Изображения страниц

flicted the Committee presume not to conjecture, unless it was that the faith of the surviving members of the mission might be strengthened, as well as the attention of natives aroused, by the serenity and joy—such as heathenism knows nothing of-with which these servants of the Lord passed through the valley of the shadow of death. Mrs. Hervey had been in Bombay scarcely two months, having arrived, with her husband and the other members of the reinforcement, on the 7th of March.* Mrs. Garrett has since returned to this country, with her two children, her return having been rendered expedient by the health of herself and her family; and the necessary provision will be made for her support, agreeably to the standing rules of the Board.

It should perhaps be remarked, that neither these successive instances of mortality, nor the previous deaths of three ordained brethren of the mission, are properly chargeable to any peculiar insalubrity in the climate of Bombay. Those of Mrs. Allen and Mrs. Hervey had no apparent connection with it. The disease which was fatal to Mr. Garrett, is common in the United States. Mr. Frost died of a consumption; Mr. Nichols of a fever immediately on returning from a tour on the continent; and Mr. Newell and Mr. Hall of that fatal epidemic, the malignant cholera, which is now afflicting our own country. It is a fact, however, that diseases of the liver are somewhat more frequent in Bombay, than in many other tropical regions; and in counting the cost of proceeding on a foreign mission, it is well to look at such facts as these. But how much weight they should have in determining whether and how soon the gospel shall be published to perishing millions, may best be referred to the moral sense and compassionate feelings of the disciple of Jesus.

The new station in the city of Ahmednuggur, was commenced by Messrs. Graves, Hervey and Read, in December. The city is on what may be called the table land of the Ghauts, on a plain twelve or fifteen miles in extent each way, and contains about 50,000 inhabitants. Its distance from Bombay is not far from 175 miles, in a direction a little north of east. It is one of the military stations of the Company's government, and is increasing in population. Once it was the seat of Moslem


in that part of India, and from its palaces, mosks, acqueducts, and numerous

* Intelligence has been received since the annual meeting, that Mr. Hervey died suddenly at Ahmednuggur, on the 13th of May, of spasmodic cholera,

ruins, appears to have been a place of great splendor. Its circuit of four or five miles is bounded by a high wall of stone and clay, but many people reside in the suburbs. A mile eastward of the town is a strong fort half a league in circumference; and a mile further, is a cantonment of a thousand English soldiers. In the vicinity are numerous villages, easy of access, containing from one hundred inhabitants to several thousands.

[ocr errors]

EDUCATION.—Most of the principal villages on the sea shore of the adjacent continent have been visited by the missionaries, and some of them repeatedly—from Basseen, thirty miles north of Bombay, to Rajapoor, more than a hundred miles south. In a number of these villages, each with a population of from 1,500 to 2,000, there have long been schools supported and supplied with Christian books by the mission. The schools are generally visited and inspected every month by a native Jewish superintendant, who appears to be faithful to his trust. All of them being accessible by water from Bombay, they are also visited occasionally by the missionaries themselves.

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

The schools are 34 in number, and contain 1485 boys and 455 girls. About one fourth part of these can read the Scriptures and other printed books fluently and intelligently. Most of them can repeat from memory a catechism of sixteen pages, containing the principal doctrines and duties of Christianity.

The greater part of the boys have acquired a sufficient knowledge of arithmetic for the transaction of ordinary business, and some of the larger girls have learned to do plain needle work, etc.

The education of females is well known to be a recent innovation upon the immemorial usages of India, and thus far the experiment has succeeded beyond the expectations of those who were acquainted with the difficulties to be encountered. A perceptible change of sentiment on the subject is taking place among the natives. Still, female education is but lightly esteemed, even by those parents who think most favorably of it; while many, and those not uncommonly the learned and the great, retain all their old prejudices in unabated force. Though the teachers are of brahminic caste, their employment subjects them to much obloquy. But on the whole the cause of female education at Bombay, may be regarded as firmly established and likely to make continual advances.

The Press.—The press manifestly exerts an increasing influence wherever it is employed in southern India; and it is certainly destined to operate upon the native population with very great power, and that too before many years. Even now, a considerable number of readers may be found in that densely peopled country; and seldom is a Christian mission long in a place, before the doctrines and duties of religion become the subjects of written controversy. Such is the fact at Bombay, where the Rev. John Wilson, an intelligent Scottish missionary, has lately been engaged in an animated discussion with intelligent natives, through the medium of the press. A learned Mahratta, conceiving himself able to refute all the objections which had been brought against the Hindu religion, sought an interview with Mr. Wilson, and then proposed a public discussion. This was consented to, and the debate, which was attended by a great number of brahmins and other respectable natives, several of whom gave much aid to the prime mover of the controversy, was continued during six successive evenings, till the brahmins proposed its termination. Mora Bhatta (which was the name of the native disputant) then published a treatise, which he entitled A verification of the Hindu Religion, and challenged Mr. Wilson to write a reply; which was accordingly done. The same missionary has also been the conductor of a controversy with .some leading Parsees, on the subject of the Moslem faith, carried on chiefly in two native periodical publications. The editor of one of these periodicals, being furnished with copies of the gospel of Matthew for each of his subscribers, went so far as to recommend it to their perusal. The effect of such public discussions, when judiciously conducted, cannot be otherwise than to increase the demand for Christian books.

An encouraging exhibition of a desire for the school books published by our mission, was witnessed by Mr. Read during a temporary residence at Mahim, on the northern part of the island of Bombay. Within the space of two days, more than two hundred lads from the village of Mahim, of different castes and origins, Hindoos, Mussulmans, Jews, and Papists, called and entreated for books. The missionary was not able to learn the cause of this sudden and almost universal impulse among the youth of the place. In multitudes of instances, however, if not generally, the natives value and desire our books less, after becoming acquainted with their Christian character. Some of the higher classes are anxious to have their children acquire a knowledge of the English language, and one of the missionaries, after having received numerous applications, consented to instruct four young brahmins. Their reading books were the English Testament and a Christian catechism. The estimation in which the study of our language is held by the missionaries in Ceylon, whose opinions on this subject are based upon experience, is known to the Board; and it is a most important fact, that not all the other languages in the world contain so much spiritual instruction for mankind, as is embodied in our own. To assist the natives in acquiring the English language, as well as foreigners in learning that of the country, Mr. Hall, some years since, prepared a work of 160 pages in the two languages, which has lately been reprinted. The sale of the work will probably repay the expense of its publication. The printing executed at the mission press, during the year 1831, for the mission, and for various societies, individuals, &c. was as follows:

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

making the whole amount of printing from the first, about 11,000,000 pages.

Some of the journeymen in the printing office, having been a good while connected with it, had become so well acquainted with the art at the time of Mr. Garrett's decease, that the operations of the press were not arrested by that sorrowful event.

The Com

mittee are looking, however, for a skilful printer to send from this country, and have one in view who they hope will soon embark for Bombay. His services are rendered the more necessary by a generous grant to this mission of $5,000 from the American Bible Society, and of $600 from the American Tract Society, to aid in the publication of the Holy Scriptures and of religious tracts in the Mahratta language.

The CHAPEL.—The Mahratta services in the chapel continue as heretofore. The English service on Sabbath mornings, has received a better attendance. The congregation is composed of the mission families and those families which are connected with the missionaries as a religious society, together with a few Europeans living near the chapel who belong to the English and Scotch churches; and a number of Indo-Britains. The last mentioned class are the decendants of European fathers and native mothers. They are numerous in Bombay, and are supposed to be increasing, Being generally educated in the English language, and likely to exert an extensive influence over the native population, the missionaries feel a deep interest in their moral state,

The Committee must not omit to acknowledge a legacy of 7,000, rupees, or more than 3,000 dollars, from Mr. Charles Theodore Huntridge, an inhabitant of Bombay lately deceased, for the support of public worship in the mission chapel. The legacies of this individual for charitable purposes, are said to have amounted to not less than 20,000 dollars.

Mission ChurcH.--Three Hindoos have been received into the church, the past year; viz. Dajeeba, of the Purbhoo caste, Moraba, of the Mahratta caste, (both connected with the schooling system,) and Babjee, a brahmin. Others make professions of a belief in Christianity, and of an intention to embrace it; but past experience of the native duplicity constrains the missionaries to receive and speak of such professions with caution.

The Christian marriage of the brahmin Babjee-a novel event in Bombay-is thus described by the missionaries.

The female was one of that unhappy class, whose husband dying before they had lived together, left her to a life of solitary widowhood. Between her and the brahmin a strong attachment was early formed, and they were desirous of being married. The rules of their caste however would not allow of this, and having by mutual promises incurred those obligations to each other which are involved in marriage, they conclud. ed to sacrifice the principles of their religion to their inclinations, and to live together without being married.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »