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Title: The Vintons and the Karens
Author: Calista V Luther
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Language: English
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Title: The Vintons and the Karens
Author: Calista V Luther


The Baptist Churches of Connecticut,

I Gratefully Dedicate these Memorials.

[Illustration--REV. JUSTUS H. VINTON.]



The following memoirs have been prepared at the earnest and repeated
request of many who felt that the simple record of such devoted lives
would be for the glory of God and the good of his Church. They are sent
forth with the hope that they may inspire others to show a devotion and
earnestness similar to those so markedly displayed in the consecrated
lives of Justus H. and Calista Vinton.

The verses at the head of each chapter are selected from "Hymns of Faith
and Hope" by Horatius Bonar, a little book which, during the last years
of my mother's life, comforted and cheered her in many dark hours. Her
own copy, purchased in George Muller's orphan-houses in Bristol, Eng.,
lies before me as I write. Its worn binding shows the evidences of the
long voyage to India and the many jungle-journeys, during which it never
left its owner's side. Marked in many pages, it seems to speak to us,
with her own gentle voice, words of heavenly cheer.

I take this opportunity to thank those friends who have so kindly
furnished me with letters and reminiscences of my beloved parents, from
which many of the facts in the memoirs, especially with reference to the
life of my parents in America, have been drawn.

I also wish to acknowledge with thankfulness the great assistance which
my dear husband has rendered in every stage of the work. In the midst of
the labors and cares attendant upon the charge of a large parish, he has
cheerfully spent many days of patient work in arranging and making
available the crude materials by the aid of which these memoirs have been




Birth and Early Years of J. H. Vinton.--Conversion.--Call to
Preach.--Licensed by the Ashford Church.--Enters the Institution at
Hamilton, N.Y.--Decision to become a Missionary.--Revival Work,--Death of
Belinda Vinton

Calista Holman.--Bitter Experience.--Conversion.--Baptism.-First
Communion.--Strange Recovery.--Consecration.--Goes to
Hamilton.--Proficiency in the Languages.--Marriage.--First Studies in
Karen.--Learning a Language by the Natural Method.--Mr. and Mrs. Vinton
set sail for Burmah.--The Cashmere.--Labors for the Crew.--Anxiety of the
Missionaries.--Many Conversions

Landing at Maulmain.--Immediate Work in the Jungles.--Method of
Labor.--The Karens.--Burmese Cruelty.--Jungle Labors.--Discouragements

Mr. Vinton's Faith.--Elder Swan.--Visit to a Karen Prophet.--Unkind
Reception.--Day of Fasting and Prayer.--Tenacity of Purpose.--Conversion
of a Karen Chief.--The Cloud breaks.--The Prophet foiled.--Lakee

Labors among English Residents in Burmah.--Sympathy of English Residents
and Officers with Mission Work in India.--The Christian Heroes of the
Indian Army.--Mr. Vinton's Sunny Disposition.--Amusing Description by
Mrs. Vinton.--Rainy Days.--Indifference to Insults.--"Sister
Miranda."--The Vinton Children.--Voyage to the Cape.--Death of Harvey
Vinton.--Return to America

Failure of the Missionary Spirit in America.--Mr. Vinton's Addresses and
Singing.--The Missionary's Call, written by Dr. Nathan Brown.--The
Five-Franc Piece.--Frank's Chapel.--Enthusiasm of Contributors.--Return
to India.--Voyage interrupted at the Cape of Good Hope.--Continuation of
the Story of Frank's Chapel.--English Contributors

A New Field.--Rangoon.--The Desire for Education.--Cruel Oppression of
the Karens by the Burmans.--Karen Martyrs.--Praying for War.--Demands for
Compensation by the English Government.--Joy of the Karens.--The English
Fleet returns.--Karen Spies.--Rousing the Villages.--A Nation's
Deliverance.--Burmese Preparations for War.--Rangoon and other Posts
captured.--Horrible Revenge of the Burmans.--Fearful Suffering of the
Karens.--The Cry of the Churches to Mr. Vinton.--He takes the
Responsibility, and goes to Rangoon.--Life in the Stockade.--Terrible
Scenes among the Karens.--Hospitals.--Death of Pah-yah.--Dr. Kincaid's
Letter.--Many Conversions.--Treaty of Peace.--The Government orders the
Missionaries to remove.--Removal to Kemmendine

A New Trial.--Famine.--Mr. Vinton distributes Rice to the
Starving.--Generous Conduct of Rice Merchants to Mr. Vinton.--Anxiety of
his Friends.--Fruits of Generosity.--Thousands converted.--The Vote of
Censure by Brethren in America.--Mr. Vinton's Justification.--Separation
from the Missionary Union.--Consecration Anew to the Work.--The Karen
Home Mission Society.--Generosity of the Natives.--Completion of Frank's

The Pegu High School.--Mrs. Vinton as a Teacher.--School
Discipline.--Teaching Greek to her Children.--Their Surprising
Discovery.--Parting from the Children.--The Children in
America.--Kindness of Friends.--Abundant Labors.--Training Native
Helpers.--A Happy Life

Modes of Conveyance.--Romance and Reality.--An Elephant's
Sagacity.--English Contributors to the Mission.--The Carriage.--Trials of

"A Crisis in Brother Vinton's Affairs."--The Shadow of the Cloud.--The
Last Jungle Journey.--Illness.--Mrs. Vinton's Letter.--The Closing
Scene.--Funeral Services.--Mr. Rose's Address.--Mr. Vinton's Last Letter

Sympathy.--Shall She return Home?--Dr. Kincaid.--Decision to
remain.--Fruits of the Maulmain Normal School.--The Work of
Oversight.--Donations from Scholars.--Mrs. Vinton's Remarkable Dream

Return of Mrs. Vinton's Daughter to Burmah.--She engages at once in the
Work.--Travelling by Buffalo-Cart.--The Dismayed Cook.--The Kalah Cook as
an Institution.--Arrival at the Village.--Mrs. Ingalls.--Travelling in

Milking a Buffalo.--Experientia docet.--Fermented Fish.--Foolish
Questions.--Housekeeping under Difficulties.--The Solution.--Put Yourself
in His Place.--Too Proud.--The Voice of Jesus.--Ignorance

Training Servants.--Native Helpers.--George and Isabella.--Brainerd's
Return.--Mrs. Vinton sails for England.--Cheltenham and
London.--America.--Rev. R. M. Luther.--Home at Last

Fruitful Labors in America.--Canada.--Philadelphia.--Return to
Burmah.--Last Illness.--Arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Luther.--Closing
Scenes.--Death of Mrs. Vinton

Miranda Vinton.--Mrs. Binney's Letter.--Mrs. Stevens's Letter



    "Be brave, my brother,
Fight the good fight of faith
    With weapons proved and true.
Be faithful and unshrinking to the death:
    Thy God will bear thee through.
Grudge not the heavy cost.
    Faint not at labor here:
'Tis but a lifetime at the most;
    The day of rest is near."

Justus Hatch Vinton has been in his heavenly home for twenty years; but
his memory, with that of his no less devoted wife, Calista Holman, is
still tenderly cherished in the hearts of those who know any thing of the
first thirty years of mission work among the Karens of Burmah.

Rarely have two kindred souls gone forth to their life-work so peculiarly
adapted to the scenes of hardship and trial, mingled with glorious
successes, as were these.

Justus H. Vinton was born in Willington, Conn., Feb. 17, 1806. Calista
Holman was born in Union, Conn., April 19, 1807. Both emphatically
learned to bear the yoke in their youth. Mr. Vinton was early led to
Christ. When only ten years of age, he was converted, and soon after
united with the Baptist church at Ashford, Conn., and even at that age
evinced many of the traits which made his after-life such a grand

At the age of sixteen, the increasing gravity of his demeanor and the
fervency of his devotion awakened apprehension in the mind of his mother,
who feared that it might be the result of failing health; but, in reply
to her questionings as to the cause of his changed conduct, he answered,
"Mother, 'woe be unto me if I preach not the gospel.'" This was the first
intimation he had given to any one of his determination to enter the work
of the ministry.

In the year 1826, when scarcely twenty years of age, he entered Hamilton
Literary and Theological Institution.

He had, some time before going to Hamilton, offered himself to the church
at Ashford for license to preach. Strange to say, there was some
hesitancy in granting him a license, owing to the remarkable absence of
all self-assertion upon the part of the candidate. The venerable John G.
Wightman, who was present, was requested by the brethren to decide for
them. He replied that he had no doubt as to the advisability of licensing
the young man to preach. He was convinced that he had the grace of God in
his heart; and that, as no babe was born six feet high, there was a
reasonable hope that the young brother would grow.

Strange that the brethren should have hesitated to license one, of whom
the record of Madison University says, "He was pre-eminently a man of
revival-power; and probably no single life in Burmah has shown larger
results in the ingathering of souls to Christ."

In 1829, after the most careful thought, he appointed a day of fasting
and prayer, in order that he might learn his duty with regard to devoting
himself to preaching in the then sparsely settled West. In a letter
written to his parents he says, "When the day came, I retired that I
might be quite alone with God, that thus I might, with more freedom, pour
out my soul before him in fervent supplication for his Spirit to guide me
in the decision I was about to make as to the field of my future labor.
Here it was, while upon my knees before the Lord, that I received my
first impressions that it would be my duty to leave my native land, and
go far away to the benighted heathen, that I might preach among them the
unsearchable riches of Christ. I had previously designed to spend the day
in prayerful consideration of the claims of the West; but at this time I
was so strongly impressed that it would be my duty to go to Burmah, that
during the day I could think of little else but the forlorn condition of
that deluded and infatuated people."

Fearful lest he might be mistaken, and being continually urged by some of
his fellow-students who were under appointment to the West, and were
anxious to have him accompany them, he concluded to defer definite
decision for a year. At the end of this period he reconsidered all the
arguments presented, and decided to go to Burmah. From that moment he
never wavered. His conviction became stronger, until, as he says, his
whole soul "became absorbed in the delightful anticipation of carrying to
benighted Burmah the news of an ascended Saviour." He paid the expenses
of his college course by teaching district and singing schools, and by
supplying churches in the neighborhood of Hamilton. He apologizes, in a
letter to his mother, for not having written home for several months,
saying that his studies had been pressing him very hard, and that every
Saturday he had ridden thirty miles to supply a destitute church. In
other letters he speaks of teaching district-schools for twelve dollars
per month; and in one letter he congratulates himself greatly on having
"by judicious firmness" secured the privilege of _boarding all the time
at one place._

His singing-schools were very popular, and are still remembered by older
residents in the vicinity of Hamilton.

It has been said that "there never was a Vinton who could not sing;" and
the rich, full voice with which God had blessed him, not only helped to
supply his scanty purse while a student, but in the jungles of Burmah it
won the heart of many a wild Karen; and thousands of redeemed souls in
glory to-day could testify that Mr. Sankey was not the first who ever
thought of "singing the gospel."

At this time his letters home were upon one topic, and that was religion.
Frequently is the record made of the wonderful way in which God had
blessed his labors: in one revival, over seventy were converted within
three weeks. Many times he notes the fact that the singing-school had
been turned into a prayer-meeting.

At one time his district-school became the scene of a precious outpouring
of the Holy Spirit. This was at Laurens, Otsego County, N.Y. From the
work there begun, over fifty in the town alone were converted at the date
of his letter; and the work continued for months after.

These facts are not recorded as strange, but simply to show the spirit of
the man. What more unlikely field for divine grace than a country
singing-school, unless, perhaps, it be the ordinary district-school of
forty years ago?

Once, when home on a vacation, he heard of a church that had become so
cold and lifeless that it had ceased to hold any public service. He went
to the place, and gave out an appointment to preach. As might have been
anticipated, when the hour of service came, not a soul was present save
himself. Without appearing to think that he should have been discouraged,
he sat down upon the church-steps, and began to sing. Soon a crowd
gathered; upon which he invited them into the church, and preached so
fervently, that a large number were convicted, and a revival began which
extended throughout the whole township.

It was during this time that his beloved sister Belinda, who had
cherished the desire of accompanying him to Burmah, was suddenly smitten
down by disease, and died. He, at Hamilton, heard only that she was very
ill. Unable to leave at the time, he wrote the following touching

DEAR SISTER BELINDA,--From a letter received from our dear parents, I
learn that you are upon a bed of sickness, perhaps upon a bed of death.
This is what I had least anticipated. I have for a number of weeks been
thinking of writing to you upon the glorious theme that has so enchanted
both our hearts; but alas! it seems that I have nothing more to do with
counselling and encouraging you respecting your future labors here on
earth. Allow me, then, dear sister, to say one word with reference to
your work above. My poor soul almost breaks forth with ecstasy while, for
a moment, I allow my imagination to carry me forward, to witness your
employment when you shall have dropped this clay tenement, and your
disembodied spirit shall have soared away to breathe the pure and holy
atmosphere of heaven. There shall you be introduced into the presence of
your once suffering, now glorified Saviour. You shall see him as he is.
You shall be permitted to gaze on his uncreated beauties, and vie with
the angels in praising your Redeemer.

But what is that I see just before you? It is a dark and lonely vale; but
fear it not, my sister. Come, let us walk together to the entrance of
this dark valley.

Does your courage seem to fail you? Lean upon that tried arm: it will
sustain you. Are you disheartened at the ruggedness of the way? Cheer up
your drooping spirits: the way is short, and heavenly music shall attend
your course, and scatter all the gloom. And when heart and flesh shall
fail you, when friends can accompany you no farther, then angel-forms
shall guide you, and, more blessed than all else beside, Jesus the
Saviour shall be with you, and lead you by living fountains of waters...

Allow me one word with regard to your encounter with the last enemy,
Death. Your victory and future triumph are secure. It is true that the
enemy you will encounter is haggard in his form; but be not afraid of
him. His deadly power has been taken from him; so that all he can do is
but to cut the cord which binds you here to earth, and free your captive
soul, to be with Christ. Meet him, then, dear sister, fearlessly. Meet
him with a shout of victory; and, as you enter on the contest, say
triumphantly, "O Death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy
victory? Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord
Jesus Christ."

And should you for a moment seem to fall beneath his power, look away to
Jesus, and cry exultingly, "Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy! Though I
fall, I shall arise again!" and Jesus, yes, dear sister, Jesus, will
surely bring you off victorious. Oh, how that blessed thought lifts the
soul above, and fits it for its exit!

I have written you, dear sister, as though I should never see you again
till we meet in heaven. Still the Lord may yet allow you the privilege of
serving him upon some heathen shore; and this may be to fit you for his
work. God grant it may be so! But, should it be otherwise, he may allow
your spirit to go and visit Burmah, and there witness the trophies of his
grace; yes, and thence again to ascend to heaven, carrying the blest
intelligence that heathen souls are coming home to God.
Your affectionate brother,

She died a few days after the date of this letter. Her youngest sister,
Miranda, filled the place by her brother's side, which this sad death
left vacant, when in 1841 she joined the Maulmain Karen mission.


"Must I be smitten, Lord?
    Are gentler measures vain?
Must I be smitten, Lord?
    Can nothing save but pain?

"Then the fierce tempest broke:
    I knew from whom it came;
I read in that sharp stroke
    A Father's hand and name."

During these years of preparation through which Justus Vinton was
passing, we find the young girl who was to be his future wife undergoing
a peculiar experience, and one which has rarely been equalled.

She had been unusually active and energetic as a child, but in her
sixteenth year she was prostrated by a severe and protracted illness.

For more than two years she was completely helpless, and unable to rise
from her bed. Her mind was filled with rebellious thoughts against God,
who, she sometimes felt, had created her only to suffer.

However, the Holy Spirit was pleased to make her affliction a means of
grace. She began to have juster views of her heavenly Father, and at last
submitted entirely to his will, acknowledging that it was better to
suffer the will of God than to be left to follow her own way. The duty of
baptism presented itself to her; though it seemed to be an impossible
thing for her, convinced as she was that it was only rightfully
administered by immersion. Her heart, however, was so determined, that
her friends consented to her having an interview with Elder Grow, who was
then preaching at West Woodstock, four miles from her home.

He has given, in his journal, the following account of the interview and
her subsequent baptism:--

"Calista Holman had been very sick, and to human appearance would never
recover. I was invited to visit her. She was brought in a chair into the
room where I was, as she was unable to walk, to relate her Christian
experience. Such an experience I never heard before nor since. Her mother
asked me if it would not injure her to be baptized. I answered, 'Just
according to her faith.' She herself believed it to be her duty, and
requested me to baptize her. A meeting was appointed at a house near the
water; and after the sermon she was wrapped in a buffalo-robe, and
carried in a sleigh to the water-side (it was in the month of March).

"I first baptized three of her sisters. I then asked her, 'Do you think
you could walk?' She answered, 'I think I can, a little.' Supported by
Deacon Seagrave on one side, and myself on the other, she entered the
water, and was baptized.

"She was then carried back to the house. One of the deacons said it was
best to give her the hand of fellowship at that time, for she would never
be able to meet with the church. When I stood by her bedside to give her
the hand of fellowship, I never enjoyed a season like it. It appeared to
me that the whole house was filled with the Holy Ghost."

The ordinance of the Lord's Supper was then administered at her earnest
request. She said she wished to remember her Lord's death once before she
died. During the administration Elder Grow said, "This is our sister's
first communion, and it will probably be her last. We now receive her
into the church militant: she will soon be with the church triumphant."

To her friends it seemed like a funeral service. To her it was _the
beginning of a new life_. She began to recover from that day; and the
next morning she arose from her bed without assistance, for the first
time in more than two years.

Her family physician, himself not a Baptist, cheerfully adds his
testimony to the fact of her recovery dating from her baptism. So far
from being "about to enter the church triumphant," she had thirty years
of Christian warfare before her. The frail girl of eighteen, whose
baptism was looked upon as the last important act of her life, was
destined to cross the ocean, and for thirty years to endure hardships and
perform an amount of labor which would have broken down an ordinary

The venerable widow of Deacon Seagrave, above mentioned, still survives,
and is living in Providence, R.I. She was present at the baptism; and,
from her vivid recollection of all the circumstances of that wonderful
scene, we have reproduced some of the details above given.

Calista Holman was no sooner restored to health, than she began to think
that her life was given her for a noble purpose. After much prayer and
self-examination, she resolved to devote herself to the work of foreign
missions. She was thrown upon her own resources for the completion of her
education, and that special training necessary to fit her for the work of
her life. By teaching and studying alternately, she obtained, however, an
education far in advance of that attained by most women of that day. She
was particularly proficient in the languages, obtaining such a knowledge
of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, that, when married to Mr. Vinton, he found
her far in advance of himself in acquaintance with these tongues.

We do not know what his opinion was in regard to a wife knowing more than
her husband: but we find that he did not think it well for a man to know
less than his wife; for he at once commenced an extended course of
private study, to which he rigidly adhered for years in the midst of the
most arduous missionary labors.

On April 9, 1834, Mr. Vinton and Miss Holman were married. Miss Holman
had previously spent a year at Hamilton studying Karen in company with
Mr. Vinton, preparatory to their departure for Burmah.

Ko-chet-thaing (afterward Mr. Vinton's right-hand man in jungle-work and
preaching) had come to this country a short time previous with Rev. Mr.
Wade. He was their teacher in this new language. Mr. Vinton, in a letter
to his parents, gives an amusing account of the difficulties in their

"You will wish to know something of our studies. Well, then, we are
studying a language without a grammar or a dictionary. The Karens have
never had a written language until very recently, and even now all we can
boast of is an alphabet and a little tract of six pages. The courses we
are obliged to pursue in obtaining the Karen equivalents of English words
are various.

"Sometimes we point to an object, and say in Karen 'n' koh de lÚ?' 'What
do you call that?' and our teacher will give us the Karen word, which we
will insert in our dictionary. Often he brings us objects, and gives us
their names in Karen. To-day he brought us a grasshopper, and gave us its
Karen name. He then made it both hop and fly, so I was furnished with two
more words. Then, calling me out to see a hen and chickens, he gave me
their names; and by imitating the clucking of the hen, the crowing of the
cock, and the peeping of the chicks, he furnished us with Karen words
signifying these several acts.

"When these methods fail we have recourse to brother Wade. We tell him
the words or phrases for which we wish the Karen, and he converses with
Ko-chet-thaing in Burmese; and through the medium of that language we
obtain what we want in Karen. So you see, we have a most difficult task
before us.

"Our teacher, however, is most patient, and does all he can to help us to
a knowledge of the language. He tells us that we 'go much straighter'
than we did."

What a pity that this poor unlearned Karen teacher did not then, in 1833,
steal a march on Heness and Dr. Sauveur, and publish a treatise upon the
"natural method" of learning a language!

The result of this training was that Mr. Vinton acquired the Karen so
idiomatically, that in after-years he was an authority among the natives
themselves, for the use of Karen phrases; and they were accustomed to
say, as the highest praise, to later Karen missionaries, "You speak the
language almost as well as teacher Vinton."

In July, 1834, Mr. and Mrs. Vinton set sail in the good ship "Cashmere,"
for Burmah, in company with the Wades, the Howards, the Deans, the
Osgoods, and others. They had a long voyage of one hundred and sixty
days, and (a common experience in those days) suffered much from
shortness of provisions and lack of water. To judge from most missionary
journals of those days, American ships were floating famine hulks. Most
of the party suffered greatly from sea-sickness; but Mr. Vinton was so
prostrated that for six weeks he scarcely left his berth, and his friends
feared he would never live to reach Burmah.

Yet during this time of weakness and suffering, his mind dwelt
continually upon the impenitent condition of the officers and crew of the
ship; and, although unable to lift his head from the pillow, he spent
hours in wrestling with God in prayer for their salvation.

In a letter written during the voyage he says,--

"When we first came on board 'The Cashmere,' I was unable to escape the
conviction that we had something to do for the salvation of souls before
we should reach Burmah. We had proceeded, however, but a little way, when
I was attacked by sea-sickness, and for nine weeks I was unable to
preach. As I began to get better, I felt such a burning solicitude for
souls as I hardly ever before experienced,--a solicitude which could find
expression only in groans and tears.

"After preaching one day, when I was helped to pour forth the fulness of
my soul in fervent pleadings with the impenitent to come without delay to
Christ, I was much exhausted, as it was the first time I had attempted to
stand so long. I retired to rest, but could not. I had a load on my
spirit which was insupportable. . . . When I could restrain the bursting
emotions of my heart no longer, I threw myself upon my face before God,
and giving vent to a flood of tears poured forth an agonizing cry for
mercy upon their precious souls."

In one of the entries in his journal we find these words:--

"The burden on my soul seems all but unbearable. I take it to Jesus, and
yet it weighs upon me till I feel crushed. This morning I looked at the
second officer with inexpressible longings that he should be a Christian.
I thought of his being a servant of the Devil, and of his having given to
the prince of hell that which belonged to God; and my cry was that God,
for the sake of his dear Son, would come and save his soul. In the
afternoon I was so oppressed, I knew not what to do. I went to my
stateroom, and there besought the Lord for Jesus' sake to send his Holy
Spirit on board 'The Cashmere.'"

Nor was he alone in his longings. In Mrs. Vinton's journal we find the
same anxiety repeatedly expressed. She speaks of a remarkable scene, when
Mr. Vinton was preaching from the text, "Come, for all things are now
ready;" during which the sailors sat spell-bound, while he spoke of
salvation, and of the sending of the Holy Spirit to strive with sinners.
A second sermon made those hardened men tremble, and say that it seemed
like the day of judgment.

_That night_ the first officer came to Mrs. Vinton, and told her he had
given his heart to God. The captain came out upon the Lord's side shortly
after, and from that time the Holy Spirit was present with continually
increasing power. The steward, the supercargo, and a number of the
sailors were converted.

The hearts of this faithful band of missionaries were made glad, not only
by seeing souls converted as the fruit of their labors and prayers, but
also by the earnestness with which the captain and officers joined in the
meetings, and plead with the unconverted to yield themselves to God.

Of one occasion Mrs. Vinton makes the following record in her journal:--

"This evening the first officer rose, and in the fulness of his heart
addressed his shipmates. One of the sailors, unconscious of time or
place, or of any thing save the awful fact that he was a sinner hasting
to the judgment, arose at the same time, and _replied to every
exhortation of the officer_, saying, 'I _will_ be for God; I will serve
him; I will watch and pray,' &c. Never before did I see a sinner so
closely arraigned before his own conscience and the bar of God, as he."

In another entry, she says,--

"At the meeting to-night the captain arose, and attempted to speak,
making a confession of his sins; but his heart was too full. After a few
words, he sat down, and gave vent to his tears. One of the sailors, to
whom Mr. Vinton had given a Bible, fell on his knees, and told the Lord
that he had read in the precious book which one of his servants had given
him, the promise, 'Ask and ye shall receive;' and, although he was
conscious that he deserved nothing but hell, yet he was encouraged by
this promise to plead for forgiveness of his sins. Such a strain of
penitence and contrition for sin was then poured forth as I never before

Truly "those who sow in tears shall reap in joy;" and the power of
agonizing and united prayer was never more plainly manifested than during
that long and uncomfortable voyage. Toward the latter portion of the
voyage, both provisions and water ran short; and so many of the crew were
prostrated by scurvy, that the ladies were obliged to do the stewards'
work in the cabin, and the missionaries had to assist in working the

The parting between the missionaries and their spiritual children must
have been affecting beyond description. Yet, now that so many of that
company are gathered on the heavenly shore, how blessed must it be for
them to recall those hours spent in earnest prayer, and the precious
ingathering of souls which followed!

We doubt not also that Mr. Vinton rejoices as much as he expected to do,
that there is a land "where there is no more sea." His old enemy,
sea-sickness, never failed to meet him as soon as they lost sight of
land, and they rarely parted company until the anchor was down again.


"Toil on, faint not, keep watch and pray;
    Be wise the erring soul to win;
Go forth into the world's highway,
    Compel the wanderer to come in."

Mr. And Mrs. Vinton landed in Maulmain in December, 1834. By study at
Hamilton and during the voyage, they had become sufficiently familiar
with the language to admit of their beginning work at once. They left for
the jungle within a week of their arrival; and, entering a district where
the gospel had never been proclaimed, they continued for three months
going about from village to village preaching Christ to the multitudes.

At first they travelled together; but they received so many invitations
from distant villages, that they resolved to separate. Each took a band
of native Christians, and, with them as guides and assistants, went from
village to village preaching the wonderful story of the cross. This
arrangement was found so effective, that it became the plan for their
future work. For twenty-four years they carried out this idea of
"dividing to conquer."

Mrs. Vinton would start in her little boat, accompanied by a few of her
school-girls, and spend the entire season in travelling from village to
village along the rivers, telling, in her own tender, womanly way, the
story of redemption to the crowds who gathered around her.

With this work of preaching the gospel was combined the ministering to
the sick, the manifold tender offices so necessary among a people without
a single correct idea concerning the human body and its ailments, and
also the inculcation of that most needful lesson that "cleanliness was
next to godliness."

She also established female prayer-meetings in every direction, and at
the most available points commenced village schools, placing them under
the control of some of her own scholars.

Meanwhile Mr. Vinton would be pursuing the same plan of work among the
mountain-villages, and places more difficult of access. Occasionally
their paths would cross. In the depths of the jungle they would meet,
travel together for a little while, perhaps visiting some noted Karen
prophet or prominent opposer of the work; and then they would separate
again, perhaps not to meet until the labors of the season were over.


It does not seem to have occurred to Mrs. Vinton to think that she was,
in the estimation of some wise theorists, "only a missionary's wife." She
felt that she had as truly a vocation to preach the gospel as had her
husband. Yet, withal, her work throughout her life was done with so much
true womanliness and modesty, that we think St. Paul himself would have
been satisfied that she did not "usurp authority over the man."

The long absences from each other were very trying in many ways; not only
because of the intense attachment which continued to exist during all
their married life,--an attachment which made their companionship an
idyl,--but also from the fact that jungle-travelling, in those days, was
far more dangerous and arduous than it is now. Tigers and other wild
animals were very abundant, and Mrs. Vinton repeatedly speaks of narrow
escapes from them. Several times she notes the fact that a tiger had come
and taken cattle from under the open native house in which she was
sleeping, and when nothing but the protecting hand of God prevented the
ravenous beast from leaping upon the open veranda, and taking one of the
unconscious sleepers.

Jungle-work was not all a triumphal procession. In many places the
Burmans had so prejudiced the villagers by misrepresentations and
frightful stories, that the missionaries found it impossible to obtain

One story, widely circulated, was that the white missionaries stole
children to make slaves of them, or to eat them. Sometimes an entire
village, on the approach of the missionary, would flee into the jungle,
tying the grass together across the pathway, thus giving the missionary a
significant warning that if he followed them it was at the risk of his

The country was in an unsettled state; and bands of robbers roamed about,
attacking solitary boats and defenceless villages, carrying off the women
and children into slavery. This rendered travelling, without a strong
escort, unsafe. Mrs. Vinton writes, in a letter to Mrs. Baron Stow:--

"I cannot have time to describe all the interesting scenes of the past
three months. We have been travelling constantly, and have been on a
visit to the great Karen prophet, about two hundred and fifty miles from


"The Karens in general listen with great interest when we tell them of
God, and frequently exclaim, 'That is what our forefathers told us! That
is right! That is good!' I have endeavored to discover how their
forefathers came by a knowledge of God; but they always answer, 'Our
ancestors knew him from the beginning, but when they sinned against him
he hid himself from them; and their descendants after them knew not how
to worship him; and, as he did not protect them from evil spirits, they
were obliged to offer sacrifices to them to appease their wrath.'

"They tell us of many attempts 'to return to the worship of the God who
made the earth, and the heavens, and all things.'

"These efforts have sometimes been continued for months, and even years;
but the poor Karens have invariably fallen a sacrifice to the brutal
persecution of the Burmans.

"One village of nearly a thousand inhabitants worshipped God in this way
for some time, unknown to the Burmans; but, when the latter learned the
fact, they sent an armed force to destroy the village. Some of the Karens
inquired of their leader if they should fight. 'No,' replied the chief:
'it is inconsistent with the worship of our God to fight. We will cast
ourselves upon his protection.' They then opened their gates, brought
forth their weapons of defence, and laid them at the feet of their
enemies. Thus defenceless, they were immediately slain by their cruel
oppressors, the Burmans."

This record seems incredible; and yet in the year 1851,--even so late a
date as that,--the Burmese viceroy of Rangoon told Mr. Kincaid that he
would instantly _shoot the first Karen whom he found that could read._

The eagerness which the scattered communities of Karens manifested to
hear of the "long-lost law of their God" was most gratifying; but it made
the hearts of the lonely laborers ache to see how little they could
accomplish among so many. Wherever they went, they were urged beyond
measure to go to other villages, and tell the "good news" there; and so
deeply did the magnitude of their labors press upon them, that Mrs.
Vinton writes:--

"Oh, could we be divided, and go a thousand ways at once, then might the
poor Karens hear the gospel. When I reflect upon the earnestness of this
dear people to receive the gospel, while so few can hear it from our
lips, my heart sinks within me.

"A large party of Karens have just been here; and when they were told
that Mr. Vinton had gone by land to Newville, and that I had gone down
the river, they said they feared they would never see us. They told
Ko-chet-thaing that they had heard that God had shown mercy to the
Karens, and had sent them his word and teachers; and they had long been
inquiring where we were. Sometimes they would hear of us at Maulmain,
sometimes at Belu-Gyun, sometimes at Chummerah, sometimes at La Kee's
village; but they never could find us. Their 'younger brother, the white
man,' had come, and had brought the long-lost law of their God; but to
them it was all in vain. They remained in their sins, poverty, and
wretchedness, and should go down to hell if the teachers did not pity
them. They begged Ko-chet-thaing to intercede with us, that we would
remain in one place, that they might all come to us.

"Ko-chet-thaing was much moved as he told me the sad tale; and I could
not refrain from tears. A chief on the Burman border is praying morning
and evening that God will send the teachers that way, that he may be
baptized. Lord, what are we among so many? Send, oh! send more laborers
into this harvest!"

In an account of a journey taken shortly after, she writes:--

"We had scarcely set our feet upon the shore, before an
intelligent-looking woman asked me where we were going. I told her I was
going to a village eight miles inland, to tell the people there about
God. She inquired why we did not tell the villagers present about God.

"I told her I could not stop then, as I had appointed to be at the inland
village, and must reach there before the heat became too great. Her
countenance fell, but she immediately passed on before us. And, when we
had proceeded about a mile, we reached a village, and found all the
inhabitants standing in the road to receive us. As we drew near, they
cried out to us, 'Tell _us_ of the law of God! Tell _us_ of the law of

"Such was their entreaty, that we were compelled to stop about half an
hour, and preach to them, promising that we would come back to them at
some future time. At the next village the people gathered around me with
intense interest to inquire about the new religion. After talking to them
some time, I spoke of prayer. With great earnestness, they asked, 'How
shall we pray?' I called on one of the assistants to pray; and, as he
commenced, the head man followed, repeating word for word. They plead
with great earnestness that we would remain with them during the night,
that they might call in the inhabitants of the surrounding villages, that
they, too, might hear of God and heaven. . . .

"Two miles farther on, we came to a Pwo Karen village. We went at once to
the house of the chief; but his wife, who had never before seen a white
person, would not permit us to enter. As soon, however, as the villagers
learned who we were, they flocked around us, and listened attentively to
the word of God. The assistants were so moved by their pressing
invitations to remain, that they began to plead with me to remain over
sabbath. In vain I told them of our many engagements, of the much we had
to do before the rains.

"It was not until I told them that I thought Mr. Vinton would travel
there during the rains, that I could persuade them to proceed. That
evening we visited another village, and spent the night at the house of
the chief.

"We had a large and deeply-interested audience; and although I closed the
service at nine o'clock, yet the assistants continued preaching till
after midnight, and began again before light.

"Although we had to return to the boat that day, and much of our way lay
through burnt-over forests, yet it was impossible to force ourselves away
from the people before the sun had become quite hot. On our return we met
several companies of people, who showed such an anxiety to hear the word,
that, when the assistants were once seated, they seemed chained to the

"On reaching the boat, I found that one of the two men I had left to
watch it had gone off to a distant village, preaching. It appeared, that,
the night previous, several men had listened to the gospel, and they
would not be content until their friends should hear it also. So they
over-persuaded this man to return with them, and spend two or three days.
We proceeded up the river some distance, and found him there preaching to
the villagers. A number said that they believed in this religion, and
would worship God.

"I was feeling so exhausted from over-exertion, that I felt it was
necessary to return as soon as I conveniently could to Ko-chet-thaing's
village, not only for rest, but for necessary medicine. I had also in the
boat a sick Karen woman, who needed attention and medicine at once.
However, we felt compelled to stop at another village, where the people
had been having a great '_nat_ feast' (a feast in honor of the evil
spirits, whom the Karens believe to be the cause of sickness, misfortune,
etc., if angry; and of good fortune, if appeased).

"Hearing of my arrival, they gathered around me; and although I could
scarcely stand, or even sit erect, yet I contrived to talk to them; and
they listened during the whole day, each one assuring me that they would
never again eat to the _nats_, but, as they had now heard of God, they
would with one consent worship him. Not only so; but they would return to
their respective villages, and tell their friends what they had heard,
and persuade them to worship him too."

What would our pastors at home in America give to have the message they
bring welcomed so thankfully, and embraced so readily! What would they
give to know that every one of their converts became at once a preacher
of righteousness, and carried the good news of salvation to some other
waiting soul!

The work of preaching the gospel among the Karens was not, however,
unmixed with discouragements. Mrs. Vinton in her journal speaks of some
villages where the people refused to receive her, and where even the
women retreated to the houses, and pulled up the ladders after them (a
ladder or a notched stick being the usual mode of entrance to a heathen
Karen house). One such scene she thus describes in her characteristic

"We have just stopped at a Pwo Karen village where, for days past,
multitudes have assembled to worship the pagoda." [Many Pwos and some
Sgaus, the two main septs of Karens, had embraced Buddhism, at least
nominally, before the arrival of missionaries.]

"The assembly was just breaking up. It was impossible to get even a
hearing, for every one was busy about his own matters; and, besides, they
did not like to hear, that, instead of getting merit, they had been
sinning against God, and if unrepentant they would be lost. I went up to
the village, thinking perhaps they would listen at their homes; but,
seeing me coming, they pulled up their ladders, and set their dogs on me.
On returning to the boat, I could not help inquiring if one of that vast
number _could_ be saved. They are far more hopeless than were Ezekiel's
dry bones: for they would lie passive when prophesied over; but these, as
if the Devil did not like to be attacked upon his own ground, were ready
to burst with rage at us for trying to tell them 'a more excellent way."


"Last night we were at a village where we found a widow whose husband was
killed a few weeks ago in a trap set for wild beasts. Mr. Vinton and I
had repeatedly urged him to accept of Christ; but he invariably told us
that he was convinced of the propriety of worshipping God, and he even
exhorted others to repentance; but, as for himself, he could not yet
leave off drink. Only a few days before his death, Mr. Vinton, with his
usual earnestness, urged him to accept of Christ immediately, reminding
him of the uncertainty of life. He said he would repent by and by. A few
days after, being urged by some of his relatives to go to a _nat_ feast,
he went, and was killed on the way. Those who set the trap offered the
bereaved widow the price of her husband (about two hundred dollars
according to Karen law); but she refused, and, strange to say, _asks
another husband in his stead._

"The people in this region are in a very excited state on account of the
depredations of robbers.

"A buffalo came running into the village to-day with a spear six feet
long sticking in his back. A band of about two hundred robbers from the
Shan country have been lurking about the villages for several days past,
in order to steal children, and sell them for slaves. They have obtained
several little ones already, and the villagers are in great consternation
about it.

"Oh, my sister! you do not know how to appreciate your peaceful home. You
do not know what it is to go to bed at night knowing that robbers are
lurking around your dwelling, or that tigers are smelling your footsteps
around the house, and waiting for their prey. They have become so bold at
Newville that they will go up a ladder ten feet high, seize a man in the
house, and carry him off. When I think of the ten thousand dangers to
which we are exposed, I wonder that we are still alive."


"Go, labor on, spend and be spent,--
    Thy joy to do the Father's will:
It is the way the Master went;
    Should not the servant tread it still?"

Mr. Vinton was a man of strong faith and of remarkable power in prayer.
We never heard the term so commonly used now, "gifted in prayer," applied
to him; but his petitions were wrestlings with God, and were
characterized by all the urgency and earnestness with which a man might
plead for his life or that of his dearest friend. A minister, speaking of
an occasion when he heard Elder Swan and Mr. Vinton praying together,
says, "I never heard any thing like it. They seemed utterly unconscious
of time or place. They appeared to be standing face to face with God; and
they pleaded with him for lost souls in such a way that I felt convinced
that that was _prevailing prayer._"

Much of the success which attended the labors of these two eminent men of
God was doubtless owing to their strong faith that God heard and answered
prayer, and to a certain persistence with which they carried out their
convictions of duty. Some men called it obstinacy; but many redeemed
souls to-day are praising God for that very obstinacy, for the
persistence with which they labored and prayed, the one among the heathen
in Burmah, the other among the gospel-hardened sinners of our own New

Which was the more difficult field, we will not now undertake to say; but
what a glorious meeting it will be when these two life-long friends clasp
hands on the other shore, and together recount the wonders of redemption,
and recall the many hard-fought battles here on earth, and greet the
thousands among the redeemed who were led by their words and prayers to

As illustrative of Mr. Vinton's determination when he believed himself to
be in the way of duty, we give a brief account of his visit to a noted
Karen prophet, as taken from his journal:--

"We are now at the prophet's village, but have not yet seen him. On our
arrival yesterday, his followers told us he was absent, but would be back
at night. Night came, but he was still absent, and continues to be so, if
the word of the villagers can be relied upon; but, unfortunately, no two
individuals agree in their statements about him. It is probable that he
will prevent an interview if possible. He has so far committed himself,
that to meet me would be to his disadvantage; for he has asserted that I
am his older brother, _Jesus Christ_, and that there is no difference
between his sentiments and mine.

"The villagers appear well: they listen attentively, and acknowledge that
it is wrong to worship pagodas, and hold _nat_ feasts; and many say they
will come and worship with us to-morrow."

The next day the people did not seem so willing to listen. None came to
worship; but, on visiting some of the principal men at their homes, they
professed to believe the truths of religion, but said they dared not
profess it publicly, because, if they did, the Burmans would kill them.
They proposed to worship God in secret, and, when questioned, to say that
they believed as the Burmans did; but, when told that if they became
Jesus Christ's followers they must give up lying and deceiving, they
said, "Well, then, we cannot be his disciples." They began to inquire
when Mr. Vinton was going to leave; and the answer was, "Not till I have
seen your prophet, if I have to stay here two months."

Several days passed, and still the prophet remained absent. All the
favorable indications disappeared, and the villagers seemed to have
determined that they would have nothing to do with the new religion if
they must come out and own Christ before the world. An excursion to some
of the neighboring villages, however, resulted in the conversion of a
chief and another man, who frequently visited Mr. Vinton at his boat.
They were so eager for instruction that they sometimes remained far into
the night, talking about God. They said, "We will worship God. If the
Burmans persecute us in one place, we will fly to another. If seized and
tortured, we will sooner die than deny the Saviour."

Yet still the prophet's followers continued to oppose so strongly, and
they showed such an evident desire to get rid of the whole party, that
Mr. Vinton's assistants began to urge him to return to Maulmain without
seeing the prophet.

To this, however, Mr. Vinton would not listen for a moment. He proposed,
instead, a day of fasting and prayer, that God would pour out his Spirit
upon the opposers of his truth, and turn their hearts unto himself. To
this the assistants cheerfully consented; and he says in his journal,--

"We are spending to-day in looking up to God for his blessing. Shall we
look in vain? My heart dies within me at the thought. O Thou who hast
never said to the seed of Jacob, 'Seek ye me in vain,' art thou not even
now inviting us to seek the Lord till he come and rain righteousness upon

The next day the indications still appeared unfavorable. Mr. Vinton

"The assistants, to a man, are disheartened, and wish to return. I told
them to-day I could not go yet, but they might if they wished. They held
a consultation, and all except two resolved to go.* We went up to the
village as usual to talk to the people, for no one will come to us; but
we could not obtain a hearing from a single person. If we went into their
houses, the people would vacate them, and leave us alone.

[Footnote: * One of these was Ko-chet-thaing, the first Karen Mr. Vinton
ever saw, and from whom he learned the language.]

"If we visited them at their work, they would either leave it, or remain
silent as dumb men. After sunset the gongs and drums began to beat; and
the cry was raised, 'Away! away to the pagoda to worship!' We went back
to the boat; but soon a messenger came, saying that the prophet had
returned, and would meet us at the pagoda.

"When introduced to him, his whole manner indicated, what I had
previously suspected, that he was afraid of me. I attacked him on all
sides, but he was very evasive. He consented to all that I urged, save to
give up his heathen practices, and, with his followers, to become openly
the servant of the living God. To this he said he did not dare do so, for
the Burmans would in that case put them all to death. He is a cunning,
artful fellow, and has undoubtedly consented to see me, merely to get rid
of us. When I told him it was the command of Christ to preach the gospel
to every creature, he adroitly replied, 'The people here have heard. Now
go and preach to those who have not heard.'

"Our interview closed with the most pressing invitation to leave the

One would think that by this time Mr. Vinton had done all that any one
could, and that he would have shaken the dust of that village from off
his feet, and gone his way; especially as the assistants came, and told
him that the rice was exhausted, and not a kernel could be purchased in
the prophet's village. But to their urgent entreaties Mr. Vinton
answered, "If we return now, nothing will be effected; and God has not
brought us here for nothing."

After a season of prayer, the assistants consented to remain one day

And now mark the providence of God. Not only was Mr. Vinton's presence
secretly undermining the prophet's influence, as will appear in the close
of this narrative, but in the villages in the immediate neighborhood of
the prophet's home the Spirit of God was preparing a work, the magnitude
of which at the time was not even suspected.

We have mentioned on page 42 the conversion of a chief and one follower.
In the afternoon of the "one day longer" he came to Mr. Vinton, bringing
three others with him, to hear more of the new religion. Mr. Vinton went
with them across the plain, the little distance which separated the boat
from their village, and they called all the inhabitants together.

During the rest of the afternoon and evening they listened to the
preaching of the word; and the entire company resolved at once to embrace
the truth, and serve Christ.

The chief said, "There are villages all around us in the mountains, which
have never heard the word of God. And now will you not go on, and tell
them the 'good news,' so that they, too, may believe and be saved?"

Mr. Vinton had not come prepared to stay over night, having brought no
bedding, and having even left his coat in the boat. The nights at that
season in the year were as chilly, among the mountains, as they are here
in October. However, the people pressed him so earnestly to remain with
them that night, and go to the other villages on the morrow, that he
consented. Let us give the account of the night in his own words:--

"I am here without shelter; still I am comfortably provided for. The
Karens have built a rousing fire, which they will keep burning all night,
by the side of which I shall in a few moments lay me down upon a fine new
mat, and cover me with a piece of new cloth direct from the loom. The
inquiry was made a moment ago, 'Has the teacher a pillow?'

"On finding me destitute, I was presented with a nice _bamboo_ (six or
seven inches in diameter), which, but for the quality of hardness, would
answer as good a purpose as I could desire. Still I hope to enjoy a
comfortable night's rest."

The night, however, was not to pass without interruption. At midnight the
chief and a number of villagers came over to the place where they were
sleeping, and woke them up, desiring to be told more about God and
heaven. They preached to them for two hours, and then they left the tired
missionary for a while. Before light, however, the chief came back, and
staid with them till they left. So much eagerness was shown to hear the
gospel, that Mr. Vinton promised to send a young man to become their
teacher. They, on their part, agreed to build a chapel, and take all the
care possible of the teacher who should be sent.

Urged by the chief, Mr. Vinton consented to visit some of the neighboring
villages. At the very next village, the head-man and all the principal
men said, "This is the long-lost law of our God. This is the true
religion. We will embrace it; and, if the teacher is willing, we will be
baptized on the spot." Three powerful chiefs in the same region promised
to build, each of them, a chapel, and support a teacher if Mr. Vinton
would send one.

Wherever he went, crowds followed, eager to hear the truth; and hundreds
were converted. Mr. Vinton says,--

"We have been brought in safety to this village. We had a most fatiguing
time, sometimes for hours being obliged to drag ourselves up the steep
ascent by laying hold of the bamboos which grew beside our path. We were
much exhausted on our arrival; but the villagers came together at once,
and after listening to us for a few hours they said, 'We will believe in
Jesus, and embrace him as our Saviour.' They then entered into the most
minute inquiries to learn how they, as the disciples of Christ, should
conduct themselves. These inquiries continued until a late hour. They
desired particularly to know how they should spend the Lord's Day, and
how they should pray.

"When the old men returned to the village, the young men remained to
sleep with us in the zayat. I could not sleep. My thoughts of God and
heaven were too sweet to admit of interruption. The zayat had no roof; so
I lay and gazed upon the stars, and thought of the wonderful majesty of
God, and the more wonderful grace which could stoop to save rebellious
man. The more I mused upon it, the more was I lost in contemplation of
the amazing theme. I could only repeat, 'God _so_ loved the world;' but
why, and how much, I could not tell. A little before light these sweet
thoughts were interrupted. The Karens had awakened from their slumber;
and each began saying to his companion, 'Pray to God;' when the other
would respond 'Pray;' and then was heard, in every part of the zayat, the
voice of prayer from those who were making their first petitions to the
living God."

But it is time to speak of the effect of Mr. Vinton's stay at the
prophet's village, and of this evangelistic work in the vicinity. It was
soon seen that the prophet's influence was being sensibly weakened. When
Mr. Vinton was on his return, he appointed a meeting at the foot of the
mountain, within sight of the prophet's village. Hither came great
numbers, many of whom were the converts of the night preaching of that
"one day longer" to which the assistants consented. They had remained
faithful; and their resolutions to serve God had gained strength,
although they were bitterly opposed by the prophet and his adherents. The
day was spent in the most interesting religious services, Ko-chet-thaing
being one of the preachers.


At the close of the day the chief said, "Well, the prophet has proved
himself a false prophet for once; for this morning he told us that last
night his _Kala_ [spirit] had gone and visited the white teacher, and
that he [the teacher] had gone to Maulmain."

Said Mr. Vinton, "As to his spirit visiting me, I know nothing about it.
As to my going to Maulmain, you can judge as well as I." At this instant
one of the prophet's principal adherents came up, when the chief attacked
him, to know what he thought of such a leader as the prophet.

"If," said the chief, "he did not know, why did he say such a thing? If
he did know, why did he lie so?" The poor man had not one word to offer
in vindication of the prophet, and the effect upon the by-standers was

Mr. Vinton's journal continues:--

"On reaching the boat, I found a noted chief from Siam awaiting me. There
was more of princely dignity and style about his person and attendants
than I ever saw before in a Karen; but he listened with great interest to
the story of the cross; and when I ceased speaking said, 'I have never
heard any thing about this religion before. Now, will you not come to my
country, and spend a long time, and teach me and the thousands of my
people, so that we may be saved?'

"I answered with a full heart, 'Yes! if my life is spared, I will come.'
I promised to send them a native teacher; and the chief, on his part,
promised to support him."

From this interesting interview, Mr. Vinton left the prophet's village,
and went to the central village of the territory, occupied by the
celebrated _Lakee_, one of the most powerful chiefs among the Karens, and
a most interesting character.

Mr. Vinton says of him,--

"He is the leading character among the Karens, and the only one who is
much respected by the Burmans. His influence is daily extending, and he
bids fair to be a kind of prince among them.

"He is a man of more mind than any Karen I have yet seen; boasts no royal
ancestry, but has risen to his present eminence upon his own merits. The
Karens from all parts of Burmah are flocking into this region to put
themselves under his jurisdiction; so that this may yet be the very heart
of the Karen world, and Lakee become a king.

"When I inquired of him what he thought of the Christian religion, he
answered, 'Your account of it is very good; but I have never seen any of
the foreign teachers before, and do not, therefore, know what credit to
give your statements. The prophet and other teachers have their pretended
revelations from God; but we have to take their word for it, for no one
can read or understand the revelation but themselves.'

"I then proposed to send him a man who should teach his people to read
the word of God for themselves. 'Yes, yes!' said he, interrupting me.
'That is it! Now the teacher's words hit my heart. Just send me a man
that shall teach the people to read; and, if what you say about the law
of God is true, we will embrace this religion at once, and all be
baptized together.'

"Had this expedition accomplished nothing but the arrangement for placing
these native assistants, I should feel that our labor had not been in
vain in the Lord; but hundreds have for the first time listened to the
preaching of the gospel, and the seed has been sown, which, with God's
blessing, will produce an abundant harvest."


"Not many lives, but only one, have we;
    One, only one:
How sacred should that one life ever be,
    That narrow span!
Day after day filled up with blessed toil,
Hour after hour still bringing in new spoil."

We have given, already, enough to indicate the untiring devotion and the
marvellous skill, which characterized Mr. Vinton's labors among the

His labors, however, were not confined to this people. He studied the
Burmese language, so that he might be able to preach to the Burmans when
opportunity offered. When confined to the city during the rains, when
travelling is impossible, we find him laboring among the English soldiers
in garrison, preaching and distributing tracts among the Burmese, and
pushing on the Karen translation of the New Testament, or writing his

Mrs. Vinton speaks, in a letter home, of his having distributed over
EIGHT THOUSAND TRACTS in six weeks; and his faithful labors among the
troops resulted in many conversions, not only among the common soldiery,
but among their officers as well.

[Illustration--PAGODA AT MAULMAIN.]

His deep piety, and absolute devotion to the work of saving souls of
whatever nationality, won for him during his life the respect and
admiration of all with whom he came in contact; even of men who honored
the man and missionary, though they hated his religion. Many such
contributed material aid, and afforded him assistance by kindly acts
which could not be purchased with gold.

One, a professed atheist, was a ship-owner. He often said to him, "Mr.
Vinton, I don't believe as you do, and it is no use for you to try and
make a Christian of me; but remember, you and your family are welcome to
a free passage on any of my ships at any time, and to any port; and my
house, either in Rangoon, or Maulmain, or Amherst, is always open to

These were no empty professions. On several occasions it was necessary
for both Mr. and Mrs. Vinton to avail themselves of his generosity; and
they found that his captains had received orders to show them every
courtesy, and to place the best of every thing on board at their

Mr. Vinton's genial, sunny disposition endeared him alike to the
ignorant, simple-minded Karens, and to the cultivated and sometimes
fastidious English officers, who had it in their power to aid him so
greatly in his work.

Credit has never been sufficiently given here, in America, to the
assistance which English residents have furnished to our missions and
missionaries. Much of our success, particularly in Burmah, has been due
to the moral as well as pecuniary support extended to the missionaries by
English civil and military officers.

Even the English government offers to any mission school what is called a
"grant-in-aid." This is a sum of money equal to the amount expended by
the school itself for educational purposes. The sums thus paid vary from
two hundred and fifty dollars to fifteen hundred dollars in different
schools. No restrictions are placed upon the schools receiving such aid,
save that they shall be open to the government director of education for

Mr. P. Hordern, who has been for the past ten years government director
in Burmah, is an enthusiastic admirer of the American school system, and
has given great encouragement to educational work in all our stations.

Thousands of dollars are also given by private individuals. These
donations are sent to the missionary in the most quiet, unostentatious
manner, generally with a request that the name of the donor may not be
mentioned. Grants of land for building purposes, exemption from taxation,
free medical attendance, and even a military or police guard in passing
through dangerous parts of the country--these, and a hundred other kindly
acts which an English officer has it in his power to perform, make his
friendship a desirable thing, however much some may affect to despise it.

No one ever had more opportunity of testing this than Mr. Vinton; though
Dr. Kincaid, Mrs. Ingalls, Dr. Binney, Dr. Mason, and others have
cheerfully borne testimony to the large-hearted liberality, the hearty
co-operation, the tender sympathy, and the unexpected help in time of
sickness or trial, which many of the English government officers have

We have referred to the material aid given. We may not omit speaking of
the earnest Christian life of many of these officers. Havelock was not a
phenomenal character. Hundreds of English officers in India have been
equally devoted and faithful. They are found to-day in every station,
from the lowest to the highest. When in 1853 Lord Dalhousie, the
governor-general, came to Rangoon, he was quite ill, yet he said to one
of his suite, "If I am able to see any one, it must be the American
missionaries." They were accordingly sent for, to have a personal
interview with him. He made many inquiries about the mission, and
expressed a deep interest in the work among the Karens. When Mr. Vinton
and Dr. Kincaid thanked him for the kindness which had been shown them by
his subordinate officers, he said quietly, "I am glad if they have done
their _duty_."

Let any one read that exquisite work, "Twelve Years of a Soldier's Life
in India," the record of one of the most daring soldiers that ever was
known in that land of daring men; the man who, with seventy-five native
troopers, took the princes of Delhi from the midst of an armed mob of
thousands of natives.

Yet this man was one of the most humble Christians in the army.

The 39th Regiment was known familiarly as "God Almighty's Own," from the
large number of pious men in it.

The roll of Christian officers includes some of the most distinguished
names in the history of the English dominion in India.

Sir Henry Lawrence; Sir Henry Havelock; Sir Herbert Edwards, famous in
the Punjaub; Gen. John Nicholson; Gen. Neill, bravest of the brave;
Hodson, the captor of the Delhi princes; D'Arcy Todd, killed at the head
of his men at Ferozeshahar, and whose last entry in his journal was that
he only wished to live that the love of Christ might prepare him to leave
this world; Arthur Conolly, lovely and beloved, who fell a martyr at
Bokhara; Gen. James Bell, whose tender offices of kindness have so often
comforted the hearts of our missionaries in Burmah; Gen. Sir David
Russell, who last year gave sixteen thousand rupees to the Rangoon
mission,--these are a few only of the many names of the Lord's dear
children who have in former years been the most faithful supporters of
missions in India.

Their places are vacant now. Many hearts in India have been saddened as
death has called them, or as the burden of years of arduous service has
sent them home to England; but in their stead others are arising; and
some of the brightest spots in a missionary's life are illumined by the
light of that Christian love which has been shown by these devoted
servants of God.

We have spoken of Mr. Vinton's sunny disposition. It was a family trait;
and Mrs. Vinton, herself naturally inclined to despondency, was
accustomed to say, "A Vinton never can see trouble ahead." She would
sometimes illustrate this persistent determination to look on the bright
side, by describing a scene, which, no doubt, had more than once

"Mr. Vinton and Miranda, his sister, would plan an expedition on
horseback. I would say, 'Why, it is no use sending for the ponies: it is
just going to rain.'

"'Oh, no!' Miranda would say: 'look at that blue sky,' pointing to a
little break in the clouds, away in precisely the opposite direction from
that from which the storm was approaching. I would lead her around to the
other side of the house, and show her the heavy black clouds coming up
from the south-west, boding a perfect downfall. 'Yes, yes!' she would
say: 'that looks like rain by and by, but there is time enough for us to
get our ride before the storm. Besides, it may all blow over. What do you
think, brother?'--'Oh, yes! we'll go, by all means. It doesn't look near
so black as it did. Put on your habit, and we'll be off and home again
before it rains.' Before the riding-habit could be donned, the wind would
be blowing a hurricane, and the rain coming down in torrents; but those
two would appear as unconcerned as if it were all a part of their plan.
If I said, 'You see I was right about the rain,' Mr. Vinton would answer,
'Yes, my dear, you are always right; but wait a moment. This storm will
be over soon, and then our ride will be all the more pleasant for the
rain.' Yet I could see that it had set in for a heavy pour which would
last all night. The only satisfaction I ever received was, 'Well,
Miranda, it will be all the brighter to-morrow, and we will take a longer
ride then.'"

This scene may seem, to those who did not know Mr. Vinton, somewhat
exaggerated; but it is not overdrawn in the slightest. Indeed, it might
almost be a parable of the man's life. The "rainy days" which came into
his life have only made the morrow of eternity the brighter.

Mrs. Vinton found this hopefulness and buoyancy of disposition in her
husband a great source of strength in her many hours of despondency and
discouragement. Many times did she go to her husband's study utterly
dispirited, seeing nothing but difficulty and possible failure in the
future; but in the sunshine of his happy spirit all the clouds were
driven away, and she went back to her work feeling that after all, there
was something yet worth living for.

Sometimes, when worn out with her unceasing labors, and suffering from
the depressing effects of the climate, she would imagine that that curse
of India, _disease of the liver_, had made her its victim; and after
putting the clothing of the household in order, and generally settling
affairs, she would go to her husband to "talk it over" with him, and
arrange for the future in the event of her death. He, however, would
laughingly say, "My dear, it is not your liver that is affected: it is
your _brain_. Depend upon it, the trouble is there."

This may sound heartless; but no one who knew the great tenderness of his
heart could for one moment believe him capable of want of sympathy. Mrs.
Vinton has said that it was the truest kindness to turn her thoughts away
from her own feelings; and she would come out of his study laughing, and
saying, "Well, it is scarcely worth while to arrange for my funeral just

When she would go to him in tears over some act of unkindness or
ingratitude, his only reply was, "Be above it, my dear; be above it! If
you take any notice of it whatever, you only lower yourself to a level
with those who have injured you. Be above it!"

Thus, amid encouragement and discouragement, his sunny cheerfulness and
faith in God supported him amid labors and trials which would have broken
down a less buoyant constitution. He obeyed literally the injunction,
"Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, Rejoice."


During the period between 1834 and 1848, Mr. Vinton's labors were
confined to the Maulmain district, with the exception of occasional
journeys into Rangoon and Tavoy.

It is beyond the scope of these personal memoirs to give a detail of
these labors. The results may be found briefly summed up in the records
of the mission, and in the statistics of the Maulmain Karen mission for

In September, 1841, the sister Miranda, already alluded to, joined her
brother on the mission field. She was then only twenty-two years of age.
For seven years she had hoped and prayed that God would send her to
Burmah; and it was "the happiest day of her life" when she found herself
by her brother's side in Maulmain. She at once engaged in the work of
teaching, for which she showed marked talent.

She acquired the language from constant communion with the natives, and
continued to use it throughout her life with marked fluency and
correctness of idiom. The exceeding sweetness of her disposition endeared
her to all. Indeed, she was one of the few in this world who are so
blessed as to avoid all carping criticism, and to escape the sting of
venomous tongues.

To both Mr. and Mrs. Vinton, her presence, as well as the assistance she
rendered, was an unspeakable comfort and joy. During the next twelve
years of varied experience, of patient seed-sowing and triumphant
harvesting, "Sister Miranda," as the whole mission called her, was the
light and joy of the house, a constant benediction from on high.

Of her life and labors we will let those speak who knew her well, and
loved her dearly. Mrs. Dr. Binney and Mrs. Dr. Stevens have kindly
furnished reminiscences which will be found at the close of this volume.

To Mr. and Mrs. Vinton three children had been born,--Justus Brainerd in
April, 1840; Calista in September, 1841; and Harvey Howard in 1846. In
1847 Mrs. Vinton's health failed completely, and it was thought best for
her to return to America. The necessity of rest for Mr. Vinton was also
apparent; and, besides, it was deemed advisable to have him return in
order to try to awaken anew the missionary spirit and consecration of our

They set sail in "The Ocean Queen," from Maulmain for the Cape, in the
latter part of 1847. The voyage to the Cape of Good Hope was perilous;
and in Table Bay the ship was saved from going ashore on Robin Island
only when every cable had parted save one.

At Cape Town the Vintons remained for several months, waiting for a
vessel in which they could obtain passage to America. Here Harvey, the
youngest child, sickened and died; and the afflicted parents made his
grave in that strange land.

They obtained passage finally in the ship "William Shaler," and landed in
Boston early in 1848, after fourteen years' absence from home.


    "Such let my life be here,
Not marked by noise, but by success alone;
Not known by bustle, but by useful deeds;
Quiet and gentle, clear and fair as light,
Yet full of its all-penetrating power,
Its silent but resistless influence;
Making no needless sound, yet ever working,
Hour after hour, upon a needy world!"

The missionary spirit of the American Baptist churches in 1848 was at a
low ebb. The first enthusiasm of the mission effort had passed away. Dr.
Judson's return in 1844 had revived old memories, and to some extent
increased the contributions; yet in 1846 the income of the Missionary
Union was so small, that the Board were forced to debate as to _which of
their missions they would relinquish_. The society was forty thousand
dollars in debt, and the deficit was increasing yearly.

It was necessary, therefore, that Mr. Vinton should spend most of his
time in visiting the churches, and striving to persuade their members to
do from enthusiasm what they should have done from motives of duty.

He was accompanied in these journeys by two young Karens, Myah A and Kone
Lowk, whom he had brought with him to this country to assist him in
translating the Bible into Karen.

Mr. Vinton's own enthusiasm was contagious. His fine presence, remarkable
ability as a public speaker, and his sweet singing, all contributed to
deepen the impression which his earnest words had produced. His singing
of "Rock of Ages" both in Karen and in English, and "The Missionary's
Call," which latter we print, will never be forgotten by those who heard
it. The result of his labors was soon seen in the re-awakening of a
mission spirit in the churches, and in the designation of new
missionaries to the Asiatic missions.

Meanwhile Mrs. Vinton, who was still very ill when she arrived in the
country, was endeavoring to _rest_ in her own peculiar way. Though for
most of the time an invalid, yet by holding receptions in her sick-room,
or by taking advantage of her well days for holding "mothers' meetings"
or "conversation gatherings," she managed to do a wonderful work, the
results of which are constantly appearing in the after-history of the

[Illustration--THE FIVE-FRANC PIECE.]

[Illustration--THE FIVE-FRANC PIECE (Continued).]

It was while she was thus "resting" at the home of Deacon Granger at
Suffield, Conn., that the little five-franc piece, which grew to be a
chapel, began its labor of love.

There was living at Suffield a lady by the name of Mary Ann Bestor. She
was quite poor. A five-franc piece had been given her, with which to
purchase a warm dress for winter; but, desiring to contribute something
to the cause of missions, she argued in this way: "This money is my own.
If I choose to go without the dress, and give the money to the Lord, it
is my privilege to do so." Still she was so fearful that it would become
known, and she be blamed for giving from the depths of her poverty, that
she concealed the money in the toe of one of a pair of stockings which
she had knit, and, handing them to Myah A, who had visited her, told him
to give them to Mrs. Vinton, and tell her that the _contents of the toe_
were for the heathen.

When Mrs. Vinton learned how poor the donor was, and that she was
depriving herself of a warm dress thus to give, her heart was touched,
and she said, "This is holy money, and must not go into the general

That evening, on mentioning it to a friend (believed to have been Deacon
Roberts of Hartford), he said, "It is cold weather: Frankie should have a
wrapper;" and he handed her a ten-dollar bill, which she wrapped around
the five-franc piece "to keep him warm." The next day another ten-dollar
bill was given by Deacon Day of Hartford, "to buy Frankie an overcoat, as
the weather had grown colder." Mrs. Henry P. Kent of Suffield, hearing of
the circumstance, said, "These are stinging nights to sleep alone:
Frankie must have a bedfellow;" and a five-dollar gold piece was laid by
his side.*

[Footnote: * We are glad to say that the "warm dress" for Miss Bestor was
also forthcoming.]

Mrs. Vinton then said, "If Frankie had a few more wrappers, I would send
him to Boston to buy some Bibles for our Karens." So she wrote out
"Frankie's" history, and sent it to Dr. Ives, saying, "Are there not some
of your members who will clothe Frankie suitably for a journey to the
city? He has a good coat and overcoat, but he sadly wants other articles
of clothing."

Dr. Ives keenly appreciated the wit of the letter, and as keenly
sympathized with the missionary spirit that lay beneath the wit. So he
read the letter from the pulpit at a Sunday-morning service. Thirty
dollars was at once subscribed to "purchase Frankie suitable clothes."
The amount, in bank-bills, was handed to Mrs. Vinton; and she sent off
"Frankie" to Boston, at the same time writing his history to the
publisher from whom the Bibles were bought.

He returned "Frankie" to Mrs. Vinton, and with him so many of his
wrappers and coats, etc., that she said, "I will send him to Philadelphia,
to Dr. Jayne, to buy a box of medicines for our Karens." The medicines
were purchased, and yet "Frankie" was still sent back to Mrs. Vinton,
with a facetious message from Dr. Jayne.

Mrs. Vinton said, "Now I'll take him to Mrs. Thompson, and let him buy
some _eye-water_ for our poor Karens, who suffer so much from the glare
of the sun." But Mrs. Thompson said, "I have been expecting you, and the
box is already packed and waiting for you; but, bless you! I don't want
any of Frankie's wraps. It is too cold weather to strip a little fellow
like that."

Mrs. Vinton then said, "This money always comes back to me. It is evident
that I have not yet found its true mission; but it shall yet do a good
work for Burmah."

Just at this time Mr. Vinton returned from a tour among the churches, and
she told him "Frankie's" story. He said, after hearing it, "I too have
had a donation which has touched my heart. At Norwich, a Mrs. Chapell
came to me, and tearfully said, handing me a little roll of money, 'This
belonged to my poor boy. I cannot put it into the general fund; but will
you, Mr. Vinton, take it, and apply it to some special purpose?'"

Mrs. Vinton at once said, "That, too, is holy money. It will do to go
with my Frankie;" and, struck with the coincidence of the names and of
the thought which had been for years in her mind, she exclaimed,--

"This money shall build a house for the Lord in Burmah, and it shall be
called _Frank's Chapel._"

The story with its singular incidents was repeated by one and another;
and Mrs. Vinton's purpose was freely spoken of, though, we believe never
put into print.

Money soon began to flow in from many sources, designated for "Frank's
Chapel." After a few months Mrs. Vinton visited Philadelphia. Here some
friends said, "We often visit Burmah in imagination; and when we reach
there we are tired enough to sit down. May we not _rent pews_ in Frank's

"Certainly," was the reply. So a plan of a church was drawn, and as fast
as sittings were taken, the names of the pew-holders were written upon

Ministers who contributed had their names written on the platform. The
enthusiasm became general in Philadelphia churches; and soon nearly all
the seats were taken, and a convenient communion-service was presented.

From Philadelphia Mrs. Vinton went to Cincinnati, O. The people there
said to her, "Why! you have rented all your pews, and we Western people
are crowded out." So they drew a larger plan, and transferred the Eastern
names to it, and began renting pews themselves.

All through the West this same enthusiasm prevailed.

In Cincinnati the Odd Fellows presented a large and beautifully bound
pulpit Bible, with a suitable inscription.

A fine-toned bell was presented in one place, pulpit-lamps in another,
and a communion-table in a third; and until her departure from this
country Mrs. Vinton received contributions for the building-fund.

In July, 1850, the Missionary Union sent out one of the largest companies
of missionaries which ever sailed from these shores. The company
comprised fourteen missionaries, Dr. and Mrs. Wade, Dr. and Mrs. Kincaid,
Dr. and Mrs. Ward (of Assam), Mr. and Mrs. Whiting, Dr. Dawson (medical
missionary), Miss Shaw, Mr. and Mrs. Vinton, Mr. and Mrs. Bronson. They
embarked in "The Washington Allston." By the time they reached the Cape
of Good Hope, Mrs. Vinton and Mrs. Kincaid had become so exhausted by the
fearful hardships of the voyage in an ill-found ship, that they left the
ship, and took passage (together with Dr. Kincaid) on the English ship
"Tudor," for Calcutta. The voyage to Cape Town occupied eighty-nine days,
and was a scene of continued suffering. From Cape Town to Calcutta the
voyage on "The Tudor" occupied only sixty-eight days, and was an
exceedingly pleasant contrast to that which preceded it. Mr. Vinton
remained on "The Allston" until the voyage was completed, though he
suffered severely from sickness, and landed in Maulmain in an enfeebled
state, from which it was months ere he recovered. But we must not dwell
upon these sad occurrences. There is much that is pleasant which may well
occupy our attention.

No sooner had Mrs. Vinton spoken, in Maulmain, of her desire to build
"Frank's Chapel," than she found all the friends of the mission just as
ready to aid in the work as had been the brethren in America. The English
friends joined with the Karens in their desire to contribute, and soon a
goodly sum of money was collected. Some of these contributions were
accompanied with facetious messages, as were the American ones. An
English officer sends two hundred rupees with the message, "In America
they gave money to keep Frankie warm: in view of the high state of the
thermometer, I send this to keep him cool." Another sends one hundred
rupees "for legs for Frankie to stand on," alluding to the custom of
building houses on posts in Burmah. One officer alone (Gen. Russell) gave
one thousand rupees.

Mrs. Vinton supposed herself on the point of realizing her wish,--which
was to build the chapel at the Karen mission-compound in Maulmain (which
was called "Newton"),--when unexpected difficulties occurred. She did not
know then that these "difficulties" were all part of God's plan.

The Lord was about to open at last the Pegu provinces to the gospel of
Christ; and Rangoon, instead of Maulmain, was to become the centre of
mission effort in Burmah, and the field where the Vintons were henceforth
to labor, where they were to reap even more abundantly than they had ever
yet done, and where they were to die and to be buried.


"Go, labor on: your hands are weak,
    Your knees are faint, your soul cast down;
Yet falter not: the prize you seek
    Is near,--a kingdom and a crown!

"Men die in darkness at your side,
    Without a hope to cheer the tomb;
Take up the torch, and wave it wide,--
    The torch that lights time's thickest gloom."

Mr. Vinton had made frequent journeys into the Rangoon district between
the years 1836 and 1847; and he had baptized many who had joyfully
accepted of Christ, even though they knew that stripes, imprisonments,
and perhaps death, awaited them if their idolatrous rulers discovered
that they were "Jesus Christ's men."

Ko-tha-byu and Mr. Abbott had sowed good seed among the Rangoon Karens;
and, in spite of opposition, little churches had sprung up in many

Almost every year Mrs. Vinton had pupils in her school in Maulmain, who
had come over two hundred miles, threading the forests by night, not
daring to travel by day, for the sake of learning to read God's word in
their own language. This desire to read "God's word," by the way, was a
remarkable characteristic of the Karens; and it was this which was the
secret of those educational movements which were so misunderstood, not to
say misrepresented, in America. It took American Christians thirty years
to learn that a Karen would not take his knowledge of the gospel at
second hand, but insisted upon his right to be taught by missionary
schools to read in his own tongue "the long-lost law of his God."

When the pupils who came through so many dangers to obtain this coveted
knowledge returned to their homes at the close of the rainy season, they
carried with them, secreted in their turbans, a copy of the Gospels or of
the Epistles. They knew, that, if found in possession of the "white man's
book," a certain and cruel death awaited them at the hands of their
Burman oppressors.

Truly "they counted not their lives dear unto them," that they might
possess God's truth.

The unwritten, and, alas! now never to be written, martyrology of those
years of woe, has furnished the names of many who were sent to terrible
death for this cause, while others were tortured to the extreme verge of
endurance, yet were faithful to their God. Yet, while these dark scenes
were occurring in the Karen jungles, American Christians were
generalizing in annual meetings upon the exact status of the missionary
and his wife, and gravely doubting whether he was not assuming altogether
too much _responsibility_.*

[Footnote: * I shall never forget the thrill with which I listened to the
recital, by an aged Christian of the Rangoon district, of the terrible
torture which he had himself endured, and which he had witnessed, during
these dark years.--R. M. Luther.]

The portions of Scripture thus carried back by the pupils were secreted
in the earth during the day; but at night, while a guard stood around the
house to give warning of approaching danger, they were drawn from their
hiding-places, and read to eager listeners.

How sweetly did the message of salvation fall upon the still night air!
and how consoling to those poor despised "Karen dogs,"--as the Burmans
were wont to call them,--to learn that God had remembered the Karens, and
sent them back the long-lost law of their God! How gladly did they hear
of a redemption purchased not with silver and gold, but with the precious
blood of Christ! and what wonder that these same Rangoon Karens went
cheerfully to prison, to slavery, to torture, to death, even the death of
the cross?

One day Mrs. Vinton, in Maulmain, was startled by the inquiry, "Mamma, is
it wrong to pray for war?" Such a question from the peace-loving,
submissive Karens, was astounding.

"Why?" was the cautious reply.

"Because we are tired of being hunted like wild beasts; of being obliged
to worship God by night and in the forest, not daring to speak of Jesus,
save in a whisper. O mamma! may we not pray that the English may come and
take our country, so that we may worship God in freedom and without

"Yes, you may!" she answered; and from that day that one petition made a
part of every prayer which went up from the hundreds of persecuted
Christians; and they looked for the coming of the English guns, and for
the protection which the English flag had ever brought with it, as
earnestly as they had looked for the coming of their "younger brother,
the white man."

In 1852 the English government, weary with the repeated outrages upon
English residents in the Burmese dominions, sent an armed vessel from
Calcutta to Rangoon to inquire into the causes of complaint, and to
demand redress from the Burmese governor.

At that time the annexation of the country had not been thought of by the
English government. They had not come prepared for war: all that was
demanded was, that an equivalent for certain confiscated property of
English residents should be paid, and a guaranty given that in future the
foreign residents should be unmolested, and the provisions of the treaty
of 1827 should be observed.

Great was the joy of the Karens when the news spread that the English had
come; and earnest prayers were offered that God would blind the Burmans
to their own interests, and prevent them from acceding to the very
reasonable demands of the English. What was their dismay when told that
the steamer had gone quietly out of Rangoon harbor without firing a gun,
and that they were still left under the iron heel of their oppressors!

But the little "Sesostris" came back one day,--not alone, however. There
were "The Fox," "The Duchess of Argyle," "The Nemesis" (well-named, this
latter vessel, for she had come as the avenger of a long list of black
crimes against humanity).

Had we stood on the old pier at Rangoon, and seen two or three
poorly-clad natives, with passive faces, gazing off into the stream,
where lay anchored a portion of the "Majesty of England," we would have
supposed that of all Rangoon they cared least for the grave political
problems which had been perplexing two governments.

But had we seen the same men, stealing quietly out of the city at
nightfall, passing stealthily under the shadow of the mighty Shway
Da-gong, and plunging into the trackless jungle which lay behind the
great pagoda, hastening to the first Karen village, and arousing the head
men,--then passing rapidly by paths known only to themselves, and warning
the scattered hamlets along the Pegu Yomah Mountains,--we would have
realized the truth that an oppressed people were about to be delivered,
and that the coming of the English fleet was recognized as the answer to
a nation's prayer.

So soon as the ultimatum of the English authorities in Calcutta--the
Governor-general and Council of the East India Company--was received by
the Burmans, preparations were made for resistance. The old
fortifications in the vicinity of Rangoon had fallen into disrepair; but
the Burmans began rebuilding the immense stockade around Shway Da-gong,
and erecting batteries at various points on the river-bank, and on the
crests of the low hills near the city.

As in former wars, the Karens were compelled to leave their homes to work
on the fortifications, to build bridges, and to cut roads through the
pathless forest, and were even driven at the point of the spear into the
ranks to fight against their deliverers. The Burmans, however, soon found
that it was no use to attempt to make the Karens fight. Not a bullet from
a Karen musket ever reached the English ranks. The Karens either fired
into the air, and deserted in a body to the enemy, or else fell, pierced
by the bullets of the men for whose coming they had so earnestly prayed.*

[Footnote * After one of the skirmishes in front of Rangoon, the English
troops sent out to bury the dead found a number of Karens among the
killed. Upon their breasts were found copies of the Gospels, or fragments
of the Epistles, revealing the fact that they were Christians.]

Before hostilities began, the Burmans made light of the coming of the
English. They would whet their knives before the Karens, and perform
their war-dances, and say, "We will soon drive these pale-faces back into
the sea whence they came. They have no strength, and one Burman can drive
a hundred of the coward red-coats. They took Rangoon once before, but
they gave it up again. You will soon see their ships returning, or else
sunk deep in the river; and then we will make these Karen dogs feel our
vengeance. They want the English to come; and, when we have driven their
white friends forever from the country, we will attend to them. We will
flay them alive, roast them over slow fires, and none shall deliver them
out of our hands."

They talked loudly, but ran away at the first fire, save when they were
sheltered by stockades or the curiously shaped pits in which they
intrenched themselves. After some of the fights dead gunners were found
chained to the guns, a happy expedient to keep them from deserting in
action. One post after another fell before the English, one hastily
gathered army after another was defeated, and successive generals were
beheaded "_pour encourager les autres;_" but the only effect on the
Burmans was to increase their rage against the Karens, whom they regarded
as the cause of all their misfortunes.

They burned their villages and standing crops; they pounded the children
to death in rice-mortars, or threw them into the air, and caught them, as
they fell, upon spears; they tied women to the horns of buffaloes, and
tore them limb from limb; they cut men to pieces, slowly hacking them to
death through successive days. They even, with devilish ingenuity,
crucified some Christian Karens, and, fastening the crosses on rafts, set
them adrift upon the river, that they might be tortured in their
intolerable thirst by the sight of the cooling stream. Some of these
unfortunates drifted down to the English fleet before death put an end to
their sufferings. English surgeons did all that was possible to save
them, but in vain.

Tidings of these intolerable sufferings soon reached Maulmain; and Mr.
Vinton, yielding alike to the agonizing cry of the seventeen Karen
churches in Rangoon, the beseeching of Eugenio Kincaid, and the unanimous
solicitations of the missionaries in Maulmain, went at once to Rangoon.
Had he waited the six months which would have been necessary to refer the
call of the Rangoon Karens to the Board of the Missionary Union in
Boston, and to have received their formal authorization of his transfer,
he would have escaped the condemnation of those who afterward blamed him
for having "acted on his own responsibility;" but what was the man to do?

More than this: four months previous a joint letter, signed by Eugenio
Kincaid, Dr. Dawson, and Mr. Vinton, had been sent to Boston to the
Missionary Union, urging the vital importance of Mr. Vinton's remaining
in Rangoon, where he was then on a hurried visit in company with his
sister, the devoted Miranda Vinton. This was before hostilities began.
If, in the judgment of such a man as Dr. Kincaid, it was necessary that
Mr. Vinton should take up his residence in Rangoon at that date, how much
more was this necessary when the poor Karen Christians were being rent
and torn, and when according to Mr. Kincaid's published letter of April,
1857, "three _native preachers had already been crucified_, and five
thousand refugee Karens were living in carts and under trees within seven
miles of Rangoon, while all the strong, efficient men were from ten to
fifteen miles farther inland, holding the Burman forces in check!"*

[Footnote: * E. Kincaid, D.D., April, 1857. He says also, in the same
letter, "Every Karen village within fifty miles of Rangoon was burned,
and their stores of rice either seized or destroyed."]

When Mr. Vinton arrived in Rangoon, he found the Burmese part of the city
in ruins. The wells and tanks were choked with dead bodies. Under the
ruins of each native house was to be seen a deep pit. These had been
prepared as hiding-places for the women and children during the
bombardment. When the city was set on fire by the shells, the sight of
shrieking women and children rushing through the flames was described by
the survivors as horrible in the extreme.

Mr. Vinton and Mr. Kincaid obtained permission to occupy two deserted
monasteries inside of the stockade; and, six weeks after the capture of
the city, their families came over from Maulmain.

As soon as it was rumored abroad that "Teacher Vinton" had come, the
refugees who bad been driven from their burning homes, with nothing but
the clothes they wore, and who had been living secreted in the forests
and jungles, subsisting upon roots and herbs and what game they could
trap, came crowding into the city.

[Illustration--A BURMAN ZAYAT.]

They filled the monasteries in which the Vintons were, and camped out
under the trees on the slope in front of Shway Dagong.

They brought with them almost every imaginable disease; and the cases of
small-pox increased in number so rapidly, that it soon became necessary
for Mr. Vinton to build a hospital for them. With the self-forgetfulness
so characteristic of both himself and wife, this hospital was placed
close to their own house, "_so that we could better care for the cases
which needed us most,_" Mrs. Vinton simply said. Her first duty in the
morning was to make the rounds of the various buildings and shelters,
administering medicine to the sick, consolation to the bereaved, and
infusing new courage into the hearts of the poor, homeless, dispirited
creatures who looked on her as an angel of deliverance.

A letter written at this time to friends in Woodstock, Conn., will give a
better idea of the scenes of this sad time than any description of

"Let me introduce to you a few of my suffering family.

"In the next room to us lies Lai-nyo, he and his family all sick with
measles. He has been employed in our Maulmain mission for several years;
and, as both he and his wife were educated under our care, they seem to
us like our own children.

"They must have something to eat and some medicine when we come back; but
we must now step into another building, about ten feet from the corner of
our house.

"There, nearest the door, lies a poor woman sick with small-pox. She is
one of four thousand refugees who have been driven from their homes, and
have been hiding in the jungle, sleeping on the ground, exposed to the
burning heat by day and the dews by night, for three or four months. When
she found she was taken with this dreadful disease, she said, 'Carry me
to _the woman_. I will die with her, if I am to die; and, if I get well,
I will get well with her.'

"She was brought in five or six days ago; but, poor thing! she will soon
be where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.
Behind her lie her two daughters, ill with the same disease; but they
have youth on their side, and may recover. The husband and father helped
to bring them in, but had to return at once to the encampment to take
care of another daughter who was too ill to be moved.

"There in the corner lies one of our most promising theological students.
He was taken with small-pox at Kemmendine, and brought in ten days ago. A
few hours after he reached us he heard that his mother and grandmother
had been seized by the Burmans, and most cruelly put to death, some say

"But let us go and speak to him. Perhaps you never saw one sick with
small-pox. If not, make up your mind to see suffering. As we pull up the
curtains which are over him to keep the flies off,--oh, what a stench! A
mass of corruption from head to foot! There is not a place as large as
the hand which is not one running sore. The doctor says he cannot live.
About two hours ago I came out here to urge him to take some food.

"I said, 'What will you have?'

"'Nothing,' was the reply.

"'But I have some nice sago and arrowroot; or, if you prefer, I will get
you a cup of tea and some bread.'

"'No, no: I want neither.'

"'How is your mind?'

"'Happy, happy!'

"'What is your chief desire?'

"'To get well, and preach the gospel; but all will be right now. If I
die, I will go directly to Jesus. If I live, I will serve him here.'

"'Is your heart steadfastly fixed on God?'

"'_It is all peace_,' is the answer. Yes, precious soul, all is peace
within, notwithstanding this loathsome exterior. Jesus is here, the hope
of glory. If there are missionary trials, there are also missionary joys;
and what can exceed the joy of seeing a soul like this pluming its wings
for heaven! True, we are loath to part with him. We need him to preach
the gospel to his countrymen throughout the jungle. Our only ordained
preacher is dead, and the last two of the assistants, and now we must
part with meek and lovely Pah-yah.

"Well, we will go on to the girls' boarding-house. It is a poor, rickety
thing. You must stoop to get under the low eaves, and then take a high
step to reach the floor.

"Just by the door lies a whole family of refugees, sick with the measles,
and one has whooping-cough super-added. The father can just sit up, and
lean his back against a post. He is watching his wife, who is suffering
for want of breath.

"The measles have struck in upon her lungs, and she cannot live many
hours. Her babe lies crying by her side, sick for want of food and care;
for its mother has not been able to nurse it for two days.

"Next to her lies the one having both measles and whooping-cough. In the
corner lies the oldest son, just recovering from measles; but he is
suffering from ophthalmia, and is almost stone-blind.

"Another daughter lies in the next room, sick with dysentery, yet crying
for a plantain. Near her is a widow, whose husband has just died with
cholera, leaving her with four little children. They have all had the
measles and small-pox, and are wasted to mere skeletons.

"On beyond are several houses yet unvisited; but I spare you. You are not
yet accustomed to so much suffering, and you shudder at it."

After speaking at some length of the reception that same day of a box of
clothing from the ladies to whom she was writing, and after thanking them
for their generous gifts, she says:--

"_Evening._--We are seated around the table with brother Kincaid and
family. The opening of a box from America is a matter of so much
rejoicing that we have to call in our neighbors to be glad with us. But,
alas! where is rejoicing? One has come in to tell us that the poor
woman's freed spirit has soared above. After tea we open a bundle of
precious books from America. We read and talk of home. Our feelings are
tender; but another messenger comes to tell us that the other woman has
ceased to breathe, and her child cannot live long; also that Pah-yah
cannot speak.

"Mr. Vinton hastens out to him, but he is insensible. We separate for the
night with sad hearts.

"_Sunday morning._--The sun has risen, bright and cheerful, but, alas!
its cheerful light falls on sad faces.

"About midnight Pah-yah became stronger, called his friends around him,
and said, 'Let me serve God until the last moment.'

"He then gave directions about his funeral, how he wished to be bathed,
laid out in clean clothes, and buried.

"'And now,' said he, 'let us pray.' As the prayer ceased, he was asleep
in Jesus. Oh, what a happy sabbath to him!

"He has met a martyred mother and grandmother in the presence of the

"The child also died in the night, and all four are to be buried to-day.

"_Tuesday._--Lai-nyo's child died to-day, and we have just buried it. It
seemed like a grandchild to me, but it has gone to sleep on Jesus'
breast. While at breakfast this morning, we saw a man carried by the door
to the hospital. It is a bad case, and somewhat advanced, and I fear will
result fatally; but we must try and smooth his pathway to the grave.

"Every account from the jungles is one of suffering and sorrow. Our
feelings are continually lacerated by the tales of how the Burmans are
robbing, plundering, burning, and destroying the whole country. The
Karens are truly in the furnace of affliction, _but our Father guides._"

The foregoing gives a little glimpse of a part, and but a small part, of
the Vintons' labors during the first year of their residence in Rangoon.
Mrs. Vinton had a large school of some two hundred pupils during most of
this time. In it were gathered old men and women for whom spectacles had
to be purchased, mothers with babes in their arms, fathers and sons
sitting on the same bench, learning to read the word of God; and all
listened to the message of salvation with all the more readiness, because
it came from those who had proved their sincerity by feeding the hungry,
sheltering the homeless, caring for the sick and dying, and providing for
the orphan and widow.

Not a Sunday passed without baptisms. Scarcely a day but what companies
came in from the jungles, some for books and medicine, many for advice
and consolation; and to all was the gospel preached in faithfulness. That
was a glorious harvest-time; and though they had never worked so hard, or
passed through such soul-harrowing scenes, literally weeping with those
who wept until they almost forgot how to smile or be glad, yet Mr. Vinton
in after-years often said, "I would go through it all again for the joy
of seeing souls come flocking into the kingdom, and for the opportunities
we then had of doing good."

Dr. Kincaid, in a letter written about the same time, and published in
1857, says:--

"The Lord rolled on us an amount of labor never known by us before. The
peoples' hearts were softened like wax. The arm of the Lord was made
bare, and the gospel wrought mightily upon the people. We had Pencostal
seasons almost every week, preaching daily and every evening, male and
female prayer-meetings every week, baptizing converts every sabbath,
hundreds cured of diseases.

"During the rains two hundred and fifty Karens learned to read the word
of God, who could not read before. Over thirty young men received
biblical instruction preparatory to labor in the distant villages, some
as preachers, some as school-teachers.

"Such was our work, but not all. Thousands were suffering in all parts of
the country; and they could go nowhere for advice and sympathy except to
us, their teachers. No others could understand their language; no others
could feel for them. Before the rains were over, a new Burmese army,
under the command of the king's father-in-law, and numbering fifteen
thousand strong, had fortified themselves in Pegu. Detachments of three
or four hundred in a body were ravaging the country. . . . Many disciples
had fallen by the cruel dagger of the Burman, or had been sold into
slavery. . . . Some five thousand families living in carts had come
within eight miles of Rangoon to escape from the Burmans. . . . We
visited these refugees in the wilderness. We found large numbers of our
disciples, and their thankfulness to see us and hear us was deeply

"They asked Mr. Vinton to sing and pray with them. Such an assembly is
rarely seen."

Steadily did the little English army advance, taking town after town and
fort after fort, all the time offering to treat with their proud and
scornful enemies whenever they should show any desire to come to terms.

It was not, however, until Ava, the "City of the Golden Foot," was
threatened, that the king would yield. A treaty was made, and peace
proclaimed; but it was long ere peace came to the harassed and persecuted
Karens. Indeed, it seemed for a time as if matters were worse than during
the war; for detachments of the disbanded Burman army were flying in
every direction; and wherever they went they left nothing behind them but
smoking villages and mutilated bodies of the dead. In the vicinity of
Rangoon, robberies and murders were of nightly occurrence.

Shortly after peace was declared, it became necessary for the Vintons to
leave the ruined old monastery which had so far sheltered them; and they
moved to a beautiful spot two miles from the stockade, where Mr. Vinton
commenced putting up buildings for the accommodation of his family and of
the large school which followed him to his new home.

The removal was necessitated by an order from the English government,
compelling the vacating of all the religious buildings which had been
occupied during the war.

With the increased accommodation Mrs. Vinton's school increased in
numbers; and she soon had competent teachers trained, not only to lighten
her own daily labors, but to take charge of the village schools which
were springing up wherever the country was sufficiently quiet for the
Karens to return to their homes.

Great anxiety was expressed by the English friends of the mission at its
removal so far from the fort as to Kemmendine; and fears were freely
expressed that they would all be found murdered in their beds: but the
"arrow by day and the terror by night" came not near them. We doubt if
there was a man in Burmah who would lift his hand against Mr. Vinton, so
much was he revered and beloved, both by Karens and Burmans.

After a time, the new buildings at Kemmendine being completed, the work
of the mission began to move on with system and regularity; and the
prospect was, that a few months would behold the country tranquillized,
and the greatest obstacles to jungle-work removed. For a short time the
hearts of the faithful missionaries exulted in the prospect of an
extension of the special work of preaching the gospel in the regions
newly opened to the truth. These hopes, however, were destined to a sad


"Go, labor on: 'tis not for nought;
    Thy earthly loss is heavenly gain;
Men heed thee, love thee, praise thee not:
    The Master praises--what are men?"

A new trial was coming upon the devoted Karens. They had endured war and
pestilence: now famine, with all its attendant horror, stared them in the
face. Their stores of rice had been burned or stolen, their cattle had
been driven off, and they had neither seed to sow nor buffaloes to till
the fields. The country had been so pillaged and laid waste, that both
Burmans and Karens began to feel the scarcity of food. Ship-loads of rice
came from Calcutta, and it was sold for six and seven times the usual
price. Those who had money bought; but there were thousands who had lost
all by robbers, especially among the Karens. Thousands had eaten their
last meal of rice, and were subsisting on wild roots and herbs.

As children look to their parents for counsel and assistance, so had the
Karens, both Christian and heathen, learned to look to Mr. Vinton; and
they came to him in this new trial.

He commenced giving out the little store of rice which he had laid in for
the school. This was soon exhausted, and he procured a few hundred
bushels more. But the news spread that there was rice at Teacher
Vinton's; and the people began coming in companies, beseeching him for
food for their starving families. The tales of suffering and woe which
they brought were heart-sickening. Stalwart men, emaciated from want, and
weary and dusty from the long journey, bearing in their skinny arms the
basket or bag to contain the rice they hoped to receive, came beseeching

Some fell fainting at Mr. Vinton's door, and must be carried in and
carefully fed back to life, little by little, until sufficiently strong
to venture on the return journey. It was worth something to see the
eagerness and joy with which they started for their homes, carrying with
them the precious treasure that should bring back life and vigor to the
wasted forms of wife and children, lying helpless and ready to die, in
the desolate dwellings far away. Soon the second store of rice was
exhausted. Meantime the people were dying in the streets; and every
morning the authorities sent out to collect and bury the dead.*

[Footnote: * Dr. Kincaid.]

Any one supposed to possess a secret store of rice was murdered in order
to obtain it. A man who lived not half a mile from the mission premises
was set upon one night, was tortured until he told where he had hid the
little rice he had saved, and then, with fiendish cruelty, the robbers
forced the dry grain down his throat, filled his nose and ears with it,
and finally drove a sharp stake down the throat quite through the body,
and left him to die. The people in the adjoining houses heard the cries
and screams; but, in that dreadful time of terror, none dared to
interfere. At one time more than thirty government boats, laden with
commissariat stores, were cut off by a band of robbers. Even an armed
mail-boat had been captured by robbers, and the boatmen killed, and the
mails rifled.

Mr. Vinton had given out the last bushel of rice he had in store, and
still there were thousands of suffering Karens who did not know where to
look for their next meal. He was not the man to stand helplessly wringing
his hands, while people were starving to death before his eyes. So soon
as the last of the rice in store was exhausted, he went down to the
rice-merchants and said, "Will you trust me for a ship-load of rice? I
cannot pay you now, and I do not know when I can pay you; for I have
received no remittance from America for over a year. I cannot see this
people die before my eyes. If you let me have the rice, I will pay you as
soon as I am able." They answered,--

"Mr. Vinton, take all the rice you want. Your word is all the security we
want. You can have a dozen cargoes if you wish."

He filled his granaries and outbuildings with rice; and the work of
distribution went on. At first he supplied only Christians, and tried to
keep a regular account of the amounts given out; but he found that he
could not turn a starving man away because he happened to be a heathen;
and, as the applicants increased so rapidly, it was useless to attempt to
keep a record, and he gave freely to all who came.

Some of his friends became alarmed and said, "Mr. Vinton, you are ruining
yourself. You do not know the names of one half the people to whom you
are giving this rice. How do you expect to get your pay?"

His answer was, "God will see to that." And He did see to it. Every cent
of the money expended was refunded; and the interest of that money was
laid up in heaven in the jewels that now deck his crown of rejoicing. It
is doubtful if, at the time, even he recognized the importance of this
work of love. It was not till after the famine was over, and he went out
among the people, that he found that that one act had opened the hearts
of the heathen to receive the message which he brought, as nothing else
could have done. They gathered around him in crowds. They brought their
wives and children to look upon their deliverer. They said, "This is the
man who saved our lives, and the lives of our little ones: his religion
is the one we want." In the excess of their joy and gratitude, he had
difficulty in preventing some of the heathen from worshipping him. That
was a blessed reaping-time. Thousands were baptized, churches were
organized, chapels and school-houses were built, and the hearts of both
Burmans and Karens were turned toward God as never before.

The Maulmain churches which he had planted during eighteen years of
labor, mourned his absence; but they rejoiced that the Rangoon Karens,
who had waded through such bloody persecution, had such a leader and
helper. To-day, though he has been in his heavenly home more than twenty
years, the name of Justus Hatch Vinton is a talisman through the jungles
of all that country. The Karens speak it with moistened eyes and bated
breath: they still say, in hushed tones, "_He saved our lives._"

We have no desire to revive old disputes which have long been settled by
the logic of events, nor to re-awaken differences which have disappeared
in the light of "that City which hath no need of the sun by day, nor of
the moon by night;" but simple justice to the memory of this man of God
requires that we should point out the coincidence in point of time
between these remarkably successful and self-denying labors for Christ
and suffering humanity, and the passing of that vote of censure which
resulted in the severance of his connection with the society of which he
had been for more than twenty years a faithful servant.

His justification has come sooner than he expected. The present wise,
temperate, and enlightened policy of the Missionary Union, which has
borne such wonderful fruits during the past few years, is far more
aggressive than the measures which Justus Vinton even contemplated, and
for attempting which he was so severely censured by some of his brethren
of that day.

It has been said that every wholly consecrated life must have its
Calvary; and this, perhaps, may explain why God not only accepted the
heartfelt consecration of his life and labors, to which reference is so
frequently made in his letters of that period, but added yet the heavier
cross of misconstruction, and led him by the _via dolorosa_ which ended
in the sacrifice of cherished friendships, and a reputation which was
dearer than life. This accomplished, he committed himself wholly to Him
who judgeth uprightly; and with one exception, not even in his letters to
his nearest friends, do we find any reference to the troubles of that
period. The exception is in a letter to Rev. N. Brown, dated March 18,
1857. In it he says:--

"With regard to the past, though I have attempted nothing but in
self-defence, I now regret that I should even have done that; that I had
not made this my only answer, '_I am doing a great work_, and cannot come
down.' As for the future, I ask for nothing, I care for nothing, but my
work. I have no wrongs that I even wish to have redressed. As to an
organization, I have little responsibility. All I ask is one which will
not hinder us in our work. With such an organization, _old_ or _new_, I
am prepared to co-operate with all the powers I possess. I sent in my
resignation, because in the then existing state of things I became well
satisfied that there was nothing before me, if I continued, but defensive
war, and I must have peace and quiet."

"Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing," he went about the work which was,
alas, too soon to be finished!

He received, in common with the other missionaries* who withdrew from the
Missionary Union on account of the action of the unfortunate deputation,
a cordial invitation to unite with the American Baptist Free Mission
Society, which he accepted so far as to take up a nominal connection with

[Footnote: * D. L. Brayton, A. T. Rose, J. S. Beecher, N. Brown, D.D.,
and N. Harris.]

Though he received no specified salary from that society, it very kindly
acted as his financial agent in the collection and transmission of funds,
and in the publishing in this country of his reports and letters.

From this time forward, however, the funds which carried on this large
mission were contributed mainly by native Christians and by English
residents, who had for years watched with deep interest the progress of
this marvellous work.

In 1854, at Mr. Vinton's suggestion, the Karens of the Rangoon district
had organized the Karen Home Mission Society, the first society of the
kind ever formed in Burmah, and, so far as we know, the first ever formed
on heathen soil.

The natives were already supporting their own pastors and schools; but
this organization was intended for aggressive work among the heathen. At
the first annual meeting, thirty pastors and three hundred lay delegates
were present. For the special work of sending evangelists to the regions
beyond, six hundred rupees had been raised, and eight men employed. Over
two hundred rupees had been given for Mrs. Vinton's school in the city,
and six hundred children had been taught in the village schools. Three
thousand eight hundred and thirty rupees had been contributed toward the
erection of "Frank's Chapel," a work in which the native Christians took
increasing interest. The people pledged themselves to try to raise five
thousand rupees the coming year for benevolent objects, outside of their
home expenses. Two of the principal business-men promised to give
_one-half of their profits for the year_ to the mission. We are thus
minute in these details, because the history of these times has never
been written. Mr. Vinton was not only averse to resorting to popular
methods of advertising his work, but the excessive labors of the last few
years of his life left him but little time for journalizing or
correspondence. A yearly statement of the receipts and expenditures of
the mission was carefully prepared and published, and with this such
incidental facts as would assure the donors that their contributions had
been faithfully and conscientiously applied.

Beyond this, we are almost entirely dependent for information concerning
the last years of his life, upon Mrs. Vinton's letters to her children.

It is time that we should give some further details concerning the
building of "Frank's Chapel," upon the erection of which so much of the
future success of the mission seemed to depend. Sufficient funds had been
contributed to warrant Mr. Vinton in commencing the work. Plans were
drawn by Capt. Williams of the engineer department of the English army;
and he, in company with Major Simpson of the same service, very kindly
offered to superintend the erection of the building without compensation.

The plans furnished by Capt. Williams were for a building much more
elaborate and substantial than had been contemplated at first; but Mr.
Vinton was assured by English residents of Rangoon, that, whatever its
cost might be, it should be paid for.

A beautiful location had been selected at Kemmendine, on a bold natural
terrace overlooking the Rangoon River and the wide-spreading plains of
Dalla beyond. Through the solicitation of English friends, the land
necessary had been made a free gift to the mission by Lord Dalhousie, the
Governor-General of India,

On the 20th of May, 1855, with most interesting ceremonies and earnest
prayers, the corner-stone was laid by Mr. Vinton, in the presence of a
large assembly of native and English friends. The building, when
completed, was to be sixty by seventy feet, two stories high; the lower
part being designed for a schoolroom, and the upper part for the church
services. It was built in the most substantial manner, of brick, and was
admirably adapted for the purposes for which it was designed. It was to
be used, not alone for the ordinary services of the mission, but as an
assembling place for the Home Mission, the associations, and general
conventions. The Rangoon Karen Mission was, at this time, the largest in
Burmah; and a want had long been felt for a building sufficiently
commodious to receive the large numbers who gathered at the meetings of
its missionary organizations.

It stands to-day, after twenty-five years, as the VINTON MEMORIAL.


"Less, less, of self each day,
    And more, my God, of thee;
Oh keep me in the way,
    However rough it be!

"Less of the flesh each day,
    Less of the world and sin;
More of thy Son, I pray,
    More of Thyself within."

The mission was now definitely settled at Kemmendine, on the land, the
purchase of which was the objective point in the vote of censure passed
by the brethren at home upon Mr. Vinton. The work was systematized and
divided into departments. Mrs. Vinton had the entire charge of the Pegu
High School, numbering from two hundred to two hundred and fifty pupils.

Mr. Vinton had, during the rains, a theological class of young men, who
were soon to go forth as the noble band of native preachers, which is now
the strength and stay of the Rangoon and Bassein missions.

This work of teaching was irksome to him, as he felt that his special
work was to preach; but it was imperatively necessary that the young
native assistants should at least know enough of systematic theology to
enable them to answer the objections urged by the heathen, particularly
the Buddhists, with whom they came in contact. His labors were confined
_exclusively_ to theological instruction, as the general educational work
was conducted by Mrs. Vinton.

She was an instructor of the most marked ability, and was especially
gifted with a fertility of resource, and a tact for expedients, which
contributed in no small degree to her extraordinary success as an
educator. Many theories of instruction, which are only now being tried in
America, were successfully reduced to practice by her thirty years ago.

The public examinations of her schools were always largely attended by
English officers and their wives, who took a deep interest in her work,
both in Maulmain and Rangoon, and who contributed most generously to its

An article which appeared in the "Witness" after her death, speaking of
her ability, says:--

"As a teacher, she had few, if any, equals. When on her way to this
country she spent some weeks in England, and went to visit an old friend
in Bristol. The gentleman was the superintendent of a very large mission
school in the suburbs of the city; and he spoke, as he was going to his
post of duty, one sabbath, in regard to a class of rowdy half-grown boys,
saying that nothing could be done with them unless the police were there.
Mrs. Vinton said, 'I think I could manage them without the assistance of
a police officer.' Her friend replied that he should like to see her try.

"She went and took her seat in the midst. Her presence and her words were
like the music before the evil spirit of Saul. The lions were lambs.

"This was repeated with the same result every sabbath while she remained
there; and is it too much to expect that the seeds of truth, then
implanted in their hearts, will bring forth in some of those outcasts the
fruits of repentance and holiness?"

She was not only a good instructor, but an excellent disciplinarian as
well. True, she had the gentle and yielding Karens to deal with; yet it
was no small task to keep two hundred and fifty pupils in order, both in
the school and out of it, and especially when the matter was complicated
by the presence of a few Burmese boys in the school.

Her remedy for the use of foul language (a vice very common in that
country) was to call the whole school together, and make the offenders
publicly wash out their mouths with strong soapsuds; and her discipline
generally appealed to the feelings of self-respect, which she maintained
could be developed in the most ignorant and degraded by judicious

Besides teaching, conversing with the companies of heathen who came in
daily, conducting prayer-meetings and children's meetings, acting the
part of physician and nurse to her own pupils and the sick in the
neighborhood, making and translating books, writing hymns, travelling
from village to village instructing the people, she yet found time to
educate her two children with such fidelity and efficiency that she had
fitted Brainerd for college in all but Greek before he was fifteen; and
Calista, when sent to America in 1854, was found to be prepared to enter
classes of girls much older than herself.

When she travelled in the jungles her children accompanied her in the
boat, and they were expected to learn their lessons as regularly as when
they were in town.

She had an endless fund of expedients for interesting them in their
studies; and many were the privileges and pleasures granted, upon
condition that the lessons for the day were well learned.

One of her masterpieces of strategy in her children's estimation was when
she taught them the rudiments of Greek without their knowing it. One day
when they were six and eight years respectively, they begged her for a
new picture-book, saying that they had looked at their old ones until
they were tired. She promised, that, if they would have their lessons
well learned that day, she would find something for them in their
father's library.

On going, however, to the study, she could find nothing new but two
little Greek Introductions. They were profusely illustrated after the
"New-England Primer" style, each letter of the alphabet having an object
underneath it, the name of which began with the same letter, as A for *,
B for **. These books she carried to the children as a great prize. The
new names for these familiar creatures were repeated to them, to their
great delight; and, at the end of half an hour, though they had not seen
a quarter of the pictures, the books were solemnly closed, and taken
away, with the promise, "If you have perfect lessons to-morrow, you can
have these beautiful books for half an hour again."

[Transcriber Note: * Greek Character {Alpha-Lamda-Omicron-Pi-Eta-Xi}]

[Transcriber Note: ** Greek Character {Beta-Omega-Delta-Iota-Omicron-Nu}]

Never were lessons better learned or more perfectly recited; and, for
another half-hour, they revelled in the queer words and quaint pictures.
Day after day did this little farce go on. They soon learned to read and
translate the easy sentences; and they thought that of all games their
ingenious mother had ever invented, this was the most delightful. They
could repeat the Lord's Prayer and Ten Commandments as readily in Greek
as in English.

One day their mother said, "Children, don't you think it is time for you
to take up the Greek grammar?" Brainerd burst into tears, and said, "You
don't think I'm old enough to study Greek; do you, mother?"

"Why, my son," what have you been doing for these last months?"

"Why, I thought I was playing. I did not know I was studying Greek."

When he found how he had been thus innocently betrayed into studying
Greek, he revolted and said, "Well, I won't be fooled into Latin in that
way. I won't begin that till I'm ten years old."

In 1855 Mr. Vinton parted with his two children, and sent them to America
to complete their education. This seemed to be the sorest trial which had
yet befallen him. Mrs. Vinton had kept them with her in that unhealthy
climate longer than was commonly deemed prudent, because she feared that
one or both parents might die during their absence at school; and she
wished them to remain until they had received the impress of their
father's strong mind and devoted character, and until the memory of both
father and mother might become clear and distinct, in case parents and
children should not meet again.

It was wisely done; for Brainerd and Calista never saw their father's
face after the day, when, kneeling with them in their state-room on the
"Fire Queen," he commended them, with sobs and broken utterances, to the
care of a covenant-keeping God.

Nothing but loyalty to Christ led to such a sacrifice as this. In a
letter written to her children, Mrs. Vinton says,--

"More than a hundred times have I asked myself the question, 'Have I done
right? Is it for the best?' Your father and I have made it a subject for
prayer for years; and we felt convinced, that, should we keep you here,
we should be sacrificing your future good and future usefulness to our
own selfish feelings. But my heart cries out for you, my children, and I
sometimes think, 'Why should I have to commit them to the care and
training of others, when both, Calista especially, need a mother's love
and guidance?'

"But my duty to these dear Karens, my duty to the heathen, my duty to
Christ, all demand it; and that is enough. All I can do now is to lay you
on the kind bosom of our dear Saviour by constant prayer. Oh! what should
I do in this hour of trial, if I could not look up and say, 'Lord Jesus,
I have done this for thee and for thy cause. Take the dear ones into thy
special care. Raise them up kind friends, to do more and better for them
than we could have done'?

"It is my daily prayer that this trial may be sanctified to each one of
us, and that we, as a family, may be more pious, more devoted, than ever.

"Should the Lord permit you to reach America, complete your education,
and then bring you both back as missionaries of the Cross, how happy
should we be! I should feel like saying, 'Now lettest Thou thy servant
depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.' We are all in
his hands, either to live or die, as is for his glory."

How fully were her prayers answered in every respect! God raised up
friends and guardians for her children; and the judicious training and
tender parental care which Calista received in the home of Rev. D. Ives,
D.D., of Suffield, and his devoted wife, left nothing to be desired by
the most anxious of mothers. It was no slight privilege to spend three
years in such a Christian home as that,--to be under the moulding and
elevating influence of a man who walked with God as did Dr. Ives; and
Mrs. Vinton often expressed her thankfulness to God for permitting her
daughter to enjoy such rare opportunities for the development of a high
Christian character.

In Deacon and Mrs. Pierce of Hamilton, N.Y., Brainerd also found those
who did all that was possible to supply the place of father and mother.
The Lord took care that while the parents were sacrificing so much for
him in heathen lands, the children lacked for no good thing.

In the midst of more abundant labors than ever, Mrs. Vinton found time to
write often to her children; and these letters are filled with earnest
exhortations to greater consecration and deeper piety, and also with
accounts of her work. In one letter she says,--

"It is now six weeks since we locked up our house, and have been
wandering in the jungle, not stopping at any place more than three days;
at some villages only one, and at others only a few hours. Travelling by
day in a tropical sun, and in the damp chilling airs by night, midst
dense jungle and tall cane-brakes, with the long wet grass rubbing
against our faces and cutting them like saw teeth,--travelling sometimes
on foot, sometimes on ponies, sometimes in buffalo-carts, sometimes in
native canoes so small that we dare not laugh lest we upset them, or
think a big thought lest we sink them, sitting up till late at night
talking to the multitudes who throng us, and then rising at two or three
o'clock in the morning for a fresh start before the sun rises,--this has
been our mode of life for the past six weeks.

"But our hearts have been filled with one constant hymn of praise, as we
see the readiness of the heathen to listen to us, and the deep affection
which the dear disciples manifest for us. I sometimes wish I could know
that they love God as well as they do us. We are literally loaded with
presents. It is amusing to see the quantities of fowls, eggs, ducks,
rice, and milk, which they bring in. At some villages they kill pigs for
us; and at one place I overheard the order given to kill a buffalo, but I
forbade it. I told them to keep their buffalo to plough their fields and
draw their cart. We could not eat the half they brought us, and sent what
we did not need to the school in the city.

"We have penetrated into some dark regions this year. You remember how
last season the heathen ran away from us at Mawloo; but had you been with
me last Thursday, you would have seen a still more ridiculous sight. I
rode over from Pa-rah's village on horseback; and to see a woman riding,
and a white woman too, brought out the whole village, yet when I arrived
they would not venture up into the house.

"I sat down where they could not see me unless they came up. They then
ventured to the top of the notched stick of timber which led up into the
house, and stood gazing at me. I spoke kindly, and said, 'Come and sit
down, my sisters;' but they preferred to keep their feet ready for a
sudden retreat. As there was a great multitude still standing on the
ground, who could not get up to see me, I rose, and went into an inner
room, and sat down at the farther end, and gathered my little troup of
boys and girls who had followed me from the other village.

"Taking out our hymn-books, we began to sing. This brought up scores of
them; and I continued to sing, not raising my eyes from my book till the
room was more than half full of women and children. At last I thought
that it would do to speak to them. So, as I was sitting on a low stool, I
took it up gently, and moved smilingly toward them; but, before I had
taken two steps, they shrieked, and ran like a flock of sheep with a wolf
at their heels. I sat down, and laughed outright at them, and succeeded
in stopping a few, with whom I talked until the head man and his
secretary and their wives came to see me; and then all fear seemed to
vanish, except that some of the mothers feared that the 'kalah,' or
spirit, would leave their children in consequence of seeing me, and went
off muttering 'Pruh kalah! pruh kalah! kalah k'hah,' which is a prayer to
the Nats.

"Your father has placed Maw-yah-poh and his wife there, and we expect a
church will be formed before next year. Even here, at this heathen
village, more than a dozen have brought in money for Frank's Chapel;
saying they see us so hard at work for the Karens that they wish to help
us. We hope that some seven or eight villages where we have been will
receive the gospel. Wherever we go, even among the heathen, we are
treated with the utmost kindness. They frequently speak of our having
saved their lives during the famine. Truly that was the best investment
we ever made: the bread then cast upon the waters is now returning.

"You must always keep in mind that you are the children of missionaries,
and that if you are careless of your demeanor, or do any thing wrong, it
will be a disgrace to the dear cause."

This latter injunction had been so often repeated, that the sense of the
responsibility rested on the children's minds, perhaps even more heavily
than the parents intended.

Calista, then a girl of fifteen, says that while at school, and during
her vacations, she felt as if the whole credit of the cause of Foreign
Missions rested upon her shoulders, and that any inconsistency in her
conduct, either as a school-girl or as a Christian, would bring hopeless
disgrace on the cause which was so dear to her parents.

Again Mrs. Vinton writes,--

"The Lord is providing for all our wants. Had any one told me twenty
years ago that a boy then in my school would send me a bag of eight
hundred rupees, and promise two hundred more soon, I would not have
believed it. Lewis Raymond feels that God has called him to preach; and
he is going to give up his lucrative situation under Government, and
complete his study of theology, and then go to his great work.

"He has hitherto contented himself with paying the expenses of another to
preach in his stead, but it does not satisfy him; and now he must go
himself. Dr. Balfour has just sent two hundred and twenty rupees more for
the school.

"His father is a clergyman in Scotland; and he sends all the letters
which I write to him, to his father. He allowed a friend to read my last
letter, and he sent twenty rupees for the privilege of reading it. Chah
too, my old cook, is married, and has gone to preaching. . . . You know
how anxious I felt for the conversion of our syce (the man who takes care
of the pony), and how much we have prayed that he might be a Pwo
preacher. I do trust that our hopes are about to be realized. He has
spent all his spare time in studying; and last evening brother Brayton
asked me if I would allow him to go to Kemmendine on a preaching
excursion with him. I said 'Yes! with all my heart. It is our great
desire that the Lord may call him away from the stable, and set him to
preaching.' He is the best syce we ever had; and, in all the three years
he has been with us, I have never had occasion to reprove him once; but I
will gladly give him up to the work of preaching, and take another raw
lad to train in his place.

"Last evening Nau Oo-thah lingered around after all the rest had retired,
and finally said, 'I love to be with you, mamma, very much; but I hear
there is a great village near Parah's place where they do not worship
God, but where they say they will have a school; and I want to go and
teach it, if mamma is willing. I told her that it was the greatest joy of
my heart to train boys and girls for the service of God, and that,
although she was my right-hand girl and a great help to me, yet if the
Lord had called her, as he had done Nau Nai-nau and Nau Poh, I would
release her at once, and put Nau Mee tha in her place, till she was
trained and qualified to go and serve God too.

"Many ask me how it is that I am always training raw Karens, and, as soon
as they begin to be useful to me, let them go from me. It _is_ trying,
especially when for weeks together we have unsavory and half-cooked
dishes, prepared by a new hand in the cook-house; but it is a part of my
missionary work. No one is so blest in their help as I am. My girls and
boys serve me, not for money, but to improve themselves and prepare for
future usefulness; and I trust that many of them will preach and teach
when I am dead and gone.

"Major Simpson has sailed for England; and, about a week after, Capt.
Brander sent us one hundred and fifty rupees, with a note from Major
Simpson, saying it was for our own personal expenses. Since that we have
learned that he has sent all his furniture to be sold at auction, with
the order that the avails are to be given to our school. This will
realize some two hundred rupees more at least.

"Yesterday Capt. Seymour sent thirty rupees over and above what he has
given lately for the mission, saying, 'This is for your _own_ use.' It is
quite opportune; for sister ---- has been with us for a fortnight, so ill
that she was not expected to recover, and we have had to watch her, and
fan her night and day, to keep the breath of life in her.

"I have looked forward to this vacation, hoping that I could rest a
little; for I was feeling quite worn out with my school-work through the
rains, and this is the vacation that the Lord has sent me. But we are
happy still; for it is all the Lord's work, and he sends it to us to do."

Seldom do we see workers who rejoiced more in doing the will of Him who
had sent them than these two.

An English lady writes to a friend:--

"The Vintons are the happiest family I ever met. They were happy after
their beloved sister Miranda left; they are happy now, though their
children are far away; they are happy through trial and suffering; they
are _always_ happy in their work."


"Yes, o'er me, o'er me, he watcheth,
    Ceaseless watcheth, night and day:
Yes, even me, even me, he snatcheth
    From the perils of the way.

"Thus I wait for his returning.
    Singing all the way to heaven;
Such the joyful song of morning,
    Such the tranquil song of even."

It has been said that no lady missionary ever travelled as extensively as
Mrs. Vinton. Whether this is so or not, she had many varied experiences,
and had an opportunity during the thirty years of her missionary life to
try almost every mode of conveyance, from the elegant barouche of an
English friend, to being carried over a nullah in the arms of two
natives, or being jolted nearly into fragments in a springless native
cart, drawn by a pair of runaway buffaloes.

We give one experience out of many:--

"When we came down to the river again yesterday only one yoke of
buffaloes could be found; and they were so wild, that they would not come
near the chapel.

"They were harnessed to a cart, and blindfolded, while I tried to get
into the cart; but the moment I came near they threw their noses up into
the air, and snorted, kicked, and plunged, so that they had to be taken
out. I then got into the cart, lay down, and covered myself up entirely
from sight; but now the buffaloes would not come anywhere near it, so I
walked on to the next village.

"Here we found some people loading carts with rice to take to the river
to sell. They asked me to go with them; but there was no place for me to
ride, save on the tongue of the cart, right between the buffaloes. They
put in a footstool; and I carefully crept over the paddy (unhulled rice),
and seated myself on my precarious seat, not daring to raise an umbrella
all the way to screen me from the burning sun for fear of frightening the
buffaloes. As I rode along, having no little daughter to beguile the
weary time with her chatter, I was left to my own reflections. First, I
recollected the missionary address I heard in Cincinnati, in which the
speaker tried to prove that modern missions ought to be far more
successful than ancient missions, because 'of the modern facilities for
travel by steamers and railways, and sending gospel messages by

"Oh! thought I, how I wish Mr. B. could come here and try it one dry
season, and look upon the heathen world as it is, not as Christianity has
made the civilized world. Again, I thought of the great congregations in
America, who in their gorgeous churches sit and sing,--

'Waft, waft, ye winds, his story,
And you, ye waters, roll;'

"and I exclaimed, 'How different to us, poor matter-of-fact people, who go
to carry the gospel on our tongues, is the work, from what it seems to
those who commission the winds and the waves to do their duty.'

"The easterly winds that are now sweeping through these jungles, drying,
yea, scorching up every thing in their course, do not in the least help
us, but give us a fever for six hours in the day.

"As for the waters, they only aid us when compelled so to do by the
sturdy sinews of eight resolute oarsmen. The gospel will doubtless
introduce railroads, steam-boats, and telegraphs, but not till many more
missionaries have first wandered, with tired limbs and dusty clothes,
through rice-fields and jungles, from village to village, _waking up_
intellect, and the love and fear of God, in these wild ignorant people.

"By the time the religion of Jesus Christ has taken such deep root that
foreign aid or missionaries will not be needed, it will do for Christians
to sit and sing

'Waft, waft, ye winds, his story,'

"and to blame missionaries because they are not more successful than Paul,
who had no railroad to travel on, or Peter, who had no electric telegraph
by which to send his gospel messages. For the present we must content
ourselves to sit cramped up in our little canoes, threading these noble
rivers and winding nullahs even to their very sources, or to be shaken to
a jelly in these springless buffalo-carts, or, what is preferable to
those who have the strength, go on foot."

Mr. Vinton, on his inland tours, rode an elephant or a horse. He had a
sturdy little pony, trained to follow the path without any guidance; and
he was accustomed to do much of his studying while in the saddle.

This method had its disadvantages, for it was liable to sudden
interruptions. On more than one occasion, while passing through the dense
jungle, a low hanging creeper or trailing vine caught him, while the pony
passed on, leaving the astonished rider lying on his back in the
jungle-path, wondering what had happened.

When travelling by elephant, the sagacious brute would clear the path of
all overhanging boughs, and the reader could pursue his studies
uninterrupted. Yet, on one occasion, the elephant put a sudden stop to a
lesson in the Greek Testament. Mr. Vinton had paused at a wayside village
for the noontide rest, and was sitting reading his Testament on the
veranda of a native house. He called to one of his attendants to bring
him some water. His elephant, standing near, heard the order, gravely
stalked off to the village tank, and, seizing a basin, filled it with
water; and, coming back, poured it upon Mr. Vinton's head, while he sat
absorbed in his studies!

Sometimes he travelled on foot, accompanied by his little band of
helpers; threading the forests, climbing the mountains, exposed to wild
beasts by night and the scorching sun by day, and yet counting it all joy
that he might be permitted to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Mrs. Vinton gives some interesting details in a letter to the children:--

"We arrived at this village a few days ago. Since then, your clear father
has gone away to the mountains,--to a region where a white man has never
trod, and where the blessed gospel of the Son of God has never yet been
preached. The Christians here feel very anxious about him; and all pray
for him daily, that he may be kept from the dreadful jungle-fever so
prevalent there.

"Had he gone for any other purpose than to carry the gospel, I should
feel anxious; but he is in the Lord's hands. He has gone on foot through
a pathless jungle, and has taken with him young men, to place as
school-teachers and preachers if he finds people disposed to receive
them. We are very much encouraged by the reports which come in from the
villages. Mau Yay reports having baptized fifty-four lately; and a number
are awaiting the ordinance at Gna-dee's village. We have been spending a
day in fasting and prayer for the outpouring of God's Spirit on his work.
We are asking God for a shower of divine grace, which shall bring all
these surrounding districts into the kingdom of heaven. We are looking
for, and expecting, greater and greater things.

"God has accompanied this work from the first with special marks of his
divine favor, and has sent us such great and precious blessings, that we
have covenanted with him that we will not complain of any affliction or
trial, if he will only be with us, blessing our labors, and making us the
instruments of bringing thousands and thousands to righteousness.

"How I wish, dear children, that you could hear the Christian Karens pray
for you! They are daily asking God to spare your lives, and bring you
back to this country to be their teachers. It is their great fear lest
the luxuries and comfort of America may so charm you that you will not
want to return to the hard work and privations of our life here; and
hundreds of prayers are going up daily for you. How holy and devoted you
ought to be! for you are the children of many prayers. Your father and I
have recently been trying to lay you again upon the altar of God, and
dedicate you anew to his service. If you live, you are the Lord's. If you
die, you are still the Lord's. Do try to give yourselves wholly unto

In another letter she speaks of the receipt of "120 Rs. from Major
Burton, 100 Rs. from Major Hawkins, 80 Rs. from Lieut. Moxon, for the
mission work, besides 669 rupees from Gen. Russell, for Frank's Chapel,
in addition to 200 Rs. given a short time previous; also 50 Rs. from the
venerable Bishop Wilson of Calcutta." She adds,--

"You will laugh to know that 100 Rs. has just come in from Shway Gan,
Capt. Sparks's head man. He once said that he feared no man on earth but
Mr. Vinton, and that he feared him more than he did the Devil. Nothing
but the Lord's grace could have opened his wicked heart to have given
thus much for the chapel.

"All of Mr. Williams's surveyors gave more than one-eighth of their wages
for the season, for the chapel; so we feel encouraged to go on with the
school of nearly two hundred pupils, feeling sure that if the Lord can
levy tribute upon such a man as Shway Gan, he can do it upon others."

A touching, yet amusing incident occurred about this time, which we will
give in Mrs. Vinton's own graphic words:--

"I must tell you about _our carriage!_ Some of the Maulmain Karens, who
were once boys in our school, and who were baptized by Mr. Vinton, came
around here with sixty or seventy elephants to work in the Teak forests.
The Government, wishing to purchase elephants for service in putting down
the mutiny in Bengal, requested us to call on the Karens. We did so; and
they have sold over fifty elephants to Government at a handsome price,
over six hundred rupees per head. They said they wished to give some of
the profits to the Lord, and some to us, their old teachers.

"They first put down _fourteen hundred rupees_ for the mission, and then
said they wanted to do something for us personally. They said we had now
been laboring for the Karens twenty-three years, and had never owned a
carriage; so they went to Mr. Shafraz's, and partly engaged one for 650
Rs., and paid 6 Rs. as earnest-money. Mr. Craig hearing of it said, that
though it was a good one, yet Gen. Bell had one for sale, equally good
and strong, and that he would send his butler, Ramsawmy, with Mr. Vinton,
to look at it.

"He did so; and Mr. Vinton, while telling the dear, good general how
grateful it was to him to see such a manifestation of feeling upon the
part of his Maulmain children, added, 'I will take the carriage to please
them, but will credit it to the mission. For no one shall prevent me from
glorying that I have preached a free gospel; and I will still show them
that I sought not theirs, but them.'

"The general said, 'Then you cannot, conscientiously, receive a present
from your people without crediting it to the mission?'

"Mr. Vinton said 'No.'

"'Well, then,' said the general, 'have you any scruples about receiving a
gift from me?'

"Mr. Vinton was nonplussed, but answered 'No.'

"'Then,' said the general, 'I present you with the carriage.'

"The Karens went over, and drew it back to our house with great delight.
It is a very strong and handsome carriage, and will be a great comfort to
us. But what pleases us the most, is to see how glad every one is for us
to have it.

"Ramsawmy ran every step of the way back to Mr. Craig's; and, when he
told them about it, they clapped their hands for joy, and cried, 'Good,

"'Ramsawmy said he hoped the general would give the carriage; but, if he
had not given it, _he himself intended to have given a part of it._' Thus
you see God is still raising up friends, both native and European, to
minister to our wants. Ought we not to be good and faithful?

"One of the principal owners of the elephants was Nya Pee, Myah A's
brother, who was born soon after we arrived in the country. They expect
to give the mission another thousand rupees before they return to
Maulmain. How gladly would we again go around to Maulmain, visit those
dear churches, and labor for their spiritual interests, should the Lord
open the door! Perhaps when you come back. He will do so; and Brainerd
may yet preach to those who, in that terrible sickness, when he was a
babe, so earnestly prayed for his life. . . . Our examination is over. I
was nearly sick for a week before it commenced; but special strength
seemed given me, so that I was enabled to go through with the examination
of all the different classes.

"Gen. and Mrs. Bell were there; Major and Mrs. Burton, Major and Mrs.
Lys, Major and Mrs. Magoun, Capt. and Mrs. O'Connell, Capt. and Mrs.
Power, and many others. The school acquitted itself so well that an
officer present said, 'This is the finest sight in all Burmah.'

"Dear, good Mr. Craig was there of course. He has lately given us two
hundred rupees, to be sent to America to be divided between you two.
Another donation for the mission, of over two hundred rupees, comes
unexpectedly from Secunderabad, through Major MacFarlane. How can we ever
indulge in doubt, or fear that all necessary means for carrying on this
great work will not be forthcoming, even though we do not know from day
to day how or whence our wants are to be supplied?

"I must tell you one out of a hundred similar instances of a Father's
tender care for our wants. One Saturday Mr. Vinton returned after a long
jungle tour. It was the close of the month, and his coolies were
expecting their wages. We had not a rupee in the house, and a large
school looking to us for their daily food. For a moment our hearts sank
within us; and we said, 'What shall we, what _can_ we, do? Here are the
coolies expecting and needing their pay, here is this large school to be
supported, and not a rupee at our command!' After a few moments of
prayer, Mr. Vinton's faith triumphed; and he said, 'Have the children
nothing to eat for the sabbath?'--'Oh, yes!' was the reply: 'the last
rupee was paid out this morning to obtain supplies for the sabbath.'

"'Very well, then,' said he, 'I am relieved. We will wait, and see what
God will do for us then.'

"Early on Monday morning a friend put a roll of forty rupees in his
hands. This enabled him to pay off his coolies, and buy necessary food,
both for the school and for our own family.

"After breakfast he called on a friend who said, 'Mr. Vinton, I have a
bag of money here for your mission.' The next day another friend sent in
one hundred and five rupees, and the next fifty rupees; and thus God put
it into the hearts of friends to send us relief just in the time of need,
and without our saying one word to them about it. God has so manifestly
rebuked our unbelief, that we shall be doubly guilty in the future not to
trust his providential care."


"Footsore and worn thou art,
    Breathless with toil and fight:
How welcome now the long-sought sleep
    Of this all tranquil night!

"Rest for the toiling hand,
    Rest for the thought-worn brow,
Rest for the weary, way-sore feet,
    Rest from all labor now."

We give these facts just as they occur in the scanty memorials which are
still left. They are collected in the main from letters which were
preserved without any thought of their being used in the preparation of a
biography. One cannot read these letters without noticing the generous
amounts of money, which, after the separation of Mr. Vinton from the
Missionary Union, were given by his English friends. We find in the
Second Annual Report of the Rangoon Karen Mission, published in October,
1857, the large sum of sixteen thousand and thirty-nine rupees credited
as having been received up to that date from this source alone. From the
Karens, nine thousand two hundred and twenty-two rupees had been given;
and from friends in America, during the same time, rupees four thousand
six hundred and sixty-four.

The warm attachments formed between the Vintons and officers of the
English civil and military service did not cease when these latter were
ordered to England, or to other stations in India. The son and daughter
still receive letters from those, who, speaking after the manner of men,
twenty-five years ago stood between their parents and utter failure,
during that "_crisis in Brother Vinton's affairs_," which a now venerable
doctor of divinity gleefully boasted he would bring about.

The prospect for "Brother Vinton," indeed, was not very bright; but God
brought light out of darkness, and we doubt not that, in that upper and
better world, he will be the first to greet the venerable doctor, and to
assure him that he builded better than he knew.

Amid all these encouragements, however, the glorious success of the work,
the wealth of hearty friendship, as expressed in generous gifts, and the
prospect of largely increased usefulness in the mission,--it was plainly
seen by those who knew him best, that his strength was slowly giving way
under the strain to which he had been subjected.

Himself the very soul of honor, he seemed utterly confounded and unable
to understand the action which had separated him from the society, which,
up to the last moment of his life, he loved with the devotion of a first
love. Indeed, on one occasion, when he would have been wholly justified
in obtaining legal redress for a pecuniary wrong done him, the only
expression which can be discovered is one of dazed amazement that a
Christian brother could be guilty of such a thing.

It was impossible that a soul so sensitive and so tenacious of its
friendships could pass through the scenes of 1854 and 1855, and the
sundering of old ties, without receiving a mortal wound.

His heart was slowly breaking under the misconstructions of good
men,--men whom he never ceased to love, and for whom he continued to pray
until the last day of his life. Yet all this, though it seemed to his
friends so hard to understand, was the process through which it pleased
God that he should pass, ere there was developed in him that entire
surrender of will which he so much desired.

For months before he died he was so evidently ripening for heaven that
his wife said tremblingly, "Surely he is not long for this world." For
nearly twenty-five years she had walked by his side, a daily witness to
his tender, Christ-like spirit, his utter devotion to the one work of
saving souls, and the steady growth in grace which marked his whole life;
but the higher life to which he attained at this time, all unconscious of
it himself, made her feel that indeed his prayers had been heard, and
that the fiery furnace through which he had been passing had but purified
the gold, and that the Master's own image was being reflected in the
molten, quivering metal. To others, also, this was equally apparent. Mrs.
Beecher, speaking of the last association which he attended in the
Bassein District, said that she felt borne to heaven on Mr. Vinton's
prayers. Gen. Bell said to his wife one day, "How rapidly that dear man
of God seems growing in grace lately."

The last prayer-meeting he attended was at the house of this old and
tried friend, who, commander-in-chief of all the English forces in
British Burmah, was at the same time a humble Christian, and an earnest
student of God's word. An English lady who was present at this meeting

"We can never forget Mr. Vinton's words that night. He seemed to have had
a glimpse into the hidden things of God; and instead of going on with the
study of the chapter, as we were in the habit of doing, we sat
spellbound, listening to his burning words. As he spoke of the bliss of
heaven, his face seemed to brighten and glow with an unearthly light;
and, as we knelt with him in prayer, we felt awed by the way in which he
seemed to talk with God face to face. How little we thought, that, in one
short week, he would be standing in the inner sanctuary, in the presence
of his risen Lord!"

He had just returned from his last journey when he attended the meeting
referred to. News had come from the mountains west of Shway Gyeen, that
scores of villages were ready to receive the gospel. The region was one
so difficult of access that it had never been reached by missionary
effort; and this awakening was the result of the conversion of a few
young men who had heard the gospel on the plains, and had gone back to
their friends to tell the story they had heard. Mr. Vinton selected six
young men who were ready to go into that unhealthy region in order to
proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ; but, that they should be
properly located, it was necessary that he should go himself, survey the
field, and select the most available points for the location of native
preachers. Only scanty records have come down to us from this journey,
though in after years it bore abundant fruits. There was opportunity,
after the journey began, to send back two brief letters, and from these
we make the following extracts:--

"From Nau-toh's to Kyouk-pong, I walked nearly the whole way, as the
pony's back was sore. I stopped at a great number of villages on the way,
and preached myself hoarse. I arrived just as the gong was about to ring,
jaded and tired, and yet preached a long sermon. The people were very
attentive. A cloud is gathering; and, judging from my feelings, there
will be rain. Oh, may it be long and abundant! Pray, my dear wife, not so
much that God will watch over me, as that he will go with me by his
Spirit; for without that I might as well be dead as alive.

"Oh for the baptism of the Holy Ghost, such as the apostles had to
prepare them for their great work!

"I have been invariably well, and mostly happy, since I left. But for
this 'body of death,' which drags down my poor soul, and makes it so
earthly and grovelling in its aspirations, so unlike the heavenly, I
should be perfectly so. I have had some precious seasons, in which the
spirit has triumphed over the flesh; and I have been brought into goodly
fellowship with my precious Saviour, and I have cared for nothing in the
world but to be a herald of mercy to the perishing. Pray, dear wife, that
God may strip me for the race, and harness me for the battle. I long for
nothing so much as for more power in prayer. I would be a wrestling
Jacob, and a prevailing Israel. I want an increase of power to preach the
word in the demonstration of the Spirit, and with power."

He returned to Rangoon on the 24th of March, 1858, in apparent health,
complaining only of being "very tired." That evening he attended the
Bible-reading at Gen. Bell's, to which reference has been made.

The next day it appeared that he was ill, but he still kept about the
work which had accumulated during his absence. On Saturday fever set in;
and Dr. Dickinson, his faithful physician for many years, was summoned.
No one, however, anticipated that it would prove to be more than a slight
attack of jungle fever.

He talked with all the natives who came in, and transacted the necessary
business connected with the mission as he lay on his bed, ever cheerful,
rallying his wife on her unceasing anxiety about him, telling her how
good every thing tasted that she brought him, and laying many a plan for
future work and future usefulness.

On Monday he was too ill to see any one; but on Tuesday the fever left
him, and the doctor pronounced him out of danger. Tuesday night there was
a change. The doctor was hastily summoned. It was evident at once to him
that the disease had assumed a grave form. He used all the means that his
long experience could suggest; but by nine o'clock, so rapid had been the
progress of the disease, he left the bedside, saying, "I can do no more!
He can live but a few hours."

It had not needed these words to assure Mrs. Vinton that the costliest
sacrifice she could offer was now to be laid upon God's altar. The
closing scene can only be described in the words of this devoted wife;
and we give entire the letter in which the news of their father's death
is communicated to the son and daughter.

"DEAR, DEAR CHILDREN,--You seldom write to me about your religious
feelings. Is your love to God increasing, or diminishing? This you can
ascertain by asking yourselves whether you possess any thing too dear to
give back to God, the Author of all our mercies. I know that you love
your parents. Do you love them so much that you would be loath to part
with them if God calls?

"Three sabbaths ago I was in the south-east room reading my Bible, and
feeling very happy in my mind. I knelt down to pray; and in my prayer I
renewed my covenant with God, and distinctly surrendered myself, soul,
body, time, influence, children, and _husband_, to the Lord; and I felt
so hearty and happy in doing it! In a moment something seemed to ask me
if God should accept of this surrender, and should take any one of these
things, whether I would heartily resign it without a murmur? I shuddered
at the thought, and sank back, and was about to rise from my knees, but
shuddered still more at my feelings. I spoke out aloud, 'Have I been so
long a time a professor of religion, and have I any thing too dear to
give to God? No, Lord!' And I burst into tears, and exclaimed, 'No, Lord:
I am honest in my surrender. I resign every thing and every one.'

"I felt fully assured from that time that God was about to make a
requirement. What, I did not know. Sometimes I thought it would be one of
you. I made up my mind that the cords which bound me to earth were about
to be sundered. During the week, from day to day, I used to go to my
closet to cast my cares upon Jesus; and oh, what precious seasons I spent

"Every thing about the mission work, about your father, who was then
absent upon the mountains west of Shway Gyeen, every thing about you two,
or about your return, I carried there, and left quietly. Sometimes, on
coming away, I said to myself, 'Why have I for these many years been
groaning under my cares, when it is so easy to lay them at the feet of a
loving Saviour?'

"Soon your father returned, having been absent about a month. He was not
quite well; but he would not say he was ill, only 'very tired and worn
out with the long journey on the elephant.'

"The next day he was more languid, and his flesh hotter; but he had been
gone so long, that there was a world of business to be attended to, and
the natives were around him all day. In the evening we attended the
meeting at Gen. Bell's. Your father led, and I am sure some of his
remarks about the bliss of heaven will never be forgotten by those

"The next morning he felt worse, but still he worked all day. Friday he
consented to take some medicine, and kept his bed. He had asked an
engineer to give him some advice about the new shingle roof for Frank's
Chapel; but toward evening he said he could not walk over, and I must go.
I made ready; but, when Capt. Newmarch came, he went over, and stood
talking nearly an hour.

"He had a bad night, and early Saturday morning I sent for the doctor. I
went into my closet with this new care to cast at Jesus' feet; but alas!
as soon as I knelt down, and asked God to restore your dear father to
health, something seemed to ask me, 'Do you remember your laying _all_
upon God's altar? God has accepted the offering, and is now going to take
it to himself.' I tried to pray, but could not, and left the room in
anguish, fully knowing that a dreadful blow was pending, and yet not
daring to murmur, or say, 'Why doest thou so?'

"On Monday he was so much worse that the doctor forbade any one seeing
him but myself and Mary Brayton. Tuesday the fever left him; but just at
night dysentery set in, and at nine o'clock the doctor left his bedside,
saying he could do no more for him, and that probably he would not live
two hours; but he did survive until seven o'clock Wednesday morning,
March 31.

"One thing was very remarkable, that he suffered so little during his
short illness. I asked him very frequently if he had a headache, or pain
anywhere (such as usually accompanies fever); but he invariably said
'No:' and the doctor assured me he was right,--that there was no feeling
but that of weakness and languor. Those who saw him pass away, and then
looked upon the corpse, exclaimed, 'This is not death!' No, dear
children, do not ever say that your father is dead. He is only gone into
the inner sanctuary, to perform a higher and a nobler work than
travelling in the Karen jungles.

"You must feel that if you are not descended from the titled ancestry of
earth, you are the children of a _man of God, passed into the skies_. Few
children ever had such a father. Oh, strive to be just like him!

"You know how he was beloved, and all but worshipped, throughout the
Karen jungles. Some seem to think that it almost amounted to idolatry,
and that it was necessary to take him away that the churches might look
more directly to God; but he was as much beloved and respected, yea,
venerated, by the English community.

"The funeral was attended this morning by all the missionaries, and all
the officers, civil and military. Every one feels the dreadful blow, and
some go so far as to predict the utter ruin of the whole mission; but not
so. _God is not dead!_ He knew what he was doing in taking away the
holiest and hardest-working missionary from the field; and I think he
will now pour out his Spirit, and carry on the work more powerfully than
ever before.

"The cause was dear to your father, _very dear_; but it is much dearer to
the Saviour. Prepare to come out with his mantle upon you.

"The day before your father fell asleep he asked if I had written to you.
I said 'No: I cannot get time to write this mail.' He said, 'You must
write, and assure them that I am not very ill. I fear some one may write,
and that they will worry about me, and think that I shall die.'

"After the doctor gave him up, I wanted to tell him that he might not
live, and ask him for some directions for the future; but the friends who
stood by would not consent. They could not believe that he was going to
die, and thought it would alarm him unnecessarily. All that I could do
was to say to him,--

"'My dear, this is a dying world. In the event of any thing happening to
either of us, what would be your wish with regard to the children?' He
answered, 'To have them complete their studies, and come out and take our

"'But if we should both die, what about Calista? Would you think it best
for her to come if we are not here?'

"'Oh, yes! Tell, her not to fear, but to trust God: he will take care of

"At another time I leaned over the bedside and said, 'Dear, how do you
feel now? Shall we together see the goodness of the Lord in the land of
the living?' He looked up so pleasantly, and said, 'Yes!'

"'Have we long years of usefulness before us?'

"'Yes! Oh, yes!'

"Mr. Brayton, who was watching with him, said decidedly, 'I _cannot_
think brother Vinton's work is done yet.'

"Not a quarter of an hour before he died, the doctor asked him how he
felt. He answered, 'A little stronger.' I do not think he thought of
dying until he opened his eyes in glory."

What more fitting close to a shining life like his, than to be translated
thus suddenly from the battle-field to the presence of the Lord; to die,
as he had lived, "with the harness on;" to close his "tired" eyes,
thinking only of a brief rest ere he went forth to the conflict again,
and to open them in the

"City of the pearl-bright portal,
City of the jasper wall,
City of the golden pavement,
Seat of endless festival"!

What mattered it that there was no opportunity for dying testimony, for a
last good-by to the faithful wife, or tender messages to the absent
children? His life and labors had been one continual testimony; and to
the mourning wife and children there was the less need of loving farewell
messages, since, in all the long past, there had not been one bitter word
which needed now to be unsaid.

There was a hush in the room as the spirit took its flight; and then an
awe came down upon those who stood by, as they beheld the mysterious
transfiguration that sometimes comes after death. As they saw a glad
smile creep over the sleeping face, they felt that in some inexplicable
way the happy, glorified spirit had been enabled to whisper to its other
self something of the unutterable glories of the world beyond. The soul
that had so long panted for more holiness, and greater conformity to the
divine image, was at last satisfied, because it had "awakened in His

We cannot explain the unwillingness of Mr. Vinton's friends to believe
that he was about to die, even after the doctor had given him up, except
that they all loved him so, and felt that he was doing such a great work,
and that he was so necessary to it, that it was impossible that God could
be about to take him away. He had gone in and out before them for so many
years, a tower of strength, that they seem to have imagined that he could
not die.

Mr. Rose said, in his address at the funeral,--

"Is it possible that Mr. Vinton is dead,--our friend and brother,
esteemed and beloved as a devoted and honored servant of God? Shall we
see his familiar face and hear his friendly voice no more?

"I confess I find it difficult to realize this. Nay, I cannot realize it.
I have never felt such a strong propensity in my mind to reject the
evidence of my own senses as in this case. There is something within,
stronger than an ordinary unbelief, that sternly refuses to admit as true
what my own eyes have seen.

"When I first saw the icy hand of death laid upon his countenance, I
felt, for the moment, as if God had made a mistake. I felt as if the
Angel of Death had been misdirected. I felt that Mr. Vinton's time had
not yet come, that his work was not yet done; for though he had labored
among this people for twenty-four years, and though his labors have been
blessed and honored of God as the labors of but few men have been, yet it
seemed to me the great amount of good he had been enabled, through divine
help, to accomplish, was a pledge of his still more abundant labors, of
success still more heart-cheering and glorious.

"He walked among us in the midst of his years, in the dignity of
undiminished strength and ripened manhood, presenting before us a
spectacle morally beautiful and noble. All the powers of his manhood were
consecrated to the highest interests of men. In the emphatic command, 'Go
ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,' he heard
the voice of Jesus speaking to him; and confiding without a doubt in the
promise, 'Lo! I am with you always,' he came to these ends of the earth,
and went through these provinces of Burmah, from village to village, and
from town to town, in season and out of season, bearing precious seed,
even the uncorruptible word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.

"God was with him; for his language was, 'Send me not except thou go with
me.' Christ was with him, for he felt that without him he could do
nothing; and what has been the result? His spiritual children are now
numbered by scores of thousands. Many, who had received the life-giving
words from his lips, have gone to heaven before him, and many more are
now on the way.

"As I follow the soul of our departed brother up to the world of bliss, I
see, with a vision stronger and more true than that of the natural eye,
companies of redeemed Karens, radiant in robes of light, with harps of
gold, coming forth to give the first greeting, saying, 'O teacher,
teacher! have you come? Welcome! welcome!' I can hear them say, 'Teacher,
but for you, we had never come here. You showed us the way of eternal
life. You led us to Jesus. You taught us how to pray, and here we are
redeemed and glorified.'

"Mr. Vinton's aim was something higher and nobler than to establish a
mere nominal Christianity. It was to win souls to Christ, to bring men
practically and experimentally to the knowledge of repentance toward God,
and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, resulting in holiness of heart and

These are the words of a brother missionary, one who had known him
intimately for years; and it was a common saying, that to know Mr. Vinton
was to love him.

The following tribute appeared in "The Christian Secretary:"--

"Justus H. Vinton is dead. The toils and labors of the devoted missionary
are ended, and he has gone up to receive his reward. For nearly a quarter
of a century brother Vinton labored with unflagging faith and devoted
zeal in the cause of his Master. No obstacle was powerful enough to
discourage him in his labor of love. No adverse circumstance could for a
moment delay him in the work which he had evidently been called to do.

"In storms and sunshine, in prosperity and in adversity, brother Vinton
was still the same. Earnestly devoted to his Master's service, blessed
with an iron constitution, an indomitable will, and unwavering faith in
the promises, his whole missionary life was a glowing example of a
devoted disciple, earnestly engaged in his Master's vineyard,

"Nor were his labors unblessed. No missionary could point to as many
converts, as the seals of his ministry, as Justus H. Vinton.

"There will be no more misunderstandings with regard to the 'policy' of
brother Vinton. He may have made mistakes in the course of his long
missionary career. It would be surprising if he had not; but they were
errors of the head, and not of the heart. Whatever they may have been, or
however he may have been misunderstood in this country, he was always
honest in his dealings with his fellow-men.

"He is beyond the reach of criticism now, and we are sure that no one
will feel disposed to indulge in it. As a Christian and a missionary, his
name will be held in cherished remembrance by thousands of his friends in
this country, as well as in India, and future generations will rise up to
call him blessed."

No more fitting close to this memoir can be found than the closing
sentences of the letter written by Mr. Vinton to the Baptist churches of
Connecticut just before leaving for his last journey, and which was found
among his papers after his death.

"Here, then, is the great subject-matter of my letter. You have helped us
with your contributions of money most liberally, and we pray God to
reward you a thousand-fold. But what avails this, so long as these
precious souls are not converted? and _this_ never can be, without more
wrestling, agonizing prayer to God. Were it possible that prevailing
prayer could be offered unaccompanied by alms, and could we have but one,
I would unhesitatingly say, '_Leave us, if need be, to starve_, but give
us of your prayers, that the work of saving souls may go on.' And yet I
know that no man can offer prevailing prayer who does not lie as a living
or dying sacrifice upon God's altar, without stipulation, condition, or

"Oh, what a precious privilege! _Every thing_ upon that altar--our
bodies, our souls, our children, our property, our influence, our ALL!
What an inheritance for our children!

"Brethren and sisters, I earnestly entreat you to meet us before that
altar upon which our earthly all shall have been deposited, that we may
there become wrestling Jacobs and prevailing Israels upon behalf of
priceless souls,--that we may indeed travail in birth for souls till
'Christ be formed in them the hope of glory.'

"Affectionately yours,

"J. H. VlNTON."


"This earth has lost its power to drag me downward;
    Its spell is gone:
My course is now right upward and right onward,
    To yonder throne."

The sad story was whispered from one weeping Karen to another. The
pastors told it to their people with broken utterances. Little companies
of Karens went from village to village, not, as six years before, to
carry the glad news that the deliverer had come, but with the heavy
tidings that the best earthly friend the Karens had ever had was gone
from them forever. Large companies came down to the city, stunned with
the news, and anxious, not only to learn from the mamma's own lips the
confirmation of the sad report, but to mingle their tears with hers, to
look into the vacant study, so filled with tender associations to many of
them, and to gaze on the grave of one whom they had loved only too well.

It was touching to see some of them steal off to his study, and pass
their hands caressingly over the quaint old-fashioned chair he always sat
in, and over the papers which lay on the desk still undisturbed, as if in
the hard rough outlines of the wood, and in the rustling paper, there
must be some lingering memory of the busy hands which were now forever at
rest. Though crushed at first by the suddenness of the blow, yet they had
been too long under the influence of that hopeful, trusting spirit, to
doubt that the Lord, who had raised them up such a leader and helper in
the darkest hour of their need, would still be their support and stay in
this heavy affliction. Thousands of prayers went up from that smitten
flock for the bereaved widow, for the fatherless children so far away,
and for themselves, that the Great Shepherd might now lead them, and
teach them to depend more wholly upon him.

Deputations of native pastors came to beg Mrs. Vinton not to leave them
to return to her home in America, but to remain and to take up her
husband's work, and to go before them as he had done.

Go home to America! Yes: it would have been sweet to go back to the dear
old homestead where her childhood had been spent, and where an aged
mother still longed for one more sight of the absent daughter. Fond
sisters and a loving brother would have vied with each other in making
her last years happy and restful; and, more than all, her two children
were in America; and who could have blamed her if she had turned her
steps hitherward, and, contenting herself with twenty-four years of
active, ceaseless service for the heathen, had spent the last six years
of her life in the retirement of her home, and in the enjoyment of the
society of the host of friends who stood ready to welcome her to these

Doubtless the home of her childhood, with its many tender memories, never
appeared more peaceful and inviting, with its low-browed roof and quaint
New England surroundings,--the orchard, the chestnut-wood, and the
whispering pines, where had been her bower of prayer; doubtless the
claims of the aged mother, the widowed sister, and her own fatherless
children, never appealed so strongly to her heart; but clear and distinct
above these came the call from the Karen churches, the entreaties of the
native Christians, the cry of the ignorant and perishing all around. We
cannot be surprised that she resolutely endeavored to put aside her own
grief, and sense of loss, and began to strengthen the hearts of the
pastors with words of encouragement, and to comfort the weeping disciples
with the assurance, that, so long as she lived, she would remain with
them, and labor on as before.

Great grace and power seemed to come upon her from on high, as if to
prepare her for the lonely, toilsome path before her. Dr. Kincaid, the
old and tried friend, concerning whom the Vintons had so often occasion
to use the language of Proverbs xvii. 17, and Philippians i. 3, came at
once from Prome to Rangoon, and, by his judicious counsel and hearty
co-operation, very much aided Mrs. Vinton and the native pastors in
arranging plans of work for the future. Not content with this, he went
out among the people to assure them that the mamma would not leave them,
and that, whenever they needed _his_ presence or assistance, he would
come at once, and help them in any way that he could. These were no "idle
words." Eugenio Kincaid was a man of deeds, large-hearted, and
self-sacrificing; and many a time, during the next six years, did he
leave his field, and come to Rangoon to aid Mrs. Vinton by his counsel,
in carrying on a work under which many a pastor in this country would
have staggered.

Never was a Burman missionary so loved and trusted by the Karens as Dr.
Kincaid. Like the dear teacher who had just gone from them, he had shown
that he sought "not theirs, but them." Fearless and independent, while
trusting and humble, he read in his commission, "Preach the gospel to
every creature;" and whether, in his journeys among the Burmans, he came
across a Karen hamlet or a garrison of English soldiers, he never
refrained from preaching Christ to them, because he had not been
specially "designated" to them. His work was owned and blessed of God;
and, besides the many trophies won from among the Burmans, he will meet
in heaven hundreds of redeemed Karens who first heard the gospel from his
lips, besides many others who were cheered and helped by his earnest
words and example. Dear, noble, old man!--the hero of a hundred
fights,--his indomitable courage never failed him, whether facing the
robbers in northern Burmah, or the governor of Rangoon with his
infuriated soldiery, or the terrors of an ecclesiastical council in
Maulmain. Right was right, and duty was duty; and his voice was always
heard on the side of truth.

While we write these lines, news comes from his far-off western home that
he lies very ill, possibly at the point of death.

God grant that this may not be true! May that brave, true heart beat for
many a year yet! The flashing eye which so often made the cruel oppressor
quail beneath its gaze is dimmed with age. The arm which has dealt so
many true blows for God and right is weak and trembling with infirmity.
But may God grant to make the walk home, in the hush of evening, a calm
and restful one; and as the twilight deepens, and the forms of earth are
lost in the gathering darkness, may the lights of home shine out all the
clearer! May He who has said, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,"
place around him the "Everlasting Arms"! and may this man of God share in
the quiet trust expressed in the lines of Bonar:--

"I am wandering down life's shady path,--
    Slowly, slowly, wandering down:
I am wandering down life's rugged path,--
    Slowly, slowly, wandering down.

'Tis the mellow flush of sunset now,
    'Tis the shadow and the cloud;
'Tis the dimness of the dying eve,
    'Tis the shadow and the cloud.

'Tis the dreamy haze of twilight now,
    'Tis the hour of silent trust;
'Tis the solemn hue of fading skies,
    'Tis the time of tranquil trust.

We have shared our earthly sorrows
    Each with the other here;
We shall share our heavenly gladness
    Each with the other there.

We have mingled tears together,
    We shall mingle smiles and song;
We have mingled sighs together,
    We shall mingle smiles and song."

No one on that heavenly shore will be more glad to greet Eugenio Kincaid
than his old comrade on the mission field. They had toiled together side
by side for years; together they had won many a victory over the powers
of hell; and together shall they, with that other grand old veteran,
Jabez Swan, walk the golden streets, and thank God for permitting them to
do and to suffer for his cause.

The burden of the churches thus thrown upon Mrs. Vinton, made it
necessary that she should commit a large portion of the school-work to
assistants; and here she began to reap the fruits of the care and wisdom
with which the educational work of previous years had been conducted.

In the Normal School in Maulmain, which in the midst of its greatest
promise came to such an untimely end, had been two Karen girls who had
been named by friends in America, Fidelia and Eliza. They had profited,
during the short time they had been in the Normal School, by the
instructions of Miranda Vinton and Miss Wright, who were in charge.

These two girls Mrs. Vinton called to her assistance, and they soon
developed into teachers of marked ability. They differed widely in
disposition and temperament, each in a sense the complement of the other,
yet, both by disposition and long friendship, fitted to work successfully
together. They had married men in every way worthy of them. Eliza's
husband, Rev. Thah-mway, has been for more than twenty-five years a most
devoted and efficient preacher and teacher, for the greater portion of
the time being an ordained pastor, in charge of a large district of
native churches; not only directing with admirable skill the unordained
pastors and assistants under his charge, but also doing splendid service
as an evangelist.

Fidelia's husband, Nyo-poh, was, until his death, employed as a teacher;
for a long time in the city school, of which he was treasurer. He was a
most faithful and trustworthy man, and wholly worthy of the implicit
confidence with which he was regarded by the missionaries. The assistance
of these teachers left Mrs. Vinton more time to devote to the necessary
oversight of the churches. It has never been fully understood in this
country that a large share of the personal work of a missionary is
devoted to this task of oversight. Constituted as the majority of the
churches are, at least in the first or second generation of mission
labor, of converts who are either entirely uneducated, or but partially
trained, and embarrassed by the remnants of heathen superstitions and
customs, they would need the very best of pastors; but to supply this
need we have only the ranks of the converts themselves from which to
draw. This difficulty has led to a system of oversight and advice upon
the part of the missionaries, which demands much time, and is the source
of great anxiety.

Fortunately, in our older missions in Burmah, the necessity for such work
is passing away with the introduction of a thoroughly trained native
ministry; and each generation of effort leaves the missionary more free
for personal labor among the heathen. However, with the formation of new
churches in heathen districts, arises again the necessity for advice from
the missionary, and the same process is repeated. We long for the day
when the supply of native preachers from the old fields will not only
meet the demands of the old churches, but will furnish a sufficient
_corps_ of native missionaries to meet the wants of the new fields
opening on every side.

It is but right and fair to the missionaries to say that they confine
themselves to _advice_. They never attempt to exercise any disciplinary
authority, or to become in any sense "Lords over God's heritage." Their
desire is to train the natives so that as quickly as possible they may be
qualified to direct their own church affairs.

In this work of oversight Mrs. Vinton was greatly assisted by the three
ordained pastors, Mau-Yay, Nga-lay, and Yai-pau, and by others equally
faithful, but not so prominent. It seemed as if special grace was given
to the pastors in this emergency; for never before, even in the brightest
days of the mission, had there been such a display of faithfulness and
zeal as now. Nor was it alone among the pastors that Mrs. Vinton found
hearty and efficient supporters.

Loonee-pa and Myat-tway, who, with their sons, were engaged in business
in Rangoon, and were living on the mission premises, stood ready to
render all assistance in their power in the conduct of the temporal
affairs of the mission. The donations of these two families were on a
scale which would put to shame many a one who, in this country, has won
the praise of his brethren for liberality.

Others, of less means, were equally generous. It is impossible to convey
any adequate idea of the readiness of the Karens to do any thing, or give
any thing, which might help Mrs. Vinton or further the interests of the
mission. Truly the example of self-sacrifice set them by their departed
teacher had not been lost, and its influence is felt in that mission
until to-day. Even the pupils in the schools participated in this
feeling. The "Revenue Survey," which was the basis of the assessment of
taxes, had furnished employment to many of the young men of Mrs. Vinton's
school during their vacations. Their work was invariably so well done,
that a young man had but to present a certificate of proficiency from
her, and he secured an appointment at once. From the pay which the
pupils, thus employed, received for their work, they set apart a tenth, a
fifth, or sometimes even a half, as a contribution to the mission. Their
donations were so large in proportion to their means, that Mrs. Vinton
felt compelled to remonstrate with them for giving so much. The tears
would start to their eyes as they answered earnestly, "We _cannot_ give
too much. If it had not been for you and your instructions, we should
never have known enough to have earned this money. Take it and use it, so
that others coming, as ignorant as we were, may be taught as well as we
have been."

Nor were the churches behindhand in the same liberal spirit. Numbers of
young men who had been educated in Mrs. Vinton's school refused lucrative
appointments under the English government, and offered their services as
evangelists and teachers. The effect of all this upon Mrs. Vinton herself
was remarkable. She had always been burdened with a desponding spirit,
and an inclination to look upon the "dark side." She had fought against
it earnestly; and, so long as her husband lived, his sunny, hopeful
disposition had assisted her in conquering it. When he died, it seemed as
if she inherited the calm trustfulness and confidence which had been such
a marked trait in his character. The wonderful exhibitions of self-denial
and sacrifice presented by the Karens strengthened this spirit, and never
again do we find in her letters that tone of despondency which was
frequently to be discovered in her earlier communications.

In addition, she was much cheered and strengthened by the remembrance of
a remarkable dream which she had previous to her husband's death.

She had gone to sleep with her mind full of anxious forebodings caused by
the action of the deputation. It seemed to her as if there was nothing
left for them to do but to relinquish the mission, and either bury
themselves in the trackless wildernesses of Karennee, or, worse than
this, to return to America.

She dreamed that she stood before a mighty tree, shapely and beautiful,
with wide-spreading branches. While she stood gazing at it, a party of
men came, and with stern determination attacked the noble trunk with
axes, saying to each other "Let us cut it down!" The work of destruction
went on, until the trunk was nearly severed, when all save one withdrew,
and stood at a little distance to watch its fall. The last few strokes
were given, and the trunk was severed; but, to the astonishment of the
lookers-on (and of the dreamer), the tree did not fall. While she was
wondering at this, and looking upward, a voice came, "_The tree is rooted
in the skies. It cannot fall. It is rooted in the skies;_" and then she
saw that the upper branches were buried in the clouds.

She awoke; and, as she thought it over, the impression grew upon her that
the dream was indeed sent of God; and ever after, when difficulties
threatening the permanence of the mission would arise, she comforted
herself with these words, "It is rooted in the skies. It cannot fall. It
is rooted in the skies."


"Go labor on: enough while here
    If He shall praise thee, if He deign
Thy willing heart to mark and cheer;
    No toil for Him shall be in vain."

So soon as the news of Mr. Vinton's death reached America, Calista, who
was just about to graduate at Suffield, prepared to return to Burmah. The
churches in Connecticut, who had so often and so liberally contributed to
the Vintons, secured her passage and outfit; and on Christmas Day, 1858,
the mother and daughter were re-united. Calista engaged at once in the
school work, taking charge of the classes in mathematics, and giving
instruction in vocal music, besides assisting her mother in the care of
the boarding department.

It is not to be wondered at, however, that Mrs. Vinton often trembled as
she looked forward to the future, feeling that the success or failure of
the mission depended largely upon the wisdom and skill with which she
directed its affairs. She had always been a woman of much prayer; but she
now emphatically gave herself to supplication and prayer that God would
guide her and the native pastors, and pour out his Spirit on the
churches, and thus, by his presence and special blessing, make up for the
loss of their devoted and faithful leader. Mrs. Vinton did not relinquish
any of the branches of the work in which she had previously engaged, but
carried on all the different departments of it which had hitherto
devolved upon both herself and her husband. The only change she made was,
that in the dry season she committed the charge of the school to the
native assistants, and spent her time among the village churches. This
was the more easily done, as the school at that portion of the year
consisted mainly of the younger scholars, the older ones having returned
to their homes to assist their parents in the harvesting of the

By the large Karen population scattered through the jungles north and
west of Rangoon, she was welcomed with a heartiness and enthusiasm which
few missionaries have experienced. Wherever she went, the people came to
her in throngs. She was often aroused in the morning by the creaking of
the bamboo flooring under the cautious step of early callers, who were
saying to each other in loud whispers, "Isn't the mamma awake yet?" Often
it would be midnight ere the last lingering visitor left. The efforts of
the people to show themselves hospitable, and to render her visits as
pleasant as possible, were most assiduous. As soon as the news was
brought to a village that she had reached the landing-place at the river,
perhaps three or four miles away, buffalo-carts were despatched at once
to bring her and her baggage to the chapel. Much care was bestowed on the
selection of the buffaloes, and the quietest pair in the neighborhood was
promoted to the post of honor. Sometimes when the carts reached the
landing-place, Mrs. Vinton would be greeted with the laughing assurance,
"Come, mamma, you have nothing to fear: these are Christian buffaloes."
But at other times it would be, "Take care, mamma: these are heathen
buffaloes;" and the event often tried her powers of holding on and
holding together to the utmost. The strange antipathy of these creatures
to white people has never been accounted for satisfactorily. It is in
some way connected with the sense of smell; for a whole herd will gaze
quietly upon a white person for a time, but, just as soon as he goes to
windward of them, they begin to manifest great uneasiness. The massive
heads are thrown up; and the animals sniff the air with evident alarm,
not unmixed with anger. In another moment the entire herd breaks into a
run, in whatever direction the heads happen to be turned.

Some experienced old wiseacres have learned to connect the odor with the
individual, and will rush at a white person wherever seen; but, as a
rule, the mere presence of a white man does not awaken alarm if he keeps
to leeward of the animals.

Woe be to a poor missionary who has deftly crawled into the cart to which
a pair of these powerful creatures have been harnessed. Before he has
fairly crouched down in the straw, fondly imagining, that, if he can keep
out of sight, all will be well, he is convinced of his mistake by a
series of snorts and plunges; and then the infuriated beasts set off upon
a dead run across the uneven paddy-fields, taking ditches, bushes, and
embankments in their way with the utmost _abandon_. Frantically the poor
passenger clutches at the sides of the cart, in the vain attempt to keep
himself from being bumped to a jelly as the springless vehicle bounces
over the rough ground. The straw, intended to serve as cushions, glides
out from under him in the most inconsiderate manner, and gathers itself
up into an indignant lump at the other side of the cart.

The basket of dishes suddenly makes a lunge, and hits him cruelly in the
back. Then an ant-hill under one wheel upsets the basket of cooking
utensils; and pots, pans, and kettles come flying at him from all sides,
some landing on the ground, to be picked up by the boatmen as they come
along. Still the buffaloes keep right on, never slacking their pace for
bruised body or broken dishes: their faces are set toward home, and they
will not rest until they are brought up, breathless and panting, against
some strong buffalo-pen in the village.

On one occasion Mrs. Vinton found one of these uncomfortable rides
brought to a more sudden termination than even she had expected. The
buffaloes had made a sudden turn, and were dashing through a grove of
trees, when one of the solid wooden wheels of the cart came against a
stump. The pole broke; and away the frantic creatures galloped into the
depths of the jungle, not to be found again until the next day. The
village was far away; and the catastrophe would have been solemn, had it
not been enlivened by the actions of the "Kalah cook." His chief anxiety
had been for the dishes and other household utensils, which he had
carefully transferred from the boat to the cart, after which he had
seated himself among his "household goods," prepared to enjoy the long
ride to the village. When the buffaloes began to run away, he clutched
frantically at the basket of dishes, and tried to steady with his feet
the other basket containing the precious little store of tea, coffee,
sugar, bread, butter, lard, curry-powder, pickles, flour, medicines, and
spices, beside other necessary things not to be found short of the city
bazaar. But alas! as the cart swayed from side to side, and jumped up and
down, one thing after another broke loose from its moorings, and he soon
found his hands (and his _lap_ too) literally full. His despairing looks
and gestures, his brief ejaculations as one dish after another broke, and
other treasures were landed in the road, were most amusing. He had an
evident determination to "stick to his post," but the trouble seemed to
be to find the post. He cast agonizing glances over the side of the cart
as it danced along: the desire was strong within him at times to seize a
basket and jump with it to the ground, but prudence forbade. Mrs. Vinton
and her good Nau-oo-thah found their attention happily diverted from
their own suffering and bruised condition, as they watched the comical
actions of the man; and they laughed until the tears came. After the
"smash-up" he looked very rueful as they proceeded to gather up the
fragments and place them in the baskets, while they waited for another
cart to come for them from the village.

The "Kalah cook," while very useful in his own department, and forming a
necessary adjunct to every travelling party, does not seem gifted with
many ideas beyond the work of preparing meals, and keeping out of the way
of the boatmen, who look upon him as a mild sort of intruder.

Once, when Mr. Luther was travelling, the boat grounded on a sand-bar.
The boatmen immediately sprang overboard, and began shoving it back into
deep water. It was hard work, as the tide was rapidly falling; but, as
they paused a moment to take breath, they spied the cook sitting in the
bottom of the boat, _pushing against one of the thwarts_ with all his

This grave attempt to aid in releasing the boat from the sand-bar was too
much for the Karens; and they sat down in the shallow water and laughed
and screamed to their heart's content, while the poor cook gazed at them
in bewildered astonishment. He had never heard of trying to lift one's
self over a fence by pulling at his boot-straps, for he wore no boots:
therefore the similarity of his attempt to this time-worn problem did not
strike him.

The "Kalah cook," however, is in his element when he has once been safely
landed, with his belongings, at the native village. The boatmen despised
him and his finiking ways, and hooted at him when he suggested to one of
them to go ashore after a chatty of well-water for culinary purposes,
instead of dipping it up out of the river. Here, however, at the village
the people gaze on him with a mixed amazement at the blackness of his
skin, the whiteness of his garments, and the general "queerness" of his
methods of cooking. He receives all offers of assistance with becoming
dignity, taking the stray bundles of dry twigs brought him by the little
urchins, with only a nod; directing, by a lordly gesture, where the women
shall place the chatties of water brought from the well; and, if unable
to find a place sufficiently sheltered for his cooking, making signs for
thatch and bamboo to make a screen for his fire, and thus shelter it from
the wind.

He builds his fire on the ground under some native house, or perchance a
tree; and unmoved by the concentrated stare of some dozen or more naked
children (who dare not venture into the chapel where the mamma is,
because of a rumor that she has threatened to _whip_ all naked children),
he proceeds with his cooking. His features relax a little when a dozen of
eggs is brought in; but when a basket of sweet, freshly-hulled rice
comes, and with it a fat hen or duck for the mamma's dinner, he actually
smiles, and exclaims, "Koungthai!" (good); for the Kalah cook generally
has a smattering of English and Burmese, and the latter is his only means
of communication with the Karens. But we must leave him to concoct a most
savory dinner with the few and rude cooking appliances at his hand,--a
sauce-pan and a fire kindled between three lumps of clay,--while we turn
to the missionary and describe her reception.

Such of the villagers as are not at work in the paddy-fields are busy in
arranging her lodging and living room in the village chapel. Her roll of
bedding, tied up carefully in matting, is unfastened, and spread out in
one corner; and by its side the three or four "pahs" (mat-work covered
baskets) containing her changes of clothing, books, medicines, etc., are
placed. A bamboo, about ten feet long, is extended from the floor to a
beam overhead; and a long strip of cloth is stretched from one wall to
the bamboo, and at right angles to another wall, thus forming a room
eight or ten feet square.

If the village possesses such a thing as a bedstead, it is often brought
up and placed in the chapel before her arrival: but the experienced
missionary generally prefers to spread a bed on the floor; for these
bedsteads, like the houses from which they came, are more than likely to
be swarming with vermin. The chapel, being used only for purposes of
worship, is the cleanest house in the village. During the missionary's
visit, however, it is generally thronged from morning till night by
people from all the region about; some wanting medicine, some counsel,
some sympathy, some encouragement, while the great mass are a curious
gaping crowd of heathen men, women, and children, who must be talked with
kindly, their strange irrelevant questions answered, and the gospel
preached to them in all faithfulness.

On these tours Mrs. Vinton was often obliged to settle questions upon
church discipline, and disputes between church members; and even
questions of law, in the absence of courts, were submitted to her for her
judgment and decision. In these latter cases she called the witnesses
before her, and, having heard all the testimony on both sides, gave her
decision; and from her opinion there never was any appeal. Her sound
sense and thorough knowledge of native character were of greater
assistance to her than Blackstone, or Coke upon Littleton.

During the day she remained in the chapel, receiving all who came to her.
In the evening, as soon as the sun was down, she was out visiting from
house to house, ministering to the sick and aged, and urging the claims
of religion upon the few who were too proud or indifferent to come to see
her. Making the chapel in the Christian village her head-quarters, she
visited other villages in the neighborhood, sometimes walking over in the
morning and returning in the evening, or occasionally going after sunset
and returning by moonlight. In these walks she was always accompanied by
the native pastor and a number of the Christian disciples, who went with
her, not only to second her efforts, but to show the heathen that they
honored their teacher.

[Illustration--A KAREN CHAPEL.]

In their desire to make this manifest, they sometimes went to an extent
that Mrs. Vinton would not have sanctioned, had she been consulted before
hand; and yet it was so evidently the natural outburst of a wish to show
to the world how much they loved her, and how much they wished to honor
her, that she could not find it in her heart to reprove them.

As an example of their method of showing their appreciation, one instance
will suffice. It furnished a great deal of amusement to the excellent
Mrs. Ingalls, who happened to witness it. She was travelling among the
Burman villages in her field; and hearing that Mrs. Vinton was in the
neighborhood, she went to the Karen village to enjoy one of those rare
opportunities for Christian intercourse, and the interchange of sympathy
and thought, which come so seldom to the worn and pre-occupied

The day passed in this delightful communion; and, as night drew nigh,
Mrs. Ingalls prepared to take her departure, when Mrs. Vinton told her
that the next morning a company of Karens were coming to take her to a
village ten miles distant, to spend a few days in Christian work.

"Why," said Mrs. Ingalls, "you will pass a village which I very much wish
to visit."

"Stay with me all night then, and we will take you to your destination in
the morning," said Mrs. Vinton.

Every thing was prepared for leaving the village by daybreak, in order to
avoid exposure to the intense heat; and then, as soon as the chapel was
cleared of the mingled crowd of Karens and Burmans, the two missionaries
retired to rest.

It was a bright moonlight night; and about two o'clock in the morning
they were awakened by the sound of distant gongs, the jingle of bells,
and the shrill notes of native flutes. While they were wondering what it
might mean, and vainly trying to compose themselves again to sleep, the
noise drew nearer and nearer, and at last ceased just before the chapel.
Then voices were heard, "We have come for the mamma. Is she ready to go?"
In a few moments all was bustle and confusion. A dozen fires were
kindled, and a dozen rice-pots set on to boil, in preparation for
feasting the crowd who had "Come for the mamma;" and then the "Kalah
cook" was hustled out of his sleepy corner by an officious native, and
told to get ready a cup of tea and some fried duck's eggs for the mamma,
before she should start.

Sleep was out of the question, even if it had not been for a gentle voice
outside the curtain saying, "We will be ready to put mamma's bed and pahs
into the cart as soon as she has risen."*

[Footnote: * Native etiquette requires that in speaking to an older
person, or superior, the third person should be used.]

Another inducement was not wanting to rouse Mrs. Vinton from slumber.
Mrs. Ingalls had her by the shoulder, and was alternately shaking her,
and stopping to give vent to her hearty and mirth-inspiring laugh as she
said, "Get up! We are going to ride in state this morning." Then she
would run, and peep through the cracks in the chapel wall, and come back
with fresh accounts each time of the number of carts standing in the
moonlit space in front of the chapel, of the gay dresses of the young men
and women who had come as escort, and finally of the astounding fact that
in some way oxen, instead of buffaloes, had been procured to draw two of
the carts. This latter feature added as much dignity to the occasion as
the substitution of Arab steeds for omnibus horses would do in this
country. All who have ever been fortunate enough to meet this noble
woman, Mrs. Ingalls, who owes much of her success to her joyous, merry
disposition, which was now bubbling over at the oddity and weirdness of
this whole proceeding, can imagine that in another minute Mrs. Vinton was
laughing as heartily as Mrs. Ingalls, while they dressed themselves, and
proceeded to take their room to pieces and finish the packing of their
scanty luggage.

By the time the Karens had eaten their rice, the ladies had taken a cup
of tea and some bread, and all was ready for the start. The carts had
been filled with clean rice-straw; and, in the handsomest one, Mrs.
Vinton's mattress had been placed to serve as a seat, while the pahs and
other luggage had been placed in another.

[Illustration--A BUFFALO-CART.]

The procession then took up its march. First came a company of young men,
two of them beating gongs. Then came the cart containing Mrs. Vinton and
Mrs. Ingalls. It was drawn by two of the sleekest oxen, with bells strung
around their necks on a broad band of red cloth. By its side walked young
men and maidens in holiday attire. Then came another company of men and
women; then the next cart; and so on until the procession ended in a
mixed assembly, who had somehow imbibed the idea that the larger the
escort, the more the heathen would be impressed with the dignity of the
Christian religion.

Mrs. Ingalls seemed as much impressed as the heathen could have been, not
with the dignity of religion, which, indeed, needed no such outward show,
but with the love and devotion manifested toward the teacher who had
sacrificed so much for them. She enlivened the long, slow ride with her
merry comments on the extra carving bestowed upon their cart, on the gay
trappings of the sober oxen, the delights of riding by moonlight to the
inspiring strains of music, and the honor of being attended to their
destination by such an escort, with now and then a witty thrust at the
Burmans who accompanied the party, which kept all in a roar of laughter.

"See!" she would say, "see how the Karens treat their mamma. If she wants
to go any where they come after her in carts, and such carts! Drawn by
oxen too, all trimmed up with red belts and streamers and bells. And
then, as if that were not enough, all these handsome young men and women
to keep her company, and show the people that they love their mamma! Oh,
it almost makes me wish I were a Karen missionary! When I wish to go
anywhere, I have to walk; and if I can find two or three disciples to go
with me, and show me the way, I think myself fortunate. But never mind:
now I am with Mamma Vinton, and share in her honors and her privileges.
The Burmans will learn by and by."

Soon the morning dawned over the broad paddy-plains, and they began to
meet companies of Karens and Burmans going forth to their work. Whenever
they met a party of Burmans, or passed through a Burman village, Mrs.
Ingalls would call out to them in a cheery voice, while her eye danced
with merriment, "Look! see how the Karen mamma travels. Is not this
grand? Do you hear the gongs? Do you see all this display? The Karens
come forth to meet their mamma with the honor she deserves. After this I
shall expect to have the Burmans treat me so. I, too, shall ride in a
handsome cart, drawn by sleek oxen, with music and bells."

The Burmans, who loved Mrs. Ingalls as much as the Karens did Mrs.
Vinton, although they were not yet so ready to show it, nodded laughingly
at her bantering tone, and said "Yes, yes! the mamma shall not walk any
more. She shall ride as well as the Karen mamma."


"'Tis first the good and then the beautiful,
    Not first the beautiful and then the good;
First the wild moor, with rock and reed and pool,
    Then the flower-blossom or the branching wood."

However, jungle travel was not a continued picnic or triumphal
procession. It had its dark side as well as its light. Sleeping in a boat
amid the fever-laden fogs of the river, or in an open chapel, with
nothing but a single thickness of cloth between her and "all out doors;"
waking in the night to find a centipede or snake coiled up in bed by her
side; riding after runaway buffaloes, and then reaching a village only to
talk until she was hoarse, to hearers who would continually interrupt her
with the most irrelevant questions concerning the whiteness of her skin,
the size of her nose, or the manner of her dress,--all these were no
holiday experiences, and yet she rarely spoke of these things. Her
accounts of her journeys were always filled with stories of the kindness
shown her by the Christians; of the number of bright children who were
ready to come into the village or city schools; of the way the
affectionate and grateful people had loaded her boat down with rice,
chickens, plantains, etc.; and, above all, of the numbers who had been

The Karens showed their desire to gratify her in even trifling things;
and some amusing scenes occurred from their attempts to furnish her with
such little luxuries as were obtainable in the jungle.

For instance, it was very difficult to obtain milk, even in quantities
sufficient for the morning cup of coffee or the noonday cup of tea. The
natives were not in the habit of using milk in any form, and of course
the buffalo-cows were not accustomed to being milked. Knowing this, Mrs.
Vinton seldom expected to get any milk outside of the city; but not
unfrequently it would happen, that, learning her fondness for it, the
Karens would search among their herds until they found a buffalo cow with
a young calf.

The unfortunate youngster then soon found himself tied to a stout post
for the night, far from his anxious parent. Next morning the fun, or the
trouble, began. The calf was brought and tied near the mother; and then a
group of ten or twenty stalwart young men surrounded the cow. A rope,
secured to her neck, was twisted round a post, and the end held by a
Karen. Two or three men seized the massive horns. Another rope was
cautiously passed around the creature's hind-legs, and either secured to
a post, or held by Karens. The remainder of the crowd stood round, ready
for any sudden emergency.

Then one daring Karen, who was as unused to milking as the poor buffalo
was to being milked, drew near, with a betel-box cover in his hand, to
receive the rich creamy fluid; but at the first touch of his
hand--"Whoosh!"--a kick, a snort, and a series of plunges, and everything
had broken loose, and chaos seemed to have come again. The "tying-up"
process was gone over again patiently, and more thoroughly; and with a
firm look, but trembling hand, the dauntless Karen returned to the
attack, while the by-standers seized every "objective point" of the
animal. Perhaps the milker succeeded this time in securing a few
spoonfuls of milk, while the now frantic animal kicked and plunged with
all her might. Then active hostilities would cease for a time, to allow
both parties to recruit their exhausted energies. Generally, during the
next skirmish, the betel-box would be kicked out of the milker's hand,
and stepped upon.

"_Experientia docet;_" and one more wise than the rest would suggest that
the milk, as fast as obtained, should be poured into another receptacle,
and thus secured against accident.

The amount of milk obtained in this way would vary from half a cupful to
a quart, or in rare cases two quarts, according to the kicking capacity
of the buffalo, and the endurance of the Karens. When milked into a clean
receptacle (and the Karens soon learned that this was a desirable little
item to the mamma), it was a great treat; for it was rich and creamy,
and, if boiled, would keep for several days, and furnish cream enough to
make a little pat of an ounce or two of butter. The cream, by the way, is
churned in a large-mouthed quart bottle, by vigorously shaking it until
butter comes.

Almost every missionary can furnish, from his own experience, scenes
similar to the above. Mr. Luther on one occasion, after watching the
futile attempts of a party of Karens to get enough milk for his cup of
coffee, offered to "show them how to milk." It happened that, as the
buffalo-cow had proved unusually refractory, the calf had been led up, to
persuade the mother to "give down." It was quietly enjoying its
long-deferred breakfast, and trying to make up for lost time, when it
caught sight of the approaching missionary. With a whoop and a bellow,
which rang through the village like the sound of a trumpet, it backed
over the Karen who was holding it, and started for the jungle. The mother
turned to look for her vanishing offspring, "which was not wont so to
do," when she, too, caught sight of the missionary; and, overturning the
dozen or more Karens who were holding her, she disappeared in a cloud of

The intense dislike which both Karens and Burmans have for milk, butter,
and cheese, is not easily accounted for. When we consider the fact that
some of them eat monkeys and snakes; that many will eat the flesh of an
animal which died of disease; that the honey which they use is generally
mixed with brood-comb, containing thousands of young bees, which, in the
native estimation, adds greatly to the flavor; that the white-ant
queen,--a pulpy mass two inches long, resembling an enormous white
grub,--and the palm-worm, which is about the same size and of similar
appearance, are regarded as special delicacies,--we cannot but wonder
that a cup of pure fresh milk, or a roll of delicious butter, is regarded
by them with such infinite disgust.*

[Footnote: * The natives are now, however, gradually overcoming this
prejudice, and are learning to like milk, or at least tolerate it.]

The articles enumerated above by no means cover the list of dietary
peculiarities among the Karens. Of this people, it must in truth be said,
"_De gustibus non est disputandum._" Their attachment to _Nya-eu_
(fermented fish) is as extraordinary as it is universal and undying. This
article forms a part of every curry: it is boiled with vegetables, it is
fried and eaten with rice; in fact, it seems as necessary to a native as
the very air he breathes. To appreciate this delicacy, it is needful to
know how it is prepared. To the new missionary, however, all that is
necessary is for him to get one whiff of its powerful odor, to make him
utterly indifferent to its mode of preparation, and only anxious to put
space between him and the jar containing it.

The fish are caught by placing huge nets across the streams. They are
then spread out in the hot sun until they have reached a decided state of
fermentation. Salt and pepper, and frequently a species of clay, are
mixed with the fragrant mass; and thenceforward it stands prepared to
delight the palate of every Karen or Burman, in any form of cookery.
Almost every returned missionary has heard the question asked, "Why
cannot the missionaries live as the natives do? It would be such a saving
of expense. Why must they have a cook to prepare their meals separately?
Do they feel themselves too good to eat food prepared by the natives for
their own use?"

Argument and explanation are not always satisfactory; but Rev. Mr. Bunker
brought home with him recently an unanswerable reply to these questions.
It is a small jar of this fish, just as the natives use it. To such "vain
questionings" he replies by uncorking the jar, and offering it to the
inquisitive friend for a smell. It is the most convincing statement of
the subject which can be imagined. To tell one of these fault-finders
that not a Karen knows how to prepare a single article which the
missionary can eat except plain boiled rice, ought to be enough; but, if
it is not, Mr. Bunker's little jar, with the information that "some of
that" goes into every dish prepared by the Karens, will convince the most

Not only are foolish questions asked with regard to food, but the matter
of clothing often troubles the minds of some of the "economical" friends
of missions. A gentleman just returned from the mission field was once
asked by a lady, "Why do you not live as the natives do? Eat as they eat,
and dress as they dress? If you did, the missionaries would not require
half as large salaries. Why this waste?"

The missionary answered, "Madam, would you have our wives and children
dress as the natives do?" "Certainly if they are not _too proud_," was
the reply.

"Well, Madam," he said, as he looked her steadily in the face, "perhaps
_you_ would. A large proportion of the middle-aged women when about their
daily work, wear nothing whatever above the waist, and only a single
garment below; and the children run perfectly nude until ten or twelve
years of age. Such a revolution in dress _would_ make quite a saving in
the item of missionary expenditure of the Missionary Union and the
Woman's Missionary Society, if you can induce them to recommend it, and
the missionaries to adopt it."

She made no reply, but doubtless resolved for the future to think before
she spoke.

We have often heard as hasty criticisms upon the fact that the missionary
ladies do not do their own house-work; and it has been plainly intimated
that the reason is, that the strong sensible young woman, who, from her
childhood has practised all the various arts of housekeeping, from the
splitting of kindlings, and wiping dishes, to the preparation of an
elaborate dinner, has undergone such a transformation, such an
"uplifting," on the voyage to India, that by the time she reaches there,
she is _too proud_ to do her own house-work.

It would do some of our New England housekeepers good to be set down in
one of our missionary cook-houses, and told to prepare a dinner. "Where
is my stove?" is the first anxious query?

"My good friend, there is not a stove within a thousand miles. Those
little fires on the ground, with the iron tripods over them, are your
substitute for a stove."

"But where is the chimney? I cannot cook where the smoke blows into my
eyes so!"

"There is no chimney, my friend. You must keep to windward of your fires,
and let the smoke go out at the openings between the roof and the low

"But where is my sink? my hot and cold water faucets? my cistern-water?
my ----"

"Gently, gently, not so fast," responds the good genius of the
place; and leading her to the door, he points to several large jars of
water standing on the ground near by. "There is your sink. Hot water can
be supplied by your tea-kettle. The cold water you can bring from the
well only about a hundred yards away."

"But I don't see any well or any pump."

"True, the well is only a deep pit, and it is at the foot of that hill;
but this bucket and rope are an excellent substitute for a pump. Be
careful not to slip into the well, for it has no curb."

"But I cannot use such water as that: it is thick with mud!"

"True: but you must filter what you wish for the table; and, if you let
the water stand for half a day, a good portion of the mud will settle."

"Where are my pantry--my dish closet--my store room?" she asks, as the
shade deepens on her face, and the sun glares hotter and hotter out of

"All those you will find at the house, only forty or fifty yards away.
The danger from fire is so great in the dry season, that the cook-house
is often built farther away than this."

"I don't see any oven," is the next complaint. Upon this she is pointed
to the large earthen jar half filled with sand, and told that if she
builds a fire under it, and places a sheet of iron covered with hot coals
over the mouth, she can in time learn to bake pretty well with that; or,
if she prefers, she can have an old-fashioned brick oven built.

"Where am I to wash my dishes and clean my lamps?" she asks.

"At the house you will find a shelf projecting from the veranda, on which
are two earthenware pans, in which you can wash dishes. When you wish hot
water, you can bring your tea-kettle up from the cook-house."

"Where am I to mould my bread and make my pies?"

"You can make your pies up at the house, on any convenient table. As for
bread, you will have to buy it; for the only yeast to be had is made from
the juice of the toddy-palm, and that requires a government permit to
obtain it. As the application must be made through your magistrate, and
may take five or six days before you obtain the permit, you will find
that it is better to buy your bread from the natives, who have bought
yearly permits to gather the juice and make the yeast. Besides, you will
find, that, if you try to keep flour in the house, it will soon be
swarming with worms, and will probably become useless before you can use
up a barrel."

The poor woman thinks of her mother's large, airy kitchen, with its clean
floor, its shining stove, the sink with hot and cold water to be had at
the turning of a faucet, the endless array of pots, sauce-pans, griddles,
kettles, tinware, earthen-ware, dippers, strainers, toasters, graters,
sifters, steamers, egg-beaters, and other utensils; and she gently
suggests, that, in the bracing climate of New England, house-work with
all these labor-saving implements is no child's play; and that, unless
she can have better tools to work with, she fears she will have to hire
one of the dozen strong men who are at her elbow, each one begging for
the chance to do all her cooking, washing dishes, etc., for the modest sum
of a dollar and a half a week, and he will board and clothe himself.

The hitherto patient genius frowns and says, "You are above your
position! What are you more than your sisters in America, that you cannot
do your own house-work?"

"But circumstances alter cases," she suggests. "Here I have nothing but a
tea-kettle, a couple of frying-pans, and two or three earthen jars, and a
fire on the ground. I can never learn to cook with these; and besides, in
this hot climate how long do you think I would last, trotting through the
hot sun to draw water from a well a hundred yards away, crouching over
these smoky fires with the thermometer at a hundred degrees in the shade,
and running back and forth from the house every time I want a dish or an
article from my store-room."

"Well," is the reply a little severely, "probably you would not live more
than a year or two; but then, on your gravestone could be inscribed, 'The
victim of Economy and Humility.' And the dollar and a half per week saved
could be devoted to making up to your husband and children for your loss,
and in re-imbursing the Missionary Union for your outfit and passage

After all, this is only a very low view to take of this much vexed
question. There is a yet higher principle involved, but it is apparent
only to those who are capable of taking a broad and comprehensive view of
Christian duty. It should be the aim of every faithful laborer to do, not
necessarily "the next thing," as some writer puts it, which may be
something very paltry and unnecessary, but when a selection must be made
from a mass of things, to do what, under God, will most conduce to his
glory, and the eternal good of souls. Washing dishes or doing house-work
may be, and often is, a means of serving God, and in many cases a
Christian duty; but if allowed to stand in the way of a call to the
performance of a duty of a higher nature, the salvation of a soul, or the
teaching of one ignorant of God, such an absorption in the "much serving"
merits and receives the Master's rebuke.

It is almost impossible to explain, to those who all their lives have
been accustomed to the division of labor which prevails in this country,
the multitudinous cares which crowd upon the foreign missionary every
day, until his chief thought becomes, "How can I make one pair of hands
do the work of ten?" The inventor who takes some unsightly lumps of iron
and steel, and makes a machine which will lighten his own or other's
labor, is not necessarily a lazy man; nor is the machinist who takes an
awkward, ignorant youth, and, by patient teaching, transforms him into a
skilled workman, necessarily "above his work." We call such men
benefactors; but when, on the mission field, a skilled workman for God
teaches a native lad how to black his boots or groom his pony, in order
that he, the missionary, may have time to devote to the translation of
the Bible into the boy's native tongue,--a work which will not only
benefit the lad, but millions of his countrymen,--what an outcry do we
hear because the missionary is too proud to black his own boots!

Imagine one Christian minister and his wife placed in Boston, and
consider them as the sole representatives of the Christian religion in
Eastern Massachusetts. Wipe out the State Convention, the Sunday School
Union, the city missions, the public and private schools, the libraries,
and the book-stores. Drive every educated man and woman from the State,
and leave in their places a mass of ignorant and depraved creatures, who
have every thing to learn which is worth knowing, and only the aforesaid
minister and his wife to teach them. The minister, by the way, is a
foreigner. The gospel must be preached, and a foreign language learned in
which to preach it; and, before public worship can be established,
portions of the Bible must be translated and hymns prepared. Calls come
from all parts of the State for a visit from the overburdened preacher,
who feels that the masses of one city are more than he alone can preach
to, while acting the part of translator, physician, and druggist for the
entire community.

A hasty visit to Springfield, Fitchburg, Worcester, and Lawrence, results
in the conversion of over a hundred souls. These he must baptize, and
organize into churches; and there he is, without a Bible or a catechism
to give them, not a pastor nor a school-teacher to send them, and all the
powers of hell combined to draw away the weak, ignorant believers from
their new-found hope. He hastens home to urge his wife to put out her
washing, and take the time to teach a few children to read; and he asks
her if she cannot find time to give them a little Bible instruction each
day, so that when a portion of the New Testament is translated, a
catechism translated, a spelling-book prepared, and an elementary
arithmetic and a geography through the press, which will soon be sent him
from China, these wild, ignorant children shall be able to take these
books, and return to their homes as teachers, and, if converted (as he
trusts they may be), as preachers. As he rides along in his ox-cart, he
sighs as he remembers that years must elapse before all this can be
accomplished; but it never will be done unless it is begun. So he
mentally resolves to give up the notion which he has had, that no one can
iron his shirts or his white neckties quite as nicely as his wife, and
allow her to hand over this department of her work to one of the numerous
laundrymen of Boston. When he reaches home, he finds his wife engaged in
the sad duty of preparing for burial the body of a woman who has just
died of cholera, and whose friends and neighbors have all fled and left
her to her fate. His wife left her own children to the care of some young
girls next door, while she went and sat by the side of the suffering,
dying creature; and not only smoothed her pathway to the grave, but
turned her dying eyes to the Lamb of God, who alone could take away her
sin; and she had the joy of seeing her depart in the triumphs of faith.
The dying woman with her latest breath besought the missionary's wife to
take her four little ones to train up for God; and faithfully must the
solemn trust be fulfilled.

She cheerfully acquiesces in her husband's plan; and the four children,
after being washed and clothed in new, clean garments (which she must
make herself), are added to those whom her husband has brought in from
the country; and she still tries to go on with their instruction, in
addition to all her other cares and duties, visiting the sick in the
neighborhood, and entertaining the scores of men and women who come in
every day. Her school rapidly increases; and now numbers of the idle,
vagrant children, who formerly spent their time in the streets, are found
in her back parlor, learning of Jesus. They are dirty and filthy in the
extreme; and they have so much vermin in their hair and clothing that the
patient teacher is compelled in self-defence to do something to prevent
her house from becoming unendurable to herself and her family. This
woman, who, according to some of her would-be critics, is "too proud to
do her own washing," shows these children how to use soap and water, and
with her own hands cuts off the matted shock of hair, immediately burns
it, and then washes the running sores on the head, applying some healing
ointment, and clothes the children in garments which she has made out of
material for which her husband's scanty purse has paid. And now the work
is--just begun. The children are sweet and clean for once in their lives;
but, unless a reformation is wrought in their homes, they will soon be in
the same condition in which they were before. The already over-taxed wife
and mother determines to put out her sewing, and get a girl to come and
help in the care of her own little ones, so that she may give more time
to visiting the women at their homes, and teaching them how to keep their
houses and their families in a better condition. She goes into the
miserable dens and hovels, lets in the sunlight and fresh air, and tells
the women that their homes would be more presentable and their families
healthier if they would not throw all the refuse matter out of the doors
and windows. She furnishes them soap, brooms, wash-tubs, combs, needles,
and thread, and teaches them how to use them; and still the work grows on
her. She must have books for her pupils, which her husband has not time
to translate. A large number of women are begging her to allow them to
come in the evenings, and learn to sew, and to read God's word.
Deputations come in daily from Chelsea, from Newton, from Cambridge,
Waltham, Woburn, and Lynn, inquiring if she cannot come to their homes,
and teach them too. People are dying all around her for the lack of
simple remedies she alone possesses, and knows how to use.

Now, suppose she still plods on in her kitchen, baking, broiling, and
mopping, because she cannot bear to give up all her home duties. Her
conscience goads her occasionally as she meets professional cooks in the
street, who would be glad to do this work for a mere pittance; and she
sometimes wonders whether her time would not be better spent in feeding
the starving, healing the sick, and teaching the ignorant, than in
watching for the critical moment when a loaf of cake should come out of
the oven.

She takes the matter to God; and in her closet she seems to hear the
voice of Jesus saying, "Go out into the highways and hedges and compel
them to come in, that my house may be full." Ah! she knows she need not
to compel. Eager faces are looking into hers, and crying, "Come over and
help us." Helpless women are stretching forth their hands to her for aid.
Young children there are, whose tender feet need but a little guiding to
lead them into the "shining way." There are dying ones to be pointed to
Jesus, bereaved ones to be comforted; and, on the other hand, her kitchen
duties. She weighs the question well, and let us hesitate to pronounce
her proud if she decides, that, as the only woman in all Massachusetts
who can do this work for the souls and bodies of her suffering sisters,
while there are hundreds who can do her cooking, her duty lies in the
varied directions we have indicated, and that she must give up her
necessary housework for the no less necessary harvest-work to which her
Master has equally called her.

It is difficult to speak upon this subject without being gravely
misunderstood. No Christian woman would underrate housework, or regard
any thing which tended to promote the comfort of her family as menial or
unimportant; but let not the women to whom God has committed this work
look with scorn upon the women to whom he has committed another
department of labor. So long as we do not stigmatize as proud the public
school-teacher, who not only teaches all day, but works late into the
night over her examination papers and reports, or the skilful
lady-physician who finds her days too short to attend to all the calls
upon her time and services, because neither of them do their own
house-work, we should hesitate to criticise our lady missionaries, who
combine in their work, not only many of the duties of these two, but of
half a dozen others beside. As has been before intimated, ignorance lies
at the foundation of all such criticism; but it is time that the
hard-working women of America, who are saving their pennies and
consecrating their dollars through much self-denial, should know that
their sisters on the foreign fields are not living lives of ease and
indolence, because they do not do their own housework, or stand at the
wash-tub. They have to penetrate into dens and hovels swarming with
vermin, and grapple with filth and disease in their most loathsome form.
They must needs sit patiently for hours with crowds around them, none of
whom are too clean, and many of them offensive in the extreme, listening
to their complaints, or trying to instil into their darkened and
brutalized intellects a drop of celestial knowledge.

Believe me, my sisters, as one who has tried it, the duties of a clean
New-England kitchen, with the fresh bracing air coming in at the windows,
are often, under such circumstances, remembered with a sigh of painful

The foregoing may seem unnecessary and uncalled for. Our readers may say,
"Every one knows that a missionary cannot be occupied with household
affairs;" but alas! every one does _not_ know. Only a short time ago an
intelligent lady, who supposed herself well informed upon such matters,
said to a returned missionary, "In my opinion the reason why missionaries
are so anxious to return to their field of labor, is because they live in
such luxury, and have so many servants. Of course they cannot be
contented in this country where they have to do their own work." A very
wealthy lady was asked to assist in the preparation of the outfit of one
of our missionaries. Looking at the list of articles she saw the item
"two dozen shirts." "What does he want so many shirts for?" she asked at
once. It was explained that as the washermen sometimes kept the clothing
sent them to be laundried for two or three weeks, owing to the incessant
rains, it was necessary to have a comparatively large supply of wearing
apparel on hand. She at once refused to do any thing toward the
preparation of the outfit, on the ground that the missionary's wife was
too proud to do her own washing, and _she_ would not countenance such


"No slacker grows the fight,
    No feebler is the foe,
No less the need of armor tried,
    Of shield and spear and bow."

The privacy of the dear old home in America is another of the comforts
that the foreign missionary lays upon the altar. Henceforth his home and
every room in it is as public a place as the halls and parlor of a hotel.
The natives have no idea of privacy; and they come into the missionary's
house at all hours, and walk through the rooms, examining the articles of
furniture or clothing, admiring here, questioning there, experimenting
somewhere else, without a thought that they are intruding. In that hot
climate no doors are closed during the day, and short curtains are hung
in the doorways to screen the occupants, and yet admit air above and
below. The natives, unaccustomed to even these slight barriers, pull them
aside, and look in without having the slightest appreciation of our
desire to be alone when we are at the toilet; and they will not
unfrequently come into the bedroom before the missionary or his wife have

Such little intrusions must be dealt with in the most gentle manner. A
rough word would drive the whole party from the house, never to return
again; and the missionary's influence would be much weakened thereby. A
smiling "Please do not come in here just now: we are dressing, and it is
not our custom to visit with friends when we are putting on our clothes,"
is the best way of greeting a company of men and women coming into a
missionary's bedroom at five o'clock in the morning. They will back out
precipitately, perhaps overturning one or two in their sudden retreat;
but probably in an hour from then, if the lady of the house goes into her
room and draws the curtain behind her, some curious old man will follow
her and peep in, to see for what purpose she went in there. This total
want of privacy is a great trial at first; but it is one which must be
borne with most patiently, if the missionary would win the love and
confidence of his people.

But we must return to Mrs. Vinton, and tell how she made these "household
troubles" an efficient means of missionary effort. She was in the habit
of taking boys and girls into her service; and while teaching them how to
cook, and do housework, sometimes under the supervision for a month or
two of a "Kalah cook," she had them attend school, and gave them personal
instruction in the evenings. By this means they advanced as rapidly in
their studies as the other pupils. These boys and girls were always
selected from among the most destitute; and she clothed them, and
supplied all their wants from her own purse, in return for the work which
they learned in time to do; and so far from their position being regarded
as menial, they were often envied by their richer mates because of the
advantage which they derived from the extra instruction she knew so well
how to give. In one of her letters to her children she says, "Many ask me
how it is that I am always training raw Karens, and, as soon as they
begin to be useful to me, let them go from me. It is trying, but it is
part of my missionary work.

"No one is so blessed in their help as I am. My girls and boys serve me,
not for money, but to improve themselves, and prepare for future
usefulness. I trust that many of them will preach and teach when I am
dead and gone."

She has passed away; but all over the jungles of the Rangoon district,
and in many other mission fields, are to be found faithful pastors,
devoted teachers, successful evangelists and Bible-readers, whom she had
fitted for their life-work. It seemed to be her lot to train up teachers,
and send them out to other fields; but there were two who were
providentially permitted to remain with her, and to aid her most
materially during the last years of her life. These were George and
Isabella, the children of good old Loonee-pa, or Maw-O, of whom mention
has been made on page 203. Unlike the most of the scholars, they were not
poor; and it was not for this reason that Mrs. Vinton bestowed special
training upon them. Their home was on the mission compound, at the foot
of the hill on which Mrs. Vinton's house stood, just across a romantic
little stream which wound its way to the river. They did not, therefore,
leave town during the vacations, but spent most of their spare time in
Mrs. Vinton's house, either playing with Brainerd and Calista, or poring
over illustrated papers and picture-books.

Their father was at that time a wealthy timber merchant, and a most
devoted and faithful supporter of the mission so long as God gave him the

Calista and little Naw Chung-Gah (Isabella) soon became fast friends. The
latter slept on a mat in Calista's room, and shared in the use of all her
books and playthings, receiving in common with Loo-nee (George) much
extra instruction from Mrs. Vinton. Both were remarkably precocious
children, and evinced much fondness for study. Loo-nee so distinguished
himself in the public examinations that he was called, by English
officers, Christopher Columbus, George Washington, Daniel Webster,
Shakspeare, and other distinguished names. He much preferred George
Washington to all the other cognomens which had been thus playfully
bestowed upon him, and assumed it as his name. In time Washington was
dropped, and his family name Ogh or O added in its place.

The Karens have a curious custom of changing a man's name after the birth
of a son, and calling him by the name of the son, adding the affix
"father of." Thus Maw-O's name after Loo-nee's birth became Loo-nee-pah.
The mother, in like manner, lost her name, and became Loo-nee-mo, or the
mother of Loo-nee.

When Mrs. Vinton's children were sent to America to school, Calista
called her little friend aside, and told her how lonely her father and
mother would be, and how they would miss the many tender little offices
she had been accustomed to perform; and she begged the little Karen girl
to fill her place as far as possible. She taught her how to do many
little things for which they had depended on the daughter's care, and
charged her not to let them miss these little offices of kindness.

So tenderly and faithfully did the good child fulfil the trust imposed on
her, that the bereaved parents on several occasions burst into tears, on
finding that the Lord had indeed sent them another daughter to minister
to and to comfort them while their own was in America. Thus, with the
cheerful consent of her own father and mother, Naw Chung-Gah was
installed in Calista's room. After a time her name was changed to
Isabella, a name by which she had been sometimes called before Calista
went to America. In Mrs. Vinton's letters to her children are found
frequent references to the rapid progress Isabella made in her studies,
and to the dutiful affection she showed to her foster-parents. She soon
became fitted to take charge of younger classes in the school, and every
year became increasingly useful.

She took charge of the house when Mrs. Vinton was absent in the jungle
with Mr. Vinton. She was ever watchful and thoughtful for their comfort,
and, in times of sickness, was a most tender and devoted nurse.

Mrs. Vinton often said that her own daughter could not have shown more
filial affection; yet when she went down to her father's house, she was
just as gentle and dutiful to her own parents as to Mr. and Mrs. Vinton.

Many, many times has the remark been made by those familiar with the
mission, that, if Mrs. Vinton had done nothing else than to train up such
an efficient helper and teacher as Isabella, she would not have lived in
vain. Both she and her brother George had frequent opportunities to take
positions elsewhere as teachers at large salaries, but they chose to stay
with Mrs. Vinton; and it is impossible to speak too highly of the
important and efficient service they rendered. George not only became a
most successful teacher, but aided the mission greatly as a translator,
owing to his critical and thorough acquaintance with the English

In thus mentioning these two, no disparagement is intended or implied
with regard to the scores of other devoted teachers and laborers who were
trained by Mrs. Vinton in different periods of her missionary life, and
who also rendered invaluable aid to the mission in the various localities
where duty placed them. Such helpers as Tah-loo, Dee-Hai, Thah-mway and
his wife Eliza, Naw-Oo-thah, Lai-Nyoh, Gna-Dee, Lai Nah, Fidelia, Sarah
and Ella, two sisters given to Mrs. Vinton by their dying mother, Gna
Kaing, Catherine, Naw-nai-naw, Livy, and _many_ others whose names are
written in heaven, have a bright record here on earth, and a brighter one
above. We mention George and Isabella thus particularly, because they
were more personally identified with Mrs. Vinton in her work in the city
school, and were privileged to remain with her to the end, ministering to
her in her last moments, and following her beloved remains to the grave
on the hill-top, where husband and wife now sleep side by side,
surrounded by the precious dust of many of their faithful and beloved
disciples, almost under the shadow of the mighty Shway Dagon.

In 1861 Brainerd Vinton, having completed his college course at Madison
University, married Julia A., the eldest daughter of Rev. Dr. Haswell of
the Maulmain Burman Mission. Receiving a unanimous call from the Karen
churches of the Rangoon district to be their missionary, he set sail from
Boston in September, and reached Rangoon in due time.

He found his mother and sister in failing health, owing to the
accumulation of cares and duties which had rested on them since his
father's death; but it was hoped that both would rally, and that the
relief experienced from his arrival would give them an opportunity to
regain strength without being obliged to return to America. Mrs. Vinton,
although so weak and prostrated, started at once with Brainerd for a long
trip among the jungle churches; and great were the rejoicings of the
people to learn that "the son of his father" had come back to them.

A severe illness, on her return from the jungle, made it evident, that,
if her life were to be spared, an immediate return to America was
absolutely necessary. It had been decided some time previously that
Calista must seek a cooler climate as soon as any one could be found in
whose company she might make the voyage, as she was too weak to travel
alone; and Mrs. Vinton sorrowfully began to open her eyes to the fact
that she, too, must leave her beloved work, and turn her face toward
America. No one who has not gone through this trial can in any degree
realize the painful character of the struggle through which her mind
passed before coming to this conclusion.

It seemed so much easier and better to work on while life should last,
and then to pass away to the rest and reward for which her soul hungered;
and yet, on the other hand, she felt it wrong to throw away life
needlessly. Her physician assured her that all she needed was a long
sea-voyage, and a year or two of entire rest; and that she might then
look forward to many years of active service on the mission field.

The decision was made; and in October, 1862, mother and daughter sailed
in the American ship "Vaucluse," from Rangoon to Falmouth, England. The
voyage was long and trying in the extreme. Mrs. Vinton, as usual, instant
in service, beguiled the tedium of the voyage by labors among the crew,
and was rewarded with success. Who can tell whither the ocean-winds have
blown the seed sown thus in weakness and weariness? but the fruit shall
be seen in eternity.

In March, 1863, they landed at Falmouth, England, and were received and
hospitably entertained by warm Christian friends who had heard of their
work, though they had never seen them. From there they went to Plymouth,
and thence to Bristol, to visit Mr. George Muller and his orphan houses,
in which work Mrs. Vinton was deeply interested; since she had learned by
precious experience the blessedness of trusting the Lord for temporal as
well as spiritual supplies.

To Mrs. Vinton's great surprise, although this was her first visit to
England, she found, wherever she went, both hearts and homes open to
receive her, and bid her welcome in the name of the Lord. She always had
a low estimate of herself and of her labors,--considering herself a
comparatively unknown worker upon the very outskirts of the vineyard; and
although her school in Rangoon had received so many flattering
commendations, and such abundant contributions from people of all classes
and of all faiths, some of them indeed of no faith, yet she attributed
all this to the interesting nature of the work, and never dreamed that
she herself could be an object of interest to any save her personal
friends. We can imagine her surprise, then, to find herself greeted,
wherever she went, with a warm-hearted, earnest cordiality, which, though
so thoroughly English, was not to be expected from those to whom she
thought herself to be a perfect stranger.

She had, indeed, expected a kindly welcome from the Bells, the
Underhills, Sir David Russell, Dr. Balfour, and others, with whom her
husband and herself had enjoyed pleasant Christian intercourse in Burmah;
but, in addition to these dear and cherished friends she, found many
others. They gathered around her, and not only expressed the deepest
interest in her work, with every detail of which they seemed familiar,
but they invited her to their homes, and made her feel the breadth and
depth of true English hospitality, as she had never known it before.

In London she was the guest of Dr. and Mrs. Underhill. With them she
spent several weeks, enjoying rare opportunities for meeting such noble
Christian men and women as Rev. Dr. Angus, Mrs. Ranyard, Rev. Dr. Brock,
Sir Morton and Lady Peto, Rev. Dr. Landels, Hon. and Rev. Baptist W.
Noel, Rev. and Mrs. Trestrail, and others, who were in such hearty
sympathy with her work that she felt no longer like a stranger in a
strange land.

Rev. Dr. Tucker assured her that her very name was fragrant to all who
were in any way acquainted with foreign missions. The generous grants
given by the Bible and Tract Societies filled her heart with renewed
confidence that God was still providing for the needs of the beloved
mission under her charge.

Leaving London, she went to spend a month at Cheltenham with those
devoted friends of the mission, Gen. and Mrs. Bell. Then came a brief
visit to Liverpool, where she and Calista were most hospitably
entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, of Dr Birrell's church, Pembroke
Chapel; then the voyage to America--Home!

We find, from letters written at this time, that Mrs. Vinton had hoped
that the passage to England would restore her health, and that a few
months' rest in that country would permit her to return to her loved
work. It was, therefore, a sore disappointment to her to find that
further rest and medical treatment would be required. She writes to her
sister as follows:--

"We have been in London a month; but my health has not improved so much
but that I fear I shall be obliged to go still farther to regain it. If
necessary I will go on, trusting that the Lord will direct my steps. I
cannot tell you how I long to get back to my school, the Karen churches,
and my work among the heathen. Much as I wish to see you and dear mother,
also Lucinda" (Mr. Vinton's sister) "and father Vinton, I would gladly
take ship to-morrow for Rangoon, if I could hope to live there, and be
able to do any thing. I did not want to leave my work; but I have come
thus far, and I am praying for a heart to say, 'Thy will be done in my
sufferings as well as in my labors.'" (April 18, 1863.)

In June, 1863, she landed in New York, and, after but a day's rest,
started with Dr. and Mrs. Nathan Brown, formerly of the Assam Mission,
for an annual meeting of the Free Mission Society, held at Mt. Holly, New
Jersey. Here she met Mr. R. M. Luther, who had just completed his studies
at Princeton (N.J.) Theological Seminary, and who had resolved to devote
himself to mission work, though he had not settled on any particular
field of labor. Her earnest appeal for Burmah decided the question in his
mind, and he offered himself at once as a missionary to the Karens.

Mrs. Vinton felt that this was indeed a special answer to prayer; and she
wrote at once to her son, and to the Karen churches, that she was now
convinced that the Lord had led her steps to America, for he had sent a
man who would take charge of the High School in the city, and of other
departments of the educational work, and the printing-press. She
continued, "I hope the Lord will soon send him a good wife, so that they
together may return with me."

She little thought that the young man whom she so enthusiastically
commended to the Karen churches was destined to be her son.*

[Footnote: * Nor, indeed, did "the young man" think so at that time. R.
M. L.]

Leaving New Jersey after a brief visit to Philadelphia, Calista was taken
to the home of her foster-parents, Rev. Dr. and Mrs. Ives, of Suffield,
Conn. Mrs. Vinton then made an all-too-brief visit to the dear old
homestead in Union, Conn., where the aged mother's eyes had grown dim
with watching for the beloved daughter.


"Another battle fought, and oh! not lost,--
    Tells of the ending of this fight and thrall;
Another ridge of time's lone moorland crossed,
    Gives nearer prospect of the jasper wall.

Gone to begin a new and happier story,
    Thy bitter tale of earth now told and done.
These outer shadows for that inner glory
    Exchanged forever.--O thrice blessed one!"

Mrs. Vinton had returned to America to rest; yet the few weeks spent in
Union and Tolland, Conn,, were really all the rest she gave herself
during her entire stay in this country. She had never realized how
thoroughly her system was broken down, and seemed to wonder that the old
weariness and exhaustion still continued; but she felt so much benefited
in other ways by the bracing air and homely food of her native land, that
she promised herself an early and complete recovery.

Hence when, from every part of the country, there came the most urgent
invitations to visit churches and associations, and address them upon the
subject of our missions in Burmah, she did not think of refusing, or of
urging the state of her health as an excuse for non-compliance. In this
way she was in a few weeks drawn away from her home.

A most memorable visit was that which she made to the Stonington Union
Association in the last week in June. Twenty-nine years before, this
association had designated the Vintons as its missionaries to the
heathen. Again in 1850 it had solemnly renewed their designation in the
name of the churches of Connecticut represented by it. On that occasion,
after a most remarkable prayer by Elder Swan, Mr. Vinton, "with his face
shining like an angel's," exclaimed, "I go bound in spirit unto Burmah,
and from Burmah to heaven."*

[ Footnote: * Elder Swan's Biography, p.415 ]

All the old-time friends had not passed away. The Rev. Dr. Palmer, whose
friendship had not wavered for one moment, the venerable Elder Swan and
others, whose tender love had been life-long, were there. Mrs. Vinton
always spoke of this last visit as the most precious thing in the long
history of her connection with the Connecticut churches.

From Stonington she went to Hartford, and there again renewed old
friendships. While in Hartford she determined, in answer to the many
urgent letters she had received from the West, to visit some of the
churches in that part of the country; and it was arranged that she and
Mr. Luther should make a systematic tour through the states of Ohio,
Illinois, and Wisconsin, and also through portions of Canada. In July,
1863, the journey began. After pausing at Hamilton for the commencement
exercises of Madison University, she next visited Buffalo, Cleveland,
Cincinnati, Chicago, and the churches of Northern Illinois and Southern
Wisconsin. Returning, she addressed many of the churches in Canada, along
the line of the Grand Trunk Railway.

The effect of her earnest words upon the communities and churches was
thrilling. Enthusiasm was aroused everywhere, and the missionary spirit
was quickened in many places in which it had almost ceased to exist. It
was noticeable in her addresses that she made but few references to
herself or to her own work. She aimed rather at giving to our churches a
clear and accurate view of the true condition of our mission fields, in
order that they might intelligently comprehend the demands made upon the
Christians in this country for assistance. Her frequent exclamation was,
"The people will give and pray for our missions, if they only know the
_facts_ in regard to them. What they need is not theory or argument, but
facts;" and the facts, as taught her by nearly thirty years of mission
life, she endeavored to give them. As to the effect produced by her
inimitable addresses, we might quote largely from the religious and
secular papers of the day; but we content ourselves with but one extract.
It is from "The Canadian Missionary Link," and was published so recently
as October, 1879, sixteen years after the visit to which it refers.

"About sixteen years ago a returned missionary from the Karens, Mrs.
Vinton, who for years had toiled among them, after a brief stay in
America, travelling, lecturing, pleading for the perishing ones in that
heathen land, visited our institute in Woodstock, just previous to her
return to her former field of labor, and talked to us about this
interesting people. I remember well how our hearts were touched by the
simple appeals of that gray-haired, widowed missionary, who, having
already spent weary years of toil and privation among the heathen, was
about to return to them in all the freshness of her sanctified zeal for
God, there to finish her toil, and thence to ascend to her reward. How
much that visit did towards turning the tide of missionary effort of our
young churches in Canada towards India, and of rousing and impelling our
young men and women forward towards those heathen lands, we cannot say;
but there is no doubt that that woman's hearty appeal and heroic example
lie far back in the chain of hallowed influences which produced the
results in our own special mission work over which we rejoice to-day."

In November she returned East, made a brief visit to New York and
Philadelphia. At the Central Union Association in the latter place she
delivered an address, of which it is said in "The Christian Chronicle:"--

"No words can adequately describe the 'moments rich in blessing' enjoyed,
as the calm and sweet, yet earnest tones of the great Christian heroine
brought vividly before the audience thrilling scenes and events. The
hearers seemed really present with the speaker, as oblivious of self she
was engaged in her wonted employment in the school, or wandering through
the jungle from village to village to tell of Jesus. She led the audience
from station to station; and tears started unbidden, and sobs could not
be restrained, as abandoned posts, and aged or feeble laborers, were
beheld scattered thinly around the great central region, where seven
hundred thousand people are waiting for their 'younger brother, the white
man, to come from the setting sun, and give them the long-lost law of the
Lord.' Surely no one who saw that countenance beaming with the love of
Christ will ever forget it, or cease to pray that the mother may be
spared to return to her son, and resume the work she so dearly loves."

Returning to New York, much against the desire and advice of all her
friends, she determined to sail at once for Burmah. She seemed to be
entirely restored to health; but it was feared, that, unless she spent a
winter in America, the restoration would be but temporary. However, her
heart was in Burmah. She could not rest day or night for thinking of the
Karen churches, and of the destitute regions beyond. So in December,
1863, she sailed for England, and thence, by the "Overland Route" (_via_
Egypt and the Red Sea), to Calcutta and Rangoon, arriving in March, 1864.

She engaged immediately in the work of the mission with great
hopefulness, and in the confident expectation of many years of labor. It
was soon evident, however, that her time was short. The old disease,
which had been simply checked, not eradicated from her system, by her too
brief visit to England and America, began to make itself felt again. The
close of the rains found her busily engaged in preparing the second
mission house (then known as the "Binney House") for her daughter Calista
and her husband, Rev. R. M. Luther. About Nov. 1 she was suddenly
attacked with an acute form of the disease which had followed her so long
(inflammation of the alimentary canal), and was prostrated at once.

From the first she had the best medical attendance which could be given
her, but without receiving any benefit whatever. Her physician, Dr. Ford,
advised her removal to the city (Rangoon), three miles away, where she
might be near his own residence, and thus make it possible for him to
attend her at any moment, and watch her case critically. Rev. Dr. Stevens
very kindly received her into his house, and there she remained until the

On the 6th of December Mr. and Mrs. Luther arrived; and the excitement
consequent on welcoming her beloved daughter produced a temporary
re-action, but in two or three days she sunk back again. From that time
her only desire seemed to be to depart and be with Christ. Frequently we
who stood by her would hear her murmur, "Come, Lord Jesus! Come quickly!"
"Lord, how long! How long!" When one day Mr. Luther repeated a number of
passages from the Word, she, after each, replied by quoting one of a
similar tenor; and then she repeated the entire twenty-third Psalm. When
we would speak of her possible recovery, she would say earnestly, "No,
no! My work is done: I must go. I cannot any longer stay away from the
bright scenes which have awaited me so long. I am no longer needed here.
You will do all for the Karens that I could do, and much more. And now I
must rest."

Dr. Ford, an earnest and devout Christian, said to us, "I can do nothing.
The soul is fretting out the body. No remedy will act as it should, and I
am powerless. I have never seen an instance in my long experience where
so much strength of mind was manifest while the body was so prostrated."

On the 18th of December, 1864, a bright, beautiful morning, at eleven
o'clock, she gently, peacefully, passed away.

"Hush! Nor dare with ominous breath
    To syllable the name of _Death._
We know she only sleepeth;
    And from the dust
Truth hath decreed her glorious resurrection."

These imperfect records are closed. It has been a labor of love to
compile, from many fragments, this sketch of those of whom a veteran
missionary said,--

"Seldom, if ever, has there been an instance where a missionary and his
wife were both so eminently qualified for the work, and so eminently
successful, as Justus Hatch Vinton and Calista Holman Vinton. To an
uncommon strength of mind, there was added in each a deep piety, and a
strong and ardent faith. They entered on their work purposing to make
great sacrifices, and expecting through the divine assistance to have
many souls for their hire. In these expectations they were not
disappointed. To the direct labors of no other missionary pair should we
be able to trace so large a number of conversions from heathenism."

"Softly within that peaceful resting-place
    We lay their weary limbs; and bid the clay
Press lightly on them, till the night be past,
    And the far east give note of coming day.

The day of re-appearing! how it speeds!
    He who is true and faithful speaks the word:
Then shall we ever be with those we love.
    Then shall we be 'forever with the Lord.'

Short death and darkness: endless life and light
    Short dimming; endless shining in yon sphere
Where all is incorruptible and pure,
    The joy without the pain, the smile without the tear."



"Needs there the praise of the love-written record,
    The name and the epitaph graved on the stone?
The things we have lived for,--let them be our story,
    We ourselves but remembered by what we have done.

Not myself, but the truth that in life I have spoken,
    Not myself, but the seed that in life I have sown,
Shall pass on to ages: all about me forgotten,
    Save the truth I have spoken, the things I have done."

The references in the foregoing memoir to Miranda Vinton, who was for
twelve years intimately associated with her brother in his work, lead us
to subjoin the following extracts from letters received from Mrs. Dr.
Binney and Mrs. Dr. Stevens, since this volume was in the hands of the
publisher. We regret that it has been impossible to collect materials for
an extended notice of this excellent and devoted missionary; but we are
not without hopes that at some future day a brief memoir shall be issued
of one who was so earnest in her work, and who, under God, did so much to
render the labors of her brother efficient in winning souls.

MY DEAR MRS. LUTHER,--My first acquaintance with Miss Vinton commenced on
mission ground at Maulmain, in April, 1842. I know little of her history
previous to that time, except that she completed her school education,
but a short time previous to her going out to Burmah, at the Charlestown
Female Seminary, Charlestown, Mass. Miss Whiting, the honored and beloved
principal of that institution, was her regular correspondent. I was often
privileged to read Miss Whiting's letters, which showed that she both
held her former pupil in high esteem and cherished for her the tenderest

On our arrival in Maulmain, the Judsons, Howards, and Osgoods were
waiting on the shore, ready to give us a hearty welcome; but as Mr.
Binney was to be associated more intimately with your father, who was
then the only Karen missionary at Maulmain, he naturally inquired for
"Brother and Sister Vinton." He was told that they and "Sister Miranda"
were at Ko-Chet Thaing's, where they had been holding a protracted
meeting, and that the Lord was so richly blessing their labors that they
had not thought it right to leave, even to greet us on our arrival. They
thought, however, the heat was becoming so intense, and the season so far
advanced, that they could not remain much longer in the jungle. "And who
is sister Miranda?" was our first question. Dr. Judson replied, "She is
brother Vinton's sister, who has been with him in his work now about
three years,--a noble worker, and will be a charming associate for you,
Mrs. Binney. I congratulate you upon having her so intimately connected
with you in your future work."

I was, of course, prepared by such a commendation to love her. The next
morning as brother Howard, at whose house we were staying for a few days,
was calling his family and guests together for their usual family
worship, Miss Vinton, without previous announcement, made her appearance
in our midst. The children rushed to embrace and kiss her, and Mr. and
Mrs. Howard showed unmistakable signs of joy at her unexpected presence.
My first impression, while this was going on, was one of disappointment.
She was not the ideal woman I had formed; but a moment after, when we
were introduced and she embraced me, too full of emotion to attempt to
speak, I took her into my inmost heart, from which duress she never was
able to escape.

The following year she continued to work in connection with your parents.
During the rains she continued to teach in the large Karen school, which
was composed of "old men and maidens, young men and children,"--even
mothers with infants in their arms were there,--all gathered from the
different villages of the district. Most of these pupils were converts
from heathenism; others, though not as yet baptized, had taken the first
step in the right direction by coming to a Christian school to learn to
read the word of God, and rarely went back to heathenism.

The Karens had no written language until a short time before Miss Vinton
entered on her work, but we found her speaking and writing it with
fluency and accuracy. She had learned it, as all children learn their
native tongue, by hearing and speaking. She mingled with the people, and
was "one of them" in sympathy and interest; and she soon was able to
express her sympathy and interest in intelligible language. I had not the
ability to acquire the language so readily in that way, and said to her
one day, "How am I ever to learn this language without a good grammar?
Now, here is this word, _bah:_ sometimes it is a prefix, and seems to be
used as a sign of the imperative; more frequently an affix, and indicates
a negative; sometimes it is used singly, and sometimes repeated without
any obvious reason. By what rule or rules am I to be governed in its
use?" After thinking a moment, she laughingly said that she had never
thought about any rule. Now that I had drawn her attention to it, it did
look very much as if the Karens stuck it in here and there at random; but
she supposed, when Dr. Mason's grammar was completed, he would show us
how and where to use it. She was quite content, however, to go on using
it without troubling herself about the rules; and probably few
missionaries ever used it more correctly.

She knew the spiritual state of every man, woman, and child in the
school, and felt a personal interest in each. Like Miss Whiting, under
whose influence she had been while preparing for her work, she conversed
with, and prayed with and for, every pupil individually. The influence
she exerted over the people generally, not only in the schools but in the
churches, and in bringing the heathen to Christ, was something wonderful.
In all this she never forgot her proper relation to them, as is sometimes
seen in similar cases, so that undue "familiarity breeds contempt."
Always cheerful and kind, yet dignified, she walked before them without
reproach, setting an example safe for all to imitate.

Though so thoroughly engrossed in her own work, she seldom failed to run
over, several times a day, to see me a moment, and often to help me. She
had the rare gift of being on hand when she could be useful, and yet
never officiously in one's way. She had been in the country long enough
to be of essential service to us in many ways.

The third year, I think, of our being in Maulmain, your mother's failing
health required your parents' return to America. The Maulmain Normal
School was then well established, and Mr. Binney invited Miss Vinton to
come to us and assist in the school. A room for her use was added to our
small house, and she became a member of our family. It was a great trial
to her at first to give up her loved jungle work; but, as Mr. Binney had
taken charge of the churches during her brother's absence, it was thought
best that I should accompany him in his dry season trips, and she remain
in town. She soon became intensely interested in her work in that school,
which we considered an _embryo college_. She was a good teacher and a
good disciplinarian. The school was taught through the medium of the
English language, using English text-books only; but here free use of the
vernacular enabled her to make these well understood. She translated one
or two elementary books, mostly for the use of the district schools, and
some beautiful hymns; but she never gave much attention to that
department of mission work. At the same time that she was teaching in the
Normal School, she received all visitors from the jungle who came to
town, either on business or for religious inquiry. She labored earnestly
for the salvation of souls, and many souls were given for her hire.

When the Normal School was abandoned by the decision of the Executive
Committee, influenced by "the deputation" they had sent to Burmah to
banish the use of the English language from all their mission schools,
she returned to her former work. Though she would have saved the school
at any personal sacrifice, she wisely judged that the responsibility
rested on the brethren of the mission and the Executive Committee; and
she lost no time in vain regrets or controversy, but cheerfully and
without complaint, followed the leadings of Divine Providence.

About the year 1854 she came home, for the first time, to visit her aged
parents and other friends. Though not actually ill, she needed rest; but
she obtained but little in a sea voyage around the Cape, and having in
her charge three or four motherless children. Her health suffered
somewhat by the voyage; but she soon rallied, and was everywhere received
with regard and affection. She was quiet, and did little in public, but
everywhere produced the sweetest impressions in behalf of the mission
cause in general, and her own work in particular, in private circles. Had
her visit been made in this day, when woman's work is bringing together
larger numbers, her work would doubtless have been more widely known, and
her influence have extended to a larger circle.

In June, 1854, she made us a visit in Washington, D.C. She was present,
and listened to Dr. Binney's inaugural address, on entering on his duties
as president of Columbia College. To a gentleman who had said to her,
that, if her acquaintance with Dr. Binney had been confined to the
mission work she must be somewhat surprised by the character of his
address, "By no means," she replied. "I have heard Dr. Binney, for weeks
in succession, preach in Karen; and I have always deemed his simple,
clear, and moving manner of presenting Bible truths to so ignorant a
people, as requiring a higher order of talent than his address to-day.
Indeed," she added, "I have not enjoyed his address as I should have
done, had I not been thinking how much the labor and ability bestowed
upon it were needed in his former field of labor among the Karens."--"And
would you have him return to it?"--"Most certainly: I should rejoice in
his return. There are men enough to take this place, who are probably
envying him his call to it, while no one can or will take his place in
Burmah." Thus she magnified her office. There was nothing paramount with
her to obedience to her Lord's last command.

Soon after her return to Burmah, she was united in marriage to Rev.
Norman Harris of the Karen Mission at Shway-Geen. At that station little
had been done for women distinctively, and the timid women and girls
flocked around her at once. She drew them to her like a magnet, and
entered into this new work with all her heart. She had been home and was
rested. She had the inspiration of an earnest and strong worker at her
side, who assisted and encouraged her in all her plans, and who fully
appreciated, not only her work, but _her_. His love and appreciation
helped her to seek more earnestly how she might "please the Lord." But
whether her labors were too exhausting, or the climate unfavorable, or
both united, in less than four months after her marriage she was taken
ill of fever, which in a few days terminated fatally. Her heavenly
Bridegroom called for her, and she left us.

Not only the heart of her husband, but every heart in the mission circle,
was pierced with a great sorrow. The event was as mysterious as
unexpected. In the midst of life and health, of great usefulness and
happiness as well, she was called away. But a short time before her
illness, she had said to a friend that she had never before supposed it
possible that so much happiness could have been crowded into three short
months. But to the eye of faith the vision extends to the heavenly
felicity, to a higher service and to a purer love.

Perhaps her character has been sufficiently delineated by her work; but I
cannot refrain from adding a few words, which I am sure will meet with a
hearty assent from those of her missionary associates who survive her.

She possessed rare executive ability, rare physical health and strength,
and a cheerful, unselfish constitutional temperament; while her piety,
and consecration of all to the Master's service, have rarely been
excelled. Her "meat and drink was to do the will of Him who sent her."
Not possessed of a remarkably handsome face or figure while at rest, yet
her face always brought pleasure to the beholder, and her presence was a


Mrs. Stevens writes, under date of May 14, 1880, as follows:--

MY DEAR MRS. LUTHER,--The other day Mrs. Bennett mentioned to me your
letter, requesting her to give you some reminiscences of your Aunt
Miranda. Mrs. Bennett is quite unable to write, and she asks me to say a
little to you about our high appreciation of her amiability and
usefulness. Her life was quiet, yet ever busy in earnest, unselfish work
for the Karens whom she loved, and by whom she was most beloved in
return. She sought no notice nor admiration; yet one could not but give
both as she pursued the even tenor of her cheerful way, always thinking
of some one other than herself.

She came out quite young,--only twenty,--vigorous, happy, and consecrated
to the work among the Karens. Her face was always radiant with kindness,
cordiality, earnestness of purpose, and sincerity. The picture is very
vivid in my memory; and her voice, too, I can hear. Not only was _that_
constantly useful in teaching, but in helping in singing Christian hymns,
many of which she translated into Karen. Another thing I may say of her
voice,--I never heard it used to the injury of others. In respect to this
rare excellence she had her reward, for I do not remember an unkind word
spoken of her. She was universally spoken of in terms of esteem by all
who were familiar with her daily life for twelve years among us. Six
months previous to the time when Shway-gyeen fever took her prematurely
from her new home, she was married to the Rev. Norman Harris. I cannot to
this day see how it could be wise to remove one such as she had been, and
promised yet to be for many years, while yet in the full vigor of
cheerful usefulness, from a sphere where she was so much needed; but we
know it was wise in the eyes of Him "who doeth all things well."

Her reward is in heaven. Long years ago has she known the fulness of
God's love for his redeemed ones. In the light of the Celestial City, the
dark hours of earth have all been forgotten; but not forgotten are the
tender and loving and patient ones who toiled with her on earth, and who
yet speak of her with an uplifted eye and quivering lip.

Let us bless God for the re-unions which await us in heaven.

"ALMIGHTY GOD, with whom do live the spirits of those who depart hence in
the Lord, and with whom the souls of the faithful after they are
delivered from the burden of the flesh are in joy and felicity, we give
thee hearty thanks for the good examples of all those, thy servants, who,
having finished their course in faith, do now rest from their labors. And
we beseech thee that we, with all those who are departed in the true
faith of thy Holy Name, may have our perfect consummation and bliss, both
in body and soul, in thy eternal and everlasting glory, through Jesus
Christ our Lord. AMEN."


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