My Dear Sir,
I will not attempt to describe the joyful sensations produced, by finding myself once more in a situation 283 N10r 283 to write to you, after an interval of two years. Yes, two years of suffering and privation; the very recollection of which often chills our feelings, and sickens our hearts. Though unbelief has often prompted us to say, that our afflictions were greater than we could bear or deserved; yet our better feelings have triumphed in the sovereign government of God, assured that He would do all things well; and, if his pleasure, could easily lessen our sufferings. Nor have we been disappointed in our hopes; for, in his own time and way, we have been extricated from all our difficulties, and are now safe and happy under British protection.
Knowing your interest in the Burman mission, and assured of personal sympathy and regard, I will endeavour, in my usual way, to give you a general relation of events for the last two years.
In my last to you, I mentioned that every thing had a warlike appearance. The Burman government, however, had no idea that the English were in earnest in their communications, consequently, they heard the report that Rangoon was taken with surprise and amazement. No preparations had been made at that port for the reception of strangers, and even the Viceroy was absent. An army was immediately raised, and ordered to march, under the command of Kyer- woon-gee (Kee-woongee), who was to be joined on his way down by Sekayah-woon-gyee, having been recently appointed Viceroy of Rangoon. The only fear and anxiety which the King and Government then manifested or expressed was, that the English at Rangoon should hear of their approach, and, precipitately leaving the country, deprive the Burmese grandees of the pleasure of employing in their service 284 N10v 284 as slaves, a few of the white strangers. Send to me, said one of the ladies of a Woon-gyee, four kala-pyoos, (white strangers,) to manage the affairs of my household, as I hear they are trustworthy. And to me, said a gay young sprig of the palace, six stout men to row my boat. The army, in their gayest attire, danced and sung down the river, but few, if any, ever danced back again; and the Kyee-woon- gyee found other commissions to execute than those just given him. As soon as the first force was despatched, the Government had leisure to look around, and inquire into the cause of Rangoon’s being taken, and the probable instruments of the arrival of those strangers. It was at once concluded that spies were in the country, who had communicated the state of things, and invited the foreigners over: and who so likely to be spies, as the three Englishmen, Rogers, Gouger, and Laird, who, under the garb of merchants, had plotted so much evil? They were all three accordingly arrested, and put in confinement. We now began, more than ever, to tremble for ourselves, and lived in the hourly expectation of some dreadful scene. In examining the accounts of Mr. Gouger, it was found that Mr. Judson and Dr. Price had taken money of him, which circumstance, to the uninformed mind of a Burman, was sufficient evidence that they also were spies, and in the employ of the English Government, as they received their supplies from an Englishman. The King had before been advised to put the missionaries in confinement, but his reply had been, They are true men, let them remain. He was now, however, informed of the above-mentioned circumstance, and, in an angry tone, issued an order for 285 N11r 285 the immediate arrest of Dr. Price and Mr. Judson. And now commenced a series of oppressive acts, which we should before have thought human nature incapable of committing.
On the 1824-06-088th of June, a city writer, at the head of a dozen savages, with one, whose marked face denoted him an executioner, rushed into the house, and demanded Mr. Judson. You are called by the King, said the writer, (a mode of expression, when about to execute the King’s orders,) and instantly the small cord was produced by the spotted face, who roughly seized Mr. J., threw him on the floor, and tied his arms behind him. The scene was now dreadful. The little children were screaming with fear; the Burmans in our employ running here and there, endeavouring to escape from the hands of those unfeeling wretches; and the Bengal servants, mute with amazement and horror at the situation in which they saw their master. I offered money to the executioner, and entreated him to untie Mr. J., but in vain were my tears or entreaties: they led him away, I knew not where; and I was left guarded by ten men, who had received strict orders to confine me close, and let no one go in or out. I retired to my room, and attempted to pour out my soul to Him, who, for our sakes, was bound and led away for execution; and, even in that dreadful moment, I experienced a degree of consolation hardly to be expected. But this employment was of short duration. The magistrate of that part of Ava in which we lived, was in the verandah, continually calling me to come out, and submit to his examination. Supposing that all our letters and writings would be examined, and feeling conscious of having noted down every occurrence286 N11v 286 currence since my arrival in Ava, I instantly destroyed every thing of the kind, having no time to make a selection; and then went out to receive the officer. This writer was ordered to write down my name, age, and country, the names of my four little Burman girls, and those of the two Bengalee servants, then pronounced us all as slaves of the King, and again ordered the guard to watch me closely; and departed. It was now near evening. With what anxiety I waited the return of our faithful Moung Ing, who had followed Mr. Judson at a short distance, to see what became of him! I had then no doubt but I could procure the release of Mr. J., (if he had not been executed,) by getting a petition presented to the Queen. But I was also a prisoner, and could not move out of the house. After dark, Moung Ing returned with the intelligence, that he saw Mr. J. conducted to the court house, thence to the death prison, the gates of which were closed, and he saw no more. What a night was now before me! The uncertainty of Mr. Judson’s fate, my own unprotected situation, and the savage conduct of the ten Burmans, all conspired to make it the most dreadful night I had ever passed. I barred the doors, and retired with the four Burman children into the inner room. The guard were constantly ordering me to unbar the doors, and come out, as they could not be assured of my safety, if I remained within. They next threatened to go and inform the magistrate that I had secreted myself, and that they must not be blamed if I made my escape. Finding themselves unsuccessful in their demands, they took the two servants, and made their feet fast in the stocks. As I apparently took no notice of this, they ordered the stocks to be 287 N12r 287 raised, which makes the situation of the person confined extremely painful. This I could not bear to see, and promised them all a present in the morning, if they would release the servants.
The next morning I sent Moung Ing with a piece of silver, in order to gain admittance to the prison, to ascertain the real state of Mr. Judson. He soon returned with the information, that Mr. J., and Dr. P., and the three Englishmen, were all confined in the inner prison, each with three pair of iron fetters, and fastened to a long pole. My only concern now was, how to get to the governor of the city, who has the entire direction of prison affairs, in order to obtain, at least, a mitigation of the sufferings of the missionaries. I sent a request to the governor to allow me to visit him with a present. The next day I received an order, which was most readily obeyed, to visit him. My present gained me a favourable reception, and after listening attentively to my relation of the brutal manner of Mr. J.’s arrest, and his present horrid situation, he manifested considerable feeling, severely reprimanded the writer, who allowed such treatment, and then assured me he would make the situation of the teachers more comfortable. He told me, however, that I must consult with his head writer, respecting the means, and immediately called and introduced him to me. I shuddered to look at the creature, for a more forbidding countenance was never before seen. All the evil passions of human nature seemed to have united in forming his face, and each seemed to be be striving to gain the ascendancy. I found to my sorrow, that, under the Governor, he had much to do with the prison, and had power to make us suffer 288 N12v287 much. He took me aside, told me, if I wished to make the situation of the Missionaries more tolerable, I must bring him two hundred tickals, and two pieces of fine cloth, on the reception of which, he would release Dr. Price and Mr. Judson from the pole, and put them in another building, where I should be allowed to send them pillows and mats to sleep on, and their daily food. At the same time, I obtained an order from the governor for an interview with Mr. J., and, for the first time in my life, looked into the interior of a Burman prison. The wretched and ghastly appearance of the Missionaries produced feelings indescribable, and forbad a moment’s hesitation in producing the sum demanded for temporary relief. Mr. J. was allowed to hobble to the door of the prison, and after five minutes conversation, I was ordered to depart, by a voice and manner to which I had been unaccustomed, and which convinced me, that those underlings felt that we were entirely in their power. Our house was two miles from the prison; and knowing that nothing could be done without money, I had provided myself with a considerable sum in the morning, which enabled me to pay the two hundred tickals without delay, and the same evening had the consolation of hearing that Mr. J. and Dr. P. were in a better prison than I had found them. My next object was to get a petition presented to the Queen, the brother of whom is by far the most powerful man in the empire. Our situation as prisoners, rendered a personal interview with the Queen impossible: I was obliged, therefore to address her through the medium of her brother’s wife, who, as are all the relations of the Queen, is of low origin, 289 O1r 289 and consequently proud, haughty, and ambitious. I had visited her in better days, and received distinguished marks of her favour. But now the scene was changed, Mr. J. was in irons, and I in distress, which were reasons sufficient for a friged reception. I took with me a valuable present, consisting of a gold- wrought mantle, and other little trappings. Her Ladyship was lolling in state, and hardly deigned to raise her eyes, on my entrance into her splendid hall. I took my seat, not at a respectful distance, nor at her bidding, but as near as I could well approach, that she might not loose a syllable of what I had to communicate. I waited not for the question usually asked, What do you want? grief made me bold—I at once began a relation of our wrongs. I stated to her that Dr. Price and Mr. Judson were Americans, that they were ministers of religion, that they had nothing to do with war or politics, and that she well knew that even their residence in Ava was in consequence of the King’s command. In vain I strove to work on her hardened feelings, by requesting her to imagine herself in my situation, a stranger in a foreign land, and deprived of the protection of an only friend, who, without any alledged crime, was thrown into prison and fetters. She unfolded the present, and coolly said, Your case is not singular, the other white prisoners suffer equally with your husband; I will, however, present your petition to her Majesty, the Queen: come again to-morrow. I went from her with a little hope, and faint as it was, I endeavoured to communicate the same to Mr. J., but my admittance was strictly forbidden by the writer to whom I had given two hundred tickals, and to whom we, in future, gave the O 290 O1v 290 name of shark. The next morning I saw three of the King’s officers pass, and was informed they had gone to take possession of Mr. Gouger’s property, and that on the morrow our house would be searched. I spent the day, therefore, in making preparations to receive them, arranging and secreting as many articles as possible, knowing that we should be in a state of starvation unless some of our property could be preserved. I again endeavoured to gain addmittance to Mr. Judson, but was refused. The three officers who had taken possession, the day before, of Mr. Gouger’s property, now came to take an account of ours. Among the three was one named Koung-tong-myoo- tsa, who seemed to take an interest in my forlorn situation, and who prevented the others from taking many articles, which were afterwards, during our long trial, of the greatest use. They first demanded my silver, gold, and jewels. I replied, That gold I had none, jewels I had never worn since my residence in their country, but here was the key of the trunk which contained the silver, open and look for themselves. They seemd pleased with my offering them the key, requested I would open the trunk, and that only one person should be allowed to enter my inner-room to take an account of the property. And here justice obliges me to say, that the conduct of these Burman officers in this transaction, was more humane and civilized than any other we witnessed while in Ava. The silver was weighed and laid aside. Have you no more? asked one of them. Search for yourselves, replied I, the house is at your disposal.—Have you not deposited money and jewels in the hands of others?—I have no friends in this country: with 291 O2r 291 whom should I deposit treasure?—Where is your watch? I produced an old one of Mr. J.’s which had been out of use for a long time, but which answered their purpose just as well, and was the means of preserving a good one I had then about me. Where are your goods, your pieces of muslin, handkerchiefs, &c.—Mr. Judson is no merchant, he neither buys nor sells, but subsists on the free offerings of the disciples of Christ, who collected the money you have just taken to build a church for the preaching of the Gospel. Is it suitable to take the property of a Pongyee? (priest). It is contrary to our wishes, said Koung- tong, but we act in obedience to the King’s command. Our trunks of wearing apparel were then examined. I begged they would not take them, as they could be of no use to the King, but to us they were invaluable. They said a list only should be taken, and presented to his Majesty, when, if he gave no further order, they should remain. They did the same with regard to the books, medicine, and most of the furniture, and on presenting the list to the King, he gave an order that these articles should not be taken at present. These gentlemen, however, took everything new or curious, and whatever to them seemed valuable. When they had finished, I gave them tea, and begged the royal treasurer to intercede for the release of Mr. Judson. After their departure, I had an opportunity of going again to the queen’s sister-in-law, who informed me that she had presented my petition to the Queen, and that her reply was He is not to be executed, let him remain where he is. I felt now ready to sink down in despair, as there was no hope of Mr. J.’s release from any other quarter; O2 292O2v 292 but a recollection of the judge in the parable, who, though he feared not God, nor regarded man, was moved by the importunities of a widow, induced me to resolve to continue my visits, until the object was obtained. But here, also, I was disappointed; for after my entreating her many times to use her influence in obtaining the release of the Missionaries, she became so irritated at my perseverance, that she refused to answer my questions, and told me by her looks and motions, that it would be dangerous to make any further effort.
I find, my dear Sir, in being thus particular, my letter will be stretched to an immoderate length, and must therefore be more general. Suffice it to say, that for the next seven months, hardly a day passed in which I did not visit some one member of Government, in order to interest their feelings on our behalf. The King’s mother, sisters, and brother, each in their turn, exerted their influence in our favour, but so great was their fear of the Queen, that neither of them ventured to make a direct application to his Majesty. And although my various efforts were useless as to their grand object, yet the hopes they excited kept our minds from sinking, and enabled us to endure our long imprisonment better than we otherwise could have done. The last person to whom I applied, was the celebrated Bundoolah, must previous to his departure for Rangoon. He had gained some advantage over the native soldiers, at Arracan, two hundred of whom he had sent as prisoners to Ava; this, together with the circumstance of his having obtained two or three thousand English muskets, gained him a most favourable reception at court, and every honour, in the power of the king to 293 O3r 293 bestow, was heaped upon him. He daily presided at the Lhoot-dau, had the entire management of affairs, and, in fact, was the real king of the country. With fear and trembling I presented to him a written petition for the liberation of Dr. Price and Mr. Judson. He listened to the petition attentively, made some inquiries relative to our coming to Ava, and then said he would reflect on the subject; Come again to- morrow. My hopes were now more sanguine than ever, but the morrow dashed them all, when the proud Bundoolah uttered, I shall soon return from Rangoon, when I will release the teachers, with all the other prisoners. The war was now prosecuted with all the energy of which the Burmans are capable; their expectations of complete victory were high, for their general was invincible, and the glory of their king would accompany their armies. The government talked loudly of taking Bengal, when they had driven the presumptuous creatures from their own territories, and of destroying from the earth every white-faced stranger. So great was their hatred to the very ap pearance of a foreigner, that I frequently trembled when walking the streets; and that I might not immediately be recognized as a stranger, and sometimes gain admittance into Mr. J.’s prison, I adopted the Burman dress altogether. Extortion and oppression had now become so familiar to us, that we daily expected their appearance in some new garb or other. Sometimes, for ten days together, I was not allowed to see Mr. J., and even then could gain admittance only after dark, when I was obliged to return to our house, two miles, without an attendant. But the means we invented for communication, were such as 294 O3v 294 necessity alone could have suggested. At first I wrote to him on a flat cake, baked for the purpose, and buried it in a bowl of rice; and in return, he communicated his situation on a piece of tile, on which, when wet with water, the writing became invisible, but when dried, perfectly legible. But after some months’ experience in the art of deception, we found the most convenient, as well as safest mode of writing, was to roll up a sheet of paper, and put it in the long nose of a coffee-pot, in which I sent his tea. These circumstances may appear trivial, but they also serve to show to what straits and shifts we were driven. It would have been a crime of the highest nature to be found making communications to a prisoner, however nearly related.
Bundoolah departed from Ava, in all the pomp and splendor imaginable, commanding an army of between forty and fifty thousand men, and was to join the Prince Thar-yar-wa-dee, who had marched some months before, at the head of an equal number. The two or three first reports of the invincible general were of the most flattering nature, and were joyfully received by the firing of cannon. Now Rangoon was surrounded by the Burman troops, then, the fort on the pagoda was taken, and guns and ammunition sufficient for the Burman army, should the war continue ever so long: and next his Majesty might expect to hear, that not a white face remained in Rangoon. But no such report ever came, the cannons ceased to fire on the arrival of a boat, and soon it was whispered about that the Burmans were defeated, thousands of them killed, among whom were many officers; and that Bundoolah and the few that remained had fled to Danooboo! O, 295 O4r 295 with what anxiety did we listen for the report that the English are advancing; for in the arrival of the foreign troops consisted our only hope of deliverance from the hands of these savages. The war now lagged on heavily on the part of the Burmans; and though the King and Government continued to supply Bundoolah with what he required, yet their confidence in him was shaken, and their hopes far from sanguine. The news at length came that the English army was advancing, and that it was within twenty miles of Danooboo. The town was all confusion, and the Queen began to send away to a more secure place, her immense treasure of gold, silver, &c. It was now the 1825-03-01first of March, the commencement of the hot season, which in Ava is peculiarly severe. The white prisoners were all put inside of the common prison, in five pair of irons each, where they were so crowded with Burman thieves and robbers, that they had not sufficient room to lie down. There were at the time near a hundred prisoners all in one room, without a window or hole for the admittance of air, and the door kept closed. I again applied to the Governor of the city to allow the Missionaries to be removed to their former place, or at least to let them remain outside of the door, during the day. I offered him money, and promised to reward him handsomely when in my power, but all in vain. The old man shed tears at my distress, said it was not in his power to comply with my request, for his orders were from a high quarter; that he had even been commanded to execute all the white prisoners in private, and to keep them in close confinement was as little as he could do. He ordered, however, that they should be allowed to go 296 O4v 296 outside of the door to eat their rice, and when inside, to be placed as near the door as possible. I was afterwards informed from good authority, that the Queen’s brother, Men-tha-gyee, had ordered the governor to destroy the kalars; but that the governor, fearing they might be required by the King, dared not obey the command. The situation of the white prisoners was now wretched in the extreme. The heat during the day was dreadful indeed, the confined air deprived them of an inclination for food, and their whole appearance exhibited more the appearance of the dead than the living. I daily visited the governor, and continued to entreat him to pity the foreigners. Sometimes he appeared to feel for us, and seemed half inclined to listen to my request. But the fear of Men- tha-gyee doubtless prevented. It was now reported that the foreign troops had reached Danooboo, and whispered about that Bundoolah was dead! No one at first ventured to say it openly, but the report was soon conveyed officially to his Majesty, who was mute with disappointment, while the Queen smote her breast, and exclaimed, Ama, ama! What was to be done now? Where could another general be found? and from what quarter could troops be raised? The Prince and Woon- gyees at the Burman camp had intimated the necessity of making peace; but this was too humiliating to be thought of for a moment: What, said one of the Woon-gyees at court, shall we allow it to be recorded in a future history of the country, that our glorious King made peace with strangers, and gave them part of his territory? No, we will all die first. The Pagan Woon-gyee, who had been in disgrace for some time, and had even been in prison in three pair of 297 O5r 297 fetters, now thought it a good opportunity to retrieve his character and regain his influence. He petitioned his Majesty to allow him to go at the head of a new army, and positively assured the King, that he could conquer the English, and drive them from Burmah. He was immediately raised to the highest rank, and all power committed to him. His first object was to manifest his inveterate hatred to every foreigner; and those who had for eleven months escaped confinement now fell into his merciless hands, and were thrown into prison. Among the number was Mr. Lansago, a Spanish gentleman, who had for twenty years been high in the King’s favour, and had done all in his power to alleviate the sufferings of the foreign prisoners; but he was now among them. Mr. Judson had now been in close confinement, and in five pair of fetters for a month, and with anguish indescribable I saw him sinking under the weight of suffering. He was taken with a high fever. My distress and entreaties now prevailed with the governor of the city, to give a written order, to remove Mr. J. from the common prison into a little bamboo room, six feet long and four wide. I also obtained an order for liberty to give him medicine and visit him whenever I wished. I had removed into the governor’s compound, and was living in a bamboo house, where the themometer daily rose to 106; but thought myself happily situated to be near the prison, and allowed to visit Mr. J., who began now to hope he should recover from the fever, as his situation was so much better than before.
But new and dreadful trials were yet before us. I had gone in one morning to give Mr. J. his breakfast, and intended spending a few hours as usual, when the O5 298 O5v 298 governor in great haste sent for me. I was agreeably disappointed, on appearing before him, to find he had nothing in particular to communicate, and that he was uncommonly kind and obliging. He had detained me a long time, when a servant came in hastily and whispered, that the foreign prisoners had all been taken out, and he knew not where they were carried. Without speaking to the governor, I ran down the stairs into the street, hoping to catch a sight of them, but they were beyond the reach of my eye. I enquired of all I met, which way the white prisoners were gone, but no one knew. I returned again to the governor, who declared he was perfectly ignorant of their fate, and that he did not know of their being taken out of prison till a few moments before. This was all false, as he had evidently been detaining me to prevent my witnessing the scene that was to follow. He also said, with a meaning countenance, You can do no more for your husband,—take care of yourself. This was a day never to be forgotten. I retired to my little bamboo house, and endeavoured to obtain comfort from the only true source; but my mind was in such a distracted state, that I could not steadily reflect on any thing. This one thought occupied my mind to the exclusion of every other, that I had seen Mr. Judson for the last time, and that he was probably now in a state of extreme suffering. In the evening I heard the prisoners were sent to Umerapoorah, but what was to be their fate was not yet known. The next day I obtained a pass from Government to follow Mr. Judson with my little Maria, who was then only three months old, and, with one Bengalee servant, set out on my journey. We reached the government house 299 O6r 299 at Umerapoorah, and were informed, the prisoners had been sent off two hours before, to Oung-pen-lay, (a place similar to Botany Bay,) whither I immediately followed. I found Mr. J. in a most wretched state. He had been dragged out of his little room the day before, his shoes, hat, and clothes, excepting shirt and pantaloons, been taken from him, and in his feeble state of health, and in the hottest part of the day, been literally driven ten miles with a rope tied round his waist. His feet were torn in such a manner, that for six weeks he was unable to stand. He was nearly exhausted with pain and fatigue, when a servant of Mr. G.’s, who had followed his master, took from his head his turban, and gave part of it to Mr. J., who hastily wrapped it about his feet, which enabled him to proceed without sinking. He and Dr. Price were now chained together, and, with the other prisoners, put inside of a small wood prison almost gone to decay. We afterwards were informed that the Pagan Woon had sent the foreigners to this place with a design to sacrifice them, in order to ensure success in his contemplated expedition. But the King, suspecting him of treasonable intentions, caused him to be executed before he had time to accomplish his designs. I obtained a little room from one of the jailors, where I passed six months of constant and severe suffering, without any mitigation. Mr. J. was much more comfortably situated than when in the city prison, as he had only one pair of fetters, and, when recovered from his fever and wounds, was allowed to walk in the prison enclosure. But I was deprived of every single convenience, and my health, which had enabled me to bear severe trials hitherto, now began to fail me. I 300 O6v 300 was taken with one of the country disorders, and for two months unable to go to Mr. J.’s prison. Our little Maria, who had just recovered from the small- pox, was near starving to death, as I could neither obtain a nurse nor a drop of milk in the village. But our merciful Father preserved us all through these dreadful scenes, and at the expiration of six months an order arrived for the release of Mr. J., and I was allowed to return to our house in town. The King was much in want of an interpreter, and from selfish motives had given orders for the release of Mr. Judson, who was immediately conducted to the Burmese camp, then at Ma-lown, where he remained six weeks, translating for his Majesty. He was then sent back to Ava, and- as a reward for his services, ordered back to the Oung- pen-la prison. But before the order could be executed, I sent Moung Ing (being myself unable to move, having been ill with the typhus fever in Mr. J.’s absence, in which I lost my reason, and was senseless several days) to Koung-tong, who was now high in office, and had for a long time manifested a disposition to help us, and begged he would intercede for Mr. J., and prevent his being sent again to prison. Koung- tong complied with my request, offered to become security for Mr. J., and took him to his house, where he was kept a prisoner at large nearly two months longer. The British troops were now so rapidly advancing, that the King and Government felt the necessity of taking some measures to prevent their arrival at the capital. They had before several times refused to listen to the terms which Sir Archibald Campbell had offered, but they now saw there was no other hope for the preservation of their golden city. Mr. J. was 301 O7r 301 daily called to the palace, his opinion requested in all their proceedings, and the Government finally entreated him to go as their Ambassador to the English camp. This he entirely declined, but advised their sending Dr. Price, who had no objection to going. Dr. P. being unsuccessful in his mission, on his return Mr. J. was taken by force and sent with him again. Sir Archibald had, before this, demanded us, together with the other foreign prisoners, but the King had refused, saying, They are my people,—let them remain. We did not then venture to express a wish to leave the country, fearing we should be immediately sent to prison. Mr. J. communicated our real situation to the General, who, with all the feelings of a British officer, now demanded us in a way that his Majesty dared not refuse; and on the 1826-02-2121st of February, after an imprisonment of nearly two years, we took our leave of the golden city and all its magnificence, and turned our faces towards the British camp, then within forty miles of Ava. No one can conceive our joy when we had safely passed the Burman camp, for then we felt indeed that we were once more free, and out of the power of those whose tender mercies are cruel. The British General received us with all that kindness and hospitality for which your countrymen are so far famed, provided us with every comfort during a fortnight’s residence at the camp, and kindly sent us on to Rangoon in this gun-boat. We deeply feel the kindness of Sir Archibald Campbell, for, under the direction of Providence, he has been the means of delivering us from the iron grasp of the Burmans. May God reward him an hundred fold, and prepare him for the future enjoyment of Heaven!302 O7v 302
Rangoon, 1826-03-2222d March, 1826.
We have, my dear Sir, safely arrived in Rangoon, and once more find ourselves in the old mission-house. What shall we render to the Lord for all his mercies? You will see from the public prints the treaty of peace. We intend going to one of those places retained by the English Government, and endeavour once more to collect a little church around us. Mah-men-lay and her sister we found at Prome. They are as pious as ever, and will follow wherever we go. Burmah will yet be given to Jesus for his inheritance! We are not discouraged, but think our prospects brighter than ever. We shall have as many schools as we can support at Mergui or Tavoy, to which places the Burmese population are flocking in crowds. We had not received a word of intelligence until our arrival at the British camp. We hear, however, there are many letters for us in Bengal. Pray for us, that we may be the means of turning many to righteousness.―― Mr. J. unites in most respectful regards.
Ann H. Judson.
to Mrs. Judson’s Account of the American Baptist Mission to the Burman Empire.
Extracts from Mr. Judson’s journal, during Mrs. Judson’s absence from Burmah, containing an account of his second visit to Ava, in 18221822.
Mr. Judson, after having made several unsuccessful attempts to procure a scite for a dwelling house, and especially one on the banks of the river, which had been appropriated by the chief woon-gyee, thus writes:This evening I sought another interview with the chief woon-gyee, and was so fortunate as to find him at his house, lying down surrounded by forty or fifty of his people. I pressed forward into the foremost rank, and placed myself in a proper attitude. After a while his eye fell upon me, and I held up a small bottle of eau de luce, and desired to present it. One of his officers carried it to him. He happened to be much pleased with it, and sat upright—What kind of a house do you intend to build? I told him, but added, I have no place to build on, my lord. He remained in a meditating attitude a few moments, and then suddenly replied, If you want the little enclosure, take it! I expressed my gratitude. He began to take more notice of me—enquired about my character and profession, and then entered, with considerable spirit, on the subject of religion. After some conversation, he desired a specimen of my mode of worship and preaching, and I was obliged to repeat much more than I did before the king; for whenever I desisted, he ordered me to go on. When his curiosity was satisfied, he lay down, and I quietly retired. 1823-01-25Jan.25. Embarked in a small boat, intending to go day and night, and touch no where, in order to 313 P1r 313 avoid the robbers, of which we have lately had alarming accounts. 1823-02-02Feb.2. Lord’s day. At one o’clock in the morning reached Rangoon, seven days from Ava. The Nan-dau-gong disciples soon came over from Dah-lah, on the opposite side of the river, whither they and the Pah-tsooan-doung disciples and inquirers have taken refuge, to escape the heavy taxations and the illegal harassments of every kind, allowed under the new viceroy of Rangoon. Others of the disciples have fled elsewhere, so that there is not a single one remaining in Rangoon, except three or four with us. The Nan-dau-gong disciples’ house has been demolished, and their places taken by government, at the instigation of their neighbours, who hate them on account of religion. Mah Myat-lay died before the removal. Her sister gave me the particulars of her death. Some of her last expressions were—I put my trust in Jesus Christ—I love to pray to him—am not afraid of death—shall soon be with Christ in heaven. A letter from Mrs. Judson, in England, informs me that she is going to America, and will not be here under several months. I propose, therefore, waiting her return, and occupying the interval in finishing the translation of the New Testament.
There are some additional circumstances not adverted to in this journal, but connected with the history of the Burman Mission. One of these is, that in addition to Dr. Price’s acquaintance with medical science, he carried with him to Ava a galvanic battery, the discharge of which, it may be well supposed, astonished the emperor and all his court, and, for the time, at least, appeared to secure from them a degree P314 P1v 314 of respect for those who shewd that they possessed so much more knowledge than themselves. Dr. Price writes to a friend in America:Ava, 1822-10-01Oct. 1, 1822. My dear Brother,—It has pleased the Great Ruler of the skies to bring us into the immediate presence of the king of Burmah. Just one year from my reaching Bengal, I was introduced into the palace of the great emperor, and informed that I must make his capital my place of residence. This is an event for which we have longed and prayed, as calculated to give stability to the mission in a land like this, where all are respected according to the notice bestowed on them by the king. Whether our anxious anticipations will be realized, is known only to Him on whose business we came, and who, we trust, has sent us hither for good. Our reception was gratifying. We were obliged to submit to no ceremony. As soon as the king was informed of our arrival, a royal order was issued for our immediate introduction. As we entered, with the impatience of a despotic prince, he called to know which was the doctor. We were taken into an open court, and seated on a bamboo floor, about ten feet from the chair of the monarch. They are from the western continent, was the first remark; after which, one great man delivered his account to us. He then interrogated me as to my skill in curing eyes, cutting out wens, setting broken arms and legs, besides other things to which my skilL did not extend. Our medicines were then called for, and all my stock inspected. The surgical cases were much admired. After looking at mine, the king sent for his own; one case of which being unlike mine, he immediately gave it into my hands to use. This I 315 P2r 315 considered as equivalent to fixing me here for life. After my galvanic pile had amused the king and his courtiers for an hour, we were dismissed with an order to look out a place we liked, and he would build a house for us. An order was also given to look up all the diseased people, and have my decision upon them. The king is a man of small stature, very straight; steps with a natural air of superiority, but has not the least appearance of it in conversation. On the contrary, he is always pleasant and good humoured, so far as I have yet seen him. He wears a red finely striped silk cloth from his waist to his knees, and a blue and white handkerchief on his head. He has apparently the good of his people, as well as the glory of his kingdom at heart; and is encouraging foreign merchants, and especially artisans, to settle in his capital. A watchmaker at this moment could obtain any favour he should please to ask. The same might be vouched for a chair-maker, or cabinet-maker, &c. as the king has wisdom enough to prefer foreign manufacturers , when he sees their superiority to his own. On the subject of religion, he appears, like all his people, devoted to his idols. But he has never yet persecuted for religion’s sake! O that he might yet be brought to know and love the supreme God! Seventeen millions of people, mad on their idols, demand the active sympathy of a Christian people.
In another communication, the following passage occurs:—About the middle of --04April last, Dr. P. performed the operation for a cataract on both the eyes of a Burman woman, who had been blind two or three years. Soon after the experiment she could, by the aid of spectacles, see to read distinctly. The fact 316 P2v 316 excited so great a curiosity, that the house in which the doctor resided, was thronged by visitors with diseased eyes. So great was the concourse, that they were obliged to bar the doors of their house, that they might study, or eat, without interruption. With the advice of Mr. Judson, Dr. Price has hired two or three native converts to assist him in the performance for good cataracts, and all easy surgical operations. By the assistance of these men, whom he considers faithful, he occupies two or three hours in a day in attending to the cases presented. The governor’s wife has sent for the doctor twice; and he is strongly inclined to the hope that God will grant Mr. Judson and himself the favour of the rulers of this land.
These hopes were of course disappointed, in consequence of the war that subsequently broke out; and the extreme sufferings of the missionaries are detailed in Mrs. Judson’s XVIIth Letter.
The last information received respecting Mr. Judson, is, that he was present at the laying of the foundation of a new town, to be named Amherst-town, in Martaban, one of the provinces ceded to the British, and that he had been engaged in offering up a public prayer on that occasion. He had determined to accompany Mr. Crawford, the envoy, to the court of Ava, as interpreter and translator. It is added, that Mrs. Judson and he are likely, eventually, to take up their residence in that place, whither many of the Burmans are resorting, there to prosecute, under the protection of the British government, their work of Christian benevolence.
B. Bensley, Andover.