Part 3 out of 3
She, therefore, after conducting the preliminary services, delivered a
general address, dwelling particularly on the necessity of repentance,
and presenting Christ as a compassionate Redeemer. This extempore
address was attended with such beneficial results, that her friends
insisted upon her exercising her very evident talent in this direction,
and, though averse to any thing like forwardness, she did not feel that
she was justified in refusing to comply with the wishes of those on
whose judgment she relied. Wherever she went, success attended her
efforts, and she traveled extensively throughout the kingdom, speaking
sometimes to very large audiences.
Dr. Stevens, the celebrated American Methodist historian, thus sums up
the work of a single year. "In that time," says he, "she traveled nine
hundred and sixty miles to hold two hundred and twenty public meetings,
and about six hundred select meetings, besides writing one hundred and
sixteen letters, many of them long ones, and holding many conversations
in private with individuals who wished to consult her on religious
subjects." In this latter department of the Christian ministry she
Like her friend, Mrs. Fletcher, she lived to a very old age; and at
seventy-five, or nearly that, calmly composed herself for death, by a
vigorous effort of the will closing her own eyes and mouth. Her demise
occurred October 24, 1804.
The first wife of the Rev. Adoniram Judson was a brilliant
exemplification of the truth of the position we have advanced--namely,
that a woman may be endowed with intellectual powers of a high order;
that she may assiduously cultivate those powers and employ them in
advancing objects that commend themselves to her judgment outside of her
own family circle; that she may become an active and efficient
participator in affairs of a public nature, requiring of her wisdom,
eloquence, and courage; and all this without her deteriorating in the
slightest degree in any of the valuable qualities or attractive graces
that characterize a truly womanly woman.
Mrs. Judson's history, as connected with the Burmese Mission, which her
husband and herself were instruments in the hand of God in
establishing, is too well known to require extended notice here. A few
points, however, may be glanced at. Throughout the difficulties which
beset them during the first year after their arrival at Calcutta, when
there seemed to be no open door through which they might enter upon
their destined work, and all their hopes of usefulness seemed doomed to
disappointment, Mrs. Judson was as little disposed to succumb to these
adverse circumstances as her husband.
The British East India Company did not favor Christian missions, and
were at that time (1812) particularly unfriendly to American
missionaries. They had spent but a few days in the congenial society of
the venerable Dr. Carey's hospitable home, when they were ordered, by
the Government, to leave the country and return to America. Hoping to be
allowed to prosecute their work in some country not under the Company's
jurisdiction, they solicited and obtained permission to go to the Isle
of France. But before Mr. and Mrs. Judson were able to secure a passage
there, they received a new order from the Government commanding them to
embark on a vessel bound for England.
Just then they heard of a vessel about to sail for the Isle of France,
and applied for a passport to go on her, but were refused. The captain,
however, though knowing of the refusal, allowed them to embark. The
vessel was overtaken by a Government dispatch, forbidding the pilot to
conduct it further seaward, because there were persons on board who had
been ordered to England. They were obliged to land; but finally the
captain was induced to disregard orders so far as to allow Mrs. Judson
to return to the vessel, and to convey her and their baggage to a point
opposite a tavern, a number of miles down the river, Mr. Judson being
left to make his way as best he could.
Let us imagine that refined and tenderly reared lady, landing from the
pilot's boat, which he had kindly sent to take her ashore, alone, a
stranger in a foreign land, uncertain of the character of the place in
which she was obliged to seek shelter, and not knowing what might occur
to prevent her husband rejoining her. Instead of weakly yielding to
despondency, she promptly engaged a boat to go out after the vessel, to
bring their effects ashore. Then, though impenetrable darkness so
shrouded their future that she could not see how the next step was to be
taken, she looked for light upon their pathway, and deliverance from
their perplexities, to Him whom they served, and calmly trusted the
issue to Him. Before night, Mr. Judson arrived at the place where his
wife waited, in safety, as did also their baggage.
For three days they could see no way out of their difficulty. Then they
received, from an unknown friend, the necessary pass. Hastening down the
river at a point seventy miles distant, they found the vessel they had
left, were received on board, and allowed to continue their voyage.
When they dropped anchor at the Isle of France, the dangers of the
voyage, and the trials that had preceded it over, they were looking
forward to a season of enjoyment in the society of their associate
missionaries, Mr. and Mrs. Newell, who had accompanied them on the
voyage from America, and had preceded them from Calcutta to the Isle of
France. But disappointment deeper, sadder than any that had gone before,
awaited them. Mrs. Judson says: "Have at last arrived in port; but O,
what news--what distressing news! Harriet (Mrs. Newell) is dead.
Harriet, my dear friend, my earliest associate in the mission, is no
more. O death, could not this wide world afford thee victims enough, but
thou must enter the family of a solitary few, whose comfort and
happiness depended so much on the society of each other? Could not this
infant mission be shielded from thy shafts?" "But be still, my heart,
and know that God has done it. Just and true are thy ways, O thou King
To her sorrow for her friend and her anxiety at the uncertainties of
their situation, was added, while on the island, a severe attack of
illness. But when a field supposed to be accessible to missionaries was
determined upon, though only partially recovered, she cheerfully
prepared to brave new dangers and the repetition of former trials. They
sailed for Madras; and, on their arrival there, found but one ship in
the harbor ready for sea, and that not bound for their desired port, but
for Burma. They had intended going to Burma when they first arrived in
India, but had been dissuaded from so doing by the representations of
their friends that the country was altogether inaccessible to
missionaries. They dared not remain long in Madras, lest the officials
of the East India Company should send them back to America. Thus, every
other way being closed up against them, they were obliged to turn their
faces toward that country in which they became so eminently useful.
The voyage was one of discomfort and peril. When they arrived at
Rangoon, then the capital of Burma, Mrs. Judson was so weak that she had
to be carried in an arm-chair from the landing. Thankful to have at last
found a resting-place, they as quickly as possible established
themselves in the house they were to occupy.
As soon as Mrs. Judson's health was sufficiently restored, they gave
their attention to the study of the Burmese language. It is worthy of
remark, that although Mrs. Judson charged herself with the entire
management of family affairs, in order that Mr. Judson might not be
interrupted in prosecuting the study of the language, yet she made more
rapid progress in acquiring it than he did. Subsequently, she studied
the Siamese language also, and translated a Catechism and one of the
Gospels into that tongue. As soon as she was able to make herself
understood, she diligently endeavored to impart the knowledge of the
truth, as it is in Jesus, to those who would listen to her instructions.
Though they were attentive and inquisitive, it was long before fruit
appeared; but undiscouraged, she, with prayer and faith, continued to
sow beside all waters.
Mrs. Judson was surprised at the native intelligence and reflecting
minds possessed by some of the Burmese women. The case of a woman named
May-Meulah is given as an instance of this:
"Previous to the arrival of the missionaries in her country, her active
mind was led to inquire the origin of all things. Who created all that
her eyes beheld? she inquired of all she met, and visited priests and
teachers in vain; and such was her anxiety, that her friends feared for
her reason. She resolved to learn to read, that she might consult the
sacred books. Her husband, willing to gratify her curiosity, taught her
to read, himself. In their sacred literature she found nothing
satisfactory. For ten years she prosecuted her inquiries, when God in
his providence brought to her notice a tract written by Mr. Judson in
the Burmese language, which so far solved her difficulties, that she was
led to seek out its author. From him she learned the truths of the
Gospel, and, by the Holy Spirit, those truths were made the means of her
Mrs. Judson's politic mind seeing the probable importance to the mission
of making friends in high places, she procured an introduction to the
wife of the viceroy, and, while visiting her, met the viceroy also.
After giving an interesting account of the visit, she adds: "My object
in visiting her was, that if we should get into 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."
Thus studying, teaching, and planning; laboring with her hands, and
enduring pain, sickness, and sorrow; unsolaced by Christian society,
except her husband's,--three anxious years passed.
In their course, her first-born had come to warm her heart with a new
love, and, for a few brief months, to delight them with the unfolding of
his baby graces. Then death entered, and bore away their darling, and
left hearts and home more lonely than before.
The arrival of additional missionaries from America--Mr. and Mrs.
Hough--in the Autumn of 1816, for a time greatly cheered and encouraged
them. But fresh trials were in store for them. Mr. Judson had embarked
for the province of Arracan; and when they were daily looking for his
return, a vessel arrived from the port to which he had sailed, bringing
the disheartening tidings that neither he nor the vessel in which he had
sailed had been heard of there. While, tortured by suspense on Mr.
Judson's account, new terrors alarmed the mission family. Mr. Hough was
ordered to the court-house, and detained there for days under a threat
that "if he did not tell all the truth in relation to the foreigners,
they would write with his heart's blood." Not understanding the language
of his accusers, he was unable to plead his own cause, and he had no
male friend to do it for him. Had Mrs. Judson, in this extremity,
allowed herself to be absorbed in her own sorrow, or yielded to
timidity, Mr. Hough would probably have suffered a long and rigorous
confinement, if indeed he had escaped with his life. But undaunted by
the odium, or even danger, that might accrue to herself, she, in
violation of court etiquette, presented herself at the palace with a
petition in Mr. Hough's behalf. The viceroy, without manifesting any
displeasure at the breach of etiquette, ordered Mr. Hough to be set at
Six months of painful suspense passed, and yet no tidings of Mr.
Judson. That dreadful scourge, the cholera, was raging, and they were
alarmed by rumors of war. Mr. Hough resolved to remove his family to
Bengal, and urged Mrs. Judson to accompany them. She says: "I have ever
felt resolved not to make any movement till 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. Judson--if he is yet alive--to return to this
place." Therefore she yielded to the solicitations of Mr. and Mrs.
Hough, and embarked with them. But, reviewing all the conditions of the
case as the vessel slowly made its way down the river, it became clear
to her mind that whatever were the dangers of her position at Rangoon,
yet there was her post of duty. Once convinced of what was duty, this
heroic woman was not to be deterred from it by dangers, however
formidable. Her resolution was taken; and, having prevailed upon the
captain to send a boat up the river with her, she returned alone to the
mission-house. The wisdom of her decision was proved in a short time by
the safe return of Mr. Judson. Later, when failing health necessitated a
change of climate, Mrs. Judson showed herself as well adapted to moving
gracefully in cultivated and refined society as she was to contending
with adversity and danger in a heathen land.
Her eloquent appeals, both in England and America, in behalf of the
perishing millions of the East, and her history of the Burmese Mission,
prepared during her visit to the United States, stirred up missionary
zeal in the heart of Protestant Christendom, and gave an impetus to the
cause of missions that has gone on accelerating to the present time.
In the mean time, other missionaries had arrived in Burma, among whom
was Dr. Price, the fame of whose skill in medicine reached the ears of
the king; and Dr. Price was ordered to Ava, then the capital. Dr. Price
obeyed the summons; and Mr. Judson, anxious to make another effort to
procure toleration for the Christians, accompanied him. The king
received them kindly, determined to retain Dr. Price at Ava, and
urgently insisted upon Mr. Judson's remaining also. Rejoiced to find the
king so favorably disposed toward the Christians, Mr. Judson resolved to
accept the invitation, but represented that he must return to Rangoon
for his wife.
A few days after Mrs. Judson arrived from America, they therefore left
Rangoon, and commenced a mission at Ava; which soon became to them the
theater of such martyr-like sufferings and exalted heroism as to do
justice to which would require a volume. Erelong, the war so long feared
between the British and the Burmese actually broke out. The Englishmen
at Ava were all seized and imprisoned, and with them Mr. Judson and Dr.
Price. In vain the missionaries protested that they were not Englishmen.
Identical with the latter in language, religion, manners, dress, etc.,
and receiving their funds through an English house, the Burmese could
not, or would not, understand that they belonged to another nation.
Mrs. Judson was not allowed to leave her own house till the third day; a
guard having been placed around it, and no one allowed to enter or leave
it but at the penalty of life. She obtained egress at last, by causing
the governor to be informed that she wished to visit him with a present.
The guard were then ordered to allow her to pass. Her plea for their
release was without effect; but she was directed to an officer with whom
she might arrange with regard to making them more comfortable. By paying
a considerable sum of money to this man, she obtained a promise that
their sufferings should be mitigated.
The Governor gave her an order for her admittance to the prison, but she
was not allowed to enter. She saw Mr. Judson at the door, whither he
crawled to speak with her. But even this sad communing was cut short by
a rude order to Mrs. Judson to "depart, or they would pull her out." She
was, however, allowed to supply the prisoners with food, and mats to lie
This was the beginning of a long series of such visits to the prison--of
efforts for the comfort of the prisoners, and appeals in their behalf to
jailers, petty officers, magistrates, governors, or members of the royal
She was subjected to all manner of extortion and annoyance, being
repeatedly brought before the authorities on the most absurd charges.
The fear that her husband would be put to death so haunted her, that she
was willing to meet the most exorbitant demands, hoping thereby to
conciliate his persecutors.
After she had succeeded in effecting some slight improvement in their
condition, all was reversed by a disastrous battle; the success of the
British being visited upon the prisoners, by the withdrawal of all the
little comforts Mrs. Judson had at so much cost and trouble obtained for
them. When they were dragged from one city to another, she followed,
renewing the same wearing round of toiling, pleading, paying, to procure
some alleviation of their misery.
The estimation in which she was held by those acquainted with the facts,
may be seen by the following, written by one of Mr. Judson's
"Mrs. Judson was the author of those eloquent and forcible appeals to
the Government which prepared them by degrees for submission to terms of
peace, never expected by any who knew the haughtiness and inflexible
pride of the Burmese Court.
"And while on this subject, the overflowings of grateful feelings, on
behalf of myself and fellow-prisoners, compel me to add a tribute of
public thanks to that amiable and humane female, who, though living at a
distance of two miles from our prison, without any means of conveyance,
and very feeble in health, forgot her own comfort and infirmity, and
almost every day visited us, sought out and administered to our wants,
and contributed in every way to alleviate our misery.
"When we were all left by the Government destitute of food, she, with
unwearied perseverance, by some means or other, obtained for us a
" ... When the unfeeling avarice of our keepers confined us inside, or
made our feet fast in the stocks, she, like a ministering angel, never
ceased her applications to the Government until she was authorized to
communicate to us the grateful news of our enlargement, or of a respite
from our galling oppressions.
"Besides all this, it was unquestionably owing in a chief degree to the
repeated eloquence and forcible appeals of Mrs. Judson, that the
untutored Burman was finally made willing to secure the welfare of his
country by a sincere peace."
The war being over, Mr. Judson determined to remove into one of the
provinces ceded to the British; and the new town of Amherst was selected
as their place of residence.
The natives converted to Christianity through the instrumentality of the
missionaries, had been dispersed during the war; and many of them now
gathered to Amherst, to enjoy again the instructions of their beloved
teachers. Their prospects now seemed highly encouraging; and Mr. Judson
departed on a journey by which he hoped to advance the interests of the
mission, leaving Mrs. Judson engaged with her characteristic energy in
carrying forward arrangements to facilitate their work.
But never more were that clear head, ready hand, and sympathetic heart
to aid or encourage him in his labors, or succor him in the hour of
calamity. Her work was done.
A fever seized her, and her constitution, undermined by the exhausting
sufferings, mental and physical, through which she had passed during the
war, was not able to withstand the violence of the disease. There,
without husband or kindred to receive her frail infant from her
paralyzing arms, or to speak words of love or comfort in her dying ears,
she battled with the last enemy, and terminated her singularly eventful
and useful life.
In 1848, more than twenty years after her death, a writer in the
_Calcutta Review_ thus speaks of her:
"Of Mrs. Judson, little is known in the noisy world. Few,
comparatively, are acquainted with her name--few with her actions; but
if any woman, since the first arrival of the white strangers on the
shores of India, has, on that great theater of war stretching between
the mouth of the Irrawaddy and the borders of Hindoo Koosh, rightly
earned for herself the title of a heroine, Mrs. Judson has, by her
doings and sufferings, fairly earned the distinction--a distinction, be
it said, which her true woman's nature would have very little
appreciated. Still, it is right that she should be honored by the world.
Her sufferings were far more unendurable, her heroism far more noble,
than any which in more recent times have been so much pitied and so much
applauded.... She was the real heroine. The annals in the East present
us with no parallel."
SARAH HALL BOARDMAN JUDSON.
Who so worthily followed in the footsteps of the first Mrs. Judson,
arrived in India with her first husband, the Rev. George D. Boardman,
while Mr. Judson and his fellow-sufferers were still prisoners in Ava.
They remained in Calcutta till the close of the war, and some time
after, preparing themselves by the study of the Burmese language, etc.,
for their subsequent career of usefulness in Burma.
After they had joined the other missionaries at Amherst, Maulmain was
determined upon as the scene of their future labors, and thither they
repaired. The dangers that encompassed their new residence were such as
in the presence of which even stout hearts might have been excused for
quailing. The mission-house was a slight structure of bamboos,
constituting scarcely any obstruction to assailants disposed to effect
an entrance, and in such close proximity to the jungle that the
slumbers of the missionaries were frequently disturbed by the howling of
the wild beasts, whose lairs had so recently given place to human
habitations. Maulmain was then a new city that had suddenly sprung into
existence within the territory ceded to the British.
They had been settled in their new abode but a few weeks, when it was
entered in the night by robbers, who overhauled all their effects, and
carried away most of their valuables while they slept.
Mrs. Boardman, speaking of the event, says: "After the first amazement
had a little subsided, I raised my eyes to the curtains surrounding our
bed, and, to my indescribable emotion, saw two large holes cut, the one
at the head and the other at the foot of the place where my dear husband
had been sleeping. From that moment I quite forgot the stolen goods, and
thought only of the treasure that was spared. In imagination I saw the
assassins, with their horrid weapons, standing by our bedside, ready to
do their worst had we been permitted to wake. O, how merciful was that
watchful Providence which prolonged those powerful slumbers of that
night, not allowing even the infant at my bosom to open its eyes at so
critical a moment!"
After the robbery, a guard was sent from the English barracks to protect
the missionaries in case of another visit from the marauders. One of the
guard narrowly escaped death from a wild beast, which, rushing out of
the jungle, leaped upon him while he was seated upon the veranda of the
mission-house. Happily there was help at hand, and the animal was
frightened away before the man had sustained serious injury.
Do we find Mrs. Boardman, while thus continually exposed to attacks of
ravenous beasts and fierce banditti, deploring her situation, or
expressing a desire to relinquish their work and return to the security
and comfort of civilized life? On the contrary, she characterizes the
months in which these events were transpiring as among the happiest of
her life, because she felt that they were in the path of duty.
Afterward, in order to the further extension of missionary operations in
the country, it was judged advisable for Mr. and Mrs. Boardman to leave
the infant Church and the schools they had so successfully established
at Maulmain, to the care of the other missionaries, and to proceed
themselves to Tavoy. Accordingly, they sundered the ties that bound them
to their first Indian home, and to the natives in whose conversion they
had been instrumental, and again devoted their energies to breaking up
At Tavoy, after overcoming various obstacles and discouragements, they
succeeded in establishing schools, and were cheered by indications of
prosperity and some conversions among the natives.
The conversion of a Karen having attracted Mr. Boardman's attention to
that interesting tribe, he, though scarcely recovered from a dangerous
illness, made a tour among them with very gratifying results. It
required no small amount of courage and of exalted devotion to the cause
in which they were engaged to make Mrs. Boardman willing to be left,
with her two little ones, among the natives in such a place, and with no
better protection from outside dangers than a bamboo hut, her mind, at
the same time, distressed by sad forebodings as to the probable
consequence to her husband's feeble health of the exposures, toils, and
dangers inseparable from his journey. But she was equal to this and to
sorer trials which yet awaited them at Tavoy. Some of these were
consequences of the rebellion of the Tavoyans against the British.
It was fortunate for Mr. and Mrs. Boardman that they, at that time,
resided in a place occupied by a British force; small though the force
was, yet to its presence they were probably indebted for their
exemption from aggravated sufferings, if not from death itself.
From a letter of Mr. Boardman's we take some extracts. He says: "On
Lord's-day morning, the 9th instant, at four o'clock, we were aroused
from our quiet slumbers by the cry of 'Teacher, master, Tavoy rebels!'
and ringing at all our doors and windows. We were soon awake to our
extreme danger, as we heard not only a continual report of musketry
within the town, but the balls were frequently passing over our heads
and through our house; and, in a few moments, a large company of
Tavoyans collected near our gate, and gave us reason to suspect they
were consulting what to do with us. We lifted our hearts to God for
protection, and Mrs. Boardman and little George were hurried away
through a back door to a retired building in the rear. I lay down in the
house (to escape the bullets), with a single Burman boy to watch and
communicate the first intelligence."
On the kind invitation of Mrs. Burney, the wife of the English
resident, who happened to be absent, they sought shelter from the storm
of bullets in the Government-house. Mr. Boardman continues: "We had been
at the Government-house but a short time, when it was agreed to evacuate
the town and retire to the warf--a large wooden building of six rooms.
Our greatest danger at this time arose from having, in one of the rooms
where many were to sleep, and all of us were continually passing,
several hundred barrels of gunpowder, to which, if fire should be
communicated accidentally by ourselves, or mischievously by others, we
should all perish at once. But, through the kind care of our Heavenly
Father, we were preserved alive, and nothing of importance occurred
until the morning of Thursday, a little before daybreak, when a party of
five hundred advanced upon us from the town, and set fire to several
houses and vessels near the warf. But God interposed in our behalf, and
sent a heavy shower of rain, which extinguished the fire, while the
Sepoys repelled the assailants."
Mrs. Boardman's biographer says: "What could be more appalling to the
stoutest heart than the situation of Mrs. Boardman and her helpless
family? Forced to flee from her frail hut, by bullets actually whizzing
through it, and to pass through the town amid the yells of an infuriated
rabble, her path sometimes impeded by the dead bodies of men who had
fallen in the conflict; driven from the shelter of the Government-house,
again to fly through the streets to the warf-house, and there, with
three or four hundred fugitives crowded together, to await death, which
threatened them in every form; hearing over their heads the rush of
cannon balls, and seeing from burning buildings showers of sparks
falling, one of which, if it reached the magazines under their roof, was
sufficient to tear the building from its foundations, and whelm them all
in one common ruin; or, if they escaped this danger, to know that
hundreds of merciless barbarians, with knives and cutlasses, might, at
any moment, rush into the building and destroy them,--can the female
heart, we are ready to ask, endure such fearful trial? Yes: her mind was
stayed by a 'courage not her own;' ... its calmness was that of a child
who, in its utter helplessness, clings to its father's arm."
Her distress was aggravated by the alarming illness of her little boy,
caused by the foul air of the warf-house and the absence of accustomed
comforts; but, by the blessing of God upon her watchful care, it was
spared to her.
"With what transports of joy did that suffering company hail the sight
of the thin blue smoke that heralded the arrival of a steamer from
Maulmain! Amid what distracting fears for her husband, left in the
revolted city, her infant and herself, did Mrs. Boardman decide to go on
board the steamer returning to Maulmain! And with what gratitude and
joy did she, after several days of painful suspense, welcome to the same
city her husband, and hear the tidings of the triumph of British power
and the restoration of tranquillity!"
The rebellion being suppressed, Mr. Boardman set about repairing the
mischief it had wrought. Their house had been cut to pieces, and their
books, clothing, furniture, etc., carried off, mutilated, or destroyed.
He gathered up such fragments as remained, and made the best
arrangements in his power for future comfort and usefulness. Illness and
other causes detained Mrs. Boardman for some time at Maulmain; but,
before Winter, she had returned, and they were again engaged in their
"loved employ," and were greatly strengthened and encouraged by seeing
the good seed they had so faithfully sown amid opposition and
discouragement, bringing forth fruit in the conversion of the heathen.
But, even while rejoicing in these triumphs of the truth, Mrs. Boardman
could not conceal from herself the conviction that a greater sorrow than
any she had yet known was coming upon her. She had already twice
experienced the agony that wrings the hearts of bereaved parents. Of
their three children, two had been taken from them by death,--their
first-born, a lovely and promising little girl of two years and eight
months; and, afterward, their second son, a beautiful babe of eight
months. But all the suffering and sorrow that she had yet endured seemed
as nothing in comparison with that which now threatened to overwhelm
her. Her beloved husband, who had been her comfort and solace under
previous bereavements, was now himself too evidently passing away.
Ardently affectionate in her nature, she suffered intense anguish of
spirit; but instead of giving way to rebellious repinings, the poor
bruised heart carried its sorrows to the Great Healer, and in his
strength she girded herself with fresh courage to do all that might yet
When her dying husband could not be dissuaded from employing the last
remnant of his ebbing life in another visit to his beloved Karens, we
find her taking her place beside his portable couch, that his sufferings
might receive every possible alleviation; that he might lack no tender
attention that the most devoted love could give.
They arrived at their destination on the third day, and found awaiting
them nearly a hundred natives, more than half of whom were applicants
for baptism. The place prepared for the accommodation of Mr. and Mrs.
Boardman and their little boy, was a room five feet wide and ten feet
long, so low that Mrs. Boardman could not stand upright in it, and so
insufficiently inclosed as not to shelter the sufferer from the cold and
damp of the night air, or the scorching rays of the sun by day. Those
who have known what it is to watch beside dying loved ones, witnessing
suffering that they were powerless to relieve, can imagine the anguish
that Mrs. Boardman endured in seeing her husband so near his end in that
miserable place, destitute of the little comforts so needful in
sickness. But with heroic determination she repressed her own sorrow,
lest it might incapacitate her for assisting him while rallying his
expiring energies for one more effort in his Master's cause. The poor
worn body, though, was found unequal to the task assigned it by the
zealous spirit, and he was forced to admit that his work was done.
Mrs. Boardman, speaking of their return journey, in which they were
accompanied by large numbers of the sorrowing native converts, says:
"But at four o'clock in the afternoon, we were overtaken by a violent
shower of rain, accompanied by lightning and thunder. There was no house
in sight, and we were obliged to remain in the open air, exposed to the
merciless storm. We covered him with mats and blankets, and held our
umbrellas over him, all to no purpose. I was obliged to stand and see
the storm beating upon him till his mattress and pillows were drenched
with rain. We hastened on, and soon came to a Tavoy house. The
inhabitants at first refused us admittance.... After some persuasion,
they admitted us into the house, or rather veranda; for they would not
allow us to sleep inside, though I begged the privilege for my sick
husband with tears.... The rain still continued, and his cot was wet, so
that he was obliged to lie on the bamboo floor. Having found a place
where our little boy could sleep without danger of falling through
openings in the floor, I threw myself down, without undressing, beside
my beloved husband."
Thus they passed the last night of his life; and, before another night,
it was but a lifeless corpse that the attendants were bearing back to
her now desolate home.
In her grief and loneliness, her heart doubtless yearned for the
soothing sympathy of her kindred and friends in her native land. Who
would have censured her, if in view of what had been achieved among the
natives since their coming to Tavoy, and of all the trials and toils and
dangers of her Indian life, it had seemed to her that her work was
accomplished; and that it would then be no desertion of duty for her,
with her little boy to educate, to return to America? If, during the
first sad days of her bereavement, such thoughts flitted through her
mind, they did not long find lodgment there. Soon the native converts
began to come to her, as of old, with their difficulties and
perplexities, and inquiries for instruction. The duty of responding to
these appeals forbade the indulgence of engrossing sorrow, and caused
her to realize that, when work for the Master was pressing on every
hand, and one of the laborers had fallen in the field, his
fellow-laborers, instead of relaxing their efforts, should feel it
imperative on them, if possible, to redouble their diligence.
Thenceforward her labors became more onerous than they had been during
Mr. Boardman's life; and they continued so, even after the arrival of
the new missionaries, Mr. Mason and his wife, who of necessity were
chiefly occupied with the study of the language. In one of her letters
of this period she says:
"Every moment of my time is occupied, from sunrise till ten in the
evening. It is late bed-time, and I am surrounded by five Karen
women.... The Karens are beginning to come to us in companies; and with
them, and our scholars in the town, and the care of my darling boy, you
will scarce think I have much leisure for letter-writing."
Later, she writes: "The superintendence of the food and clothing of both
the boarding-schools, together with the care of five day-schools under
native teachers, devolves wholly on me."
She also made difficult journeys through the wild jungles to the Karen
villages, to strengthen, encourage, and instruct the poor natives; thus
performing efficiently, though informally, the work of an evangelist.
After her marriage with Dr. Judson, and her consequent return to
Maulmain, she was still busily engaged in conducting schools,
Bible-class, etc., besides attending to her family. She also learned the
Peguan language, into which she translated the New Testament, a Life of
Christ, and several tracts. In Burmese she had previously become
proficient, and she translated "Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress" into that
language. A number of the hymns prepared for the use of the mission were
also from her pen.
At Maulmain she was exposed to fewer vicissitudes and dangers than at
Tavoy, so that the intrepid aspect of her character became less
conspicuous; but her life was filled up with increased maternal
responsibilities and domestic cares, added to other arduous labors of
the same class with those which she had previously discharged with so
much sound judgment, and in which she exhibited so happily the ability
to influence and govern those under her control, and at the same time to
win their love and reverence for herself. One of her biographers says of
"Sweetness and strength, gentleness and firmness, were in her character
most happily blended. Her mind was both poetical and practical. She had
a refined taste, and a love for the beautiful as well as the excellent."
In early life she wooed the Muses with respectable success; and though
the stern labors of mature years left her little leisure for the
indulgence of poetic fancies, yet the last expression of her love
committed to writing flowed from her pen in numbers of touching grace
Her constitution having been broken down by her incessant toils, a
voyage to America was recommended in order to recuperate it. On the
voyage thither, when between the Isle of France and St. Helena, she
died, and was buried on the latter island.
We have selected these two gifted Christian women as representative
missionary women, who, though brilliant examples, did not excel many
others in the host of devoted women who have gone out from Great Britain
and America into the dark places of the earth, on the same godlike
We have already mentioned the honored names of several philanthropic
ladies, whose works praise them throughout Europe and America. The list
might be extended indefinitely, but we have space for but a few.
THE MISSES CHANDLER.
The National Hospital erected for the Paralyzed and Epileptic (England)
owes its origin to the humane efforts of two sisters, Joanna and Louisa
Chandler. These ladies, finding that among all the charitable
institutions existing in London there was not one into which a poor
paralyzed man would be admitted, conceived the idea of establishing a
hospital for that particular class of sufferers. Though only in moderate
circumstances, they devoted two hundred pounds of their own means to the
object. For five years, they received no assistance; but their continued
appeals at length attracted public attention. Various philanthropic
gentlemen and ladies became interested in the enterprise. The necessary
funds were collected mainly by the exertions of Miss J. Chandler and the
ladies who had associated themselves with her, and the hospital became
an accomplished fact.
The same persevering energy, directed by sound judgment and practical
business talent, was conspicuously displayed by Miss Adaline Cooper, in
her efforts for the improvement of the condition and morals of the
costermongers of Tothill Fields, Westminster. Among the degraded, they
as a class were regarded as the most degraded. But, strong in her faith
in the power of kindness, she went in among them, and commenced day and
night schools, a Sunday-school, a mothers' meeting, and a temperance
society. Through these appliances she influenced the women and children,
but the men stood aloof. The more desperate even threatened to drive her
and her assistants away; but she was not to be intimidated. She erected
a handsome building for a Costermongers' Club; and constructed a
dwelling-house large enough to accommodate fifty or sixty families. The
entire expenditure for these purposes amounted to nearly nine thousand
Soon after the Club was formed, a large number of the members,
perceiving the benefit of abstinence, signed the pledge. She formed a
Bible-class for their improvement, and established a penny-bank for the
Band of Hope.
In reward of her labors, she had the satisfaction of seeing a marked
reformation in both their morals and circumstances. Very many of these
poor people, the very name of whose calling had been a synonym for
dishonesty and kindred vices, became sober, industrious, and honest men
Sketches innumerable of other women of very great merit, particularly of
those who have enriched our literature during the present century, might
be added, did the limits of so small a volume permit; which it does not.
It must suffice, therefore, to mention the names of a few of these,
while the names of many others equally meritorious must necessarily be
First, we write Mrs. Browning, a name surrounded by a halo of glory from
the scintillations of her own genius.
Charlotte Bront�, Miss Mulock, Mrs. Wood, and Mrs. Oliphant form a
brilliant galaxy, but scarcely outshine others in the same department.
Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe has made her mark upon her age, and is not
likely to be forgotten while the War of Secession is remembered.
The sweet strains of the sisters Cary will linger long in the ears and
hearts of the lovers of song.
The name of the gentle Swede, Fredrika Bremer, will live as long as the
language in which she writes shall be spoken or read; while Mary Howitt,
her translator, is, through these beautiful translations, and her own
inimitably chaste and home-like stones, endeared to both English and
Mrs. Willard will bear a favorable comparison with any other American
historian, let him be ever so famous.
Mrs. Moodie and her gifted sisters, Mrs. Trail and Miss Strickland,
have acquired a world-wide reputation by their pens.
Which of our living authors possesses a more terse or vigorous style
than Gail Hamilton? And where are more self-sacrificing spirits to be
found than in those bands of lady missionaries, worthy successors of
Harriet Newell and Ann Hasseltine Judson, who every year leave our
coasts to carry the Gospel to heathen lands?
Large numbers of clever women are attracting the attention of the
thinking people of both England and America, not only as public speakers
and leaders of much-needed reforms, but for the honorable position to
which they have attained in literary and scientific circles and in the
arts. The scenes, however, in which they are the active participants are
still transpiring; and therefore these women, some of them both
honorable and great, in the best and highest acceptation of the terms,
can not just at the present be classed among the women of history. But
though they are not far enough back in the past to be placed in this
category, they are furnishing the materials for both an instructive and
an interesting one in the future; and that future, too, not very far
distant. All honor to the brave, the good, and true among them.