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Title: Self-support, illustrated in the history of the Bassein Karen
        mission from 1840 to 1880
Author: C H Carpenter
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Title: Self-support, illustrated in the history of the Bassein Karen
        mission from 1840 to 1880
Author: C H Carpenter

[ Illustration--PORTRAIT OF REV. E. L. ABBOTT (Frontispiece.) ]

SELF-SUPPORT,
ILLUSTRATED IN THE
HISTORY OF THE BASSEIN KAREN MISSION
FROM
1840 TO 1880.

BY
C. H. CARPENTER.
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ALVAH HOVEY, D.D., LL.D.

"In majorem _DEI_ Gloriam."

BOSTON:
RAND, AVERY, AND COMPANY.
The Franklin Press.
1883.

Copyright, 1883,
By C. H. CARPENTER.

PROFITS OF PUBLICATION DEVOTED TO THE BASSEIN N. AND I. INSTITUTE.


TO
THE PRECIOUS MEMORY OF
THE FATHERS OF MODERN MISSIONS,
INTO WHOSE LABORS WE HAVE ENTERED,
AND TO THOSE LABORERS IN OTHER FIELDS
WHO PATIENTLY AND HOPEFULLY WORK ON IN THE
FACE OF HARDNESS WHICH WE OF THE KAREN MISSION HAVE
NEVER KNOWN, AND TO THOSE HIGH-BORN SOULS WHO
DARE TO LEAVE AN EASY PATH FOR A ROUGH ONE,
IN SIMPLE LOYALTY TO A LAW OF DEVELOPMENT
IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM, (IS IT UNWRITTEN?)
THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED,
WITH REVERENCE AND SYMPATHY,
BY THE AUTHOR.


* * *



INTRODUCTION.


THREE questions, to which the supporters of foreign missions at home and
abroad will readily give their earnest consideration, are partly, if not
fully, answered by this volume. _First_, Does the Christian religion, as
understood and embraced in these latter days, ever kindle a deep and holy
enthusiasm in the souls of men, so that, in times of distress, they prove
to be heroes and martyrs? _Second_, Does it produce in them the impulses
of a noble manhood, that cares little for self, and much for others, so
that, in times of peace, they are willing to give liberally, out of their
deep poverty, for the support of Christian institutions among themselves,
and for the conversion of men who are still in darkness? _Third_, Does
the method of help adopted by their foreign teachers always cultivate as
effectually as possible this noble and strenuous type of Christian
manhood, so that converts from heathenism are rapidly prepared for
self-support, and even for aggressive work, in the regions beyond?

To the _first_ question, several chapters of this history furnish a
decisive answer; not, indeed, the only decisive answer, but one of the
most thrilling and convincing. For, while it would be easy to select from
the list of Protestant missionaries belonging to the present century many
names that might be confidently added to the roll of believing
"witnesses" in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, they would be names of
exceptional men, who had inherited force of character with their blood,
and had been trained to reverence for God and his truth under the best
Christian influences. But the Karen martyrs of Bassein were members of a
broken and timid race, were born of parents, who, through fear of their
oppressors, had been all their lifetime subject to bondage, and were
themselves recent converts to the Christian religion, having little
knowledge of divine truth, and brief experience of the Saviour's grace.
Yet that grace was sufficient for them; and, sustained by it, they passed
with extraordinary firmness through the terrific ordeal of religious
persecution waged by a relentless people. The story of their fortitude
under suffering, and their victory over death, is here told in
sympathetic language, but without exaggeration; and every Christian who
reads it will bless God for the power of faith in these humble disciples
during their prolonged and fiery trial, and will feel his heart bounding
with joy when he comes to the record of their deliverance from
persecution, and of their continued progress in the good way under the
banner of peace. Such a narrative refreshes our confidence in Christian
faith as still and always the victory that overcometh the world. By
virtue of it, these Karens, who were for a time literally "destitute,
afflicted, tormented," "wrought righteousness, obtained promises, escaped
the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in
fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." In other
mission-fields similar illustrations of the power of Christ to keep and
strengthen "his own" have been given in these latter days, but none more
remarkable or encouraging than these.

To the _second_ question, also, many chapters of this history furnish a
satisfactory answer; for they prove beyond reasonable doubt, that the
Christian religion as understood and received by the Karens of Bassein
has produced in them a new and true life,--a type of manhood that cares
little for self, and much for the common weal; a spirit that is subject
to the law of love, and prompt to manifest itself in deeds of
benevolence. By united effort, continued through a long period, they have
given "out of their deep poverty" large sums for the support of Christian
preachers and teachers, for the building of chapels and schoolhouses, and
for the evangelization of other tribes in Burma. Their career verifies in
a signal manner the truth of Christ's saying, "It is more blessed to give
than to receive." If, under persecution, they showed how "sublime a thing
it is to suffer and be strong," they have also, when living unmolested
and without fear, shown how wise and beautiful a thing it is to bear one
another's burden, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

But it is not our purpose to represent the Bassein Christians as
faultless. They themselves would be the first to condemn such a
representation. None of their missionaries or pastors would approve it.
The instructive reports of Mr. Abbott and Mr. Beecher show that they saw
many faults in the life of these disciples. And the history of Mr.
Carpenter, composed chiefly of the letters and reports of these two
missionaries, is no studied eulogy of the Bassein churches. From it we
learn not only that many of their early pastors were deficient in
Christian knowledge, but also that a few of them had grave defects of
character, and that some in later times have lacked steadfastness or
humility. Moreover, it is evident that the standard of discipline in
certain churches has sometimes been lower than the word of God requires.
But, in spite of these abatements, it remains true that the Karen
disciples of Bassein have, on the whole, borne themselves as men, being
"steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."

To the _third_, a more delicate and practical question than either of the
preceding, many chapters of this history contribute materials for an
answer, if they do not rather, for all ordinary cases, absolutely decide
what that answer must be. Of this we are confident: the facts here
recited will convince every unbiased reader of the essential wisdom of
the course pursued by the leading missionaries to the Sgau Karens of the
Bassein field. "By their fruits ye shall know them;" and the fruits of
this field bear witness, not only to the grace of God, but also to the
excellent method of spiritual culture early adopted, and faithfully
continued, by those in charge of it. The method thus commended is that of
laying upon the native disciples the support of Christian worship and
education among themselves, with little or no help from the mission
treasury. "Self-help," as the duty of all Christian converts, and the
best means of producing in them a worthy character, is the lesson of this
remarkable story.

"This book is a history, but it is also an argument. It is, however,
almost wholly an argument made by the facts themselves. Mr. Carpenter
lets documents and events tell their own story in the main, with just
enough of narrative to connect them, and of comment to make them
intelligible. In the concluding chapters he adds a strong and convincing
plea, based on the history he has recited, in favor of the
self-supporting policy in all our missions." These sentences, from the
pen of Dr. Bright, editor of "The Examiner," describe with perfect
fairness the character and aim of this volume. We are not sanguine enough
to expect that the policy here advocated will be approved by all the
missionaries in the foreign field, or even by all the friends of missions
at home; but we believe it to be thoroughly wise, and certain to prevail
in the end, and we expect that this history will draw to it far closer
attention than it has yet received.

Mr. Carpenter's history will be read by not a few persons whose memory of
mission-work does not go back to the first half of the period which it
reviews; and to them we cannot offer a more useful paragraph than the
following, from a notice of "Self-Support in Bassein" by Dr. Bright:
"This is a book of thrilling interest and of great value. The first
twenty years covered by it constitute one of the most important periods
in the history of our Asiatic missions,--years in which there were
heart-burning differences between the missionaries and the officers of
the Missionary Union, as well as between the missionaries
themselves,--years in which the very existence of the missions seemed at
times to be threatened, and yet years in which some of the brightest
victories were gained that have been known in missionary annals. To tell
this story interestingly, faithfully, justly, without uncovering the
smouldering embers of old controversies; to give an account of all that
it is necessary for the present generation of Baptists to know, and leave
in their grave things that had better not be brought to light,--this was
no easy task. Mr. Carpenter has achieved it with an unfailing tact, and
with a sweet and charitable Christian spirit."

ALVAH HOVEY.
NEWTON CENTRE, Feb. 8, 1884.


* * *


PREFACE.


"I sometimes think there is not wisdom enough in the whole Baptist
denomination of America to manage their foreign missions one day, and, if
the Head of the Church does not do it, I do not know who will."
--Rev. Dr. J. G. WARREN, _Corresponding Secretary_, Nov. 11, 1868.

IF this sketch fails to show the hand of Christ guiding his servants,
sustaining them in weakness, overruling their mistakes, and defending
them from their foes, it will miserably fail of its true end. Surely no
Christian reader will fail to see that omnipotent and sovereign power was
necessary to choose out one of the smallest and most degraded of peoples,
and to make of them so shortly a fruitful branch of his own redeemed
people. By divine grace alone a devil-worshipper may become an heir of
heaven.

Another end ought to be furthered by the philosophy which underlies this
piece of history. Christian missions conducted on opposite principles
have existed side by side in various lands for nearly fifty years. The
one principle, followed still in the great majority of missions, is that
of depending principally upon pecuniary support drawn from Christian
countries: the other--followed by the Moravian missions, by Bassein and a
few others--is that of self-help from the outset, with an early arrival
at local support for all native preachers and all primary education
whatsoever. It would seem that time enough has elapsed for the fruit of
these two systems to appear,--enough time for results and conclusions,
for lessons so plain and emphatic that the blindest might learn, and that
thus the uniformity of management so sorely needed might be secured. In
the interests of important truth we might without arrogance, perhaps,
challenge comparison between the results, present and prospective, of the
Bassein Karen mission and those of any mission conducted on the opposite
principle. But, alas for our weak human nature! comparisons are odious.
And yet bare argument without practical illustration is of little avail.
Abuses there are in all missions, home as well as foreign,--abuses common
to all charities, unless the latest patented "wood-yard" charity be an
exception. They come chiefly from the tendency of the weak everywhere to
throw themselves full length upon the strong, to the encumbrance of the
latter and to their own perpetual and self-perpetuating weakness. The
tendency has been oftener pointed out than successfully grappled with.

Meanwhile, the wasteful, debilitating evil spreads and grows, and it is
becoming more and more a serious question how the armies that God is
raising up for himself, through our preaching in foreign lands, are to be
transformed, out of the tattered regimentals of Falstaff's hundred and
fifty, into the full uniform of Christ,--from weak-kneed dependence, into
the steady discipline, the organization, the patient service, the
self-sacrifice and self-respect which should mark all the battalions of
King Jesus. If the way to this transformation has not been rediscovered
in Bassein, we know not where to look for it outside of the New
Testament; and, if the transformation itself be not speedily accomplished
throughout our missions, we may too soon find ourselves swamped by a
rapid but superficial success.

It is high time, we believe, for the dead to speak, and for the living,
both in America and Burma, to give ear. The powerful letters and appeals
of E. L. Abbott have waited thirty-five long years to gain the public
attention. The good hand of our God upon his associate Beecher and their
successors has demonstrated the truth of his positions and the wisdom of
his counsel. It is for the Christians of America to say whether the men
whom our fathers sent forth to lay down their lives for the establishment
of Christ's kingdom in Burma, on Christ's own principles, shall now have
an attentive hearing or not. _"Thy God hath commanded thy strength:
strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us."_

The work of preparing this book for the press has been one of
compilation, rather than of authorship. As far as practicable, the
workmen have been allowed to speak for themselves. Not a little valuable
information has been secured from the earliest Bassein converts, who are
fast passing away. Their posterity, perhaps, will be more grateful than
readers in Christian lands for the rather minute record of the beginning
of their Christian history. Their history prior to the advent of the
missionaries is lost beyond retrieval in unlettered, pagan night.

Acknowledgments are due to Rev. Dr. J. N. Murdock, Corresponding
Secretary of the A.B.M. Union, for free access to the correspondence of
the Sandoway and Bassein missions; also to the same, to Rev. Dr. Alvah
Hovey, late Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Union, to Rev. Dr.
J. G. Warren, late Corresponding Secretary, and to Rev. O. W. Gates
especially, for valuable advice following a patient perusal of the
manuscript.

NEWTON CENTRE, MASS., NOV. 1, 1883.



* * *



CONTENTS:

DEDICATION

PREFACE

CHAPTER I.
1835-1837.
Divisions of British Burma.--Area and Population of Bassein.--Its
Fertility.--Town of Bassein.--Simons's Tour.--Bread on the Waters.--Mr.
and Mrs. Ingalls call at Bassein.--Howard's Visit.--Abbott's Arrival.--He
labors in Rangoon.--Visitors from Bassein.--Cruel Oppression.--Journey to
Bassein.--Efficacy of Burman Tracts.--Baptisms in Pantanau.--Family
Altars set up.--Kyootoo.--Novel Christmas Service.--Baptisms on the Way
Home.--Reflections.

CHAPTER II.
1838, 1839.
A Chapter of Persecutions.--Visit to Raytho.--Assistants sent to
Bassein.--Shway Weing's Letter.--Teaching under Difficulties.--The "Young
Chief" baptized.--Imprisoned with Three Companions.--The Pagoda-Slaves
released.--Maukoh cruelly beaten.--Tender Mercies of a Burman Tyrant.--A
Temporary Retreat.--Earliest Preachers.--Shway Bau's Description of
Primitive Worship and Errors of the Disciples.--Burman Insolence
increased by English Forbearance.--The Viceroy's Invitation.--State of
the Work.--The Viceroy's Fall.--"A Change of Base" contemplated.

CHAPTER III.
1840, 1841.
Three Periods in this History.--An Asylum under the British Flag.--Mau
Yay of Raytho.--Reasons for Removal.--Sandoway.--Messengers to the
Unbaptized Disciples in Bassein.--Stupidity of Heathen Karens.--Arrivals
from Bassein.--School begun.--Baptisms.--Bleh Po.--Begging for
Books.--The Mission-House a Hospital.--The "Young Chief" arrives.--A
Jungle School.--Kincaid's Testimony.--"Self-support" to be the Motto of
the Bassein Mission.--Religious Liberty.--The Death-Roil.--School broken
up.--Death of Ko Thahbyu.--Trip down the Coast.--Fines and
Prisons.--Preaching and Baptizing.--A Hard Test.--Midnight Baptisms.--A
Night in the Deep.--Forced Marching.--Good News from the Rangoon
Christians.--Review.--Course of Study for Assistants.--Cramped for
Funds.--In Pursuit of Health.

CHAPTER IV.
1842, 1843.
Voyage down the Coast.--"A Palace for the Karen King."--Examining
Candidates.--"In Labors more Abundant."--Sinmah.--Buffalo.--Lambs of the
Flock.--Another Church formed.--Escape from a Wild Elephant.--Request for
Bleh Po's Ordination.--Pwos coming into the Kingdom.--Obituary of Bleh
Po.--As to the Ordination of a Native Ministry.--English Kindness.--Novel
Pattern of Domestic Life.--Continued Persecutions.--Cholera.--A Fugitive
Prince.--Ordination of Myat Kyau and Tway Po.--Eighty baptized at
Baumee.--The Sick and Lonely Family at Gwa.--"Happy Deaths."--Sir A. P.
Phayre.--Effects of Persecution.--Emigrants from Bassein.--A Missionary's
Anxieties.--Heavy Tidings.--List of Assistants.

CHAPTER V.
1844-1847.
Karen Fear.--Magezzin, Desolation and Blessing.--Ong Khyoung,
Funeral-Sermon for a Hundred and Twenty Souls.--Assistants and
"Readers."--The Sorrow of Judas.--Pastor Tway Po.--Permanent Villages.--A
"Widow indeed."--Important Mission of Myat Kyau.--Second Tour.--News from
Myat Kyau.--Death of Comstock.--School.--Recommendation of the Triennial
Convention.--Illness and Death of Mrs. Abbott.--Mr. Abbott's Enforced
Departure.--Voyage Home.--Acceptable Labors.--Return to Burma
delayed.--Isolation of the Karen Preachers and Churches.--Progress of the
Work.--Roman-Catholic Proselytism.--Statistics from Mr. Ingalls.

CHAPTER VI.
1848, 1849.
Mr. Abbott returns to Arakan.--Mr. Beecher joins the Mission.--Well-laid
Foundations.--Meeting at Ong Khyoung.--Encouraging Outlook.--Open Door in
Henthada--Jesuits abroad.--Repair of Buildings.--Appeal for Help in
Education and a Pwo Missionary.--Pay of Assistants.--Mr. Abbott visits
Maulmain.--Mrs. Binney describes his Oratory.--Abbott's First Attempt to
enter Bassein.--Annual Meeting.--A Stand for Self-Support.--Myah Au.--Men
of Power needed.--Abbott on "Unnecessary Exposure."--Second Attempt to
settle in Bassein.--Arrival of the Van Meters.

CHAPTER VII.
A Chapter too Hard for the Average Reader.--An Irrepressible Conflict,
"Self-Support" _vs._ "Specific Donations."--"The Maulmain System."--A
Tradition.--Fallacious Argument from Economy.--Happy Effect of Abbott's
Visit in Maulmain.--Beecher on the Five Thousand Dollar Fund.--Abbott on
the Same.--Correspondence with Messrs. Mason and Bright.

CHAPTER VIII.
1850.
Abbott leads in "Self-Support," in the Ordination of a Native Ministry,
and in the Formation of a Native Missionary Society.--Letter from Van
Meter.--School for Preachers at Ong Khyoung.--Letter from
Beecher.--Abbott's Account of the School and Annual Meeting.--Need of
Sunday Schools.--Pwo Assistants.--Sandoway Mission organized.--Letter
from Abbott to Secretary Bright.

CHAPTER IX.
1851.
Abbott's Last Annual Meeting.--Ordinations.--Formation of the Bassein
Home Mission Society.--Duty of Combined Effort.--Abbott goes to Maulmain
and Tavoy.--Beecher's Account of his Preachers' Class and Tour.--Tribute
to Wah Dee.--Rev. Tway Po.--Progress of the Pwo Mission.--Shway Bo.--Mrs.
Abbott's Labors for the Burmans.--Confusion of Plans.

CHAPTER X.
1852.
Dr. Kincaid on the Bassein Karens.--Incident from Dr. Stevens.--The
Approach of War.--Meeting at Theh Rau.--Sudden Dismissal.--In Perils of
Waters.--Beecher's Second Tour.--Rangoon and Other Towns taken.--Abbott
on the Situation.--He goes with Van Meter to Bassein.--First Impressions
of the New Station.--Kindness of English Officers.--Boodhist _Kyoungs_
converted to Christian Uses.--Abbott as to the State of the
Churches.--Prospects of the Pwo Mission.--Shway Weing.--Roman-Catholic
Visitors.--Last Words well remembered.--Abbott's Final Departure.

CHAPTER XI.
1853.
Annexation of Pegu.--Predatory Warfare.--The Karen takes his Turn.--Mr.
Van Meter's Journal of Warlike Events.--Mr. Beecher's Arrival.--Po Kway's
Triumphal Entry.--Christians tortured.--Crucifixion of Thah Gay.--Arrival
of the Families of the Mission.--First Annual Meeting of the Association
in Bassein.--Statistics.--Progress of the Pwo Work.--Karen
Magistrates.--Burman Inquirers.--Formation of the Ministerial
Conference.--Foreign Missions begun.--Mr. Abbott's Obituary of Tway Po.

CHAPTER XII.
1854.
Fresh Burman Outbreaks.--Nga So's Certificate.--"Maulay."--Proposed
Removal of the Station.--Association at Kohsoo.--Christians turn
Freebooters.--Academies for Bassein.--Ministers' Meeting at Mohgoo.--Tway
Gyau ordained.--Missionaries sent to Prome.--Mr. Van Meter's
Tours.--Meeting at Naupeheh.--Tohlo ordained.--The New Era: the Child
walks alone.--Zeal for Education.--A Secretary's Comments.--Death of Mr.
Abbott and Mrs. Beecher.

CHAPTER XIII.
1855, 1856.
Contentions between Brethren.--An Unrecognized "_Tiers État._"--Fruit of
the Deputation.--A Grand Mistake.--Arrival of Mr. Douglass.--Association
at Kwengyah.--Mr. Beecher returns to America.--Quarterly Meeting at
Kaunee.--Increase of Missionaries, and Growth of Academies.--Meeting at
Meethwaydike.--Association for 1856.--A Weighty Treasury.--State
of the Churches.--Conflagration at Bassein.--Kind Help of the
Karens.--Ordinations.--Major Phayre's Renewed Help.--Mr. Douglass reports
the Meeting at Lehkoo.--Glimpses of Bassein Missionaries abroad.

CHAPTER XIV.
1857.
Results of overnursing Native Christians.--Dr. Wade's Plan for the Karen
Theological Seminary.--Why it failed.--Annual Meeting at Yaygyau.--Growth
of the Academies.--Statistics.--Meetings at Podau and Taukoo.--Arrival of
Mr. and Mrs. Beecher.--The Van Meters return to the United
States.--Journal of Mr. Thomas's Tour among the Bassein
Churches.--Association at Kyootah.--Mau Yay's Address.--Decisive Letter
of the Bassein Pastors to the American Baptist Missionary Union.

CHAPTER XV.
1858-1862.
Strength of Mr. Beecher's Position.--Mrs. Beecher's Choice of a
Compound.--Humble Beginnings.--Generosity of the Government.--Prospectus
of the Bassein Sgau Karen Normal and Industrial Institute.--First
Buildings.--First Debt disposed of.--First Mission to Upper
Burma.--Thahyahgôn.--Fruit of Labor in Prome.--Chinese
Converts.--Associations at Kaukau Pgah and at M'gayl'hah.--Toowah, Sahpo,
and Sahnay.

CHAPTER XVI.
1863-1866.
Education in Burma for the Natives of Burma.--Ordinations.--Formation of
the Pwo Association.--A Fortunate Stroke of Lightning.--The Institute
Church.--First Mission to Zimmay.--Mr. Beecher attends the Toungoo
Council.--Burman Visitors at a Karen Association.--New Pwo
Compound.--Appreciation of Bassein Laborers abroad.--Formation of the
Burma Baptist Missionary Convention.--Arrival of Mr. Scott.--Break-down
of Mr. Beecher.--Voyage to England, and Death.--His Character and Labors.

CHAPTER XVII.
1867.
Why Missionaries should not look to Native Christians for
Support.--Letter of the Karen Pastors to the American Baptist Missionary
Union.--Mr. Thomas removes to Bassein.--Journals and Letters.--Is
Unscriptural Authority exercised by the Missionaries?--Prostration of Mr.
Thomas.--The Return Voyage.--His Death.

CHAPTER XVIII.
1868-1874.
Sale of the Free Mission Property to the American Baptist Missionary
Union.--Mr. Douglass in Charge.--Convention in Bassein.--First
Telegram from America.--Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter remove to
Bassein.--Discipline of Unworthy Pastors.--A Home Mission Society not to be
Eleemosynary.--Prevailing Ignorance.--Educational Plans.--New Buildings
to be paid for by the Karens.--Correspondence with Dr. Binney.--The
Tithe-System adopted by the Pastors.--Ordinations.--Return of the
Carpenters to the United States.--Arrival of Mr. Hopkinson.--Progress of
the Pwo Department.--Sickness and Death of Mr. and Mrs. Van
Meter.--Labors and Death of Mr. Goodell.--Mortality in the Bassein
Mission, and Reasons assigned.

CHAPTER XIX.
1875-1880.
Proposal to remove the Karen College to Bassein.--Reasons for the
Proposed Change.--Twenty Thousand Rupees pledged for a New
School-Building.--Erection of the Girls' Schoolhouse.--Ground broken
for the New Hall.--Oppression resisted.--Beginning of the Kakhyen
Mission.--Happy Deliverance from Debt.--Ko Thahbyu Jubilee and
Dedication.--Description of the Memorial Hall.--Generous Offer
to Rev. D. A. W. Smith.--Abbott Endowment begun.--Arrival of Mr.
Nichols.--Summing up.--Table.--Condition in Life of the Bassein
Karens.--Methods.--Instances of Self-Sacrifice.

CHAPTER XX.
1881-1887.
Bassein Principles.--On the Attainment of True Independence.--Competent
Native Leaders wanting.--General Need of these Lessons.--The Missionary
Union, how cramped.--The Success in Bassein should be made
Complete.--Need of a Bible School in Bassein.--Course of Study for
Pastors.--Bassein Education Society.--Sustentation Fund.--Revival
Meetings.--What should be accomplished before Christmas,
1887.--Conclusion.

APPENDIX A.--Table showing the Growth of the Bassein Churches.

APPENDIX B.--Table.--Contributions of the Churches.

APPENDIX C.--Testimonials to the Bassein Karen Institute.

INDEX.


* * *


[ Illustration--MAP OF ARAKAN ]

[ Illustration--MAP OF BRITISH BURMA ]


* * *


ILLUSTRATIONS:

PORTRAIT OF REV. E. L. ABBOTT (Frontispiece.)
MAP OF ARAKAN
MAP OF BRITISH BURMA
BOAT-TRAVEL IN BURMA
PORTRAIT OF REV. J. S. BEECHER
FACSIMILE OF MR. ABBOTT'S HANDWRITING
PORTRAIT OF PASTOR MAU YAY OF KYOOTOO
GRADUATES OF THE BASSEIN KAREN GIRLS' SCHOOL
FACSIMILE OF MR. BEECHER'S HANDWRITING
MISSION-HOUSE BUILT BY MR. BEECHER, 1858
GIRLS' SCHOOLHOUSE, BASSEIN, BUILT 1875
KO THAHBYU MEMORIAL HALL, DEDICATED MAY 16, 1878
BASSEIN KAREN MISSIONARIES TO THE KAKHYENS

BASSEIN KAREN MISSION.


* * *



CHAPTER I.
1835-1837.


"If I had to choose for my dearest friend on earth a position where there
is afforded a full field for the exercise of a man's powers and
influence, and where the truest happiness may he secured, I should say to
him, 'If you love Jesus Christ, [and can accomplish it], become a
missionary.'"--_Anonymous._


ALTHOUGH blistered now with the heat of a tropical sun, and now drenched
in tropical rain and steam, British Burma is a fair and fruitful land.
The most prosperous of the British provinces in India already, the
agricultural possibilities of its future are grand indeed. Under the
fostering care of a Christian government, the population is increasing at
the rate of nearly fifty per cent each decade; while the foreign trade,
stimulated by British capital, is increasing in a still more rapid ratio.

Into the history of this land we cannot enter fully. Suffice it to say,
that British Burma comprises within its present bounds three
divisions,--Arakan, Pegu, and Tenasserim. At the close of the first
Burmese war, in 1824, the first and the last of these divisions, or
provinces, were annexed to "The Honorable East India Company's"
dominions; viz., Arakan, a narrow strip of coast on the east of the Bay
of Bengal, stretching from Chittagong on the north, by the western Yoma
range, to Maudin Point, near the mouth of the Bassein River, on the
south; and Tenasserim, another narrow territory on the east of the Gulf
of Martaban, extending from a point on the Salween River, not many miles
north of Maulmain, southward to the Isthmus of Kraw. The central
province, Pegu, which was by far the most valuable portion of the old
Burman Empire, was annexed by Lord Dalhousie in 1852, at the close of the
second and last war with Burma. By this annexation, the great English
trading-company united under its control the entire seaboard of India,
Ceylon, and Burma, from Kurrachee in the north-west to the Isthmus of
Kraw in the south-east,--a coastline of more than five thousand miles.
Thus the king of Burma at the same time lost the great rice-granary of
his kingdom, Pegu, and was cut off from all independent access to the
sea.

Bassein is the south-western district of the Pegu division. The present
area of the district is 7,047 square miles, about equal to that of
Massachusetts, or the principality of Wales. Of this area, 5,996 square
miles are officially returned as culturable, of which only 536 miles are
under cultivation. Of rich lowland, adapted to rice, it is estimated that
Bassein has twice as much as any other district in Burma. Indeed, it may
be said that in natural fertility of soil, in the regularity and
abundance of the rainfall, and in general adaptation to the growth of a
grain which constitutes the staple food of a majority of the human race,
and is becoming more and more a necessity in the economy of European
life, Bassein is hardly excelled by any district in the world. According
to the census of 1881, the population is 389,419 (Karens 96,008), which
is barely 55 to the square mile. At the same time, the demand for the
chief product of the district seems to be constant and increasing at well
maintained prices. So far, then, as room for growth and a chance for a
livelihood go, the native Christians of Bassein have a goodly heritage.

The district headquarters are in Bassein, a municipality containing
28,147 inhabitants,--about one-fifth of the population of Rangoon, or
one-third that of Maulmain. The town is situated on the east bank of the
Ngawoon, or Bassein River, about eighty miles from its mouth. The largest
ships and steamers come up to the town without difficulty. The facilities
for milling and loading the grain are excellent; so that Bassein now
stands second to Rangoon only, in the amount of rice exported annually.

To trace the beginnings of missionary effort in Bassein, it will be
necessary to go back to Burman times, seventeen years before the conquest
of Pegu by the British arms. In April, 1835, Rev. Thomas Simons,
returning from a visit to Arakan, determined to travel overland, through
the Burmese territory of Bassein, to Rangoon. Armed with a pass from the
English commissioner, he proceeded by boat from Comstock's house in Kyouk
Pyoo, _viâ_ Sandoway to Khyoungthah, where he arrived April 20, late in
the evening. From this point, Bassein missionaries of the present day can
trace with interest every step of his way to the residence of Rev.
Messrs. Webb and Howard in Rangoon. Mr. Simons writes:--

"At nine o'clock, P.M., the island,[1] which is at the entrance of the
creek we wished to enter, was in sight; and we were soon inside, and
anchored for the night."

{ Footnote: [1] On this gem of an island, fifty feet above the sea, the
Bassein mission now has a healthful place of rest for the hot season. In
1876 the British Government kindly granted to the American Baptist
Missionary Union two acres of land on the most eligible part of the
bluff. A clearing has been made, and a cheap bungalow erected, without
expense to the society. The island is within the limits of the Bassein
district,--about thirty miles due west from the town. }

"_April_ 21.--This morning, before leaving the boat, the villagers came
to me for some tracts, and were supplied. The head man had my baggage
carried to his house, where I am now reclining on a bamboo couch,
surrounded by Burmans and fourteen Karens,--six men and eight women. The
Karen women look well, and are very well dressed. Their village[2] is
near by, and contains fifteen houses. I gave them the Catechism, and
requested them to get a Burman to read it to them; and they must hearken,
for it would tell them good things. I informed them that the Karens near
Tavoy, Maulmain, and Rangoon, had the same word, and liked it very much.
Several Burmans came for books, and the house was full nearly all day. At
night I bargained with six men to carry my baggage over the mountains,
and we are to leave before sunrise."

{ Footnote: [2] These Karens who surrounded the couch of the weary
traveller, undoubtedly came from Kangyee, a hamlet less than two miles
distant on the south side of the river. Within seven years after this
passing visit, they were worshipping the true God. With their children,
and probably with some of the younger members of that very party, the
compiler of this sketch is well acquainted. For him they built with their
own hands the first mission sanitarium on the island. He has eaten their
rice, and slept in their houses. They have guided him in long journeys up
and down that picturesque coast. He has communed with them by the way,
and he knows that they are children of God. To our deceased brother
belongs the honor of communicating to that little community the first
gleam of light from the Father of lights, and from the ever radiant
cross. }

At four o'clock the next morning the traveller's luggage was put into two
of the little canoes peculiar to that locality; and a party of nine men,
including an armed policeman, escorted him up the river by the brilliant
light of the tropical moon. The mangrove-trees, with their aerial roots
growing close down to the water's edge; the wild "sea-cocoanut" trees
overlooking them; rare orchids, that would bring a fortune in the
conservatories of England, clinging to tree-trunks and branches in every
direction; the hoot of the night-owl, giving place, as the day dawns, to
a great variety of tropical birds; families of monkeys looking for a
breakfast of crabs on the muddy banks; beautiful jelly-fish, pink and
white, lazily floating with the tide; the weird songs and cries of his
own boatmen,--all tell the venturesome young missionary that he is in a
strange land far from kindred and friends, exposed, perhaps, to dangers
at which he can only guess. At seven o'clock they reach the landing at
the head of the stream. Crossing the British boundary, and breakfasting
by the way, the difficulties of the nine-miles' walk through tangled
forests, over the low mountain pass, are surmounted by one, P.M., when
they emerge at the head waters of the Kyouk Khyoung-gyee Creek, on the
border of the great deltaic plain, which stretches away eastward for two
hundred miles without a hill. Wading occasionally, they go down the
shallow brook, passing a score or more of men cutting bamboos, where they
still cut them for use in the city and many of the eastern villages. With
the quick eye of an observer, he marks their sleeping-places high up in
the tree-tops, out of the reach of prowling tigers and wild elephants. He
writes:--

"They soon collected around us, and had many questions to ask. I opened
my budget of books, and gave the Catechism to each one, and, in addition,
the 'Golden Balance' and 'Ship of Grace' to the owner of the borrowed
boat. For some time they sat talking together, admiring the
books,--first, the whiteness of the paper, then the writing, as they
supposed it to be, and, last of all, the subject. Hired a boat from one
of them for a rupee, and at two, P.M., embarked to descend the creek,
taking three of the [Khyoungthah] men with me, the rest returning with
the head man and guard. Overtook several rafts of bamboos floating down
the creek, with three or four men on each. Gave tracts to them, also to
the people whom I met in their canoes, and to the inhabitants who live on
the banks of the creek. Passed a Karen settlement of three or four
houses; but, seeing no one out, I placed a Catechism at the end of a
canoe, in hopes that when they came out to their boat they would see it,
and get some Burman to read it to them."

This, again, is historic. That little Karen hamlet was Thaupo, a branch
of Kaukau Pgah, the banner church of Bassein, and probably the most
enterprising and benevolent church in all Burma (see chap. xix.). How
would our brother's heart have leaped with joy if he could have foreseen
the future! What prompted him to leave a Burmese Catechism in a crack of
that wretched little Karen canoe? And, having done it, what led him to
write to America about it? And why should Dr. Bolles print it? And why,
on this twenty-first day of April, 1881, just forty-six long years after,
should this man light upon it, and, knowing all the wonderful sequences,
seize upon it as treasure-trove? Was it not that American Christians
might again be reminded that such leaflets and bits of Scripture are
potent? that God's word cannot return unto him void? But if the doubter
prefers to believe that the Karens never found the little book; or,
finding it, never employed a Burman to read it to them; or, having found
an interpreter, that they received not the truth into their hearts,--then
we seize upon the incident all the same, and pronounce it a prophecy. The
simple faith and the love in the heart of my father's Newton classmate,
Simons, led him to do what he did. He believed, that, come what would to
himself or his book, God had a chosen people in those jungles and in that
very village at his side; and so he left a fragment of God's truth on the
empty boat, as Jacob set up his rock-pillow for a pillar, anointing it
with oil, and saying, "This shall be God's house!" Nor has the God of
Jacob ever failed to honor and richly bless such faith in his servants.

At sunset of the same day our pioneer reached the large Burman village of
Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, on the Bassein River, seven or eight miles above the
town. Here, after reporting his arrival to the head man, Simons busied
himself in preaching, and distributing tracts, until ten, P.M. At four,
A.M., the government men came, when, damp and cold from the heavy dew, he
got into their canoe, and two hours later was landed in Bassein. In due
course he visited the principal officials, and was kindly received, but
as a traveller, not as a religious teacher. The night after his arrival
he was taken quite ill, owing, doubtless, to fatigue and exposure. Still,
from the 23d to the 25th he managed to do considerable religious work.

At two, P.M., on the 25th, he left Bassein in a Burman boat for Pantanau,
by the usual route. At dark, he says, they left the river, and entered a
creek, now called the Rangoon Creek. "Came to a small village [Kanyna,
undoubtedly] about nine o'clock, where the boat was made fast with
other's, and I went to sleep. Started very early on the 26th, and stopped
at a village[1] about eight, A.M." Here, as usual, he went ashore, and
distributed tracts. He adds, "As I passed along to-day, I heard the
Karens singing in their villages." How familiar is this ground to the
missionary now! The songs which Simons then heard were plaintive enough,
but intensely demoniacal. For forty years now, those same villages have
resounded with the songs of Zion. Passing through one of the three narrow
_yay-gyaus_, or cross-cuts, which lead to Rangoon, he reached Shwayloung
on the 29th, Pantanau on the 1st of May, and thence, by the Panlang
Creek, to Kemendine and Rangoon, on the 3d, arriving at the house of his
missionary brethren after dark. He adds, that on this trip he gave away
more than eight hundred tracts, mostly in places where neither missionary
nor tracts had been before.

{ Footnote: [1] Probably Myoungmya, where there is now a court, two or
three English officials, and a Roman-Catholic mission. At this point he
was within four or five miles of Kyootoo, the village of the "young
chief," where Abbott first preached the gospel, and the first Christian
Karen church was formed, within the present limits of the Bassein
district. }

Prompted, perhaps, by Mr. Simons's successful journey, Mr. Webb writes on
the 31st of December, 1835, "We are preparing to go in a few days on a
tour to Bassein, and may possibly go over to Arakan." This plan was
partially carried out by Mr. Howard alone in the following October.

In April, 1836, Mr. and Mrs. (Marcia D.) Ingalls, newly arrived
missionaries, on their way from Maulmain to settle in Arakan, were
stopped at Cape Negrais by a violent storm, and went up the river to
Bassein for refuge. As storm-bound travellers, they were kindly received
by the officials. Permission to remain until the close of the rains was
granted to them, but on condition that they would not circulate Christian
books. As they could not give such a pledge, and as the season seemed to
be too far advanced to proceed to Arakan in safety, they reluctantly
returned to Maulmain.

Oct. 2, 1836, Rev. Mr. Howard reached Bassein from Rangoon, _viâ_
Pantanau and Shwayloung. He staid three days in the town, and distributed
many tracts among the Burmans. Going and coming, he met many Karens,
mostly Pwos. He learned that the Bassein Karens could speak Burmese more
generally than those of other districts. He also adds his opinion, that
"these Karens are much less filthy in their personal appearance than any
others I have seen."

Our space is too limited for even a brief consideration of the remarkable
but well-known traditions of the Karens. The Bassein branch of the race,
reputed to be of somewhat ignoble origin, shared fully in these
traditions; and the day of their redemption is now ready to dawn. Rumors
of the great work begun among their brethren in the eastern districts
have reached them. The spirit of God has already begun to sway the hearts
of not a few towards himself, inclining them, not only to receive the
message of salvation when it shall be brought to them, but to go long
distances, through an enemy's country, in search of "the white book," and
the white brothers who have come from the distant West to teach them.
Christ's chosen vessel to bear his name to them--the wise master-builder,
who is appointed and prepared to lay the foundation-stones of a divine
building among them--is at hand.

Elisha Litchfield Abbott, the spiritual father of the Bassein Karen
Baptists, and one of the most striking characters in the history of
modern missions, was a descendant of a Yorkshire family, a native of
Cazenovia, N.Y., and a son of the seminary at Hamilton. Arriving in
Maulmain Feb. 20, 1836, at the age of twenty-six, he was met on the
threshold of his career by a well-nigh fatal attack of jungle-fever.
Establishing himself temporarily at a new station on Balu Island, after
his recovery, he applied himself diligently and most successfully to the
study of Karen. In September of the same year he accompanied Rev. Messrs.
Vinton and Howard on a long tour in the Rangoon district. In the vicinity
of Maubee, about thirty miles north of the town of Rangoon, they baptized
a hundred and seventy-three Karens who had become Christians, chiefly,
Mr. Howard says, through the instrumentality of Ko Thahbyu. United in
marriage to Miss Gardner, in Tavoy, April 2, 1837, he proceeded with his
wife to Rangoon, for the purpose of laboring among the Karens of that
region, arriving on the 20th. The Karens received them with great joy.
Only one of the large number baptized the previous year had apostatized.

On the 25th of May Mr. Abbott baptized three Karens, and wrote that many
others were waiting for the ordinance, most of whom had been converted
for several years. A number of young men and boys who had previously
learned to read came in to study,--the first of a long succession of
youth who resorted to him with ever increasing delight for instruction in
the word of God. The Burman authorities had forbidden the Karens to have
books, or to learn to read. What could have been better adapted to
provoke them to the pursuit of knowledge than the disapproval and
prohibition of their savage oppressors? Hence Abbott is able to record,
"Although there have been no regular schools established, yet there are
several hundreds who have learned to read at their own homes, when no
Burman was near to report them to the rulers." Several young men besides
Ko Thahbyu had been sent out to preach from village to village, who
generally came in once a month to report.

The hostility of the Burmans, and rumors of war, made it advisable for
the Abbotts to leave for Maulmain on the 10th of August. They were
absent, however, less than three months, returning at the opening of the
dry season. Nov. 10 Abbott writes, that three men called from the
vicinity of Pantanau in the Bassein district. One professed to have
worshipped God for three years; another, for some months. Others came
with them the next day, "very stupid, and indifferent to the subject," he
says. But he did not know Karens at that time as well as afterwards. The
very fact that they would venture to visit the white teacher, as they did
repeatedly, in opposition to the well-known will of their cruel masters,
was enough to prove that they were far from being "indifferent," however
stupid they may have been in appearance or reality. On the 13th the party
returned to their homes, with a good supply of books, and two of Mr.
Abbott's assistants to teach and preach in their vicinity. In the letter
announcing this, he says, "No teacher has ever yet visited that region."
This, then, is the first reference in the annals of our missions to
direct gospel-work in behalf of the Karens of Bassein.

Meanwhile, for the encouragement of the inquirers in Bassein, the Rangoon
Christians are grievously oppressed. They are taxed so heavily, that some
parents are obliged to sell their children as slaves to the Burmans. De
Poh, one of the best preachers, is threatened with death if he does not
renounce Christianity. The Karens are divided among themselves; one party
embracing the new religion, another as earnestly opposing it. Me Poh, an
old Karen chief, does his utmost to incite and to help the viceroy put
down the Christians. Never was a young missionary in more trying
circumstances, but his faith and courage were equal to the occasion. Dec.
14 Mr. Abbott left Rangoon to make his first visit to Bassein. He shall
tell the story in his own language.

"_Dec. 16._--About ten this morning, arrived at the point where the
Rangoon branch [Panlang Creek] separates from the main body of the river.
The Irrawaddy was before us in all its grandeur and majesty...Crossed
the river, and came to a Karen village.[1] The first house we
entered was a house of prayer. We found several Christians, some of whom
I had previously seen in Rangoon. Very soon an old man came in, and
almost his first words were, 'Teacher, I want to be baptized.' Upon
inquiry, I learned the following story. Two years ago a Barman came
along, and wanted to sell the old man two little books. As he could read
Burmese, he purchased them for two large bunches of plantains. They
proved to be 'The Ship of Grace' and 'The Golden Balance,' which the
Burman probably received from a missionary. He read the books, and they
told him about the great God. He was not satisfied. He had heard that the
Karens in Maubee had received a 'new religion.' The old man made his way
thither, through the wilderness, exposed to wild beasts and robbers,
obtained light, gave up all his former customs, embraced the gospel with
all his heart, and for one year has been a faithful and consistent
Christian, _with all his house_. He has been the means of the conversion
of several of his neighbors."

{ Footnote: [1] Undoubtedly Sekkau, just within the old limits of the
Bassein district, and still a Christian village connected with the
Rangoon association. }

[ Illustration--BOAT-TRAVEL IN BURMA. ]

"_17th, Sabbath._--Had worship in the morning and evening with the
Christians. But few others came in. Towards evening, went out into the
village, and gathered a little group; but they all with one consent began
to make excuse. The Karens are a peculiar people. They are either for or
against, and that altogether. There are no neutrals. Were it not for an
almighty Agency accompanying the truth, I would close the book of God,
and retire in despair. I cannot but remark the difference between
Christian and heathen families of children. In the former, all is quiet
and order. No fears are manifested at my approach, as in other families:
on the contrary, the children cluster around, lay hold of my hands, sit
at my feet, and receive lessons in reading.

"_18th._--Left these good people this morning, and arrived at Pantanau[1]
at four, P.M., four days north-west from Rangoon. Here, again, I was
joyfully received by the friends of the missionary's God. At evening the
people assembled, and listened to the parable, 'Behold, a sower went
forth to sow.' There are but three individuals who are decided
Christians; although many others have abandoned all their old customs,
love the truth, keep the sabbath, etc., but still think they have not new
hearts. The people of the village are all anxious to learn to read. If I
had a good assistant to leave here, no doubt many would embrace the
truth."

{ Footnote: [1] Not the large Burman town of that name, but a Karen
village some distance below,--Khateeyah perhaps, where pastor Nahkee has
long resided. Both this church and Pgoo Khyoung retained their connection
with the Bassein association until 1875, when they united with Rangoon. }

"_19th._--The village which I especially designed to visit being one day
farther on, I left the people where I stopped last night, and arrived at
this village[2] towards evening. The people flocked together, old and
young, to express their joy at my arrival. After some conversation, I
asked them how many had embraced the Christian religion. 'All,' 'All.'
'Every one of us,' was answered by forty voices. We sung a hymn of praise
to God. What cause of devout gratitude to the Saviour, that he is raising
up in these wilds a people to serve him, and to perpetuate his glory on
the earth! At evening the people assembled in the most convenient house
in the village, and listened to the words of Christ to Nicodemus: 'Ye
must be born again.' After prayer and singing, several came forward, and
asked for baptism. On inquiry, I learned that the first they heard of the
gospel was four years ago, from Burmese tracts, which they obtained from
the Burmans. Some began to worship God from that time; but, not having
sufficient light, they still practised some of their former customs. Two
years ago some of the old men visited Maubee, obtained further
instruction, and became more consistent in their religious life. Eight or
nine months since, another deputation was sent to visit the Maubee
church, learned to read, obtained books, and, returning, became
missionaries to their neighbors. I have seen several of the old men in
Rangoon; and two of the assistants have spent a few of the last months in
these villages. For the last six months there has been a general turning
to the Lord, so that, at present, there are very few who are willing to
acknowledge themselves heathen. After I had stated to them the
prerequisites of baptism, many of them hesitated, saying, 'We are not yet
worthy.' They dispersed at a late hour, with a promise of assembling
early to-morrow morning."

{ Footnote: [2] Exact location uncertain, probably on the main river,
below Shway Loung. Was it Ko Dau's village? }

"_20th._--Spent the day in the examination of those who had asked for
baptism.[1] At the setting of the sun we assembled on the banks of the
river, where I baptized thirty-four, in obedience to the command of my
divine Master. The scene was deeply solemn. The banks were lined with an
attentive group, who beheld in silence the observance of this ordinance
for the first time. These mighty waters, which have hitherto only echoed
the heathen's prayer and the songs of devils, have at length witnessed
the baptismal vows of converted Pagans. God Almighty grant that such
scenes may follow in quick succession, till not a cottage shall be found,
where there may not be seen an altar to the living God, till every canoe
floating on the broad bosom of the Irrawaddy shall bear disciples of King
Jesus, and until the songs of demons shall be hushed to silence by the
sweeter melody of Prince Immanuel's praise! After the baptism, the people
assembled for worship; and I repeated to them the words of the Saviour:
'He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light
of life.' At a late hour of the night I heard the voice of prayer and
praise from many families in the village, till I fell asleep."

{ Footnote: [1] Mark the carefulness and deliberation with which these
first Bassein converts are received. }

"_21st._--I had intended to make this village the extent of my present
tour, not knowing but that the long-talked-of war may come before my
return to Rangoon; but trusting in that good Providence which has
hitherto been as a cloudy pillar by day, and a pillar of fire by night, I
will venture on. At a large village three days west, there lives a Karen
chief, who is the head of all the tribes in this region. He has heard
something of the gospel, but is still a heathen in practice. Having heard
that I intended to come this way, he left word with the people, that, if
I came, I must certainly visit him at his own village. Perhaps he wishes
to see me to gratify his curiosity; perhaps, if I visit him, the word of
God will enlighten his dark soul, and guide him to heaven. I consequently
left this morning, and am passing quietly down the river, the banks of
which are lined with Pwo Karen[1] villages, which have hitherto heard
nothing of the gospel. I intend to send to Tavoy for a Pwo assistant and
books, and try to do something for that people."

{ Footnote: [1] The Karens of Pegu and Tenasserim are divided into two
tribes,--the Sgaus and the Pwos, who speak somewhat different dialects. }

"_23d._--Arrived at the Karen chief's this evening, after three days'
travel through the wilderness, with only here and there a Burman village,
especially the last two days. The chief (Myat Oung by name) is an old man
of seventy-five, full of strength and of years, and hardened in sin. His
eldest wife exhibits only the last glimmerings of reason, but few removes
from idiocy. At evening a few who had heard of my arrival came in, but
were as wild as the mountain deer."

Mr. Abbott was now well within the present narrower borders of the
Bassein district. Careful inquiry of old men who were present at this
visit of their revered teacher makes it certain that the location of the
village reached by Mr. Abbott on this occasion was much lower down the
Kyunton Creek than the present Christian village of Kyootoo. Rev. Mau
Yay, the pastor of that mother-church, and from the first one of the
ablest and most devoted Christian leaders in the whole district (one of
the two "Moung Yés" of Abbott's journals), informs me that the old
village was on the east bank of the stream, only two bends, or two bends
and a half above its mouth. It was below Sittabeng, and four or five
miles north from Myoungmya (p. 7). The spot where the gospel was first
preached in Bassein to an attentive, believing congregation might well be
marked by a monument; and Christmas Day, 1887, the semicentennial
anniversary of this historic visit, might well be celebrated throughout
Bassein by solemn assemblies for praise and worship. Of the reception of
the missionary's message on the morrow, of the arrival of company after
company all day long, of the breaking-down of the house, and of the
remarkable meeting Christmas Eve, prolonged under the open sky until long
past midnight, we leave Mr. Abbott to tell in his own graphic language:--

"_Dec. 24, Sabbath._--By ten o'clock this morning seventy or eighty had
assembled for worship. Very good attention was given, and some appeared
to be pricked in the heart. At one o'clock the morning assembly
dispersed; and another company of about the same number, who were
detained in the morning, came. These listened till sunset. After these
had left, other companies came flocking in from distant villages, many of
whom had travelled all day without eating, fearing they should not arrive
in time to see me. We had commenced singing a hymn, the people still
flocking in, when the cry was heard, 'The house is falling.' It was not
very strong, but I should think would contain two hundred with safety.
The people hastened out, spread a mat on the ground in the open field,
upon which I sat, and themselves gathered around, and sat upon the
ground. A few old men sat near, who would question when they did not
understand. All around was the darkness and stillness of night. Not a
cloud obscured the heavens, which were spread out over our heads as a
beautifully bespangled curtain. In one hand I held a dimly burning taper;
in the other, the word of God. The firmament on high showed God's
handiwork in the creation of the world: the Bible in my hand taught the
wonderful story of its redemption by Jesus Christ. Midnight had long
passed away ere the assembly dispersed, and then they withdrew
reluctantly. May the good Lord of the harvest pour out his Spirit, and
gather in many of these poor souls, and may they shine eternally in
glory, the trophies of victorious grace!"

On the following morning, Dec. 25, the missionary started on his return
to Rangoon, leaving a young man, Mau Mway by name, to teach the people to
read, and to exhort them to take heed to the things which they had heard.
On his way back, he stopped two nights at the Christian village of
"Pantanau," where he baptized nine more; making a church in that place of
forty-three members. Friday night he spent at a Karen village, where
there were a few Christians. Saturday evening he arrived at Sekkau, where
he spent Sunday, and baptized the old man who bought the tracts from a
Burman, his wife, his son, and three others; making in all forty-nine
baptized on this trip,--the first-fruits of the gospel in Bassein.
New-Year's Day, 1838, he spent in his boat, "ruminating on the past, with
now and then a glance to the future, surveying the field of the Saviour's
future triumph." The man of faith and works adds, in conclusion, "The
work of the Lord is going on among the Karens, and will go on, in spite
of the Burmans and the Devil."



CHAPTER II.
1838-1839.


"The truth in my heart was like a stake, slightly driven into soft
ground, easily swayed, and in danger of falling before the wind; but, by
the sledge-hammer of persecution, God drove it in by successive blows,
till it became immovable."--AMOOJAH, _North Armenian Mission._


THE circumstances under which the Karens of Rangoon and Bassein first
came into the kingdom of Christ were adapted to test their sincerity and
faith to the utmost. They were still absolutely in the power of the
Burmans. The degree of despotism which prevailed around them, the fines
and fiendish tortures which Burmese ingenuity was accustomed to inflict,
they well understood. That any communication with the white man, any
disposition to adopt his religion, any aspiration after learning that was
not Burmese and Boodhistic, would provoke the wrath of their masters, and
bring them into direful straits, they were well aware. They knew,
moreover, that, of their own kindred and language, there were not a few
of the baser sort who would gladly betray them. Widely different are the
circumstances under which the native subjects of Victoria now profess
Christianity. These, exposed at most to family trials, to some
inconvenience, perhaps to loss and popular odium, are sure of protection
as to life, property, and the exercise of all natural rights: reasonably
sure, also, are they of help in times of famine or other trouble. Those,
on the other hand, were exposed to the loss of all things, to tortures
and death itself; their teachers being powerless to help or relieve them.
Still, sustained by the true martyr-spirit, thousands of them did not
falter, "of whom," it may be said, as of the ancient worthies, "the world
was not worthy."

Mr. Abbott continued in charge of the Karen work in the Rangoon district.
On the 24th of March, 1838, he writes:--

"On the 15th I left Ponau at five, A.M., and travelled over the plain
west, eight miles, to the village of Raytho, the most central of the
Maubee cluster. The brethren, notified of my coming, came together, with
many who were asking for baptism. Spent the day in examining candidates.
At evening a large concourse from the adjacent villages. Finished the
examination at ten, P.M., when we repaired to a small lake. The multitude
assembled on its beautiful banks. The full moon rose in a cloudless sky;
nature was silent; we bowed and prayed, and God was there. I then
baptized thirty-seven who had been received by the church. After this, I
administered the sacrament of the Supper to more than a hundred of my
Master's disciples. At half-past twelve o'clock I lay down on the ground,
and slept until four, A.M.

"On the 16th I returned to Ponau, and sent word to all near to come in at
evening. The people began to collect at sunset, in such numbers that no
house in the village would contain them. We assembled, therefore, in the
open field, as on the preceding evening. The examination of candidates
continued till eleven o'clock; after which I baptized thirty, and
administered the Lord's Supper to a hundred and fifty. Half an hour past
midnight I bade adieu to these precious disciples of Christ, and started
for Rangoon, where I arrived at six, P.M.

"I had but two objects in visiting these people at this perilous time.
One was to give some instructions as to discipline; the other, to
administer the Lord's Supper. I well knew, that, if the Burmans were
apprised of any large gathering at the present time, it would excite
persecution: I therefore moved cautiously, and even forbade the people to
meet in large congregations in the daytime. But they came flocking
around, and pleaded so earnestly for baptism, giving withal such evidence
of a change of heart and life, that I could not repel them. Most of those
whom I baptized have been consistent Christians for five years. A few had
embraced the gospel within the last year. I have since heard, that, after
I left, a multitude came in from different villages to see me, many of
whom wished to be baptized. The work of the Lord is certainly going
forward in the jungles, through the instrumentality of the native
assistants. I have heard of several villages where the people have mostly
forsaken their former customs, and embraced the Christian faith. But it
will not do for me to visit them at present...All the threats and
oppression of the Burmans have not turned aside a single individual from
his integrity."

Close communication is still kept up with the infant churches in Bassein.
On the 25th of January Mr. Simons wrote that three young Karen Christians
had returned from the villages near Pantanau, where brother Abbott had
left them to teach the Karens to read, etc. He gave them three
Testaments, and some tracts to distribute. On the 2d of February these
same young men called, on their way back to Pantanau; and Mr. Simons gave
them a supply of Karen tracts, which Mr. Abbott had left for distribution
among the heads of families; also six Burman Testaments, and a number of
Burman tracts and Scripture Digests, to be given to Karens and Burmans.
On the 10th of March Mr. Abbott again sends two young Karen disciples
into the Bassein district, with a good supply of books, to teach the
people to read and pray. Again, on the 5th of April, he sends some
assistants to Pantanau to teach school, and preach in that vicinity.

May 7 he writes: "Assistants returned from Pantanau. The church-members
there, as yet, enjoy their liberty, and appear to be moving onward
steadily and joyfully in the Christian course. Since my visit very many
have turned unto the Lord, and are now asking for baptism. Nearer
Bassein, they are repeating their calls for books and another visit." May
13, Sunday: several Karens came in from the Pantanau church. "Had worship
with them morning and evening in Karen. Thank the Lord," he writes, "for
another quiet sabbath with the dear Karen disciples!" In view of the
persecutions and dangers to which they were subjected, he thought it wise
to defer exclusions for delinquency; e.g., the Burman _woondouk_ of
Rangoon now threatens to thrust hollow sticks filled with gunpowder down
the throats of the Karen Christians, and blow them to atoms.

On the 8th of June several Christians from Bassein and Pantanau arrived
in Rangoon, "to visit the teacher." They brought a letter to Mr. Abbott
from Shway Weing, "the young chief" of Kyootoo,--a man of superior
talents and extensive influence, who first heard the gospel from Mr.
Abbott during his memorable visit at Kyootoo the previous Christmas.
Since that time he had learned to read and write his own language well,
had renounced heathenism, and embraced the religion of the Bible. Mr.
Abbott translates the letter as follows:--

SHWAY WEING'S LETTER TO HIS BROTHER.
O TEACHER,--My brethren at the villages of Pahpay, Kaunee, Kahkau, and
Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, and on towards the setting sun, all worship God,
every one. But we have no books. That we may have books and instruction,
will you not come and bring them? There is not an individual, among all
who worship God, who can teach us. O teacher! that we may fully
understand the word of the eternal God, and keep it, and be enabled to
distinguish between right and wrong, we are very anxious that you come
again. If you cannot come yourself, send teacher De Poh with books. O
brother teacher! although we worship God, we do not know any thing yet.
If you come, do not forget to bring a great many books. O brother! your
brethren, Shway Weing, Mau Yay, and Moung Shway, request you to come. I
have therefore written this letter. When it arrives, and you look at it,
you will understand, O brother!

June 10 Mr. Abbott began school with a class of fourteen young men, most
of whom were from Bassein, and unbaptized. They were very urgent to be
baptized immediately, but their teacher thought it more prudent not to
baptize them in the city. On the 20th Shway Weing himself arrived with
nine other young men, who had been converted under his instrumentality,
(query: was it not, more likely, under the instrumentality of Mau Yay?)
and had now come to study with the teacher. We quote from Mr. Abbott:--

"He says, that, for several weeks past, his house has been thronged with
visitors from distant villages, who have come expressly to learn from him
concerning this new religion. Many of these stay with him several days,
learn to read a little, get a book, and return to tell their neighbors
what they have heard, and to read to them. His object in coming to me now
is to be baptized, and carry back books on his return. On learning that I
had but very few Karen books just now, he said that he must have five
hundred, one for each house; if not so many, by all means thirty, one for
each village.

"_21st._--The young chief says he cannot return to his village unless he
is baptized. I spent yesterday and last evening with him, and a more
interesting converted heathen I never saw. When I first saw him, in
December last, he was a most ungovernable, wicked, and reckless heathen.
He is now 'clothed, and in his right mind, sitting at the feet of
Jesus,'--a praying, humble, consistent Christian.

"_22d._--Very early this morning repaired to a small lake away from the
city, in a retired spot, where I baptized Shway Weing, after which he
left us for his native wilds. Eight of the young men who came with him
remain with me, making my class twenty-two, more than I intended to allow
to remain in the city at one time. I know not but we shall draw down upon
ourselves the wrath of the Burman officers."

Through the remainder of this month and July the school was carried on,
but under great difficulties, and with most serious risk to health and
life. The rains were at their heaviest. The living-rooms of the mission
family, the schoolroom, the Karen sleeping and cooking rooms, were all
under one narrow roof. Several of the pupils came down with fever. Abbott
himself had a violent attack, and was so reduced, that his physician
urged a sea-voyage: but he felt that he could not leave his class. At
last, being convinced that all could not remain in so close quarters with
safety to life, he sends six or eight of the young men away to study with
an assistant in the jungle. At the beginning of August he has fourteen
students doing well in their studies, and several begging for baptism.
But there is a dark cloud in the horizon, which will shortly break upon
them, and try the souls of the missionary and his young converts
severely. We condense Mr. Abbott's account in the Magazine:--

"_Aug. 5, Sabbath._--Thirty Karens at worship, among whom are the young
chief from Bassein, and several from Pantanau, who have come for books,
and to ask for baptism. Four have died in Bassein within the last few
weeks, all of whom first heard the gospel last December. They had all
renounced their superstitions, and embraced the truth. One has died in
the Pantanau church,--an old woman one hundred and twenty years of age.
After groping in the dark for more than a century, at the close of her
hundred and twentieth year she heard of salvation by a crucified Saviour.
A ray of light divine pierced her poor, dark soul. She believed and was
baptized, and died in the faith. She had been unable to walk, and quite
blind from old age, for the last thirty years. When I baptized her, her
son brought her in his arms to the waterside. I took her in my arms, and
immersed her; then her son took her again, and carried her to the house.
Shway Weing says he wants a thousand books,--one for each of those who
worship God, and have learned to read.

"_6th._--Four of the Karens are under arrest, and will probably be cast
into prison. The circumstances are these: fourteen Karens were to return
to Bassein and Pantanau; some this evening, and others in the morning.
Six of them, taking several books in a small covered basket, left the
city, and went to sleep in their boat, which is off some distance.
Others, also, took their basket of books, and started to carry it out of
the city-gates, designing to return, and spend the night here, and take
their books as they passed along in the morning. But, as one of them was
passing out, the gate-keeper asked him what he had in his basket.
'Sugar,' was the reply; which was evasive, for he had more books than
sugar. The gate-keeper, suspecting him, insisted on seeing what he had in
his basket. On finding Karen books, he took him before an officer for
examination. Some of the other Karens, who had escaped, came in great
terror, and informed us of what had happened. I knew that it would not do
for me to meddle with the affair; but a Bengali Christian, to whose house
the Karen was going with his books, offered to go and testify to the
character of the Karen, etc., believing that the officer would release
him. Two young students who knew where the officer lived, accordingly
started off to guide him. The officer's attendants, on seeing them,
knowing them to be Karens, seized them also. The Bengali returned, but
did not tell me of the apprehension of the two students. He said that the
Burman official knew that there was a Karen chief at my house, and that
he told him, that, if the chief would come, and claim his follower, he
would release him. Shway Weing, with intense anxiety depicted in his
face, said, 'Teacher, what shall I do?' I unhesitatingly told him to go
and demand his follower. He went, and was at once seized; so that now
four of them are in custody, and the Burmans would have caught the rest
if I had not kept them concealed in my house.

"_7th._--The four Karens were taken before some of the principal officers
to-day, and questioned as to where they live, what they are in this city
for, their names, the names of their relatives, how many have learned to
read Karen, and how many have been baptized and become the disciples of a
'foreigner.' In short, every thing relating to the kingdom of Christ, and
my efforts among the Karens, was laid open before the officers, and
recorded in 'the black book.' The Karens, after their ankles had been
fastened in double irons, were thrust into the common prison with thieves
and murderers. Their clothing was taken away, and a bit of old cloth
given them to tie about their loins.

"_8th._--Early this morning the affair was formally laid before the
_woondouk_. 'Where are they now?' demanded the _woondouk_. 'In prison,'
was the reply. 'There let them remain.' I sent Taunah to the prison to
make inquiries. As he is a British subject, the Burmans dare not meddle
with him. The poor prisoners told him how they had spent the
night,--their ankles loaded with fetters, their feet elevated about two
feet, and made fast in the stocks; their hands, drawn back over the head
and upward, were made fast also, their hips alone resting on the floor.
They told Taunah, however, that they should have cared little for this,
comparatively, but for the swarms of mosquitoes which preyed all night
upon their naked bodies. In the course of the day a Burman, connected in
some way with the officers, who pretends to be friendly to us, came with
a sad countenance, and said that the order had been given for them to be
executed, as an example to the Karens and all others, that they are to
receive no more Christian books. Although I do not credit his story, it
is indicative of the disposition of the government. They have sent out
this report, no doubt to frighten the people, and especially to induce
the friends of the Karens in prison, or some one, to offer a large
ransom. It is evidently the intention of the court to put a stop to the
progress of Christianity among the Karens, as they have done among the
Burmans; and they will not be scrupulous as to measures. The poor
prisoners may have to suffer death for their religion, at least a long
imprisonment, or be ransomed only at great cost. But what if they do
suffer death? Is it recorded that persecution ever stopped the progress
of the gospel of Christ? There are hundreds of Karens in these wilds, who
would die, too, before they would renounce their faith in Jesus.
Moreover, the work of conversion is going on at a rate hitherto
unparalleled, and I believe, in God, is destined still to go on--

"'Though earth and hell oppose.'

"At evening, sent Taunah again to the prison to offer a present to the
jailer, if, perchance, he will allow the prisoners a little rest.

"_9th._--The present was accepted, and one foot and one hand of each of
the prisoners were liberated. The Karen students all passed out of the
city-gates this morning unobserved, and went to the jungles. There are
now six others who came with Shway Weing, and who are hesitating whether
to return, and leave him in prison. One of the six, a younger brother of
the chief [Was it Kangyee?--ED.], says he cannot leave his brother in
irons, and carry the news to his brother's wife and babes, and their poor
old father and mother. Indeed, it is doubtful whether they will be able
to return at all, as Burman officers have been hanging about our house
all day, looking in at the doors and windows to see if they can lay hold
of another Karen.

"_10th._--Taunah visited the prisoners as usual to-day, carrying such
things as would make them a little comfortable, as all prisoners in this
country have to beg or starve. They told him to tell the teacher that he
need have no more anxiety on their account, that they had been praying
ever since they had been in prison; and that, although they were very
fearful and sad when first taken, they are now happy. I have some hope
to-day that their deliverance will arise from an unexpected quarter. Mr.
Edwards,[1] the writer and interpreter to the British Resident at
Amarapoora, while transacting business with the _woondouk_ to-day,
mentioned the case of the Karen Christians in prison, at which an
attendant was ordered to bring the basket which was seized with them.
There were in it several small tracts, Catechisms, and copies of Matthew
and John,--in all sixty books. 'This is the way you do,' said the
_woondouk_, smiling, 'is it? You come and fight us, and get away part of
our country, and now you wish to turn away the hearts of the poor,
ignorant Karens.' And then, with a pompous air which no one but a Barman
could imitate, he proceeded to say, 'If you gave these books to the
Burmans, who know too much to be carried away with their nonsense, it
would be no matter; but what do the poor, ignorant Karens know?' Mr.
Edwards at length extorted a promise that they shall be released. But it
is the promise of a Burman."

{ Footnote: [1] This gentleman was of African descent, a man of education
and ability. He afterwards served the English Government as collector of
customs in Rangoon for many years. He was always a good friend of the
missionaries, as well as his superior, Col. Burney, the Resident. }

"_11th._--To-day the prisoners were sent to the great pagoda, two miles
from the city, and offered to the gods. The 'young chief,' and the youth
first apprehended, were in two huge pairs of iron fetters; the boys, in
one each. Their labor will be to pull up the grass on the plat around the
pagoda,--a task sometimes done by Burmans voluntarily as a kind of
penance. They will also be compelled to beg their rice from day to day.
But their condition is much better than when in prison, as they now have
pure air and exercise, and are not confined in the stocks at night.
Pagoda slaves are a class of about the same standing as lepers were in
ancient Israel. In fact, these Karens are now under the charge of a
keeper, who is called 'the leper-governor.' The thousands who flock to
Shway Dagon on worship-days will suppose them to have committed some
dreadful crime; and, when they learn that the crime consisted in becoming
the disciples of Jesus Christ, they will wish to know what that religion
is.

"_14th._--I visited the pagoda again, and, as there were very few persons
near, ventured to converse a moment with the slaves. One of the boys
remarked to me, 'Teacher, the officers say, if we are released, we must
never worship the foreigner's God again.'--'Well, what did you
answer?'--'That we should worship with more zeal than ever.' Mr. Edwards
mentioned to the _woondouk_ this morning the fact of the Karens having
been sent to the pagoda. He endeavored to evade it; said that his wife
was the means of their going there, and that they could not be liberated,
unless a petition were presented. The truth is, he is now sorry that he
promised to release them. If he now removes his offering, he will commit
sacrilege: if he do not, he will break his promise, which he would make
Mr. Edwards believe he considers sacred.

"_15th._--The _woondouk_ publicly declared, that, if any man mentioned
the affair of those Karens in his hearing, he would cut off his head. Of
course he durst not include a British subject in that threat. Mr. Edwards
has to-day extorted another promise that the Karens shall be liberated
before the Resident leaves for the capital, which will be in six or eight
days. The _woondouk_ declares that he releases them solely as a personal
favor to Mr. Edwards, and that he is the only person who can obtain their
liberation.

"_20th._--For the last few days I have occasionally visited the slaves at
the pagoda, and have uniformly found them rejoicing in God, although it
is still deemed doubtful by them whether they are ever liberated,
notwithstanding the promises of the _woondouk_. I one day slipped a piece
of money into Shway Weing's hands, as they found themselves rather
straitened for food. But they did not show it, as they had heard it
whispered that a foreigner was giving the slaves money; and they told
Taunah that they hoped I would give them no more. I have been obliged to
send word to the Christian chiefs to stay in the jungles for the present.
They were about coming to present a petition to the _woondouk_, and
endeavor to redeem their brethren. But the object cannot now be effected
with money. I have made one fruitless attempt myself."

After many delays, with a view to extortion, and alternations of hope
with darkest fear, the poor fellows were at last released, and sent to
Mr. Edwards's house, on the 24th. Their teacher took them home, had them
bathe, and gave them suits of clean clothing. Then they praised God
together. While they were at the pagoda, some of the Burman devotees
reviled them on account of their religion. One said, "If you worship
Jesus Christ, why does he not come and take care of you?" To which the
Karen replied, "We are not the first among the disciples of Jesus who
have suffered persecution." But the great majority of the people
expressed sympathy for them. The missionary's journal continues:--

"_25th._--Succeeded, after a good deal of trouble, in procuring a pass
for Shway Weing, and in getting him ready to leave the city; for, the
sooner he leaves, the better. He urged me to allow him to take as many
books as he could conceal on his person; but I refused to give him one,
and remarked, 'But yesterday those heavy fetters fell from your ankles:
should you now be found with books in your possession, you would
certainly lose your head.'--'Should so much sooner get to heaven,' was
his reply. Having secured a promise from me that I will visit Bassein
after the rains, the Karens departed, repeating their usual request,
'Pray for us.'

"_Sept. 9._--Five Karens at worship, three of them students from Bassein,
who fled to the Christians in Maubee when the others were imprisoned. As
they return to-morrow morning, they urged me to allow them to carry a few
small tracts. I told them I feared, on their account, to let a book go
out of the city-gates. At sunset they were missing. I inquired anxiously,
but could learn nothing of them. I had cautioned them to keep quiet, as
the Burman officers were on the watch for them. Late in the evening,
however, they returned with smiling faces. They had taken a quantity of
books, passed out of the gates undetected, and had concealed them at
'John's house,' intending to take them as they pass along in the
morning."

The young men succeeded in getting off with their treasures on the 10th,
without molestation. Mr. Abbott writes in an unpublished letter:--

"What effect this affair will have finally on the cause of Christ will
depend on future circumstances. The Karens are not a timid race; and they
embrace the gospel with a full knowledge of the views, the designs, and
the power of the Burman Government, and of what they are consequently to
expect. There is a decision of character among this people which cannot
be found among the Burmans."

From this time, by order of the _woondouk_, Mr. Abbott was closely
watched. He could not travel in Burman territory without a pass. Nor
could a pass be obtained without submitting to the closest questions, the
answers to which would seriously endanger the Karens whom he so much
wished to visit. It became more and more apparent that the government was
in earnest in its efforts to put down Christianity everywhere in its
dominions. We quote again from Mr. Abbott. The preacher to whom he refers
is Maukoh, a good old man, still living, and well known to Bassein
missionaries. One of his companions in suffering was Rev. Myat Keh, the
noble pastor of the Kohsoo church.

"For a few weeks after Shway Weing and his associates were released, but
few Karens ventured to call on me; yet more came than I wished. About the
first of October three men came from Bassein to ask a question which was
to me the precursor of evil,--'Teacher, what shall we do? Four of our
brethren are in the stocks.' They informed me that an assistant whom I
sent to that region, and three young men who joined him there, were out
on a preaching-tour, and stopped one evening at a large Karen village
near to the village of a Burman officer. As their custom is, they called
the people together, and preached to them. They were warned that their
course might awaken the wrath of the officers. But, as it seems, they
deemed it advisable to obey God rather than man, and continued their
meeting till a late hour. The next morning, before they had time to get
away, the four were apprehended and beaten, with several who had listened
to them the night before. The preachers were then put into the stocks,
and reserved for torture. In ten days I heard again. The four had been
liberated, but the officers had extorted a hundred and fifty rupees from
the Christians. This sum had been promptly made up by voluntary
contribution; some giving one anna, some two, and some a rupee. Yet not a
Karen in all that region has been baptized, except 'the young chief.'

"On the 20th of November the assistant mentioned above came to me in
Rangoon, pale and emaciated from disease. I asked him how he felt while
they were beating him. 'Prayed for them.'--'But were you not a little
angry?'--'No. I told them they might beat me to death, if they wished,
but they would not make me angry, and that I should live again at the
resurrection. At this they laughed, and, after beating me a little more,
stopped.' Since that time he has been preaching in villages more remote
from the Burmans, and has not been molested. The account he brings of the
work of the Lord in those regions surpasses every thing I have heard of
among heathen nations in modern days; and, if it be of God, it will
stand."

On Sunday, Nov. 18, in Rangoon, Mr. Simons was an eye-witness of the
dreadful scene which he describes below. It illustrates Boodhism, as well
as the nature of Burmese government, and proves that the worst fears of
the missionaries and the native converts were by no means groundless. The
charge of rebellion was continually brought against the Karens, and it
was on such a charge that these poor wretches (Burmans, probably) were
put to death.

"The three men who are to be crucified to-day passed our house to the
place of execution about ten, A.M. A number of officers and jail-keepers,
with their large knives and spears, were in attendance; and a large
concourse of people followed. Towards evening passed the place. Two of
the men were still alive on their crosses, writhing in dreadful agony.
Besides being nailed to the cross, each had a pointed thick stick, about
two feet long, hammered down his throat. The man who was dead, I was
informed, died instantly after the stick was hammered into his throat,
and thus an end was put to his pains. I never had the idea of the agonies
endured by persons nailed to the cross which I have had since I saw these
two men with the nails in their feet and hands, saying, as well as they
could to the bystanders. 'I thirst: give water.'"

Six days after this piece of savage cruelty Messrs. Abbott and Simons
deemed it advisable to return for a season to the protection of the
British flag in Maulmain. Their families had been sent thither three
weeks before. The attempt to visit the poor sheep in the Bassein jungles
must be indefinitely postponed. At the close of 1838 Abbott writes from
Maulmain:--

"Notwithstanding my apprehensions and anxieties for what the Karen
Christians have suffered, and are likely still to suffer, I experience a
chastened joy, and would devoutly praise Him who is the head of the
church for the manifestations of his presence and his power. Under
circumstances the most alarming, we have witnessed the exhibition of all
that is consistent and lovely in Christian character. Before magistrates
and rulers, in prisons and in chains, have we seen bright evidence of the
power of the gospel of Christ, and cheering promise of the triumph of the
truth. In the great contest between the sons of Belial, cruel and
blood-thirsty on the one hand, and the sons of God, meek and in chains on
the other,--thanks be to God!--that truth has not faltered, and that the
enemies of God have been amazed.

"'O Jesus! ride on:
    Thy kingdom is glorious.
O'er sin, death, and hell
    Thou wilt make us victorious.'"

"Rangoon, the only mission-station in Burma Proper at that time, was thus
abandoned. The churches that had been gathered, and thousands of
interesting inquirers, were now left emphatically, "as sheep without a
shepherd,--to be scattered and destroyed, or to be preserved by a
gracious and almighty Redeemer, to witness to the truth of his
declarations, that his power is infinite, and his presence with his
disciples constant to the end." The wrath of the enemy was aroused, and
he seemed ready to destroy the scattered flock to the uttermost. If any
thing would appease that wrath, it would seem to be the cessation, for a
season, of direct efforts by foreign teachers for the extension of their
faith in Burman territory. The step taken by the two brethren, therefore,
of withdrawing to Maulmain, was undoubtedly a wise one. We quote a few
lines from Mr. Abbott's letter of April 2, 1839:--

"The country around Rangoon has been in a dreadful state of excitement
since we left. A spirit of rebellion is abroad in the land. The
_woondouk_ has slaughtered his countrymen, whom he calls rebels, with a
merciless hand, seeking the most inhuman instruments of torture and
death. Oh, when will the reign of blood be succeeded by the mild reign of
the Prince of peace! I received a letter, a few days since, from one of
the Karen assistants at Maubee, saying that the Christians were suffering
no more than others. Persecution for the gospel's sake has been succeeded
by oppression and plunder, in which all Karens suffer alike. He says that
he has no hope that the country will be quiet for a long time to come,
requests me to come and visit them if possible, and concludes with, 'Pray
for us.' My heart bleeds at every recollection of the sorrows and wrongs
of that ill-fated and long-oppressed people. Our consolation is, that
Christ, the good Shepherd, knoweth his own, and will heal all their
sorrows, and guide them safe home to glory."

It will be remembered that one Bassein man only, Shway Weing, "the young
chief," had at this time put on Christ by baptism. Much had been done,
however, in the way of publishing the gospel; and the good work begun was
still spreading like wildfire. Among the earliest men sent over by Abbott
to Bassein to preach, and teach the Karens to read God's word, we would
rescue from oblivion the names of Mau Mway, Maukoh, and Shway Sah. To
them, and others like them, Mau Yay, Myat Keh, and other natives of
Bassein, joined themselves as disciples, and, soon learning all that
their teachers had to impart, became, in turn, most zealous and useful
preachers of the Word. So great was the desire for more teachers, that a
formal call was sent at this time by the unbaptized Christians of Bassein
to Oung Bau, one of the trusted Rangoon preachers, to come and live with
them, and break unto them the bread of life. If he had gone, doubtless he
would have lived on the fat of the land. Even in advance of these heralds
of the cross, the Karens began to worship in many places. Shway Bau,
pastor of the church in Nyomau, gives a dramatic description of the first
attempts of these sincere but grossly ignorant people to worship like
Christians:--

"The first that we heard about the new religion was, that Shway Weing had
begun to worship God. Then we heard that he had a little book that told
about God and the way to worship him; and straightway we had so strong a
desire to see the book, that we could hardly stay at home, and we were
talking about it, and wishing to see it, all the time. By and by we got a
book, and one looked at it, and another looked at it, and said it was
very nice; and then we looked at it again, one after another; and then we
held it up between our hands, and worshipped it, and said to the book, 'O
Lord! O Lord!' for we thought that God was in the book. It was a long
time ago, teacher, when we did not know any thing at all.

"After a while, some of us learned to read the book; and it said that we
must not worship idols. Then some were much afraid, and said, 'What shall
we do? If we cannot worship idols, the Burmans will persecute and destroy
us.'--'It is no matter,' answered others. 'If they do kill our bodies,
they cannot hurt the soul, for God will take care of that.' The little
book said that we must worship God continually: so, after we learned that
God was not in the book, but in heaven, we used to meet together, and
worship in this way: we all pulled off our turbans, and piled them in a
heap in the centre, and then pulled our hair down over our faces [Karen
men wear long hair]; and then one would pray, and another would pray,
till all had prayed three times. We also thought, that, if we prayed till
the tears dropped, there was great merit in it: so sometimes one would
pray a while, and look up to another, and ask, 'Do you see the tears
starting?' And if he said, 'No,' then he would pray again very hard; and,
when one or two drops had fallen, he would say to another, 'Now you pray,
for I am happy a little.' It was a long time ago, teacher, when we did
not know any thing at all.

"And, if the mosquitoes bit us while we were praying, we thought there
was merit in permitting them to bite us, and so we did not brush them
off. They would bite until we writhed this way and that, and our bodies
were covered with blotches. It was a long time ago, teacher, when we did
not know any thing at all.

"We were taught by the book that we must not make feasts to the _nats_;
but we thought we ought to make feasts to God: so this one and that one
would make a great feast, and invite his friends and neighbors to come,
and eat to the honor of God. And, when the guests had eaten all they
could, the host would give portions to each, as they returned, saying,
'We make sacrifice to the Lord God' [P'mah boo K'sah Ywah]; and we
thought there was great merit in doing so.

"Then we heard that Christ would come again soon, and that, when he came,
he would give to his disciples great treasures and power. So one would
say to another, 'Throw away your brass and tin ornaments and your cotton
waist-cloths; for, when Christ comes, he will give us an abundance of
silver and gold, and fine silk clothing.' This they said everywhere when
we first began to worship God. But in some villages they did another
thing: they said among themselves, 'These rice-pots and eating-dishes we
used when we worshipped nats: they must be defiled.' So they broke them
in pieces, and bought new ones, that they might retain nothing which was
connected with nat and idol worship. It was twelve years ago, teacher,
when we did not know any thing at all. But since the teacher came, and
told us what the customs of Christ's disciples are, and gave us the Holy
Book to read for ourselves, we have worshipped God correctly."

During this period of painful suspense, Mr. Abbott was not idle. He
travelled among the Karens of Maulmain: and, between April and September,
he relieved Messrs. Howard and Vinton alternately of the charge of the
Burman and Karen boarding-schools. Meanwhile, through the extreme
forbearance of the English, the threatened war was averted for a time.
The Burmans, as always, attributing this forbearance to conscious
weakness, increased in their _hauteur_ and overbearing insolence. It
seems to have occurred to the viceroy of Rangoon, however, that, under
the circumstances, it might be as well for him to cultivate more friendly
relations with the Americans. He therefore went so far as to send an
urgent invitation to Messrs. Kincaid and Abbott to come back to his city.
Accordingly, on the 4th of November, almost a year after the departure of
the missionaries, these brethren arrived in Rangoon. The governor gave
them a courteous and even friendly reception, and pressed them again to
settle in their old quarters with their families. During their stay of
about forty days, many of the Karen Christians found their way to them,
of whom Kincaid writes:--

"They would come by twenties if we had not sent them word that it would
be imprudent, and expose them to fines and imprisonment, and possibly to
death. Some who had been bound with cords, and beaten till nearly
senseless, for preaching Christ and the resurrection, came to see us.
Often, when we returned from an evening walk, we would find four or five,
or seven or eight, in our room, nearly worn out with their long march
through the heat of the sun. Still they would sit up till after midnight,
asking questions about Christian doctrines and duties, and difficult
passages of Scripture. Even at that time of night it was not easy to get
away to sleep, they were so eager to have every thing obscure made plain.
Some of these are assistants, who have from twenty to sixty families each
under their care. They are pastors, as well as preachers; each one, in
his own parish, visiting from house to house, reading the Scriptures, and
praying with the sick, conducting public worship on the sabbath,
preaching to the unevangelized, and performing the rite of marriage
according to Christian usage. They are not ordained, and therefore do not
administer the ordinances. But they are God's anointed ones; and we have
no doubt, that, in time, they will become efficient pastors and
evangelists. It would be imprudent now to intrust them with power to
baptize. They must have more instruction in 'the mysteries of the
kingdom,' more experience, and more knowledge of character, or there
would be danger of their filling up the church with mere nominal
Christians. Two of the young men who were in irons and the stocks last
year are now sitting near me, reading the New Testament. Both of them are
fine, active young men."

Of the work in Bassein, Abbott writes thus:--

"Shortly after my arrival in Rangoon several assistants came in to see me
from Pantanau and Bassein, where they had spent several months. The
reports they brought were of the most cheering character. The Pantanau
church is walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy
Ghost, and very many in the surrounding villages have turned to the Lord
during the year. In Bassein, Shway Weing continues to be as actively
engaged in doing good as ever. His house is a great bethel, a temple of
God, whither the people resort, from villages far and near, to learn to
read, and how to worship God. He is the only baptized person in that
region, and consequently the only one who can be reckoned a
church-member. How many there are who would be considered proper subjects
of baptism, it is impossible to say. The assistants think there are from
six hundred to a thousand decided Christians. Although but one has been
baptized, still the line of demarcation between those who serve God and
those who serve him not is distinctly drawn; and generally there exists
on the part of those who reject the gospel a bitter hatred towards the
Christians. In fact, the Karen converts fear their own countrymen who are
enemies to the gospel more than Burman officers. Sometimes, even in
families, there exists deadly opposition; and not only are 'a man's foes
they of his own household,' but they are often his bitterest foes.
Notwithstanding, I know of several villages where the people are all
decidedly Christian; and, although it has been denied [by Malcom] that
there are whole villages which have turned to God, yet, if he will take a
trip with me into the Karen jungles, I will show him several such."

The missionaries went back to Maulmain with the intention of returning
shortly, with their families, to live and labor for their Master, under
the nominal protection of their newly found friend in Rangoon. Meantime,
however, the viceroy himself experienced one of those sudden vicissitudes
of fortune to which the favorites of a tyrant are always exposed. He was
summoned to go, in disgrace, to Ava, and perhaps to the death-prison. A
most brutal and ignorant foe to foreigners was appointed to his place.
From this time the relations of the two governments were more strained
than ever. War might be declared any day or hour. Despairing of obtaining
a place to do Christian work in Burman territory, Abbott, at the close of
1839, is turning his thoughts to Arakan. With the quick eye and prompt
decision of a leader, he determines upon "a change of base."

While the record of 1839 is brief, owing to the scanty efforts of man in
the field under review, who can measure the deepening and ever-widening
work wrought that year by the unaided Spirit of Omnipotence on thousands
of plastic hearts in the unexplored jungles of Bassein? In how many
remote corners of the "Dark Continent" to-day, may a similar work of
preparation be progressing, to be revealed only when the preacher shall
find them peoples "prepared for the Lord"?



CHAPTER III.
1840, 1841.


"Not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are
called."--PAUL.


THE history of the Bassein mission, beginning from this time, maybe
divided into three periods: _first_, from 1840 to 1852, the period of
ingathering by native agents, from a remote base in British territory;
_second_, 1852-69, the period of home-mission work, in which the churches
were multiplied, and instructed in the way of God more perfectly, from
Bassein itself, the natural centre; _third_, 1869-80, the period of
school-building, and the beginning of systematic effort for foreign
missions. We now enter upon the first of these periods, a time in which
God wrought mightily through Abbott and his faithful Karen assistants, as
well as by his own angel of death and by the Pharaohs of that time and
country.

The eastern or Arakan coast of the Bay of Bengal has long had an evil
name, second only to the corresponding west coast of Africa. From 1824 to
1852, however, this narrow strip of hot, marshy territory, became an
asylum, a land of promise to the oppressed Karens of Burma Proper. The
British flag that waved over it tempered the heat, and so palliated the
fever and other ills, that they became endurable, if not welcome.
Sandoway was probably the least unhealthy of the towns on that coast;
but, between it and the Karens of Bassein, there lay many long marches
through a sickly, weary land. Four passes over the coast-hills are still
used, to some extent, by the missionaries and the people of Bassein, to
reach the former "cities of refuge" by the sea; viz., the Baumee Pass, on
the north, by which Mr. Abbott made the journey detailed in Chap. vi.;
the Khyoungthah Pass, easiest of all, and most travelled by the Karens;
the Ng'Kwat, most difficult of all, as the author can testify from hard
experience; and the Poloung Pass, in the south. When the oppression
became unendurable, the Karens would flee, over these and other
hill-roads, to the protection of Christian England. At length the Burman
rulers would become loath to lose subjects so industrious and peaceable
as the Karens. It would not enhance their reputation at Ava to have it
known that thousands of the best tax-payers in the country were running
over the border, to the hated foreigner. And thus it came to pass, in
time, that the mere fact that such an asylum was open became a powerful
check upon the oppressor. But for the time there was an exodus; and fever
and cholera were to do their terrible work among the poor fugitives, and
the heart of their teacher was to be often wrung with anguish, before
those days of woe and spiritual purification should be overpast.

The Abbotts left Maulmain on the 11th of February, 1840, in the Company's
steamer _Ganges_. With them were the Kincaids, bound for Akyab, Ko
Thahbyu, already the aged "Karen apostle," and two of Abbott's old
Rangoon students, Hton Byu and Mau Yay,[1] who fell into prison, and
became pagoda slaves, with Shway Weing in 1838. Arriving at Sandoway on
the 17th of March, Mr. Abbott writes as follows, under date of April 1:--

{ Footnote: [1] This Mau Yay (not to be confounded with the equally
excellent pastor of Kyootoo, Bassein) was ordained in May, 1853, and
lived to become a pillar of strength among the Rangoon Karen churches. On
the evening of the last day of the year (1863), as we were at worship in
his chapel at Raytho (p. 17), a messenger came in breathless, with the
tidings that the pastor had been accidentally shot. The writer hastened
out to meet the litter; but the good man's spirit had already gone to
God. Only the evening before, he had read for singing Mrs. Vinton's
beautiful imitation of "The day is past and gone." So soon for him had
come the night of death, and rest in the bosom of divine love. }

"As I wrote you, it was my intention to return to Rangoon with my family,
in the hope of doing something among the Karens in a quiet way; but, the
British Resident having retired from the country altogether, I became
more fully convinced than ever of the impossibility of doing any thing
for the Karens, under the present government, without involving them in
suffering more serious than they have yet experienced. Missionaries and
all other foreigners can _remain_ there with perfect safety to their
persons and property. They always could, indeed, except in case of war;
and then all foreigners are imprisoned and maltreated alike, without
reference to character or profession. Very soon after the removal of the
Resident, I received a letter from a British merchant still there,
stating that all intercourse between foreigners and the natives was
strictly prohibited. Such being the case, a missionary might as well be
in Boston, as not an individual would dare to call at his house...

"I hesitated for some time between two courses. The one was to go into
the country, itinerate and preach among the people, and leave the
consequences. If persecution and death followed in my train, be it so;
submit all to the Lord. I did not forget, however, that there is but one
step between a 'zeal according to knowledge' and the most palpable
presumption. The other course was to try to effect the same object by
sending native assistants with letters of encouragement and love; men who
could travel among their countrymen, and preach the gospel, without being
suspected of political designs; men who, understanding the rudiments of
Christianity, and their hearts set on the work, should be capable of
instructing and building up the converts in the faith of the gospel. I
have chosen this latter course, as affording greater promise of
usefulness, with the least hazard and difficulty.

"Having adopted this plan, it only remained for me to select the most
eligible location for its accomplishment. To think of reaching the Karens
in the Burman Empire from Tenasserim is out of the question. Arakan, from
its extensive frontiers adjoining Burma, seemed to be the only place
where I could hope to enjoy the facilities I desired...Sandoway is a
small Burman town fifty miles south of Ramree, on a small river, about
fourteen miles from the sea as the river runs, or five in a direct
course. The town is reputed healthy, and, from its location, I should
judge would sustain its reputation. It has about four thousand
inhabitants. From all I can gather on the spot, the Karens in Arakan
itself are about equal in number to those in Tavoy and Mergui; [They are
much fewer now.--ED.] and the facility of reaching them is about the
same. There is this weighty consideration, however, the Arakan fever,
which renders it hazardous to travel in the jungles at all. I have been
admonished that I must not think of travelling here with the impunity
that one might in Tenasserim.

"There is a Karen village, five or six miles from this town, where Ko
Thahbyu has been preaching since our first arrival; but the people are
surprisingly stupid and indifferent...I have sent Mau Yay and Hton
Byu to Bassein and Rangoon with letters to the disciples. They will go
from this place to Gwa, a small town on the coast, five days south. Three
days thence, across the mountains which form the boundary, will bring
them into the Burman Empire and into the vicinity of Christian villages.
They will endeavor to persuade some of the young men who commenced
studying with me in Rangoon, and were scattered by the persecution, to
come over, and study with me, during the rains, in this place. Although
the passes are strictly guarded by Burman officers, to prevent
emigration, I hope that a few at least of those young men will escape
their vigilance, and make their way into this land of liberty, where they
may enjoy the benefits of Christian instruction without having to pay for
it the price of imprisonment and chains. If, however, my messengers
should be suspected themselves, and even thrown into prison, it would be
nothing new to them, as they were of the four who were sent to the pagoda
as slaves, two years ago in Rangoon. I shall feel a good deal of anxiety
about them till their return."

The journal which follows will be read with interest:--

"_March 30._--Visited a small Karen village a few miles from town. The
people treated us with contempt, not only refusing to listen to any thing
we had to say, but even denying us admission to their houses. To get out
of the scorching sun, I ventured to enter the only house in the village
which had any thing like a seat. It was occupied by a lazy-looking
fellow, who, on being requested by my assistant, refused to rise, or to
give us any accommodation. We made our way to another house, and took a
seat on the floor, i.e., on a few bamboos laid across each other, with
openings very convenient for falling through. During the day I tried in
vain to get a hearing. How dark and stupid is the heathen mind!

"_April 10._--Moung Koo (Maukoh, pp. 26, 27), a Karen assistant from
Maubee, made his appearance to-day with other Karens, who have come eight
days' journey. They had heard of my arrival from the two messengers.
Several are to remain and study: others come to be baptized, and are to
return in a few days. A few of them live in this province, but most of
them in Burma. We had begun to despair of seeing any of our Bassein
friends at Sandoway, but joy and hope have succeeded. The mountain passes
afford a highway for the Christians on the other side, which I hope they
will not be slow to improve. It is a long and arduous journey; but the
anxiety of the Karens to get books, to learn to read, and to be baptized,
will induce them to surmount every obstacle, so that I still hope to get
a class of young men for the rains. No women, of course, can come such a
distance.

"_11th, Sabbath._--Sixteen Karens at worship, several of whom are asking
for baptism; but, as they are to remain a week, I prefer to delay a
little.

"_12th._--Commenced school with a class of eight young men. More are on
their way, and will be here in a few days.

"_13th._--Seventeen more Karens arrived to-day, from a village one day
this side of Bassein, several of whom I saw during my visit to that
region two years ago. They were ten days on the way.

"_14th._--Thirty-four Karens at worship, four others having just come in.
One of them is a member of the Pantanau church. His accounts of the
Christians there are very satisfactory. Not a case of backsliding, not
one of discipline, in the church since we left. The Burman rulers seem
disposed to let them alone.

"_18th, Sabbath._--Sixty Karens to-day; Mau Yay having just returned with
thirty-one others, whom he gathered in the jungles. Some are asking for
baptism: others will remain and study. At the close of the day I baptized
twelve, who came first, all of whom have professed to be Christians for
more than a year. They all gave good evidence of a change of heart and
life; and their coming so far to obey the command of Christ is indicative
of their zeal.

"Among the number baptized was a young man named Bleh Po, whose history
and experience are of unusual interest. He first heard the gospel during
my visit to Bassein in December, 1837. Shortly after, I saw him in
Rangoon, gave him books, and he learned to read. He immediately embraced
the truth, and, to appearance, with all his heart. His wife and
relatives, however, used all manner of devices to turn him from the
faith. Not long after his conversion his little child, two years old, was
taken very ill, and, as a matter of course, his relatives charged him
with being the cause;[1] that is, he had forsaken their religion, and the
child's guardian demon was taking vengeance. As the custom is in such
cases, they besought him to offer a sacrifice to this devil to appease
his wrath. Bleh Po steadily refused, saying that he trusted in God, and
had renounced the worship of devils. In a few days his child died. His
friends then entered a complaint against him to the Burman ruler. He was
apprehended, and arraigned in open court, in the presence of a crowd who
were waiting to see the end. Among other charges was this: 'Bleh Po has a
foreigner's book, and has embraced a foreign religion.' The judge, among
other questions, asked what was in the book. Bleh Po thereupon gave an
outline of the doctrines of the gospel, at the same time exposing the
folly of idolatry and all heathen superstitions. The magistrate remarked
that what he had said was good, but, if he did not take notice of the
case, it would come to the ears of the king, and he himself would lose
his life. Bleh Po replied, 'Don't you fear: send _me_ up to the king, and
let me answer for myself, or suffer.' He was released without fine,
imprisonment, or stripes, and returned to his family; but it was to meet
their execrations, rendered more malignant by defeat. They cursed him,
charging him with the murder of his own child, and threatening to kill
him. To this, the only answer he deigned to give was, 'If you do not kill
me, I shall die myself soon.' To all their revilings he opposed a spirit
of humility and patience, admonishing them on fit occasions, continuing
firm in his profession, and showing the majesty of a meek and quiet
spirit. Thus he triumphed. His wife and several of his relatives are now
praying, consistent Christians, and his enemies are speechless.

{ Footnote: [1] A case exactly parallel to this occurred among the first
Kakhyen converts in 1882. }

"That magistrate has ever since favored the Christians. He has heard the
gospel more fully from Bleh Po, and has received Christian books. A short
time since, an officer of high rank came down from the capital, and
ordered him to put three or four Karen Christians to death, that, by that
means, they might be brought back to the customs of their fathers. 'No,'
says this man: 'they are our slaves, indeed, but they are quiet and
peaceable, and pay their taxes; and, if they wish to worship _their_ God,
let them do so.'

"There are several other petty officers in those regions who are friendly
to the Christians, who have Christian books, and have listened to the
gospel from Bleh Po. The Karens think that some of them are real
Christians. One of the governors of Bassein, who left for the capital a
short time since, is a baptized Christian, the Karens say.[1] He was of
good moral character, just, and universally beloved. Every Sunday he used
to retire to his private apartments, and shut his door, allowing no court
business on that day. He never worshipped idols, or celebrated the rites
of Boodhism. I believe that he is a member of the Ava church. All these
facts indicate the steady advance of truth, and its final triumph.

{ Footnote: [1] Moung Shway Moung, baptized in Ava the latter part of
1835, and sent down to Bassein from the capital, in 1837. See Dr.
Kincaid's letter, Missionary Magazine, March, 1841, p. 62. Of. Magazine,
1838, p. 222, and 1840, p. 70. }

"_19th._--This morning nineteen of my Karens left for their distant
homes. They took all the books I had, and were anxious for more. It is
astonishing how fast readers multiply. Some of them buy books of the
Burmans. One man gave a rupee for a Burmese Testament; another, a day's
work for a tract. Mr. Howard hardly supposed, when he was distributing
Burman books in Bassein, that he was doing it for Karen Christians.
Number of students to-day thirty-six.

"_24th._--Three individuals arrived to-day from the Burman side, bringing
letters from Hton Byu, one of the two whom I sent over. The poor man is
very ill, and unable to return. The 'young chief' wrote, also, that he
was staying at home to take care of Hton Byu, and that he would come and
see me directly on his recovery. In the mean time he wished me to 'lay
aside ten or fifteen hundred books' for his Christian friends. He will be
disappointed in this.

"_25th, Sabbath._--At worship a company of Burmans came in, to whom I
directed my discourse in their own language (though in a broken manner),
and gave them books, which they promised to read. But a Burman's promise
is not much to be relied upon. A good many from the villages around call,
and receive books; and Mrs. Abbott has almost daily visits from the women
of the town, who come in and sit for hours, listening to the truth. Here
is a promising field for a Burman missionary.

"_27th._--Eight of our number left us, among whom was Maukoh, the
assistant from Rangoon. He was travelling and preaching among the
villages in Bassein, when he heard of my arrival at Sandoway, and
immediately came to see me.

"_28th._--Followed to the tomb the remains of a poor old man. He was one
of the first company who came to be baptized. The long and difficult
journey and the extreme heat were too much for him: he was taken sick,
and sunk quietly away. It would have been a satisfaction to his relatives
could he have been baptized. But, instead of following the footsteps of
the Son of man into the watery grave, he has found a resting-place
beneath 'the clods of the valley.' His spirit, I trust, has ascended up
on high, and now enjoys the full measure of that 'glory laid up,' of
which he but lived to get a glimpse on earth. He had been a Christian
about a year. Three of my students also are suffering from dysentery, and
thirteen are prostrated with fever, all under our own roof.

"It is singular that Karens coming from the interior jungles to the
seashore are nearly every one attacked with some malignant disease. More
than half of the students have already been down with fever: some are
convalescent, others very ill. I attribute it to the change from Burma to
Arakan. They all live in the delta of the Irrawaddy,--a country, I
believe, much more healthy than this. Their long journey in this hot
season, with the exposure and privations, has doubtless contributed to
produce so many cases of fever. I have the services of the hospital
physician, a native, who also supplies me with medicine. Otherwise, what
should I do?

"_30th._--Another company of six arrived from Burma. They met those who
left on the 19th, at a Christian village near the mountains. Several of
them sunk down by the way, through the intense heat, and were carried to
that village on the shoulders of the strong. They will remain there until
recruited, before crossing the mountains. Four of those who came to-day
wish to remain and study, but my schoolroom is a hospital. My buildings
are not sufficient for so large a boarding-school: the rains are upon us,
and it is too late to build.

"_May 5._--Four of the six who last arrived set out on their return this
morning, one of whom I baptized yesterday. More than two years ago this
man was called before an officer, and beaten, for holding religious
meetings at his house. Two small books also were taken from him. Very
soon after, said officer was taken ill. It came to him at once, that the
Karen whom he had beaten had bewitched him; and he immediately sent back
his books. But it did not avail: the poor man died. Of course, it was
clear that the Karen had killed him by some wicked enchantment. The
officer's relations believe it to this day, and not a few of the Karen
Christians think that he died so suddenly because he had abused a
Christian. The Burmans since then have let that Christian alone. He is a
firm, intelligent man, conducts public worship in his village, and
itinerates occasionally. As he promises to be useful, I have admitted him
among the number of the assistants.

"_8th._--Hton Byu and Shway Weing arrived to-day, having thirty in their
train. They were twelve days on the way, sometimes without food,
travelling through the heat of the day, and sleeping on the ground. Some
of them were taken with fever: some fainted from exhaustion, and were
left in the rear, to come on as they are able. Fifty or sixty started,
but nearly one-half gave out. Several came to study. I really cannot send
them back, and yet I see not how I can accommodate them.

"_10th, Sabbath._--Baptized eleven of those who came in last. Twenty of
them will return to-morrow, leaving twelve. This will make my class
fifty, as I anticipated. Six are boys under sixteen, the remaining
forty-four between that age and thirty. I pray the God of Israel, that we
may all enjoy health and the light of his countenance, and that these
young men may be taught the knowledge of the Lord, and established in the
gospel.

"_13th._--From a small village near by, a company of men and boys, and a
few young girls, came in, seeking admission to the school. They cannot be
received. I send them back, and a student with them to establish a
day-school in their own village. These first heard the gospel since our
arrival here. Their coming to school is a strong evidence of their
interest, as no Karen would take such a course, were he not disposed to
become a Christian. Some of them are now asking for baptism."

Dr. Kincaid, with his warm heart always enlisted in behalf of the Karens,
writes at this time, of the work begun in Bassein, as follows:--

"All the men who have come over the hills represent the work as still
going on, spreading from village to village in every direction...The
full extent of this revival we do not know, but enough has been learned
to convince us that it is an extraordinary display of divine grace.
Probably more than two thousand souls are turned from the worship of
demons to the service of the living God. This, too, has taken place under
the jealous and intolerant reign of the new King. It is God's glorious
work."

May 19 Mr. Abbott, in writing of the expenses of his school, and of his
design to employ eighteen assistants in Burma and Sandoway, whom he had
already selected, and was about locating, says,--

"Nearly all these assistants are at the head of large Christian
congregations, and are, in fact, pastors, except in administering the
ordinances...As to how many Christians there are, I dare not tell
what I think. There are _baptized_, near Maubee three hundred and
twenty-three, at Pantanau forty-eight, and in Bassein twenty-seven. The
last are widely scattered, and are principally heads of villages, and
leaders of Christian congregations. As to the entire number of _nominal_
Christians, some of the assistants think there are four thousand; but, as
I have no data on which to found a satisfactory estimate, I can give no
opinion."

In the same letter, after asking for the very moderate appropriation of
Rs. 1,921,[1] for the support of his theological school and eighteen
assistants through the year, he adds, "I hope, in time, to succeed in
introducing the system of each congregation supporting its own pastor;
but this will require time and the fostering care of a beneficent
Providence." Thus early had this New-Testament principle fastened itself
in the brain of the founder of the Bassein mission, but the expression of
it was not allowed. The sentence was put in brackets, and then in a
pigeon-hole forty-three years,--why, we cannot imagine.

{ Footnote: [1] The _rupee_, at par of exchange, is about forty-five
cents; an _anna_, nearly three cents. }

Again Mr. Abbot found himself, as in Rangoon, dangerously cramped for
room for his school of fifty pupils. He writes:--

"As I arrived too late in the season to make suitable preparations for so
large a boarding-school, we are very much straitened for room, and are
compelled to convert our dwelling into a schoolroom, sleeping-room, and
chapel for nearly all our students. In consequence of being so crowded,
we have already had a good many cases of fever. Still I hope to be able
to keep all my students this season."

At the same time, in view of their freedom from Burman oppression, he
writes exultingly:--

"Thanks be to God, we have no such fears here. Under the British flag we
are safe. The students can show themselves in the streets here, without
apprehension or alarm. No self-conceited barbarian parades here with a
band of minions at his heels ready to do his bidding. Here is no spy,
gazing around to detect a 'foreigner's disciple.' Here no chains, no
prison, for the followers of the Lord Jesus. How sweet are the blessings
of civil and religious liberty! Who can appreciate them, but those who
have dwelt in a land of relentless despotism? In the Burman Empire, my
class of young men could not be kept together three days."

His hopes of a prosperous term were doomed to a sad disappointment.
Dysentery followed the fever, and then cholera with all its terrors; the
result being the death of five young men in quick succession. To diminish
the danger, thirty were dismissed, to return to their distant homes, in
the height of the rains. Those who remained made rapid progress in their
studies, and gave evidence of their being sincere followers of Jesus.
From the time of Mr. Abbott's arrival, until the close of school (the
first week in September), he had baptized fifty-one. In two Karen
villages near Sandoway, where there had been indifference and opposition,
signs of good were beginning to appear. In closing his letter on the 10th
of September, he writes:--

"Ko Thahbyu, our native assistant, died yesterday. He has been one of the
most laborious and successful preachers in the Karen mission. His work is
done, and he has gone to his rest."

The year 1841 opens with threatenings of the enemy, and with the exaction
of heavy fines, far beyond the ability of the poor Christians to pay.
Before its close, King Tharrawady leaves his capital, and proceeds in
barbaric state to Rangoon. He was attended by an army of a hundred
thousand men. The public prints of that time state that a fleet of from
fifteen thousand to eighteen thousand boats was required to convey his
retinue and soldiers with their _impedimenta_. Whether his purpose was
war or peace could only be conjectured. The whole country was again full
of warlike rumors and excitement. Although nothing came of it, the
Governor General deemed it prudent to despatch armed vessels and
additional troops to Maulmain. Amid all, the work of God goes on in the
hearts of the rude men and women of Bassein. In a private letter, written
in April, Mr. Abbott remarks:--

"We labor under difficulties and privations at Sandoway, arising from
climate and location; and the constant exposure of the Karens in Burma to
persecution adds to our sorrows; but, when we see the 'stately steppings
of the God of hosts,' our light afflictions are swallowed up in joy."

His journal accompanying this letter follows:--

"_Dec. 24, 1840._--Commending my wife and son to the care of that God
whom we serve, left Sandoway at ten, P.M., yesterday, for a visit to the
Karens on the eastern frontier of this province. Am indebted to the
kindness of Dr. Morton, assistant commissioner, for the use of his
schooner free of expense. As the sailors required none of my aid or
advice, I enjoyed a quiet night in my berth. Awoke at daylight to find
myself far from land.

"The coast presents a succession of broken hills, covered with jungle,
apparently one vast wilderness; the Arakan mountains rearing their
majestic heads, in the distance, above the dense clouds which hang around
their base. There are villages along the coast; but they are few.
Situated on the streams which flow from the mountains, and surrounded by
trees, they cannot be seen from the sea. In many places, the hills extend
down to the shore; and, not unfrequently, high rocky points project into
the sea for a mile or more, making navigation dangerous. Where the coast
is level, it is mostly covered with mangrove-trees, and at high tides
with salt water. From these marshes, which cover a great part of the
level lands of Arakan, a miasma arises, which is impregnated with fever,
cholera, and death.

"_25th._--During the night the wind was high, and the schooner rolled so,
that it was somewhat difficult to keep in my berth. Weighed anchor at
daylight; and, the wind being still favorable, our little bark bounded
over the waves in grand style, till two, P.M., when we anchored in the
mouth of the river, off Gwa. The little town is on the north bank of the
river, near the sea, and, being surrounded with cocoanut-trees and
shrubbery, is altogether a charming spot. Here are, perhaps, a hundred
families, all Burmese. A plain extends back to the hills a mile or more,
and up the coast ten or twelve miles, which is dotted with hamlets. The
land is good, and affords an inviting field for cultivation and
pasturage. I lodge in a small _zayat_ erected on the beach for the
Commissioner of Arakan, who is expected here soon. There is great
excitement in Bassein, from the Karens learning to read 'the white book,'
which the Burmans consider quite equal to open rebellion...I find
here books and tracts which came from missionaries in Rangoon. Many of
them are read; and, away in this wilderness, many persons are acquiring a
knowledge of the Lord. In Bassein the officers lately made search, both
among Karens and Burmans; and a large number of [our] books were
collected, and publicly burned. Still, there are many dispersed through
the country, where they will remain safely concealed, I trust.

"_27th, Sabbath._--'This is the day the Lord hath made;' but oh, how
different are the scenes here witnessed from those in Christian lands!
One Karen Christian only with me during the day, who sits in a corner of
the _zayat_, reading his Bible. A few people call at the door, and
cautiously look in to gaze at the stranger. A Karen came in at evening,
from a small village near, and asked for baptism. He and his wife are the
only Christians in the village, all the others being decided opposers. As
I remain near here for a few days, I deferred his baptism, so as to
inquire further into his character.

"_28th._--As the larger Karen villages are still farther south, left Gwa
early this morning, and, with a good breeze, anchored in the creek by the
small Burman village Magezzin, at evening. [Map, _Magyee syee._] The
Karen villages up the stream are known by the same name. It is too late
to go to them to-night.

"_29th._--At sunrise took a canoe, and in three hours reached a Karen
village of fifteen families. The people immediately assembled in the
house of the chief, which is used for worship. The gospel was first
preached here about two years ago. There are Christians in every family.
A few I have baptized at Sandoway: others have been waiting impatiently
for me to visit them. An old chief from one of the nearest villages on
the Burman side informs me that the Karens in that section have been
fined a large sum for learning to read 'the white book.' His share
amounted to eighty-three rupees. He has come over to select a place,
hoping to escape, with his people, from oppression. At evening, forty at
worship: seventeen asked for baptism.

"_31st._--Baptized ten yesterday, and thirteen to-day. All live in this
village. After the strictest inquiry, both in public and private,
relative to their moral character, the evidences of their change of life
were fully established. All have been Christians more than a year, and
they have acquired an amount of Christian knowledge almost incredible.
Myat Kyau, one of my best assistants, lives here, and is pastor of the
church. He is a good man; studied with me last rains, and is prepared to
guide the people in the way of life.

"Bleh Po came in from Burma during the day, with a company. He gives a
more detailed account of the oppression near Bassein. Eleven Christian
chiefs, whose names he mentions, have been arraigned, imprisoned, and
fined for embracing our religion, and learning to read. These chiefs are
the magistrates, in petty matters, of their respective villages, under
higher Burman officers, and are the patriarchs of their people. Some of
them have sixty or eighty families; others, only eight or ten, under
their jurisdiction. Although they were fined in all Rs. 1,181, they deem
it light, as most of their people are Christians, and contributed
cheerfully to make up the amount. A question arises, whether they can
consistently pay such fines. They have their choice,--to pay, or suffer.
A refusal would be construed into open rebellion; and woe to the man, in
that land of despotism, on whom that accusation falls! They are not
required to give any pledge to worship the priests or pagodas, or to
renounce their faith. When they were called before the governor, they
were asked if they worshipped the foreigner's God, and read 'the white
book.' 'Yes,' replied one; 'and many of the Burmans also, your own
people, read "the white book."' After a few similar questions, the
governor told them that they were fined so much, and committed them to
prison till the sum should be paid. They were treated with a good deal of
kindness for prisoners in Burma. Tortures and death would probably have
been the result, had they refused to pay the fine. Did the officers
require them to renounce their religion, I think many among the thousands
of nominal Christians would equivocate to save their lives; but a great
many, I am confident, would suffer martyrdom with unwavering fortitude.

"_Jan. 1, 1841._--This first day of the new year has been one of painful
interest to me. Several assistants arrived in the morning from Bassein,
having eluded the pursuers sent by the governor to apprehend them. They
left their homes in the night, and made their way through the jungles to
this place, where I had appointed a meeting four months ago. If they
should be caught, new trials and sufferings await them. Preached at
evening, to a large and intensely solemn congregation, from 'Christ the
good shepherd.'

"_2d._--Baptized eleven in the morning. In the afternoon, lectured to the
assistants from Tit. i. 6-12. At sunset, held a meeting; and nineteen
asked for baptism. In the evening, expounded the parable of the tares.
After the service my old companion, 'great heaviness of heart,' appeared.
Not the first time I have invited such visits by attempting to pierce the
gloomy cloud that overhangs the disciples of Jesus.

"_3d, Sabbath._--After morning service, baptized nineteen. A more solemn
company of Karens I never saw together. Never did I enjoy such freedom in
preaching to them the gospel.

"_4th._--In the morning Shway Weing arrived with several associates. He
has been wandering in the jungles eleven days to reach this place, when
it is only four days in a direct course. A friendly Burman officer
informed him some time since, that he must keep himself quiet, as the
governor of Bassein had his eye particularly upon him as a leader of the
Christians. As affairs became more threatening, he told Shway Weing,
that, if he would save his life, he had better renounce his religion at
once. Being assured that Shway Weing would never deny his Lord, come what
would, he told him that he must flee. Soon after, learning that men were
in pursuit of him, he left his family with a brother, and retreated to
the back villages. His friends pulled down his house at once; and when
the officers arrived, finding not even a habitation, they gave up the
pursuit.

"In conversing with Shway Weing, I asked him why he presumed to come to
English territory to see me at this juncture, knowing, as he did, that
the fact, if known, would aggravate his sufferings, in case of his
apprehension. He replied, 'I wished to come and see the teacher's face,
hear his voice, and go home and die.'

"Baptized nine at noon, most of them from the Burman side. One is a
brother of Bleh Po. During his examination, I asked him whether he would
endure persecution, and, if necessary, suffer death, rather than deny his
Lord. He hesitated, and rather thought that he should not do as Peter
did. I asked him if he dare testify, before God and that congregation,
that he would endure unto death. 'I am afraid, teacher: I dare not.' I
needed not so solemn a declaration to convince me of the genuineness of
his conversion, but had other reasons for wishing to elicit a direct
answer. A large congregation were waiting in breathless silence and
expectation; so that it was impossible for me to recede. I asked him the
third time. He still hesitated. I pressed him for a reply. He bowed his
face to the floor, and wept. The stillness of the grave pervaded the
assembly. He raised his head, the tears rolling down his sable cheeks,
and said, 'I think,--teacher,--I shall _not_ deny the Lord,--if he gives
me grace. I can say no more.'

"It has fallen to my lot to baptize more than four hundred Karens since I
have been in Burma; but never have I enjoyed such delightful seasons as
during the last few days--our Jordan, a small stream running down from
the mountains, overlooked by wild and beautiful scenery; the
congregations attentive, solemn, and joyful; the dense forests resounding
with songs of praise from a hundred happy converts plighting to Heaven
their vows; an emblematical grave, giving up its dead to 'newness of
life;' the presence of the Lamb of God hallowing the scene, and setting
upon his own ordinance the seal of divine love. God Almighty bless these
converts, and preserve them blameless to the coming of the Lord with all
his holy angels!

"At evening, after a farewell charge to the disciples, I entered a small
canoe to return, all my assistants and many others 'accompanying me to
the ship.' The hour had arrived when I was to part with those beloved
men, and it was an hour of sadness. Most of them were to return to
Bassein, 'not knowing the things that shall befall them there,' but
assured 'that persecution and afflictions abide them.' They reluctantly
shook my hand, one by one, saying, 'Pray for us,' and departed. My own
feelings were indescribable.

"_5th._--After the assistants and people had left us last evening, I
retired to my berth exhausted. A few minutes past nine we heard Karen
voices on the shore. I went on deck, and found they had come a long
distance to see me and be baptized. The vessel was anchored in the middle
of the stream, without a boat. There was not a house, or a canoe even, on
their side; and the Burman village opposite was some distance inland. The
Karens called many times to the villagers to come and take them across,
but in vain. With flint and steel, they struck a fire, concluding to
sleep on the sand, and return in the morning, unbaptized, after all their
efforts, and after coming within the sound of the teacher's voice.
Mothers and infant children were in the company. But Providence favored
them. After an hour or more two women were seen on the opposite shore, to
whom we called for aid. They launched a canoe, and finally ferried the
Karens all over, two or three at a load; then they took me ashore. We
walked two miles to a Karen village, and found the assistants engaged in
a prayer-meeting. I made inquiry relative to the applicants; and as
several of the assistants could vouch for them, and all agreed, I
baptized fifteen in a small stream near by. As there was a full moon and
clear sky, we needed not the light of the sun. After commending them all
to God, I left them, some time past midnight, and returned to my vessel.
Awoke this morning at daylight, after a few hours' sleep, 'out to sea.' A
severe headache reminded me of the exposure and fatigue of the previous
evening, and I feared an attack of fever. A powerful dose of medicine has
relieved my head, but prostrated my strength, so that, for the first time
in my life, I have been really seasick.

"_6th._--Arrived at Gwa at two, P.M. Was glad to find Capt. Bogle, the
Commissioner of Arakan. He has come down the coast to inquire into the
condition of his people, hear complaints, and redress grievances. He
invited me to dine with him, a privilege I gladly availed myself of, as I
am rather short of provisions. Another applicant for baptism at evening.
As he intends to see me soon at Sandoway, I deferred his request.

"_8th._--Sailed for home yesterday morning, accompanied by seven Karen
boys who go to Sandoway to study. Wind changed at evening, and increased
to such a degree, that, to human view, we were in peril of our lives. At
sunset it blew with such violence directly against us, that we were
obliged to 'go about,' and let our vessel drive. The boys were very
seasick. The night continued very tempestuous, and we were emphatically
'in the deep.' The waves broke over us at a fearful rate. I ascribe our
preservation to God's mercy. We were driven down the coast past Gwa, and
found ourselves this morning where we were day before yesterday. The wind
abating, we were able to use the oars, and at evening anchored at Gwa. I
now return to Sandoway by land, my Karen boys preferring _terra firma_ to
the sea.

"_9th._--Left Gwa mounted on a lame pony, which will hinder more than aid
me, I fear. My saddle is something like my old grandmother's 'pillion;'
my bridle, a very good string. The Karen boys and the old Bengali cook
follow in single file. In a civilized land we should present a somewhat
grotesque appearance. Travelled over a fertile plain till eleven o'clock,
when we came to half a dozen Karen houses, only one of which has a
Christian family. Nearly all the people attended evening worship.

"_10th, Sabbath._--After morning service, examined and baptized three
persons,--one from Bassein. Most of the villagers have become attached to
Boodhism, and are decidedly opposed to the gospel. 'The kingdom of heaven
has come nigh unto them.'

"_11th._--Started on our way at three, A.M. The light of the moon was
soon obscured by overhanging branches and foliage; and we made but slow
progress over the rocks, roots, and logs. At daylight, came out upon the
beach, and found good travelling till nine o'clock, when we came to a
small Burman village, and breakfasted. During the day, passed two or
three hamlets only, around which are small fields; otherwise it is an
impenetrable jungle, uninhabited, except by wild beasts. Were it not
possible to travel on the beach, I see not how a path could be made from
village to village.

"_12th._--Told the cook to call me at three, A.M. After a refreshing
sleep, I heard, '_Sar, Sar,_' and, on looking at my watch, found it only
half-past one o'clock. Drank a cup of tea, ate a dry biscuit, and
started. With a bright moon, it is more pleasant travelling on the beach
by night than in the heat of the day. Passed a small village at five,
A.M., where we struck a passable track through the jungle. With the
exception of one other hamlet, we saw not a sign of a human being or
habitation all day. The trees are larger to-day; and, the boughs meeting
overhead, we travel through the heat of the day with comfort.

"_13th._--Slept at a small village called Mee-gyoung-yeh, or the
'Ferocious Alligator.' Started at three, A.M., as usual, taking the
precaution to provide lights for the dense jungle through which we have
to pass. At nine, A.M., all the Karen boys gave out; and the old cook
said that he could not keep up. I hired a Burman guide, determined, if
possible, to reach home in the evening. At three, P.M., ate my dinner of
dry bread, three weeks old, and told my guide I must reach Sandoway
before I slept. He tried to dissuade me; said we should have to lie out
in the jungle among the tigers; but, for a fair reward, he ventured to go
along, and point out the way. Reached home at seven o'clock. The schooner
which left Gwa when we did arrived two hours before me; the Karen boys
and the cook, a day later, two or three of them threatened with fever.

"_28th._--Mau Mway, one of the Rangoon assistants, and pastor at Ponau
(p. 17), arrived to-day. I have not heard direct from Rangoon for several
months, and am rejoiced to learn that the disciples are enjoying rest
from persecution. There are several cases of discipline. Some who
appeared well are halting; others, again, are coming out on the Lord's
side, and are desirous of baptism.

"_Feb. 1._--Hton Byu and Mau Yay returned to-day, after an absence of
five months. They went to Bassein, Pantanau, and Rangoon, and spent
several weeks with their friends at Maubee. On their way back, they
preached through the villages north of Maubee, crossed the Irrawaddy five
days above Rangoon, came on across the country to the north of Bassein,
crossed the mountains, and reached the Bay, three days south of Sandoway.
They relate the success which attended their efforts with a smile of joy.

"_7th, Sabbath._--Baptized twelve. They have all been with me a week,
affording sufficient time for examination. Among the number is a little
lad who ran away from his father's house to avoid being 'pressed' into
the service of the devil; his parents being confirmed 'devil-eaters.'

"_9th._--Fourteen Christians left us for their distant homes in Bassein
and Rangoon. I sent letters and circulars to the assistants. They took
six hundred and fifty books to scatter among the reading people of the
jungles. I left more than four thousand at Magezzin, which are all
distributed, the greater number in Burma.

"_16th._--Myat Kyau and Oung Bau came in from Rangoon. About forty-five
days ago I sent the former on a tour to the east, to inquire into the
state of the churches. He spent several days at Pantanau, visited Ko
Thah-ay, the Burman pastor in Rangoon, and thence went to Maubee. Oung
Bau, the pastor of the Karen-river church, one day north of the city,
accompanied him on his return. They brought several letters, one from the
Rangoon pastor. The old man enjoys tolerable health, preaches quietly,
and encourages the few disciples there in the way of life. He speaks of
excitement arising from the expectation and fears of the people relative
to the visit of the king; thinks it by no means desirable that a
missionary visit Rangoon at present. It is the prevailing opinion there,
that if the king, or his son, does come down to the lower country, the
end will be a war with the English.

"_23d._--Assistants returned to Rangoon. Have endeavored to impress it
upon their minds that _they are to lead_ the host of God in Burma; that
they must not lean upon missionaries, but upon God. I am looking forward
to the time when some of them will be deemed worthy of ordination, that
they may fully discharge the duties of pastors. My meetings, intercourse,
and parting with these dear young men, have been most solemn and
interesting. The prosperity and perpetuity of Christ's kingdom in Burma
is dependent, under God, on their fidelity and zeal.

"_March 15._--Baptized three from Rangoon yesterday. As small-pox is in
the place, dispersed our class of ten Karen boys, who are studying
English under Mrs. Abbott's tuition. They had just begun to make
perceptible progress. But not one of them has had the disease; and we
think it best to send them away, although they would have remained and
taken the risk, had I consented. I baptize three promising candidates
to-morrow.

"_28th, Sabbath._--Nine Karens from Bassein and Rangoon asked for
baptism; were received, and baptized at sunset.

"_31st._--Sent a circular to the Rangoon assistants, advising them to
communicate with Maulmain. I have corresponded with brother Vinton on the
subject. As he is nearer Rangoon than I, he can take charge of them, if
Karens can pass and repass the eastern frontier. They will meet with
obstacles; still I hope a good many from Rangoon will be able to go and
study a part of the year at Maulmain.

"_April 1._--How invaluable are the privileges and enjoyments of
Christian society! Yesterday we were cheered by the arrival of our
beloved brother and sister Stilson from Ramree. Shut out as we are from
the Christian world, we count such visits among the most precious of
earthly blessings. Our friends come to spend a few days here for their
health. Two Burman assistants accompany them; and the poor idolaters
around us will hear the gospel of peace from their own countrymen.

"_12th._--Brother Stilson baptized three Karens to-day. His address being
in Burmese, the Burman congregation on the banks of the river were
enabled to understand the nature and design of baptism. During his prayer
all was quiet, and I witnessed the administration of the ordinance with
peculiar satisfaction...We have been in Sandoway one year, and have
experienced much of the goodness of our heavenly Father. Surrounded by
disease and death, we have enjoyed good health. Eight Karens have died on
our compound during the year, and the cholera has swept away one-eighth
of the inhabitants of the land in three months. 'Eastern Golgotha' is a
term not inaptly applied to Arakan.[1] More than six thousand gospels,
tracts, hymn-books, etc., have been distributed among the Karen
Christians; and these books have cost the disciples in Bassein nearly Rs.
1,200,[2] or $545. I have seen all the assistants in Burma but one, and
given them such counsel as their trying circumstances seemed to demand. A
hundred and eighty-four have been baptized in the likeness of the
Saviour's death. At Magezzin, south of Sandoway, is a church of
forty-four members; at Baumee, one of thirty. Three of the baptized live
at Sandoway, and five near Rangoon. The remaining one hundred and two
reside in thirty-six small villages in Bassein. They are principally the
leading men in their respective villages. Several other villages are
decidedly Christian, but the exact number I cannot give. There are,
probably, about twelve families in a village, on an average.

{ Footnote: [1] One-third of the European residents of Arakan died that
season from fever and cholera, among them a most worthy physician, Dr.
Claributt, to whose devotion and skill Dr. Kincaid felt that he owed his
life, when near succumbing to a sharp attack of cholera.

[2] In most other missions these books would have been given away, or
sold at a merely nominal price; e.g., Dr. Mason, writing from Tavoy, says
(Missionary Magazine, July, 1843, p. 181), "At one time we commenced
selling the Karens books; but it was 'no go.'" }

"Before the persecution, they had sabbath worship in some convenient
place, where all the village assembled, listened to the reading of the
Scriptures, singing, prayer, and exhortations. Since the jealousy of the
government has been aroused, they have assembled in small companies of
two or three families; and in some places, where 'informers' are
stationed, they meet to worship God only at night, when their enemies are
asleep. My last accounts from Bassein are more cheering. The principal
officers are divided in counsel as to the course to be pursued with the
Christians. Some are for severe measures: others incline to toleration,
fearing, I apprehend, that the Karens will emigrate to this province in a
body,--an event which I should deprecate at present, as it would involve
fearful consequences. Our consolation is, 'the Lord reigneth.'"

Before the time for beginning his rainy-season school, Mr. Abbott had
prepared temporary buildings for a school of assistants only. For want of
funds, he was obliged to send away, imperatively, several who were very
anxious to study. This year the term of four mouths passed away without
interruption from sickness, and most profitably. As only nineteen
assistants came in, enough select youth were received from neighboring
villages to bring up the number to thirty. In the cold season, also, Mrs.
Abbott, as usual, taught a class of boys, partly in English studies,
making the whole number under instruction about forty. Of his own work he
writes:--

"My time was exclusively devoted to the assistants, considering it of the
highest importance that they clearly understand the first great
principles of the gospel which they preach. Besides lessons in arithmetic
and geography, I established a course of morning lectures on Paul's
Epistles to Timothy, in the course of which I endeavored to bring out to
their view, distinctly and explicitly, the organization of a Christian
church, the qualifications, call, appointment, and duties of bishops and
deacons, and to impress upon their minds the directions given in those
epistles for the guidance of ministers. In the afternoon their attention
was directed entirely to the Gospels. We had preaching and religious
exercises every evening.

"They all enjoyed good health, and were enabled to pursue their studies
uninterruptedly. Their growth in grace and in divine knowledge was
perceptible and highly gratifying. The season passed away pleasantly and
profitably, and I now look back upon it with joy and devout gratitude.
They left us for their distant homes Sept. 1. Karens seldom weep; but
some of them, when we parted, turned away to conceal their tears. A part
of them are to be stationed in this province, in Bassein and Pantanau, as
pastors; and others are to itinerate, and preach the gospel to their
people, who have never yet heard the joyful sound. I have agreed to meet
them at Magezzin, near the frontier, on the 1st of January next, as that
will be as early as I can venture into the jungle with safety."

So far as is known to the writer, E. L. Abbott was far in advance of all
contemporary foreign missionaries, boards, and secretaries, in his views
as to the necessity of bringing up the congregations of converted heathen
to the practice of self-support. He found himself at this time, however,
in circumstances of great difficulty. The Karens of Bassein were then the
poorest of the poor. Their unhusked rice, when they were allowed to sell
it, would bring them only five rupees a hundred bushels; they were loaded
with fines; though not baptized, they were struggling to build chapels
for the worship of God, never dreaming of outside assistance. All that
their missionary had asked for towards the support of native preachers,
the school, _including buildings_, and his own travelling expenses, was
Rs. 1,500; yet from the straitened state of the treasury, and from some
extraordinary views as to equality in the distribution of mission-funds,
the Board had allowed him only Rs. 1,000. Under these circumstances the
overburdened missionary writes:--

"Will the children of God in America send me money for the support of
these beloved men in their self-denying, perilous labors for our Master?
or must I, at the coming meeting, tell them to return to their
paddy-fields, and labor with their hands to keep their families from
starvation? The last letter from the foreign secretary says, 'Reduce your
expenditures in _any_ way...Reduction _must be made._' Are the days
of the Karen mission numbered? Are the four thousand poor, persecuted,
bleeding lambs of Jesus, scattered through the wilds of Burma, to be left
to famish for the bread of life for want of a few paltry dollars?...In
many new places the people are calling for preachers; but, owing to the
secretary's orders, all such calls must pass unheeded. Ministers of the
gospel in the Karen jungles cannot travel, and spend all their time,
laboring in the vineyard of the Lord, and support themselves and their
families on air, any more than it can be done by ministers of the gospel
in America."

In a letter just then received, the Board had offered, rather tardily, to
remunerate Mr. Abbott for a loss by fire of live hundred rupees. While
acknowledging their generosity, he declines this personal assistance, as
no longer needed. He proposes, however, to draw on them for a part of the
sum, to eke out the assistance absolutely required for his preachers.

"Instead of a thousand rupees, I had expected fifteen hundred at least:
in fact, I must have that sum to meet my engagements the present year. If
Ramree, with two or three assistants, and Akyab, with the same number,
receive each one thousand, I had supposed that Sandoway, Bassein and
Pantanau, with _twenty_ assistants under engagement, would receive a
larger sum. Of course the Board can dispense only what they receive...Until
I hear from the Board, I shall keep within the thousand rupees,
hoping at the same time to prevail on Mr. Kincaid to let me have a few
hundred from Akyab. The Ramree brethren say they cannot spare a rupee...I
have told the assistants distinctly, that they must not expect to
be supported by foreigners always. When I send my detailed accounts, the
secretary can observe that many of them receive but a few rupees. Were it
not for the [Burman] government, under which most of the Christians live,
they would not care about receiving any foreign aid at all to support
their own pastors. They have aided the assistants (by feeding them and by
gifts of clothing) to the amount of several hundred rupees, besides
paying their enormous fines to government, in addition to their usual
taxation. I have received from a few of them twenty rupees for the cause.
They are also now engaged in this province in building chapels, which
will require all their means."

He closes thus:--

"The secretary will perceive that this is dated at Ramree. I am here in
pursuit of that fleeting goddess, Health. I am happy to say that her
ladyship appears to be approachable. I fear that I have an inflammation
of the liver, which is the cause of weakness, and pain at the stomach,
owing, probably, to close confinement during the rains. After the school
closed, my very good friend Dr. Morton furnished me with a vessel free of
expense; and, with my family, I came to this place, and intend to remain
here till the season arrives for jungle travelling. I did think I should
be obliged to go to sea: but the secretary's letter will induce me to
defer it; or, if it still seems to be necessary, I shall endeavor to pay
the cost myself. Travel and change, with the blessing of Him whom we
serve, will, I trust, restore me again. I am admonished, however, that
what I do must be done quickly."



CHAPTER IV.
1842, 1843.


"Truly, merchants themselves shall rise in judgment against the princes
and nobles of Europe; for the merchants have made a great path in the
seas, unto the ends of the world, and sent forth ships and fleets of
Spanish, English, and Dutch, enough to make China tremble: and all this
for pearl and stone and spices. But for the pearl of the kingdom of
heaven, or the stone of the heavenly Jerusalem, or the spices of the
Spouse's Garden, not a mast has been set up."--LORD BACON.


THIS chapter is the record of two years' further progress in the Bassein
mission, so far as that progress has been reported by the principal
actor. Some condensation has been necessary; but we are sure that no
"editing" can improve the graphic descriptions penned by Mr. Abbott amid
the very scenes which he portrays, nor would our readers wish the account
materially abridged. It must be remembered, however, that by far the
greater part of the work now going on throughout the extensive plains of
Bassein was wrought by obscure men, whose deeds and sufferings were
unseen and unrecorded, save by the angelic chroniclers above. Abbott's
own praise of these humble men was never stinted. In January, 1842, he
wrote:--

"My confidence in the assistants is more and more confirmed. They are a
faithful, laborious, successful, worthy set of men; and, through _their_
instrumentality, the gospel is certainly triumphing in many parts of
Burma."

The work of the year 1842 begins, as usual, with the annual cold season
visit of the missionary to the Christian Karen communities down the
coast. As his coming was widely advertised, he was met at the several
villages by considerable numbers of unbaptized Christians from distant
places beyond the frontier. During his absence of thirty-one days, Mr.
Abbott baptized two hundred and seventy-five persons, most of whom were
from the Burman province of Bassein, and the fruits of the ministry of
Karen assistants. We leave him to tell the story in his own language.

"_Jan. 7, 1842._--Arrived at Gwa this evening. Five assistants from Burma
met me on the shore, accompanied by some twenty men, who have come over
'to see the teacher,' and ask for baptism. Three of them live on the
Irrawaddy, north of Rangoon. Accounts from the Christians in Burma are,
on the whole, satisfactory. Near Rangoon they are obliged to submit to
annoyances, but to no severe oppression. At Pantanau, and thence on this
way to Bassein, all is quiet, and they wish me to come over and visit
them.

"_8th._--Left Gwa at daylight, and anchored in Magezzin River at noon. At
five, P.M., reached the Christian village in a small boat. The first
object that attracted my notice was the new chapel, just erected by the
church, and dedicated to the service of God. It is one of the best
buildings I have ever seen in the Karen jungle, and does honor to the
pastor, Myat Kyau, under whose direction it was erected. In Burma it is
reported that this chapel is a palace for the Karen king! Found
assistants here from Burma, waiting my arrival, letters from Maubee and
Rangoon, and a good many persons who have come over for baptism.

"_9th, Sabbath._--Preaching at nine, A.M., and a covenant meeting at
noon, preparatory to the communion in the evening. At four, P.M.,
assembled again for the examination of candidates. All these applicants
came over with their teachers, under whose instructions they have
embraced the gospel. For want of time, I ask the assistants, in whom I
have perfect confidence, whether they are acquainted with the candidates,
and can vouch for their good moral and Christian character since they
believed. I propose certain questions to each one, but admit them mainly
on the testimony of the assistants. Just before sunset we assembled near
the chapel, on the banks of the stream, hallowed in our affections by
scenes which we have here formerly witnessed. I baptized twenty-four men
from villages in Burma. In the evening, administered the Lord's Supper to
more than a hundred communicants. This has been one of those happy days,
a day of ingathering, which abundantly compensate us for months of
anxiety and toil.

"_10th._--Left Magezzin this morning, and returned to the mouth of the
river. Fifty men followed me to procure books. At evening they left me
for their homes over the mountains.

"_11th._--Headache and fever during the night. I pray I may not be
stopped in my labors now. God is my protector, and to him I commit my
ways. Started at sunrise, notwithstanding my indisposition, and walked
two hours on the beach, to the mouth of the Baumee, which must be a mile
wide. Waited here for my boat, which was obliged to go a long distance
out to sea to get around a ledge of rocks and shoals. Ascended the river
till noon, and arrived at a Christian village of five families, a branch
of the Baumee church. After evening worship, inquired into the standing
of the church-members.

"_12th._--A meeting to settle a difficulty between two brethren, which
gave me an opportunity to instruct the disciples on the subject of
discipline.

"_13th._--Went on up the river till nearly noon, to the largest and most
central Karen village on the river. As there were several applicants for
baptism, I lectured on the qualifications requisite for admission,
marking also disqualifications. Thirty-one were received, and baptized
according to apostolic precept and example.

"_14th._--Administered the communion this morning. The church now numbers
seventy-four members; one death having occurred during the year, but no
case of discipline. Moung Bo is stationed here; but as he is going into a
destitute region in Burma, away towards the northern mountains, I have
appointed Shway Bay to conduct services, and exercise a general
supervision over the Christians, having reference to me at Sandoway.

"_15th._--During the night my men rowed down to the mouth of the river.
At daylight, proceeded down the coast till four, P.M., when we ran into a
small bay, and anchored. One hour's walk brought me to a Karen village
called Ong Khyoung [i.e., Cocoanut Creek]. The Christians have erected a
neat chapel upon a little hill a short distance from the village, which
contains a pulpit withal,--a wonderful improvement for the jungle, and
quite in advance of the age.

"_16th, Sabbath._--The people fired a gun last evening to notify those at
a distance of my arrival: so they came flocking together at an early
hour,--men, women, and children. The principal man of the village and
others with him were baptized at Sandoway a year ago. As there is no
assistant here, I was obliged to move cautiously in the examination of
candidates. None were admitted who had not borne a good character for
several months. Near the close of the day, thirty-six publicly professed
their faith by baptism. In the evening, constituted them into a church of
thirty-nine members, who will be able to support a pastor, at least in
part.

"_17th._--Continued down the coast until near evening, and ran in for the
night behind a small island called Khyoungthah (p. 3). Went on shore with
tracts, but scarcely an individual would receive one. An old priest took
a bound volume, but returned it again, fearing lest he should commit
himself by its reception.

"_18th._--Started, as usual, at daylight, and ran into a bay in the
afternoon, on the shore of which stands a Karen village called Sinmah
[Female Elephant]. The Christians have a small chapel in a beautiful
grove twenty or thirty yards from the beach. Met them at evening worship,
after which several applied for baptism. But, as I intend to return here
for the sabbath, they were willing to wait.

"_19th._--Walked on the shore till nine o'clock, and waited for my boat
to come around a rocky peninsula. Rowed all day, as usual. Arrived at a
Karen village at evening, called 'The broken-legged Buffalo.' Nearly all
the people here are emigrants from Burma, who have fled from persecution.
They have erected a convenient chapel, and have a worthy and efficient
man for their teacher. Here, under the British dominion, they enjoy that
most precious of blessings, religious liberty--Ay, and

'Freedom to worship God.'

"_20th._--After a season of prayer with the people at an early hour, I
lectured those who were to come forward for baptism. When I gave the
opportunity, a large company presented themselves. They have been under
Tway Po's instruction two years or more, and they are all well aware of
the qualifications requisite for baptism. I had also made particular
inquiry of the assistant relative to their character. A few who would
have come forward were deterred by the assistant, as he was not perfectly
satisfied of their fitness: consequently, all who did present themselves
were quite certain to be admitted. After a short intermission, again
assembled, and, in addition to those accepted in the morning, several
little girls, ten or twelve years old, came before the congregation, and
asked to be baptized. On inquiring why they did not come forward in the
morning, I was told they were afraid of being rejected; that some of them
went home weeping, and one little girl induced her parents to ask for
them. Another went to her parents weeping, because 'the teacher had not
written her name in the big book, among those who were to be baptized.'
Another told the assistant that she might die before another year,
unbaptized, and asked him to present her case to me. I inquired
particularly of their parents and of Tway Po, and on hearing their
testimony, and on questioning them individually, I became satisfied of
the genuineness of their faith, and, as all the baptized approved, they
were received. After singing and prayer beside a small river,
seventy-five converts were baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost. These are precious seasons. The time occupied in baptizing
the whole was about an hour. In the evening, organized a church, and gave
them a lecture relative to their new relations, particularly the
obligations they are under to their pastor. Tway Po is a worthy man, and
possesses the entire confidence of the people. He has spent several
months in study with me, and I see not why he may not be ordained another
season. Married a couple after evening service.

"_21st._--Spent the day with the people. Preaching morning and evening.
At the close of the evening service, at eight, P.M., we sang the parting
hymn [by Dr. Mason],--

'According to the will of God,
Brethren, we must part.'

The congregation then, one after the other, came and shook my hand. I
retired to my boat to sleep, and ordered the men to turn the prow towards
Sandoway, distant at least ten days. This is [at present] the most
southern station in the province of Arakan, distant, as we travel in a
small boat, about two days from Cape Negrais, and about the same distance
from Bassein by land.

"_22d._--Found myself in sight of Sinmah at sunrise. At evening the few
Karens here assembled for worship, and several requested baptism. The
assistant, Dah Po, was baptized last year at Sandoway. Although a young
man, not receiving support from the mission, he appears worthy and
faithful. Inquired into the character of the candidates.

"_23d, Sabbath._--Twenty were examined and baptized to-day, in the open
sea, in front of the chapel. Here is now a small church of twenty-one
members; but as they are emigrants from Burma, recently arrived, it is
doubtful whether they will remain here, or remove to some other Christian
village. In the evening, instructed them as to the mutual duties and
obligations of church-members, and commended them to the great Shepherd
of Israel.

"_27th._--After three days' detention at Sinmah by adverse winds, were
able to put out to sea with safety. Arrived at Khyoungthah at mid-day,
and there remained till the sea-breeze died away, late in the night.

"_28th._--Stopped at eleven, A.M., in the lee of a large rock, on an
uninhabited coast. The wild elephant and tiger are seldom disturbed here.
Just before sunset, walked on the shore with my gun, and shot a peacock.
Returning to my boat, near a thicket, heard the fearful growl and
crashing of an elephant. The two natives with me ran away, of course,
and, not relishing the idea of being crushed under the feet of the huge
creature, I ran too.

"_29th._--Went on at ten, P.M., and reached Magezzin River at noon. Saw a
company of Karens on the shore, waiting with a canoe to take me up to
their village. At five, P.M., arrived, and found a hundred and fifty men
from Burma, waiting my arrival. As I was detained at Sinmah, they have
been kept waiting here an equal time. Assembled immediately for worship.
The large and beautiful chapel was filled with attentive listeners, many
from a distance of hundreds of miles. After a hymn of praise, I preached
on repentance. As several of those who came from Burma had hired a boat
on the Baumee River, and agreed to return it to-night, they asked to be
baptized immediately. I inquired of the assistant, and, being satisfied,
baptized twenty forthwith, who then shook hands, and departed.

"_30th, Sabbath._--After morning worship, sixty-nine candidates were
admitted. They all came over with the assistants, and were recommended by
them. The assistants have such clear views, and the qualifications of a
candidate for baptism are so distinctly marked, that an unworthy
character seldom presents himself. Among the applicants to-day were six
women from Burma,--the first who have come over the mountains. Old
mothers in Israel with their daughters have come through the wilderness,
a journey of four days, on foot, to be baptized. What an example of the
constraining influence of the love of Christ! Assembled again after the
afternoon service, and those admitted in the morning were baptized. May
all these beloved disciples who have here witnessed a good profession
before rejoicing angels endure to the end as good soldiers of Jesus
Christ! I commend them to the Good Shepherd. May they be shielded from
the persecutor's rage and from the wiles of the great adversary!

"After preaching in the evening, had a long conversation with the
assistants, on various points where they are in doubt or have experienced
difficulty. Among other matters, a letter was handed me, which contained
a request that Bleh Po might be ordained. It was signed by several old
men, and was concurred in by all the assistants; which not only indicated
his standing, but a good degree of right feeling among the assistants.
However, Bleh Po himself wished the subject to be dropped for the
present, as he intends to study with me another season at least.

"Several of the assistants understand Pwo, and preach in it: others have
a Pwo interpreter travelling with them. So the truth is spreading among
that people. They are calling for books, and for a man to teach them; for
both of which I have written to Tavoy and Mergui, but can get neither.
How many Pwos have been baptized I cannot say exactly. There are,
however, more than forty Christian families among that people in
[Bassein]. I have appointed an assistant among them, who was baptized
to-day. [Probably S'rah Shway Bo, now for many years pastor at
Engma.--ED.] Another man, baptized to-day, has agreed to come and study
with me, if I will get a Pwo book. I intend to study that dialect as soon
as I get one.

"_31st._--Had a season of prayer this morning with the Christians; gave
them a short lecture and a few parting words of admonition. We then
separated, in companies of from half a dozen to twenty, and started for
our distant homes. I came down to the mouth of the river, to my boat; but
the sea-breeze had already set in. We must remain here, therefore, till
it lulls during the night.

"_Feb. 5, Sandoway._--Arrived here in five days from Magezzin, by rowing
from midnight to ten or eleven, A.M., and lying by the rest of the
time,--a mode of travelling not quite as agreeable or speedy as the car
or steamer. Bowed down before the family altar with my dear wife and
infant children, and offered up to God an oblation of thanksgiving for
all his rich goodness.

"_13th._--Baptized four who came over from Burma expecting to find me at
Magezzin. As I had departed, they followed me on to Sandoway, where they
arrived five days ago. They all gave very good satisfaction on their
examination, and Shway Weing testified to their good character."

In a note which accompanies the above, Mr. Abbott gives somewhat later
intelligence of a most cheering character:--

"Since I closed my journal, Myat Kyau, the pastor at Magezzin, has
visited me with another assistant, and others who came from Burma to be
baptized. As I send this away by the present mail, I cannot give the
number of those who will probably be baptized tomorrow. The report they
bring from Burma gladdens my heart. The Christians meet in large
congregations. Burmese officers frequently come in while they are at
worship. The assistants travel and preach in the most public manner, and
the government looks on in silence. I feared that the great numbers who
are coming over, and returning with books, would excite persecution; but
no one has been annoyed. It is reported that the king, during his late
visit to Rangoon, inquired concerning the Karens who had embraced a
foreign religion. On being told that they were a quiet people, and paid
their taxes, his Majesty replied, 'Then let them alone.' This may be
true: still, no dependence is to be placed on the promise of a Burman
official of any rank."

During the rains of 1842 about thirty of the assistants assembled in
Sandoway for study. To them, as always, Mr. Abbott devoted his time and
best energies. After their departure, early in September, he sent to
press a skeleton of his lectures on the following topics,--God, Creation,
Redemption, Resurrection, Eternity, Bishop, Deacon, Church, Baptism,
Lord's Supper, etc. Dec. 14 the missionary wrote: "In a day or two we
(Mrs. Abbott and babes accompanying) are to be off to the jungles for the
season. What will be our success who can say? A multitude, without figure
of speech, are waiting for baptism. God's name be praised!" He did not
know the dark cloud of trial which was even then resting upon the
churches in Bassein. Again the poor Christians are under the ruthless
hand of Burman extortioners; and cholera, chiefest in the retinue of
death, is sweeping hundreds into eternity. Among them, the mission
suffers a grievous loss in the death of Bleh Po, whose name is familiar
to our readers. As his death occurred before the close of the year, we
insert Mr. Abbott's tribute to his memory at this point:--

"He was one of the first and most noted of the Karen converts in Bassein.
The opposition he encountered was well calculated to test the genuineness
of his conversion, and to induce that steadfastness which was so
essential in his after-life. He silenced the clamor of his relatives by
his meekness and wisdom, and finally became instrumental in the
conversion of most of them. Still, he was obliged to sacrifice some
property in becoming a Christian. He soon encountered the opposition of
petty officers, who apprehended and threatened him, in order to compel
him to cease preaching. But Bleh Po always disarmed them of their hatred,
and converted them, either into friends or harmless enemies. No other
Karen could preach to this class of men as he could, without getting a
beating; and no other preacher suffered less. It is believed that a few
of them are now Christians at heart.

"Bleh Po's knowledge of the Bible was necessarily limited, as only the
Gospels and the Acts were translated before his death; but, being a man
of thought and studious habits, he treasured up in his heart whatever
came within his reach, so that he had committed to memory the greater
part of the Gospels. While with me, he studied the principal doctrines,
and listened to my lectures with deep attention. These fundamental truths
were not lost upon him. He was apt to teach, and knew when to speak and
when to be silent. In cases of difficulty and discipline beyond the
control of others, Bleh Po was sent for; and his voice would generally
still the troubled waters. His weight of character, also, gave him almost
unbounded influence over the Christian community. A man of unwavering
integrity, of guileless simplicity, his entire being was as transparent
as the light. Discreet withal, and of sterling good sense, his word was
law to his converts, and commanded the respect of his bitterest foes. His
consistent piety added greatly to his influence. He kept the even tenor
of his way. From the first hour of his embracing the gospel, to the gates
of the grave, his path was emphatically 'the path of the just.' Prayer
was with him a fixed habit, essential to his existence. Many a time, at
the dead of night, when the rest of the world were wrapped in slumber, he
was awake, pouring out his soul to his God. While a student, he very
frequently would get away into some secluded place, and spend a day in
fasting and prayer.

"A self-sacrificing spirit was characteristic of his piety. The idea of
_self_ never seemed to awaken the least anxiety. In 1842 he received from
the mission thirty-six rupees, not one _pice_ of which, I believe, he
ever appropriated to his own use. He said that it was God's money, and,
seeking out poor Christians, gave it all away, trusting in Providence for
the support of his family. Nor in temporal matters alone did he exhibit
this quality. When apprehended and threatened, not knowing but a cruel
death would be his portion, he did not seem to have one anxious thought.
This spirit manifested itself in all his course, and in his preaching
assumed the character of active benevolence, zeal for God. He preached
the gospel from Bassein down to the seacoast, along the mountains to the
north, and away east towards Rangoon. From village to village, and from
house to house, his voice was heard, like that of John in the wilderness.
And he counted it no sacrifice: he labored cheerfully and with joy.

"During the last few days of his life this spirit was more conspicuous
than ever. The cholera appeared in his village, and he was one of the
first attacked. He soon recovered, but could not rest. Although his
strength was prostrated, and his friends, fearing a relapse, advised him
to keep quiet, he forgot himself; and, wherever one was attacked, there
was Bleh To, exhorting them to trust in God, and consoling the dying with
the promises of the gospel. But he could not endure it. In three days the
relapse came. His friends gathered around him: still Bleh Po manifested
the same self-forgetfulness. In the dreadful pains of that most fearful
of diseases, he exhorted his friends to be steadfast, and never to desert
the cause of Christ. He was told that he was dying, knew that he was
dying; but he heeded it not. He spent his last breath in exhorting and
comforting his friends. He died Dec. 20, aged thirty years.

"As will be supposed, Bleh Po was beloved. Since his death I have seen
hundreds from his own and the neighboring villages, and they all speak of
him with affection and grief. I did not see his relatives till several
weeks after his death; and then the first word they would say to me would
generally be, 'Teacher, Bleh Po is dead! What shall we do now?' A great
many of the aged women from his village came to the Baumee chapel. They
all loved to talk about Bleh Po, to dwell on his sayings, his goodness,
his humility, his faithfulness; and, with tears running down their old
cheeks, they would say, 'Teacher, what shall we do now?' There is an
intensity and depth of feeling manifested in their grief which I have
never seen exhibited by Karens before. '_Pga hau dau kauh nyah_' ('The
whole country is in tears' ), an assistant told me who had travelled
widely. Take him all in all, I have never seen his equal in Burma. When I
think of his death, a kind of awful sadness comes over me, and my heart
melts within me."

Along with increased ingatherings and the continued impossibility of a
missionary visiting the Christians beyond the frontier in person, a
practical question of great importance comes up in 1843 for final
settlement. To us who have seen the happy result of the "experiment" of
ordaining a native ministry, it is difficult to understand the shrinking
felt by most missionaries of that period at taking this necessary and
entirely scriptural step. In Bassein alone, including those deceased,
more than fifty Karen ministers have assumed the solemn responsibilities
which follow ordination. Of the entire number, not one, within the
writer's knowledge, has disgraced his profession, or failed to perform
its duties with a fair degree of credit. Still there was opposition. So
good and wise a man as Francis Mason could write this very year, with
reference, perhaps, to the step which Abbott was contemplating:--

"In my early years of missionary labor, before I was fully acquainted
with native character, I was decidedly in favor of ordaining the
prominent assistants; but of late I have been so fully persuaded of their
general unfitness for the ministerial office, that I could not in
conscience consent to the ordination of a single one with whom I have
ever been acquainted."--_Miss. Mag._, July, 1843, p. 178.

Fortunately, Mr. Abbott was not accustomed to take counsel of timid fear.
He had a large measure of sound common sense, and that happy combination
of self-reliance with reliance upon a higher power, which is needful for
the exigencies of a pioneer missionary's life. He was now rapidly making
history of the best kind. With thanksgiving to the Author of the rich
blessings recorded, we insert the journal of his annual tour,
substantially as he wrote it:--

"_Dec. 21, 1842._--Left Sandoway with my family last evening, in a
government boat which Mr. Phayre, the senior assistant commissioner,
gives us for the trip. Put to sea at daylight, and with a favoring breeze
have been sailing down the coast through the day. Many thanks to Mr.
Phayre for his kindness. We are much more comfortably situated than we
could be in a native boat.

"_22d._--Arrived at Gwa this evening. Came on shore, and are stopping in
a small government bungalow. The native officer and people of the place
came crowding around to get a sight of the white woman and children. Old
people say Mrs. Abbott is the first Englishwoman they have ever seen. If
we walk through the bazaar, there is such a running, and gazing, and
staring! Groups will stand and gaze till we pass, and then run on ahead
to get another front view.

"_24th._--Left Gwa at two, A.M., in a native boat, and, after sis hours'
rowing southward, entered the Kalah River. There is a small Christian
village in the vicinity.

"_25th._--Christmas, and, though not a 'merry,' a very happy, and, I
trust, a profitable day. Preached through the day, and at evening
baptized three. One is from Gwa; one lives near Bassein; and the other,
several days up the Irrawaddy from Rangoon. I have known them for more
than a year.

"_27th._--Left Kalah River at three, A.M., and entered the Baumee about
eight. Breakfasted, and then onward, up the river with the tide, arriving
at Baumee chapel about sunset. This house of God, erected by the
Christians here, marks another step in advance. It is finished better
than any of those built last year, and will seat eight hundred
comfortably, I think. It does great credit to Shway Bay. In this vicinity
are more than forty Christian families, who, although they live in
hamlets a little distant, are near enough to come to worship on the
sabbath. In this house may the Lord our God take up his abode, and
magnify the riches of his saving mercy!

"_28th._--As it was late when we arrived last evening, but few came in to
see us. But, while we were at breakfast, they came around in scores,
particularly interested to get a sight of the _mama_ and the children,
'with such beautiful white faces.' One among the many benefits arising
from such visits is, that the native Christians may be taught by example.
We eat in public, and they see that our table and its furniture are kept
clean, and arranged in an orderly manner. They see the family come from
their private apartment with clean garments and _clean faces_, and sit
down to their table, and eat their food with expressions of thanksgiving
to God. We do not wish, of course, that Karens should adopt all American
customs; but it does them good to see the order of a civilized Christian
family.

"Several assistants and others arrived to-day from Burma. There is a very
good path from here over the hills; and the distance to the first
[Christian] village on the other side cannot exceed fifteen miles. Sad
tidings again are brought from the disciples in Burma. Not only are they
subject to the common oppression, but, as Christians, they are especially
liable to suffer from relentless extortion. The population of whole
villages, after suffering to the last point of endurance,--their all,
even to their supply of food, wrung from them,--have fled hither and
thither, obliged to conceal themselves, and to borrow or beg till they
can make another harvest.

"The following case is but one of the kind: one of the assistants, while
preaching on Sunday, was interrupted by a petty officer, who entered,
seized the book from his hand, and ordered him to interpret its contents
into Burmese. The preacher did so; and the officer, in a rage, struck him
on the face with the book, fined him fifty rupees, and, as security, took
the assistant's wife, and walked away with her to his own house. The only
alternatives for the injured man were to let his wife remain a slave, or
pay the fine. His Christian brethren made up the sum, several hundred
giving each a few annas, and in two or three days his wife was at
liberty. There is no help in such a case. Had the man appealed to higher
authorities, he would probably have been beaten and imprisoned, and fined
fifty rupees more.

"This chapel is believed at Bassein to be a palace for a Karen general
who is going to invade Burma at the head of a large army, and is to make
this his headquarters. It is said the palace has so many hundred posts,
and, most ominous of all, a kind of 'royal cupola,' which, on any
building except a royal palace or religious monastery, would in Burma be
an aggravated insult. The small vessel in which we came down to Gwa
becomes at Bassein a dozen ships-of-war. All the Christian villages have
been searched, and every thing in the shape of a musket has been taken
away. The officers say the Christians are to join the invading army. The
poor disciples know not what to do. They see that the jealousy of the
government is awakened, and they know that it is as 'cruel as the grave.'
They are in a state of fearful apprehension, and many of them are
beginning to waver, and I fear may apostatize. In such seasons the poor
missionary hardly knows where to turn. Cholera, also, is sweeping off
multitudes in Burma. Some Christian villages have been nearly
depopulated. In one case, a whole family died, and their bodies were left
to feed the dogs. The pestilence passed over the mountains from us to the
east some months ago.

"_30th._--Baptized nineteen this morning, all residing within the bounds
of this church. One man we were obliged to exclude. He had been
admonished time and again, and committees had visited him, but in vain.
There was but one alternative. The Baumee church numbers over a hundred
members. Shway Bay is young, but appears to exert a good influence. He is
a man of promise.

"_Jan. 1, 1843, Sabbath._--This New-Year's Day has been one of joy and
hope, one of those days which I have longed to see,--an emblem of the
eternal day, prefiguring the rest of the people of God. I awoke a few
minutes past midnight, breathing a prayer for the conversion of the
world. I thought of the millions of Christians in other lands, whose
intercessions will come up to-day before the throne of God. May their
prayers be heard! May this be a year of wonders and of the manifestation
of God's saving mercy among the nations! At morning service this fine
chapel was filled by a multitude who came up to listen to the gospel, and
pay their devotions to the living God. Towards evening sixteen converts
witnessed a good confession. May they go on their way rejoicing! In the
evening the church partook of the emblems of that body slain, and of that
precious blood which cleanseth from all sin.

"_2d._--But few Karens have come over from Burma. The officers near the
frontier are on the alert. Have been consulting with the assistants and
principal men relative to ordaining an evangelist to send into Burma, and
as to a pastor for this church, but have come to no conclusion.

"_4th._--Walked with my family from the mouth of the Baumee to the mouth
of Magezzin River: our boat, going round the point meantime, came near
being swamped. Stopped in a small zayat during the day. At evening the
head man of the district came in, and very gravely informed me that he
had just received news from Burma to the effect that an army of several
hundred men were coming over to seize the 'Karen teacher,' and take him
to the king of Ava. He advised me to flee towards Sandoway; felt it his
duty to inform me of the report, and considered he should not be
blameworthy should such an event now occur. This report will doubtless
end like all others of the kind. They tend, however, to keep the poor
people in a state of alarm.

"An event has just occurred which increases the rancor of the Burman
Government. The only son of the Mayahwaddy prince, the elder brother of
the present king, who was killed, I think, near Toungoo, during the war
with the English, has just escaped into British territory. This young
prince is, of course, near the throne. Consequently, when the present
king began to slaughter his rivals, he very wisely fled. He has been
three or four years making his way from the capital to Bassein, begging
his food, and dressed mostly in Karen style, to avoid detection. A few
days since, he crossed the frontier, with his family and some thirty
followers. He will doubtless be protected, and treated with honor."

Even the foreign secretary, Dr. Peck, regarded the ordination of native
ministers as a hazardous step. In printing this journal in the
"Magazine," he refers to the subject thus:--

"The subject introduced in the next paragraph is one of extreme delicacy
and difficulty. Were baptism _essential_ to salvation, it would be less
questionable whether any of the native converts should be empowered to
administer it. Yet, if their character be like that ascribed to Bleh Po,
the danger of improper admissions would not seem to be greatly increased,
although placed beyond the personal observation of the missionary. And
the privileges of the church of Christ ought not to be unnecessarily
withheld from any who are entitled to them, nor the appointed
instrumentalities for its edification set aside. The case involves, on
either hand, a fearful responsibility."

Mr. Abbott proceeds as follows:--

"_8th._--The ordination of native pastors over the Karen churches has
been a subject of deep anxiety to me. Obliged as I am to be absent from
them most of the year, and never able to visit them in Burma, the care of
all the congregations is, of necessity, committed to men chosen from
among themselves. No one is ever recognized by me as an 'assistant,'
except upon the testimony and by the request of the people of his own
village, nor until I have become satisfied that he possesses the
necessary character and qualifications. It is also upon the condition
always, that each one thus recognized is to come and study with me a part
of each year. I have appointed a number somewhat in the character of
Methodist 'class-leaders.' They receive no pay from the mission, are not
reckoned among the assistants, do not itinerate and preach, but simply
lead religious services in their own villages. The 'assistants' are, in
fact, pastors, or evangelists, except that they are unordained. If they
are competent to preach, to lead and instruct Christian congregations,
why not recognize them as also competent to administer the ordinances? I
have discouraged the idea of Karens coming ten or fifteen days' journey
to be baptized by me. Why not ordain their own pastors, under whose
preaching they were converted, and under whose guidance they are to live?
Why not allow their pastors to baptize them at their own homes? There are
hundreds of Christians in Burma who have never seen a missionary, and,
unless a revolution sweep down the present monarchy, never will. They
wish, of course, to be baptized; and why not ordain them pastors? If God
has called these men to preach the gospel, has he not also called them to
administer its ordinances?

"Bleh Po was the man whom I had selected as the first to be ordained. The
great Head of the church had selected him as a ministering spirit to wait
around the throne. There are others whom I had thought of ordaining.
Among them is Myat Kyau, a man of experience and influence, of sober
judgment, and one who has the confidence of all the assistants. He has
been much blessed as a preacher; and, after the strictest inquiry among
his people, I am satisfied as to his moral character. I have been
endeavoring to ascertain the wishes of the church-members, but it is not
an easy matter. They would consent to any thing 'the teacher' proposes,
but I try to make them see that the ordination of a pastor particularly
concerns _them_. Of course, the subject is all new to them; and they can
only do as they have been taught, so far as form is concerned, which is
just what people do all over the world. The members understand that they
are to testify as to the candidate's character; that they are to receive,
honor, and support him; also that I impart ordination at their request.

"A meeting was called to-day. Many of the assistants and members from
other churches were present, enough to constitute a council; and although
we did not adopt the usual method of electing a moderator (which office I
filled myself), etc., the business was conducted with a good degree of
decorum. I examined Myat Kyau at great length; not for my own
satisfaction, but by way of precedent. He has studied with me three
rains, and I know his intellectual qualifications. Then all the
assistants, male members of the church, and visitors spoke, each
according to his own views. I next proceeded to ordain Myat Kyau by the
imposition of hands and prayer. Then, with the 'right hand of fellowship'
and a solemn 'charge,' I recognized him as an ordained minister of the
gospel. I have never experienced greater satisfaction than in the
performance of this deeply interesting service. May He in whose cause we
labor bless the young pastor in the discharge of his fearful
responsibilities, and guide him safely through!

"At sunset I baptized the pastor's wife. She was a Pwo Karen Christian,
though unbaptized, and is an intelligent, amiable person. At evening,
assisted by the pastor, I administered the Lord's Supper. Myat Kyau
discharged his part with great propriety. The Magezzin church has nearly
a hundred members, and will probably soon double that number, being often
augmented by emigrants from Burma. A Burman living near is asking for
baptism, and wishes to unite himself to the Karen church. Several Karen
families who have been decided opposers show signs of a change. Some of
them wish to be baptized, but the old patriarch does not yet consent."

Returning to Gwa on the 10th, Mr. Abbott next proceeded to fulfil his
appointments at Baumee and Ong Khyoung, not without a struggle; for he
was compelled to leave his "youngest child sick with jungle-fever, and
Mrs. Abbott without a medical adviser or any earthly friend, alone in a
little hut on the sea-beach."

"_14th._--Arrived at the Baumee chapel this morning. The first man I met
was a Pwo assistant, who immediately asked if I had brought Pwo books. He
said the Pwos were looking for books with much anxiety. As I walked up
towards the chapel, a multitude of men, women, and children, met me,
among whom were many strangers from Burma.

"_15th, Sunday._--Another blessed day, fraught with joy and hope, yet not
without many forebodings. The spacious chapel was filled with a
congregation who listened with _intense_ interest. I preached from those
'words' to which the apostle referred when he said, 'Comfort one another
with _these words_.' Precious words, and full of comfort, indeed; and the
occasion demanded their application. The poor Christians from Burma are
all mourning the loss of friends. The cholera is making fearful ravages.
Scarcely a family where the destroyer has not entered. Moreover, the
bearing of the government is alarming. God Almighty, save thy heritage
from reproach! After preaching, candidates came pressing around, asking
for baptism. I questioned them but little, simply to elicit from each a
testimony, and confession of faith in Christ. My chief reliance is on the
testimony of the assistants, who have conducted them to me as fit
subjects for baptism. They have all studied with me, and this subject has
been dwelt upon _minutely_ and _repeatedly_. Moreover, all have seen my
example. Were the reception of candidates left to my judgment alone, I
should often be at a loss what to do. Those who pass the best examination
do not always make the best Christians. After reception, seventy-six
candidates witnessed a good profession. Myat Kyau and I went down into
the water alternately.

"_16th._--Myat Kyau baptized four this morning. They appeared to have no
choice as to the administrator. After prayer and a word of admonition to
the people, I sent them away to their homes, with much apprehension. I
fear their coming hither in such numbers will excite the jealousy of
government. Left about noon, and came down to the mouth of the river,
where I hoped to find news from our sick child. Have been waiting till
late at night, but no letter.

"_17th._--Long before daylight I sent a man to a village on the way to
Gwa to inquire. He returned about eight, A.M., bringing a letter, which
would have come last night but for the indolence and stupidity of the
bearer. The poor child is suffering under a dreadful fever: still Mrs.
Abbott is willing I should fulfil my appointments. I had agreed to meet
the Ong Khyoung church to-morrow. It is a long walk for one day, and will
keep me from my family at least five days longer. I decide to go on,
having but little hope of finding the babe alive on my return. After a
very hard day's walk, over rocks and mountains, and through swamps,
arrived at Ong Khyoung. The people soon assembled in their new and
commodious chapel; and, after singing a hymn, I forgot the fatigues of
the day.

"_18th._--A covenant meeting and preparatory lecture in the morning. In
the afternoon, ordained Tway Po. I examined him, and offered the
consecrating prayer, laying on hands with Myat Kyau. Myat Kyau gave the
charge, and hand of fellowship. His address was fraught with piety and
good sense, and adapted to the wants of the new pastor. Perhaps, were it
written, it would not attract much attention as a literary production. It
was not remarkably brilliant, but just what we should expect a pious,
godly Karen would say to his brother under such circumstances. After
these services we assembled at the water-side, and the two pastors
baptized fifteen converts. I stood on the shore, a spectator, and
repeated the loud 'amen.' During the evening the pastors administered the
Lord's Supper, and gave each a short lecture to the Christians. And now
my work here is done for the present; and my thoughts are turned towards
Gwa, the sick child, and the lonely mother. The distance cannot be more
than fifty miles; and, with a good path, I might hope to reach them in
one day and night. But such a road! It is impossible to give any just
conception of it."

At one o'clock the next morning Mr. Abbott left Ong Khyoung for Gwa,
where he arrived early on the 20th. The child was yet alive, though
greatly reduced by the fever. The following week Mr. Abbott returned to
Ong Khyoung, visiting the place again in April, from Sandoway.

"_Gwa, Jan. 22, 1843._--My fears for the people who came to the meeting
at Baumee were not unfounded. A letter has just arrived, which states
that several families, men, women, and children, were taken by the
officers before they reached their homes. The parents and other relatives
of Bleh Po were included. The men were dreadfully beaten, and bound with
iron fetters; the women were put into a boat, anchored in the middle of a
river; the young children, left crying on the shore, within hearing of
their mothers. Poor creatures! they are beyond the help of mortal arm,
and need to exercise great faith and patience. The men exhibited a noble
fortitude under their beatings. Some of them, even while being beaten,
prayed to God with a loud voice, much to the astonishment of their
persecutors. One of them, Shan Byu by name, was asked by an officer,
among other things, if he worshipped Jesus Christ. 'Yes,' was the prompt
reply.--'Well, you must worship no more.'--'I shall worship him though
you kill me,' returned the fearless disciple. The officer said, 'These
Karen Christians are _teh ket the_ (a very hard case).' Shan Byu is a
specimen of a class who would doubtless die rather than equivocate. There
are others, who, when asked whether they were disciples, have answered,
'No;' and afterwards we hear of their repentance and confession. It is
not for man to judge.

"_25th._--News again from the prisoners. Several have been liberated by
an officer in whose district they were taken. Some think him to be a
Christian. However that may be, he has certainly favored the converts
now. As Bleh Po's relatives, including women and children, were
apprehended by officers from Bassein, and spies who hope for a reward,
they are taken to Bassein. Walking from the boats to the prison, through
a dense crowd, the women were chained together, two and two, the chain
around an ankle of each. Their sufferings will be inconceivable to any
one who has never seen a Burman prison, and knows nothing of its
discipline. They will be dependent on the pittance doled out by the most
compassionate of their ruthless foes. There are several children but a
few months old. These and their poor mothers excite the deepest sympathy.
As to the men, they are nearly all 'substantial men,' and a few weeks'
imprisonment may be only salutary. My own feelings can hardly be
appreciated.

"_27th._--Nearly all who accompanied us to the jungle, are prostrated
with fever. Our son is a little better. God is merciful. At a late hour
last evening, there were Karens sitting about the room, some from
Rangoon, others from Bassein and the hills, conversing as to the
sufferings of their brethren now in prison,--what would probably be their
fate; how they would endure; and, if killed, whether they would meet
death joyfully. While speaking on this point, one of the assistants gave
an account of the death of an old woman, a few days since, at
Baumee,--one of the happiest deaths of which I have heard among the
Karens. I have seen many of them pass away, and generally they have no
ecstasies and no fears: they die resigned to the will of God. 'God will
take care of me,' is generally the answer to questions as to their
exercises. This old woman had been a Christian several years, and was
much given to prayer. She was sensible of the approach of death for
several days, and rejoiced at the prospect. 'I have been looking for the
coming of Christ to judgment, but shall die and not see the day; but,'
she continued, 'I shall go to see him.' She exhibited that divine joy,
that brightening of the powers of the soul, that foretaste of glory,
which sometimes precede the death-hour. After this story another of the
assistants said, 'Such happy deaths are becoming more frequent;' and then
he gave the particulars of several such cases which had fallen under his
observation. After he had ceased another went on to tell of the happy
deaths _he_ had witnessed; and then another, and another still, till a
very late hour. I listened to their narrations with delighted surprise.
Such resignation, such unshaken confidence in God, such bright and sure
hopes of heavenly joy, light from eternity beaming down upon souls just
emerged from midnight darkness,--it was one of the happiest evenings of
my life."

As nearly forty years have elapsed since the writing of this journal, the
following hitherto unpublished reference to the distinguished Gen. Sir A.
P. Phayre, afterwards the first chief commissioner of British Burma,
governor of Mauritius, etc., will be pardoned. All of the earlier
missionaries in Burma experienced his kindness, and could heartily
indorse the expressions of Mr. Abbott.

"_Ong Khyoung, Jan. 30._--I have come down to meet the senior assistant
commissioner of Sandoway, Mr. Phayre, who is making a tour through his
district, to hear the complaints of the poor, and look after the
interests of government. He is a generous-hearted, amiable man, as well
as a scholar and gentleman; and he renders the mission essential aid. We
are making arrangements relative to Karen villages, in anticipation of
the arrival of emigrants from Burma. We could do nothing without his
assistance.

"_Feb. 2._--Mr. Phayre arrived. A head man is appointed over the
Christian village. Complaints are heard, and grievances redressed.

"_5th._--Arrived at Baumee chapel with Mr. Phayre. Heard from the
prisoners. Gloomy prospects. Poor creatures are starving. One of the
assistants, a young man just beginning to preach, on being asked by an
officer if he worshipped Jesus, replied 'No.' I have not seen him since.
Notwithstanding his denial, he may be a real Christian.

"_Gwa, 7th._--Arrived here this morning, a little past sunrise; and, at
evening, came on board a beautiful new government schooner, bound for
Sandoway. Mr. Phayre returns by land, and very kindly offered to Mrs.
Abbott and family the use of his vessel. As I have no object in going by
land, I prefer the sea."

To this great kindness Mr. Phayre soon after added a personal donation of
two hundred rupees, for the benefit of the mission. The journal
continues:--

"_Sandoway, 14th._--Arrived after a very unpleasant voyage of seven days.
The small-pox is sweeping off the people here in large numbers. An old
Karen woman died on our compound but two days ago. She was one of the
brightest specimens of the triumphs of the gospel that I have ever seen.
'Died praying, praying.' Vaccine being unattainable, we must inoculate
our children.

"_25th._--Heard from the prisoners. Their sufferings are not severe,
except from hunger. Bleh Po's aged mother was allowed by the jailer to go
out to the Karen villages to beg rice. She returned with all she durst
bring; and the jailer took it almost all away from her, leaving the
Karens nearly as hungry as before. They are set to servile labor, but
complain of nothing but hunger. They will probably be liberated, as the
rulers disagree on their case. There is the _myo-woon_, who holds 'three
swords;' the _myo-thoo-gyee_, who holds two; and the _akouk-woon_, who
holds two. Then there are others, who hold but 'one sword.' Their
relative rank and power are thus indicated. The first is the governor of
Bassein district, so called; i.e., he is at the head; the second is
governor of the city; and the third is the custom-house officer. These
are all appointed by the king, are afraid of each other, and always
quarrelling. The Karens who are in prison live in the _myo-thoo-gyee's_
district. The custom-house officer, wishing to bring him into disgrace,
sent spies into his district, and apprehended the Karens. They are
suffering in prison, while the officers are quarrelling over the subject.
Shan Byu, one of the prisoners, said to the _myo-woon_ in public, 'Kill
us at once: we cannot bear starving with our wives and children.' In
consequence of these acts, the Christians are emigrating to Arakan.

"_March 8._--Our children have been mercifully preserved through the
small-pox. Our eldest son, five years old, had it severely for
inoculation,--more than two hundred pustules on his face, one on his
eyeball, and his mouth filled with them. Most of those inoculated had but
few pustules, and those small.

"_11th._--The poor captives are liberated, but it cost them five or six
hundred rupees. After the _myo-woon's_ order for their liberation was
issued, the jailer had his claims to prefer, and the prison subordinates
came up for a reward for _their_ services. The Karens were told that they
were to make the compensation required in such cases. It was several days
before they came to a settlement. The jailer withheld their pittance of
food, and starved them into submission. They were not required to give a
pledge, and no orders were given them relative to their religion. The
officers had tried to force a concession and had failed, and very wisely
shunned another defeat. In fact, the government wished to release them;
but a pledge was required of the _myo-thoo-gyee_ in whose district they
lived, to the effect that they were to worship the 'foreigners' God' no
more. _He_ becomes surety to the government that the new religion shall
be extirpated. He will probably tell the Karens privately, as many of the
petty district officials do, 'Worship as you like, but do it secretly, or
_we_ shall have to suffer for it;' and the Karens will worship as they
please, in peace, till informers bring the subject before the authorities
publicly, when they must pay attention to it. The same scenes are liable
to be enacted yearly.

"But what will the end of all these things be? The noble, fearless
testimony which those prisoners bear to the truth has given their cause
notoriety and character. The common people throughout the country
generally look upon the new religion with interest, and whisper their
sympathy with its suffering votaries. In conversation the assistants
speak from time to time of Burman Christians. Eternity will reveal them
if there are any.

"_April 16._--Have just returned from Ong Khyoung. Mr. Phayre took me
with himself in the government schooner, eight days ago, to make
arrangements relative to the location, etc., of emigrants. Made the
voyage down in thirty-six hours. Spent the sabbath with the people. One
hundred and twenty Christian families have come over to that place since
I was there two months ago, bringing with them more than two hundred
buffaloes. The chapel would not contain more than one-fourth of the
assembly on Sunday. They built booths around within hearing. Mr. Phayre
is to supply them with [rice], and wait a year for the pay, without
interest. They had just gathered their harvest in Burma; but the acts of
government so alarmed them, that they left all their paddy and fled
hither, on the assurance that food would be supplied them for a year.
They will not find such fruitful fields, and rivers abounding in fish,
this side the mountains; but they find religious freedom. Here they may
worship God in the open face of day, and not a dog move his tongue.

"On Monday morning I staked out a new street at Ong Khyoung, and a
location for a new and larger chapel. On that plot of ground, when the
brushwood and grass had been cleared away, we all kneeled down, men,
women, and children, and consecrated it to God. After all arrangements
had been made, I gave them the parting hand, went on board ship, and in
five days reached home.

"_22d._--Karens asking for baptism, I sent them back with a letter to the
Magezzin pastor. An assistant arrived from Baumee. Emigrants are still
coming over with their buffaloes. What will become of the Redeemer's
kingdom in Burma if these persecutions continue? Myat Kyau has baptized
seventy or more, and Tway Po more than forty, since I left them. Both are
sent for from distant places, and they have remained with their own
people scarcely two days in succession since they were ordained. May the
number of converts be multiplied as the drops of the morning!

"_28th._--Shway Bo, one of the assistants from Burma, arrived. [Not the
Pwo Karen of that name (?) .--ED.] I last saw him at Gwa, a few days
after others had been seized, and taken to Bassein. He arrived at Gwa
just at dark; said he had come to see me once more; that the officers
were on his track, and that on his return he should give himself up, and
go to prison with his brethren, and probably to death; said, if he fled,
the Christians in his village would suffer, but if he gave himself up no
others of his village would be molested. He left me early the next
morning, with a sad heart; shook my hand, but said not a word. My own
emotions were too deep for utterance. He returned, was arrested as he had
anticipated, was taken before an officer and bound, but not beaten nor
cruelly abused, as others were. He was confined over night, and the next
day examined at great length. He was asked how many seasons he had been
to study with me, what he studied, who and how many went with him, etc.
All his answers were written down. He was told that he must not worship
in this way any more. 'I must,' was his reply. The officer did not
threaten him, but said finally, 'Well, if you must follow this new
religion yourself, you must not get great congregations together, and
make a great noise preaching.' To this Shway Bo made no reply; and, very
much to his surprise and joy, he was dismissed. It cost him four
rupees,--the 'costs of suit,' as we should say in a civilized land.

"He is a noted man, and, I fear, will have no rest. Three years ago he
came to me at Sandoway, a wild, green boy. He wished to stay and study. I
thought he had better follow the plough, but finally allowed him to
remain. He began to improve at once, manifested an intense eagerness to
learn, went home, and came again the next year. I began to hear a good
report of his zeal and piety, and gave him liberty to preach. He came and
studied again last rains, and I recognized him as an assistant. Unless I
am greatly deceived, he is now a successful preacher, and an eminent
Christian. Other such cases might be enumerated. Again, many who appeared
very well at first, we have been obliged, after a trial, to dismiss.

"Had news to-day from Tway Po. He had just returned from a tour to the
south, whither I went last year. He baptized nearly a hundred, all of
whom had been Christians for a number of months, and with whom he was
well acquainted. Emigrants are still coming over, the number of families
having increased to over two hundred. The comet which has appeared so
suddenly and splendidly for a few weeks has sent consternation through
the land. Many of the Christians partake of the alarm, and the most
dreadful calamities are prognosticated."

In a letter accompanying the preceding journal, dated May 2, Mr. Abbott
says,--

"My journal should be rewritten and corrected, as it is now only written
from dates and rough notes; but I cannot rewrite it. My students will
soon be in; and I have their studies to prepare, lectures to originate,
and their board, lodgings, etc., to attend to. My hands are full of
labor, and my heart full of care, sometimes of anguish,--nearly a
thousand baptized converts, many of them suffering under an iron
despotism; over two hundred families of emigrants, fugitives from
persecution, who look to me for food till they can reap a harvest; thirty
native preachers to teach, guide, and govern; two ordained pastors to
watch and tremble over; elementary books to write and translate,--add to
this a sick family, and not a good night's rest for many months. I have
had thoughts of calling for a colleague in the Karen department, but
hardly know what to say. The uncertainty which is constantly present with
me renders it impossible for me to be explicit in regard to it, connected
also, as it is more or less, with the possibility of my return to Burma
[Proper]. I am hoping for some indications of the Divine Will; still, as
things are, I can do much more for the Karens _here_ than I could under
the inspection, jealousy, and hatred of the Burman government. My coming
to Arakan has been attended with blessed results, beyond my most sanguine
hopes: still, I am not clear as to my future course. Had it not been for
my family, I _think_ I should have been in Bassein during the
persecution; and yet any interference on my part would have added to the
sufferings of the converts, and increased the difficulties attending
their liberation. Are we then to give up Burma? This is a question that
thrills my soul at times, and occasions intense anxiety. I can only
commit my way to God. May He guide us all in the way of truth and duty!"

He closes his letter on the 14th of May thus:--

"Have just heard of the death of Mrs. Comstock,--that dear sister,
amiable and devoted friend, efficient missionary, lovely child of God.
What a loss to her family, to the mission circle, to Arakan! I don't know
what poor Comstock will do."

In July the afflicted missionary from Ramree visited his sympathizing
friends. Within one year from the death of Mrs. Comstock, two children
and the thrice stricken father had followed her gentle spirit to the
better land. Our last letter from Mr. Abbott this year, dated Sept. 15,
contains heavy tidings.

"In my letter of May last I gave an account of the emigration of
Christian families from Burma to this province, and of the prospect of
their becoming permanently located, and dwelling in peace. At Ong Khyoung
they had erected a large and beautiful chapel. Eighty dwelling-houses
were also completed; and the people were beginning to plough and sow,
when the cholera broke out, and one hundred and thirteen persons died in
a few weeks. A panic seized the poor people. Parents caught up their
little ones in their arms, and fled to the jungles. Some of them crossed
the mountains to their old homes in Burma: others halted at villages
where the cholera had not yet appeared, and waited for the pestilence to
pass away; but a great many died in the forests. Within two months after
my last visit, Ong Khyoung was desolate, and their chapel had become a
habitation of owls.

"Forty families had settled at Magezzin. The cholera appeared there also.
Fewer died, in proportion to their number, than in Ong Khyoung; but the
village is quite broken up. The small villages around Baumee chapel are
dispersed; and that spot, rendered sacred by so many tokens of God's
presence, is deserted and silent. Shway Bay was the first victim of the
pestilence, a young man, who, I had hoped, would become a strong pillar.
I had hoped to see those Christian villages settled, having schools,
chapels, and pastors, enjoying the means of grace and religious liberty
beyond the reach of cruel tyrants. I had hoped for permanency and
perpetuity to the institutions of the gospel among that long oppressed
people. 'My thoughts are not as your thoughts, saith the Lord;' and
though dark clouds gather over the visions of the righteous, the bow of
promise appears, and the soul takes fast hold on 'the true sayings of
God.' We still labor in hope. He who cometh will come, and His kingdom
will triumph."

In addition to the losses on the Arakan side, Mr. Abbott estimated that
more than five hundred Karen Christians were swept off by cholera this
year in Burma.

It should here be noted, that, from the beginning of 1843, Rev. Mr.
Vinton of Maulmain assumed charge of the Karen churches of Rangoon. The
distance to Sandoway was found to be too great, and nearly all who
attempted the journey thither from Rangoon were stricken by disease.

It is worth while to record Mr. Abbott's list of assistants, and the
payments to them for the year 1843. It is the earliest list that we have
been able to find.

"Paid Rev. Tway Po, Rs. 66; Rev. Myat Kyau, Rs. 60; Ong Sah, Rs. 42; Kah
Gaing, Rs. 10; Shway Bo, Rs. 48; Bogalo, Rs. 40; Tongoo, Rs. 36; Nahkee,
Rs. 40; Min Gyau, Rs. 36; Ong Thah (dead), Rs. 5; Wah Dee, Rs. 40;
Rehthay, Rs. 36; Sau Bo, Rs. 48; Shway Bay (dead), Rs. 20; Mau Yay, Rs.
20; Nahyah, Rs. 36; Pah Yeh (reader), Rs. 5; Shway Too, (ditto) Rs. 17;
two copyists (at Rs. 4), Rs. 44. Total for twenty Karen assistants, Rs.
649."

In the accounts of the Arakan mission for this year, the society is
credited with a donation of Rs. 94 from the Karen Christians by E. L.
Abbott. His total expenditures for the year, for assistants, Karen and
Burman school, and buildings, including a house for the Burman assistant
at Sandoway, were Rs. 1,293.



CHAPTER V.
1844-1847.


"All our evangelistic efforts are to aim, _first_, at the conversion of
individual souls, and _secondly_, though contemporaneously, at the
organization of the permanent native Christian Church, self-supporting,
self-governing, self-extending."--_Principles of the Church Missionary
Society._


IT is seldom that the hand of a sovereign God is more clearly seen, both
in judgment and in mercy, than in the history of the Bassein mission at
this period. Karens in their native state are the slaves of fear. As they
themselves express it, "our bellies are full of fear." They fear human
enemies, but, most of all, those unseen powers of earth and air which
produce disease and death. In instances without number, a heathen almost
persuaded to become a follower of Christ has been turned from his purpose
by an outbreak of cholera, or some other misfortune. "The spirits surely
are angry at our leaving their worship. They are powerful and malignant.
The Christian's God may, or may not, be as powerful; but he is good,--too
good to do us evil. It were better for us to follow the way of our
ancestors. If they went to hell, we, too, will go to hell." This has been
the avowed reasoning and conclusion of hundreds of Karen inquirers, since
the great ingatherings here recorded. It is plain that nothing but a
mighty outpouring of the Divine Spirit could have kept those weak and
superstitious souls from wavering and fall, whether under the stress of
the sea of afflictions which befell them in 1843, or in the
long-continued absence of their beloved teacher, which so soon followed.

To the omnipotent and ever blessed Name be the glory and everlasting
praises! Mr. Abbott writes:--

"_Magezzin, Dec. 12, 1843._--A new chapel has been erected on the
seashore, about four hours' walk from the old village. Many houses in
sight are falling to decay, which gives the place a desolate appearance.
During the outbreak of cholera many of the inhabitants died, mostly the
heads of families. Others returned to Burma. Only twenty families are
left. Of the twenty-five emigrant families, only six remain. This is not
a good location for a large village, and I anticipate another removal
before a permanent settlement is made. In the evening, preached from the
words, 'In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer.'
Nearly every one is mourning the loss of friends.

"_13th._--Preaching in the morning, and a church-meeting, preparatory to
the Supper of the Lord. I preached from the text, 'I beseech you
therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a
living sacrifice,' etc. Several old men sat on the floor near my feet,
and gazed up into my face, their countenances indicating the intensity of
their feelings. On such occasions it is delightful to preach the glorious
gospel of the blessed God. In the afternoon applicants for baptism were
heard. Most of them have been Christians two or three years. They came
from Burma a few months since, and have delayed asking for baptism until
now. I preferred that the pastor should baptize them, but he insisted on
my doing it. Seventy-five were received at evening, and were baptized;
after which I assisted the pastor in administering the Lord's Supper. Two
of the baptized, and thirty-one who had not been baptized, died of
cholera. The church now numbers a hundred and seventy-seven members. They
are so scattered, that they require the constant watch-care of a faithful
pastor. A number of villages, from which but few have embraced the
gospel, lie near. Myat Kyau has a large field before him, and he enters
into the work like a man in earnest.

"_Ong Khyoung, 18th._--Spent four days with the Magezzin church, very
agreeably, and, I trust, not without profit to the people. A contrary
wind with rain threatened to drive us out to sea, and kept us back, so
that we did not reach this place till nine o'clock this morning. The
first house that I came to on entering the new village was that of Tway
Po, the pastor. He has in this shown his good sense, and a desire and
capacity for social improvement. Perhaps a man's house and garden (his
amount of wealth being considered), is not an unfair test of his relative
position in the scale of civilization. The next building was the chapel,
large and commodious, all that I could wish. I looked through the
village, and its desolate appearance filled me with sorrow. Of the
hundred and forty families of emigrants, only twenty remained. I struck
the gong: the people came together, and I preached a funeral sermon for a
hundred and twenty souls. Towards evening, visited each family: in nearly
every one are some ill, either of fever or measles, or of some one of the
peculiar diseases to which Karens are subject. One family of fifteen
persons, consisting of the grandfather and his descendants, were all
prostrated with fever. Their harvest was not reaped, and has been
destroyed by wild animals. The old man told the tale of his sufferings
with tears. Many are disheartened, and wish to leave the place.

"Two months ago I sent a circular to the assistants to meet me here on an
appointed day. They have all arrived but two. I preached to them this
morning from the words of Paul to the pastors of Ephesus, Acts xx. 28.
Endeavored to impress upon their minds a sense of their responsibilities
as shepherds. Oh that they may be sanctified for their high calling, and
strengthened to endure trials as good soldiers of Jesus Christ! Sixteen
assistants are publicly recognized and employed by the mission. The two
pastors and two assistants live in this province, the others in Burma. On
an average, they do not receive from the mission one-half the amount
requisite for their support. Some of them receive nothing, being
supported entirely by their people. The Karens are a liberal, hospitable
people, and in their poverty and oppression can do something for the
support of their teachers. Several hundred rupees are annually
contributed. The 'readers' are chosen and approved by the assistants in
council, and receive no support from the mission, except when they spend
all their time as school-teachers. But few of them are yet prepared for
that important work.

"There has been a melancholy case of defection. A young man was approved
two years ago as an assistant.[1] He maintained an unspotted character
for a year, and gave promise of usefulness. A year ago his wife died. A
few months after, he was guilty of lewdness with the sister of his
deceased wife, and was dismissed from mission service. Still he
maintained, in other respects, a fair Christian character; and the other
assistants had hopes of his final restoration. But a few months since, he
fell into the same sin again. The girl's mother reproached him in severe
and bitter language. He became sad and melancholy. Five days afterwards
an assistant went to his village to preach. At the evening meeting the
transgressor was missing. Search was made, and he was found dead in a
field. 'He went out and hanged himself.' His friends then recollected
that he had said, a few days before, that his reputation was gone; that
he could never again become like the other assistants. A sense of shame
drove him to the fatal deed. But satanic cunning has overleaped itself.
This event is as a flaming beacon, of which the other preachers, I trust,
will not soon lose sight.

{ Footnote: [1] Mlah Wah, one of the earliest converts, and pastor of the
church at Nau-peh-eh. }

"In the morning had a church-meeting. Cases of difficulty had occurred
between brethren which required adjudication; not serious, but, e.g., a
man's buffaloes had broken into his neighbor's field and destroyed his
crops, the consequence being sharp words, repentance, and confession.
There were no cases of immoral conduct, and the people live in peace. The
remainder of the day was spent in prayer and self-examination,
preparatory to partaking of the symbols of the Saviour's death. At
evening a hundred and fifty assembled at the table of the Lord. With what
solemn joy does the disciple of Christ think of those endearing words,
'Do this in remembrance of me!' Yes, precious Saviour, we remember thine
atoning blood, thy dying love.

"A few months ago this church numbered a hundred and sixty-five.
Forty-three have died, leaving a hundred and twenty-two. What desolation
death has made in these families! An old man comes to me, and sitting
down before me on the floor, with eyes downcast to conceal his tears,
begins to tell of his afflictions. Six months ago he had a wife and six
grown-up children around him. All are dead, and he left, a poor, old,
feeble man. A little crying infant, eight months old, is pointed out to
me, the relic of a large family. Parents, elder brothers and sisters, six
months ago all in health,--now all gone but the infant. Tway Po has
baptized in all three hundred and forty-four during the year. How
melancholy must have been those days, when he followed a hundred and
twenty of his own villagers to the grave in quick succession! He has won
the affection and confidence of all who know him.

"_24th, Sunday._--Arrived at Great Plains yesterday. After preaching, a
church-meeting. At sunset the Ong Khyoung pastor baptized ten, and in the
evening assisted in administering the communion. This church numbers a
hundred and eighty-four. Several have arrived from Burma during the year.
Two have died, and two have fallen away. An assistant and a 'reader' are
stationed here. They have a large chapel on the seabeach, back of which
is an extensive and beautiful plain, well cultivated, where the village
is built. The place has hitherto been healthy. It escaped the dreadful
scourge which passed through Ong Khyoung; and, with the blessing of God,
there is a prospect of permanency. If the plan of building up Karen
churches and villages under the English government be of God, it will
succeed. But the experiment at Ong Khyoung has taught us that our most
sanguine hopes are liable to be blasted in a day. I have no hope of
seeing the Karen Christians settled permanently in large villages, except
they have buffaloes and plough the soil, instead of cutting and burning
new fields each year. In the latter case, but few families can live in
one place, and it is quite certain that they will remove once in two or
three years. A very few may remain for some years in one place; but, so
far as my experience goes, it is not certain that a village will be found
next year where it is this. A dozen families with buffaloes will form a
centre, where the pastor will reside, and where the chapel and
schoolhouse will be erected. Great Plains is such a village, and Ong
Khyoung also; and others are forming.

"_Ong Khyoung, 30th._--In returning from Great Plains, the men rowed from
village to village during the night, which gave me all of the day and
evening to spend in the villages. A few have died since I was here. The
hand of affliction is heavy upon them. It is wholly owing to the
influence of the pastor, and two or three other stable men, that they do
not scatter to the four winds.

"In this church there is one of those 'widows indeed,' of whom Paul
writes to Timothy. She formerly lived in Burma, and, by her zeal, won a
reputation which threatened to involve her in serious consequences. The
Burmans called her the 'woman preacher,' and she was marked for vengeance
from the government. She wisely fled to Arakan, and has found here open
houses and open hearts. Should a stranger pass through this place about
one, P.M., on Saturday, he would hear a gong; and, should he go by the
chapel, he would see the widow sitting on the floor, surrounded by a
group of women and children; and, if he could understand Karen, he would
hear from the widow's lips the truths of the gospel. Should he go to the
sick-room, he would there see her administering the consolations of
religion to the suffering and dying. She has no kindred, and lives on the
charity of God's people. I bid her God speed with a hearty good will.

"_Baumee Chapel._--The Christians come flocking in from the hamlets.
Baptized eleven this morning [no date]. Twelve have died during the year,
including their pastor, Shway Bay. The present number is a hundred and
fourteen. They are so scattered that it is impossible to collect a large
number of children in a day-school. An assistant and reader are stationed
here. But few have come over from Burma to meet me here this year. I have
discouraged their coming in large companies.

"_Jan. 7, Sabbath._--Spent yesterday and to-day with the Christians at
Magezzin; have this evening given them my parting counsel, and am now
ready to start for Sandoway. Myat Kyau is going into Burma. The
Christians have been calling him from a great many villages, especially
from the region that I visited in 1837. The converts there have not been
molested for some months. Burmese officers frequently go into their
assemblies, look on, and say nothing,--a calm which to me is rather
threatening.

"I took Myat Kyau away into the jungle, and sat down with him on a large
stone, and gave him my last words of advice. He will probably be absent
several months, and a great number will apply for baptism. I have
confidence in his discretion and judgment: he has received the best
instruction I am capable of giving him, re-iterated and enforced. He has
seen my manner of procedure for years, and although he may be more liable
to err than I, will be less liable to be deceived; for he is a Karen, can
go from house to house, and can ascertain the character of individuals to
better advantage than any foreign missionary. I shall follow him with my
unceasing anxieties and fervent prayers. Could I make my voice heard
through the American churches this evening, I would say, 'Pray for us.'
Pray for these pastors, pray for the native preachers, pray for these
churches, pray for the people of God in Burma, groaning in bondage, pray
that a day of salvation and deliverance may dawn,--pray, pray, PRAY!

"I have long seen the importance of establishing day-schools in all the
Christian villages. It is possible to collect but a small part of the
children into boarding-schools: and, were it practicable, I would not
deem it advisable; as, in my opinion, the plan of day-schools, well
carried out, is better adapted to the end contemplated. In
boarding-schools my object has been to instruct assistants and
school-teachers. There are three day-schools in operation this season,
taught by competent teachers,--one at Great Plains, one at Ong Khyoung,
and one at Magezzin. There are other schools also, of from six to a dozen
children each, in the smaller villages, conducted by men who will not do
much more than teach reading and writing. I regard schools as one of our
most efficient instrumentalities.

"_Sandoway, 14th._--Arrived at home. My family had arrived from Akyab
some time previous. The loving-kindness of the Lord has followed us, and
his mercy endureth forever.

"_Feb. 23._ Returned yesterday, after an absence of a month. Went in
company with Capt. Phayre. He put me on shore at Ong Khyoung, where I
remained six or eight days, administering medicine to the sick. Went
across country to Baumee chapel. The Christians in the nearer villages on
the Burman side, having heard of my arrival, came over, a hundred or
more, men and women. Held meetings there several days, and Tway Po
baptized thirty-seven. Came down Baumee River; stopped at Magezzin
several days, and baptized eleven. Captain Phayre came along from the
south. I accompanied him to Gwa; and then he gave me his vessel to return
to Sandoway, he returning by land.

"_April 25._ Received the following letter from Myat Kyau:--

"'_Great is the grace of the eternal God! Thus by the great love of our
Lord Jesus Christ, more than 1,550 have joined themselves to the Father,
Son, and Holy Ghost._

"'I, Myat Kyau and Ong Sah,[1] we two went forth, God opened our way, and
we went in peace and joy. O teacher! we think of what the teacher told
us, that, if we always set God before us, he will open our way and
sustain us.

{ Footnote: [1] This Ong Sah, or Oo Sah, was ordained, in 1856, as pastor
of the large church in Mee-thway-dike, which he served till his death in
1868. He was a good man. On this memorable tour he followed Myat Kyau in
a strictly subordinate relation. }

"'Moreover, we went to Bassein city, and there we met a Beringee teacher
(a Roman-Catholic priest); and he talked to us, and said, "What you are
doing is not proper." And we asked, "Why not?" And he said, "Why do you
not baptize all, old men, and children, and infants?" And we answered and
said, "Not so. The Lord Jesus Christ has said that whosoever does not
repent cannot enter the kingdom of God." And that Beringee man disputed
with us all day. O teacher! that we may be able to dispute, pray for us.'

"A laconic letter, but full of good news. Myat Kyau was absent four
months. He went to the Irrawaddy north of Rangoon, spending several days,
and baptizing in each Christian village. He was not molested in the
least; and, since his return, I have heard of no persecution following
his labors. That great multitude baptized are like sheep in the
wilderness, but the Shepherd of Israel slumbereth not.

"_May 3._ Have just heard of the death of brother Comstock. He was with
us, a few weeks since, in good health, and full of hope respecting the
success of the gospel at Ramree. Certainly the signs of the times there
were full of promise...Brother Comstock is dead. Who will take his
place? Who will come over into Macedonia and help us? God of mercy, we
put our trust in thee. May thy word, which hath been published at Ramree,
not return to thee void!

"_June 10._--My time is entirely devoted to my boarding-school.--the two
pastors, fourteen native preachers, several young men preparing for
school teachers, and others from new villages, to the number of fifty. I
deemed it important that the pastors and assistants leave their people,
and devote themselves to study another season under my instruction. A
great number of Christian villages are destitute, except as some one from
among themselves conducts public worship. More native preachers are
needed, and more money, to aid, in part, towards their support. To
educate a native ministry, I consider now the most important department
of the Karen mission."

In a private letter to the secretary, accompanying his journal, Mr.
Abbott writes:--

"Mrs. Abbott frequently says to me, 'My dear, do you not think there
should be two Karen missionaries here? Supposing you should be taken
away!' And I leave the question for the Board to answer. I endeavor to
communicate facts; and as Maulmain and Tavoy are amply supplied
(comparatively), I do not deem it necessary to say more."

The above journal, closing with the words, "to educate a native
ministry," etc., and the thrilling news of fifteen hundred and fifty
baptisms by Myat Kyau in cruel Burma, had not reached America at the time
of the meeting of the Triennial Convention in Philadelphia, in April,
1844: Enough was known, however, of the magnitude and promise of Abbott's
work, to excite the deepest interest and solicitude of that large
representative assembly.

The commitee on Asiatic missions consisted of Rev. Messrs. Jeter,
Kennard, J. W. Parker, Devan, and W. W. Everts. Their report contained
the following:--

"Your committee are of opinion that the Karen mission should receive
particular attention. The Karens are a people prepared for the Lord. An
abundant harvest invites the reaper to thrust in his sickle. Several
missionaries should be sent as early as possible to Arakan, to labor
among the Karens. _It is worthy of serious consideration whether the
school for Karens should not be located in Arakan, instead of Maulmain._
[Italics by the Ed.] In Arakan and the adjoining provinces, the Karen
converts are more numerous than in the vicinity of Maulmain. And the
missions in the former need, more than in the latter place, the
encouragement and advantages which would be afforded by the contiguity of
such an institution."

After some discussion, the report was adopted by the convention. Rev. Dr.
Binney at that very time was arriving in Maulmain, with instructions from
the Board to establish the Karen Theological Seminary in that vicinity. A
special committee, therefore, was appointed, consisting of Rev. Messrs.
Colver, Peck, Kincaid, Ives, and Bailey, to take into consideration the
expediency of the establishment of the seminary at Maulmain. At the close
of the meetings they "reported that they had not been able to prepare
their report, and requested to be discharged." They were accordingly
discharged. (See "Missionary Magazine," July, 1844, pp. 157, 158, 164,
165, and 173.)

Although the time had not then come for the transfer of the general Karen
school westward, this intuitive judgment of the American Baptist
Triennial Convention seems to have had much truth and wisdom behind it.
Had Bassein itself then been open, the projected institution would have
been unanimously established in that place, with great advantage to the
entire Karen field. As it was, Abbott himself was not in favor of placing
the general school at Sandoway; and the subject was allowed to rest for
another decade.

The school of fifty native assistants, and others preparing for that
service in Sandoway, was dismissed in August, after the prescribed course
of study was completed. The excellent doctrinal catechism prepared by Mr.
Abbott was now available, and in use in Tavoy and other places, as well
as in his own school. He writes at this time:--

"The field and demand [for qualified laborers] is increasing very fast;
and I am happy to say that the native preachers generally are doing as
well as I could expect. The pastors give me no cause for uneasiness. May
God preserve and guide them all, and save his heritage!"

All too soon, however, the exhausting marches, the sleepless nights, the
preaching, the endless talk, the overwhelming cares and labors of the
past three years, had done their sad work upon the body of the devoted
missionary, as well as their blessed work upon his spirit. His health
during the rains was so alarming, that a journey to Akyab to consult a
skilful physician was determined upon. The first intimation of danger was
given to the public in the "Magazine" for March, 1845:--

"ARAKAN.--Our last advices from Akyab are of Oct. 11. Missionaries in
good health, except Mr. Abbott, who had been ill several months, but was
apparently recovering. Mr. Abbott was at Akyab at the above date, but
would return to Sandoway in a few days."

The number for April contained much graver intelligence:--

"ARAKAN.--It appears from a late letter of Mr. Abbott, that his sickness
is of a more alarming nature than was intimated in our last, and the
promise of recovery more faint. Will not the friends of missions remember
his case in fervent prayer? and will they not also answer the appeal for
help which comes to them as from the sides of the grave?"

Mr. Abbott himself writes, Oct. 26:--

"The Akyab physician tells me I have the _seeds_ of consumption, forbids
me to preach, and advises a voyage to Singapore. I had a cough throughout
the rains, with bad pulmonary symptoms during the month of August. That
exhausting process went on till September, when I had a fever; since
which I have been a little better. My cough still continues, and my
throat and lungs are so affected I cannot preach if I would. But I must
meet my assistants at Ong Khyoung, Dec. 20. If I am able to get there in
a boat, I _must go_. It will then be cold weather; in the jungles,
moreover, as here in Sandoway also, I have always been obliged to preach
in the open air, often during a great part of the night, in a cold, damp,
foggy air, perhaps with a wind blowing into my face. I have had a sore
throat after such times, but nothing like what I have now. I shall not be
able, I fear, to preach to the Karens this season, even if I am able to
go to their chapels. Were this certain, I should still go and meet the
assistants, as preaching is but one of the things to be done at those
annual meetings. A few weeks or months will determine my destiny.

"I suppose the Board will not now hesitate to send a man to this station,
to fill my place, _immediately_. I may live some time, but fear I shall
be worthless if I do. If this pulmonary affection goes on, what _can_ I
do, even if I live some time? And to leave the three thousand baptized,
the thirty native preachers, and the two ordained pastors here, as sheep
in the wilderness,--oh, how utterly vain to attempt to express the
emotions of my soul! Can any finite being know? Never! Will the Board
send a Karen missionary to Sandoway? That I may know what to tell the
people, if I live to get an answer, I wish the secretary to write me
_overland_, on the reception of this; and, if then alive, I shall wish to
write to the man who will come here, so that the letter may reach him
before he leaves Boston. Now that the weather is mild, I am gaining
strength, and some of the fearful symptoms are disappearing. I am
comfortable, and only want that perfect assurance to be resigned and
happy. I hope and trust in Jesus, but sometimes have doubts; otherwise,
all is well.

"On the 12th of August we consigned to the grave a son, fifteen months
old, a hale, happy, beautiful boy, just the one we did not expect was
going to die. Removed from us to the bosom of God! How consoling! and we
have nothing to say. Oh, how sweet is submission!"

Thus, in the very hour of victory, ere a tithe of the fruits of victory
have been gathered, the leader of the host on those shores is laid low.
So mysterious are God's dealings with the frail children of men. In
answer to the prayers of a multitude, in rude Karen as well as in his
native tongue, the much afflicted man rallies once more; but the disease
will never relax its hold until the end is accomplished.

The expenses of the Sandoway mission, charged to the society for the year
1844, were Rs. 1,375-8. In this sum was included Rs. 961 for Karen
assistants, thirty-six of whom received, on an average, twenty-six rupees
and a fraction each. Ten Burman assistants in the Arakan mission received
for the same time Rs. 804-7.

Notwithstanding the very grave condition of his throat and lungs, Mr.
Abbott, as we have seen, could not give up a last meeting with the
"beloved men" at Ong Khyoung. The self-forgetful, self-sacrificing wife
and mother insists upon accompanying her loved one, to nurse and comfort,
perchance to bury him on some desolate beach or woody hill. Capt. Phayre
again does all in his power for the comfort of the family, and they
depart on their errand of mercy to the Karens. During their absence, both
of the children were quite ill of fever, and their mother suffered not a
little from neuralgia. Mr. Abbott's health, so far from being injured by
his labors in preaching, appeared, on the contrary, to improve. Mrs.
Abbott, in her last letter to a friend, says,--

"You are aware that I went to take care of Mr. Abbott; but, strange to
say, he became nurse, and I and the children patients, for a good part of
the time." After giving an account of the very interesting meetings at
Ong Khyoung, and then of the distressing illness of the children, she
remarks of herself, "I am but just able to drag about, though I have no
disease in particular. Ascending a short flight of stairs puts me so out
of breath, that it is with difficulty that I can speak for a quarter of
an hour afterwards."

At this time little did any one think that the faithful, loving woman
would be the first to die. But let the stricken husband tell the story.
Bassein Karens at least will be thankful to read the smallest details;
for this was a part of the great price paid for their reclamation to
Christ.

SANDOWAY, Feb. 7, 1845.
Rev. S. PECK, D.D., _Corresponding Secretary._

_Reverend and dear Sir_,--Mrs. Abbott is no more! She expired on the
evening of the 27th ult., after a painful illness of four days. Death has
again entered my household; and, through the mysterious dispensations of
God, the Arakan mission is again clad in mourning. May these repeated
afflictions become the blessed instrumentalities of our entire
sanctification, and be overruled to the promotion of the glorious cause
in which so many faithful laborers are sacrificing their lives!

As a few particulars respecting the last illness of Mrs. Abbott may be
desirable, I give a hasty sketch. In November we left Sandoway to visit
the Karen villages down the coast. We had a government vessel with
excellent accommodations. As my health was bad, and Mrs. Abbott feared I
might die in the jungles, she insisted on accompanying me. We went down
to Great Plains, calling at the villages on the coast; and, on our
return, spent a month at Ong Khyoung, in a small house which the Karens
had built on the beach for our reception. While there, Mrs. Abbott had an
attack of jungle-fever, from which she recovered in a few days; and on
our arrival at Sandoway, Jan. 19, she was as well as usual, expecting her
confinement in five or six weeks. On the 24th, five days after our
return, she had another attack of the same fever, during the first
paroxysm of which she vomited violently, which caused her the most
excruciating, indescribable pain at the heart. She said the pain was such
as she had hitherto had no conception of, and that it produced a dreadful
sensation,--a kind of breaking-up of the very fountain of life. She soon
began to breathe with the utmost difficulty, every breath causing intense
pain. It was evident that some of the vital organs had suffered a fatal
injury. The painful gasping for breath continued through the day, with
fever; and at evening she gave birth to a son. We then hoped that the
fearful symptoms would abate, but not in the least. During the three
succeeding days she suffered indescribable agony: her groans and cries,
at every breath, could be heard at a long distance from the house. Fever
continued, and a thirst that was impossible to quench. Nature could
endure no longer; and, on the evening of the 27th, she fell asleep. Her
sanctified spirit, emancipated, winged its way to the world of light and
glory...Who, for one moment, would detain a child of God in this
dark world, away from the beatific fruition of heaven, and the open
visions of the Godhead! I sorrow not for the dead.

Mrs. Abbott said but little during her illness: indeed, except at short
intervals, she could not utter a word. She was conscious that the time of
her departure had come, was perfectly resigned, and, consequently,
perfectly happy. She bore her dreadful sufferings with all that calm
fortitude which was so prominent in her character, and which bore her up
during so many years of privation, suffering, and toil. The infant is
still alive, but is a poor, feeble creature...

My own health was better. During November and December, while at sea and
in Ong Khyoung, I improved rapidly. I regained the use of my voice to a
good degree; so that during the association of native preachers I
preached all the time, day and night, for several days, and do not think
it hurt me at all. Since my return, before and since Mrs. Abbott's death,
I have been rather going down again. Am now using Jayne's Expectorant,
and awaiting results. The gentlemen here say they never expected to see
me return from my trip to the jungle. I really do not see cause for great
alarm, and think that a sea-voyage of a few months, so far as human means
are concerned, would bring me up again. But I cannot leave my children...I
intend to go to Kyouk Pyoo, and see what the change and sea-air
will effect. And then, indeed, what then? What can I do among the Karens,
two hundred miles away on the hills, with my small family to nurse, and
with my health? I must come to some conclusion soon. If I live, will
write again from Kyouk Pyoo.

I have much to write to the Board. All my notes of the association at Ong
Khyoung are in pencil, and no one can decipher them but myself. The
events at that meeting and others give those solid grounds for
encouragement which we all so much desire to see. All are to me of the
most interesting character; but when I shall be able to give them to you,
it is impossible to say. Where is brother Kincaid? I trust the Board will
hear that distressing call from Ramree, and not detain him in America
longer than is necessary...

Ever yours in the bonds of the gospel, E. L. ABBOTT.

Mr. Abbott's account of the most interesting meetings at Ong Khyoung was,
we believe, never written. He also speaks in a previous letter of having
in hand Myat Kyau's journal of the great mission to Burma, which he
intended to translate for the Board. His time and strength, however, were
not sufficient; and hence the particulars of that "triumphal tour," as it
was called, will never be known by us upon earth. To what villages those
fifteen hundred and fifty believers which he baptized belonged, what the
history of their conversion and of the persecutions they had undergone,
what the thousand scenes of thrilling interest in which this lowly man of
God doubtless mingled, neither we may know, nor those more deeply
interested, the descendants of those earliest Bassein converts. For two
long years and more those poor sheep must be left alone in the
wilderness, exposed to a thousand enemies, but safe with God for their
protector.

Leaving the desolate home and the graves in Sandoway on the 26th of
February, Mr. Abbott arrived in Kyouk Pyoo with his motherless children
March 2. The poor infant died just after their arrival. The eldest boy,
of seven, was very ill; and the physician said that the only hope of his
life was in a sea-voyage. The missionary accordingly took passage for
Calcutta, arriving on the 24th. From thence he secured passage in the
first ship that offered, the _Clifton_, bound for London. He had but
three days in which to prepare an outfit for himself and children; but he
found time to write to the secretary:--

"I am miserable--cough, cough. Still, I do not think that I have
consumption...I left Arakan with a sad heart. The Karens are so
dependent. Brother Stilson has agreed to meet with the association at Ong
Khyoung in January, 1846...If the Board have not sent me a
colleague, I suppose they will wait till my arrival...As life is
uncertain, this may be my last to the Board. Send a man to Sandoway...Christ
is my only hope; and oh, how rich is his grace to such a poor sinner as I!"

Writing from Cape Town on the 23d of June, he says that his pulmonary
symptoms had been really alarming, and, another disease setting in, left
him doubtful, at one time, of living to reach England. The children were
both still feeble. He hopes, if possible, to reach home and set out again
on his return before winter, so as to reach Arakan, and "look after those
twenty-six churches and their pastors before the rains of the coming
summer." London was reached Sept. 17, all in improved health. "Were it
not for my motherless children," he writes, "I would now set my face
towards the Karen jungles, without a moment's hesitation." The people of
his adoption were dearer to him than friends and native country. He
landed in New York Nov. 14, just in time for the special meeting of the
old Convention, which resulted in the formation of the new "Missionary
Union." His remarks on that occasion, as well as those of the venerable
Dr. Judson, are said to have been listened to with profound interest.

An excellent home for the children was found with an aunt in Fulton,
N.Y.; and Mr. Abbott gave himself, even beyond his strength, to
developing a missionary spirit among the churches. His labors were
excessive, and his prostration at times was great. The effect of his
visits and eloquent addresses was unusually deep and permanent. In
Philadelphia he says, "Our meetings, night after night, resemble the best
hours of the convention at New York." But, in the midst of his success,
his throat became so much affected that he could only speak in a low
voice. May 26, 1846, he is resting at Williamsburg, L.I., unable to
attend public meetings in Boston. He was then intending to start, in five
or six days, for Vermont, to attend "Brother Beecher's ordination." He
was still determined to return to Sandoway at the earliest day possible.
Rev. Mr. Beecher, under appointment to Sandoway, sailed with Dr. Judson
and others for Maulmain, _via_ the Cape, July 11, 1846. Unable to go with
this party, Abbott pleads most earnestly to be sent overland, Sept. 1, so
as to reach Calcutta by the 1st of December:--

"A missionary is standing at the door of the Mission Rooms, begging that
he may be sent out to India by the mail-route, in order that he may be
there in time to secure a year's labor among some thirty native churches,
of more than four thousand members, with their pastors, who are without a
guide and counsellor in their weakness and ignorance; among whom Catholic
priests are making desperate efforts to seduce them from their faith, and
to subject them to the Romish ritual. And this is the only missionary to
those churches, and the mail-route the only way to secure that year's
labor and influence. Look at it a moment! The Board will never be called
upon to deliberate on another such case, never; so that the precedent
will be harmless."

But all his appeals were in vain. Owing to the precarious state of his
health and to financial reasons, the Board did not deem it wise to send
him out that year. Deeply disappointed, the missionary submits with
Christian resignation.

Meanwhile, what of the Lord's little ones in Bassein? We have every
reason to believe that the work went on, perhaps with undiminished power;
but no connected account can be given of the welfare or progress of the
Christians. Mr. Stilson probably failed to reach the association in Ong
Khyoung at the beginning of 1846. We know that some communication was had
with the Sandoway and Bassein assistants: for the Arakan mission accounts
show Rs. 510, paid to 34 Karen assistants, and Rs. 884. paid to 10 Burman
assistants,[1] for the year 1845; Rs. 233 paid to Karens, and Rs. 880
paid to Burmans, for the year 1846; and Rs. 169 paid to Karens, and Rs.
843 paid to Burmans, for the year 1847. This year, also, the Akyab
treasurer credits the Missionary Union with a "donation from the Karen
disciples of Bassein," Rs. 36-12 in Burman silver, which exchanged for
Rs. 29-8 in English money.

{ Footnote: [1] To get the full force of these figures, it should be
observed, that, notwithstanding the liberal expenditure of money, lives,
and earnest, prayerful labor on the Burman Missions in Arakan, no
permanent Christian communities were established. The small churches
formed in Akyab, Ramree and Kyouk Pyoo long since lost their visibility.}


In 1846 Mr. Ingalls visited Sandoway, but we have no account of his
reaching the Karen villages. Most of the communication was kept up,
probably, by the Karens themselves making the long journey up the coast,
from Sandoway to Akyab. We have met a few Karens, who, as lads, attended
the mission-school in the latter town. Myat Kyau reported the baptism of
a hundred and fifty Karens in one tour in 1845; still later, the baptism
of six hundred not previously reported is announced. In 1846 either Myat
Kyau or Tway Po passed over into Rangoon, and baptized a large number.
Miss M. Vinton writes from Maulmain, April 3, as follows:--

"I have heard one item of intelligence which cannot fail to interest you.
A large company of Karens arrived to-day from Rangoon, saying that one of
the ordained preachers from Sandoway came over last month, and baptized
three hundred and seventy-two Karens at one time, who had long been
worshippers of the true God, and waiting for the ordinance. We have cause
for rejoicing, and, at the same time, for weeping: for rejoicing, in that
the converts to the truth are being multiplied; and for weeping, that
there are so few to watch over and teach them the way of God more
perfectly. May God teach them by his Spirit, and shield them from
temptation! The number of Karens baptized within the present year, in the
regions of Sandoway, Rangoon, Tavoy, Mergui, and Maulmain, is about
twelve hundred."

Still later in the year Mr. Ingalls writes from Akyab of the proselyting
efforts of the Roman Catholics:--

"I am much concerned for Sandoway, especially if brother Abbott does not
return. Several Karens are now in school here, who arrived since I last
wrote you. They say that the gospel is now spreading far and wide among
the Karens in Burma. The two pastors were going in every direction, and
baptizing. The Karens at Shwaydoung, near Prome, are receiving the truth.
The Catholics from Bassein are making efforts to seduce the disciples. I
will translate what the Karen letter says on the subject:--'I will inform
you of the state of the Karen churches in Burma. A very great sickness
prevails. Those that die, die; those who are sick, are sick. The number
of deaths is from fifty to sixty. We do not feel concern on that account,
but on another. The Catholics have entered Bassein. The Romish priests
are wolves, and desire to devour the sheep; for when they find a dead
one, i.e., one who has been turned out of the church, they seize him in a
moment, and run off with him; for which reason, we know them to be
wolves.[1] The preachers of the gospel are those who take care of the
sheep: nevertheless, if those who are wolves get in, there is no stopping
them; and, if the wolves can get in, as many as can will get in. Now, if
there are not those who will carefully watch the fold, there is reason to
fear all will be destroyed. The sheep are now being devoured. The wolves'
words are, "The shepherd should live with the sheep." (This is said by
the priests with reference to missionaries who have left their flocks, or
are afraid to live in Burma.) 'These reproaches,' says the writer, 'we
now have to bear; and the churches are like the stars, which cannot shine
in the rainy season, or candles covered by a bushel. Wherefore, O
teachers! pity the churches in the East, and pray much for us. O
teachers! by exhibiting compassion, exalt God. We have no refuge in
ourselves: God alone has strength.' Thus does this young disciple make
his urgent appeal. They dread the Catholics: some have gone over, and
others may follow."

{ Footnote: [1] The one celebrated case in Bassein, which justifies the
imputation conveyed in the Karen letter above, is that of the preacher Ko
Dau, who was baptized by Mr. Abbott among the first, and employed by him
for a time as an assistant. He was afterwards convicted of fornication,
and excluded. He then went over to the Romanists, with a considerable
number of his relatives; and there they and their descendants have ever
since remained. There was another preacher, Tongoo, or Too-oo, one of the
earliest converts, employed by Mr. Abbott for a number of years, who was
often admonished and finally disciplined, for beating his wife, and
covetousness. At last he fell sick, and finding it difficult, our
informants say, to support his family, went over to the Roman Catholics,
who had the reputation at that time of being liberal under such
circumstances. His wife and children went over with him; but, after his
death, they returned to their old faith.

It is due to the missionaries of that ancient church, as well as to
ourselves, to say, that, during the last twelve years, so far as the
author is aware, there have been few or no attempts at proselyting by
either side. The Karen Christians as a rule are firmly attached to their
respective teachers; and, in the case of the Baptists at least, the more
intelligent they become, the more attached they are to the principles of
their faith. }

Writing from Akyab, Sept. 13, 1846, Mr. Ingalls says,--

"Two Karens who had attended school here from Bassein have returned home;
and I have written to the destitute disciples that a teacher is on his
way, and that I will endeavor to meet them at their general meeting in
January. But how I can make such a tour I know not. The Lord may open a
way for me."

Early in 1847 he reports "thirty-two hundred and forty members of
churches connected with twenty-nine out-stations; Ko Myat Kyau and Ko
Dway [Tway Po], baptized eight hundred and twelve in 1846, including one
Burman; and fourteen hundred and twenty-seven are waiting for admission
to the churches. There are five other stations from which no returns were
made; at one of them, a church of some fifty members." And thus grew the
"Stone cut out without hands," which shall yet become a great mountain,
and fill the whole land.



CHAPTER VI.
1848, 1849.


"The Church must send her ablest, most highly educated, and best men to
the heathen; for the work in the foreign field is more difficult than at
home."--GRAUL.


IN May, 1847, Mr. Abbott delivered "a most affecting address" at the
annual meeting in Cincinnati, and was at last permitted to take passage
by steamer on the 16th of August for Arakan, _via_ England and Egypt. He
returned to his work alone; for he contemplated an early settlement among
the Karen villages in Burma Proper, and it did not seem to him that it
would be right for him to subject one of his countrywomen to the
hardships, the loneliness, and the risks of such a situation. The cost of
travelling by the "overland" route was then about three times what it is
at present by "canal steamers;" but, in his case, the greater expense was
the truest economy. Reaching Calcutta as he did on the 4th of November,
he was in good time to do a cold season's work among his beloved Karens.
Writing to the secretary from Calcutta on the 6th, he says,--

"I am again permitted to renew my correspondence with you from a heathen
land. How different are my relations to the world now from what they were
in April, 1845, as I sat in this room, by this table, and wrote my last
letter to the Board, announcing my departure for my native land! Then by
my side were two puny little creatures, dependent for guidance and
protection on a feeble father, who was looking to the grave for healing,
while they might have to traverse wide oceans alone to find some one to
take their father's place...Since that day, through what varied
scenes have I passed, especially in my native land! 'Yes, my native land,
I love thee,'--I love those churches and ministers of Christ in whose
cordial welcome I detected that deep interest in the cause of missions
which I received as a pledge, not only of future support, but also of the
final triumph of the missionary enterprise. My native land! What a crowd
of images are flashing across my soul! 'My boys,' too, are there."

He writes that on the voyage across the Atlantic, and in England, he had
a severe attack of pleurisy, which ended in inflammation of the lungs and
a troublesome cough. He insisted on embarking for India, an invalid,
contrary to the advice of his physician and friends in London. He was
warned that he might live to reach Egypt, but could never cross the
desert alive. His own opinion proved correct. The trying ride of
twenty-six hours from Alexandria to the steamer at Suez seemed to
refresh, rather than enfeeble him; and he reached Calcutta in what he
calls "a good state of health." He adds, "I am here in good time. A
steamer leaves for Arakan in three days, in which I embark. Brother
Ingalls heard of my coming by last mail; and the sound has gone out ere
this through the Karen jungles, so that their gaze 'towards the setting
sun' for their teacher will become more and more intense."

[ Illustration--PORTRAIT OF REV. J. S. BEECHER ]

Rev. J. S. Beecher and wife arrived in Sandoway soon after Mr. Abbott,
and just in season to accompany him on his first trip down the coast to
Ong Khyoung. As Mr. Beecher will, from this point, hold a place of
increasing importance in the narrative, a word of introduction is in
order. A native of the Green-mountain State, John Sidney Beecher, like
his senior, Abbott, was from Hamilton, that prolific mother of
missionaries. Abbott, the father of the Bassein mission, the compiler of
this volume never saw; but he counts a personal acquaintance with Beecher
as one of the pleasantest memories of his missionary life. In 1866 he was
tall and erect in person, rather spare, with a long beard and a piercing
eye, evidently a man of affairs and accustomed to respect. There was,
perhaps, a trace of austerity in his manner, but one soon discovered that
his spirit was kind and true. He impressed the young missionary, then
connected with the Seminary at Rangoon, as not a man of many words, but
as a manly man, a man of convictions, and a man of Christian honor. From
his arrival in Maulmain, Dec. 5, 1846, he had applied himself to the
study of Karen. During the next rains he had given some assistance in the
boarding-school of that station, teaching a class, and beginning to
preach a little in the barbarous tongue which was to be the chief medium
of his future labors. When he shall finally be called upon, by the
prostration and departure of his distinguished predecessor and associate,
to take up and carry forward the work in Bassein, he will be found well
fitted, by his training, by his original powers, and by divine grace, for
the heaviest of tasks.[1]

{ Footnote: [1] Rev. G. W. Anderson, D.D., a classmate of Mr. Beecher's,
narrates the striking providence which sent him to Burma. Mr. Beecher was
the president of the "Western Association," so called, and pledged, it
was supposed, to home-mission work. Mr. Abbott had come to Hamilton in
search of an associate. He had applied to Mr. Beecher, and must have a
reply on the Saturday evening prior to his departure.

"About two, P.M., brother Beecher came to my room in great perplexity. 'I
have never once thought of going to the Eastern field. I cannot decide to
go without consulting Miss----, and I have not the slightest idea as to
her views on the subject.' I suggested writing to her, but she was in
Chicago, and it would take more than a week to get her answer. Finally he
thought of a lady, a friend of his _fiancée_, who might have heard
something that would help him to a just view of her feelings. He left
very soon, and returned in about half an hour.

"'Did you see Miss----?' I inquired.--'No, I did not go there,' was his
reply. 'Just look at this.' He then showed me a letter which he had just
received from the lady in Chicago,--a letter which had come at an unusual
time and by an unusual route. She had been invited by Miss Lyon, of Mount
Holyoke Seminary, to assist her in teaching for a few weeks. Against
opposing circumstances she had finally decided to go, and added to her
letter these words substantially: 'I think we ought always to go where
duty calls; and, if at any time you should come to think it your duty to
go to an Eastern field, I should lay no difficulty in your way.'

"'There, Anderson,' he said, 'what do you think of that?'--'I think you
have precisely the answer you wanted; and I think you may justly say,
'This is the finger of God.'

"That evening he called on Brother Abbott, and consented to go to Arakan.
His decision was a surprise to many of his classmates and friends, but he
never wavered. They could see that in choosing, he chose; and there he
stood. He was ready for any work that the Lord had for him to do,--to
break up all his old plans if the Lord pointed him to a new course. I
think that he judged and decided aright." }

Unlike in many respects, so unlike, indeed, that perfect sympathy and
accord were almost impossible between them, they yet attained substantial
unanimity in their views as to the main lines of mission policy. Abbott's
remarkable prescience and power are manifested especially in this: that
he gave such shape to the work that for forty years the mission, passing
through half a dozen different hands, never lost the impress he gave it,
nor suffered a single break in its continuity. To this fact is to be
attributed, under God, the rare success which has attended the work in
Bassein. There has been no tearing down and attempted reconstruction of
foundations and walls already well laid by those who wrought before; and
thus much of the deplorable loss incident, and sometimes necessary no
doubt, to the work in other missions has been avoided.

Under date of Sandoway, Feb. 12, 1848, Mr. Abbott gives the following
account of the meeting at Ong Khyoung and the information there
gathered:--

"We have just returned from a tour of six weeks. I had previously sent a
circular to Bassein, fixing a day when I would meet the preachers at Ong
Khyoung; but sufficient time had not elapsed to allow the most distant to
reach the place in season, so that but twelve of them had assembled on
our arrival. When I found myself standing among that group of Karen
brethren, and witnessed their intense joy at seeing me again, I forgot,
for a while, the sacrifices, the hazards and misgivings, of the past; and
we rejoiced together, and offered to the Lord a song of grateful praise.

"I was highly gratified at the indications of stability and improvement
which the village gave. The pastor, Tway Po, has more than fulfilled my
most sanguine expectations. He has won a fair, high character, and
acquired a commanding influence, which in meekness and love he
consecrates unreservedly to the cause of truth. During my absence he
baptized six hundred, making about sixteen hundred since his ordination.
Over the churches thus established, he has appointed 'elders;' and in no
case have I seen reason to question the wisdom of his course. He is about
to remove from Ong Khyoung to a new village, farther south, where he
hopes to build up another large church.

"Myat Kyau, the other ordained pastor, has baptized five hundred and
fifty since I left, mostly in Burma. He has formed them into churches,
and appointed a preacher in each. He is to succeed Tway Po at Ong
Khyoung. He is different from Tway Po,--is terribly severe in his
denunciations of the wicked. Of an indomitable will, he pursues his own
course, irrespective of friends or foes, and is liable to make enemies.
Tway Po is the mild and lovely John, and has not an enemy in the world.
Both are excellent men in their way, and I have never regretted that I
ordained them.

"Of the twenty-four preachers that I left, two have died, and one has
been suspended. In the death of one of the two, Hton Byu (see pp. 21, 36,
38, 41, 53), the Karens have suffered a great loss, and I have been
deeply afflicted. I picked him up in Rangoon, in 1837, a wild,
mischievous boy from the jungles. He soon, with a few others, became a
pet in my family, then a brilliant scholar, and a lovely Christian. While
at Rangoon he was imprisoned for studying 'the white book,' but was
allowed to go out every morning, under guard, to beg rice for the day,
dragging on his ankles a pair of heavy iron fetters. I recollect meeting
him once while thus begging. The guard cast a scornful glance at me, as
though he would say, 'Speak at your peril.' Hton Byu, as we were passing,
turned towards me his beautiful, laughing eyes, as though he wished to
say, 'Never mind, teacher.' He accompanied us to Arakan, and was finally
appointed a preacher, and had the care of a very large church near
Bassein. He was the best educated, and the most talented, of our native
preachers. He had just married a young and lovely wife, and we were
discussing the question of his ordination when I left the country; but he
is dead.

"Min Gyau, the other deceased preacher, was a young man of fair promise,
and the pastor of a large church in Burma. When I think of those beloved
disciples and faithful preachers who have died, and of the high hopes
which they had awakened, my heart bleeds afresh; and I have but to turn
my head, and look out of my window upon the rude little monument beside a
larger pile of bricks, to see the emblems of death's handiwork [in my own
family]. Yea, the last mail brought a letter with a black seal from
America, saying, 'Your old and dear friend, P. B. Peck,[1] is no more.'
We had been like David and Jonathan from infancy to the day I sailed for
Burma. O Death! how deadly and cruel are thy darts! Go on: the day of thy
doom, though delayed, will come.

{ Footnote: [1] Rev. Philetus B. Peck, eldest son of Rev. John Peck, and
for a long time pastor at Owego, N.Y. }

"The remaining twenty native preachers have continued steadfast and
immovable, abounding in the work of the Lord. All these are tried men,
appointed before I left for America; and most of them are pastors of
churches in Burma. In many cases they have suffered during my absence, as
they do not feel at liberty to engage in any secular employment.
Moreover, I am sorry to be obliged to say that our appropriations are not
sufficient to enable us to relieve their wants.

"Sixteen others, appointed by the ordained pastors, have each the care of
a church and congregation by which they are sustained. They were
appointed provisionally, to supply an immediate demand, but to wait the
final decision of the missionary. They are all to leave their churches
and study with us during the coming rains, and will, we hope, prove
themselves worthy of recognition as preachers.

"Thus there are thirty-six preachers, besides the ordained pastors, to be
counselled and guided, to be watched and prayed over, to awaken our
anxieties and multiply our cares and labors, and to add to the expense of
the mission. They have under their charge nearly five thousand
church-members. (More than that number have been baptized west of Rangoon
since 1837.) The two ordained pastors and eight of the thirty-six, with
about a thousand of the converts, are in this province. The other
twenty-eight preachers, with four thousand converts, are in Burma,
between the Arakan mountains and Rangoon. The churches number from twenty
to two hundred and fifty members each; and in many of those in Burma
there are large numbers of candidates for baptism.

"Moreover, there are in Burma, away to the north of Bassein and Pantanau,
at least eight destitute districts, where twelve hundred converts are
waiting for baptism;[1] and for these eight districts, pastors are
demanded immediately. A large number of school-teachers will be required,
all of whom must be educated by us at considerable expense; and all the
pastors must, of course, study with us before receiving a regular
appointment. Will the churches of our native land supply the wants of
these churches? is a question which we ask ourselves with anxiety. Shall
we be sustained in the toilsome work of educating the pastors,
school-teachers, and the young men of these churches? Many of the pastors
will be located where the people cannot [fully] sustain them, increasing
the demands upon the funds of the mission.

{ Footnote: [1] Undoubtedly in the region since occupied by the Henthada
mission. Rev. B. C. Thomas writes in February, 1856: "On reaching
Henthada, fifteen months ago, we thought we had come to a region where
the gospel had not been preached; but we were mistaken. Karen evangelists
had long since gone through both the Henthada and Tharrawaddi districts.
Many of the assistants and private Christians of Bassein and Rangoon had
yearly visited these districts. They had gone even to Prome, urging their
relatives and others to accept the gospel. But the message was unheeded,
[?] except in the south about Donabew, where some four hundred had become
Christians in the days of Burman rule. There were a few also baptized at
the same time near Prome. Hence we found that we had come to a region
whose inhabitants had long rejected the gospel, while many of their
brethren, both north and south, had accepted it with joy." Is it not more
probable, that, at the time of Abbott's writing, the Karens of Henthada
were really ready to welcome the good news of salvation; but, neglected
then, or debarred by circumstances from the privileges which they
coveted, they grew cold and hard, so that when Thomas arrived, eight
years later, they had lost their desire? }

"A few days since a Catholic priest made his appearance in Sandoway. He
was formerly in Ava, and recently in Rangoon and Maulmain. He understands
the Karen language well, and came around here to act in concert with his
friend in Bassein, in attempting to seduce the Karen Christians from us.
He had heard of my leaving the country, but not of my return, and
supposed he would find the Christians without a counsellor. He is now
going about among them, using the plausible misrepresentations which are
characteristic of his order; but he is met and vanquished by the simple
word of God. Half a dozen, only, from the multitudes of Christians in
Bassein, have been seduced by them; and they had either been
excommunicated, or were of doubtful character.

"My recent tour was made in company with Mr. and Mrs. Beecher. A good
many were baptized, and our visits among the churches were full of
interest to us all. The details will be given by Mr. Beecher. We are now
repairing our dilapidated buildings, preparatory to the boarding-school
during the rains. The great object I had proposed to myself while in
America, with such solicitude, is accomplished. Thanks be to God! And I
have but to glance back a little to mark signal Divine interpositions in
rescuing me from the border of the grave, and in bearing me on through
dangers and sufferings to the present moment...Now I am more at
ease. I have Mr. and Mrs. Beecher at my side, whose knowledge of the
language will soon enable them to prosecute their labors with
facility--good friends, desirable companions, and faithful
fellow-laborers."

In a postscript he adds:--

"My health is really quite good, although I still suffer from the effects
of the attack which I had before I left Boston and in England. I was
enabled, while among the churches, to preach two or three times a day,
but not without some suffering. At home I should have been an invalid. I
have a recipe for sore throats:--Preach fourteen times a week in the open
air, and continue your sermons till midnight if you like."

As the mission-house left by Mr. Abbott early in 1845 had gone without
re-roofing for three rains, it was in a state of utter decay. Some of the
posts were still serviceable, but nearly every thing else must be
renewed. In rebuilding, and making the house barely sufficient for two
families, the usual economy of this mission was practised. It may amaze
this more prodigal generation to learn that eight hundred rupees only
were expended for this purpose. For chapel, schoolroom, dormitories, and
outhouses, of a temporary character, but sufficient to accommodate a
school of sixty boarders, three hundred rupees only of mission money were
used.

March 21 Mr. Beecher was attending to the work of building, and also
giving "a little attention to a very promising class of young men in
arithmetic. If there is one station," he writes, "that has been more
abundantly blessed, that is more promising, and more worthy of ample
support, than any other, that station is Sandoway...We very much
need a young man like brother----[a first-rate teacher]. He would be,
perhaps, more useful than a first-rate preacher." Thus early did Mr.
Beecher put on record his conviction of the need of greater facilities
for education among the thousands of Bassein converts. Most
unfortunately, his appeals, as well as those of his associates and the
Karens themselves, brought little or no response for many years from the
unresponsive West. April 20 Mr. Beecher writes again:--

"The Pwo Karens are renewing their request for books, and a teacher to
preach to them in their own language. If Maulmain needs four Karen
mission families, Sandoway needs eight, even upon the supposition that
our preachers shall, in the future, be educated chiefly at Maulmain. They
are needed, not so much for preaching in person, as for preparing young
men for the theological school, and for preparing others to go throughout
Arakan and Bassein, teaching the children of the thousands of converts
who are now asking for education with an eagerness that excels any thing
I ever knew in our native land. There are now only three or four young
men who are at all qualified for teaching. They have done well, but they
say that their pupils now know as much as themselves; and, with renewed
zeal, they are asking for more instruction. With a little more
instruction these men would rank among our best preachers, and they
cannot much longer be spared from their appropriate sphere of labor...The
old proverb, 'If parents do not educate their children, the devil
will,' is applicable in this case. If the Board neglects to educate the
children which God has given them in Arakan, we must expect that somebody
else will, and who so likely to do it as the emissaries of Rome?"

June 17 he writes again to the secretary, in the vigorous, inquisitive
style which young missionaries sometimes indulge in:--

"Will you kindly inform me as to the _principles_ upon which the annual
appropriations are made to the several missions and departments of
missions? While there are six thousand Sgau disciples for one invalid
fellow-laborer and myself to watch over and educate, and as many
thousands more of Pwos, who are ready to upbraid us for not teaching them
the religion of Jesus, instead of praying that 'a wide and effectual
door' may be opened to us, please pray the Lord, and pray the churches,
that more laborers may be _speedily_ sent to this field. Our
boarding-school now numbers sixty-six. It does not number five hundred
because we strictly charged them not to come this year. But next year!
May the Great Teacher incline more teachers to come, and the churches and
the committee to send them! There is a deeply interesting state of
feeling among the Pwos, in the region of Bassein, and an alarming action
of the Jesuits among them. [Most of the strength of the Roman-Catholic
Karen mission in Bassein to-day is among that branch of the Karen
people.--ED.] Brother Abbott's health is such that he lectures two or
three times a day."

The school was dismissed Aug. 8, to the great regret of the pupils and
their teachers. Mr. Beecher again pleads the necessity of educational
work, and for the pittance needful to maintain at least a normal class
for eight or nine months in the year. The average attendance for the
entire term of six months was thirty-four. A considerable number returned
to teach what they had learned, in their own distant villages. Mainly as
a matter of historical interest to the Karens, we give here a list of the
assistants recognized, and, to a small extent, aided, by the mission, as
written by Mr. Beecher at Ong Khyoung in December, 1847. We also add the
villages to which they belonged, so far as we have been able to ascertain
them:--

"_Old Assistants._--Rev. Tway Po; Rev. Myat Kyau; Mau Yay, Kyootoo; Sau
Bo, Lehkoo; Wah Dee, Great Plains; Bogalo, Sinmah (afterwards near Kaukau
Pgah); Shway Bo, Meethwaydike; Nahyah, Kyootah; Nahkee, Pantanau; Ong
Sah, Win-k'bah; Myat Oung, Hseat Thah; Sah Gay, Great Plains; Sau Ng'Too,
Kweng Yah; Poonyat, Kyoukadin (afterwards Lehkoo); Sah Meh, Henthada;
Shway Pan.

"_New Assistants._--Moung Bo, Mohgoo; Thway Pau (excluded); Myat Keh,
Kohsoo; Mohlok, Too-p'loo and Layloo; Tway Gyau, Kangyee and Thahbubau;
Shangalay, Tholee; Kyau Too, Naupeheh; Sau Kway, P'nahtheng; Shway Oo;
Theh Kyoo, a Pwo pastor; Kroodee, Buffalo, Tindah; Shway Bwin,
school-teacher; Shway Too, school-teacher; Tohlo, school-teacher, Ong
Khyoung and Naupeheh; Shway Bau, Aumah, Nyomau; Shway Bay; Thah Gay, the
martyr, Kyah-eng-gon; Tau Lau, Pwo; Shway Meh, Khyoungthah, Hohlot;
Shahshu, Mohgoo. Total, 36."

The amount paid to these men for the year 1848 by Mr. Abbott was Rs. 223.
Mr. Beecher also received and used Rs. 428-11, a part of which may have
been spent upon the school. In the accounts of the Arakan mission for
this year, we find Rs. 63 credited to the society as a donation from
Karens, by E. L. Abbott. The Burman assistants, ten in number, received
Rs. 767-8 for the same period. Mr. Abbott, writing July 30, says,--

"_We are endeavoring to educate our churches to support their own
pastors._ Those which are not able to do so, we aid. But we have had it
thrown in our faces by one or two 'cross-grained' native preachers, 'Why
do you not give us as much as they give their native preachers in
Maulmain?' More of this hereafter."

In order to come to an understanding with his brethren on this subject of
vital importance, and also to familiarize himself somewhat with the
system of schools in Maulmain, Mr. Abbott made a journey to that city in
September. After his return he gave to the executive committee his views
at length on the subject of education. He set forth powerfully the need
of training a large number of jungle school-teachers, the need of
thorough English education for a select class of Karens, who should begin
the study in early youth. He also indorsed strongly Dr. Binney's methods
of theological instruction, and Mrs. Binney's normal school. Of this
visit, and of Mr. Abbott's power over a Karen audience, Mrs. Binney gives
a charming picture, which we quote from the "Missionary Magazine" for
August, 1874:--

"We met Mr. Abbott only twice. The first time was in 1848, soon after his
return from America. He came to Maulmain to make the acquaintance of Mr.
Binney and of the theological school. He had urged upon the Board the
importance of this work, and he came to encourage its leader. He spent
two weeks with us, and learned well the workings of both the theological
and normal schools. He was to us, in our solitude, almost as an angel
strengthening us. The Vintons were in America; and we were with Miss
Vinton at a new and isolated station, teaching the very elements of
knowledge during the rains, and, during the dry season, visiting the
churches in the jungle. The Karen language, though sufficiently familiar
to enable us to use it fluently, was yet too new to us to be other than a
foreign tongue. Mr. Abbott had been eight years longer in Burma. He knew
the people as well as their language. I was accustomed to listen to good,
instructive preaching in Karen, but had supposed that the language
itself, perhaps, did not admit of that thrilling eloquence by which I had
seen American audiences held as if spell-bound; and it was generally
supposed that Karens were apathetic, and not easily moved.

"Mr. Abbott gave us other and truer ideas of the power of the Karen
tongue to produce deep emotion, and of the susceptibility of the Karen
mind to receive such emotion. On the sabbath preceding the day of his
departure he preached his farewell sermon. He had asked if it would do to
preach in Maulmain the duty of self-support, and of carrying the gospel
to those still in ignorance of it, as he would do in Bassein. He was told
that these Christians needed the truth, and would listen to it, whatever
it might be. Besides the pupils of the theological school, there was a
large station-school of over one hundred mixed pupils of all ages, and
the normal school of about thirty promising youths. The Karens from all
parts of the district had heard of his visit, and he was a magnet which
drew them to him. For several days they came flocking in, till, on Sunday
morning, the largest chapel was too small for them. As he rose to speak,
his heart was too full for immediate utterance; but he soon obtained the
mastery, and brought before his hearers the most vivid panorama of their
past, present, and hoped-for future: their past heathenish darkness,
ignorance, oppression, sin; their present, the gospel light dawning upon
them; in British Burma, at least, freedom to worship the God of whom they
had learned; everywhere, the freedom which the gospel brings, and the
hopes which it inspires, and with it the privilege, if need be, of
suffering and dying for the love of Him, who, for our sakes, 'counted not
his own life dear unto himself.' He told them of the great boon now
offered of a special school for the training of preachers and teachers to
carry forward this work; then pictured before them their future, if they
were wise to know, and brave to perform, what the wonderful providence of
God now required. He pointed to the Karens rising from their filth and
degradation to the rank of an enlightened people, taking the lead in
evangelizing the tribes and peoples around them, and appearing like a
city on a hill, to which the people should gather. Finally, in view of
the whole, he pressed upon them, in detail, the sacrifices required, the
difficulties they would meet, the terrible consequences if they failed to
meet these responsibilities, and their record, if they truly acted in the
spirit of the Master who had called them to this service,--all in a
manner inimitable, perhaps unparalleled. At the close of a sermon of
nearly two hours, during which we 'took no note of time,' or of aught
else save the thrilling thoughts presented and the occasional sobs which
could not be wholly suppressed, he sat down entirely exhausted.

"We took him to the house and kept him quiet, but with difficulty; as the
Karens filled the verandas, eager to get a few last words before he left
them. We told them his state, and begged them to spare him. He arose the
next morning refreshed, took a slight breakfast, and started for his
boat, which was a mile or more down the river. He did not leave, however,
till he had spoken a few words to the Karens, prayed with them, and
shaken hands with every one of them, not overlooking the smallest child
before him. The road between the house and the street was too muddy for a
carriage to cross. When the Karens saw him preparing to walk to his
carriage, they rushed for a chair, seated him in it, wrapped his
old-fashioned cloak about him, and carried him, as if he had been a
prince, he waving his adieus till out of sight.

"Almost his last words to us were, that he was a happier man for what he
had seen, for the prospect of the glorious work among the Karens being
made permanent and aggressive by the educational system so happily
inaugurated in Maulmain. He repeatedly spoke of the pleasure it gave him
to see the cheerfulness which prevailed among us. He did not like
'missionaries to seem as if they had been whipped into the traces.' When
on his way to the boat he stopped to bid a mission family good-by, and
was asked if he thought his trip and visit had done him good. 'Good? Why!
I would have come all the way from Sandoway, in my little boat, in the
rains, just to hear----laugh. It has done me good every way.'

"The next time we met was in 1853, at Newton Centre, Mass. He had 'come
home to rest, probably to die.' He felt that his direct, personal work
among the Karens was done; but he urged our speedy return...We never
saw his face, now so pale and worn, again; but the mention of his name is
still like precious ointment poured forth, and his example has ever been
to us an inspiration." [1]

{ Footnote: [1] For a very interesting sketch from the same pen of
Kyautoo and wife, Bassein pupils in Dr. Binney's school at Maulmain, see
Missionary Magazine, 1848, pp. 107 sqq. The widow afterwards married Rev.
Oo Sah of Meethwaydike, where she exerted a strong influence for good
until her death a few years ago. }

It was believed at this time that the Burmese government, seeing the
folly of repressive measures which only drove from its borders a most
valuable class of subjects, was now ready to retrace its steps, and at
least allow religious liberty to the Karens. In fact, Mr. Abbott himself
had received more than one urgent invitation from Burman officials to go
and reside near Bassein. One of these invitations he fully purposed to
accept, early in 1849. Mr. Ingalls of Akyab was intending to join him in
the expedition ("Missionary Magazine," January, 1849, p. 22), but was
prevented. The Karens also who had left their ancient homes in Bassein to
settle in British Arakan were getting restless. Beecher writes, Jan.
17:--

"They are turning their thoughts, and not a few of them their steps,
towards the rising sun, and will not remain much longer in this sickly
and unproductive land, either for love or liberty."

Mr. Abbott left Sandoway to make his first attempt to enter Bassein, Nov.
21, 1848. Before returning, he attended the association at Ong Khyoung,
early in January. His account of the journey is as follows:--

"_Sandoway, Feb. 17, 1849._--I have recently returned from a long tour.
When I left, I hoped to be able to enter Burma. I had previously been
invited to come by the governor of Myoungmya, who had promised to allow
me to build a house and reside in his city. His district lies to the
south and east of Bassein, towards Rangoon; and he is entirely
independent of Bassein. The Karen Christians in his district, headed by
Shway Weing, had made such representations as to persuade him to give me
this permission. After twelve days at sea in a native boat, I entered the
Bassein River, and was stopped at a watch-station near the mouth,[1]
under the jurisdiction of the governor of Bassein, and was forbidden to
enter the country until _his_ permission could be obtained. I had hoped
to be able in some way to pass by that station and enter Myoungmya,
knowing that the governor of Bassein would oppose me; but I did not
succeed. I was detained five days, while the officers sent a despatch to
Bassein. As I feared, the answer came that I could not enter the country,
but, if I would remain at the station three months, the governor would
send to Ava, and learn the will of the king on the subject. The case has
been sent up to the king, I believe, not only by the governor of Bassein,
but by the governor of Myoungmya also, who is quite sure that he will
secure the royal permission. I do not expect to hear the result for
several weeks yet. If the Lord has need of me, he will set before me an
open door.

{ Footnote: [1] On Heingyee Island. If Mr. Abbott had had the help of a
good map, we believe that he could have avoided the jurisdiction of the
Bassein governor altogether, by entering Myoungmya directly from the sea,
through the mouth of a smaller river, a few miles to the eastward of the
Bassein. Shway Myat, who attended Mr. Abbott on this expedition, told me
that Shway Weing and other Christians met him at the island; that when
summoned to go to the irresponsible officer of the Burman guard, the
missionary took his double-barrelled gun on his shoulder, the consequence
being that he was treated very respectfully. Tohlo and Thahree also
accompanied him on the journey. }

"That the king has ordered all the governors to cease persecuting the
Karen Christians, I have no doubt. Since 1844, the year after the great
persecution and the year of the great emigration, the Christians have had
rest, and are encouraged by Burman officers to build chapels, and worship
God in their own way. The Christian communities are becoming so numerous
that they exert a powerful influence upon the Burmans. Burmans are being
converted and baptized by the pastors, uniting with Karen churches, and
many are coming under Christian influence. The thought has arisen in my
mind, whether the Lord will not convert Burma to Christianity by means of
the Karens. Oh, how I have longed to enter that country! But Heaven has
denied me the privilege. How different the scenes I should witness now
from what I witnessed on my first tour in that region, in 1837!...

"I have since visited the eight Arakan churches scattered along the coast
from Pagoda Point to Sandoway. I found many things to condemn, but more
to approve. The pastors are willing to listen to my advice and submit to
the control of truth. There are but few cases of discipline, less,
perhaps, than among the same number of churches in America. Additions are
being made by baptism. Day-schools are established in nearly every
village; and the people are increasing in knowledge, and walking in the
fear of the Lord.

"On the 10th of January we held our association at Ong Khyoung.
Thirty-five preachers were present from all parts west of Rangoon. There
has ever been to me more of intense interest connected with my
intercourse with those men than with any other relations of my missionary
life. I baptized them all. They have sat under my teachings month after
month, while I have watched them growing up from infancy of knowledge to
manhood in Christ. I have followed them as they have gone forth into
their wild jungles preaching the gospel; have seen churches built up
under their instructions, and thousands becoming obedient to the faith.
Upon two of their number I have ventured to lay my hands, and to
recognize them as bishops of the church of Christ. I have bowed with them
on the seashore, and commended them to the grace of God, ready to depart
for a distant land, wasted by disease; while each of us trembled under
the unuttered foreboding that in this world we should meet no more. I
have seen them again, standing firm like good soldiers of Jesus Christ,
converts multiplying around them as the drops of the morning, as pastors
of churches, magnifying their office and glorifying God. The affection we
entertained towards each other years ago has not abated. It will, I
trust, be perfected above and perpetuated through all eternity. Blessed
be the name of God forever!

"I shall not be able to give the details of our last meeting. It would be
impossible. Our statistics at the close of 1848 stand as follows:
churches, 36; members, 4,341 reported, in Bassein and Arakan; baptized
during the year, 373; native preachers, 44; scholars in day-schools, 421;
died, 72; excluded, 24. Twelve chapels are completed, and do honor to the
enterprise and spirit of the people. They are beautifully finished, and
accommodate several hundred worshippers each. There are reported, also,
5,124 unbaptized Christians, who maintain as religious a life as the
members of the church, only not baptized. Adding these and the nominal
Christians to the church-members, and we have a population of not less
than 12,000, who would bear comparison, as to moral character, with any
Christian population in the world, and all enjoying the means of grace.
The Executive Committee and the friends of missions will rejoice to hear
that but _six hundred rupees_[1] were expended on these pastors, native
preachers, and schools, during the year 1848.

{ Footnote: [1] Of course Rs. 600 from America is meant. The Karens
themselves must have given several times that amount in cash and its
equivalent. Abbott and Beecher had an appropriation that year of Rs.
1,500 for these very objects, of which they thought it wise to spend but
Rs. 600. If they had paid their unexcelled assistants Rs. 80 each, the
Maulmain Karen rate, they would have required Rs. 3,520 for preachers
alone; or, if they had paid them at the Maulmain Burman rate, nearly Rs.
8,000 would have been consumed before beginning on schools. They were
singular in their views, their assistants received a singular training at
their hands, and God honored them with singular success. }

"At our recent meeting the native preachers unanimously and cheerfully
gave up the relations they have hitherto sustained to the mission, and
are in future to rely entirely on their churches for support. _Native
pastors to be sustained by native churches_ is the great principle by
which they are to be governed. Churches are multiplying; and many are too
poor to sustain their teachers, in which case we shall give aid. Schools
also must be multiplied, so that the coming year will demand as much from
us as the past; but the system of supporting the native ministry will be
permanent. In this case the native brethren exhibited a spirit of
self-denial, of true devotion to the cause of Christ, which I have not
hitherto witnessed. Those men have made a noble sacrifice for the kingdom
of heaven's sake, and verily they will have their reward. I believe their
action is unparalleled in the history of modern missions."

Thirty-four years have elapsed since this stand was made. No backward
step has been taken, and already Abbott's prophecy has been fulfilled.
The Karen leaders have had the only reward they desired,--the steady
advancement of their people, and the rapid upbuilding of Christian
institutions among them on a firm, indigenous basis. Beecher, who was
present when the resolution was adopted, says, however, that the
preachers were not quite unanimous.[1] As a body they were noble men, and
cheerfully acceded to what their beloved leader asked of them; but it was
mainly Abbott's own principles and spirit infused into them, and his rare
power exercised over them, that did the work. A weaker man might have
failed. There have been fields equally promising in which the appointed
leaders have followed on in the old ruts, attempting nothing like this,
or, attempting, have failed through weakness. There have been yet other
fields in which the work was started right; but, falling into the control
of men whose wisdom and power were inadequate, they have lapsed into the
state of mercenary dependence which is here deprecated.[2]

{ Footnote: [1] This is the account he gives in an unpublished letter,
dated April 12, 1851: "One Myah Au (or Myat Oung) happening to stick out
his horns a little sooner and a good deal farther than the other
assistants, in the strife after regular pay, Mr. Abbott seized hold of
him, and thrashed the whole company over his back so effectually that the
poor fellow suddenly disappeared, and was not seen again by us for two
years. A few weeks afterwards, however, we learned that he was not
entirely annihilated; for Mr. Abbott received a letter from his church,
stating that they had received him again in good faith, finding no fault
with him. He ventured to appear cautiously at our last association,
bringing a request from his church that he might be received into favor
again, and the request was granted." Here again, Mr. Abbott did not
mistake his man. The same Myah Au was finally set aside from the ministry
in 1871, for forging an order for money in the missionary's hands
belonging to his daughter, who had earned it by years of service in an
English family, and had no thought of giving it into her father's
control.

[2] For the views of the elder Vinton on this subject, see Missionary
Magazine, October, 1846, p. 304. "We want no second-rate men...men
that love to work, and that _will_ work." For Professor Christlieb's
strong expressions on the same subject, see his Protestant Foreign
Missions, pp. 58, 138, and 238, English edition. }

But this is a digression. Mr. Abbott is now about to make a second
attempt to enter Bassein in April, the hottest month of the year, by a
more direct but harder route, up the Baumee River, through the pass to a
place previously appointed within the bounds of pastor Bo's parish of
Lehkoo. Previous to starting on the former fatiguing and dangerous
expedition, the missionary had received a formal request from the
Executive Committee that he would "abstain from all unnecessary exposure
of his health." His reply of Nov. 2, 1848, is so characteristic that we
quote from it.

"As it regards '_unnecessary_ exposure of health,' I plead 'not guilty.'
That my course of life has been attended with hazard and exposure of
health in many instances, I admit. And that, in some cases, I have acted
against the advice of physicians and friends is true. But I am yet to be
convinced that I have not acted wisely. Not that I would justify
'unnecessary' exposure of life and health for a moment. The question to
be decided is, when is _any_ exposure of life and health justifiable?
That missionary life involves exposures and perils from first to last, I
need not inform the Executive Committee; nor that the course of some
missionaries necessarily involves more exposure than that of others. This
cannot be avoided, unless a man would be everlastingly _interpreting
providences_, and do nothing else. But when are exposures which might be
avoided, justifiable? Now, let a man take care how he interprets
providence: for selfishness, timidity, and the love of ease are strong
arguments; we are all liable to err on that side, and generally need no
caution there.

"A case in point. At the close of 1844 I had an appointment to meet the
Karen preachers near Ong Khyoung, in a small chapel, rudely built for the
occasion on the sea-beach. My health had failed. Against the advice of
the physician, with an alarming cough and an entire loss of voice, I
started on that long journey to meet those beloved men, perhaps for the
last time. My wife accompanied me with a sad heart, to see me decently
buried in the jungle. I had some thoughts too. But I met those men, and
preached to them day and night for twelve days; said the last word, and
bid them adieu. Frequently during the time, especially late in the
evenings, my dear wife would kindly come and whisper in my ear, 'My love,
do you wish to live another day?' But I did my duty, and we both
considered that I was only able to go through with those scenes by a
special interposition of Divine Providence. I do not think it too much to
say that the influence exerted at that meeting was made, by the grace of
God, the efficient instrumentality of promoting the usefulness and
steadfastness of those men during my absence. There was an exposure that
might have been avoided very easily, but who shall say it was unnecessary
exposure? I dare not."

He goes on to speak of the heavy labors before him, and of his
determination to proceed, notwithstanding the precarious state of his
health, and closes thus:--

"The committee may rest assured that I shall not expose my health
unnecessarily. Their vote, so far as it indicates the interest they feel
in my welfare, has awakened in my heart the most grateful sentiments."

From Sandoway he writes on the 15th of May of his second unsuccessful
attempt to settle in Burman Bassein.

"From the tenor of my letter of last month you will expect to hear from
me in Burma. I entered the country, as I proposed, by crossing over the
hills from the head of Baumee River. But the governor of the district
would not allow me to remain, and I was obliged to make my way back to
Sandoway. He knew that the Karens were building me a house, and gave his
consent to my residing in it. But, before my arrival, he changed his
views; and his promise, which, I doubt not, was made sincerely, was of no
avail. He wished me to remain, but under-officers had combined and
succeeded in awaking his fears by threatening to impeach him before the
king if he allowed me to remain. His anxieties were not a little
increased by the results of my former attempt to enter by the Bassein
River. When I left the river on my return, a small brig was lying in
sight, which appeared to me to be a Madras vessel making her way up the
coast. Word went up to Bassein that a man-of-war was off the mouth of the
river, ready to enter, and avenge the insult offered to the 'English
spy.' It had been represented to the governor of Bassein that I came in
that character, as an agent of the English. That was the work of Catholic
priests to prejudice the government against me, and prevent my entering
the country. Consequently, the Bassein governor, being the highest
officer in the province, called out all the other governors with their
war-boats; and the fleet moved down the river to drive the foe into the
sea,--when, on their arrival, there was not a ship to be seen. Then the
other governors turned upon the Bassein gentleman, and handed him up to
the king as an alarmist, a disturber of the public peace without cause.
The result was, that the governor was taken to Ava in irons. What has
become of him we have not heard. This will indicate the commotion created
by my first attempt to enter Bassein. The new governor has not yet
arrived, and it is natural to suppose that the man into whose district I
entered last was much in doubt as to what he should do with me. He dared
not allow me to remain, and he was afraid to send me away. One good
effect was produced by my last visit. The people now generally believe
that I am what I profess to be,--simply a religious teacher. I have since
heard that they say, 'That man would never come into our country as he
does, and trust himself to our protection with none but Karens around
him, were he not a true man.'

"My walk over the hills was very fatiguing, the more so as I was not
accustomed to travelling by land. We were fourteen hours from the last
village on this side to the first on the other. In that village was my
house, or rather a large chapel, with bamboo work across one end for my
sleeping-apartment. I arrived Saturday evening. That the Christians gave
me a glad welcome is saying but little. Or that, in the course of that
night, the thought that this was to be my home awakened a sense of
desolation, perhaps I need not say.

"When I arose sabbath morning I could not take a step without excessive
pain, arising from the long walk of the previous day. But that was soon
forgotten. The pastors with their people began to assemble to see the
teacher. At nine o'clock the chapel was crowded, ten pastors present, and
a large number of people on the ground who could not get in. As near as I
could judge, there were seven hundred [in the building]. I undertook to
preach, but was unable to go through: the pain in my throat was too
great. At noon the people who could not get in in the morning assembled:
the house was again crowded, and they, too, must hear the teacher preach.
I went through with the services and a sermon, with less pain than in the
morning; and the people returned to their homes, except the villagers. I
forgot the desolateness of my new home in the happy reflection that my
position, although it might involve sacrifice and peril, was one I had
long desired to occupy, as it affords facilities for _efficient
labor_,--a position I would not exchange for any other, except a
dwelling-place in heaven.

"Where should the father be,
But in the bosom of his family?"

God be thanked for such sabbaths in a heathen land!

"But my joyful anticipations were soon to be disappointed. At daylight
the next morning Burman officers rushed into my sleeping-room, and
ordered me, not very mildly, to start at once for the governor's court. I
had seen Burman officials before, and had nothing to do but 'keep cool.'
I finally succeeded in quieting their fury, and in getting them to leave
my sleeping-room. After much ado they became more agreeable, and allowed
me time to dress and take a cup of tea, as I did not know just whereunto
the thing would grow, or when it would end. I got into a little canoe,
and rowed down the creek to the bamboo palace of his Excellency,[1] where
I arrived at nine o'clock.

{ Footnote: [1] This officer was the _pehnin_ of Kyouk Khyoung-gyee. In
Burman times this office is said to have been similar to that of a
superintendent of police. Its powers were somewhat greater than those of
a native assistant commissioner under the English government. }

It was the hour of the morning levee. The great man himself was seated on
a mat at one end of a large hall, his silver boxes containing betel-nut,
tobacco, lime, etc., spread around, and he reclining on a velvet cushion,
'as is the manner of Eastern princes.' The common people were at a great
distance, bowing on their faces, while a few grave, elderly men were
nearer, sitting in an upright position. I entered into conversation with
the governor, told him distinctly who and what I was, and the object of
my coming to the country. And he told me as distinctly that he dared not
allow me to remain. I must return immediately, and wait a few months till
the arrival of the new governor of Bassein, and till the matter could go
before the king. He treated me very civilly, but was decided, and I was
helpless. On taking my leave of him, I told him that I knew it was the
custom of his country that those coming into the presence of a great man
should take off their shoes, but trusted he would excuse me for not doing
it: and as it was the custom of my country to take off the hat on such
occasions, I would follow that; and I raised my hat, and gave him the
best bow at my command, with which he appeared perfectly satisfied. I
then made my way back to the village. I sent a request that he would
allow me to pass through his district to Myoungmya, the district of the
governor who invited me last year; but he would not grant it. Still, I
left men around the court to hear and bring me word of what was said, for
I knew my case would be freely discussed.

"These men returned at eight, P.M., with the word, that, unless the
foreign teacher was missing the next morning, the head man of the village
and the pastor of the church would be dragged to prison. _They_ were made
responsible for my immediate departure. I had determined to stay if
possible, and see the end; but this was an aspect of things I did not
like. What consternation prevailed throughout the village! How utterly
unable are those who live in a land of liberty and law to estimate the
results of despotism on the spirit of a people! Several of the women went
into fits, so that we heard their screams in the chapel where we were
sitting. Some wept, and some prayed. But the old men gathered around me
and asked, 'Teacher, what shall we do?' Sure enough, here was a case to
be decided, and not much time for a decision. But by nine o'clock we had
asked counsel of God, and the matter was settled. Before eleven all my
household furniture was tied again to poles to prevent slipping off; for
the pieces were to be carried by two men each, through the jungles, over
the precipices, rocks, logs, and ravines to Arakan. From eleven to twelve
the people assembled for worship, and I endeavored to strengthen their
confidence in the wisdom of Providence.

"At midnight we started on our dreary way back over the hills we had
crossed two days before. The full moon was sailing through the clear
heavens; and in its soft, melancholy light we travelled on cheerily, a
few native pastors at my side, with whom I 'talked by the way' till near
daylight, when the burden-carriers said if they could sleep one hour it
would give them strength to climb the hills. As I knew the poor fellows
needed rest, I ordered a halt; and they all dropped down on the ground by
their burdens, and in a moment were in a sound sleep. I spread out my mat
on the leaves, pulled a blanket over me, spread a handkerchief over my
face, and gave myself up to the strange, wild thoughts the circumstances
were adapted to awaken. The natives had told me that we were in a
notorious haunt of wild elephants, tigers, and robbers. The men around me
were all in a dead sleep. Through the opening foliage the moon's stray
beams were playing with my eyes. Not a whisper was heard but the deep
breathing of the sleepers. The events of the past few days, fraught with
the interests of the kingdom of Christ and with the eternal destinies of
men, passed in review. The fatiguing journey before us, with its perils,
awakened anxiety; and the future was impenetrable. I, also, slept very
quietly about forty minutes, and started up refreshed. The brilliant
morning star met and gladdened my eye, beautiful emblem of the star of
Hope, arising over these lands of pagan night. The men were soon upon
their feet; and we marched on and still on, reaching the first village
towards evening. It took us three days to procure boats, and get down to
the mouth of the river; and three more to prepare a boat for Sandoway,
where I arrived after six days at sea, having been absent twenty days.

"Since my return people have come from Burma, from whom I learn, that,
early on the morning of my departure, officers came to the Karen village,
and, seeing that I had gone, departed without molesting the disciples.
Shortly after, a body of armed men came to the village, and simply wished
to see the foreigner. They were supposed to be robbers; and, had I been
there, blood might have been shed, perhaps my own. A report is in
circulation there, that the king has actually issued the order that I be
allowed to reside in the country. It is merely a report: should it prove
true I should not be surprised. I cannot, however, make another journey
to Burma till the close of the rains."

On the 6th of December, 1875, the writer had the pleasure of visiting the
site of the historic meeting above described. Under the guidance of
pastor Shway So, who was a participant in the meeting, I walked carefully
over the little elevation, still called by the Burmans, in commemoration
of the Christian multitudes there gathered in 1849, "White-book Hill." My
guide pointed out the exact site of the chapel erected for the occasion
by Th'rah Bo, of Abbott's room, his cook-house, the Karen houses, etc. It
is a slight rise of land only, within a stone's throw of the Moungbee,
or, in Karen, the "Pineapple Creek," on the east bank, five or six miles
north-west from Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, where Simons slept in 1835. There is
not a soul living on the spot now. With my knife I carved Abbott's
initials and the date of his visit on the trunk of a tree to mark the
site.

The Karens say that the teacher was escorted both ways by a band of fifty
or sixty men, who went over to Baumee to meet him and bring his luggage.
One who carried him across the streams pickapack says that he had a bad
cough and was spitting blood: though tall, he was, at that time, very
spare and light. The party reached the village in the edge of the
evening, Saturday. Though evidently much wearied by severe marching, he
was overjoyed at his reception. Over a thousand Christians from villages
far and near had assembled to meet him, and it was this going to and fro
of the Karens that alarmed the Burman officers more than any thing else.
He held a short service with them that night. The next day, Sunday, was a
high day. Abbott preached with great power. One present says that the
people listened with intense delight; that many were so moved that they
could have suffered death for Christ's sake without shrinking. Mingled
with his fervid teaching and exhortations were many expressions of joy
that he had come at last to live and die among them. Although the
separation was most painful on both sides, all the Karens who have
conversed with me on the subject agree that it was best for them that he
return as he did. His faithful attendant, Thahree, says that it was three
or four months before the heavy furniture and boxes that were sent around
by sea to Bassein came back to their owner in Sandoway.

The beginning of a distinct Pwo Karen department, in what is now known as
the Bassein mission-field, is now to be made. Mr. Abbott, from the time
of his first arrival in Sandoway, had done what he could for that people,
and the Sgau preachers had co-operated with him zealously. A few hundreds
had been converted and baptized. Pwo churches had been formed and pastors
raised up for them, one of whom was already considered worthy of
ordination. In consequence of the urgent representations of both Abbott
and Beecher, Rev. H. L. Van Meter, another graduate of Hamilton, was sent
out with his excellent wife, reaching Sandoway March 20, 1849. What they
were enabled to accomplish will appear as the history proceeds.



CHAPTER VII.


"In Minahassa the great error that the Christians were never sufficiently
trained to self-support is causing serious difficulties."--DR. CHRISTLIEB.


IT is said that the _daimios_ of Japan quietly yielded the larger part of
their great power for the general good of the empire, and that thus, in a
heathen nation, in our own time, one of the greatest revolutions in
history was peaceably effected. In the Christian church, however, a
reform is rarely, if ever, achieved without controversy, more or less
bitter. Controversy is to be shunned as an evil; but neither Christ nor
his apostles ever resorted to esoteric teaching, nor did they long
suppress important truth to escape conflict with error. Christian
frankness, with a full recognition of the merits of an opponent and his
arguments, will enable a man like Abbott to present a difficult question
calmly and convincingly to brethren more or less committed to opposite
principles. This Mr. Abbott did with regard to the question of
self-support in Burma. If, with equal wisdom and courage, the great
question could have been widely discussed and rightly settled at home,
how great would have been the gain! Instead of this, it was thought
necessary to suppress the correspondence and the entire discussion as far
as possible in America. The Christian public and the supporters of
missions needed light, and still need it. May the great Father of lights
prosper this honest effort to diffuse light among those who truly love
it; and may he help us all to see eye to eye, and keep us in the peace of
God!

A chief object of Mr. Abbott's visit to Maulmain had been to consult with
his brethren there as to the system of supporting native preachers. We
quote from his unpublished letter of Oct. 12, 1848:--

"The system of supporting native assistants--i.e., the plan by which each
is to receive so much monthly pay--is coeval with the establishment of
the Burmese mission, and is also the system of every other mission of
which I have knowledge. This system, in my estimation, is fraught with
the elements of destruction. From the Burmese it was carried into the
Karen department, and it has been practised among the Karens of Maulmain
to this day. It is beginning to cause our brethren there intense
solicitude. Mr. Mason at Tavoy, being farther removed from the influence
of the Burmese department at Maulmain, has been able to discard it, and
act independently. Here in Arakan, from the first, I have been determined
to break it up, and introduce the system of self-sustaining churches...It
is the _system_ to which I object, and the spirit which that system
is adapted to engender in the minds of all native preachers. Instead of
having it as a fixed principle that all pastors are to be appointed and
sustained by their own churches, that there is a mutual obligation and
inter-dependence between pastor and people, and that every [preacher] is
to have a church (except he receives a special appointment by the
churches as an evangelist), this system relieves them of all sense of
dependence upon their churches whatever, and they are simply the hired
servants of the missionary.

"Now, in the Karen department _this system must be destroyed_. I was
happy to find that Mason, Binney, and other Karen missionaries at
Maulmain, are of one mind with Beecher and myself. _Churches are to
sustain their own pastors:_ pastors are to think, feel, and act
accordingly. Evangelists are to be appointed and sustained _by the
churches_. We will have a 'Union' here to act as the agent of the
churches if necessary. And, if churches are poor (quite probable), and
cannot support their pastors [wholly], we will write home to the
Executive Committee, and they will make appropriations to help the poorer
churches sustain their pastors and evangelists until they are able to do
it [alone]. Such are the sentiments we are enforcing upon all our
preachers, and such we believe to be the only system warranted by the
word of God.

"But we meet at once with a difficulty not easily overcome. It is the
system of patronage, spoken of above, which has shed its baleful
influence over the entire mission. A large number of our preachers here,
and a few at Maulmain and Tavoy, have risen above that influence, and we
think will cheerfully rely on their churches for support, without feeling
that they are undervalued by the mission because they receive no pay. But
others here and at Maulmain seem to feel that unless they share in the
mission patronage it is because they deserve nothing. They are constantly
referring to the Burmese preachers who receive liberal and regular pay.
They feel that they are not appreciated; that there is favoritism; that,
while they are toiling in the jungles, obliged to trust to a handful of
poor brethren for support, the Burman assistants in the city, a great
company of them, with no churches and no responsibilities but to keep on
good terms with the missionary, are enjoying liberal allowances and
certain pay.

"We have been obliged to come out and declare that we do not approve of
this system,...and that men are not to be valued according to the
number of rupees they receive a month. For one, I am obliged from
principle to continue to oppose the system of things at Maulmain, until a
different system is adopted...Are the Executive Committee aware of
the position of that church, with a missionary as pastor, some twelve or
fourteen native preachers among its members on mission pay? Are they
aware of the amount of money that church consumes each year? And what is
the result? It numbered more than a hundred when I entered the mission
thirteen years ago: it numbers about the same now. If the committee will
take the trouble to compare the amount of money lavished on that church
with the pittance expended on the forty churches [connected with
Sandoway], they will see that my disapproval of the system is not so far
wrong after all."

It is a tradition in Burma, that the great founder of the Burman mission
was so deeply impressed with the falsity and the destructive nature of
the Boodhist doctrine of merit, that, while he gave to good objects most
liberally himself, he would rarely call upon the converts under his care
for contributions for any object. He sought thus, it is said, to bring
out in strongest contrast the Boodhist system with the Christian plan of
salvation by free grace. Burman as well as Karen missionaries have since
come to feel that this peculiarity in the early management of the mission
resulted in a serious defect in the Burman work.[1] It is probably true,
however, that the defect is due in a greater degree to the avarice which
is natural to that interesting race, as well as to some others. Special
pains and great patience are doubtless necessary to bring them up to the
full measure of their duty in giving.

{ Footnote: [1] There is no doubt that Dr. Judson was well aware of the
evils of so great a concentration of missionaries at Maulmain. Writing
from that station to a private friend in the United States, Oct. 21,
1847, he says, "Brother Beecher is going round to Akyab to meet Brother
Abbott, for the avowed purpose of opening his eyes to the beauties of
Maulmain and the efficacy of 'concentration.' But this will be a failure,
for Brother Abbott is almost the only missionary out who is not infected
with the _Maulmania_. With him, indeed, it is _Maulmainphobia_, and I
should not wonder if he succeeded in detaining the Beechers in Arakan. I
sincerely hope he will, for they are really needed there much more than
they are in this place." In justice to "the Beechers" we ought to add,
that the writer of this letter was mistaken, probably, in supposing that
they had any serious thought of leaving their appointed field for a
station more attractive as a residence, but over supplied with
missionaries. We have read Mr. Beecher's correspondence of that time
carefully, and there is not a trace of wavering in purpose or desire. As
soon as the arrival of his senior associate in Arakan was announced, he
left Maulmain with his wife and household effects to join him. }

Another fallacy no less mischievous in tendency may here be noted. As ten
or fifteen native preachers can be supported at the cost of one foreign
missionary, it has seemed wise to many friends of missions to put as many
of the native Christians as possible into the direct work of
evangelization. By mapping out a town or district systematically, a few
native brethren, when carefully superintended, will visit within a
definite time every dwelling, and give to its inmates the oral offer of
salvation, with tracts or Scripture portions. It has thus happened that
many missions have employed a larger number of native preachers and other
agents than the Christians of the country or district could possibly
support; a larger number, too, than have given credible evidence of a
divine call to distinctively religious work. In one of the Burman
missions, e.g., nearly every male disciple, and several of the Christian
wives and daughters, were for years under the pay of the mission as
preachers, colportors, Bible-women or school-teachers. To the poorer
class of native Christians it is a decided rise in the social scale to
escape from manual labor, to dress in a clean white jacket every day, and
to be classed with writers and professional men. The rate of pay is not
generally too high: the mistake is (with few exceptions) in employing
them at all. By thus doing, the value of their testimony to the heathen
around them is largely impaired; by taking so large a proportion of the
membership from the supporting class in the church, and adding it to the
class for whom support must be provided, it becomes impossible for the
native church to maintain the establishment. Foreign money must do it;
and the mission must be weighted, for an indefinite period, with all the
baleful ills of the patronage system.

However plausible this plan may seem, especially in the beginning of a
mission, when the converts are few and the missionary is eager to make as
speedy and wide an impression as possible on the heathen masses, we look
in vain to the New Testament for a precept or a precedent for this mode
of evangelization. Great Britain and Germany were not thus converted to
Christianity. Not thus were Christian churches and institutions planted
and extended in North America. Individual missionaries there have been in
every age sent forth by the home churches, and supported, to a greater or
less extent, in heathen lands; but _in permanently successful missions,
they have never subsidized their converts._ Not thus does the kingdom of
God extend and establish itself in the earth. In successful missions the
converts themselves quickly take up the burdens and responsibilities
which the New Testament imposes upon them. There is a contagious
life-principle in the gospel leaven, which causes it to work out in all
directions, feeding upon and assimilating the inert masses with which it
is brought in contact. If there is not life enough in an infant church to
take root and grow in the fresh soil where it is planted, from resources
right at hand; if there is not life and energy enough in it to become a
tree, yielding shade and fruit for others,--the husbandman's labor is in
vain: decay and death are inevitable. Unless the churches we plant in
heathen lands speedily become a new base of supplies, and a new base of
aggressive warfare, all the money in Christendom will not galvanize them
into more than artificial life.

The urgent cry for pecuniary help which came from the Maulmain Karen
mission in April, 1848 ("Missionary Magazine," 1848, pp. 451, 452), and
the appeals for aid in the form of "Specific Donations" which are even
now constantly made over the heads of the Executive Committee by Karen
missionaries as well as others, are the direct result of this
unscriptural system. To read the report of a mission composed of men
like----, and----; to hear them talk seriously of resigning and
abandoning their work to other denominations because they had received
for their work, over and above their personal allowances and the generous
help of English residents, only Rs. 4,446 (seven times as much as Abbott
and Beecher had used in their more extensive and more difficult work), is
a sufficient commentary on the enervating effects of the system they were
under.

_"The operations of the Karen mission have been so trammelled that the
work has ceased to progress. It is no longer a matter of opinion. Many
retrograde steps are already taken. Your mission as a whole is fast
sinking; and the course now being pursued must inevitably ruin it, unless
God in his sovereign pleasure does for it what we have no right to
anticipate. We cannot consent to remain here to see it die."_

No wonder Abbott felt impelled to visit them; no wonder his coming
seemed, as one of them wrote, "almost as an angel strengthening us" (p.
117). A marked change is observable in a letter published soon after the
lugubrious report and the visit. While there seems to have been no
intermission in the payment of regular salaries to the pastors by the
mission, Dr. Binney writes from Maulmain, Feb. 26, 1849:--

"These churches are, some of them, now able to support themselves, and
ought to do so. Mr. Abbott has, I learn, commenced this work in Arakan.
It ought to be done here; but, with my other work, I cannot commence what
I know may demand much of my attention, at perhaps unexpected times. I
have, therefore, endeavored to meet the case indirectly, leaving the work
itself until more time and more favorable circumstances shall insure
success. I have conversed freely with some of the assistants. They all
think that something should be done. In conversation with the assistant
in my school upon the subject [Rev. Pahpoo?], he thought the churches
this year had better do what they could to aid our schools, and proposed
himself to make an attempt. When I saw how he did it, I was most glad
that it had been intrusted to him. Newville will give the schools this
year over two hundred baskets of paddy, Kayin a hundred and ten baskets,
Chetthingsville, a hundred baskets, and Ko Chetthing also a hundred
baskets. This is in addition to their contributions for other objects,
and is sufficient to show, that, with little or no aid, these churches
can support their own pastors. They have given cheerfully."

Rev. J. H. Vinton at this time was in America. Fully convinced that the
Karen work in his district was languishing for lack of money from abroad,
instead of from an excess of foreign aid, he pleaded with the American
churches for special help for the support of Karen preachers, and had
obtained a special fund of five thousand dollars to be used for that
object, over and above the ordinary appropriations of the society. A
circular was addressed to each of the Karen missionaries by Secretary
Peck, to know how much they needed, and how they would advise the money
to be spent. We are able to give the replies of Abbott and Beecher only
to this circular. It would be interesting to read the replies of others
who then professed to have come to share in the new views, but they are
not in our possession. The circular reached Sandoway Feb. 19, 1849; and
Mr. Beecher replied under the same date.

"We hardly know what opinion to express respecting the manner of
disposing of such a donation. Lest our opinion as a mission should
conflict with that of a loved and worthy brother, or with that of any
other station, we will express our views as individuals, to you as an
individual, to be used as you may think best. I praise God for the
increasing interest in the Karen mission,...but my joy would have
been far greater if that five thousand dollars had been given for the
establishment of a mission among the starving Kemees, who have so long
been saying to us, 'Is there no man who cares for our souls?' If the
entire sum must be appropriated to the one 'special purpose of aiding the
preaching department of the Karen mission,' then my joy does not exceed
my anxiety,--I may say, my sorrow."

After speaking of the dangerous and mischievous tendency of specific
donations in general, he goes on to say, in the second place,--

"That amount above the ordinary appropriations is not now, and will not
for many years be, needed for that particular object. To expend it all
upon that object within three or four years would, I firmly believe, be
attended with greater evils than would be experienced by calling home
two-thirds of the Karen missionaries, leaving the native preachers to
depend entirely upon their churches for support. As to Sandoway, we do
not need any more this year than the estimate sent you some months since;
and, whenever we may need more,...I prefer to trust to the
willingness and efficiency of the Executive Committee to meet our wants,
rather than to such special donations. If any of the money could be
legitimately applied to schools, I would say, place Mrs. Binney's school,
both as to buildings and teachers, above embarrassment...

"You may be surprised at some of these sentiments,...but, had you
been with us in the Karen jungle this season, to see what we saw of the
evil influence of _the hireling system_ upon native preachers and
churches, it would be sufficient to satisfy you of the correctness of our
apprehensions respecting [specific] donations. Please excuse me from any
responsibility as to the distribution of that five thousand dollars."

Mr. Abbott's reply to the circular is dated Feb. 26:--

..."We deem a reply demanded, and wish the following laid before the
committee. By reference to my report for 1848, you will learn, that
although our preachers have increased from thirty-six to forty-four
during the year, although our schools have multiplied, and our operations
enlarged, our expenditures decreased: so that of fifteen hundred rupees
appropriated by you, we expended but six hundred rupees; and the
statistics will show that the cause of truth has not suffered for want of
money. Had we deemed it desirable, we should have expended all our
appropriation. We hope and expect that this year our churches, preachers,
and schools will be greatly multiplied; but we do _not_ expect that our
expenditures will increase in proportion, for we believe that the system
we have established will secure a support for the preachers, or nearly
so, as was the case last year. As we do not expend all our
appropriations, we require no extra donations.

"There is a representation from the Maulmain Karen mission in the
Magazine received by last mail, to the effect, that, if Rs. 2,941 are not
expended on their preachers,...many of them must be dismissed, and
the most disastrous results will follow to the cause of Christ among that
people. There must also have been a very strong representation of the
case at home to secure that five thousand dollars to be expended in
addition to the ordinary appropriations.

"Now, there is such a vast difference between the representations from
these two stations, Maulmain and Sandoway,...that the question must
arise, whence this discrepancy of views?...Does it arise from an
inability on the part of the churches in Maulmain to support their
pastors? I answer, No.[1] Those churches are able and willing to reduce
the expenditure in this department one-half at least, so that the five
thousand dollars might be appropriated to another purpose. Does it
originate in the fact that jungle preachers in Maulmain cannot live as
cheaply as in Bassein and Arakan, and, as a consequence, require more
pay? I answer most unhesitatingly, No...How, then, can these most
discordant representations be accounted for? Where shall we find the
cause? _In the system established for the support of a native ministry in
the Burman department of the Maulmain mission_...It has become to
the native preachers the law of Christ's kingdom, the great principle
that is to control their interests to all future time. It is vain to tell
the Burman or Karen what our _theory_ is on the subject; that it is but a
temporary expedient to meet a present emergency, etc., so long as he has
in the system itself a practical demonstration to the contrary, appealing
not only to his selfishness, but to his sense of honor and justice...

{ Footnote: [1] It is to be remembered that Mr. Abbott had lived and
travelled extensively in the Maulmain district, and knew whereof he
affirmed. }

"A case that fell under my observation about twelve years ago in Maulmain
is in point. One of the oldest Karen preachers, and one of the best,
while receiving seven rupees per month, demanded of the missionary ten
rupees, referring to the fact that the Burman preachers in the city were
receiving fourteen and fifteen. He did not pretend that he could not live
on his pay: that was not the question with him. If the Burman had
fifteen, he ought to have ten. The missionary would not raise his pay;
and the man left the mission service, and went to cutting down jungle to
raise his own rice, when he could not realize from all his labor three
rupees a month. Evidently it was not the love of money that drove him
from the mission service, nor an insufficient support. It was a sense of
injustice. He felt that there was gross partiality in the distribution of
money, and that he was defrauded because he was a Karen. Like a
true-spirited man, if he could not have what was right, he would have
nothing...To show the Executive Committee that Mr. Binney agrees
with me respecting the principle that should control us in this matter, I
give an extract from a letter of his lately received. He says,--

"'Since you left, I have thought much of the course pursued by you with
your assistants. It is the right course. Of this you have the best
testimony,--their stability and progress during your absence. Do not
alter it. When Vinton returns, I will do my best to pursue the same
course here; and you know him well enough to know that he will be glad to
find the thing possible. These men that work for pay are not the men upon
whom the churches can rely. Explain to them the true state of the case.
Show them how you consult, not their pleasure, or merely temporal good,
but the good of their souls and of the cause, and then tell them what you
have yourself done for them. Do not be afraid to say _I_, when your
object is to do good. Paul has set us a good example on this point. You
can tell them that the Maulmain teachers fully approve your course in
this matter, and think it is one reason why God has so much blessed your
people. We will try to follow on and support the cause by our example, as
soon as we can get a little out of the fog.'"

Mr. Abbott continues:--

..."Will our system be permanent? But for the influence coming in upon
us from Maulmain, it would...I am persuaded that the present state
of things cannot continue. If the Maulmain brethren do not succeed in
reducing the pay of their preachers, in many cases to nothing, and in all
one-half, we shall have sad business here. Our preachers are not to be
treated as slaves, and I shall not allow the beloved men under my charge
to be degraded. An illustration:--on one side the river west of Rangoon
is a preacher connected with Sandoway. He is pastor of a small church
which cheerfully supports him. He receives not a _pice_ from the mission.
He is willing to labor, and suffer if need be, for the kingdom of
heaven's sake, and would be satisfied with the support he receives, but
for the fact that on the other side of the river, east of Rangoon, is a
brother, pastor of a church better able and just as willing to support
him, who receives eighty-four rupees a year from the mission. That is not
an imaginary case, but a fact.

"To my mind there are but two alternatives,--they must expend _less_ or
we _more_. And as the extra five thousand dollars does not look like a
falling-off in that quarter, the Executive Committee will not be
surprised to receive an 'appeal' from Sandoway, demanding four thousand
rupees a year to expend on our native preachers, to save the cause of
Christ from ruin! We all know, and the committee should know, that it is
absolutely essential that in the Karen department we act together. One
principle only must reign throughout our entire mission. It is deemed
advisable that I go to Maulmain for a few months, and I shall hope to
visit Rangoon. I was acquainted with some of the preachers connected with
Maulmain years ago. I have not forgotten them, and I trust they have not
lost their regard for me. What can be effected, we know not: only this we
know,--nothing good will be accomplished but by divine truth, under the
blessing of Almighty God.

"Thinking you may like to know Mr. Ingalls's views on this subject, I
send an extract from a letter received the day before yesterday. He says,
'The Burmans [in Akyab] have commenced a subscription for erecting a
chapel, and some of them have put down fifty rupees. I shall soon
commence one, without expense to the [Union]; and, with God's blessing, I
will get the native preachers off their hands also. I most fully concur
in all that you have written on this subject [the support of a native
ministry], and will do all I can. But you must remember that I am still
alone, and shall be, virtually, for some time to come...Such little
men as you and I are, cannot, unless God shall sanction our views,
contend with those whose years and standing are so different.'"

A copy of this letter was sent to Mr. Vinton by the same mail which took
the original to Boston. Mason took some exceptions to Abbott's positions,
which called forth a spicy, but friendly, rejoinder on the 1st of
November, from which we make a few extracts:--

"Why not reform? What is the great difficulty in the way? One truth is
clear, both from my reply and from your letter to me, that the difficulty
does not lie in the Karen department itself. You find it in the weakness
of----'s faith. I find it in the influence of the Burmese department...You
uphold the same system in Tavoy that they do in Maulmain. All your
assistants rely on the mission treasury for support; and it is, of
course, adequate and certain. Why should they complain? But your
'assistants in the jungle on four rupees a month never cry "injustice"
when those in town receive ten.' Quite probable. If those assistants have
imbibed the principles of their teacher, that the great truth, 'all men
are created equal,' is 'an Americanism' and 'nonsense,' and if they feel
the 'inferiority' which is attributed to them, they would make no
complaint, of course, so long as they can get enough to eat. I might have
had just such quiet times among the assistants and pastors west of
Rangoon...If I had given them all regularly seven rupees, that is,
if I had scattered thirty-four hundred rupees a year among them, I never
should have heard it re-iterated in my ears, 'Why do you not give us as
much as they do in Maulmain?' 'Can _you_ not get as much money as they do
in Maulmain?' 'We cannot live on less than they do in Maulmain,' etc.
They would all have been as quiet as lambs, and I might have mistaken
them for lambs.

"But supposing we all pursue this regular pay system: let us see whither
it would bring us. To make a rough, but moderate, calculation, we have
at--

Sandoway, say, 45 assistants, at         "3,400"
", Burman say  20 assistants, at         "3,300"
Tavoy and Mergui, say, 40 assistants, at "2,400"

We have, then, a total of a hundred and forty-five men in the employ of
the mission, at an expense of twelve thousand eight hundred rupees a
year, a troop of mercenaries, all _natives_, bear in mind, over whom the
rupee exerts a most bewitching, polluting, _hirelingizing_ influence.
Where shall we stop? We had better find out how far the Executive
Committee will supply the rupees; for there we _must_ stop, as the great
power which has sustained the whole will have failed...

[ Illustration--FACSIMILE OF MR. ABBOTT'S HANDWRITING, SANDOWAY, NOV. 1,
1849 ]

"Had you heard the discussions that I have had with our preachers on the
subject of 'pay,' during these two years past, you would have gained a
few ideas as to the working of the regular pay system of which you never
dreamed. I suppose Karens here are about the same as Karens at Tavoy and
Maulmain. My remarks do not apply to the majority of those here, I am
happy to say, but to those who have been in the habit of receiving
regular pay from the mission; so that I have the means of knowing what
kind of a spirit that system is adapted to beget. I have endeavored to
substitute the churches for the mission treasury; and it has cost me more
anguish of spirit, and more hours of controversy and pleading, than all
the other troubles arising from our forty pastors and five thousand
converts, put together...I suspect that I have not much sympathy in
this business; but, when my brethren shall attempt to bind their
assistants to the cause of Christ, to poverty and self-denial, by the
_truth_, by cords of _love_ and not of gold, they will then learn that I
am deserving of it...

"One thing is clear to my mind...Karen churches will feel no
obligation to support their pastors, and will not do it cordially, so
long as those pastors have access to the mission treasury. They will not
labor and give their money to men who are supported by 'state patronage.'
All that you and I can say or do will not alter the case, so long as they
know we are giving their pastors money. True, some churches might give
their pastors more than others, but that fact would not produce the evil
you imagine. I need not stop to set you right,--I _know_ it would not.

"You state, as one objection to my order of things, that there would be
no provision for _itinerants_,--for men who have no churches. I will not
attempt to annihilate that objection now, as it would compel me to take
too wide a sweep, and to say things which I do not wish to be heard west
of the Atlantic Ocean. _Pgah deene t'k'lu meh pgah t'goh tah naut'mee
bah_ [that sort of men are of no use at all].

"I am awaiting Brother Vinton's return with much anxiety. We shall hear
from him what difficulties he has to meet in inducing his pastors to rely
on the churches for support, and in inducing the churches to support
their pastors. He will find the first much more difficult than the last,
I can tell him...You say, if there is 'odium' attaching to the
Maulmain system, it is 'common to every mission in India.' Certainly, and
it is undoubtedly producing the same evils in every mission in India...What
you say respecting Maulmain not being a proper place for the
theological school under Mr. Binney is all too true. We have already seen
the evils here to which you refer. That we are to _continue_ to send
young men to study [there] a few years, and then have them come back to
us, filled with the idea that they are going to walk up to the mission
treasury and coolly demand eighty-four rupees per annum, is not to be
thought of for a moment. But what is to be done? That subject is going to
cause us trouble. We have met the difficulty and must overcome it. But
_how?_

"You give me credit for writing what I 'dispassionately believe.'
Certainly: I give you credit for the same, and trust I shall be able to
reciprocate the magnanimity and candor which you and Brother Stevens have
exhibited. Should it be supposed that I have failed in this respect, I
need not tell you it would cause me deep regret. The subject will agitate
us more and more for a long time. It is one in which every member of our
mission, Burman or Karen, is equally interested. My only object in
writing the Executive Committee has been, that the whole subject may be
brought distinctly before them; for, sooner or later, they will be called
upon to act.

"Yours affectionately, "E. L. ABBOTT."

Nov. 17, 1849, he writes to Mr. Bright, the assistant secretary,--

"What shall I do? Go on writing, or demand four thousand rupees a year
and spend it on 'assistants,' as others do, and then go on, and on, and
still on; or shall I attempt to complete my _reform_, and try to induce
others to do so? I am not willing to sit down quietly and see thousands
on thousands expended for that object at other stations, when hundreds
only are demanded here. We must have but one system for all our missions:
they must come to hundreds, or we must go to thousands."

What was done with the fund of five thousand dollars, we have never
heard. Doubtless a way to spend it was easily found; and doubtless a way
will be found to expend the fund of thirty thousand dollars, or
thereabouts, recently bequeathed to the A. B. M. Union for a like object.
But if the position taken by Abbott and Beecher more than thirty years
ago is correct, as we believe it to be, the spending of those funds in
the manner designated by the Christian-hearted donors was, and will be,
worse than waste.

The entrance into the way of self-support is always hard, and becomes
more difficult with each year's overgrowth of weeds and briers. The
movement will never come about of itself. Secretaries and executive
committees have a duty to perform. In the "Missionary Magazine" for May,
1843, p. 112, the editor (secretary?) of that time says,--

"If other missions are more expensive, or less successful, it is not the
fault of the missionaries; and if the Karen mission is cheaper or more
successful than others, no credit is to be here attributed to the Karen
missionaries above their brethren. _It is to be wholly attributed to
peculiarly favorable providential circumstances._"

From these remarks we dissent, of course, entirely, so far as they relate
to economy in the management of the missions in question. Almost every
thing, under God, depends upon the correctness of the missionary's views,
and upon his ability to bring the native Christians to his way of
thinking. Such an utterance from mission head-quarters, and the absence
of an outspoken, consistent adherence to the policy of self-support,
paralyze the arm of the man who believes in reform, unless he has the
power and bravery of an Abbott. Insufficient discrimination, and excess
in appropriations, and, above all, specific donations (not for the
support of missionaries) from benevolent churches, Sunday schools, and
individuals, increase the confusion, the waste, and the moral declension,
which are to-day increasing in some of the fields of the A. B. M.
Union.[1]

{ Footnote: [1] This remark, of course, is to be taken only as the
author's opinion. He is not alone, however, in that opinion. A missionary
correspondent writes from the field under date of April 24, 1882, as
follows: "Our mission work needs to be enlarged, but not in the direction
of more American money for so-called 'station-work.' Too much is expended
in that manner now. In some quarters there is a tendency to
pauperization. Each succeeding year too many missions want an increase of
appropriations; and, strange to say, additional converts are made the
ground for fresh appeals for more money."

Secretary Murdock uses the following language in his paper on "Apostolic
Missions" (Magazine, July, 1883, p. 180):--

"There may be such a thing as nursing churches into chronic infancy and
inertness, instead of exercising them into vigorous power and efficiency,
by leaving them, under God, to their own resources...Possibly it
would have been better for the cause of Christianity among the heathen,
if this wise abstinence in pecuniary help to native churches and
evangelists had been more closely imitated in our modern missions...It
might have been better if [the missionary] had more carefully guarded
the converts from the taint and the impediment of mercenary motives, by
withholding pecuniary aid, except in cases of special need arising from
providential distress or from considerations of public utility."

This subject will be discussed at greater length in the concluding
chapter of this volume, to which the reader is respectfully referred. }

To the missionary brethren and sisters who still follow the old ways,
and, in the language of a secretary of long experience, "estimate the
possibilities of their success according to the amount of money they get
from home, instead of trusting to the energies of the Spirit," only kind
feeling and personal confidence are due. But can their plans, in so far
as they are neglecting the resources around them, and relying on America
for the support of their preachers and primary schools, be hopeful of
permanent good? A native ministry which cannot so commend itself to
fellow-countrymen and to resident English Christians as to secure a
living is of little worth; and Christians who cannot be aroused to second
the efforts of their missionaries and an enlightened government for the
education of their own offspring are unworthy of the name. "American
support for Americans, Karen support for Karens," with a modicum of
foreign aid for advanced education, is as safe a rule for foreign
missions in general as it has proved to be in the mission founded by E.
L. Abbott.



CHAPTER VIII.
1850.


"The kingdom of heaven is compared, not to any great kernel or nut, but
to a grain of mustard-seed, which is one of the least grains, but hath in
it a property and spirit hastily to get up and spread."--LORD BACON.


MUCH for the time was doubtless accomplished by the discussions related
in the last chapter, especially in the Karen missions; but the tendency
to relapse is powerful in human nature, and reform must follow reform in
endless succession. Thoughtful men may recognize the danger involved in
church funds, and in the support of religion by the state, but how many
churches in free America even were ever known to decline a legacy, the
interest of which would be applied to meet their current expenses? It is
remarkable that one of the younger members of the mission should have
been permitted to become the leader in a reform of such vital importance
and difficulty. The circumstances in which Mr. Abbott was providentially
placed did much, doubtless, to make him the man he was; but rarely has
any one done more than he to fashion the circumstances around him into
conformity with the pattern which the Lord had showed him. Nor this alone
in the matter of self-support.

The Burman pastor, Ko Thah-ay, had been ordained by Dr Judson and Wade in
1829, under peculiar circumstances. In the absence of the missionaries he
had been persuaded by converts in Burma Proper to administer to them the
ordinance of baptism. As he was a worthy and intelligent Christian, of
mature character, it was thought best, after the fact, to give to him the
rights which he had assumed irregularly. This seems, however, not to have
been considered a precedent, either by the missionaries on the field, or
the committee in Boston. At any rate, more than fourteen years had
elapsed without the ordination of a second native in Burma.

In 1843 Mr. Abbott felt compelled by his own views of duty to ordain Myat
Kyau and Tway Po, notwithstanding opposition on the field, and with the
doubtful approval of the executive officers after the event (see chap.
iv). The experiment succeeded so well, however, that other ordinations
speedily followed. The fourth man, Kolapau, was ordained by the Tavoy
missionaries at Matah, in 1846. Soon after, four young men were ordained
by Messrs. Vinton and Binney, just after their graduation from the
Seminary. Of this extreme step, the secretary who wrote so anxiously in
1843 now speaks as follows:--

"One of the most gratifying and auspicious incidents in the history of
the Maulmain Karen mission the past year was the ordination in February,
1847, of four Karen preachers, graduates of the seminary--Prahhai,
Kyapah, Aupau, and Tah-oo. 'Their examination was thorough, and well
sustained for upwards of five hours. It was conducted in Karen, but
interpreted sufficiently for others to know fully the merits of the case.
Questions were freely proposed by the different members of the council,
some of the most difficult ones being proposed by Karen assistants.'"
("Missionary Magazine," July, 1848, p. 260.)

We venture to call the ordination of these young men "an extreme step;"
for, whatever may be true of Americans, a Karen, a Burman, or a Telugu
fresh from school cannot be regarded as a "tried" man: and the event
justifies this judgment. The annual report for 1851 (p. 270) speaks of
Kyapah as "fallen;" Aupau, or Oung Bau, soon became deeply involved in
secular business; while a third, Prahhai, was later under a cloud for
years. Tah-oo, older than the other three, held out well, and did a good
work. For the last twenty years, at least, the writer has not known such
an experiment to be repeated by any missionary in Burma. The ninth man,
the celebrated Sau Quala, was ordained April 28, 1847; the tenth, Ko
Panlah of Maulmain, in February, 1848; and the eleventh, a Burman, Moung
Pyoo, in Akyab in January, 1850. This year the missionaries at Sandoway
were prepared to ordain four more, worthy and long tried men; but they
were providentially hindered from doing so until near its close, as
reported in the next chapter.

The Bassein churches are nearly ripe also for the formation of the first
purely native missionary society of a general character in Burma. Mr.
Abbott's published views on this all-important subject, and his well
directed, vigorous action, stamp him again as emphatically the leader in
the Karen Israel of that day.

We resume the narrative. Owing to the addition of the Van Meters to the
Sandoway mission, Mr. Beecher built an additional dwelling-house the
latter part of 1849, with "eleven glazed windows and two glazed doors,
the remaining doors being panelled," at a cost not exceeding five hundred
and fifty dollars. In Mr. Van Meter's first published letter from
Sandoway, we find the following:--

"There are at least three hundred Pwo disciples already gathered in
connection with this station, Shway Bo's congregation [church?] alone
numbering one hundred. With such a beginning we surely cannot be
discouraged as to the future, especially when we consider the limited
means through which it has been effected.

"The present is a critical moment for this people. They have been so long
asking for a teacher, and their cry has been so long disregarded, that
they have begun to turn in another direction. A number of them have
received a flattering reception from the Catholic priests at Bassein, who
have been endeavoring of late to seduce the assistants and other
Christians. Brother Abbott learned, only a short time since, of an
attempt to seduce the Sgau assistants, by distributing money among them
after he left for America. Quite a number of them received very
unexpectedly a gift of five rupees each. But at present there is little
apprehension as to their influence upon the disciples...There is
nothing more trying to us just now than the fact that we cannot converse
with these disciples, who, for the first time, have seen a teacher whom
they could call their own...I hope that I may acquire sufficient
knowledge to be able to converse with tolerable accuracy and freedom
during my visit to the jungle next cold season. The Sgau school is in a
very interesting state, there being upwards of seventy pupils. Both the
ordained preachers and a number of the other assistants are receiving
instruction from Brothers Abbott and Beecher in theological studies."

Dr. Binney reports this year, that ten of his twenty-seven pupils are
from Mr. Abbott's distant field, and only two from Maulmain itself. Mr.
Abbott left his station about the first of December, 1849, to meet the
native preachers for a term of study in Ong Khyoung. Mr. Beecher, owing
to the serious illness of his wife, did not follow until some weeks
later. On the 11th of February he writes of Mr. Abbott's bad health and
of his own labors:--

"On arriving at Ong Khyoung, Jan. 19, I found Brother Abbott, though
convalescent, still suffering severely from a cough, and well-nigh worn
out from the excessive labors of the season. Brother Van Meter was also
there, having just returned from a visit to the Pwo villages farther down
the coast. It was thought best, after a few hours consultation, that I
should remain and aid Brother Abbott in instructing the native preachers,
instead of proceeding to visit the churches as I had expected. The great
majority of the churches in Burma have never been visited by a
missionary, but, so far as we can learn, are quite as prosperous as those
on the coast, which have enjoyed annual visits.

"The two weeks spent with Brother Abbott and the preachers were to me
very pleasant and profitable. Such seasons as these afford the best
opportunity for acquiring the language, so as to be able to use it with
effect; for the discussions which naturally arise in a course of familiar
lectures disclose Karen habits and modes of thought, without a knowledge
of which it is impossible to interpret the language and doctrines of
Scripture in a clear and forcible manner. The preachers have enjoyed a
better opportunity for becoming acquainted with the doctrines of the
gospel this season than ever before, and we have reason to believe that
great good will result from Brother Abbott's well-directed and faithful
labors with these chosen men."

After referring to the delay in the ordination of the well-approved, but
self-distrustful candidates, he continues:--

"Immediately after this the preachers were dismissed, and I started for a
short visit to the churches on the Baumee River. Nearly one hundred
disciples from Burma were awaiting my arrival at Kyoukadin. They said, on
taking my hand, that many of them had worshipped God six or eight years,
but had never before seen a white teacher. The greater portion of them
were females, who had travelled two or three days over the rugged Yoma
Mountains, to see those who seem to be the objects of their highest
earthly interest. They were disappointed in not meeting Brother Abbott,
and had many inquiries to make respecting him. They often spoke of the
interest they felt in us, of remembering us in every prayer, and
especially of praying for the _mama_, after they heard of her illness:
their desire to see her was 'greater than we can express.' Some of those
who came from [Bassein] appear to be much more devoted than any I have
seen elsewhere. Some of them have a singular form of Christian
salutation. They take their teacher's hand, and, before speaking to him,
spend a few moments in silent prayer, then warmly and repeatedly press
his hand, and, when this is done, inquire after his health and answer his
questions.

"This company, together with those from the vicinity, formed an
attractive audience. It was easy and delightful to preach to them. There
were seventeen candidates for baptism from Burma, and one from this side.
After being formally received by their respective churches, we assembled
on the river-bank, near by, to witness the profession of their faith...As
each rose from the baptismal grave, praises were sung to Him who
'died for our sins,' and 'was raised again for our justification.' The
commemoration of the Lord's death in the afternoon was also solemn and
interesting. In the evening, bade the dear disciples farewell, each
saying, as I gave the parting hand, 'Pray for us, O teacher!'"

On the 17th of February Mr. Abbott wrote a word as to his own health:--

"The doctor hardly knows what to do with my cough, fever, night-sweats,
etc., but thinks they may be symptomatic of a sub-acute inflammation of
lungs, etc. I have shut myself up, and am going to keep quiet a long
time."

He writes again on the 18th:--

"I have had no fever for thirty-six hours, and trust I am improving. I
suppose Sandoway is as good a place as I could be in for the improvement
of health, excepting upon the sea; but I have no idea of taking a voyage
at present."

It was not until the 12th of March that he rallied so as to send to the
secretary an account of his work at Ong Khyoung this season. He writes
with an apology for not rewriting and correcting his weighty
communication:--

"You have learned, by a previous letter, that I spent the cold season
with the preachers at Ong Khyoung. We have concluded not to attempt to
get them together at Sandoway during the rains. I think this course
carries out the spirit of the committee's instructions in regard to
boarding-schools for preachers in a more satisfactory manner than a
strict adherence to the letter would have done. The distance is so great,
and the time of travelling falling within the hot and the rainy seasons,
but few of them could be longer induced to come to Sandoway at all. I
therefore made the arrangement with them that they all meet at Ong
Khyoung in November, with the expectation of remaining three months.
Every preacher connected with our mission was there, with one exception,
and he was detained by illness.

"I deem it absolutely essential that I see all these men _together_ once
in the year. Even were I permitted to visit Burma, and go from church to
church through the whole land, I should still deem it essential to have
an annual association of pastors and churches, and to have them all
together for several weeks, perhaps months. They require a more thorough
knowledge of the Scriptures. They cannot go away to Maulmain and pursue a
course of study that would require years. They have no libraries at their
homes to aid them in the study of the Bible. They have no means in the
jungle of acquiring knowledge, excepting what we give them; and, indeed,
there is not a book adapted to aid them in understanding the New
Testament. How can they 'understand' except some man should 'guide' them?
What they hear one year, they forget before the next comes round, so that
they require line upon line, and will for years to come. While at Ong
Khyoung, I took them thoroughly through Hebrews and Romans, and also
through some small primary works in theology.

"Again: all these men are laborers in the field,--with but few
exceptions, pastors of churches. They not only have their own personal
doubts and troubles, but, in many cases, difficulties with their churches
in matters of doctrine and discipline. Pastors and churches may get into
a quarrel here as well as in America. Divisions also have appeared
between different pastors, and certain hard questions have agitated the
whole community. They all come up to the missionary, each with his head
filled with his own troubles or wrongs or difficulties, which he cannot
surmount. All these matters must be settled, and these discordant
elements brought into harmony, by the personal teachings of the
missionary. All this requires time, patience, and power. I know not what
others may do; but I cannot establish order and union, and control the
whole, unless I have all the pastors in my presence.

"An important subject, and one that agitated us more than any other,
related to the support of native preachers. In 1848 I sent circulars to
all the churches, referring particularly to this subject, and requested
them to send in statements to the association this year. Consequently the
preachers brought each his epistle. I will translate one as a specimen of
the whole. They differed only in immaterial points, and in the amount
given to the pastors.

"'The year of Christ, 1849. The elders of the church at Great Rock, to
Teacher Abbott: May the blessing of our Father God be upon you. Amen. We
received your letter, and are very happy. The Lord Jesus Christ died for
us, and we ought to do something to enlarge his kingdom. We gave our
teacher, Shway Bo, during the year, twelve rupees, eight annas; sixty
baskets of paddy; one hundred viss of dried fish (365 pounds); fifty viss
of salt; a bundle of tobacco, etc. We are very poor, O teacher! (too
true), and can do but little. Pray for us, that we may be blessed.'

"The letters indicate that the churches are beginning to perform this
work in the right way. All were read to the association, and each pastor
or teacher aided as his case might require. The churches did nobly last
year; and, in my circular letter, I did not fail to tell them so. Eight
pastors are supported entirely by their churches. They _voluntarily_
renounced all aid from the mission,--noble-spirited men! The sacrifice
they have thus made affords the most satisfactory evidence of the
genuineness of their Christian spirit that I have ever seen exhibited in
this mission. Besides these, there are thirty-seven, including five
itinerants, aided by the mission. The whole amount expended during the
year was about seven hundred rupees, an average of less than twenty
rupees to each individual. The committee will not suspect that that money
was expended on hirelings. These churches are _very poor_. Their taxes
are heavy in this province; but in Burma Proper they are ground down to
the dust, under the iron heel of despotism. We shall still require more
or less aid from the committee,--that aid which has hitherto been so
promptly bestowed.

"Evangelization also claimed a good deal of attention. It is a subject
for these pastors and churches (as well as the missionary) to consider by
what means the Karens now in darkness are to be evangelized. Whatever
measures may be proposed by others, it is my firm belief that the Karen
people are to be converted through the instrumentality of a Karen
ministry,--of course under the instructions and guidance of the
missionary. So it has been from the first, history being witness. At
Maulmain and Tavoy, at Rangoon and Bassein, natives have done the work of
preaching the gospel to their countrymen; the work of the missionary
being to baptize converts, organize churches, and instruct and control
the native ministry. Not half the converts have ever seen a missionary;
and, if we cannot go into Burma, they never will.

"But how is such a ministry to be secured? Let us look at a few facts,
and we shall be better able to answer the question. We have, in Bassein
and Sandoway, forty-five native preachers; in Maulmain and Rangoon, I
suppose forty; and in Tavoy and Mergui, twenty more,--upwards of a
hundred already in the field. There are also a large number in Mr.
Binney's school; and a good many young men, who are now only
school-teachers, will doubtless become preachers. Here we have an agency
on which, it seems to me, we may rely. Consider also, that a large
majority of these ministers--I do not like to hear them called
'assistants,' or 'native helpers:' they are ministers of the gospel,
ambassadors of Christ, or nothing; at any rate, I like to feel that they
are such, while preaching to them--these ministers are pastors of
churches.

"Now, these churches should not only be self-supporting (if possible),
but reproductive. They should be taught that the responsibility of
raising up and sending forth evangelists to their fellow-countrymen rests
upon them, and shown, that, what individuals cannot do, a combination
may. I endeavored to make the pastors at Ong Khyoung understand that
they, as a body, were deeply responsible in this matter; that they are to
recognize and send out the heralds of mercy; and that they are
responsible for their support. Evangelists of course are to feel that
they are acknowledged by, and responsible to, that body, and not alone to
the missionary. There is as yet no mechanical organization: the thing is
in its infancy, the idea but just planted.

"Allowing, then, that we have the nucleus of an instrumentality by which
the Karen nation is to be evangelized, the question arises, the most
important of all, how is that instrumentality to be multiplied and
rendered efficient? I am fully of the opinion, that it is _not_ to be
done by multiplying stations and large and expensive mission
establishments; much less by a profuse expenditure of money on the
natives. I think it is high time that the natives of this country,
preachers as well as others, should begin to learn that mission money
costs something,--that it is absolutely of some value, and that every
missionary has not an exhaustless patronage, which he is at liberty to
bestow at will upon men who may gather around his standard. The first
successful preachers among the Karens--Ko Thahbyu and his co-adjutors in
Maulmain, Rangoon, and Tavoy; and Shway Weing, Bleh Po and their
associates in Bassein--were not men secured and held to their work by
rupees. They went forth prompted by their own convictions and zeal,
living as the fowls of heaven live, on the goodness of the Lord; and
multitudes, through the divine blessing on their labors, became obedient
to the faith. The men on whom I now rely for publishing the gospel abroad
are not those who are tenacious for pay. 'Assistants' may be multiplied
by money, but then you are not quite sure that you have added to the
strength and efficiency of that agency which is to convert the people to
God.

"The means by which an efficient ministry is to be secured are so simple
that they need only to be stated,--the preaching of the missionary,
attended by the power of the Holy Spirit sent down from on high. We have
already all the human elements of final success; and may God Almighty
speedily give us--missionaries, native preachers, churches, and all--the
divine endowment! As a general principle, we cannot expect that a native
ministry will be inspired with an enlightened zeal, except in proportion
to their knowledge. If they are sanctified for the accomplishment of the
great and glorious work proposed, they will be sanctified through the
truth. That truth is to be preached to them by the missionary; and,
admitting that the present stations are well sustained, and their
operations efficiently conducted, under the influence of the spirit of
God, not many years will have elapsed before every Karen will have heard
of the great salvation.

"The present number of churches is forty. There are also a great number
of Christian congregations which meet for worship regularly, and, in many
cases, have a number of baptized Christians; but these are not included
with the churches, as they have not regularly appointed teachers. The
number baptized last year was two hundred and forty-four. Eight were
excluded, and twenty died; which leaves a net gain of two hundred and
sixteen for the year. There are many candidates for baptism, not only in
the new regions, as stated last year, but connected with all the
congregations in Burma. The conversions reported at the association
indicate the continued triumphs of the truth; and, in many cases, they
are of an unusually interesting character. Many of the old chiefs,
patriarchs, or heads of families, call them what we may, who have
hitherto resisted all the influences of the gospel, and clung to their
old superstitions and sins, remaining either in a state of sullen
resistance, or of deadly hostility, while their families and kindred have
become Christians, have, within the year, bowed to the omnipotence of
truth, and are waiting to be baptized. Many more would have been added to
the churches, had there been ordained pastors to administer the
ordinance.

"To supply this want, we had intended to ordain at least four of the
preachers at Ong Khyoung. But Brother Beecher was detained at home till
near the close of the session, and Brother Van Meter left when he
arrived. It was desirable to have both present. Moreover, one of the
candidates was taken alarmingly ill. Still the preachers, after a day of
special prayer, selected two for ordination, having been taught that the
entire responsibility rested upon them. These two did not object at
first; but, as the time approached, they began to reveal their
misgivings. Their earnestness in prayer and then mental struggles were
intense; and they persisted in wishing to be allowed to wait another
year, fearing to take upon themselves the responsibilities that
ordination would impose. Action was finally postponed. I should like to
live another year to see them ordained.

"The number of pupils in our village schools has not increased according
to our wishes. The returns are not complete, but the whole number will be
less than that of last year. Two difficulties have been met which we
trust will not prove insurmountable. We lack a sufficient number of
qualified teachers. To supply this need is one main object of our
boarding-school, and should be of all boarding-schools in the Karen
mission. No child should be brought into these schools to be taught what
he can learn in his own village. Another difficulty arises from the
poverty of the people. If they do all they can to support their pastors,
they are not able in many cases to support schools. School-teachers must
live as well as others. Still, I trust we shall be able somehow to supply
this want. The Karens will learn to read in someway; but the influence of
a good school upon the children of a village can only be appreciated by
those who have witnessed its results through a series of years. We ought
to have two thousand children taught in such schools three months each
year, and we shall not feel satisfied till we can report that number.

"Hitherto, in our operations here, but little has been done
systematically in sabbath schools. In fact, the native preachers did not
see clearly how the thing was to be done. Fortunately, at Ong Khyoung
there is a large church and congregation; and, the preachers being all
present, I endeavored to enforce precept by example, and _show_ them how
it is to be done. We cannot expect that these schools will now be
conducted on the plan of expounding Scripture. The Karens are not yet
competent for that. Catechisms suited to their state of knowledge will be
the only method for years to come. We have two of these adapted to the
object,--Mrs. Wade's, which is historical; and mine, which is doctrinal.
There are some other works, small, and good as far as they go. We hope
the day will come when all Karen Christian congregations will learn their
lessons from these and similar books during the week, and, on the
sabbath, repeat their lessons to teachers competent to expound and
enforce the great truths they contain. I rely on this kind of teaching as
one of the most efficient instrumentalities for imparting Christian truth
to the people."

In a postscript he says to the secretary:--

"I should like to give my reasons in full why I think that to multiply
'stations' will not probably augment the efficiency of the native
ministry, or conduce materially to the extension of the gospel.[1] I am
afraid that my thoughts about mission establishments in general will have
to come out if I live...I do not care to listen to the advice of
friends who are urging me to go home. I may perhaps go to Maulmain...I
can only rely on the rich grace that abounds to sinners through Christ
our Lord, and calmly await the decrees of Heaven."

{ Footnote: [1] So far as we can learn, Mr. Abbott was not permitted to
set forth the reasons for these views; but the fact that these were his
matured views should have due weight with all who are called to direct in
mission affairs. }

During this travelling season, Mr. Van Meter visited five of the ten
heathen Pwo villages on the coast of southern Arakan. In his account of
the tour he gives a sketch of two valued Pwo assistants:--

"Thahbwah, our first Pwo teacher, has been preaching, since he left us,
with much acceptance. He seems to be universally esteemed in the jungle
for his amiable disposition, and his services have been sought for in
more than one direction. He now leaves his own village, where there are
but few Pwos, and enters upon a new field of much promise near Bassein.
Thung Choke, the fourth assistant, the eldest of the four, and probably
as intelligent and useful as either of his more favored associates, has
been preaching and teaching for five years, at the same time assisting
himself in part by manual labor, and in part by the practice of medicine,
occasionally receiving a little help from his people. When asked by
Brother Abbott if he now wished any aid from us, he replied, that, if it
was desirable for him to give himself wholly to the work, he would
require a little. The sum named, thirty rupees, was cheerfully given him.
His whole library in Pwo consists of a copy of Matthew and a few tracts.
I could give him only a soiled catechism picked up from the rubbish at
Sandoway. He understands Sgau, however, and has the Sgau Testament. He
has a congregation of over one hundred, not more than half of whom are
professed believers. Tau Lau has ninety in his village: whether all
baptized or not, I am unable to say."

On the 11th of May, at the request of the Executive Committee, the
brethren in Sandoway organized themselves into a distinct mission by the
choice of Mr. Abbott, chairman; Mr. Beecher, secretary; Mr. Van Meter,
treasurer. We suppose that the only change in the working of the mission
after this arrangement was in the matter of book-keeping. May 20 Mr.
Beecher reports that Myat Kyau had baptized a hundred and sixty-five
converts in Bassein during a recent tour. Tway Po, a month later, had
baptized a hundred and forty-five in the same district, making three
hundred and ten in all.

The boarding-school was dismissed at the close of September. Owing, in
part, to the extensive prevalence of cholera in the Christian villages
during the hot season, the average number of pupils for the term of five
months had been only twenty. After the daily Bible lesson in the Gospels,
Galatians, or Ephesians, arithmetic was the principal study. Mrs.
Beecher's class of lads in English was sent over at the close of this
term to join Mrs. Binney's school in Maulmain. On the last Sunday the
communion was celebrated; and a Burman disciple, Shway Eing, whose
religious history is briefly sketched by Mr. Abbott in the next chapter,
was received by baptism.

Nov. 20 Mr. Abbott, in replying to a letter from Secretary Bright,
further unfolds his views on important questions of mission policy:--

"Our _theories_ will not evangelize the Karens. Our machinery may, or
may not, be the means by which it is to be done. We may theorize, and
one say, 'Only give us lots of money to hire a host of preachers, and
the Karens are evangelized:' or, 'Let us pursue this or that course, and
the Karens are evangelized.' I think, however, there is common ground
where we can all stand. That missionaries are going into every small
village, or city even, of Burma or China, is not to be thought of for a
moment...Heathen countries must be evangelized through a native
ministry. That ministry must be educated _by foreign aid_. Give to them
and their country the Bible and theology, education to teachers and
ministers, books, etc., and a general guidance such as Paul gave to the
churches he had planted. Of course missionaries are to plant churches in
great cities, as Paul did. But these ministers, when educated, must not
become the hired men of the missionary. After we have given to the
country or people an educated ministry, teachers, the Bible, and a
literature, _the rest must be self-sustaining_. Karens must sustain
Karens, is a sentiment I have re-iterated to our native preachers here.
Churches must sustain themselves, _must begin, must learn, and believe
and feel that that is the law of Christ's kingdom_. This missionaries
must teach if we would have the native ministry and people believe it
and begin to act upon the principle.

"As to securing a native ministry, we are getting on admirably,--thanks
be to God for ever and ever!...We have men enough to preach the
gospel to every Karen hamlet in a very few years.[1] We want--_we want
now_--the Holy Spirit, power from on high to effect the evangelization of
the Karens, more than we want men or money or theories. So I believe, and
so I teach."

{ Footnote: [1] I believe that this has been done over and over again in
all the Sgau villages that remain heathen in the Bassein district.--ED. }

Mr. Abbott's tender regard for his friends appears in this, as in so many
of his letters. This time it is, "How are they at Haverhill? and why does
not Train write me?" In the next it is, "Kind regards to the executive
officers at the Rooms, not forgetting Brother Shaw."

Again in December he writes,--

"Common schools form one of the most important departments of labor and
usefulness to which our minds can be directed. What would the United
States be, with all her other institutions of religion and learning, were
it not for 'common schools'? And what will the Karen people be without
them? I am not sure but we shall deem it a duty to ask for an
appropriation for them. We shall not hesitate to do so, if we think money
can be expended in that way without doing more hurt than good."

Again, we quote for the benefit of sickly persons, who desire to go out
as missionaries:--

"If----is really 'a consumptive case,' he will find this a bad place for
him. He might live longer here than in a cold climate, and _he might
not_. This is a bad climate for feeble lungs. Such cases ought never to
come on a mission.----was one,--well to-day, and a cough to-morrow; no
heart or strength to engage in that hard labor which anticipates its
results for years to come; away on a trip for health, and better; a brief
time of study; then a cough again, discouragement, and all given up. It
requires good health and all one's energy to prepare for labor in the
mission field."

It is unnecessary to say, probably, that the disease which was now so
soon to end Mr. Abbott's valuable life and labors was not brought with
him to Burma. It was, without doubt, the direct result of years of
exposure, overwork, anxiety, and grief.



CHAPTER IX.
1851.


"We who are to be the spiritual conquerors of the world should send, not
our mediocre men, but _our very best_,--those who, not only in faith and
self-denial, in courage and meekness, but also in linguistic attainments,
in capacity for organization, in many-sided, practical resource, far
surpass the clergy at home."--DR. CHRISTLIEB.


THE annual associations of the native churches in Burma have a
retrospective as well as a prospective character. The results of the
previous year's labor are reported and tabulated, while plans are formed,
and funds provided for the work of the year to come. As the Burmese lunar
month is followed in the appointments from year to year, to secure as
much of the moonlight and nocturnal coolness as possible, both for the
meetings and the long journey to and fro, the time varies, generally
falling within the limits of the new year, but sometimes, as on this
occasion, at the close of the old. As this is the last general meeting
which the beloved Abbott will ever hold with his beloved Karens on earth,
the good man's report of the meeting, and the thoughts suggested to him
by the proceedings, will be read with peculiar interest, notwithstanding
the length.

"_Sandoway, January, 1851._ I have just returned from the annual meeting,
held at Ong Khyoung from the 12th to the 16th of December. Most of the
preachers were present, and a good number of the elders, but not so many
of the latter as we hope to see in future years. Written reports were
read from nearly all the churches: the exceptions were Pantanau and the
churches east of that place. The letters in general indicate a degree of
stability and prosperity highly satisfactory. The statistics for the year
1850 are as follows: Forty-four churches, forty-eight native preachers,
five hundred and twenty-nine baptized, fourteen excluded, and a hundred
and fifty-one deceased. These forty-four churches include the eight in
Arakan, but are exclusive of many little clusters of Christians in
various places not organized as churches. They all have worship regularly
on the sabbath, have succeeded to some extent in establishing sabbath
schools: all aid more or less in supporting their own preachers. The
majority have convenient places of worship; and they are, as a whole,
maintaining the institutions of the gospel and the order of the Lord's
house according to the divine pattern."

Again the missionary gives expression to one of his fondest hopes:--

"The Karen churches, especially in Burma, are fulfilling a high mission.
The proud, pharisaical Boodhist, the polluted idolater, the wicked of all
grades, are reading the blameless, virtuous lives of the Christian
Karens, and are becoming convinced that a religion that can produce such
fruits is divine. An impression is thus being made which promises
glorious things for Burma. Not a few Burmans are already attracted to the
truth by that blessed influence. God confounds the wisdom of this world
and things that are mighty by those that are weak and simple. May we not
hope that the Karen churches will become the consecrated instrumentality
for the conversion of Burma to God?

"The churches succeed in supporting their pastors beyond my expectation.
Their letters read at the association show that they are beginning in the
right way. That work, however, will demand the exercise of a powerful
guiding influence; more especially, as there are conflicting views, and,
what is worse, conflicting practice, among those who 'episcopize' the
whole. It becomes us all to take care how we lay the foundation, and with
what we build; for posterity will judge our work. In one view of the case
I am not without apprehensions, but in the light of the promises all is
clear. Our preachers are multiplying: we now have forty-eight, including
the six ordained pastors. There is also a large class studying at
Maulmain. Upon these men depend our hopes of the final triumph of the
gospel, and the perpetuity of Christian institutions in the land. There
are varieties of character, and degrees of influence and efficiency among
them; but, taking them all in all, we have an excellent company connected
with this mission. And we record, with devout gratitude to God, that none
of them, during the past year, have given us occasion to weep over their
downfall.

"Most of those baptized were connected with churches in Burma, and were
baptized by the native pastors. The few in this province and around
Sandoway were baptized by Brother Beecher. One of the pastors from
Rangoon baptized a good many near Pantanau, I suppose near one hundred,
which will make the whole number baptized during the year over six
hundred, all of whom are connected with established Christian
congregations. Including the deaths in the Pantanau churches, and those
who, though not baptized, died in the Christian faith, we may safely say
that four hundred have died during the year, the greater number of
cholera. Whole villages are broken up by that fearful disease, and
scattered like leaves before the storm.

"One of the chief obstacles to the social improvement of the Karens is
their disposition to rove from place to place; to build light, frail
huts, here this year, and away to another spot the next. The chief cause
of this propensity is the prevalence of violent contagious or epidemic
diseases. Some of our best and largest villages, not only in Arakan and
Burma, but in Maulmain and Tavoy, have been broken up from this cause. It
is an evil which the present generation, I fear, will not be able to
remedy. But what a consoling reflection, that instead of meeting death
with dread, and the awful forebodings which the approach of eternity
awakens in every heathen mind, so many of the Karen people now walk
through the dark valley fearlessly, singing,--

'Welcome the tomb!
Since Jesus has lain there, I dread not its gloom!'

"Among the deceased was Wah Dee, the pastor at Great Plains. He had gone
into Burma, was attacked there with cholera, and was soon with the dead.
He emigrated to Arakan in 1841, and settled with the people of his
village at Buffalo. In 1842 I baptized at that place seventy-five within
one hour, I recollect. Wah Dee was of the number. He moved with his
village to Great Plains, and was the faithful and beloved pastor of that
church till his death. He was emphatically a good man; not great or
learned, but a man who made full proof of his ministry, and is blessed in
his death. He ruled his own house and the church of God well, and his
name is fragrant and hallowed. His family will not be forgotten or
neglected.

"The day-schools have not come up as we could wish: not more than two
hundred have been connected with regular schools this year. The cholera
broke up many; in some of the largest villages, indeed, there was no
school at all. We lack teachers. More have been demanded than we could
supply from our station-school. To provide for that demand will claim all
our time during the rainy season. Common schools, among this uneducated
Christian community, next in importance to a native ministry, call for
our vigilant and constant care.

"During the meeting three brethren were ordained to the work of the
ministry,--the same who were before us a year ago. They came accompanied
by the elders of their churches, who testified to their character and
standing, and also to the wish of the people that they might be ordained.
They were examined and accepted Dec. 14. They passed the examination very
satisfactorily, and were unanimously approved. I needed no new tests to
satisfy my own mind; for I have watched their course from the beginning,
and was ready to ordain them a year ago.

"On the 15th they were recognized as ministers of Christ, by the laying
on of hands, and by prayer. Brethren Beecher, Van Meter, Tway Po, and
Myat Kyau participated in the imposition of hands; and Myat Kyau offered
the consecrating prayer. The services throughout were adapted to make a
deep and lasting impression, and were listened to by a large congregation
with breathless attention. It added not a little to the interest, that
Brother Van Meter gave the hand of fellowship with an appropriate address
in Pwo. It was new to the people to hear that language from a missionary.
Nearly all understood, and all listened with delight. It was the
_installation_ of the Pwo department.

"Another interesting feature of the exercises was the address of Tway
Po,--the more interesting to me, perhaps, from the reminiscences which it
awakened. The congregation were evidently deeply affected. In the midst
stood the three men who had been recognized as ambassadors of Christ.
Before them, a few feet distant, stood Tway Po facing them, leaning
gently with his right arm against one of the large pillars that support
the roof of the chapel. The personal appearance of Tway Po is
prepossessing, his manners dignified and ministerial. He is mild in his
address,--mild but effective, quietly forcible,--of few words, but those
well chosen, and adapted to touch the heart. He opened his mouth, and
gave to his ordained brethren a few words of admonition to fulfil with
fidelity the ministry they had received of the Lord Jesus. There they
stood, Karen charging his brother Karens to magnify their office as the
messengers of heaven to a wicked world, and enforcing the admonition by
words of wisdom and truth. As I looked and listened, I experienced one of
those rare moments, when the recollections of past years, their mingled
emotions, hopes and fears, come rushing in upon the mind in a torrent,
and gushing tears relieve the agitated heart.

[ Illustration--REV. MAU YAY OF KYOOTOO. ]

"These men before me have passed over from demon darkness into the
kingdom of God's dear Son. What a translation! The ignorant, degraded,
devil-worshipping Karen is now the sanctified minister of righteousness,
standing in the great congregation of God's people, Karens like himself,
pouring forth from an enlightened heart those truths which were to be the
guide of his brother ministers in discharging the solemn responsibilities
which their ordination had imposed,--truths which he had so recently
learned and made the guide of his own life. What a transformation of
character! It was a joyful sight,--joyful not only as an historical fact,
indicative of the triumph of the gospel and the sanction of God, but by
its bright and inspiring promise of the future. Would that all the
friends of missions could have been there to witness the scene. But it
would have been necessary, perhaps, that they should first share in my
experiences, in order to sympathize fully with my sensibilities. We
commended the beloved men to God and to the word of his grace, and sent
them forth on their career in the name of the Lord. We shall watch their
course with unabating anxiety, and with prayers to the great Head of the
church, that he may keep his own to the end. Glory be to his holy name
forever!

"The names of the three men ordained are Mau Yay, Myat Keh, and Po
Kway.[1] The first is pastor of the church at Kyootoo, where I sat on my
mat at midnight, in the open air, many years ago, and preached the gospel
of Christ. The 'young chief' of those days is a member of that church. It
is large and prosperous, has built a beautiful place of worship, supports
its pastor, and makes liberal contributions for benevolent purposes. Mau
Yay has been acting pastor of the church since its formation ten years
ago, and has maintained a reputation without spot. The other two are
younger, but their reputation is as fair as his. They have been for
several years acting pastors of large churches, which support them
entirely, maintain among themselves the institutions of the gospel and
schools, and contribute largely for other objects. Thus they start on
their career with bright prospects, but God alone seeth the end. My
yearnings over them, who can declare!

{ Footnote: [1] The latter died near the close of 1880. He was the father
of sixteen children, by one mother, including Rev. Myassah Po Kway, whom
many friends in Hamilton, N.Y., and Plainfield, N.J., will remember. Myat
Keh was the pastor and uncle of Moung Tway, well known in Cambridge and
Newton, Mass. The two first named still live, full of years and honor.
Three abler or more devoted servants of Christ, it would be hard to find
in any Eastern land. Their career speaks well for the capacity of their
race, and for the training and discernment of their first teacher, Mr.
Abbott, as also for the later influence of Mr. Beecher. Neither of the
three ever had the benefit of study at Maulmain or Rangoon. }

"The fourth candidate, a Pwo, was detained on the way by the illness of a
travelling companion. The Pwos in Burma must have one of their own people
ordained. Shway Bo was approved as a candidate a year ago, and he will
probably be ordained later in the season at Buffalo.

"During the association, a society was organized which, in other lands,
would be called a 'Home Mission Society.' Hitherto, this work has been
conducted here as in other missions,--by native preachers in the employ
of the missionary. That system has its evils, which none can know but
those who have endeavored, after the preachers and churches are brought
under its influence, to break up the system, to substitute for the
mission treasury the native churches themselves, and cast all the
preachers on those churches for support. Preachers have been employed by
us here, as in other places, who are now, or should be, employed by a
missionary society conducted and sustained by the Karens themselves. At
this point we have finally arrived, with a fair prospect of success. That
_pastors_ are to be sustained by their own churches, if possible, need
not be repeated. The object we propose in organizing such a society is
not to beget a missionary spirit, or to awaken missionary zeal, or to
create that disposition in the churches which prompts to effort for the
conversion of the world. That is not the work of a missionary society,
but of the pastor; and, if not effected by him, the most that a society
can do will be to produce fitful efforts, a convulsive, momentary zeal,
which dies as soon as the cause that produced it is withdrawn. We
organize a voluntary association to give expression to the faith and
zeal, the prayers and benevolence, of the churches; to open a channel
through which streams may flow out to bless and fertilize surrounding
deserts. When a combination of churches can effect this object more
efficiently than individual churches, then it is the duty of churches to
combine.

"Were there but one Christian on earth, it might be said to him, 'Thou
art the light of the world,' and it would be his duty to enlighten the
world in the best way he could. Were there but one church on earth,
consisting of twelve men, it would be said to that church,--to the twelve
individuals,--'Ye are the light of the world,' and it would be their duty
to enlighten the world. Could they do it better as individuals, each
acting on his own responsibility, then it would be their duty to act as
individuals. What one man might not be able to effect, the twelve
combined might; then it is their duty to unite, and act as a society.
Individual and united action are both alike duty. Were there but twelve
churches on earth, numbering one thousand members, it would be said to
the twelve churches, and to the thousand members alike, 'Ye are the light
of the world,' and it would be their duty to enlighten the world. What
one church might not be able to accomplish, the twelve acting in union
might. Then it is their duty to act in union. The command binds each
individual of the thousand, as an individual, as a member of the church,
and each church as a member of the whole.

"What particular direction the action of the whole, acting as a society,
may take, rests with the one thousand individuals to decide. All must act
individually if that is the best way; by individual churches if that be
better; or the thousand must act as one man if that be best. And let
individuals beware how they decide, lest their action stop short with
individual or church action, because they can find no New Testament model
for a 'Missionary Union.' Should they refuse to combine, what they might
effect, acting in concert, is not done. The world is not enlightened; and
the saying, 'Ye are the light of the world,' so far as relates to those
twelve churches and that one thousand individuals, _is not true._

"It is a simple truth, that every individual is responsible for all that
he might effect, as an individual, as a member of an individual church,
and as a member of the great Body,--the Church Universal, acting in
concert and union. Each individual church also is bound as a member of
the whole.

"But what is an individual church? Supposing there are fifty members, men
and women, in a particular church: what is that church but fifty
individuals, who live in one place, and write their names in one book,
and, in many matters, act in concert as one body? Those fifty individuals
can never lose their personal identity by being absorbed in what they
call a church,--can never lose in the church their individual
responsibility to God, or their obligations to a dying world. If they
can, take away those fifty individuals, and where is the church?

"Each individual is bound to do what he can to enlighten the world as an
individual, or as a member of the church; which may act, in turn, either
as a church, or in concert with every other Christian and every other
church, in any way and in all ways that may effect the object proposed.
Individual and united action, whether that united action be said to be by
churches or individuals, are both alike _duty_, from which no one
individual, however feeble or poor, may for a moment hope to be exempted.
Would to God that the three hundred thousand individual Baptist
Christians of the Northern states would all ponder well their individual
and united obligations to Christ and a world sinking to hell, and, all
acting in concert through that glorious 'American Baptist Missionary
_Union_,' send out men chosen of God, who should go into all the world,
and preach the gospel to every creature!

"The above train of thought was suggested in view of the fact, that we
had superinduced upon the Karen churches, organized after the pattern of
the New Testament, a 'society' composed of individuals from all these
churches, whose object it is to enlighten the world. We not only believe
that every individual shall give an account of himself, but we believe
also that 'Union is strength,'--that, if the united action of all the
people of God may accomplish a great and good object, which individual
action cannot accomplish, then united action is a duty binding upon every
child of God. Hence our Karen Home Mission Society. It is, of course, but
an infant, yet of fair proportions and cheering promise.

"Three missionaries are appointed, and are to be supported for the year
1851, wholly by the native Christians. The society is under the direction
of the Karens themselves,--its secretary, treasurer, and committees, all
Karens. Of course the missionary will keep in sight to advise, impel, or
restrain, as need may be. The American Baptist Missionary Union is the
parent and patron of the society, and may be a contributor. We trust it
may yet rejoice over the triumphs achieved by its own offspring. It is
our expectation that the support of all the preachers who require aid,
the supply of poor churches, and the sending of missionaries to regions
beyond,--indeed, all the operations of the 'home department'--will be
conducted by this society. The Karens, and, indeed, all converts from
heathenism in our missions, contribute liberally to objects of special
interest,--more liberally than Christians, as a whole, in America. It is
not so easy, however, for these converts to feel it a duty to support
their own pastors and the interests of their own churches,--a duty to be
performed year after year, with none of the peculiar satisfaction which
attends the offering of their substance to the Lord on special occasions
and directly to the missionary. Their liberality should be enlightened,
lest it be vitiated by the old superstition, that offerings must be made
to the gods, that is, to the pagodas and priests, no matter to what
purpose the offerings might finally be devoted, whether they go to the
fire, to dogs, or to scoundrels; only _make offerings and secure merit_.
To enlighten the people at this point, and direct their contributions
into legitimate channels, demands, in my estimation, the earnest and
prompt attention of the missionary. All the preachers manifested an
interest in the formation of the society. Many of them had the
contributions of their churches in hand, and were inquiring of us what to
do with them. Now they have an object to which their offerings may be
legitimately devoted. More than that, a new door of hope is thus opened
to their countrymen, who still sit in darkness and the shadow of death. A
resolve was made unanimously to pursue the great work of home missions
until 'every Karen family shall have seen the light of God.'

"There is a division in one of the largest churches, which once numbered
two hundred and seventy-six members. It will probably destroy the church.
Indeed, their large and beautiful chapel is deserted and going to decay,
the two parties going each a different way. They will be gathered again,
we hope, in other churches.

"There have been but few cases of apostasy or discipline. In this
respect, we have reason for rejoicing and gratitude. The principal source
of anxiety, in my own mind, is, a defect of energy, of efficiency, of
enterprise, in our preachers. Perhaps, bringing with us the sentiments
and the spirit characteristic of America, we expect too much of them.
Perhaps we do not make sufficient allowance for the fact that they have
just emerged from the lowest depths of social degradation, of ignorance,
indolence, and filth. As to the moral and religious character and
influence, not only of the preachers, but of the Karen Christians as a
whole, they are certainly exhibiting to the world a powerful testimony in
favor of truth and righteousness. There is also improvement; so that, on
the whole, we have abundant reason to magnify the riches of God's grace,
and take courage.

"I could have wished to remain longer at Ong Khyoung with the preachers.
I would desire no happier life than to live and die among those beloved
men. They have shared in my sympathies and toils, as they have been my
companions for years. Their filthy and indolent habits _did_ try my
patience, but their marked improvement has awakened my joy. For their
well-being I have experienced a depth of watchful solicitude which no
mortal can ever appreciate. They have won my confidence and love. To them
the strength of my best days has been devoted. The Lord bless them, and
make them faithful, beloved pastors, and successful heralds of
salvation."

It was not thought prudent for Mr. Abbott to remain in the jungle beyond
the few days necessary for the meetings. He says,--

"To be unable to pursue my labors longer among the preachers and churches
at this time causes regret. It is the less, however, as Mr. and Mrs.
Beecher are there...Whether my intended trip to Maulmain and a few
months sojourn there will afford me any permanent relief is perhaps
doubtful. As I hope to be near the Press, and able to write a little,
perhaps my time will not be entirely lost."

Writing from Dr. Stevens's house in Maulmain, Feb. 20, he says,--

"I have been here a few days, and am intending to spend the rainy season
with Brother Mason at Tavoy...No bleeding from the throat since the
violent hemorrhage three weeks since. Hope a season on this coast may be
useful...We are discussing important subjects here, and the future
brightens. I have strong hope that a reform will be effected in some
departments. We are all on the most cordial terms,--perfect friendliness
and confidence. Thanks to God for that!"

To return to Sandoway: Mr. Beecher writes, March 14, as follows:--

"After the meetings and ordination at Ong Khyoung, I remained there
nearly four weeks, instructing a class of thirty preachers. They were
occupied chiefly in the study of Galatians. An exposition was also given
them of the more difficult portions of James and the First Epistle of
Peter. Ten school-teachers and boys were instructed in arithmetic by an
assistant. A few evenings were occupied with lectures on astronomy, in
which all seemed interested, the people of the village also attending in
good numbers.

"While with the preachers, the letters of the churches read at the
association were carefully reviewed, and the cases of discipline
mentioned were examined. A table of statistics was also made out from
them, by which it appears that thirty churches have contributed to the
support of their pastors, on an average, twelve rupees and seventy
baskets of paddy each, besides other articles. Moreover, they have
contributed about fifty rupees towards the support of two or more
itinerants among the heathen. In order to increase this fund, and to
complete the arrangements for this new enterprise, the preachers have
appointed a meeting to be held in Burma the first of this mouth.

"Only twenty-six of the Sgau preachers have been aided this year by the
mission; and they have received, on an average, only twelve rupees each.
This, with what they receive from their churches, and what they can do
for themselves, without diminishing their usefulness as pastors, will
render them as comfortable as the majority of their people, and that is
all that is desirable. Among other good results of their depending on the
churches for support, is that of stimulating both pastors and people to
build up large and permanent villages. Pastors, too, are more anxious to
gain the favor and confidence of the people, and the people are more
interested in their pastors. The pastors and churches have yet many
things to learn before they will fully understand their mutual duties;
and errors, the result of ignorance, already appear, which, without
careful correction, will work mischief. But we are encouraged by their
readiness to listen to instruction, and yield to the wishes of the
missionaries, to hope that the system of ministerial support which has
been established among them will, in due time, be attended with all the
advantages here that attend it in America.

"While with the assistants, the disorderly conduct of one of their
number, Too Oo,[1] 1 was brought to my notice. His case was carefully
examined before all the assistants. He was charged with abusive treatment
of his wife. He frankly confessed that he had frequently beaten her when
angry, and acknowledged that he was easily irritated, and his temper
ungoverned. He had often been entreated and rebuked by his brethren, with
all longsuffering and forbearance; had as often promised repentance and
reformation, but had returned and done the same things. The assistants
heard with patience all that he had to say but when the question was put,
whether they would fellowship him as a preacher, not a word was said or a
hand raised in his favor. This act of discipline, though done in my
presence, was none the less their act; and though it was deeply painful
to us all, to have one who has been for years laboring as a preacher thus
silenced, still the determination to preserve a high standard of moral
purity in the ministry, which the assistants have manifested on this and
other occasions, is bright with promise for the future character of the
churches. The preachers were dismissed, Jan. 8, and the rest of the time
at my disposal was spent in visiting the churches on this coast.

{ Footnote: [1] The same who afterwards became a pervert to Roman
Catholicism. See p. 104. }

"Were it consistent with faithfulness to present only the bright side in
our missionary reports, I would gladly speak only of the churches at
Thehrau and Great Plains. But, in the primitive church, those who made
the mission reports were not silent respecting the errors of the
converts. The church at Ong Khyoung has suffered from the change of
pastors in 1847. Tway Po, who had gathered the church, left at that time
to build up a new interest at Thehrau. His successor, Myat Kyau, is a
better preacher than pastor. The church is not united or cordial in
supporting him. Their love for each other, for their teacher, and for
Christ has grown cold, while their love of money and the world has
increased. A few, however, are faithful, and we hope that another
contemplated change of pastors will tend to produce a favorable change in
the people.

"The church at Khyoungthah is a feeble band. Their pastor, Shway Meh,
lacks energy, and needs additional instruction to prepare him for
efficient work. But he appears anxious to improve, and we hope he will be
able to study with us during the coming rains. The church appear willing
to aid him according to their ability.

"Bogalo, pastor at Sinmah, is dissatisfied with the fruit of his labors
there, and goes to build up a new interest near Buffalo. The church seem
to regret his leaving them, and would aid in supporting him as far as
they can; but he will not remain. The church at Buffalo have built a neat
and durable chapel, and are gradually increasing in numbers and strength,
though they are still few and feeble. They find it difficult to obtain
sufficient food and clothing for their own families, but promise to
contribute five rupees towards the support of their pastor.

"Weeks before we arrived at Great Plains, we had heard with deep sorrow
of the death of Wah Dee, the beloved pastor, while on a preaching tour in
Burma. His elder brother had been from the first the head man of the
village and the main pillar of the church, which had been gathered and
called from Burma, chiefly through his influence. He had given freely,
and labored hard to erect an elegant and substantial chapel. We had heard
the old man relate the history of the church, and wept with him as he
recounted his toils, his trials, and bereavements. One hundred families
had followed him from Burma nine years since. Some were disheartened and
returned; some had gone to other villages; his wife had been taken from
him; and now Wah Dee, his pride, his chief joy and hope, had been
suddenly removed. Stroke after stroke had fallen upon the head of the
worthy patriarch; and he showed how near he was to being heart-broken at
the last blow by his often assuring us with tears and sobs, 'My heart is
not yet destroyed.' We found, on arriving, that the old man was still as
untiring in his labors as though he believed the life of the church and
the prosperity of the village depended upon his efforts. In season and
out of season he was the counsellor of the young, the friend of the poor,
the comforter of the afflicted, a bright example of that faith which
works by love.

"But the village! They had told us nothing about this. Many came to the
river to greet us, and, during our long walk to the village, talked to us
of their lamented pastor, of their fears on account of robbers, and their
troubles with the Burman tax-gatherer; and we thought of little except
the words of comfort and encouragement we should speak to them. We had a
faint recollection of the scattered and shabby houses which composed the
village three years before. We had heard of changes, but were expecting
to see little beyond an ordinary Karen village. But never were we so
agreeably surprised as when we stood in front of the late pastor's
dwelling and looked at the new village. The carefully built houses
standing in rows; the ground under and around them free from rubbish,
as if often swept; the well-cultivated plots of vegetables; the
street, wide and straight, and neatly bordered with fruit-trees and
flowers,--altogether formed a pleasing picture.

"We were fast forgetting the sad thoughts that had filled our minds, and
were expressing our pleasure at the neatness and prosperity of the
village, praising also the industry and good taste of the villagers, when
one and another, the old head man among the foremost, came near, and
said, 'It was all done by Wah Dee,' 'It was all planned and directed by
Wah Dee,' 'Wah Dee, though dead, has become a sweet-smelling savor.' Nor
did the village lose any of its charms during a stay of three weeks. We
found the people intelligent, industrious, and anxious for instruction.
At first our mornings and evenings were wholly occupied with visiting
twelve or fifteen sick persons, all but two of whom, by the blessing of
God, soon recovered.

"The death of one of these served to exhibit in a painful degree the
ignorance and superstition that still darken the minds of some
Christians, even in our more intelligent villages. A bereaved father came
to us just as we were leaving, and with a sorrowful face entreated us to
pray for his daughter, who had died a few days before. We were the more
shocked, because that subject had often been remarked upon during our
stay, and once when he was present. How hard and slow the process of
thorough conversion from heathenism! The majority of the church showed at
the covenant-meeting a degree of intelligence and spirituality that much
exceeded our expectations. Their afflictions seem to have been sanctified
to their growth in grace.

"Soon after our arrival, a school of thirty-five interesting children was
gathered, and taught by one of our Sandoway pupils. The attendance was
good while we staid; but it was expected that when we left the older
pupils would be needed to aid their parents. It was decided, in
accordance with the wishes of the church, that the son of the deceased
pastor, a promising young man [Shway Au], should take the place left by
his father, as soon as he should be prepared by age and study. His uncle,
in the mean time, will continue to conduct worship, and watch over the
church, as he has done since Wah Dee's death. We bade the people
farewell, wishing that it were practicable to make their village our
home.

"A day and a night's sail towards home brought us to Thehrau, where the
Christians have literally caused 'the wilderness and the solitary place'
to be 'glad for them.' Four years ago the place was a dense wilderness;
but the rice-field has appeared instead of the jungle; the habitations of
men are now seen where were then only the haunts of wild beasts.
Christians now walk in company to the house of God, where, a few years
since, roamed the wild elephant; and the voice of prayer and praise is
heard where the moaning of the forest was only broken by the yell of the
tiger and the barking of the deer. This people have shown much spirit and
enterprise in building up their village, and are making pleasing advances
in civilization as well as in Christianity.

"Their pastor, Tway Po, to whom the praise is chiefly due, has so often
been mentioned that you must begin to feel acquainted with him. He has
everywhere the same dignified yet winning manner, but needs to be seen in
his own village and in his own family to be perfectly known and
appreciated. No native preacher has a stronger or better influence
abroad, and none is more beloved and respected at home. Even the
worshippers of nats and idols, who will not believe the doctrine he
preaches, look to him for counsel in trouble. We had often been amused to
see how much more at home he appeared than the other assistants, when
sitting in our chairs. When we saw him in his own house, we understood
the reason. His whole house was well built; but his room, which is used
also as a conference-room, approached the civilized standard more nearly
than any thing we had before seen among natives. The floor, rafters,
steps, and door-frames were of sawn plank. The room was furnished with
two tables, two or three chairs, and a couch with turned legs. Upon the
tables were a small variety of books, in Karen and Burmese, also papers
and pamphlets, all arranged with care. But what gave a charm to the whole
was that the furniture was of his own manufacture. As we passed by or
entered this room from day to day, and saw Tway Po--_Rev._ Tway Po, we
should say, for no minister was ever more worthy of the title than
he--sitting by his table, reading and studying, or conversing with those
who sought his advice, we often wished that our brethren who feel such an
interest in this people could see him, looking so much like an American
pastor in his study. Let the prayers of Christians ascend to the great
Head of the church, that he will raise up from among this people many
Tway Pos."

The Van Meters spent two months in the jungle this year. Mr. Van Meter
reports the membership of the Pwo churches as increasing somewhat.

"One of the little bands [Shway Bo's] has been scattered and peeled by
the iniquitous misgovernment of the land. The congregation has been
reduced from one hundred to thirty. Still they are not lost. As regards
the support of Pwo assistants, all are necessarily dependent on us for
more or less aid. The few Pwo churches are still feeble, and not far
enough advanced in the knowledge of their obligation to fulfil this work,
had they even the ability...Two of the churches have supplied their
preachers with nearly one hundred baskets of rice, together with fish,
tobacco, and a little money. All the assistants are in the habit of
working a part of the time for their own support."

After the interesting meetings at Ong Khyoung, Mr. Van Meter went two
days farther down the coast, to Buffalo, where he had a class of ten Pwo
students and assistants for five weeks. The Sgau Christians built them a
good house, he says, and they worked hard, mostly on the Book of Acts,
and Old Testament history. He tells of a curious incident that occurred
at Sinmah. One of the assistants took him aside, and gravely informed him
that the villagers intended to become Christians to a man, provided Mr.
Van Meter would induce the government to deliver them from an oppressive
tax-gatherer.

The principal event of the season was the ordination of the first Pwo
Karen pastor, Shway Bo, at Buffalo. He still lives, a useful man,
respected by his own people and the missionaries. He is the father of
Moung Edwin, who is known somewhat widely in the United States. Mr. Van
Meter says of the candidate at that time, "He is young, but no novice,
and exhibits a [good] degree of knowledge, tact, independence, and
maturity of character...He has enjoyed the advantage of a systematic
course of study at Maulmain." At the ordination Mr. Beecher preached the
sermon, Mr. Van Meter gave the charge, Tway Po offered the ordaining
prayer, and addressed the congregation, and Myat Kyau gave the hand of
fellowship. Mr. Beecher writes again, June 10, of the first meeting of a
native missionary society on Burman soil, of the opening of school, and
other matters:--

"Since I last wrote, young men and boys have come from various parts of
Burma, and from this coast, to attend our school. They brought letters
from many of the pastors, and verbal reports from others, from which we
learn that the churches are steadfast, and many of them growing in
numbers and in grace. Mau Yay, since his ordination last December, has
baptized ninety-seven in Bassein.

"The convention for completing the organization of the Home Mission
Society was held near Bassein, in accordance with the appointment made at
the association. A good number of the preachers were present: more would
have attended, did not the jealousy of the Burmese render large
assemblies of Karens unadvisable. Contributions were sent in from nearly
all the churches, amounting to over a hundred rupees. This was divided
between a Pwo and a Sgau preacher, who are to labor exclusively among the
heathen of their respective tribes. About fifty rupees had been
previously raised, which is to be appropriated to the support of another
missionary already appointed, but detained from his work by sickness in
his family.

"These churches have, from the first, been accustomed to make annual
contributions to the mission; but this is the first time that the funds
have been devoted particularly to this object, or that the responsibility
of expending the funds has been thrown upon themselves. This first effort
is comparatively small, but it promises to grow and wax great. (The
fact[1] that this convention of native preachers [in the absence of a
missionary] have decided to give, and two of their number have accepted
as their entire support, fifty rupees a year, is worthy of consideration.
They are here expending their own money, or money from their own
churches. They will not be likely to give their missionaries more than is
necessary, nor will the missionaries be likely to accept less than they
actually need for support; so that we could not find better qualified
judges of the amount necessary for the support of native preachers than
these men on this occasion...But to convince the brethren of other
stations that five rupees a month even is sufficient--_Hic labor, hoc
opus est!_)

{ Footnote: [1] The sentences enclosed in parentheses are restored from
Mr. Beecher's original letter. They were omitted in the Missionary
Magazine. }

"Since we returned from the jungle, nearly eighty families of Christians
have emigrated from Burma to this coast, being driven out by the
exactions which the king is making to carry on war with the Shans. This
will increase our jungle-work next year, and will make it more
impracticable than heretofore to attempt a school for preachers in the
cold season. We have a boarding-school of twenty-four pupils."

Mr. Abbott arrived in Tavoy, March 27. He spent several weeks at
Monmogan, by the sea, with some advantage to his health. From that place
he sent an interesting account of Mrs. Abbott's labors for the Burmans of
Sandoway. It belongs to this narrative of the doings of the Bassein Karen
mission; and perhaps no better place can be found for it than just here,
at the point where the still sorrowing husband wrote it, as a just
tribute to the memory of that devoted wife, and no less devoted
missionary, Ann P. (Gardner) Abbott.

"When I arrived at Sandoway in 1840, I could not use Burmese with any
fluency, and did not attempt to preach to the Burmans at all, though we
were surrounded by a Burman population, with no one to preach to them. I
had enough to do for the Karens, and could not think of preparing myself
to preach in Burmese.

"Mrs. Abbott had studied Burmese intensely: she had mastered it, and
spoke it with remarkable fluency and correctness. Our house stood out of
town by the wayside. In front there was a large veranda, that passers-by
were accustomed to enter, either to seek rest and shelter from a burning
sun or from the rain in its season, or attracted by curiosity to see the
foreigners and their children. That veranda was Mrs. Abbott's chapel.
There she used to take her seat, with a bundle of tracts and the
Scriptures, which she would read and explain to all that would listen.
Occasionally a large group would sit in silence for hours, held there by
the influence which Mrs. Abbott exerted over them by her presence and the
perfect manner in which she spoke their language. Her command of Burmese
was a passport to their hearts; and well did the meek preacher know how
to avail herself of it to secure an introduction for that gospel which
bringeth life and immortality to light.

"Another means of usefulness was in ministering to the sick and
afflicted. The _mama's_ fame for goodness and skill spread to all the
villages round about; and the lame, the halt, and the blind were brought
in to receive medical aid. Did a child tread upon a coal and burn its
foot, it was sure to be brought by its mother to the _mama_ for help.
Many children of the land are afflicted with sores, arising, no doubt,
from their habits of life. Such cases were attended to at once, their
sores or wounds washed and bandaged, and directions given how to take
care of them. And, when all was done, the poor creatures would sit down
on the mat at her feet, and listen to the reading of a tract, or to words
of wisdom and truth. Thus Mrs. Abbott, like other women in our missions,
exerted an influence over heathen women as nearly divine as any thing we
can conceive of in this fallen world.

"For five years she thus pursued her way, amidst domestic cares and
sorrows, in weakness and affliction, ever ready to divide her solicitude
between her own feeble infants and the heathen women who might gather
around her door. With a fidelity and meekness seldom surpassed, and never
ostentatiously displayed, she discharged the daily obligations of life;
and with a faith that never wavered she bore the burdens which her
missionary life imposed. All the labor in the Burmese department she
performed: all its responsibility devolved on her, and well did she
sustain it. Although subjected to trials peculiar to herself and to her
position, known only to ourselves, she labored for the welfare of the
heathen with a constancy untiring, ever exhibiting a Christian
magnanimity as she walked on in the pathway of life. She fulfilled her
mission of suffering, of toil, and of holy influence, till she sunk
suddenly, but gently, into the grave.

"She died in the evening. During the night the news had reached a few
villages near, and in the morning it spread; so that, early in the day,
groups of women from the town and the surrounding country came flocking
in to get a last glimpse of the _mama_ before she was hid away in the
tomb. Some undoubtedly came from curiosity. A foreign lady had died: it
was a strange thing in the land. Many came with a spirit of mourning.
Mrs. Abbott was a woman capable of making an impression upon _minds_, of
exerting an influence that should be long felt. Such an influence she had
affectionately exercised over those women. Many of them deeply lamented
her death. They would stand around her lifeless form, and express their
grief and affection. They would speak of the sacrifice she made in coming
to their country, and of her goodness and kindness to them. Then they
would bewail her death, a _mother's_ death, and, turning to her
motherless babes, would give vent to their tears. To this day they
remember her, and her praise is still on their lips.

"The native officers of the place came, and proposed to make a large
gilded coffin, and to carry her to the grave with pomp and parade. Not
that they intended any religious ceremony, or any compliance on our part
with their ideas of things: it was simply the prompting of respect and
good will. But it was not congenial to my spirit to have so much noise
and display. We buried her at evening. The people had all gone to their
homes, except the few native Christians and two English gentlemen. We
laid her in the new-made grave, and she slept with her infants already
there. How sweet the slumbers of the grave! There she rests from her
labors, and her works do follow her: yea, the people rise up and call her
memory blessed. A plain monument is erected over the spot; and a marble
slab simply tells the stranger that it is 'the grave of Mrs. Abbott.'

"The first convert from the Burmans was Ko Bike, a man advanced in life,
and, for a Burman, a grave, moral character. He had visited our veranda,
and had heard from Mrs. Abbott truths which made him wise unto salvation.
After a time he asked for baptism, and in 1843 was baptized by Brother
Stilson. Since that time, he has uniformly maintained an exemplary
Christian life. He was cast out and abused by all his acquaintance and
neighbors, and, worse than all, by his own wife and family. He suffered
provocation from his wife, adapted, _I_ should think, to arouse the
spirit of a man. But through it all Ko Bike maintained his integrity. I
have seen the good old man weep like an infant when speaking of this: all
else he could bear with composure. And he finally triumphed. All his
family are either Christians, or friendly to the truth. When I returned
from America, I found Ko Bike the same, and he has maintained a good
profession till the present time.[1] He talks to the people a good deal,
and distributes tracts, and, although not a great preacher, his piety and
personal worth give him a good influence over the people.

{ Footnote: [1] It was not this man, but a Karen of the same name, living
in Maulmain, I believe, who regarded himself as "ordained to make up
deficiencies." This Ko Bike afterwards removed to the compound of the
Burman mission in Bassein, where he died, trusting in Christ, in extreme
old age, about the year 1869. }

"The next convert was a priest. He, too, was first attracted by
curiosity,--a white _woman_ could speak his own language well. It was a
great condescension in a Boodhist priest to go at all into a house where
there was a woman; a greater, to sit down in her presence, especially for
_him_ to sit on a mat upon the floor, and the _woman_ in a chair above
him; greater still, to listen to a woman's reading or instructions. But
the priest _did_ sit down at the feet of the woman, and listen to her
words long and attentively. He came occasionally for months, and Mrs.
Abbott cherished a hope that he was earnestly seeking the way of life. At
length he disappeared. For a long time we heard nothing of him, till at
last word came from his monastery that he was dead. It appeared that his
fellow-priests had become alarmed at his frequent visits to our veranda,
and had persecuted him; and that, while he was ill, they had tried to
force him into the observance of heathen ceremonies. We heard, also, that
to the last he refused to comply. A mystery hangs over his last days, as
we could learn nothing except what came through the priests. From all we
could gather, we indulged a hope that he died a Christian.

"Ko Bike's son also embraced the gospel in those days. His case was not
perfectly satisfactory, but so much so as to justify his baptism...The
wife of Ko Bike had begun to bend before I left for America; so much
so, that she would come to the house and see Mrs. Abbott. She had not
_sehed_ (to abuse with words, which means a good deal among Burmans) her
husband for some time. She would allow him to pray in the house in peace.
Had not for a long time dragged him about the floor by the hair of his
head, and had not even run away from him recently. When I returned from
America, she was still more like a Christian, and has since, on the
whole, exhibited a good temper, although she occasionally lets the people
about her know that she still has a spirit of her own. She does not,
however, exhibit the violence of former days, and in no case the
vileness. She is a changed woman, and regular in her religious course;
has been asking for baptism, and, I presume, will be baptized during the
season. Ko Bike's children and grandchildren are being trained up under
Christian influence, and from his good example his neighbors are learning
the way of life. He has achieved a noble victory, and is mightier than he
that taketh a city.

"There are two other Burman members in the little church,--an old man
named Shway Eing, and his daughter, who came over from Burma. This
daughter was left motherless when an infant, and her father gave her to a
Karen Christian woman to nurse. Of course the infant was nurtured in the
'admonition of the Lord,' and, when quite young, was baptized by a Karen
pastor. Ko Bike's son heard of this girl,--a Burmese and a baptized
Christian. He went over and sought her hand, married her, and brought her
to Sandoway with her old father. He had renounced Boodhism thirteen years
before, under the influence of 'the young chief' of those days, who had
just escaped from prison at Rangoon. The old man remained a nominal
Christian till he came to Sandoway, not fully settled as to the doctrines
of the gospel. He revealed to me all his doubts, which I endeavored to
remove; and during the whole season, whenever I said any thing [in the
chapel], it was in Burmese, for the benefit of that old man, and Ko Bike
and the other Burmans. Shway Eing apprehended the truths of the gospel
with remarkable clearness, and began to declare them to his countrymen,
though at first rather timidly. Still he was not very urgent for baptism,
and I allowed him to take his own course. He was finally baptized by
Brother Beecher. He preaches well, and promises to be an efficient
laborer. His influence over the heathen is excellent, and under his
teachings quite a number are considered good inquirers.

"Thus you will see we have a small Burman church at Sandoway, a nucleus
around which, we trust, will yet be gathered a great company of
believers. The gospel is preached there, truth is communicated to the
people, and we now need nothing so much as the Spirit from on high. Our
brethren and sisters there are studying Burmese, that they may be able to
labor for the people around them. They all must be there from March to
November of each year, and, if they have health and will, can do much for
the Burmans without impeding their Karen work."

There is some confusion and conflict of plans about this time in the
Karen department. Mr. Abbott, still eager to get into Burma Proper, to be
nearer his converts, was proposing in March to go soon to his old
station, Rangoon, hoping even that he might be able ultimately to reach
Bassein from that point. Mr. Vinton did not favor the plan. In August the
Maulmain Karen mission, in view of Dr. Binney's return to America, and of
Mr. Vinton's desire to remove to Rangoon, proposed formally that Mr.
Beecher come to Maulmain and take charge of the theological school, until
some one should be sent out from home for that work, _or that the school
be temporarily transferred to Sandoway_. This vote, however, was
rescinded a month or two later, and Mr. Beecher, who had already reached
Akyab on his way to Maulmain, returned to his station. But the stirring
events of the next year were to increase the confusion, and suspend
temporarily all plans for the upbuilding of Christ's kingdom in Burma
Proper.

_"I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no more, until
he come whose right it is; and I will give it him."_--EZEK. xxi. 27.



CHAPTER X.
1852.


"The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish: yea, those
nations shall be utterly wasted."--ISAIAH.


IN the Magazine for March of this year, we find a glowing account of the
Bassein Christians from the pen of Dr. Kincaid. He had sent Burman
assistants with letters and books to visit the disciples in that region.
Some of the Christians returned with the messengers, and they had a
united Karen and Burman service in the mission-house at Rangoon, of which
the warm-hearted doctor writes, "The sweetness and harmony of Karen
voices in singing, especially in their own language, exceed any thing I
ever heard. It is like what one imagines the music of heaven to be."

The assistants reported one church with which they spent the Lord's Day,
they preaching twice in Burmese, and the pastor once in Karen. "The
church numbered nearly four hundred. Their chapel is forty cubits square,
well built, and surrounded by a neatly-kept plot of ground. Near it
stands a schoolhouse, twenty-six by twenty-eight cubits. A large number
of the members came together when the messengers arrived; and when they
saw the books and letters, and were assured of being remembered, they
were affected to tears, and some wept aloud for joy. I received a letter
from the pastor of this church [Mau Yay of Kyootoo?--ED.], and will give
you an extract:--

"'May the grace and fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be
with you! with my love, and the love of all the sons and daughters of God
in this church. I am one of the least of all the disciples, and know but
little of God's word. Divine grace has made me a teacher of the gospel,
and by the sacred imposition of hands I am made a pastor. Daily I study
the Bible, and pray for a larger measure of the Holy Spirit, so as to
teach and guide this flock of little ones. I have but little knowledge,
and can teach only what I know. I, the pastor, and all the church,
rejoiced greatly when we heard that you had come into this Burman
kingdom, and we cease not to pray for you. Our Father who is in heaven
will hear our prayers. We all desire greatly to see you, and to hear more
fully the deep things of God, that we may grow and be established in
every virtue.'

"Among the letters received is one from a Burman who has been taught the
way of life, and baptized by a Karen pastor. The letter is imbued with
Christian sentiment, and breathes the spirit of one redeemed unto God;
and yet the writer has never seen a missionary...The word of God is
making a deep impression on many Burmans in the neighborhood of Karen
churches. The two Burman assistants I sent out were much gratified to
find so many of their countrymen favorably affected by what they saw and
heard among the Karens. This is most encouraging. As the Karen churches
become mature in Christian knowledge, a mighty moral influence will go
forth, lifting the cloud of darkness from the worshippers of Gaudama.
Already an army of ten thousand stand up on the side of God, clothed in
the Christian armor. Their strong, simple faith gives to their whole
character a dignity and grandeur which compel the heathen to take
knowledge of them, that they are divinely taught.[1] About forty of them
have come, within twenty days past, for books and advice, several of them
coming over a hundred and fifty miles, through districts infested with
robbers, and amidst almost incessant storms. I feel ashamed and am
rebuked when I look on this people, braving danger, and suffering
privations and hardships, to procure portions of God's word...

{ Footnote: [1] If the hopes expressed by Dr. Kincaid, and shared equally
by many Burman and Karen missionaries, have failed of fulfilment, as we
are constrained to admit that they have for the most part, we suggest, as
the only adequate explanation, the twofold fact that American Baptists
have not extended the aid which was essential to a thorough Christian
education of this people, and, on the other hand, this help failing them,
the Karens themselves have settled down into half-helpless contentment
with ignorance, or the barest modicum of knowledge, too often, it may be,
preferring a shadow to the scarcely proffered substance. How long before
the grave defects in our system shall be remedied? }

"One other fact among many. Two young Karens from Pantanau were sent here
by their pastor to bring letters, and get a few books. Ten New
Testaments, a 'Pilgrim's Progress,' seven tracts, and two hymn-books were
wanted. They remained two days, and then set out on their long journey
back. The books were carefully rolled up, and put in the bottom of a
basket, and then the basket was filled with rice and dried fish. This
done, they gave the parting hand, and in a tremulous voice said to each
of us, 'Pray for us, that we may not fall into the hands of officers with
these books.' Two Christian boys, sixteen or seventeen years old,
trusting in God, make a journey of a hundred and thirty miles to get this
handful of books. Here is faith that will remove mountains."

Dr. Dawson also (same volume, p. 98) gives Burman testimony to the
excellent deportment of the Karen Christians. Rev. Dr. Stevens says
(_Ibid._, p. 20) that Burman priests "from the region of Bassein have
borne honorable testimony to the Christian character of Karens in that
province." He gives an interesting incident related by one of the Bassein
priests, which well illustrates Karen and Burman character. "Before he
became a priest, a Karen chanced to come along one day, while he was
reading aloud Mr. Comstock's 'Way to Heaven.' After listening attentively
for a while, he begged him to go to his village, saying that the Karens
there would like much to hear that book...On reaching the man's
house, the whole village came together, and he read to them. They
listened with deep attention till he came to a passage where Jesus Christ
is spoken of as dying on the cross for sinners. Here, he said, _they
began to weep_, and the tears trickled down their cheeks. They were not
satisfied with a single hearing. They urged him to repeat his visits,
which he did, going from place to place among them, reading that book,
and receiving a number of presents for his pains. Here, thought I, is
Brother Comstock speaking, though dead, and preaching to Karens by means
of an idolatrous Burman. The priest showed no marks of a salutary
impression made on his own heart by the reading of the tract, although he
was evidently familiar with its contents. Nor does it appear that he was
actuated by any other motive than that of 'making a gain' of them. But,
'whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is preached; and therein we do
rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.'"

Six months before the second war began, Dr. Kincaid writes again:--

"I feel ashamed when I look on this people, so full of faith and
steadfastness, so certain that the day of deliverance is at hand, and
that the empire of darkness will be overturned. The seal of God is on
them...While the Burmans are groping their way amidst the darkness
of pantheism, and are toiling under the weight of a superstition more
degrading than popery, the Karens are inquiring for God's book; and the
God of the Bible is their refuge."

The time has now come when the faith of these simple-hearted disciples is
to receive a rich reward; but they must first pass through a period of
sharpest trial. Some hundreds, under the lead of Englishmen, must take up
arms in defence of their homes, and to gain that sweet liberty which they
have never known. Some must die a soldier's death, and others win a
martyr's crown. The cruel and haughty governor of Rangoon has again
threatened to shoot every Karen found with a Christian book in his
possession (E. L. Abbott, Nov. 23, 1851). He has treated hundreds of
British subjects with the grossest injustice and cruelty. Many have been
stripped of their property. A few have died under Burman torture. British
ships have been illegally detained, and their captains treated with
outrage. At last a deputation of four British officers from the commodore
has been insulted at mid-day, before throngs of barbarians, at the
governor's residence. The measure of Burmese cruelty, oppression, and
insolence, is again full to overflowing. After years of forbearance, the
English Trading Company under Lord Dalhousie will again strike, and
strike so hard as to roll the tyrant's frontier up stream, full three
hundred miles from the sea. Thus God works out the deliverance of his
people.

Meanwhile, Messrs. Beecher and Van Meter at Sandoway were doing what they
could, at such a time, to carry on the regular work of the mission. The
Beechers, in attempting to reach Thehrau,--the place appointed for the
association this year,--were driven out to sea in an open canoe with no
keel. Their lives were in peril for some hours, and the main object of
their voyage was defeated. Mr. Van Meter started a little earlier, and
arrived at his destination just as the storm reached its height. The
meeting, though marred by the absence of the Sgau missionaries, was of
great interest. After a week's continuance, it was suddenly broken up by
the announcement of open war. We give extracts from Mr. Van Meter's
interesting account:--

"The weather was not settled, although I did not leave until Dec. 4. A
storm had been threatening for some days; and I encountered rough weather
each day of the passage, increasing in violence towards the last. The sea
was so heavy, and the sky so threatening, that the boatmen hesitated very
much to make the last day's run. Upon urging them, however, they started;
and we made a very good run to the mouth of the Thehrau. Before I could
leave my boat, the storm commenced, with heavy rain, and lasted for
several days. All this time we were anxiously awaiting Brother and Sister
Beecher. On the eighth day we gave them up, concluding that they had
either met with some misfortune, or, in consequence of war rumors, had
returned to Sandoway. Some of the Karens who came over last from Burma
had brought alarming reports; but, as there was still some doubt, we
remained together, hoping that the Beechers would yet come.

"During the first few days we had preaching, generally twice a day, by
some of the assistants, and conference on various subjects. At length we
had to take up the business of the churches, reading letters, collecting
statistics, etc. Sabbath came, the seventh day we had been together; and
the question arose, Shall we partake of 'the great feast,' or postpone it
a few days longer? It was finally deemed best, all things considered, to
partake of it at that time. We did so in the evening, and a most
interesting season we had. The services were chiefly conducted by the
ordained brethren, one of the Sgaus breaking the bread, and the Pwo
pastor pouring the wine, with remarks from each, in their respective
dialects...

"There was not so large a number present as at our previous meeting, nor
is the increase among the churches as great as last year. Still there are
encouraging signs. One of the pleasing features of last year, the
presence of duly accredited delegates from the churches, was repeated.
The character and intelligence of those present speak well for the
churches which sent them...The interest in home missions is on the
increase. The number of missionaries is to be doubled this year. The
meeting on Saturday evening was of much interest. Thahbwah, the Pwo
missionary, gave a detailed account of his first tour, the villages
visited, his reception, and the general aspect of the field. He evidently
magnified his office, and seemed elated by his success. He had preached
in many places, and seen many tokens for good. The most encouraging
result of his labors was the conversion of a small village of six or
seven houses. They have asked for a teacher, and promise to build him a
house, and help him otherwise, as they are able. A young licentiate
received permission to go and labor among them.

"At the close of Thahbwah's remarks, I endeavored to impress upon all the
importance of their carrying forward this work with diligence, and the
solemn responsibility resting upon them in view of their position in this
dark part of the world. They were evidently a chosen people. Years and
years of labor had been bestowed upon the Burmese, but they opposed and
resisted. God then turned to the poor, despised Karens, and had brought
them into his kingdom by thousands. He had rejected the Burmans, should
we say? No: he had set them aside for a season, and chosen the Karens.
God had committed this work into their hands, and who could set limits to
what he might accomplish by them among the tribes and nations in this and
adjacent lands? If they would do the work, God would be with them:
otherwise he would commit it to others.

"The interest excited was deep and solemn. This was evident from the
fact, that, although the hour was late,--we had listened to a sermon from
one of the assistants before Thahbwah gave his report,--there was no
restlessness, nor did one of the large congregation go out. During the
closing prayer, also, there was a silence, which seemed to indicate that
all hearts were deeply engaged.

"Another encouraging feature was the character of the preaching to which
we listened day after day. The speakers seemed to have more freedom and
confidence, and there were more variety and compass in the discussion of
their subjects than I had before witnessed. It was with no ordinary
interest that I listened to the opening and closing sermons. The former,
by Mau Yay, was a very fair introductory sermon, and was filled with
reflections suitable to the occasion. He is an earnest and effective
speaker, and took the lead in almost all our discussions. The passage
chosen by him was in the second chapter of Colossians. A happy allusion
was suggested by the fifth verse; viz., the similarity in situation and
interests of the _absent_ teachers to those of Paul, as there expressed.
The concluding sermon was preached by Tway Po, sabbath morning. His
dignified, authoritative, and yet affectionate manner reminded me of some
of our good old pastors at home, and, for the time, made me almost forget
that I was in the Arakan jungles. The fixed attention and interest
manifested on both these occasions were highly creditable.

"Monday evening the subject of common schools was under discussion. Some
English friends in Akyab had made a contribution to aid such schools, and
Mr. Van Meter urged the pastors and elders to make more earnest efforts
to give a primary education to all the children. They discussed the
matter for some time, and admitted fully the importance of the subject;
but I waited in vain to hear some practical suggestion. At length I
proposed a resolution, that they would each and all make special efforts
to establish and support schools in the villages during the coming year.
The number of scholars reported was only one hundred and thirty-three;
but less than two-thirds of the churches were represented.

"We had just commenced discussing the need of regular postal
communication between their villages and Sandoway, at least, every other
month (their papers, letters, etc., now often lie six months at the
mission-house without an opportunity of sending), when a note was
received from Mr. Fytche, informing us of warlike movements in Burma. I
told the Karens at once: they were terrified, and made immediate
preparations for leaving. The note came about ten, P.M. I divided what
money I had with me, in small sums, among the more needy; and before
daybreak almost every man had disappeared. On the previous day they had
selected as many books as they could carry; but they durst not take one
with them, nor any thing else that might excite suspicion as to whence
they had come. This was certainly prudent, nor would I detain them under
such circumstances. It was near midnight when we took each other by the
hand. It was a solemn parting. Should we ever meet again? What awaited
them on their arrival? Would they ever reach their homes at all?

"A larger number of Pwos than usual were present. A class of ten young
men came over with the assistants. They were prepared either to remain
and study with me in the jungle, or to go to Sandoway in my boat, if
advisable. They dread the long journey on foot and its exposures, many of
them suffering severely from sickness whenever it is attempted. Among the
company were the wife and child of Shway Bo, whom we ordained last
year,--the first instance, I think, of a Pwo woman coming from Burma on
such an occasion...

"Sickness caused the absence of the two [Pwo] assistants. One of them has
been partially insane for some time past, an infliction, some think, from
a _poongyee_ [Burman priest] whom he had visited for the purpose of
discussing the comparative merits of Christianity and Boodhism. That the
_poongyees_ possess some mysterious power to inflict serious injury, and
even death, upon persons at a distance, is still firmly believed by many
Karens; and doubtless this belief exerts a very unfavorable influence
over them. It seems impossible to convince them of its absurdity. When
pressed, they reply by referring to the fact that such things are
recognized in the Scriptures, especially in connection with the miracles
of Christ upon those possessed of devils."

Mr. Beecher gives an account of his visit to the Ong Khyoung church,
which he found in a more flourishing state under the joint labors of the
young pastor, Tohlo, and "the efficient and intelligent" schoolmaster,
Shway Bwin. After baptizing six candidates, and administering the Lord's
Supper, he makes his perilous but unsuccessful attempt to reach Thehrau.
Voyaging on that rocky coast, as our missionaries of that time constantly
did, in small, smooth-bottomed native canoes, seems to us reckless and
dangerous in the extreme. We quote from the latter part of Mr. Beecher's
letter:--

"We had a gentle, favorable breeze till about ten, A.M., when the east
wind rose so strong as to drive us from our course, and, still worse,
prevented us from returning to the land. To run against such a wind in
such a sea was impossible. The boat pitched and rolled so, that the men
could not stand without holding on. The wind continued to rise, driving
us farther and farther out to sea. About two, P.M., the boatmen, fearing,
that, before the wind would change, we should be driven so far from land
as to suffer for want of provisions, if not from the violence of the
waves, cut away our boat-cover. This left Mrs. Beecher and myself exposed
to the burning sun. Those were long and anxious hours; but, thanks to our
heavenly Father! we were spared from much suffering, other than the
intense anxiety. As the sun was setting, the wind died away to a gentle
breeze, so that the boat became manageable, and we turned towards land;
but, as the wind was still unfavorable, we were till the third day, at
evening, in getting to Gwa, the nearest land we could make. While waiting
there for our boatmen to rest, and to have the boat repaired, Brother Van
Meter came in, and at the same time a steamer direct from Bassein,
bringing such reports of movements at Rangoon, that it was deemed prudent
for us to return to Sandoway.

"My disappointment at not being able to reach the association was the
saddest of my life. That meeting, which has ever been so full of interest
and importance, had been this season more than ever the subject of
thought and prayer; and then, when within a day's sail, to be driven off
by adverse winds, was a severe trial. But we have the consolation of
knowing that all these things are ordered by infinite wisdom and
goodness.

"Only thirty churches were reported, as follows,--baptized, 178; died,
27; excluded, 4; net increase, 147. Contributions: for support of
pastors, Rs. 178-13; taxes paid for pastors, Rs. 22-8; for home missions,
Rs. 88; for the poor, Rs. 17-4; sundries, Rs. 7; total, Rs. 329-9,
besides rice and other provisions supplied to pastors...The churches
on this coast, with one or two exceptions, are prosperous. In Burma the
Karens are suffering severely from the exactions of their rulers; but we
trust the day of their deliverance is at hand."

As Sandoway was more exposed to an attack from the Burmese than either
Kyouk Pyoo or Akyab, the missionaries remained there in some suspense,
daily expecting intelligence that might compel them to remove to one of
those stations. Near the end of January, however, the Burmans professed
so strong a desire for an amicable settlement, that it was believed there
would be no war. Mr. Beecher was still anxious to visit the churches on
the coast. He hoped, also, that some of the Bassein pastors might come
over, and give him an opportunity of learning the condition of their
churches, and of affording them some aid and advice in this time of
trial. They had already sent once to Sandoway to inquire respecting the
intentions of the English, as they had heard contradictory reports, and
knew not what to do or expect. The Burmans had charged them with being
the cause of the ships-of-war going to Rangoon, and of the troubles which
followed, and had told them that they should suffer for being so friendly
to the English. All their arms had been seized, and oppressive demands
had been made upon them to supply the king's army with provisions; but
none of the Bassein Karens had been called to go in person as soldiers.
Accordingly. Mr. Beecher, assured by the English officials that there
would be no war, left his home and family (Jan. 29), and went directly to
the most southern church at Great Plains. We reprint a part of his
letter:--

"I was highly gratified to find the people healthy and contented, and was
greeted by them with many expressions of joy. The village of the old
patriarch had been enlarged by additions from Burma, the fruit-trees had
thriven, the flowers had not been neglected, and the appearance of
neatness and comfort observed last year still pervaded the village. The
old man, with a new wife and renewed youth, was active and useful. Shway
Au, the young pastor, with a discretion above his years, and a degree of
energy seldom exhibited by Karens, had discharged the responsible duties
of his office with such zeal and faithfulness, that he may be said to
have fully observed the precept, 'Let no man despise thy youth.' I need
not say that a people with such an elder and such a pastor are
prosperous...A new village has been formed this year by a number of
families from Great Plains. Sah Gay, the pastor, is of a retiring
disposition, but has firmness of purpose and good common sense. He has
the cordial support of his people. Provoked to good works by the [parent]
village, the colonists have made praiseworthy improvements, and promise
to make still more. The people of both villages assemble together in
their commodious chapel sabbath mornings, but meet separately in the
afternoon. Neither ask any aid in supporting their pastor this year, and
they have jointly contributed over ten rupees for the Home Mission
Society.

"Early Sunday morning we repaired to the seaside for a baptism. A neat
little basin among the rocks, with a smooth, sandy bottom, afforded a
convenient and attractive baptistery. The solemnity of the service was
deepened by the sound of many waters rolling upon the long beach, and
breaking upon the rocks around. Here twenty-two were buried with Christ
in baptism. In the evening a goodly number partook of the broken bread
and the wine in remembrance of Christ. Having made arrangements for a
school, which commenced the day after I left, with thirty pupils, I bade
the people farewell for another year.

"On arriving at Buffalo, Feb. 10, I immediately sent for Tway Po. He, and
nearly all his people, had left their village, and were stopping at the
mouth of the river, a few hours distant from their homes. Some weeks
before, the rendezvous of a band of robbers was discovered in the thick
jungle near their village; and, though the robbers had been thwarted in
some way, still Tway Po and his people were so much alarmed by their
narrow escape, that they durst not remain there longer. It was known,
besides, that robbers in Burma, instigated, no doubt, by Burman officers,
had declared intentions of violence to Tway Po. 'It is not his money, or
the property of his people, that we wish,' say they, 'but his life; for
he has been chief in leading so many Karens away from Burma, and in
getting favors for them from the English.' It was his life, doubtless,
that they were seeking; but God took care of him and his people. We hope
that the day of their deliverance from robbers is near. The church at
Buffalo has received additions during the year from Burma. They have
enlarged and improved their village, and wish to make still further
improvements. They appear united and cordial in the support of their
pastor [Kroodee], and have given him more than they promised when I was
with them last year.

"The day had been nearly spent in inquiries, etc., when, at the hour of
evening worship, a letter arrived from Mrs. Beecher, containing news of
the battle at Rangoon, of the certainty of further hostilities, and the
necessity of her going to Kyouk Pyoo in case of danger at Sandoway. I was
then only a day and a half south-west of Bassein, and at least eight days
from Sandoway. Reports reached us that a man-of-war, lying at the mouth
of Bassein River, had sent men ashore for water, two of whom were shot by
the Burmese, and that the ship, in turn, was battering down the Burman
stockades. My position, to say the least, was not pleasant; and though I
longed to remain and labor a few days, prudence dictated a speedy return.
Accordingly, after a season of prayer, the evening was spent in
distributing medicine, and imparting such counsel as the occasion seemed
to require. Tway Po had arrived. Bogalo, the pastor of Sinmah, was
present. Myat Kyau had failed in an attempt to enter Burma, and was
stopping a few days at Buffalo. Regretting to leave my work unfinished,
the hope that I was leaving it to enter shortly a wider field in Bassein
rendered the prospect before me comparatively bright.

"On my way home I saw a few members of the church at Sinmah. The pastor
has pursued a course which has alienated and divided his people. His
chief fault is in his novel and somewhat arbitrary mode of discipline.

"I was much gratified with the appearance of the church at Khyoungthah
during my stay of a few hours. Twelve or fourteen families from Burma
have been added during the year, and, though they have suffered from
sickness and poverty, they seemed hopeful, and were intending to improve
their village. They are united in their pastor, and contribute according
to their ability for his support.

"I reached home in good health after a journey of a day and a half by
boat, and five days' and a half most fatiguing travel by land. I should
be ungrateful not to mention the kindness shown me by the Burmese through
whose villages I passed. On arriving at a village, I went to the house of
the _thoogyee_, or head man, by whom I was always welcomed; and the best
which his house or village afforded was immediately set before me. The
men who followed me, too, were well supplied with food, and, though money
was always offered in return, it was very seldom received. It is worthy
of remark, also, that as soon as the people, Burmans or Karens, learned
the news of the battle, and the probability that the entire province of
Pegu would come under British rule, they all, without exception,
manifested delight. The people of Arakan, having experienced the
blessings of the mild and just government of the English, are warmly
attached to it. And, what is still more remarkable, all natives who come
from Bassein and Rangoon are unanimous in representing that the mass of
the people there are anxious to throw off the oppressive yoke of the
king, and would hail with delight the advance of British troops into
their country. May the Karens soon experience the blessings of freedom,
and their missionaries be permitted to live and labor among them, for
their social and spiritual improvement, unmolested!"

The Van Meters went to Akyab the last of January, and from thence, in
March, to Maulmain. The Beechers staid on at Sandoway until near the end
of March, when that station was menaced by a body of two thousand
marauders from Burma; and they retired to Kyouk Pyoo, where they spent
the rainy season with the deeply afflicted Mrs. Campbell.

No one watched the progress of events more keenly than Mr. Abbott. The
capture of Martaban (April 5) and of Rangoon (April 14), followed shortly
by the successful storming of Bassein itself, filled his heart with
gratitude and joy. Though sadly broken in health and spirits, his mind is
much occupied with thoughts about his dear, scattered Karens, and with
plans for the future. On the 12th of May he writes from Maulmain as
follows:--

"It will be no news to you that Rangoon is a British possession. Bassein
will be taken soon, and the lower provinces of Burma will probably be
annexed to the dominions of the East India Company. I have made several
attempts to reach Bassein, and hope to succeed next time. That place will
become the centre of our missionary operations, hitherto conducted from
Sandoway. The war will throw every thing into confusion. Villages and
churches will be broken up and scattered, pastors killed, and every thing
in desolation. The work of years is to be done over again,--villages are
to be gathered, churches to be re-organized, a station to be built up,
provision made to meet the increased demand for trained preachers and
school-teachers; and the Home Mission Society, on which so much depends,
is to be resuscitated. With increased facilities for labor, the demand
for labor increases.

"I do not see how Sandoway can be abandoned at present. The mission
property, the Burmese church, the Karen interests in the vicinity, the
station as a centre of missionary operations, should not, it seems to me,
be all abandoned at once. If Brother Beecher remain there a year or two
only, I should hope that a native pastor from Akyab might be found to
occupy the post, so that that interesting field may not be left desolate.

"Then what are we to do at Bassein? I had hoped to see that mission in a
state that would justify my leaving it, for a while, at least. Five years
have passed since my return; but never was my presence more imperatively
demanded than now. Three years more, at least. _We must have help now._ I
therefore propose to the Executive Committee to appoint Brother Thomas of
Tavoy as my colleague, to come and join me at once...Think of all
those churches and pastors, that great field, hitherto so flourishing,
now so desolate! Moreover, my poor health will not justify high hopes.
Brother Van Meter will go with me, but what can we do?"...

Those who have any acquaintance with the history of missions, from the
days of Paul and Barnabas until now, will perceive without surprise that
there was at this time a difficulty between those excellent brethren,
Abbott and Beecher, which seemed to prevent their laboring harmoniously
at the same station. Details are uncalled for. As we have already said,
they were unlike in disposition. Both were intensely human, liable, like
the best of human kind, to err, and, doubtless, both did err. Each, by
the grace of God, did a splendid work, in which they both now rejoice, as
they also rejoice each in the other's perfections before the Lamb of God.
Him they both loved and served on earth with an intensity of purpose that
few of the present generation have approached; and him they both are
serving and loving in heaven, world without end.

The Executive Committee were not unwilling to comply with Mr. Abbott's
earnest request; but, before Mr. Thomas could become a missionary in
Bassein, he must needs do ten years and more of hard, successful work in
Henthada. Messrs. Abbott and Van Meter left Maulmain for Bassein in the
steamer _Tenasserim_, July 10, arriving on the 12th. The Boodhist
_kyoung_, or monastery, which they secured for their temporary abode, was
situated on the north side of Aylesbury Street, between Merchant Street
and the Strand Road, quite near the present compound of the
Roman-Catholic mission. We quote from Mr. Van Meter's interesting
journal:--

"_July 11, 1852, Sabbath._--Reached Diamond Island at six, P.M. Weather
very pleasant since leaving Amherst. We had a fine run, from mouth to
mouth, in thirty-two hours, the distance some two hundred miles. Anchored
at the mouth of the river. A beautiful harbor.

"_12th._--Anchored off Bassein at one, P.M.; distance, seventy miles. The
appearance of the country on either bank is very pleasant and inviting,
more so than any river I have yet seen in India. Was disappointed in the
appearance of Bassein; scarcely any elevation in or near the site of the
town. Ruins of houses, stockades and fortifications, are visible in every
direction. The town is hidden from view by a massive brick wall,
extending for nearly a mile along the east side of the river. Some houses
are left on either side of this fortification; but every thing is swept
clean in front of it. Going on shore, we found the place little more
inviting within than without. Many beautiful trees had been destroyed by
the Burmese; and the English, as a prudential measure, were cutting down
the remainder. Hardly a house was left standing, save those occupied by
troops and their officers. These were principally old _kyoungs_. The
fortification, as stated, is of massive brick-work in front and to a
considerable distance on both sides, but is extended by stockades. The
whole area thus enclosed is about one square mile. Before, and at some
distance from, each of the gateways, is a mass of masonry ten or fifteen
feet thick. The entrances are passages of solid brick-work about ten feet
wide, fifteen feet high, and thirty feet long. There are many brick walks
in the town, some extending a good distance outside, but much out of
repair. They are lined on either side with pagodas, idol-temples,
_kyoungs_, etc. A large pagoda, said to be a hundred feet high, stands on
an elevated platform connected with the front wall, facing nearly the
centre of the town. It has been gilded recently, and is quite imposing at
a distance.

"As soon as we had come to anchor, Brother Abbott sent off the few Karens
that had come with us [including Dahbu, Shahshu, Poo Goung, Yohpo, and
Thahree, then students, but since excellent ordained ministers, every
one.--ED.], to learn if there were any others in or near the city. They
soon came back accompanied by several, whom they found stopping here. The
meeting was an unexpected and happy one. Shway Weing, 'the young chief of
former days, is now in great favor with most of the officers, and has
been appointed head man of all the Karens and Shans in this district. He
has a great deal to do, also, in supplying provisions for the officers
and men. He is the same uncompromising Christian as ever. Immediately on
our arrival, he sent off men in various directions to tell that the
teachers had come to Bassein.

"Our first object was to find a good place for residence. We found a
substantial _kyoung_, almost new, standing in a beautiful grove, a short
distance from the south gate of the town. I must not forget to mention
the very considerate conduct of Gen. Godwin. Just before reaching town,
he came and inquired very kindly about the health of Mr. Abbott, remarked
the severity of his cough, inquired as to our intentions, and if there
were any thing he could do for us. He said, further, that he would speak
to the officer in command to aid us in securing a place of residence. I
should mention, also, that yesterday one of the staff-officers expressed
a deep interest in our work, and inquired how he could aid us, observing
that he had a handsome allowance, and had no object in laying up money.

"_13th._--Called on Major Roberts, the officer in command, and were very
kindly received. He at once granted our request for the _kyoung_ above
mentioned, or any other building not yet occupied, that might suit our
purpose, and kindly proffered further aid. A pious officer of the
Fifty-first European also gave us a warm reception, and pressed us to
tell him of any way he could serve us. He took a deep interest in the
Karen Christians from the first, and had ordered books from Maulmain,
some of which he had received and distributed before we came. He is
expecting another box shortly. Some pious European soldiers were also
much rejoiced to learn that we had come.

"_14th._--The _Sesostris_ left early for Rangoon, with the general and
staff on board. I spent most of the day on shore, superintending the
demolition of a large _kyoung_, to get materials to finish the one
assigned us, the roof of which had been stripped off only a few days
before our arrival. I felt almost guilty in thus destroying the property
of others; but it is the order of the day. The Karens have begun to come
in already, both preachers and people. Had a respectable congregation
this evening. Brother Abbott spoke to them briefly, but with difficulty,
as he is suffering again with a bad throat.

"_15th._--Still busy in bringing materials from the demolished _kyoung_.
All the _kyoungs_ here are of timber, and they are neither few nor small.
There is another large one standing in our enclosure, which, though quite
old, will answer very well for a schoolroom and Karen boarding-house. A
large amount of timber has been put into stockades; and buildings of all
kinds have suffered a common destruction for the sake of the common
defence. Brother Abbott was not able to go on shore this evening. I had
the pleasure of addressing a congregation of at least sixty, among whom
were the ordained preachers Myat Keh, Po Kway, and Shway Bo.

"_16th._--People continue to come in from villages one, two, and three
days distant. Many of them are Pwos, who never before saw a Christian
teacher. The Pwo assistants are but few, and live some distance above
Bassein. I have been astonished to find that almost every Pwo who has yet
come in is as ignorant of God and true religion as the most benighted
tribes of Africa. When questioned, their reply is, 'We know nothing of
God or religion, but the worship of pagodas and idols and _poongyees_;'
and yet very few that I have seen are idolaters. When asked why they,
knowing that the Sgaus worshipped the true God, and had a holy book, had
not worshipped the same God, they reply, 'How could we without a teacher?
We have never seen one who could speak our language. But now, since the
teacher has come, we will all become Christians.'

"I visited the 'mud fort' this evening, where so many of the Burmese were
killed in the late assault by the English. It must cover an area of some
four or five acres, and has a large tank near the centre, intended to
destroy the effect of shells from the ships! The whole was built in two
months; from a thousand to fifteen hundred men being employed on it. The
front was protected by a novel kind of _chevaux de frise_, made of
bamboos firmly twisted and bound together at the base, but bristling with
points as thick as quills on a porcupine's back. The English, however,
took the liberty of selecting their own road, and all this labor was
worse than useless; for the place became a snare, and the common grave of
many who aided in building it.

"Addressed the people again this evening, their numbers still increasing.
The Karens who took me to the steamer after dark were more than once on
the point of turning back, 'afraid the foreigners would shoot them.' It
is very unpleasant to live on shipboard at such a time, instead of with
the people. And yet, unless we could get within the stockade, this is
much the best place for a quiet night's rest. There is no knowing how
near a band of Burmese soldiers or robbers may be. But, if our house were
in order, we would go into it at once.

"_17th._--Brother Abbott still unable to go on shore...Shway Bo had
to return to-day, as word had come that Burman troops were approaching
his village. Those living above here are very anxious to have the steamer
go up, and drive away the Burmese. They are said to be two thousand
strong, distant only one day's march. Several companies have come in
to-day, one numbering fifteen persons, three of them preachers.

"_18th, Sabbath._--Met for the first time in the new house. It is but
partly covered. The covered room, which is some fifteen by thirty feet,
is much too small: there were about seventy crowded into it, and at least
twenty outside. No women or young children present. Some eight or ten
were preachers. Had an interesting season; spoke from Ps. ciii. A large
number of Pwos present,--substantial, honest-looking men. All seem ready
to enter the kingdom at once, but want a guide. Oh that the Lord of the
harvest would raise up and send forth laborers into his harvest,
apparently so ready for the reaper! I am anxious to have a class of young
men in training as soon as possible. Two or three assistants have come in
from Arakan. They say that the people are all moving eastward. We tell
them to wait a while, and on no account to come yet. I begin now to feel
that there is work for me here.

"_20th._--Have been on shore all day, and taken meals in native
style,--without knife, fork, or spoon. Mau Yay came in to-day with a
number of new Pwos. The latter were anxious to know whether they must
worship the priests or not. They seemed much surprised when told that
priests were like other men, and that none but God should be worshipped.
For two weeks we have been living on board a war-steamer, with every
thing in readiness for action. Now we have a little more of this than
ever, as this has become the guard-ship since the departure of the
_Sesostris_. The thirty-two-pounders fired at nine, P.M., make a
disagreeable noise to one not accustomed to such sounds. We would not
have chosen such a situation; but we have uniformly met with the kindest
and most respectful treatment from all the officers.

"_23d._--For two days have been wholly occupied on the house. There is a
good deal yet to be done, and not a carpenter to be had. Some twenty
Karens are on hand, all very willing to help, in their way. They are
useful in heavy, rough jobs, but poor helpers in other kinds of work.
They have already broken my saw, two chisels, hatchet-handle, etc.
Nevertheless it would be very hard to do without them, especially as they
work for nothing, and find themselves. Brother Abbott came on shore
yesterday morning much improved. Had worship last evening in the larger
room (thirty feet by fifty), which we take for a chapel. The part which
we shall occupy is about half that size, and was formerly used by the
_poongyees_ as a dormitory and a place for keeping idols, sacred books,
etc.

"After the service last evening there was a meeting of the preachers.
Twelve were present. The four ordained men, Tway Po, Mau Yay, Myat Keh,
and Po Kway, had been appointed a committee to inquire as to the losses
of all the assistants, and their present needs. The case of each was
taken up separately, and duly recorded. The result was, that some two
hundred rupees were asked for to be divided among fifteen assistants.
This sum, it must be remembered, is all that they have received for about
two years; Mr. Beecher having been unable to reach the last annual
meeting. Arrangements were made to-day for the school. No Sgaus are to
come who cannot read. An exception will be made in favor of Pwos. We do
not wish a large number, but tell them to select from each village three
or four promising boys that are most anxious to learn, and send them in
by the next full moon.

"_26th._--By working hard and late on Saturday, succeeded in enclosing
the chapel and a tolerably comfortable room for each of us. Several of
the assistants and others came last evening, after worship, to ask if
there was more work to be done; if not, they must return tomorrow. I must
now let work alone for a while, and give all my time to the people, who
still come in small companies, two or three daily. Mr. Abbott came off on
Saturday, and brought all his things, his health much improved. He was
able to preach Saturday evening, and twice yesterday, and does not seem
the worse for it. Had a delightful sabbath. The day was very pleasant,
and this increased the cheering effect of the services. The congregation
consisted chiefly of Christian Sgaus, who have been gathering here for
several days. Immediately after each service, I got the Pwos around me,
and read and talked with them about the great God and the dying Saviour.
Must always begin with the first elements of Christianity in talking with
these people. The progress is slow at first, as many words and phrases
have to be explained; and the difficulty is increased by the fact that
the book dialect differs from that spoken in this section.

"_29th._--There is a great Pwo population east and north of Bassein, and
there are not a few below also...The most interesting company came
in yesterday. They are all Christians, and came with Thahbwah. He says
that in that village, Kyootah, there are fifty-two worshippers not yet
baptized. One of the old men who came with him wept for joy. Here is
precious fruit. Oh that it may increase a thousand-fold! They have a good
school in the village. The other Pwo assistants, two of them, at least,
are so far north that they dare not move. They are subject to constant
oppression and exactions by the Burmese."

Mr. Abbott, writing July 24, gives an interesting view of the state of
the churches in Bassein:--

"Nearly all the preachers have reported themselves. Five have died this
year, including Myat Kyau, the first ordained Karen pastor. All these,
with one exception, died of cholera, and they were all valuable men. I
have not time to give further particulars. A great many disciples died of
the same disease; but I have not learned the whole number. Many of the
Karens have suffered extreme oppression. Nearly all their chapels have
been demolished by the Burmese, so that there are but five or six left
standing in Burma. Still the people were wonderfully delivered from the
most extreme sufferings they apprehended in case of war. Many of them
were confined, to be executed as soon as the English should approach the
country. But the war steamers came up, and took Bassein before the
Burmans had time to execute their threats upon the Karens; and, after the
town was taken, they all betook themselves to flight, and the Karens
escaped. They consider their deliverance a wonderful interposition of
Providence. Some districts, however, are still overrun by bands of
robbers. In them the people are oppressed to the last point of endurance.

"There are seven or eight hundred European and native troops in Bassein,
and a company of artillery,--enough to protect the place against any
Burmese force. They are not likely to be attacked, as the Burmese army is
dispersed. Still the English forces will not go out into the surrounding
country to protect the people during the rains."

On the 26th of August Mr. Van Meter again writes:--

"The two principal Pwo churches which are above Bassein have been unable
to communicate with us, as the old [Burman] governor of Bassein is still
occupying that region with some soldiers. We hope to hear from them soon,
as the steamer moved up unexpectedly five days ago, and no doubt has made
thorough work this time. The Christians in those parts have been in much
danger, merely because they are Christians; for, as you know, all the
blame of this war is laid on the Karen disciples. Their preachers have
been fined very heavily, some having to pay upwards of two hundred
rupees, and there were strong fears that it would come to worse. Already
the Burmans had forbidden them to worship, commanded them to destroy
their chapels, to drink arrack, and do things that would destroy their
Christian character. None had yet yielded to any but the first of these
arbitrary requisitions; but it was feared they would be compelled, unless
deliverance soon came.

"Our school began at the 'death of the moon,' two weeks since. We had
difficulty in getting a place for cooking and eating, as it is almost
impossible to procure building materials. So we took possession of a
third _kyoung_, a short distance away. Abundance of rice, with a few
other articles, has been furnished by the Karens. What had to be bought
was bought by the assistants in adjoining villages, at the best
advantage. The people in this region seem to be coming to recognize more
and more the justice of the principle that _Karens are to help Karens_,
while the American churches take care of the 'teachers.' There are
upwards of eighty students here at present, most of them young men. A
number of the younger preachers are here also. Many of the young men have
been studying for two or more years, and are therefore, in a measure,
prepared to appreciate the daily lectures of Brother Abbott on the
Scriptures. Other classes are conducted by the more advanced students
under his direction. We have not yet heard how soon Brother Beecher will
be able to join us.

"I have a little nucleus of six Pwo pupils, all of whom have learned to
read within the year. I feel almost unwilling to detain any of the few
who have been with us at Sandoway, or any of the Pwo assistants, as the
time seems so favorable for labor among the Pwos. There are large
districts near by, occupied almost exculsively by them, which no Pwo
preacher has ever visited. A few days since, Shway Bo, accompanied by one
of our former scholars, started for Shway Loung, one of the largest Pwo
districts, containing a thousand houses. He is a competent man, and we
hope that a flourishing church will spring up there as the fruit of his
labors. They have taken books, and will commence a school at once, if
scholars can be had. The other assistants are at present engaged in their
respective fields, but are intending to go out into new fields as soon as
arrangements can be made to supply their places. Even since our arrival
here, I have learned of two or three young men coming forward as
assistants, of whom I had not heard before. And thus we hope the Lord
will furnish laborers for the great Pwo field, as he has for the work
among the Sgaus.

"The country, on every side excepting the west, has been overrun for some
weeks past by robber-bands,--men who but lately were in the Burman army,
but are now scattered in companies of two or three hundred each. Constant
reports of their depredations were reaching us; but it was not until
lately that they began burning and sacking villages. The Burman head man
over Bassein is devoid of principle, like all his kin, and is strongly
suspected by the English officers, of playing a double game. Some of them
are watching him very closely. 'Only give us some proof,' they say, 'and
we will soon bring him to account.' He sent out his men, but accomplished
nothing, and the robbers were only getting bolder, and coming nearer and
nearer to Bassein. The same man made a great ado when told that Shway
Weing would have exclusive control of the Karens. Indeed, Capt. I----, a
great friend of the Karens, tells me that he made such an uproar, that
the major had to put him down summarily. At first he would not hear to it
at all. How could he govern the country, and have a Karen govern at the
same time over the same country! After leaving the presence of the
officers, they say, he was so enraged that he struck Shway Weing, as they
were going along together. But he will not attempt that again; for, as
Capt. I----says, if they did not lay down the law, and the consequences
he would meet if he ever dared to repeat the act, it was because the
interpreter was afraid to tell him what they said. They even threatened
him with the bastinado, if he ever interfered with Shway Weing, who, they
told him, was entirely independent of him.

"Shway Weing is now absent, has actually gone to fight the Burmans. He
left here last Saturday,--offered to go of his own accord,--took some
fifty men, two or three old muskets, and a few _dahs_ [large knives]. He
went with the sanction of the officer in command, who could not, however,
furnish him with arms. Brother Abbott tried to dissuade him from going,
unless arms and ammunition were furnished him, and says he would not be
surprised if he should be killed, for he is no coward. Still, as Brother
Abbott said at the time, 'he knows what he is about. He has not been the
son of a chief all his life, without getting some ideas of
chieftainship.' His intention probably is to 'set a thief to catch a
thief.' This he can do by collecting three or four hundred Pwo robbers,
who are not scarce in these regions. Inspired with the idea of fighting
against the Burmans with the sanction of the English, fighting, too, for
their own country, they would be a formidable enemy for any equal number
of Burmans. Shway Weing is a noble specimen of the Karen, very amiable,
and much esteemed by all who know him. He looks young, but is not far
from fifty. He often speaks of the time when he alone, of all the Karens
in this region, worshipped the true God. I forgot to mention that he is
head man over the Talaings also, and they are much attached to his rule.
Burmans even have complained that they could not have him [for their
ruler].

"_30th._--We have received news from Shway Weing. He has raised some four
hundred men and a hundred and fifty muskets. Those who had not fire-arms
were armed with spears and swords, just drawn from their hiding-places.
He did not intend to move, however, till he had increased his force to
seven hundred or eight hundred men. We have recently heard that armed
boats, and a considerable native force, have been sent from Rangoon to
Pantanau in pursuit of the Burmese. Shortly after our arrival here, a
company of Pwos came, who said that they were Christians, and were very
glad to see us; they had given up all hope of seeing a teacher, since
theirs had been taken away to Ava. One of them was very communicative,
repeated a portion of their creed (Roman Catholic), and sung a hymn in
good style, the subject of which was praise to the great Creator. All the
sentiments were quite evangelical, until near the close, when Mary came
in for a share of divine honors. The man was a little suspicious,
however, and soon inquired if we were the same as their teacher. He said
they had no Bible, but had other books. Just before leaving, he inquired
where 'that teacher Abbott' was. He seemed to be taken quite aback when
Brother Abbott told him he was the man. He has not been here since. A few
boys have been in, who said that their parents were disciples, but did
not worship, now that their teacher was gone; that they could read, but
not our books.

"Brother Abbott has been very poorly. Says he knows he is growing weaker
every day, and was never so weak before. He has lost flesh very fast of
late. His cough distresses him constantly, and, with frequent other
complaints, it must be literally true, as he himself says, that he hardly
has a moment of freedom from pain."

For more than two months Mr. Abbott was permitted to continue his
instructions to the faithful band of Karen ministers, young and old, who
loved and revered him as few men have been loved by their children
according to the flesh. For their use, he had just carried through the
press two sizable and well-prepared volumes of Notes on the Book of Acts
and on the Epistle to the Hebrews. At last his strength is all gone. The
willing spirit can no longer force the worn-out body to do its bidding.
He himself sees that he must leave Bassein and the dear Karens forever.
On the 27th of September Mr. Van Meter wrote to the secretary:--

"You will not be unprepared to learn that Brother Abbott has at length
decided to quit the field. Since my last, he has been failing more and
more, reviving, perhaps, for two or three days, but only to fall lower
the next time. This decision cost him a long and dreadful struggle. Night
after night did he toss on his bed, scarcely closing his eyes at all in
sleep. He said it seemed as if he would be 'recreant to God and man' to
leave this field, so inviting, just when he was so well prepared for this
peculiar work. Ah! when will these bereaved children ever see another
father such as he?"

When the decision was finally reached, he called the preachers around him
to receive his last words,--words never before committed to paper, but
still heard upon the lips of children's children in the land of his
imperishable labors: "The kingdom of Christ is here in Bassein. You must
care for it, and labor for it faithfully. Do not rely too much on the
white teachers. Rely on God. If his kingdom prospers, it will prosper
through your efforts. If it is destroyed, it will be at your hands." To
his faithful Thahree and other young men he said, "The American
Christians have spent much money on you. Be diligent and zealous in the
Lord's service. Do not look for government employ." To all of them he
said, "_Pgah ler a'mah ah tau tah t'thay bah nay, mau a'thu t'mah sgah
lau tah t'gay_" (He that cannot make an increase, let him not diminish).
By which he is understood to have meant, if you cannot increase in
wisdom, in the love of God, in contributions, in numbers, etc., at least,
let every man and every church _hold its own_. Let there be no falling
off in any good word or work.

One of the native Christians who was present says,--

"We pitied the teacher very much. There was nothing left of him but skin
and bones. He could not walk. As he left us, he said, 'If I do not die, I
will come again; but I am very sick. As the Lord wills.'"

Nov. 6, writing from Maulmain on his way to America, Mr. Abbott says,--

"When the Karen preachers and students heard the first lisp of my design,
the scenes through which I passed till I left, I am not able to describe.
All the ordained pastors, and many of the preachers, were with me to the
last. I was able, from time to time, to tell them all my plans for
rebuilding their chapels, and gathering their scattered flocks. Our
intercourse for the last few days was sad. Many bitter tears were shed;
and the pastors clung to me as though they would not give me up."

Mr. Van Meter, writing at the time, says,--

"Such is the depth of feeling among the Karens, that they can hardly
approach him without weeping. Several times, within a few days, I have
seen one and another come to him; and, before a word could be uttered,
the tear starts, the bosom heaves, and they turn away, and weep like
children about to lose a fond and revered parent...Myat Keh gave a
long exhortation to the Karens, Sunday evening, on the necessity of faith
in prayer, and, by way of application, urged them all to try its efficacy
in the case of their teacher. He himself spent the whole night in
prayer."

Perhaps the only parallel to these scenes is Paul's parting with the
elders at Miletus. Yet the Karens are far from being a demonstrative
people. It has been said even, that they are not susceptible of
gratitude. As with other races, something depends on the man who serves
them and on the value of the service rendered.

[ Illustration--GRADUATES OF THE BASSEIN KAREN GIRLS' SCHOOL, 1872 ]



CHAPTER XI.
1853.


"Keep open among the heathen the doors that are open, and open those that
are shut."--_Moravian Motto._


"Human kindness is a key that unlocks every door, however firmly it may
seem to be closed against us."--REV. W. LAWES, _New Guinea._


"_Kindness_, but not gifts. Galleon-loads of silver and gay clothing will
not purchase love for the missionary, or recommend the Saviour of sinners
to any people."--_Anonymous._


IN October a flotilla of seven or eight steamers, and a detachment of
three thousand men, proceeded up the swollen Irrawaddy. Prome and
Henthada were occupied, with little or no opposition. Soon after, Pegu,
the former capital of the Talaing kingdom, was taken, after a stubborn
fight of a few hours. On the 20th of December, 1852, the whole of the
ancient kingdom of Pegu was formally annexed to British India by
proclamation of the Governor-General. Salutes were fired, and the
administration of the new province was committed to the able hands of
Capt. Phayre, the kind friend of the Sandoway missionaries. To Capt.
Fytche, who succeeded Phayre in Sandoway, the charge of the turbulent
Bassein district was soon intrusted. Meanwhile the barbarous predatory
warfare, in which alone the Burmans are adepts, continued to rage over
the entire country, outside of the garrisoned towns, and beyond the range
of armed steamers. The Karens in their retired villages, and on account
of their well-known attachment to the English, were exposed to the full
force of the enemy's fury and hatred. Murder, tortures, robbery, and
incendiarism were constant occurrences. Mr. Van Meter's journal, which
follows, gives a vivid picture of what the Christians had to pass through
in the transition from Burmese to English rule. Had the Karens been
properly armed by the English, and allowed to fight under leaders of
their own, doubtless they would have proved even a better match for the
Burmans than they were.

"_Sept. 22._--Sad news came in to-day of the destruction of two Karen
villages...

"_23d._--Heard to-day of the destruction of Kan Gyee's village. He is a
younger brother of Shway Weing, and third in authority over the Karens in
this region...

"_Oct. 2._--Reports constantly arrive of the continued depredations of
the Burmese in Karen villages. Two or three companies are in daily from
the north or from the east. The people are flying, or if they dare to
remain at home, and receive the Burmese, are subjected to the most
relentless extortions. The Burmans have again appointed their own
governors over all this part of the country. The steamer went up the
river again on Monday, but did not accomplish much. Her shells were poor,
and burst at a short distance from the ship. Have just learned of a
spirited and successful resistance made by the Karens at Kyootah. The
Burmese had decided to attack the village on Sunday, supposing the Karens
would then be at worship, and off their guard. A few, however, with only
four muskets, were on the watch for them at a point where the stream
becomes quite narrow. The Burmese came in twenty boats, large and small.
The Karens attacked them just at the right time. Thirteen of the Burmans
were killed on the spot, and the others took to flight, leaving twelve of
their boats behind. Kan Gyee came in yesterday, and gave an account of an
attack by the Karens on Tantazin, known to contain those who had
plundered and burned their villages. Two Burmans were killed, and six
muskets taken. They could not take prisoners, as they would be pursued by
a large Burman force, which was near by.

"_14th._--Two Sgau Karens were 'cut to death' by the Burmans yesterday,
at Paybeng. A man in to-day says the Burmans have carried off two
children of his. Shway Weing's son is lying here very low of cholera.
There have been a number of fatal cases here within a few days. War and
pestilence--what occasion for gratitude, that thus far the complement of
the fearful trio, _famine_, has not made its appearance!

"_16th._--Shway Weing reports that the Karens resisted an attack of the
Burmese two days ago in Theegwin. Sixteen of the enemy were killed.

"_17th, Sabbath._--Some ten or fifteen women and a number of children,
accompanied by two or three men, came in to-day from Paybeng, flying from
the Burmans. The wife and child of one of the men died on the way, of
cholera: others were left sick at the village, and some on the way, with
a few faithful ones to watch over them. Three came in from Kindat. The
people there are in constant fear. They say that the Burmans above now
talk of compelling the Karens in that quarter to go and fight the Karens
who are making such a spirited resistance below; _but they are to have no
arms!_ This idea, to drive Karens before them when making an attack, so
as to protect themselves from the shots of the enemy, is quite original.

"_20th._--Capt. Burbank of the _Pluto_ is very anxious to render aid to
the Karens. He will go down immediately, and drive off the Burmans, if
the major will consent. He gave Shway Weing eighteen hundred charges of
powder; and Capt. Irby supplied him with five hundred balls. Powder is
very scarce. It is rather anomalous for a missionary to have the request
for gunpowder, coupled with that for medicine, many times every day.
Shway Weing's son is out of danger.

"_22d._--Some Karens from above have just brought down the head of a
Burmese chief, who was on his way, with four hundred and fifty men, to
attack Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, two hours above us. Thirty Karens and eight
Burmans, with about twenty muskets, lay in ambush, and attacked his party
in front and rear, as they were passing between a hill and the river.
More than ten of the enemy were killed, and several wounded: the
remainder escaped.

"_25th._--Kan Gyee is just in from Kyootoo with five prisoners. A party
of fifty or sixty came to plunder and destroy what was left at this
village. The Karens attacked them, taking five prisoners and one musket.

"_28th._--Heard this morning, that three young men were killed a day or
two since in Labogala. They were taken while driving buffaloes. Two were
also taken, under similar circumstances, in Theegwin, four days ago, and
tortured to death, by making incisions all over their bodies, and rubbing
salt into them.

"_30th._--The Karens say that their buffaloes are killed by the Burmans,
who sell the meat, and buy powder of their friends in and about the town,
and then go back to fight them. 'But what object can they have in
fighting with you?' I have asked again and again. 'What do they expect to
gain by it?' From all that I can learn, there seem to be three classes of
Burmans,--those who fight because they are compelled to, those who do it
for plunder, and those who do it from hearty good-will. The latter lay
all the blame of the war on the Karens, because they have adopted the
religion of the English. Kyootah has had to submit at last. The village
is destroyed. The Karens say, 'If we kill ten, they send fifteen; if one
hundred cannot conquer us, they send two hundred; if that will not do,
they send three hundred; and so on, until they completely overpower us.'

"_Nov. 1._--Called at the mess of the Ninth Native Infantry, and
mentioned the great need of the Karens for powder. A spirited
contribution was immediately set on foot. I thought it best to take up
with a suggestion of one of the officers, to send off a servant of his to
try and buy some, as the Burmese [traders] are now refusing to sell to
the Karens.

"_3d._--The Karens in Labogala repulsed an attack of the Burmese, and
killed three. As usual, none were injured on the side of the Karens,--a
fact which they often mention with much feeling, ascribing it to God's
goodness. Capt. Grant, a great friend of Shway Weing, gave him a very
pretty brass-mounted sword yesterday, with this note: 'I have presented a
sword to Moung Shway Weing-gyee, as he is a sterling, honest man, and
head of the Karens in this district.'

"_6th._--A great fight just reported, and the Karens victorious. The
Burmans had built a stockade at Magyeegon in the Pandau district, and
garrisoned it with two hundred men. The assaulting party consisted of two
hundred Karens on land, and eighty Burmans in boats. The fight lasted,
from a little after noon, until near sunset, when the garrison made their
escape as they best could. Three officers, having secreted themselves in
the jangle, were captured and killed. Several others were killed, and a
number of muskets taken; but none on the Karen side were injured.

"_9th._--The Karens took eight Burman prisoners at Zanwa-khyoung. They
were found under very suspicious circumstances. Four of them were brought
in to-day. We hear that two steamers came down to Shway Loung; and, upon
inquiry as to the authors of the disturbances there, all the blame was
laid on the Karens. Two Karens who tried to reach the steamers were taken
by the Burmans, and killed. Have just heard, that, of a number of Karen
women kept prisoners at Kyoung-gon, three have already died through the
violence offered them by their brutal captors.

"A large number of Karens came in to-day to help build me a house. I have
decided to build a good-sized house inside the stockade. Have had quite
enough of the jungle, in which our _kyoung_ stands. I have not been well
for a number of weeks, and the officers all advise the change. The
European troops that have just come to relieve those who have been here
since the town was taken have been getting large quantities of gold and
silver images from the old pagodas, which had been dug over and over
again for that purpose. Several hundred have been taken out by them
already. I had heard, but had never before seen or imagined, how much
Boodhism costs its stupid devotees, from whom you can hardly get the
least pittance for a neatly printed volume in their own language, on the
most interesting of subjects.

"_12th._--I was a good deal annoyed yesterday to hear that the Karens who
brought in the four Burman prisoners were _themselves in the stocks, and
the prisoners set free_. I called on the major, and represented the case
rather strongly. He charged Shway Weing with falsehood. He said the
prisoners had been placed in Shway Weing's hands; that no one else had
any control over them; that he had not ordered the Karens to be put in
the stocks, etc. The matter was much complicated by the appearance of Nga
So, second in authority to Shway Weing, who was introduced by the
interpreter as having a complaint to make against Shway Weing. Early this
morning I called them both, with other Karens, and examined into the
whole affair...Shway Weing says, that, if I were not here, he could
not stand it, but would leave the place at once. [Nga So still lives, and
draws a pension from the English Government; but he has never professed
Christianity.--ED.]

"_16th._--Pah Yeh, one of the assistants, came in to-day from Pandau,
very urgent to have the steamer, or some boats, go up immediately. The
Burmans have come down upon one of the villages, and carried off the
preacher Thah Gay, his son (Shway Nyo, who has been studying for some
time), and a number of the villagers. Pah Yeh thinks they will go on, and
do the same in other villages. The people are in great distress, the
Burmans all around them, and they cannot escape. Three men came in to-day
with a long letter from Nahkee, assistant at Khateeyah, two hours this
side of Pantanau. The Burmese there also are oppressing the Karens worse
than ever, and have forbidden them to worship God, on pain of death. They
have been compelled twice to go to the _kyoungs_, and offer obeisance, if
not worship, to the priests, and were fined almost to their last _pice_.
A small schooner had been seen there, and two gunboats. One of the latter
was fired into, and a man killed. If these things are so, a strong force
will soon be sent thither from Rangoon.

"_18th._--A few weeks since, nearly the whole village of Peeneh-kweng,
below us, on the west side of the river, was swept off by small-pox.
Twenty-eight died within a few days, the preacher (Kyah Gaing) among the
rest. Many of the dead were left unburied in their houses. Bad news from
the north and the east,--the Burmese coming down in force upon Nga So and
his little band of two hundred men. Word comes, that, unless they have
help from the steamer, they will be overwhelmed.

"_20th._--More definite news respecting the movements of the Burmese.
They are coming in three directions,--from Kyounggon, five hundred; from
Myau Mya (?), two hundred; and from Kyouk Khyoung-galay, from six hundred
to a thousand. One Karen village, Kyongebyin, is already in the hands of
the enemy. The Burmans surprised them by night, and secured twenty
prisoners. The steamer went up the river this morning. Meekoo (a student
severely attacked by cholera) is out of danger, but very weak. All the
Karens who were helping on the house have returned. It is a time of
distressing anxiety.

"_22d._--Most encouraging tidings from the seat of war. The Karens have
retaken Kyongebyin by storm. There was a total rout of the Burmese. Over
twenty were killed on the spot, and the Karens are in hot pursuit. The
only spring at this place was in the jungle, a considerable distance from
the village. The Burmese had made several attempts to get water; but the
Karens were watching, and fired on them whenever they came near. Water
they must have; and so a captain, with sixty men, was sent for a supply.
The Karens attacked, routed them, and killed their leader, and
immediately made a general attack on the village. Shortly after this, two
of the _Rattler's_ boats went up the Dagah to aid this force, and, in
conjunction with two hundred Karens, attacked a large body of Burmese at
Thabau-ngoo. The Burmese fled, leaving almost every thing. Capt. Mellish
wrote a glowing account of the affair, speaking in the highest terms of
the bravery of the Karens. We have just heard that the Karens in Labogala
intercepted a party of fifteen men, conveying powder to the Burman force
in that quarter, a few days since. Eleven of them were shot in the boats,
and the other four killed with the sword. So much for the late unjust
proceedings here in relation to prisoners. Forty pounds of powder were
taken...Formerly Nga So and his party had but forty muskets: they
now have over two hundred. Sah Shway in Labogala had but twenty-eight: he
now has one hundred. Shway Weing tells me that all together some five
hundred muskets have been taken from the enemy by the different parties
of Karens.

"_27th._--The Karens frequently express their gratitude for the presence
of a teacher. One said this evening, 'Teacher, if you had not been here,
we could not have staid in the country.' A few days since, a man who had
just come in from Me-gyoung-t'-yah exclaimed, 'O teacher! we come in and
see you here, and it makes us very happy.' And I, for my part, all alone
as I have been for the last two months, ask not to be anywhere else on
earth but in the midst of these dear disciples. Among such a people
missionary labor is a pleasure.

"_Dec. 6._--Have been out, with several of the assistants and Shway
Weing, for the purpose of selecting a good site for a Karen village near
Bassein. Nearly every eligible place is already occupied by the Burmese.
We have fixed upon a place [Singoung?] about four miles below, just a
good distance from the city. All seem to approve of the choice, and there
will probably be a large Karen village there before many months. There is
no prospect yet of quiet. A large number of refugees came in three days
ago, most of them from Kyootah, one of the first villages destroyed by
the Burmans. They brought a number of buffaloes, several canoes, a large
ox-cart, and a full proportion of little ones. They are all living in our
_kyoung_, outside the stockade. I see them generally morning and evening,
and give medicine and advice to the sick. Three men came in yesterday
from Shankweng, a long way up the river: they fled from their village
three days since. They came to inquire whether it would be wrong for them
to acknowledge the rule of the Burmese, and thereby to save their
property, especially their paddy, which is now ready for the sickle. I
told them to return at once, to make their most respectful obeisance to
the _mingyee_, and be quiet until the English take the country.

"_7th._--A schooner is just in from Rangoon. It is seven weeks since I
heard a word from any part of the world, excepting a short note from
Sandoway. The days of my loneliness are ended. Brother Beecher has come.
The captain of the _Rattler_ has very kindly brought down three hundred
baskets of paddy from a Karen village, respecting which I had written
him. The great object now is to cut and save all the paddy we can."

Mr. Beecher, leaving his family at Kyouk Pyoo, had started for Bassein,
_viâ_ Rangoon, on the 27th of September. Writing from Rangoon (Oct. 25),
he says,--

"I am happy to be re-assured by Brother Vinton that his views respecting
the principle of native preachers being supported by their own churches
are the same as those entertained by the Bassein mission, and to hear
also, that he has already put his views into practice among the churches
in Rangoon and in Maulmain, as far as he has been able."

It is but just to say here that this statement is quite correct so far as
the Rangoon Karen churches are concerned. Beginning on this principle,
with the deterrent example of his old field, and the stimulating example
of Bassein to sustain him, Mr. Vinton succeeded in establishing that
mission on the basis of self-support, where it has stood ever since,
second only to Bassein in that respect. It was not so easy, however, to
undo the mischief already wrought in Maulmain, as we shall see further
on. Mr. Beecher writes again from Bassein, on the 28th of December:--

"You will rejoice, with us and the suffering Karens, to hear that Pegu
has been proclaimed British territory. The Commissioner of Pegu, Capt.
Phayre, kindly sent the mission a copy of the proclamation, accompanied
by a letter, in which he speaks of the Karens as follows:--

"'_I am particularly anxious that your Karen people should receive
protection, and be put under people of their own race. I hear but one
account of the Karens from every officer of the force, namely, that on
all occasions their information has been the best, and their assistance
the most hearty. We must not forget such good will as has thus been shown
us._'

"This is truly glad tidings, and a day of deliverance to this
long-oppressed people. Blessed be the Lord, who 'bringeth the counsel of
the heathen to nought,' whose eye 'is upon them that fear him, upon them
that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to keep
them alive in famine.' Were it not for this timely proclamation, to be
followed up, we hope, with vigorous measures for the suppression of the
large robber-bands which are now laying waste the country on every side,
this people must soon have famine added to the other horrors of war. But
the hand of Providence, which has been so remarkably displayed in the
preservation of his people during the whole war, is now again extended
for their deliverance. I find, on careful inquiry, that the Karens--in
about fifteen engagements fought for the defence of their homes, their
wives and children--have killed one hundred and sixty-five of the enemy,
while only three of their own number have been killed, and three wounded;
and this, although they were disarmed by the Burmans at the opening of
the war. They are still fighting in self-defence; and reports of
[skirmishes], with various success, come in almost daily.

"Karens, distressed with fears that their villages will be pillaged and
their crops burned by robber-bands, come in daily for counsel and aid,
and to beg that we will intercede with the military and naval commanders
in their behalf. On returning to my house, after an effort to aid them, a
few days since, I saw at a distance a small company, who appeared like
Burmans, approaching the stockade. Two men were mounted on large ponies,
and near them were two others, bearing aloft, upon staves ten or twelve
feet long, large red umbrellas. 'None but Burmese captains have such
umbrellas as these,' said an astonished Karen by my side. They enter the
stockade, come around, and stop in front of my house. One advances
towards me. 'Is it you, Po Kway? And what are these?'

"'It is thus, teacher. Three or four hundred Burmans had stockaded
themselves near a Karen village. Eight days ago a detachment made an
attack on the village very early in the morning, and took several women
prisoners. The Karens rushed to the rescue as soon as they could rally
fifty-six fighting men. They came upon the Burmans while eating their
rice, fired upon them, shouting, and brandishing their swords and spears.
The Burmans fled in confusion, but not till six of their number were shot
down. The women were all rescued; and the men, in returning, took these
umbrellas, several muskets, swords, and spears, which the Burmans threw
away in their flight. The ponies also were taken there. One of them
lacked a bridle; but the Karen who captured him made the fetters he had
wrenched from his own feet serve for bits. Ropes completed the bridle;
and the late prisoner in irons now rides his enemy's steed. Teacher, we
have brought the umbrellas for you and the officers to look at, and do
with as you like, and the ponies for your use, if you wish them.' One of
the umbrellas I must keep to commemorate the valor of the Karens; and one
of the ponies shall henceforth serve their teacher.

"Such are the scenes of war in one part of the district; but in another,
how different! Not two days' walk from the scene just described, Thah Gay
and Tau Lau, with many of their flock, are in the hands of merciless
robbers. From day to day the fiends wreak their vengeance on these
defenceless disciples of Christ. They are pierced with swords and spears,
savagely beaten, suspended by their necks from trees, and let down just
before life is extinct, to recover strength for a repetition of the cruel
torture. Day after day, and week after week, for two dreadful months, do
these men thus die daily. Word was brought yesterday that they were
released from these sufferings by death, and that they were strong in
faith to the last. The news was a mournful relief to our painful anxiety.
May this state of anarchy, terror, and woe, soon be succeeded by the
blessings of peace under a firm and just government!

"_Jan. 8._--Annexation was proclaimed in Bassein on the morning of the
3d. It was read in three languages to the attentive multitude. Twenty-one
guns from the stockade, and as many from the steamer, thundered forth the
decree of a mighty nation. What various emotions are awakened in the
awestruck crowd! The soldier is elated with thoughts of glory. The
haughty Burman hears in those peals the doom of his kingdom and his
religion, and trembles. But the long-oppressed Karen hears a voice
proclaiming liberty to the captive, freedom to worship God. And, louder
than trumpet-blast or cannon's roar, the messenger of God hears the voice
of his ascended Lord speaking to the Christians of his native land,
'Behold, how plenteous the harvest, how few the laborers, how wide and
effectual the door, how few to enter in! Awake, put on thy strength, O
Zion! Awake, and come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty!'

"The imposing ceremony is over; but the enemy is not yet subdued.
Scarcely has the voice ceased which proclaims Pegu to be British soil,
and its inhabitants subjects of British rule and protection, when news
arrives of another conflict between the Karens and the banditti. Two
Karens have been wounded, and four Burmans killed. The lives of the
Karens were spared; but five thousand baskets of rice, their staff of
life, which they had striven long and hard to defend, were devoured by
the flames. In this hour of distress they come, beseeching us to
intercede with the Commissioner for protection. Their foes are
threatening still further devastations. Their case is presented, is
regarded with favor. Inquiries are made, plans formed, and at the
appointed hour the steamer starts on its errand of mercy. The mind is
relieved of a burden of anxiety. Patience, too, whether its work has been
perfect or not, has had work enough in obtaining definite information
from natives of indescribable stupidity; and the whole frame, in constant
excitement for days and nights, needs relaxation. The steamer has been
gone only a few hours, when Tau Lau, only a week since reported to have
died under torture, makes his appearance, and tells his tale of
sufferings, from which he barely escaped with life, wounded and naked.

"Shway No, [Nyo?] who has been missing two months, and was known to have
fallen into the hands of robbers, comes as Tau Lau's companion. He was
redeemed for thirty rupees, and has since lived secreted. They bring word
that Thah Gay, too, is still alive, but that the tortures he is suffering
are worse, if possible, than those of which he was reported to have died.
He is alive; but an awful death is awaiting him, together with
thirty-nine others. They are crowded into one prison, and allowed, from
day to day, barely food enough to prevent starvation. Beneath their
prison-floor are piled the fagots which are to burn them alive. More than
seven hundred rupees have been extorted from their friends by false
promises of release. Perhaps the hope of obtaining more money delays
their doom; but the language of the tormentors to their victims more
probably expresses their real intention, 'We shall despatch you as soon
as we can catch a few more of you.' Thah Gay is loaded with three pairs
of fetters, and split bamboos are so applied as to pinch his flesh, from
his toes to his shoulders.

"Sad and anxious faces again approach the missionary, and he is implored
to aid in delivering Thah Gay and his flock from such sufferings and
impending death. Oh for the arm of a Samson! But help can come alone from
Him whose arm is not shortened; and the prayer that has been going up in
their behalf for weeks is now offered with renewed fervor. But faith
without works is dead; and, after a night of prayer, Tway Po and Myat Keh
ask our opinion of this plan: 'We have resolved to go in different
directions, and, calling together a company of our brethren, make an
attempt to rescue Thah Gay.'--'Go. And may the Almighty go with you, and
grant you success!' Muskets and ammunition are sought, arrangements are
made, and they come again to my room. Fervent prayer is offered; and they
go forth, asking us earnestly to continue to pray for them.

"The new order of things imposes heavy duties upon the missionary. Crowds
throng his house from day to day, plying him, with a thousand questions
as to the intentions of the English, their form of government, etc. One
company of thirty or forty no sooner depart satisfied than another
company arrives, equally ignorant, equally curious, and equally
persevering in trying the strength and patience of the missionary. The
Karens, by their hearty and efficient aid during the war, have merited
the special favor and protection of the English, and are to be under
petty magistrates of their own race. Our opinion is sought as to who are
best qualified for these offices. Thus the temporal as well as the
spiritual welfare of thousands is affected by our words and acts. Who is
sufficient for these things?

"Do Christians in America rightly estimate the importance of their
mission-fields and the magnitude of mission-interests? Will men of
influence, of experience and wisdom, who turn a deaf ear to the claims of
the foreign field, be found guiltless at the last day? If a new college
wants a man of learning and practical wisdom for professor or president,
he is soon forthcoming, when, perhaps, the whole institution might be
blotted from existence, and its proposed work be done elsewhere, without
endangering half the interests that are imperilled at some
mission-station for want of that same man to guide its momentous affairs.

"_Feb. 5._--The expedition sent to disperse the bands that were laying
waste the country to the south and east so effectually routed the
banditti, that the people in that region, under the temporary
jurisdiction of Shway Weing, are now returning to their devastated homes
in peace. The Karens who thought to release Thah Gay found their number
too small to make the attempt with any hope of success, and gave up the
plan. Tway Po returned to Arakan, to bring his family and congregation
from the unhealthy and unfruitful jungles by the sea to the fertile and
salubrious plains of Bassein. Other pastors and elders from Arakan seek
advice as to the wisdom of following his example.

"The steamer _Zenobia_, from Maulmain, reached this place on the 20th
ult., bringing my family with the Van Meters--all in usual health. The
steamer's boats and crew, since her arrival, have been actively engaged
in dispersing the Burmese forces. The first expedition, to the vicinity
of Pantanau, where the Karens have suffered severely, was in every way
successful. Ninety Europeans, with their Karen allies, gained a brilliant
victory over three thousand Burmans; that number being swelled by
camp-followers to nearly ten thousand. Forty were found dead on the
field, and two hundred and fifty were taken prisoners. We hope that this
will prove to be the finishing stroke to the war in this district.

"Encouraged by news of the near approach of a European force, a large
body of Karens made a rapid march upon the Burmans, who have held Thah
Gay and his villagers. They were in time to save all but Thah Gay. Two
days before the attack of the Karens, the Burmans fastened him to a
cross, and disembowelled him; when, life not being extinct, they shot him
twice, and cut his throat.[1] Thus has perished a good, faithful, and
promising pastor. Nahkee, who long lived secreted, has at last escaped
from his enemies, and is now with us. We hope that the country will soon
become settled, and that we shall be able to prosecute our labors without
interruption."

{ Footnote: [1] For a sketch of this martyr's death, see Missionary
Magazine, October, 1856, pp. 388, 389, also Karen Morning Star, May,
1853, pp. 139-142. This man is often called Klau-meh. His zeal and
success as an evangelist were remarkable; and to save his life he would
not deny his Lord, even under excruciating and long-continued tortures. }

On his passage to Maulmain for the ladies and children of the mission,
Mr. Van Meter, in his little cutter of twenty tons, was blown off to sea
when almost in sight of Amherst; so that the voyage, which should have
occupied but six days, was lengthened to sixteen. Writing (Jan. 27),
after their arrival in Bassein, he says,--

"Capt. A. Fytche, our old friend at Sandoway, has been here some weeks as
deputy commissioner. He is away now with an expedition, clearing out two
or three places above this which the Burmans have long made their
headquarters, and which no European force has ever succeeded in reaching.
A large force of Karens co-operate with the Europeans. A bamboo house has
been put up on the Catholic compound since my departure, and we hear that
they have quite a large attendance of European soldiers. We do not hear
of their doing much in native work.

"Since the arrival of the _mamas_, our _kyoung_ has been full nearly all
the time, principally of Burman women and children, who have their
curiosity greatly excited by the presence of two American women with
their children. Mrs. Van Meter has sat two hours or more each day,
reading and talking to them in their own language. Even now many of them
listen with interest to what is said, although the greater part, of
course, come from mere curiosity. Doubtless willing ears will be found to
listen for the truth's sake as she acquires greater facility in the
language. As to the Karen field, we could hardly ask for any thing more
encouraging. Had a large company last Sunday, including many Karen
women."

From Mr. Beecher's pen we have the following account of the first annual
association held within the limits of Bassein:--

"The meeting was opened Feb. 22, and closed on the evening of the 25th.
Many circumstances combined to render it a season of joyful and
melancholy interest. The fact that we met, not, as formerly, on the
inclement coast of Arakan, at a distance from the homes of the Karens and
from our own, but in the midst of our people and at our own doors, in our
own field rescued from the despot and persecutor, and that we were thus
enabled, at its centre, to devise measures for the edification of the
churches, and the preaching of the gospel among the heathen at greater
advantage than ever before, was fitted to awaken in us all lively
gratitude and joy.

"But a view of the desolations which disease and war have wrought among
the preachers and their flocks mingled sadness with our joy. Seven of the
pastors whom we have been accustomed to meet on these occasions have gone
to their rest. Six fell by disease: the seventh, Thah Gay, was the victim
of Burmese cruelty, and died, to use his own words, 'the death of
Christ.' While such a marked providence has been displayed towards the
Christians, that very few have died on the battle-field, we have been
called to mourn the loss by sickness of 141 members of our communion, and
119 members of Christian families, who had not yet received baptism.

"The recent death of Thah Gay, with all the aggravating circumstances
fresh in our minds, the presence of his family, bearing the marks of long
and bitter suffering, and their tale of woe, told with tears and sobs,
excited our deepest sympathy and sorrow. Two or three of the preachers
are still in the hands of a cruel Burman chief, about whom we have great
reason to be anxious. A few preachers were absent through fear of cholera
and small-pox, which are beginning their annual ravages around us; but it
was highly gratifying to meet thirty-nine of our brethren in the ministry
on this important occasion. The work of ruin wrought by the war has been
great. Twenty-five churches have been scattered, their chapels and
villages destroyed, and in many cases all the personal property of the
people wrested from them. Great numbers are thus reduced to beggary. In
two or three townships, providentially, the Karens have been able to
raise and preserve their usual amount of rice, which, if distributed with
the Christian benevolence which we expect, will do much to relieve the
destitute. Still there are many who will suffer, we fear, after all that
we can do for them, from insufficient food, clothing, and shelter. The
preachers, on this account, will require much more aid from the mission
this year than they have received for several years past. The
appropriation, six hundred rupees, when distributed among those whose
claims are the most urgent, will do but little towards meeting their most
pressing wants.

"Perhaps half of the churches that have been scattered are returning to
their former places of abode, and will gather around their former
pastors. Some of the members will remain where they fled for refuge, a
part uniting with other churches, and others forming new ones under other
pastors. Years must elapse before the churches will be as well organized
and efficient in supporting the preaching of the gospel as they were
before the war. We are grateful that we have at this juncture a class of
ten young men well prepared by their studies at Sandoway and Maulmain for
ministerial work. Four of these are appointed over churches left
destitute by the death of pastors. One was appointed over a new church,
which welcomes him with the promise of support. His labors commenced with
the reception of ten members, who were baptized by the ordained brother
who accompanied, and introduced him to his field. Four others, each with
an associate, have gone forth as missionaries to the unconverted. Two,
who have enjoyed fewer advantages in education, but have proved
themselves efficient laborers, were also appointed to labor among the
heathen, making six in all, who, with their associates, will do
missionary work, and be supported mainly by the funds of the Karen Home
Mission Society. It will be impracticable for them to do much during the
rains, and probably those who do not succeed in so far discipling
villages that their constant presence and teaching will be required will
then pursue their studies with us.

"There are many thousand unconverted Karens near Bassein, who afford a
promising field for missionary effort, besides yet greater numbers still
further away, of whom we know comparatively little. One object of those
sent forth will be to explore those fields. Besides the efforts of those
who devote themselves exclusively to mission-work, it will continue to be
our earnest endeavor to impress on every pastor his duty to labor
constantly for the conversion of the heathen in his own vicinity. The
vast field seems ready for the harvest. The Lord has raised up in all
fifty-five native laborers to enter in and reap. Let prayer be offered
unceasingly, that these laborers and their teachers may be full of the
Holy Ghost and of faith, that much people may be added to the Lord.

"The unsettled state of the people during the war, the loss of nearly all
their books, the interruption of religious services, has been attended
naturally by many departures from holiness and rectitude. Twenty cases of
discipline were reported at this meeting, about half of which were for
violations of the seventh commandment. The unsatisfactory manner in which
many of these cases were treated shows that we have before us a most
important work,--to bring these converts from heathenism, pastors as well
as people, up to the Christian standard of discipline.

"We are glad, however, that the dark picture of this year is relieved by
some bright spots. Amid the confusion, the gloom, and declension that
have attended the war, the life-giving influences of the gospel have been
felt. During the year twenty-eight families, numbering in all about a
hundred souls, have professed to abandon the worship of _nats_, and to
believe on Christ. These have not yet been instructed sufficiently to
receive baptism...The pastors feel the importance of establishing
common schools, and will exert themselves to do this as fast as they
recover from the effects of the war. The association being in session
upon the Thursday set apart in our native land for special prayer for
colleges, the subject of education was brought up, and this custom
explained, after which an hour was spent in prayer with the Karens for
the same objects.

"Our statistics for 1852 are: churches, 50; baptized, 43; excluded, 10;
died, 141; whole number of communicants, about 5,000; preachers laboring
as missionaries, 6; appointed at the association, 10; died, 7; whole
number of preachers, 55; pupils taught in common schools, 184; in
boarding schools, 80."

Mr. Van Meter adds some particulars respecting the Pwo work:--

"Of the four older assistants, three were present, the fourth being kept
away by sore eyes. This was the third time he had been prevented from
attending by a similar cause. When help was again asked for him, I
mentioned that this was the third year that he had failed to come, and,
more than this, that he had sent neither delegate nor letter. They
immediately began to plead for him, that it was not owing to
indifference, that he had a large heart, and was very zealous in the work
of God. I was glad to hear this; but, to conform to our rules, one of
them promised to see him on his return, and to send back a written
account of his labors and the state of his church. I will then send him
the amount awarded by the committee for the present year. The assistants
have wrought in their former fields, as far, at least, as the unsettled
state of the country would allow. They have all performed more or less
missionary work.

"Thahbwah has been laboring in a new field, nearly east of Bassein, with
much encouragement. He wishes to remain there a while longer, until the
work is so far advanced, that another with less experience can carry it
forward, when he will leave for another part of his inviting field. Shway
Bo started last August for Labogala, but was prevented from reaching that
place. He then set out for Shway Loung, but had hardly entered on his
work, when the first battle was fought in that region, since which, all
has been in confusion. He has baptized twenty-two of those for whom
Thahbwah had been laboring.

"Besides these, there are three others recognized as assistants in part.
One of these, Leh Soung, I saw first in November last. He has been for
some months acting pastor at Paybeng. He is a young man of much promise,
although he has never been in our schools; has a good knowledge of Sgau
and of Burmese. He has not yet asked for help from the mission. Another,
Shway Leng, has been engaged most of the year in preaching, and teaching
a school of twenty or thirty scholars at Kyootah. The third, Pyah Thay,
brother to Thaing Kyo, has just gone as a missionary to Pandau and
vicinity. Ten rupees were given him, and will insure him against want for
at least two months...Tau Lau goes to Pandau also, the district in
which he resided before the war, and where most of the Pwo Christians
have been gathered. The two largest Pwo churches were formerly
there...Another missionary to the Pwos is a young man who has been studying
in Maulmain. He is a Sgau, but has a good use of Pwo and Burmese. He has a
heart for the work, and is to go to Keh Boung, a long way to the
north-east of Bassein, beyond the other assistants.

"One alone, of all the Pwo Christian villages, escaped the destroyer.
Their paddy, buffaloes, books, and other property, shared the same fate,
except what was carried off by the enemy. It was not at all uncommon, in
former years, for paddy to sell at five rupees a hundred baskets. Now it
is not to be had for less than thirty, and, in some places, forty rupees.
Its exportation, we hear, is prohibited. Still it must continue very
scarce until the next harvest, and even longer, unless the country is
quiet at sowing-time, and the crop equals the ordinary yield. We have
fears for the people. It will be very difficult for many to support their
families. Not a few will have to depend largely upon charity. We have
just prepared an address, soliciting aid for the destitute. We hope that
it will meet with a ready response from the officers, as many of them
have expressed sympathy for the suffering Karens."

In April of this year the fighting was supposed to be over; but the
rejoicing of the Christians over the return of peace was somewhat
premature. Nine Karen missionaries were actively engaged in preaching
among the heathen during the dry season. Four Karens were appointed
_goung-gyouks_, or magistrates of districts corresponding to our
counties,--an office of rather low order, but of considerable
responsibility. Their names were Shway Weing (our old friend, "the young
chief"), Nga So, Shway Myat, and Kangyee. Several others were appointed
_thoogyees_, or tax-gatherers. Thus was the door at once thrown open for
the long-oppressed Karens to rise in the scale of influence and
civilization. A friend may be permitted to doubt, however, whether they
were fully prepared at that time to enter the door. At all events, the
subsequent course of three out of the four magistrates was singularly
unfortunate. Mr. Beecher writes, April 21:--

"The war, I said, is past. Yes: the storm has swept by, and in the calm
that follows we are learning the sad extent of the destitution,
wretchedness, and ruin which it has wrought. Almost daily small parties
come in from the despoiled villages to implore our aid in obtaining rice,
to ask our intercession with the government that they may be exempted
from taxes this year, and to make numberless inquiries on points civil,
social, moral, and ecclesiastical, to say nothing of those surgical and
medicinal. We have thus constant opportunities for learning the state of
the churches, and for inciting them to efforts for the education of their
children, and for preaching to the heathen. These parties are often
composed of heathen Karens, giving us good congregations in our own
houses. They listen attentively, and take tracts and books home with
them, that they may there learn of the religion we preach. Many of them
say that they will worship God as soon as they can learn the way.

"The interest among the Burmans continues unabated. Twice have parties
come to my room, saying, 'Teacher, we would listen to the doctrines of
Christ.' On one occasion, being pressed with duties to the Karens, I
directed a Karen preacher to explain the gospel to them, when, as too
often, instead of preaching Christ, he began descanting on the folly of
idolatry. One of the Burmans immediately checked him by saying, 'We know
all about our own gods, and modes of worship. What we wish, is to learn
about your God and the doctrines you believe,' and again desired that the
teacher himself would preach to them. I need not add that the desire was
gratified to the best of my ability. It would thus appear that there are
those among this people who would take the kingdom by violence; but how
much is due to mere curiosity, time alone can disclose. A Burmese
missionary should soon occupy this promising field.

"I learned last evening of the conversion of four or five families at a
village about thirty miles east of us. Four or five persons have been
waiting there several years for an opportunity to be baptized. These,
with the recent converts, form a company of twenty-five or thirty
candidates. An ordained pastor will at once go there, and I hope soon to
report the organization of a church. The man who has been instrumental in
the conversion of these and many others has never been recognized as a
preacher, and has studied only enough to learn to read; but what he could
learn of the gospel he has been faithful in making known to others while
laboring as a farmer for the support of his family. Mau Yay has just
returned from a tour to the west and south, in which he baptized forty
persons, and collected thirteen rupees for home missions."

April 22 he adds this sad intelligence:--

"A mysterious providence has this morning thrown our whole mission into
mourning. Our dearly beloved brother, Tway Po, died about nine, A.M., of
cholera. He had commenced building a large village [Kaunee], about four
miles north of the town, with very cheering prospects, but has thus been
cut off in the midst of his usefulness. It is also our painful duty to
record the death, by cholera, of another preacher, Kyau Too. May these
afflictions be sanctified to our spiritual good and the advancement of
Christianity among this people!"

To these losses by death was added, before the close of the year, that of
Nahyah, the valued pastor of the church at Kyootah.

In September was held the first regular meeting of the Bassein Karen
Ministerial Conference,--an institution which has proved to be of great
value, and which has continued its meetings every three or four months,
substantially unchanged, to the present time. As it was a beginning of so
much importance, we transcribe Mr. Beecher's account of the first
meeting:--

"The meeting opened on the morning of Sept. 3, and closed on the 6th. It
was a season of deep interest to ourselves, and we have never seen the
Karens enter more heartily upon any enterprise than they did upon the
objects of this gathering. Forty preachers were present, a good number of
delegates, and, on one occasion, a congregation of about five hundred.
The first half-day of the conference was spent in devotional exercises;
the remainder of the day and evening, in listening to oral reports from
the preachers, of their labors for the six months since the Association.
The object in requiring these reports was to learn definitely from each
his views of their responsibilities and duties as pastors, and preachers
of the gospel, the manner in which they spend their time, and the
standard of discipline which they endeavor to maintain in their churches.
The facts which were brought out gave us excellent opportunities for
correcting what was erroneous, for encouraging and promoting what was
right, and suggesting what was deficient. While it appeared that some of
the pastors have very inadequate views of their calling, we were much
gratified by the evidence given that others have a just sense of the
sacred responsibilities of those to whom are committed the care of
immortal souls. So in discipline some had been negligent, while the
larger number had tried to follow the Bible standard in maintaining the
purity of their flocks. All seemed highly pleased with the plan for the
pastors thus to meet in conference, and after full discussion voted
unanimously to meet hereafter every three months.

"The meeting of the Home Mission Society [which followed] was largely
occupied with encouraging reports from the missionaries. Two young
candidates for the ministry, Kweebeh and Thahpah, on arriving in
Laymyetnah district, about three days north of Bassein, found that the
children in some of the villages were anxious to learn to read Karen.
Their parents, though somewhat averse to it, gave their consent. One of
the young men taught the children, while the other preached in the
neighboring villages. The children were taught first the story of Jesus,
and their duty to believe on and worship him. They did soon believe, and
wished their parents to accept the new religion; but they were told to
wait till next year, as they (their parents) were not ready yet. The
children then told the teacher, 'Come to us next year, and teach us
again; and, if our parents still wish to worship _nats_, they may do so,
but _we_ will worship God.' Soon after they left that vicinity, a Karen
family which they had visited professed conversion.

"The society was re-organized by the election of Karen officers. More
than two hundred and thirty rupees were collected at the meeting, wholly
the contribution of the churches in a year when the scarcity of rice
almost amounts to a famine. Four missionaries were appointed for the next
six months, and others will be appointed as soon as the season favors
jungle-travelling."

Mr. Van Meter adds, that, after careful deliberation, it was voted to
have meetings for prayer and Scripture-reading in the village chapels
every Wednesday and Saturday evening, also that the old custom of meeting
in the chapels for worship every evening be recommended to those living
within a convenient distance.

At the December meeting, Rev. J. H. Vinton of Rangoon was present, and
added much to the interest and profit of the occasion. Myat Keh reported
by letter the baptism of seventy-two persons since the previous quarterly
meeting. Mau Yay had baptized sixty, and Po Kway forty, of whom twenty
were recent converts from heathenism. Eleven missionaries were
appointed,--two to the Shway Doung field, near Prome; two to the Henthada
district; and the others, Mau Yay among the number, to labor nearer home.
Thus early was the work of foreign missions definitely entered upon by
these churches, which seem almost to have reached maturity at one bound,
without passing through the cradle at all. But another year of war and
warlike rumors must elapse before the Bassein Christians can fairly
settle down to the work of the second period of their history,--the
period of reconstruction and consolidation.

We close the chapter with our last extract from Mr. Abbott's pen--a
tribute to the memory of his dearly loved Tway Po, whom he was so soon to
follow to the better land:--

"I baptized him in 1842, 1 think, at a village in Arakan. He began
preaching at Ong Khyoung, and I ordained him the second year following.
He was with me a good deal at Sandoway, and constantly with me when in
the Karen jungles. He was the companion of my missionary labors, in
travel, in sickness and sorrow, by night and by day. He was my counsellor
in all matters relating to the organization and discipline of the Karen
churches. He apprehended the great truths of the gospel, the mysteries of
redemption by faith in the blood of atonement, with a clearness and
strength seldom surpassed even in Christian lands. His unimpeachable
character as a man of prayer and of entire devotion to the cause of
Christ, his aptness to teach, his goodness, his sound judgment, his
wisdom in counsel, his capacity to govern, his reputation,--'well
reported of by them that were without,'--his meekness and humility, which
covered him as a garment of loveliness,--all recommended him as a
candidate for the ministry.

"Tway Po increased in wisdom and knowledge, and in his usefulness as a
pastor. He had my entire confidence, and soon won the confidence and
love, not only of his own church, but of all the churches and preachers
among the Karen people. When I left Burma in 1845, I relied upon him to
take my place. During my absence he and Myat Kyau baptized many hundreds,
formed churches, and set over them preachers and teachers, as much to my
satisfaction as if I had been on the ground. Myat Kyau was a man to be
respected and esteemed; Tway Po, a man to be also loved. Both were men of
unyielding integrity and unwavering fidelity, and each in his own way was
useful to the cause of Christ. Translated from the darkness of heathenism
into the kingdom of God's dear Son, the first ordained among the Karens,
they both fulfilled the ministry they had received of the Lord Jesus with
fidelity and honor, and have their reward."



CHAPTER XII.
1854.


"Let me plead for the foreign missionary idea as the necessary completion
of the Christian life. It is the apex to which all of the lines of the
pyramid lead up. The Christian life without it is a mangled and imperfect
thing."--REV. DR. PHILLIPS BROOKS.


IN the early part of the year, nearly all the northern and eastern
townships of Bassein were again in a state of insurrection. Among the
more notable of the rebel chiefs, so called, of this and the previous
year, we find the names of Nga Tee-lwot, Nga Thein, Nga Thabon, the
Talaing chief Myat-toon, Nga Thah-oo, and Hlabau. By his energy and
success in putting an end to the raids of these emissaries from the court
of Ava, Major, since General, Fytche, the deputy commissioner,
distinguished himself, and secured rapid promotion. For his official
reports of the military operations in Bassein for 1853 and 1854, in which
it appears that the Karens bore an active and creditable part, reference
may be made to his work, "Burma, Past and Present," vol. ii. appendix B,
pp. 221-238.

The family of Nga So still cherish the following certificate, among
others, given to their father by Major Fytche and other officers. Similar
testimonials were doubtless given to the other Karen captains, which we
have not happened to see.

BASSEIN, Dec. 4, 1860.
Ko Tso, _Myo-oke_ of Theegwin, was one of the earliest and most zealous
adherents of the British Government in this district. On my arrival at
Bassein, and publishing the proclamation of annexation, he joined me with
a body of some twelve hundred Karens, and assisted greatly in driving the
Burmese troops out of the district, and in dispersing the marauding
bands. He is the only Karen _myo-oke_, remaining out of four which I
appointed on the settlement of the district. Ko Tso may always be
depended on as a most faithful servant of the government in any
emergency, and he possesses great influence amongst the people of his own
race. I have had good reason also to be satisfied with [the discharge of]
his court duties as _myo-oke_.

(Signed)
A. FYTCHE, _Colonel_,
_Deputy Commissioner, Bassein._

About this time we first hear of the priests of a new Hindoo (?) deity
called "Maulay." His worship included offerings of money to the priests,
with much feasting, dancing, etc. This deity was expected soon to make
his advent, with all the ancestors of his disciples in his train, with
all manner of worldly and sensual delights for the faithful. These
priests and their devotees occasioned much excitement, and their
proceedings began to assume more or less of a rebellious character.

To add to the confusion and uncertainty, the government was now seriously
contemplating the removal of the district headquarters from Bassein to a
place three tides down the river, on the west bank, called Negrais, or
Dalhousie. The removal was actually determined upon. Some _lacs_[1] of
rupees were expended in preparing a site for the new town,
landing-places, etc., when suddenly a furious storm, accompanied by a
great tidal wave, so wrecked the place, that the project was abandoned.
The removal of the mission establishment would have followed the success
of this measure as a matter of course; and, as it was, some delay in
erecting necessary buildings in Bassein, and no little uncertainty,
resulted.

{ Footnote: [1] A lac is one hundred thousand. }

Mr. Beecher's account of the interesting meeting of the association at
Kohsoo was not published, possibly, because of the strong ground which he
took, as always, on the necessity of more extended facilities for
education at Bassein than the Executive Committee at that time were
prepared to grant. We give the more important paragraphs:--

"The year has been one in which many of our brethren have had to struggle
with the reverses, temptations, and sufferings attendant upon war and
famine. We are thankful that the great body of believers have remained
steadfast during this fight of afflictions, though we are pained to learn
that a few have turned again to the weak and beggarly elements of
heathenism. The meeting was held, Feb. 13-15 inclusive, at the large and
flourishing village of Kohsoo [pastor Myat Keh's], situated about six
miles north-east of Bassein. The preparations made by the villagers, and
the hospitable spirit manifested towards the delegates and visitors,
breathed a hearty welcome to the anniversary; and the season seemed to be
one of sweet social and religious intercourse to all present...Fifty
churches were represented by delegates and letters. Forty-five pastors
were present, and eight preachers of the Home Mission Society. All of
these, and a large number of delegates, seemed ready to strive together
with one heart and mind for the promotion of the great objects of the
mission, entering heartily into our plans for the evangelization of the
heathen, the edification of the churches, and the education of their
children and the ministry. In this harmony, as well as in the greater
directness and efficiency of the past six months' labors, we would
acknowledge the blessing of God upon the quarterly ministerial
conference.

"The statistics taken show that three pastors and 248 church-members have
died, and that forty have been excluded. The number of deaths is
unusually large; cholera and small-pox having raged with great violence
during the year. But what filled our hearts with greater sorrow was an
event unprecedented in our history, which we should shrink from
recording, did not fidelity require it.

"Among the forty excluded persons were sixteen who had turned back from
the straight and narrow way to dishonest heathen practices. In the
reverses of the war, they had suffered from their Burman enemies
extortion upon extortion, and cruelty upon cruelty, until in the
extremity of their wretchedness, to satisfy the cravings of hunger, they
plunged into a life of plunder and robbery, and are not disposed to
forsake it, though the circumstances which first led to it have passed
away...

"A few bright features. It has been noticed with anxiety in previous
years, that, while we could report good numbers of baptisms, but few, and
in some years not any, of the baptized, were recent converts from
heathenism; the additions being either from the families of
church-members, or from converts who had long been waiting for an
opportunity to be baptized. But, by the blessing of God upon the labors
of the year just closed, we are permitted to rejoice over 200 converts,
who within the year have renounced heathenism, and enrolled themselves
among the believers in Jesus. The greater part wait to be instructed in
the way of the Lord more perfectly. The whole number baptized in the
twelve month is 519. The number reported as being now connected with the
churches of this mission is about 4,300; but there are many other
Christians, scattered by the war to distant and unexplored regions, whose
names would probably increase the number to about 5,000. This, it will be
perceived, is the number that was reported in 1850. The churches,
therefore, while losing so many by death, have still, in respect to
numbers, maintained their ground.

"In order to put this people upon a permanent course of progress,...
greater efforts must be put forth, and better results attained, in
respect to _education_. We have been greatly hindered in our efforts for
common schools, by the unsettled and poverty-stricken state of many of
the villages; but we are thankful to report 330 pupils in common schools,
and about 150 in the boarding-school. The whole number of pupils again is
only about equal to that reported in 1849. In regard to education,
therefore, we have this year only reached a point which had been before
attained, from which we have been receding for three or four years. But,
under the more favorable influences which are now rising around us,
better results will be shown in the year to come. We feel that this is a
subject of vital importance to the stability and purity of the churches,
and we shall not relax our efforts until we see something like an
adequate degree of progress. Some of our brethren at home have been
talking about 'colleges' for the Karens. They have far outstripped us in
this matter, for we should be glad to see schools worthy even of the name
of academies springing up in our missions.

"Accordingly we ventured to propose at the association that such a school
should this year be attempted, and that two or three others, somewhat
above the ordinary common school, should also be established at points
distant from the first and highest. We must wait patiently to learn the
result; for new ideas, however carefully planted, do not, in the minds of
Karens, come to maturity during one meeting. For them to support their
children at school in their own village, or to send them to the
missionary to be supported from foreign sources, are ideas which they can
understand and appreciate; but to send their children to another Karen
village to be taught by a Karen teacher, at the expense of their parents,
is an idea which must be explained and urged again and again, before they
will be half as ready to pay five rupees for tuition as they are to pay
the same for tobacco. Nevertheless, when the thing has once taken root,
and given promise of fruit, it will not be unappreciated or neglected.
Whether we see any thing like an academy this year or not, we expect to
see common schools of a higher order, and in larger numbers, than we
should have seen otherwise, and we hope for the day when academies worthy
of the name, taught and supported by Karens, shall enlighten and adorn
these provinces. But we meet with serious difficulties at the very
outset, from the want of suitable text-books, and teachers qualified to
carry out the plan to success. How these books and teachers are to be
supplied, to meet the ever-increasing wants of a rising people, is a
question worthy of more attention than it is receiving. If the time has
not yet come for establishing colleges among the Karens, it is not
because thoroughly educated Karens are not needed to strengthen these
churches, and guide this people in their upward course, but because the
preliminary steps were not taken years ago, or, if taken, were not
encouraged and followed up.

"There is another reason for more vigorous efforts in this direction...The
Roman Catholics have met with better success in Bassein than
elsewhere in Burma. Their converts here, according to their own
statement, number between four and five hundred souls, including children
probably. But what is of more serious moment to us is the fact that about
seventy of their converts were once among our own church-members. This
falling-away was previous to 1849; since then, excepting a few who were
first excluded from our churches, none have been turned away from their
faith in Jesus to the worship of the Holy Virgin. The check which was
given at that time to Romish efforts among the converts of our mission
must be attributed to the more enlightened views of the Bible and the
history of the church, which were then given to the preachers and
teachers in our schools and at our general meetings...

"We need not, brethren, attempt here to show how much we need your
prayers, your counsels, and your abundant aid, in order that the great
tree which has already grown from the mustard-seed may, through the
increase of enlightened faith and holy love, strike deeper and wider its
roots while extending its branches. Let it not, through the large number
of uninstructed and unstable converts, stand in danger of being ere long
shattered and prostrated by the violence of some wind of false doctrine.

"The available funds of the Home Mission Society for the year have been
three hundred and sixty-two rupees, besides one hundred and twenty-five
rupees more contributed at the meeting. Under the patronage of the
society, the gospel has been preached, during the year, in more than
seventy heathen villages, in some a second time for weeks in succession,
and with great encouragement. Eight preachers were re-appointed to labor
during the coming season.

"We are encouraged to hope that the churches will this year take a still
higher stand in regard to the support of their pastors. The committee to
whom the subject of aiding the feebler churches was referred reported
only eighteen as needing aid from the mission; and none of these were
regarded as needing above fifteen rupees for the whole year, and the
majority are to receive less. The whole amount now thought to be needed
for this purpose is two hundred and eight rupees,--a little more than
one-half of the amount contributed by the Karens to the Home Mission
treasury in this year of scarcity. Bassein, therefore, is now virtually
able and ready to support the preaching of the gospel within its own
borders."...

In March and April, Mr. Beecher made a tour of eighteen days among the
churches and heathen villages in the northern part of his district.
During this tour he formed the church at M'gay-l'hah. At Shankweng he
baptized twenty-two persons, and at Shway-nyoung-bin, nineteen. Myat Keh,
after a long tour among the churches and some of the heathen Pwos south
of the town, reported the baptism of fifty and the hopeful conversion of
twenty-eight Pwos. Shway Bo baptized seventeen about the same time; and
Mau Yay, fourteen,--all after the meeting of the association. Mr. Beecher
gives an interesting account of the quarterly ministerial meeting held in
Mohgoo, about twenty miles west from the town, May 13-15 inclusive, from
which we quote:--

"It was gratifying to find a neat, commodious, and substantial chapel
just rebuilt. The floor was of _sawn boards_, as yet quite a novelty in
Karen villages, though we hear of several churches following this
example. The people here have suffered little from the war, and find
themselves able to support Moung Bo, their pastor, entirely, and to
expend, for Karens, a liberal sum on their house of worship. The pleasant
contrast between this house and the places where we have preached, and
called upon the name of the Lord, in heathen villages, often led us to
repeat, 'How amiable are thy tabernacles!' The attendance at this meeting
was a renewed proof of the deep interest which this people feel in the
work which we are striving to promote. We had feared that they would be
so busily engaged in building their houses, and preparing for the rains
close at hand, that few would be present; but we were happily
disappointed in meeting thirty-one pastors, five or six of the itinerant
missionaries, and a congregation of more than five hundred on Sunday,
besides many who returned home on hearing that small-pox had broken out
in the village. Letters of regret were received from several pastors who
could not attend.

"Saturday, the first day, was occupied with the reports of the pastors,
and the examination of Tway Gyau for ordination. Our time was too limited
to allow all the pastors present to speak; but those who were called upon
spoke of the exercises of their minds, and their views of their calling,
with greater freedom and intelligence than ever before. At our first
conference, nine months since, it was with difficulty that some of them
comprehended what we meant by asking them to relate their Christian and
ministerial experience. The contrast at this meeting was a gratifying
proof of their growth in grace and the knowledge of Christ.

"The Christian experience and call to the ministry of Tway Gyau, as
brought out in his examination, were very satisfactory; but his blameless
Christian life for fifteen years, and his success as a pastor for twelve,
were the best proofs of his fitness for ordination. His church were
unanimous in asking for his ordination, and all of the ministers and
elders present approved. He is truly a _good_ man, blessed, in a less
degree, however, with the same excellent traits of mind and character as
his lamented brother Tway Po. I spent a sabbath with him a few weeks
since; and his house, furnished with tables and chairs of his own
manufacture, and books bearing marks of faithful use, reminded me
strongly of what I had seen at the house of the beloved and studious
pastor of Thehrau. Brethren Mau Yay, Po Kway, and Shway Bo (Myat Keh was
detained by illness) performed very appropriately the parts assigned to
them. The silence and attention of the congregation throughout the
exercises were marked. The same may be said respecting the dedication of
the house in which we held our meetings, which occurred sabbath
morning,--the same day with the ordination. We regretted the necessity of
crowding so much into one day, but could not avoid it without protracting
the meeting to an extent which the heat, the near approach of the rains,
and the anxiety of the people to return, would not warrant. This
dedication is the first that has occurred in Bassein, but will not, we
hope, be the last.

"One new church has been formed during the quarter: about a hundred and
fifty have professed conversion, and a hundred and seventy-six have been
baptized. Another indication of the progress of Christianity and its
constant attendant, civilization, is seen in the fact that the churches
of this mission have now in course of erection about twenty chapels and
as many schoolhouses. The treasurer of the Home Mission Society received
a hundred and sixty-three rupees during the quarter. Upon making known to
the society the request of Brother Kincaid for Karen preachers to labor
in Prome, two young men of excellent character were immediately
appointed, and were soon on their way."

Mr. Van Meter, in his tours, which were prolonged through the entire hot
season, visited seven villages of heathen Pwos south-west of the town;
also, on the east, Paybeng, where the ordinance of baptism was
administered for the first time to twenty-three candidates, and two
substantial men were set apart as deacons; P'nahtheng and vicinity, where
he again set apart deacons, and baptized fourteen persons,--one a man
reputed to be a hundred and eight years old; and eleven villages in the
Shway Loung district. The people of one of these villages were loyal, but
had fallen under suspicion. A Burmese head man had been killed somewhat
mysteriously. This their enemies had seized upon, and made a case of
murder. A number of their principal men were indicted.

Mr. Van Meter writes:--

"I had myself become bail for six, who, not suspecting such a charge, had
come to town in company with the head man of their district. The
commissioner finally dismissed the whole affair without a formal trial;
but for the time being they were in great trouble, and could think of
little else...

"Many declared their willingness, and even earnest desire, to become
worshippers at once; but how could they without a teacher? We were
completely thronged, at a village in the south part of the district, for
two days. A company of young men met us before we reached the place; and
so anxious were they to have us go to 'the big house' (most houses here
are small), that they cut a passage for our boat a long way up a narrow
creek. They then brought presents of their choicest kinds of rice. A
number expressed an earnest desire to learn to read, and a willingness to
aid in supporting a teacher. We talked, prayed, and sang with them again
and again. Our time was too limited to reach the village, which had been
reported to us as containing many worshippers; but we met the young man
who had been acting as teacher there. We learned from him that most of
the people had fled, or been carried off by small-pox. The head man, of
whom we had great hopes, was among the first victims. There were but
thirteen households left of the former twenty-seven.

"We returned, with the promise and prospect that schools should be
established in two places. Two young men who spent part of last rains
with us were the only persons able to read in Pwo. They were accepted as
teachers, and a support promised them...During the whole of this
trip the Karens took us from village to village, and brought us home.
This is a saving to the mission, and aids in cultivating a disposition
towards us which it is very essential they should have, if we are to do
them any good, or they are to be of any use in the cause of Christ." [1]

{ Footnote: [1] The peculiar opinion here expressed was strongly held by
Mr. Van Meter, and acted upon more or less throughout his course; but it
is doubtful whether such a policy would contribute to the success of most
missionaries. }

At the second quarterly meeting in August, "Brother Dahbu" preached the
opening sermon, which, no doubt, was a good one. The meetings were
excellent, as usual. Seventy-nine baptisms were reported for the quarter,
and forty-four village schools, with eight hundred pupils in attendance,
all, with four or five exceptions, supported by the Karens themselves.
But the great step forward, after long preparation and deferred hope, was
taken at the meeting in October. We leave Mr. Beecher, tho man who did so
much to bring about the grand result, to tell the story.

"_Bassein, Oct. 29, 1854._--The first three days of this week have been
occupied with the third quarterly meeting of the Ministerial Conference
and of the Home Mission Society. We have seldom, if ever, attended
meetings of deeper interest, or greater importance. They were held at
Naupeheh, about twelve miles in a westerly direction from Bassein. About
forty preachers were present, including four or five of our missionaries.
The increasing interest which the Karens take in these meetings was
manifest in the congregation of about eight hundred that gathered on the
sabbath preceding the meetings. The rising sun of each day saw preachers
and people assembling for prayer and praise; and the voice of
supplication and singing is in no place more pleasant or cheering than in
the Karen jungles."

At the request of the church in Naupeheh, their pastor, Tohlo (father of
Moung Yahbah, who is known to friends in Hamilton, N.Y.), was examined
with a view to ordination. The examination was very satisfactory, and on
Wednesday he was ordained; the first prayer being offered by Tway Gyau,
the sermon by Po Kway, the ordaining prayer by Myat Keh, the hand of
fellowship by Shway Bo, and the charge by Mau Yay. The sessions of the
Home Mission Society began Monday, P.M., with an instructive sermon by Po
Kway, appointed at the previous meeting, which was followed by reports of
the missionaries. We continue the quotation from Mr. Beecher's letter.

"The measure which we had anticipated with deeper interest and anxiety
than any other--the accomplishment of which marks a new era in the
history of this mission, if not in the history of the Union--was effected
Tuesday morning. Since the time when the preachers consented to rely
mainly upon their churches for support, we have constantly cherished the
hope that the day was not far distant when these churches would undertake
_the entire support of native preaching_, both among churches and the
heathen. That day has dawned. It was Tuesday, Oct. 24. Believing that the
funds of the Home Mission Society would warrant such a measure, a
committee was appointed on the previous Saturday to take the subject into
consideration. Ample time was thus given for entering upon the measure
deliberately, and with a full understanding of its nature. Myat Keh was
the chairman of the committee, and presented a resolution, of which the
following is a translation:--

"'We, Brethren Myat Keh, Shway Bau, Oo Sah, and Tootanoo, are agreed,
that for preachers, pastors, and ordained ministers, we should expend no
more of the money of our American brethren. So far as there is occasion
to help support them, we will do it ourselves. But for books and schools
we greatly need help, and we request that our dear brethren in America
will continue to aid us in these things.

(Signed)
'MYAT KEH.    OO SAH.    SHWAY BAU.    TOOTANOO.'

"A free expression of the views of all present was encouraged. Some of
the pastors were not without misgivings as to the ability of the churches
to support both pastors and native missionaries without aid from America.
But after they learned that the funds of their own society were
sufficient to meet all the outlay for these objects for the past nine
months of the current year, and leave a balance of nearly three hundred
rupees in their treasury, and especially when they were told of the large
deficiency in the treasury of the Union, and of the embarrassment which
many American pastors meet, whose churches contribute, as well as
themselves, to the support of Karen missions, their misgivings gave way
to a conviction of duty and to a readiness to undertake to carry out the
resolution; and it was passed by a unanimous and hearty vote."

The vote, no doubt, was apparently "unanimous and hearty;" still, as on a
similar memorable occasion in 1849 (see Chap. VI.), there was probably a
minority who gave up the last hold on American support with reluctance;
and it is almost certain, in the author's judgment, that the action never
would have been taken by the native brethren alone, nor without the
pressure of Mr. Beecher's strong personal influence, exerted right in the
line with all the teachings of their revered teacher, Abbott. Such a
leading, controlling influence must be exerted by the missionaries,
combined with the constraint of a gradual reduction, and finally an
absolute withholding, of appropriations and donations from America,
before self-support can be expected to prevail throughout our foreign
missions. But the action was nobly taken, and it is historic. The Karen
pastors even now refer not infrequently to this meeting at Naupeheh and
to the resolution which they adopted with fear and trembling. Old Shway
Bau especially loves to rehearse the trial of his faith and the
consequent blessing which came to him, somewhat in this wise:--

"When it was announced at the meeting in Naupeheh, that no more funds
were available for our support from America, my heart sunk within me.[1]
What should we do? Brother Myat Keh and Brother Po Kway, however, said
that it was no matter; the Lord would provide. Still I was very anxious,
and went home much cast down. Pretty soon one of the church-members was
looking around in my house, and saw that the salt jar was nearly empty.
The next day he came and filled it. Not long after, one of the sisters
observed that the mats were getting old and ragged, and said that the
teacher must certainly have some new mats; and the mats came. And so it
was. There was no lack. Paddy, fish, clothes, and every thing that we
really needed, was supplied as abundantly as before. And how was it about
the preaching? Before, we were not fully dependent on the churches. In a
measure, we were sent and paid by the missionary. We felt our importance,
and perhaps we put on airs. But, after this, we could not help loving our
people, and working for their souls."

{ Footnote: [1] Shway Bau, it will be remembered, was a member of the
very committee which valiantly brought in the resolution to dispense with
further assistance from America. This is his confession, made before the
Bassein Association in 1870. }

Mr. Beecher was hopeful and enthusiastic over the stand that had been
made, and not without reason, as the far-reaching results continue to
prove. But some one in Boston either did not share his faith to the full,
or deemed the expression of it impolitic; for the following paragraph,
now restored in parentheses, was suppressed:--

("We have therefore the pleasure of informing the Executive Committee,
that the appropriation of six hundred rupees for the preachers of this
mission this year will none of it be required, and that we confidently
hope that there will never again be occasion for making appropriations in
aid of native preaching in Bassein...The measure is important, not
for the amount of money that will be immediately saved; but the principle
developed is big, and bright with promise. The child is still many years
from maturity when he begins to walk alone; but the future man, resolute
in purpose, strong in action, is there seen. Time and training only are
necessary to develop all his wonder-working powers.")

[ Illustration--FACSIMILE OF MR. BEECHER'S HANDWRITING, BASSEIN, OCT. 29,
1854. ]

The services closed on Wednesday with the commemoration of the Lord's
Supper by about five hundred communicants. One hundred and four baptisms
were reported since the previous quarterly meeting, and about fifty
professed conversions from heathenism. Twelve preachers were appointed to
labor as missionaries for the remainder of the year. We continue our
quotations from Mr. Beecher's letter.

"We now learn that the number of schools is forty-three, and of pupils
eight hundred and thirty-four. Some of these schools have been of a
higher character, that is, more thorough and extended in some studies
(especially arithmetic, land-measuring with the cross-staff, and
Burmese), than at any previous time. The school of the highest order [at
Kohsoo] has exceeded our expectations. For four months it numbered
forty-five, and in the fifth month, fifty pupils; while a school of the
ordinary class of fifty pupils more was taught in the same village. We
have called it an 'academy,' not so much because it resembles academies
at home, any more than the Karen theological seminary resembles Newton
Institution, but because it is as much superior to ordinary village
schools here as academies at home are superior to ordinary common
schools, and because the principle of its support is as different. The
Karens have shown their appreciation of superior teaching by sending from
home to this and other good schools, at their own expense for board, and,
in many cases, for tuition, eighty-seven pupils,--a thing never done
before by Karens, at least in Bassein. In this extension and elevation of
our village schools, as well as in the support of native preaching by
native Christians, we rejoice in the realization of hopes long cherished,
and sought by earnest prayer and labor.

"At the same time, we are sorry to say that what has been accomplished in
the way of schools this season has been done under great disadvantages,
and the prospect before us is darkened by recent arrangements. We find
ourselves embarrassed and hindered, from the want of an adequate number
and variety of text-books and of properly qualified teachers...We
see converts and pupils multiplying around us, but no adequate provision
for the instruction of pastors and school-teachers. The boarding-schools
for instructing the pastors of fifty churches, and the pupils of five
thousand communicants, are limited by the Deputation to fifty pupils for
both Pwo and Sgau departments![1] The best qualified teachers of the
forty-three schools of this season have told me that they could proceed
with their present classes but little farther, without more study with
me, and that they were greatly embarrassed for want of books. The average
time which the Bassein pastors have attended our boarding-schools, as
appears from statistics carefully taken in February, 1852, is _less than
eight months_. Every variety of books now in Karen could, all of them, be
carried by a man of ordinary strength from Rangoon to Bassein, and would
gladly be carried by one of only half the zeal of 'the young
chief,'--when he exposed his life in 1838, for the sake of bringing to
Bassein a few Christian books,--were it necessary to do so, in order to
obtain them...

{ Footnote: [1] Instead of fifty pupils, the Sgau and Pwo
boarding-schools in Bassein had over four hundred in attendance in July,
1883. }

"Not a month has passed since the return of the Deputation; but Karens
have already asked me earnestly, if there was no place for their children
to study English in Maulmain. And, when told there is none, they have
asked, 'Can we not send them to Rangoon, to Akyab, or Bengal?' And, when
asked why they were so anxious to have their children study English, they
have replied, 'In order that a few may become thoroughly educated
teachers and ministers, and sufficiently learned to aid us in our efforts
to rise from the degradation which has so long oppressed us.'

"The leading and more intelligent Karens are constantly devising and
suggesting plans for the elevation of their race. I will here mention one
of many instances that have occurred during the past year. At the recent
conference, Tohlo came to me and said, 'Teacher, I have thought of a plan
which I wish to suggest: whether it will hit your heart or not, I do not
know.'--'Let me hear it.'--'It is this. Thahree's church do not like
their present location. They will come to Kyouk Khyoung-gyee and unite
with other churches; so that he will not be needed as a pastor. Let him
aid you in teaching; so that you can call a large number of young men to
study with you in town.'--'But why should not these young men go to the
academy, or to other good schools?'--'These are all very good, teacher;
but young men who study only in the village schools do not amount to
much. They have not the influence or the character of those who study
with the missionaries in town.' The fact is one which had escaped my
observation; but on looking around I find that there is hardly one
efficient pastor or school-teacher who has not been made efficient,
mainly by his training in the boarding-schools. I will only add, that the
hearts of this people are deeply moved and anxious on the subject of
education. There is manifested a hungering and thirsting for knowledge,
and, first and strongest, for a knowledge of God's word, which can no
more be satisfied with what may be obtained through existing arrangements
than the famishing soul of poverty could be satisfied with the crumbs
which fall from economy's table.

"The Bassein Karens are in constant communication with the Karens of
Maulmain. Since commencing this letter, I have mailed a dozen letters
from Karens here to those in Maulmain. Five or six of Mr. Binney's best
scholars are among our most efficient preachers and school-teachers. The
other preachers acknowledge their superior qualifications; and these
young men and other Karens know well without information from
missionaries, what have been, and what now are, the advantages of going
to the theological seminary. I shall continue to encourage candidates for
the ministry to go to Maulmain; and, when they are satisfied that they
will enjoy better advantages there than at Bassein, they will probably
go.

"It is far from pleasant to reflect upon the doings of the Deputation;
but, as a watchman on the walls of our Karen Zion, is it not my duty to
inform the Executive Committee and the churches, in whose hands God has
placed so largely the educational as well as the religious destinies of
this people, of their views, and their aspirations after that knowledge
without which they know, as well as we, that they cannot rise in the
scale of Christianity or civilization?

"In less than nineteen years from the time the Karens of Bassein first
heard the gospel, they are ready to undertake the entire support of
native preaching in fifty churches and among the heathen around them;
and, except for books and three or four teachers, they are supporting the
primary education of more than eight hundred pupils. At this rate of
progress, what will be their numbers, their abilities, and their
educational wants, nineteen years hence?

"In connection with these facts, consider, also, the rapidity of
conversions and the growth of churches in Rangoon, Shway-gyeen, and
Toungoo; and let the Baptists of America, in the fear of that God who has
committed such momentous interests to their hands, inquire what are their
duties to the present and future Baptists of Burma. What do American
Baptists wish or expect this people, so remarkable thus far in their
religious history, to become? What ought to be their religious and
literary character? Do they wish it to be like their own? If so, then why
should not a literary and theological institution be at once established,
which shall rapidly become like their own in the variety and extent of
the studies pursued? We cannot close our remarks on this subject more
suitably than by quoting from the report on the Karen missions, read by
the Rev. Dr. Ide before the Union at Albany. 'Has not the time come for
placing the educational branch of the Karen missions on a broader and
more stable foundation? Has not the time come for a more systematic
endeavor to consolidate these scattered tribes, to give them nationality,
[?] and, by means of intellectual and spiritual culture, elevate them in
the scale of social order?'"

In his extended comments on this letter, the Corresponding Secretary has
no word of appreciative praise or of thanksgiving for the unparalleled
step taken by the Bassein Karens. Because they have assumed the entire
support of their pastors and itinerants, he seems to feel that they must
be able to support all the schools they need. We quote a few sentences,
which fairly indicate his bearing towards a movement which transcended in
importance, probably, any other that he was ever called to consider.

"They ask help to support their schools; but which is easier, so far as
concerns the readiness of a people,--to educate the young, or to support
the ministry? As to plans and views held by Karen Christians in regard to
schools, or theological training, or the study of English, our readers
will be at little loss to attach to them their due importance, if they
consider how limited must be the intelligence to which Karens can have
yet attained on such topics, and how little they are accustomed to form
opinions irrespectively of their missionary teachers."

From personal knowledge, the author can testify with certainty, that it
was the Karens themselves, and not Mr. Beecher, who were demanding
facilities for English education. It is barely possible, also, that the
Karen instinct, in this regard, had more of wisdom in it than the
elaborate judgments of the pious and learned brethren of the Deputation.

In closing the record of this year, we must not omit to mention that the
father of the Bassein mission, Rev. E. L. Abbott, passed away on the 3d
of December, in Fulton, N.Y., aged forty-five. Obituaries may be found in
the "Missionary Magazine" for March, 1855, and March, 1874.

Mrs. Martha (Foote) Beecher also, who had embarked on the _Collingwood_
at Rangoon, in January, with Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin and Miss M.
Vinton, to return with her infant to America, died unexpectedly on the 3d
of March, and was buried at sea. She was a good and useful woman, of many
amiable traits; and her loss was a heavy one to the mission, as well as
to her husband.



CHAPTER XIII.
1855, 1856.


"Missionaries of Christ have other relations besides those sustained to
the Board, and other responsibilities and duties besides those for which
the Board holds them accountable to itself. It is from another and higher
source they derive their authority to organize churches, and ordain
preachers and pastors."--_Memorial Volume A. B. C. F. M._


CORRESPONDING to the political turmoil and uncertainty depicted in the
last two chapters, was the excitement in mission circles, growing out of
the action of the Deputation from the society's headquarters in Boston.
Better men than the Rev. Drs. Peck and Granger could hardly have been
found in America; better intentions than they brought to their work could
not have been desired: and yet the troubles and heart-burnings which
followed their visit to Burma are only now passing into the dim
border-land of forgetfulness.

A rigid New-Testament ideal of missions, and a slightly exaggerated
authority on the one hand, a magnifying of "Baptist principles," and
perhaps an extreme sense of personal independence on the other, furnished
a background for the dissensions between the Deputation and a minority of
the Karen missionaries. The contention was sharp and long. Good men on
either side did not refrain from impugning the motives, if they did not
impeach the characters, of their opponents. It is safe to say, probably,
that both were partly right and partly wrong. Certainly donors have a
right to say how their gifts shall be expended. If secretaries and
committees are responsible to the bodies appointing them, then men sent
on the Lord's missions, even, are in a degree responsible to the human
agents who send them; and, if they cannot conscientiously carry out the
policy of their supporters, they should resign, and seek support
elsewhere, as Beecher and his associates did.

The issue would have been more doubtful, had it not been for a third
party,--English Christians residing in the East, and especially the
Christian Karens, whose existence and determining power would seem to
have been, for the time, almost forgotten by the Deputation. Had not the
Karens clung loyally to their missionaries, refusing to receive any new
men whatever, the executive officers and the denomination would have been
more resigned to the loss of the uncompromising men with whom they had to
deal. As it was, it cost the society the loss of the larger, and by far
the stronger, half of the mission churches.

And what was the gain? A deserved rebuke was given to that show of
equality by which the same importance is attached to the needs and claims
of a circle of ten churches as to one of fifty, and to the injustice
which would lay down the same Procrustean limitations to the schools of
long-neglected, uprising Bassein, with its five thousand adult
Christians, and to Tavoy with its thousand Christians then surfeited with
instruction and pecuniary aid. The station-schools now range in number of
pupils from fifty to two hundred and fifty, without fear of interference,
so long as a due proportion of their support comes from local sources.
The virtual prohibition of English teaching is so far removed, that in
every mission-school in Burma to-day, English is freely taught, and, in
most of them, to an undesirable majority of the pupils; but the error is
left to correct itself, as it surely will in time. More than all else,
the watchword, "partners, not employees," began to be heard; and the
sympathies of the denomination at large were so clearly with the
missionaries, that a former secretary has written, "Coercion, as often as
tried, has failed." [1]

{ Footnote: [1] The principle that the station and work of missionaries
shall be assigned by the Executive Committee may have received needed
emphasis by the action of the Deputation, the Committee, and the Board at
this time.

There is also the correlative principle, embodied in the Regulations
since 1859, that changes of fields of labor "shall be matters of
negotiation and agreement between the committee and the missionaries."
But we are unable to see wherein Mr. Beecher had violated either of these
principles in spirit. His written instructions from the Board, in 1846,
contain these words: "The designation of Mr. Beecher is to the Arakan
Karens and to those who connect with Arakan...The Karen aspirants to
the ministry, who come over the Yoma Mountains that they may learn the
way of the Lord more perfectly, must not be left to ignorance and vain
imaginings. So, too, of the multiplied Christian villages and churches in
the province of Bassein, the present hive of the Arakan Karens. These are
all proper parts of one diocese. The central point of influence over it
remains to be ascertained...Mr. Beecher will ultimately, however,
and at no distant day, remove [from Maulmain] to Arakan, or to Bassein,
if accessible, or wherever he shall find the most fitting place for doing
his assigned work."--_Quoted from BEECHER's Defence_, December, 1854, pp.
20, 21. }

It is easy to be wise after the event. To us, now, there seems to have
been but one thing to do when Abbott's health failed, and he was
compelled to leave the field with no reasonable prospect of a return; and
that was for Beecher to enter into the place and the work which were
clearly his by providential appointment. He had indeed been sent by the
Board to Sandoway, but Sandoway was nothing but a back door to Bassein.
For six years he had been laboring, by direction of the Board, for the
Bassein Karens, and for them alone. When the front door was opened wide,
when the few churches remaining on the coast were leaving _en masse_ for
their old homes in Kyouk Khyoung-gyee and Theegwin, why should not their
teacher follow, and follow promptly? He could do nothing more in
Sandoway. The place and the work in Bassein were his, and he knew it.
Missionary brethren in whom he confided urged him to go; the Karens
claimed and called him, and he went. But instead of confirming his
judicious action, and praising him for his zeal, it was thought fit by
the officers of that day to try him for insubordination.

It was a grand mistake.[1] A careful perusal of the Karen minutes of the
Bassein meetings, annual and quarterly, that followed the departure and
death of the senior missionary, proves conclusively that the Karen
pastors and elders desired and would have for their leader the man whom
they knew and loved next to Abbott, and no other. The repeated
unsuccessful attempts to put other men into Beecher's place prove the
same. That mistake of twenty-five years ago will not be repeated; but how
long will it be before the obvious right of those seventy-seven
self-supporting churches to express a preference in the election or the
withdrawal of their American leaders is accorded?

{ Footnote: [1] We have the best authority for saying that Secretary Peck
himself became convinced finally, that the policy which bore his name was
a mistaken one. A letter expressing this was written by him to a friend
who still lives to adorn one of the highest positions in the Baptist
denomination of America. }

Rev. J. L. Douglass and wife, the first Protestant missionaries to the
Burmans of Bassein, arrived Nov. 23, 1854. As he always manifested a deep
interest in the Karens, and did no little to help them, especially at
times when they were without a missionary of their own, his name will
often occur in the course of the following fifteen years. He also had
studied several years at Hamilton, N.Y.

The annual meeting of the association was held on the 1st and 2d of
February, at Kwengyah, the most northern Christian village in Bassein,
seventy miles above the town. Mr. Beecher was the only missionary
present. Statistics presented at the meeting gave a total of six hundred
and forty-four converts baptized during the year, twenty-two excluded,
and one hundred and sixty died. A good degree of union and brotherly love
prevailed among the churches and preachers. Three new churches had been
formed within the year, making the whole number fifty-three, each of
which was supplied with a pastor. There were also ten evangelists
laboring either as missionaries or as school-teachers among the heathen.
The number of pupils in forty-three village schools was nine hundred and
thirteen. Naupeheh and P'nahtheng were beginning schools of a higher
class, similar to the one opened a year before at Kohsoo. Mr. Beecher
relates some incidents of his tour to the meetings and beyond.

"I left Bassein Dec. 28, and spent about ten days in visiting Christian
villages north of the town, on and near the Bassein River. At four
villages I found converts waiting to make a public profession of their
faith in Christ, and had the pleasure of baptizing eighty in all. About
twenty of these are recent converts from heathenism: the others have been
waiting several years for an opportunity to receive the ordinance...North
of Kwengyah there are numerous heathen Karen villages, some of
which have given us much reason to hope that they would turn from their
soul-destroying nat-worship to serve the living God. I visited five or
six of them last year, and have just returned from a tour of about three
weeks among them. A circle of six or eight small villages near the
borders of Henthada had promised the preachers, that, if I would make,
them a visit, they would build a small chapel. Three weeks before my
arrival, they had begun the work. We were not a little disappointed,
therefore, on reaching their place, to find the people so far from
meeting us in a chapel, that they were reluctant to listen to us when we
went to their houses. And although they entertained us with all
hospitality, yet, when pressed to embrace the gospel, they told us
plainly that they could not do so at this time. Thus, after exhorting
them faithfully to repent 'while it is called to-day,' we were compelled
to leave them in their blindness. I have since learned, that this sudden
change in them was chiefly occasioned by rumors that disaffected Burmans
were plotting a rebellion against the English, and threatening, in case
of success, to massacre all white foreigners, and all who were found
believing and practising the doctrines of the white books. We have
abundant reason to believe that the gospel which has been preached to
this people has made an impression on their minds, and we hope to hear
before long, that many in this region have turned to the Lord. While
making this tour, I was much gratified and aided by the labors of the
Karen missionaries, whom I frequently met, and some of whom constantly
travelled with me."

The aid asked for the schools of both departments of the Bassein mission
this year was six hundred rupees for the normal school in town, and three
hundred rupees for village schools. How much, if any, was granted by the
society, we are unable to state.

Mr. Beecher, heart-sore with his heavy domestic bereavement, and smarting
under what he felt to be the unjust censure of the Executive Committee,
left Bassein, with the formal approval of the Bassein mission, on the
19th of February, for Calcutta, whence he sailed, in the American ship
_Wisconsin_, for New York, arriving at that port Sept. 28. Meanwhile, the
work among the Sgau Karens of Bassein was left mainly in the hands of the
native preachers until Mr. Beecher's return.

The quarterly meeting for May was held at Kaunee, a little way above the
town. The chapel, enlarged on three sides for the occasion, was quite
insufficient to accommodate the multitude. Mr. Van Meter writes that
thirty-six preachers and over twelve hundred disciples were present.
Three additional Karen missionaries were sent to aid Mr. Whitaker and Sau
Quala in Toungoo, making six Bassein men in that most promising field.
Among them was one who still lives, spoken of by Mr. Whitaker as "the
faithful Kyoukkeh." These, with two in Henthada and two in Prome, made
ten foreign missionaries from Bassein, besides the laborers in the great
home-field. The baptisms and contributions were up to the usual average.
Yoh Po, in charge of the academy at Kohsoo, had one hundred and thirty
pupils in attendance. Poo Goung at Naupeheh also had made a fine start.
Besides the work done in these "academies," in the town school, and in
the usual number of village schools, twenty-one young men had gone to
Maulmain to study the Bible with Dr. Wade, and ten or twelve to Rangoon
to study English in Mr. Vinton's school, making a total of more than one
thousand Bassein youth under instruction.

The meeting at the end of July was held in town, and was described as a
good one. Eight missionaries were appointed to the home-field, and
eighteen pastors were aided from the home mission treasury to the extent
of from five to ten rupees each. At this meeting Mr. Douglass had the
pleasure of baptizing a Burman convert, of whom he writes:--

"He had frequently heard the gospel from a Karen preacher who lives near
his village, and who said he had every evidence that the man was a
Christian. At the close of the morning service on Sunday, the Burman and
a Pwo Karen related their religious experience, and were unanimously
received for baptism. We went to the water, where, in addition to the
Karens, about one thousand Burmans assembled. One of the Karen ministers,
who speaks Burman as readily as his own language, gave a short discourse
on the authority and nature of baptism; and after singing and prayer I
administered the impressive ordinance. The crowd around me, and the
solemnity manifested by all present, brought vividly to my mind similar
scenes enjoyed in my native land. These are all I have baptized...yet
I do expect to see a Burman church in Bassein."

The next quarterly meeting, held at Mee-thwaydike, continued four days,
and was enriched by the presence and counsels of Rev. Mr. Thomas of
Henthada. About one hundred "new worshippers" were reported, forty-six of
whom were Pwos. Four missionaries were sent to labor, under Mr. Thomas's
direction, in Henthada district. Other statistics as usual. Several cases
were brought to the notice of the conference, in which native doctors had
attributed sicknesses to witchcraft. A circular letter of warning and
wise counsel was accordingly prepared by Tohlo, and sent to the churches.
Of the time spent at this meeting, and in visiting a few of the Bassein
churches, Mr. Thomas writes, "A more intensely interesting and important
week, I never passed."

The year 1856 opens with the annual association at P'nahtheng (pastor Po
Kway's village), Jan. 21-23 inclusive. The usual large number of
preachers and people were in attendance. Our reporter is Rev. Mr. Van
Meter.

"The interest was heightened by the presence of Brother Brayton from
Rangoon. Brother Crawley from Henthada came in just at the close. Though
his late arrival was much to his and our regret, the disappointment was
in a measure forgotten in the pleasure of a short visit with him in our
homes at Bassein.

"Features of peculiar interest attach to this meeting. First, there was a
larger number of Pwos present than on any similar occasion. This was
owing to the fact that the place of meeting is further east than the
places at which we have met formerly, also to a real increase of interest
on their part. Our three largest Pwo churches are in this vicinity, and
were well represented. Another peculiar feature was the ruling of a
native moderator throughout the session. The man chosen was Mau Yay, the
eldest of the ordained men, who has acted in this capacity heretofore for
the Home Mission Society. He succeeded very well, considering that much
of the service was new to him. Another was the formal appointment of a
committee of laymen and preachers to take charge of and disburse the
funds of the association, also to have the power of appointing
missionaries, in fact, the Executive Committee of the Bassein Home
Mission and Preachers' Aid Society.

"They entered upon their duties with any thing but an empty treasury, for
the money-box required the strength of a man to lift it. You must not
estimate the contents too highly, however, as our representative of value
is the hard metal, and the box held not a little of the baser sort. The
contributions for the year were Rs. 708-11-6. Of this amount, nearly
one-half, Rs. 312-13, was given during the last quarter, most of it at
the meeting. More than Rs. 400 were left in the treasury after paying off
all claims for the past year. There have been paid during the year--to
missionaries, Rs. 228; to preachers, Rs. 93; and, in consideration of the
large balance on hand, an additional sum of Rs. 160 was appropriated at
this meeting to aid twenty of the more needy preachers.

"Moreover, the association has now virtually assumed the support of the
two academies. I had not been able to pay the principals of either in
full for last year, but I had aided them as our small funds would allow.
Seventy rupees remained due to one of them, which the pastors paid, thus
discharging our debt. While we are far from undervaluing rupees,
especially at this time, we regard the money-value of their aid as
insignificant in comparison with the cheerful cordiality with which they
assume these responsibilities; and more, because it is a further
development of the principle of self-support, which must lie at the
foundation of all healthy growth. I have but little doubt as to their
ability to support all they have now undertaken, and that involves, in
fact, the relinquishment of their last hold on the mission-funds, except
for the school at Bassein, and books. The school, also, we hope, will be
sustained by them principally this year. I have advised them to tax
themselves for this object to the amount of one basket of rice per house;
and most of them have consented very cordially, the more so, because the
same thing has already been done by the churches of Rangoon for the
support of the school at that place.

"The baptisms for the year were four hundred and five, including four
Burmans. The number of Pwos baptized last quarter was twenty-nine,
perhaps more. New worshippers for the year exceed a hundred and thirty,
and of this number seventy-three are Pwos. New interests have started,
and are progressing in several places. The new Pwo church at Tee Chai,
formally recognized on the first day of the year, shows genuine vitality
in its growth and fruits, and is a glorious memorial of the power of
divine grace. I baptized thirty-three at the time of organizing the
church, and over twenty have since been added by baptism.

"Some of the old churches are more or less unsettled and scattered, from
the extensive changes taking place in the location of their villages.
Their great object now is to get eligible situations, on the banks of
large streams, for the greater facility of trade and travel, the
necessity no longer existing for them to hide in the jungles. This has,
of course, been a serious hinderance, especially when, from difference of
opinion or from other causes, the villages have been divided; a part only
going to the new locality, the remainder perhaps unable, or not wishing,
to make the change immediately. Some other difficulties have marred the
peace of individual churches, but nothing very serious. By far the most
unpleasant event of this kind took place in the Kaunee church, deprived,
by the death of Tway Po (nearly three years since), of one of the most
faithful of pastors. A 'lying spirit' entered into one formerly a member
of the church. He pretended to frequent interviews with Tway Po, their
deceased pastor, at his grave, and finally succeeded in leading the widow
entirely astray. They were both excluded. Both, however, we are happy to
say, seem sincerely penitent, and are asking to be received again into
the church."...

A serious calamity was in store for the missionaries in Bassein. The old
_kyoung_ that had sheltered them for four years was in an unhealthy
situation. They had secured a very eligible compound "of some five
acres," on the ridge overlooking the river, where the circuit bungalow
now stands. Messrs. Van Meter and Douglass had erected each a
dwelling-house of moderate cost. Mr. Van Meter had removed, with his
family and furniture, to the new house only a few days before a fearful
conflagration broke out in the town (Sunday, P.M., March 16); and "within
fifteen minutes from the outbreak, our house was a mass of blazing ruins.
...Not a book, a spoon, nor even my watch, was saved. All my
manuscripts with my library are lost. I saved nothing but the clothes on
me at the time, and Mrs. Van Meter and the children but a handful more."
The Douglass house and all the mission-property in Bassein, except a part
of the material prepared for Mr. Beecher's house, were likewise consumed.
To this succeeded a heavier loss to the poor Van Meters. On the 6th of
May their eldest daughter, Anna, aged seven, was removed by death. She
was the first of the mission-circle to be buried in Bassein.

In this time of hardship and loss the Karens most cheerfully rallied to
the assistance of their American friends; although, to most of them, they
were not their own teachers. They had themselves come out of the furnace
of affliction too recently, and they had too much of the spirit of
Christ, to forget their duty. Within a short time they contributed over a
thousand rupees in cash, besides some useful articles, to repair, in
part, the loss of the two families.

Of the quarterly meeting in April we have no account, the missionaries
being prevented from attending by the fire. The next was held (July
17-20) at Kyootah, a village already mentioned as devastated by the
Burmans during the war. The support of the academies was continued. Two
hundred and forty rupees were given to aid the needier pastors for that
quarter, besides the regular pay of the itinerants. To crown all, by a
most cheerful and unanimous vote, a hundred and twenty-five rupees were
given to the A. B. M. Union towards the liquidation of their debt. We add
Mr. Van Meter's account of the ordination services, and his summing up of
the benevolence of the Bassein churches for the year 1855. How would he
have rejoiced to know, that, in twenty-five years more, the five thousand
rupees would become twelve times five thousand! Of the candidates
ordained, Th'rah Nahpay had been subjected to cruel tortures for his
faith, from the effects of which he never fully recovered up to the time
of his lamented death in 1880.[1] The other, Th'rab Oo Sah, will be
remembered as the companion of Myat Kyau in his first great baptizing
tour in Burma Proper (Chap. V.).

{ Footnote: [1] For many years the suffering old man never came to town
empty handed; and he rarely returned without the gift of at least one
bottle of good Dr. Jayne's Liniment, to mitigate his pains. }

"Neither of the men ordained is from the _schools_; but they are tried
men, and known of all their brethren. The younger of the two, Nahpay, is
a preacher and pastor of much promise, and has been talked of as a
candidate for some time. I gained my principal knowledge of his
attainments and worth while he was studying with us last year. The elder
one, Oo Sah, was the first missionary sent out from the Bassein churches
on the organization of the Home Mission Society, in 1850.

"Before fully deciding to ordain Oo Sah, two or three others were
mentioned as suitable candidates; but we found them quite reluctant to
assume the responsibilities of the office. One, Shway Bau, as to whose
qualifications his brethren were fully agreed, gave, as his reason for
declining, the fact that his church, and especially the deacons, had not
yet so learned their duties as to leave him free to do the work of an
ordained man. 'The honor of the pastor is identical with the character of
his church,' said he; and, while having so much to do in 'serving
tables,' he felt that he ought not to undertake the higher duties. This
he said with strong feeling, which was appreciated by his brethren in the
ministry. And this, let me say, is where these pastors experience their
greatest trials, and where they most need prayer and sympathy. One of the
candidates was examined by the native pastors alone. They also took all
the exercises of the ordination, except the address to the congregation;
and each one performed his part well.

"I have the pleasure of sending you at length a statement of what the
Bassein churches did in 1855 for the support of the gospel among
themselves and for extending its blessings to others. The amount
contributed shows how their liberality has abounded, and what an increase
we may expect from them in the future, should no untoward influence, no
'root of bitterness' or division, spring up among them.

Could we get full reports from all the churches, the amount would much
exceed the figures now given. We report in round numbers, where the
returns were not complete.

For Home Mission Society   Rs.   721
For aid of pastors          "    700
For school-teachers         "    600
For chapels                 "  1,000
Aggregate                  Rs. 3,021

Besides these, smaller sums have been contributed in aid of poor members,
etc., and, for the support of their pastors, 3,500 baskets of paddy,
which has been selling for Rs. 50 per hundred during a large part of the
season. Let this be put down at a fair valuation, say Rs. 1,500, and we
have a total of Rs. 4,521. The churches, moreover, have paid for books,
principally hymn-books and Bibles, from Oct. 18, 1855, to July 31, 1856,
Rs. 430. For the earlier months of 1855 the record is lost, but it may be
safely put at Rs. 50. This will make a grand total, for all these
objects, of Rs. 5,001.

"In this connection, we wish to make particular mention of the prompt and
generous offerings sent us by nearly every church upon hearing of our
serious loss by the fire of March last. Most of them made up and sent in
at once what they had to give: others did not send in till after some
weeks. The total thus given is above a thousand rupees. Unfortunately,
the first hundred and eighty rupees of this sum were stolen soon after
they came into our hands, and have not been recovered.

"Upon reading the above, you will surely say that the Bassein Karens have
done nobly. But it may be asked, in return, 'Are they not overdoing? May
it not be asking too much of them within so short a time? and may it not
be a spasmodic effort, that will be followed by a corresponding decrease
of contributions for some time to come?' Of this we have yet to see the
first signs. On the contrary, they seem only prepared to do the more. For
instance, they have given for our buildings, in materials, labor, and
cash, upwards of one hundred rupees, and for our school in Bassein the
additional sum of two hundred and thirty-six rupees, besides furnishing
all the rice and fish that we need. The two hundred and thirty-six rupees
were given by young men who were employed last season as government
surveyors. Is there not encouragement here for the friends of missions?
Is there not occasion for devout thanksgiving to God, who can bring good
out of evil, that, in this time of trial, his work has been so little
hindered; that, indeed, this very embarrassment has been made, as we
believe, occasion of blessing to these churches, in leading them to know
and feel the obligation and the pleasure of giving and doing for Christ
and his cause? In view of these results, we can even rejoice, and thank
God for the losses and afflictions that have so recently come upon us in
quick succession; believing that they are not the effects of a blind
chance, but the wonderful working of Him who doeth all things well, in
the great love that he hath for this portion of his Zion.

"While on this subject, let me notice, to the praise of His grace, a few
items as to the liberality of individual churches. Within a few days
after the fire the pastor and deacons of the Kohsoo church came in, and
laid down before us sixty rupees. We declined taking so much; but they
insisted, saying that it was sent by many persons, as a most hearty
freewill offering on their part, in this our time of need. This church is
giving a full support to their pastor, Myat Keh, sustains a good school,
etc. Tohlo, the pastor at Naupeheh, said that he was away from home; but,
immediately upon learning of the fire, he hastened home, and was engaged
the whole night before coming in, in collecting for us. He brought nearly
forty rupees. Other churches did almost as well. And that this liberality
towards us has not hindered other contributions is evident, we think,
from the amount paid to the Home Mission Society for the past six months.
The Kohsoo church alone contributed above fifty rupees [to that society]
at our last meeting. True, these are among our ablest churches; but there
are instances of equal liberality, in proportion to their ability, among
the smaller ones."

Again: on the 27th of September Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter report their
"hands full of most interesting and encouraging work." Although three or
four Burmese carpenters were still employed on their dwelling, they had
been able to carry on a school of from twenty-five to forty scholars the
past two months; the Karens defraying the entire expense of the session,
including the cost of the temporary buildings erected for them. They were
to have a short vacation; after which it was proposed to have another
session of at least four months, to afford the village teachers and
others an opportunity for further improvement. The instruction was to be
given by one of the best Karen teachers, under the supervision of the
missionaries. Mrs. Van Meter writes:--

"One day this week the Commissioner of Pegu, Major A. P. Phayre, spent
nearly the whole day in our school, at his own suggestion, and appeared
highly gratified. He wished us to send a subscription-paper requesting
aid from the residents of Bassein, which he headed with a donation of one
hundred rupees and a very flattering notice of what we are doing. We have
in this way received about two hundred and thirty rupees. Yesterday he
sent us an order exempting from taxes all young men who are engaged
either as scholars themselves or in teaching others for half the year.
This will be a great encouragement, as well as aid, to the Karens...The
Commissioner spoke to the Karens strongly against meddling with
English unless they were prepared to give their lives to it, commencing
with eight or ten years of study...You will rejoice with us, that
the Karens are so able and willing to help themselves, and also that God
has blessed them with rulers who care for their interests. My heart was
touched last evening by a young Karen who lives here in town, and whose
earnings are twenty rupees a month (with a family to support), handing me
twenty rupees entirely unsolicited."

The October meeting was held at Lehkoo, ten or twelve miles north of the
city. We extract from Mr. Douglass's account of the services the
following:--

"Saturday morning at sunrise I went into a neat chapel that will seat
eight hundred persons, built a few months since by this church. Within
five minutes after I entered, about four hundred and fifty members came
in to hold their morning prayer-meeting. They commenced by singing an
excellent translation of the hymn,--

'Rock of ages cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee.'

"As the rising sun appeared, dispelling the darkness, and shedding light
and comfort around, I thought how beautifully it illustrates the moral
change which the Sun of righteousness has brought to many of this people.
Twenty years ago the name of Jesus was unknown in all this district: now
the dense jungle around us is made to echo with the song of praise, and
hundreds unite in their petitions at the throne of grace. At half-past
nine, A.M., a plain, impressive sermon was preached from the parable of
the wise and foolish builders (Matt, vii. 24-27). The remainder of the
day was spent in hearing accounts of the condition of the different
churches, and what has been accomplished since the last meeting. In the
evening a sermon was preached before the Home Mission Society by one of
the ordained brethren. It was founded on Rom. viii. 14, and was an able
and clear presentation of truth, enforced by Scripture illustrations,
showing how Paul and others were led by the Spirit in preaching the
gospel in places where Christ was not known. On the sabbath sermons were
preached by three young men, who, for strength of mind and literary
attainments, stand pre-eminent. They received their theological training
from Dr. Binney in Maulmain, and are a good illustration of what grace
and education can do for many of this people."

Fifteen home missionaries were appointed; and the meeting closed Monday,
P.M., with the administration of the Lord's Supper to more than eight
hundred disciples.

In the report of the Prome mission for this year we find our old friend
Maukoh (pp. 26, 29, 39) and another Karen preacher from Bassein exploring
that district on both sides of the river, for the purpose of ascertaining
the whereabouts of their people, and preaching to them. In the journal of
that most excellent missionary, Mr. Whitaker, under date of Jan. 2, 1857,
we get a glimpse of what our Bassein men are doing in Toungoo. He says,--

"Lootoo and Klehpo, two of our most efficient preachers, were kept at
home by severe illness. Kyoukkeh has just returned from a tour to the
east, in which he penetrated to the eastern limit of the Pakus. At
Mu-khe, the most easterly district, he found the people engaged in
mining. The chief of a large village, on hearing of his approach, said,
'Let him come up here, and we will make two or three holes through him
with our spears: if he does not die, we will believe him, and worship his
God.' Hearing this, Kyoukkeh, true to his nature, set out at once for the
village. Having arrived, he said, 'I heard you were going to pierce me
with your spears. I am here now: if you wish to pierce, pierce. I trust
in God, and have come to preach his word.' In his emphatic language,
'They were dumb, and listened attentively to my words.' He staid with
them several days. They made fair promises; but he thinks them still
undecided, and fears, that, on his return, they took to their heathenish
customs again. Two teachers have since been sent into that district.
Kyoukkeh has now gone with several others to preach in the region west of
Toungoo."

Thus closes the record of two years more of mingled trial and blessing in
this vineyard of the Lord's own planting.



CHAPTER XIV.
1857.


"Out of utter defeat, it is God's prerogative to bring victory; and even
from fratricidal conflict He can bring a higher harmony and good, that
had else been unattainable."--_Anonymous._


IN the report of the Maulmain Karen mission for 1856 we find a sad
picture of the effects produced on native Christians by overmuch temporal
help from their missionaries.

"The churches feel but lightly, as yet, the importance of sustaining the
institutions of the gospel, schools, etc., among themselves. In this
respect the churches of this district present a marked contrast to those
of Tavoy, Bassein, the infant mission of Toungoo, and perhaps other
fields. But one church has supported its pastor during the past year.
They seem to have become rooted in the belief that the missionary must do
every thing for them, and this not only in religious matters, but, what
is still more trying, in temporal things also. It is painful to see how
ready they are, in every case of real or fancied want or trouble, to come
to us. When we have no means of helping them, and our judgment tells us
that we ought not to help them if we could, it is almost impossible to
shake them off. They will not believe but that 'the teacher' has
unlimited resources at his command...Most of the pastors have been
helped so long, that they have lost their early missionary
spirit."--_Missionary Magazine_, 1856, pp. 256, 257.

To gain satisfactory results, native Christians of Asia, as well as
Christians in the new States and Territories in America, must be trained
_from the first_ to right views and correct practice in regard to bearing
their own burdens. The above quotation is necessary to enable the reader
to understand the position in which Rev. Dr. Wade and Rev. C. Hibbard
found themselves, with a theological seminary on their hands, and the
oldest circle of churches in Burma still clamoring for the daily bread of
their pastors; while, through the dissensions that had been raised, the
mission treasury in Boston was empty, and burdened with debt. Something
must be done; and good Dr. Wade, in all his fifty years of wise, devoted
service, never proposed a wiser or more practicable plan than the one we
now record. If we mistake not, the correspondence throws no little light
upon the "education question" in Burma to-day.

The Maulmain Karen mission wrote to the Executive Committee in November,
1856, on receiving the schedule of appropriations for that year:--

"Under these circumstances [the inadequacy of the appropriations for
schools], which a previous letter of yours had led us to anticipate, we
have felt utterly at a loss what to do. It seems impracticable to keep up
a theological seminary in this expensive place, with the appropriations
you make to it. It has been strongly suggested to our minds, as Rangoon
is not open to us, that the school had better be removed to Bassein. The
Bassein native brethren _urge_ it, promise help in feeding and clothing
the pupils; and the prospect is, that a large school would cost the Union
less there than a small one here."

Meanwhile the mission had addressed a circular to their brethren at
Bassein and other stations on the expediency of the measure, in view of
this and other considerations; to which, in due time, answers were given.

In the following month Dr. Wade wrote again:--

"With the appropriations you have named for this year we cannot continue
the school at the rate of expense unavoidable in Maulmain, where most of
the pupils have to come from a distance, where the prices of provisions
of all kinds are extraordinarily high, and where the native churches can
not or will not aid with a single basket of paddy, or stick of fuel,
without receiving city prices. I therefore beg the sanction of the
Executive Committee, if my health allows me to continue in charge of the
school, _to remove it at once, before it is positively broken up, to a
place among the churches where the churches want it and will do something
for its support_ [Italicized by the editor], and where the expense of the
school will be less than here...We have therefore proposed Bassein
as the most eligible place, and particularly because the churches and
pastors there, so far as we can learn, are exceedingly anxious that I
remove the school thither, and pledge their aid in its support, so far as
concerns the board of the pupils. The expense of new buildings for the
school will be, in the minds of the committee, I suppose, the strongest
objection to a removal; but a theological school of fifty pupils there
will in my opinion cost less in two years, with this expense included,
than here, and, I am inclined to think, less in a single year. Here a
school of fifty pupils cannot cost less than twenty-three hundred rupees.
Last year a less number (not including the wages of Pahpoo and Shwayhai)
cost above two thousand rupees; and the price of provisions, fuel, etc.,
is constantly increasing in Maulmain."--_Missionary Magazine_, 1857, pp.
386, 436-438.

The views of the several missions on the question raised by Dr. Wade's
circular, so far as they have transpired, are as follows. The Bassein
mission, of course, earnestly favored the plan. The Maulmain Karen
mission advocated the change, as we have seen. The Henthada mission,
while they thought it "desirable and best for the cause to remove the
seminary to Bassein," were of the opinion, nevertheless, "that the
arrangement should be only temporary," and that the school ought
eventually to be located at Henthada. The grounds for this opinion were
stated to be, the greater centrality of that town, its superior
healthfulness, and the fact that it would be far more favorable to the
morals of Karen pupils than any large seaport could be. For these three
reasons, two of which sound strangely to one who knows Bassein, and for a
fourth, which long since vanished away (viz., that Henthada "must always
be furnished with doctors, as it is and must be the headquarters of a
thousand sepoys," while the unfortunate residents of Bassein will have to
seek medical aid "in Dalhousie, or at some place still more distant"), it
was finally decided by the Executive Committee, Dr. Wade at length
concurring, to remove the seminary to Henthada, and that with no promise
whatever of aid from the churches of that station.

If, instead of opposing both these plans, Dr. Binney had seconded the
original plan of Dr. Wade, and gone with the seminary to its natural home
in the great heart of the Bassein churches,--all hungry for just such
help as Dr. Binney and the seminary would have given them by their bare
presence and the pursuit of their own special work,--his own usefulness,
and that of the institution he loved so well, would have been trebled.
But, not knowing Bassein, he saw not his golden opportunity, and for him
it passed by forever.

The report of the annual meeting held at Yaygyau in January of this year
gives evidence of solid progress, and renewed occasion for thanksgiving.
There was a falling-off in the number of baptisms; but it was the result,
perhaps, of greater care in instruction, and more strictness in the
reception of candidates. Among an ignorant people there is always a
strong tendency to depend more on the outward rite than on faith in
Christ, and evidence of the new birth. At a meeting of Pwos, held a few
days before the association, Mr. Van Meter writes:--

"We received but six from among more than twice that number of
applicants. Many were disappointed: but we told them, after a careful
examination, that we dared not at this time receive more; and that, so
deplorable was their want of knowledge of the first principles of the
gospel, they ought, for the credit of the Christian name, to be better
prepared to 'give a reason for the hope that is in them.' Formerly this
could hardly be expected; but now books and schools are multiplied, and
there is not the excuse for ignorance that there once was.

"One new church (Adalouk) is reported, numbering eighteen members, with a
congregation of forty or fifty. It is composed of both Pwos and Sgaus,
and has for its pastor Kwee Beh, one of our active and worthy young men.
He studied several years in our mission-school, and has since been
engaged as a teacher and missionary. We could wish the churches had been
more earnest in carrying the gospel to their heathen neighbors; but,
while the funds and disposition have not seemed to be wanting, the men to
do this work have been far too few. We hope the day is not distant when
many of the members, as well as all the pastors, will feel a deep
individual responsibility in this matter, and when it will not be
regarded as entirely the work of the paid missionary.

"Most of the churches formerly in Arakan have selected places on this
side of the mountains, but [a few churches and] a number of families
remain behind. One of the churches has been severely tried through the
apostasy of its pastor [Sah Gay, spoken of in the next paragraph]. All
traces of the tendency towards spiritualism have disappeared. The decided
measures taken with the first offenders seem to have had the desired
effect. It was not found necessary to cut off others, and even those cut
off have since begged to be restored.

"There has been no increase in the number of preachers during the year,
if we except those who have just returned from Dr. Wade's school at
Maulmain. Several of these are now out as missionaries, and some of them
may be included among the preachers in our next report; but most of them,
we hope, will return to their studies. Our whole number of pastors and
preachers, fifty-nine, is less by four than last year. One, an excellent
and faithful pastor, has died. Two have gone to labor in other
fields,--one to Henthada, the other to Rangoon. One [unordained] has been
deposed, Sah Gay by name. He had not attended any of our general
meetings, and, as might be expected, had become alienated from his
brethren, fell into sin, and finally made shipwreck of his faith. This is
a most afflictive event; but it gives occasion for gratitude that such
things have been rare indeed in the history of this mission.

"While the contributions to the Home Mission Society have largely
increased, the direct result of missionary labor is small. Most of our
young men being engaged either in teaching or studying, but few are left
for missionary work, except the pastors. About twenty of these in all
have been out during the year. They visited a large number of villages,
were well received, and in some places urged to return. The number who
joyfully and heartily receive the Word is small; yet seed has been sown,
from which fruit may be gathered hereafter. Ten missionaries were
appointed at the annual meeting, but the late insurrection has been a
serious hinderance to them. Six of them were brought in as prisoners only
a few weeks since, under suspicion that they were emissaries of the
rebels. The Burman official even went so far in one village as to order
all who had listened to or received them to be severely beaten. No
violence was offered to the preachers, and they were released almost as
soon as they reached Bassein. We are happy to add, that Major Fytche
administered a severe rebuke in open court to the head man who had seized
them, and beaten the people. The Karens will know now that the government
has no sympathy with any such abuse of authority, and that their rulers
have not the least objection to their becoming Christians. Yet there are
still many whose common excuse is, that they dare not become Christians
for fear of the Burmans; and the most absurd reports and falsehoods are
so far credited that many dare not allow a 'white-book man' to enter
their houses.

"In two places decided impressions seem to have been made,--one in the
extreme north of the district, among the Sgaus; and the other east, among
the Pwos. Two old men from the former place were present at the annual
meeting, and seemed deeply interested in the proceedings. They both
declared, for themselves and their village, their full adoption of
Christian customs and a determination to abide in them.

"The schools have been well sustained, though the number of scholars is
less than in 1855...The serious hinderances occasioned in all our
operations by the fire, and sickness in our family, and especially by the
loss of all our school-books, will be apparent on a moment's
consideration. Even in our town school, as many as two or three had to
use the same book in more than one class. Thirty-nine pupils were in
attendance, of whom twelve were pastors of churches. Our chief dependence
must be, for the present, on what can be done in the rainy season."

The academies continue to prosper. Kohsoo reported ninety-three pupils;
Naupeheh, sixty-five, with two young preachers in attendance; while
P'nahtheng, the youngest, had eighty in her school, all the expense of
teachers, and aid to youth from other villages, being borne by the church
in P'nahtheng alone. The other two schools drew fifty rupees each from
the Home Mission Society, and six rupees a month extra for the principal.
The returns for the year are given by Mr. Van Meter:--

"Baptisms, 270; new worshippers, 45; communicants, 5,250; churches, 51;
preachers (ordained, 8), 59; schools, 38; pupils, 882.

CONTRIBUTIONS.
For the Home Mission Society                     Rs.  849-15-10
For support of pastors (cash)                     "  1,292-15-6
For support of pastors (paddy, 4,126 baskets)     "   1,650-0-0
For schools, teachers' wages, pupils' board, etc. "     910-0-0
For new chapels                                   "  1,222-15-0
For the poor, cash and paddy                      "     192-9-0
For miscellaneous objects                         "  1,714-11-9
Total                                            Rs.  7,833-3-1

The first quarterly meeting held at the remote village of Podau in March
was smaller than usual, but the interest manifested was fair. Mr. Van
Meter writes:--

"The whole number of baptisms for the quarter is a hundred and twenty, of
which forty-seven are Pwos. Twenty of these I baptized a few weeks since
at Tee Hai, the new and growing church in Shway Loung district. Forty
were baptized at Podau during the meeting, many of them from Laymyetna,
in the extreme north of Bassein, of whom mention was made in our last
annual report. The missionary has continued to labor among them, and
these are the first-fruits. The delegation appointed to visit the
churches in Arakan report those who still remain as steadfast in the
faith, and mindful of their obligations to support gospel institutions.
Shway Nyo, one of the two pastors who had been remiss in attending the
quarterly meetings, and reporting their churches, was heard from by
letter at this time. The other, Sah Gay, deposed at the annual meeting in
January for immorality, we were pained to learn, gave no signs of
penitence.

"Some of the pastors complained of a disposition, on the part of a few of
their people, to absent themselves from worship without good reason. The
presence of Burmans in and near their villages, and the practice of their
heathen customs, is a source of serious annoyance to others. This is
partly owing to the fact, that now many of the Karens are living in much
more eligible situations than formerly, on the banks of large streams,
and near main thoroughfares, and hence are more liable to disturbance
than when hid away in secluded places. Still we tell them they must avoid
commingling with the heathen as far as possible, by letting it be known
that they have selected such and such places for themselves, where they
wish to dwell in peace and quiet as Christians, and by warning off at
once all others.

"There is continued improvement in their houses and chapels. They are not
only larger, but in many instances have an air of comfort and finish
which a few years since was wanting. The substitution of sawn timber for
bamboo and rough jungle wood is doubtless the chief cause of this
improvement.

"The most cheering feature of this meeting was found in the reports of
the ten or twelve missionaries who have been out during the quarter. The
year 1856 seemed remarkably barren, but the fruit of seed then sown is
now beginning to appear. With but one exception, all reported cases of
hopeful conversion. One says, 'At Nehyagon, far north of Bassein, three
houses worship.' A young man was left there to teach them to read. At
another place are some twenty worshippers: a teacher was left there also.
Two had learned to read, and five or six were asking baptism. Shway Bau
went over nearly the same ground, and found appearances far more
encouraging than at any former time. Some seven families seem in earnest
in seeking the kingdom of heaven. A third, Shway Min, labored in
Theegwin. Two houses, about ten persons, are worshippers. Thahbwah
reports, among other encouraging cases, fifteen houses at Bo-bay-eng[1]
ready and anxious to receive a teacher. Shway Meh, who went as far as the
Henthada district, reports as the result of labors at Kyeikpee five
houses of new worshippers."

{ Footnote: [1] For many years favorable reports were brought back by
native missionaries visiting this place. The people were pleasant, and
ready to receive evangelists with hospitality when they came: they would
even promise to accept the gospel at a more convenient season in the
future. Jan. 27, 1880, the author baptized a man and his wife at this
place, so far as he is aware, the first and only fruit gathered from the
annual visits and somewhat desultory efforts of over twenty years. }

The second meeting of the year, held July 3-5, in Taukoo, one of the
western villages, is briefly reported by Mr. Van Meter.

"This meeting, we believe, will be long remembered by all who attended it
as one distinguished by the special outpouring of the Spirit. I witnessed
at this time, what I have so often longed to see among the Karens, a
melting of hearts before God and one another, manifested by simple but
earnest expressions of deep and ardent feeling, confession of sin, and
praise to God's rich grace. It was good to be there. So many wished to
give utterance to their feelings, that the [covenant] meeting, which was
held till quite late on Saturday night, was continued through the greater
part of the sabbath, the interest increasing to the end."

This was the last meeting attended by Mr. Van Meter prior to his return
to the United States. He sailed with his family, _viâ_ England, at the
close of the year. Rev. Mr. Beecher and Mrs. Helen L. Beecher arrived in
Bassein, for his second term of service, on the 17th of September. They
were hospitably received by Mr. and Mrs. Douglass, and he at once set
about the important work of obtaining a suitable site for the Sgau Karen
mission compound and the erection of the necessary buildings.

Although various attempts were made to keep up the connection between the
Sgau churches and the A. B. M. Union, all of them failed, and the field
naturally passed under the patronage and control of the Free Mission
Society. In this change of relations, which at the time cost so much
bitter feeling and regret, we can now clearly see the hand of Providence.
To Mr. Beecher's strong views on the subject of self-support was now
added the pressure of necessity. The younger society, with its smaller
constituency, could not do for its missions all that the older
organization had been accustomed to do; and thus the Karen stripling
continued to use and develop his own legs, to his own unspeakable
advantage.

The quarterly meeting at Kyun Khyoung, Oct. 2, was attended by Mr.
Beecher alone of the missionaries. Mr. Van Meter sent an unfortunate
letter on behalf of his society, the sole effect of which was to
strengthen Mr. Beecher's position in the eyes of the Karens, if indeed it
needed any strengthening.

Rev. Mr. Thomas having been directed to assume charge of the Sgau
churches of Bassein in addition to his former field, retaining Henthada
as his residence, made an important tour in the Bassein district in the
months of December and January. His views and methods of labor differed
materially from Mr. Beecher's. He was in favor of subdividing the
churches and of multiplying the number of paid preachers, and to do this
he would draw largely upon the Christians of America for pecuniary help.
That he was a rare missionary "goes without saying;" and the estimate
which his journal gives of the condition of the Bassein churches at that
time is very valuable, though perhaps slightly colored by his views of
mission policy, and not quite accurate in every case. During this tour of
two mouths and a half he baptized one hundred and eighteen converts, and
administered the Lord's Supper thirty-four times. We deem ourselves happy
to find a picture of the Bassein Christian villages, and of a
missionary's every-day work among the people, so graphic as this from Mr.
Thomas:--

"_Dec. 10._--This morning retraced our steps to Padin-gyau, whence, after
breakfast and a short season of devotion, we took our course by the foot
of the hills to the south. Here, again, all was not poetry. We soon
entered a swamp, where the mud and water were from a foot to four feet
deep. It was not until we had struggled on for a mile, that I found we
were in the midst of a slough not less than three miles in length. But
there was now no alternative: we must go forward. Ere long, the coolies,
worn out with fatigue, were falling into the water with my luggage. At
first I was very careful lest I might wet my feet, to prevent which I put
myself into an almost horizontal position upon my horse. But I found this
operation so painful, that I was obliged to let my feet dangle in the mud
and water. So, after a struggle of an hour and a half, we emerged on the
south side of the slough, the most pitiful appearing objects imaginable.

"We soon forgot our past trials in view of events to come and in
contemplating the beauties of nature which were scattered around us in
profusion. We passed through one populous region of Burmese and a few
Karens, when we reached a lowly hamlet of five or six houses, quite in
among the smaller hills. Here we found three baptized converts and a few
candidates for admission into the church.

"_11th._--I baptized four Karens this morning, who, with the three who
went a long way to be baptized by one of the Bassein pastors last year,
form a very interesting company of believers. There is reason to think
that two or three more families will soon join themselves to the people
of God here. After administering the memorials of Christ's dying love to
these weak lambs of the flock, we set out for Kwengyah, the most northern
church of the Bassein mission. We walked till after sunset, when we
reached a large region of heathen Karens, many of whom once threw away
their foolish, degrading customs, only, however, to embrace them again
after a short time. After preaching and talking, we had but a few hours
to sleep, before we were again on the road, which we followed until
afternoon, when we reached a part of the Kwengyah church. I was received
with the greatest apparent love and joy, no way of showing which being
unemployed. At evening we came on to the main body of the church, where
we were made to feel how different the disciples are from the heathen,
among whom we have been mostly during the last ten days.

"_14th._--I bade adieu to Kwengyah, having spent two days with the one
hundred Christians there. I found no cases of discipline. The members
seem to be men and women of much maturity of Christian character. They
are entirely estranged from their former degrading customs. They support
their pastor, and take a commendable interest in education. The
missionary spirit they manifest is very pleasing. Two or three members of
the church are sent out to preach to the heathen. The church remember
these evangelists in their prayers. The pastor of the church [Sau Ng'Too]
is a good and able minister, with a few unpleasant peculiarities. Yet he
tries to magnify his office, and might with safety be ordained. But even
here one would be glad to see an improvement in their houses and in the
clothing of their children. Yesterday I baptized ten converts, and
administered the Lord's Supper, which had not been observed here before
for two years. If this sacred means of grace is neglected thus in many
places, the ordained men need to be spoken to on the subject. On the
whole, our friends in America may confidently trust in the Christian
stability of the Kwengyah church.

"_Evening._--I have been with the church at M'gayl'hah about half a day,
but sufficiently long to learn that they are in a very bad state. The
pastor was educated at Maulmain. He is a good man: he has efficiency, but
a very inefficient way of showing it. He is heartily discouraged. The
members, he says, do not exert themselves to send their children to
school, nor to attend meeting themselves. Some of them have not been seen
in the chapel for a whole year. Some attend meeting in the morning, but
spend the remainder of the day in visiting the heathen; while some have
been guilty of more serious offences. I am told, moreover, that the
better members of the church, even, do not seem disposed to take any
action in regard to the unruly. Were we to see a person insensible to his
condition while some of his limbs were actually decaying, we should
regard him as in a dangerous state. Such are my feelings as to this
church. I have sent for a neighboring pastor to be with me to-morrow to
aid me in trying to 'strengthen the things that remain.' I find that
here, also, there has been a strange neglect of that ordinance which is
so essential to growth in grace even in America. The Lord's Supper has
been administered here but once for at least four years.

"_15th._--During the meetings to-day the state of the church appears no
better. One has been excluded, four refused admission to the communion:
indeed, more than half of the church have absented themselves. It is
painful to see how much of a piece every thing is here in M'gayl'hah. Two
young women presented themselves as candidates for baptism, but they were
not aware that they were sinners. They could not tell who Christ is, nor
whence he came, how he died, or whether or not he arose from the dead;
and yet they were children of members of this church. I need not add that
they were not baptized.[1]

{ Footnote: [1] It is but just to say that this church, with the same
pastor, Too Po, has stood, for the last twelve years at least, among the
best in the district for intelligence and piety. }

"Since writing the above, I have come down the river only an hour's sail;
yet all is changed. I am among the members of one of the larger churches
in Podau. The village [Nyomau] is on a rise of land. The houses, all
fronting the river, with front yards swept, and surrounded with
ornamental trees, present an unusually pleasant appearance. The deacons
[see Shway Bau's own testimony concerning them, p. 258] who have just
called upon me were neatly and becomingly dressed, and are men of serious
and venerable bearing, and appear quite worthy, either here or in any
part of the world, of the office which they fill. After worship this
evening, the pastor, Shway Bau, a very capable man, called on me with his
family, who with others sung sweetly the songs of Zion, and conversed
until a late hour. It is impossible to repeat the conversation: however,
I feel confident that the gospel has made a deep and saving impression in
Podau.

"_16th._--I have just left Podau in my little boat. The meetings to-day
have been full of interest. Nine young persons, of the most interesting
character, have been baptized.

"_Evening._--We arrived a little after dark in Hseat-thah, where there is
a small church. The scene has changed again. Appearances are less
pleasing than in Podau. But discipline does not seem to be called for.
This church may be described as 'faint,' and very faintly 'pursuing.'
Here were ten candidates, five of whom were rejected because they knew
nothing of Christ.

"_18th._--I have been in Yohplau [Shankweng] about twenty-four hours.
None of the members of this church seem to have offended openly, yet
there is a want of something. The pastor [Pah Yeh] is a man of good
abilities, but does not throw his whole soul into the work. He exhibits a
sad lack of spirituality, and so do the whole church. The members are not
all worldly: there are some living Christians here who seem to have been
quickened by the administration of the ordinances. To save such churches
as this from utter worldliness, American Christians need more
spirituality, which must be transferred to these churches, by the
blessing of God, through their missionaries. Oh for vital godliness!

"_19th._--I came on this evening at a late hour to Thrai-oo. Here is the
headquarters of a large church, say two hundred members; but they are now
scattered in three different places, some near the sea, over a hundred
miles distant. Those present seemed to be benefited by the ordinances of
God's house. Here I met the daughter of that apostolic man, Myat Kyau,
the first Karen ever ordained. She is a woman of uncommon abilities, but
is out of health, and is married to a very worthless man. A son of Myat
Kyau was so promising, that he was sent to Calcutta, at the expense of an
English officer, to complete his education and to study medicine. This
had the effect to ruin him. He is now, I think, in government employ as
an apothecary, has married a heathen Arakanese woman, and, that he may be
a perfect gentleman, he drinks brandy, etc., to excess. These are the
relics of a man who baptized more converts than any one in Burma, except,
perhaps, Quala.

"_20th._--Sabbath evening. I have spent this day in [Meethwaydike], where
I spent a week with the missionaries and Karen pastors some two years
ago. There has been a very large congregation all day. Not a few have
come from the nearer churches to listen to the Word, and to commemorate
the Saviour's love. During the past two years this church has increased
in numbers, but I fear it has decreased in piety. Several of the members
have of late visited heathen feasts, but they profess penitence. Here is
one of the ordained pastors, [Oo Sah]. He appears to be an honest man,
but of abilities too limited to perform properly the duties of a
minister: however, he will not knowingly go astray.

"_21st._--I have spent this day with a small church. Here, as in many
other places in this part of Burma, paddy has been almost ruined by an
excess of water: hence the members are about to try their fortunes in
another place. It takes but little to put a whole Karen village thus upon
the wing. They will go to a new region, and build new houses, when some
disease may break out, and scatter them again. The people seemed to be
blessed by the word and ordinances of Christ.

"_22d._--Here in Yaygyau is one of the larger churches, and an ordained
pastor of very decent abilities, [Nahpay]. Here, as in most other places,
there is a sad want of spirituality. I have seen many members of this
church in Henthada, and have been shocked at their disregard of the
sabbath: hence my sermon was specially pointed on that subject.

"_23d._--The past night and day have been spent in Kyau-t'loo. Here is a
small church, which has just expelled from their number two members, for
the sin of adultery. Yet the church is not destroyed: no, most of the
members seem to be filled with faith and love. This day has been one of
the pleasantest of days to me. The members are poor, but 'rich in faith.'
I was taken by surprise this morning, when the elders of the church not
only received me with gladness, but even, while shaking hands, poured out
their souls in praise and prayer to God for his goodness in guiding me to
them: hence it sometimes took ten minutes to shake hands with one. Have
baptized five here.

"_24th._--Have spent the past twenty-four hours at Lehkoo, with a large
church of about a hundred and fifty members. Here, as well as in
Kyau-t'loo, the members are not a little dissatisfied with the limited
power of the church. They are told that the church as such can simply
expel an adulterer from all church-privileges; that churches have no
power to fine and flog unruly members, however great their offences.
Furthermore, to flog a man, unless it be done by the magistrate, would be
an offence against the government. We urged them to consider that to have
the hand of fellowship withdrawn by Christ's constituted agents, the
members of a church, ought to be feared far more than the loss of a few
rupees, or the infliction of stripes. We spent a great part of last night
on this subject.

"_25th._--We are now half a day's row north-west from Bassein town.
Received a most cordial welcome from the church in [Kaukau Pgah]. Arose
early, and went two or three miles to preach to a small village of
heathen Karens, who listened well. Preached in the morning. At noon
examined candidates for baptism. Six were baptized. Broke bread to a
house full of members. Preached again at evening to a large number of
Christians, several of whom will probably be baptized to-morrow. The
Christians in this region appear extremely well [see pp. 5, 239]. Their
pastor, Dahbu, is a very superior man,--one of the best, educated in
Maulmain. I have been surprised to learn to-day that the widow of Ko
Thahbyu, the first Karen convert and 'apostle,' is still living. I have
spent considerable time with her, and have been much pleased with her
cleanly appearance and her apparent heavenly-mindedness. Not long after
Ko Thahbyu died, she came to this vicinity; and she says, 'I think I
shall remain here until God calls me.' I learned nothing new of special
interest from this aged saint.[1] But as I sat conversing with her about
her tours in the Mergui, Tavoy, Maulmain, Rangoon, and Arakan provinces,
I was affected even to tears; for there rushed into my mind the scenes of
my past labors, the whole history of the Karen mission, and all the
wonders God has wrought among this people...I dare not baptize in
the name of Christ persons who know nothing about him. I fear many of the
preachers neglect too much _the_ gospel,--'Christ and him crucified.'

{ Footnote: [1] She still lives, 1882. }

"_27th._--Sabbath evening. I have spent this holy day in the midst of the
Christians of [Naupeheh], one of the western Bassein churches. The
pastor, Tohlo, has long been ordained. I regard him as one of the most
able, refined, and reliable ordained men in all Burma. He spent a great
deal of time with the lamented Abbott.[2] He was with him as a student,
an assistant in school, and as an associate. He was perfectly acquainted
with that servant of Christ; and he saw no failings in him which prevent
him from loving Mr. Abbott as a father, and revering him as a true
minister of the gospel. Here is the seat of one of the three Bassein
academies. I have taken special pains to ascertain the real merits of
these schools; and, although far from perfection, I am convinced that
they are doing a good work. The large chapel has been literally crowded
all day, and I have preached the gospel, with the most precious liberty,
from 1 Cor. i. 30. The state of things here is very encouraging; and one
feels, while in the company of such a pastor and such Christians, that
Christianity will not soon die out in Bassein.

{ Footnote: [2] It was Rev. J. L. Douglass, I think, who remarked, that
for a Karen young man to follow Mr. Abbott as a horse-keeper for a year
or two was equivalent to a liberal education. }

"But I have been made sad in the midst of my joys by the intelligence
that Brother Van Meter and family are embarking on the English ship _Fort
George_, to proceed, _viâ_ England, to the United States. This induces me
to leave all for a few days, and go to the town. In the absence of
Brother Douglass[1] it will be necessary for me to look after mission
property.

{ Footnote: [1] Attending his sick wife to Singapore, on her way to
America and the better land. }

"_28th._--Reached the city about three, P.M. Found a number of large
ships lying at anchor, besides a steamer, and, as usual, a large number
of Chinese and Burmese boats. On landing, I was attracted by the houses
of Brethren Van Meter and Douglass. They are modest structures, but very
pleasantly situated. So here I am in the society of missionaries. It
sounds so odd to hear the English language spoken!

"_Jan. 2, 1858._--I have spent the past two days at Shanywah, six or
eight miles below Bassein. Here is a small church, rather, the chapel of
a church, whose members live in three small villages. There seems to be
but little life either in pastor or people.[2] I have done all in my
power to quicken them. This has been a lonely place in which to pass New
Year's--some two hundred miles from my family. Yet God is near.

{ Footnote: [2] This church again, under the able ministrations of Rev.
Pohtoo, has become one of the very best churches in the Bassein
association. }

"_4th._--Arrived at Kaunee last evening. I spent the sabbath with a
larger church, which is in a more encouraging state than the one at
Shanywah. Yet I find, as in almost every other place in Bassein, a want
of spirituality. The fact is, we need a revival of religion, oh, how
much!

"_5th._--Returned to town this morning to see Brother Van Meter off, also
to make arrangements to preserve mission-books, which, if left as they
now are, will be ruined by rats and white ants in a month or two.

"_9th._--I am again in my little canoe, with my face set towards the
Karen jungles south-west of Bassein. But we make no progress; for the
tide has left us stuck fast in the muddy channel of [Tahkeing _Yaygyau_].
It is sunset before the water lifts us out of the mud, and there is a
good half day's journey before us; so that we shall not reach Thehbyu
before midnight.

"_11th._--Spent the sabbath yesterday with the large church at [Mohgoo],
with apparent profit to the people. In this region the Karens are better
off than in many other places, and seem grounded in the faith. I have
walked to-day three miles, and administered the ordinances to a very well
appearing church of a hundred members [Taukoo], and returned again. These
disciples, at least many of them, are evidently some of the 'holy seed'
to whom pertain the promises. Isa. vi. 13.

"_12th._--This day has been spent in trying to unite a church rent
asunder by dissension. The pastor has left the village, where are the
chapel and the homes of the main body of the church. He will be followed
by most of the members. We tried to urge the pastor and his party to
return with us, and see if all could not be reconciled. They declined.
They had been told that they must return. One or two ordained men had
told the pastor that he must return, or leave the ministry. He and his
party think this a stretch of ecclesiastical power. Many of the church
are determined to call the pastor to another place, and he is as
determined to obey that call. Hence, in the absence of serious offences,
it remains for us to induce them to live apart in peace. You will at once
see how much this body resembles too many churches in America. Schisms
are not confined to Burma: indeed, they seem to be fewer here than they
are at home.

"_13th._--I came on an hour or two, and reached another large church
[Layloo], whose members seem more nearly like the heathen, as far as
refinement goes, than almost any other Christians in Bassein. The pastor,
an old man, and almost entirely without education, told me just now that
he understood nothing in the Karen almanac which I gave him yesterday. It
is painful to see men of so little ability in such places. But time will
enable us, with strenuous effort, to remedy this evil. As we pushed off
from the shore to-day, many voices called out, 'Do come again; come
often!'

"_14th._--Had a pleasant time for twenty-four hours at the village of
Tway Gyau, another ordained pastor. He is evidently a good man, but of
few words and of moderate abilities. The disciples here also are about to
remove to a new place. It is easy to find a place to establish any number
of new villages, for this country is nearly destitute of inhabitants. I
have felt pressed in spirit to preach from Hab. iii. 2: 'O Lord, revive
thy work.' Let all join in this petition.

"_17th._--I have been visiting several places where there are a few
Christians, a few heathen, and also two small churches. At one of the
latter places, Ng'Kwat, I found the people divided as to where to pitch
their frail houses. After preaching this afternoon from Heb. x. 25, I
baptized five, and administered the Lord's Supper. I have also visited
and given medicine to many who are afflicted with that scourge of the
land, intermittent fever. I find here, and at several other places, young
men, who, if they were moved by the Holy Spirit, might preach the gospel.
But we hear of very few coming forward, and confessing, 'Woe is me if I
preach not the gospel.'

"_18th._--Here in Karah Kyee [now Hsenleik] there was a large church: but
it has decreased about one-half; for since the pastor died, two years
since, the church have not secured another. To-day, with great unanimity,
a man from the theological school has been chosen.

"_21st._--Again in Bassein, having completed the circuit west of the
city. I am about to leave for a long tour among the eastern churches. I
expect to continue it by land until I reach my home in Henthada.

"_Evening._--Here I am in Kohsoo, one of the most refined Christian
villages in Bassein. The pastor, Myat Keh, is one of the most popular of
our ordained men,--a man of great power in exhortation. Here is the first
academy established in the district. It is cheering to see the improved
houses, and the general appearance of the village. Good chairs are no
strange thing here; while in the house of Yoh Po, the teacher of the
academy, I see, from where I sit writing, a very neatly dressed Karen
woman[1] sitting at work in an American rocking-chair.

{ Footnote: [1] This intelligent Christian woman is a daughter of the
pioneer evangelist, Mau Koh. The rocking-chair referred to is still in
existence, and has given rest to many a weary missionary. }

"_24th._--Spent yesterday in a Pwo Karen village. I have not been to a
Pwo church before, during this tour. I find here in Kyun Khyoung a small
one. The members are feeling sad and disheartened by the departure of
their teacher, Van Meter. How many times I have been asked by Pwo
converts, 'Is teacher Van Meter to return? If not, will another man be
sent to the Pwos?' I have generally answered thus: 'If he does not return
quickly, another man will be sent to you.' I have given this answer in
view of the importance of this field.

"The Pwo Karens in Bassein are probably more numerous than the Sgaus. I
have been surprised to find so few heathen Sgaus south of the most
northern church connected with Bassein. There is one populous region of
heathen Sgaus just east of the town. It is wide, but its inhabitants are
few when compared with those of Henthada. On the other hand, there are
some Pwos in almost every part of Bassein; while in the south and along
the seacoast there are few Sgaus, but a great many Pwos. So, again, to
the east from the ocean, along by Pantanau, to Donabew and even to
Henthada, the inhabitants are nearly all Pwos.

"These Pwos are not hardened above all others. Brother Van Meter baptized
a number just before he left. There are also six little churches already,
which need the watch-care and aid of a Pwo missionary. Besides, the
present is a peculiar time. The Pwos have been drawn into difficulty in
connection with the 'Maulay' sect. Some of them have been shot by
government agents, and the rest fear lest they may be suspected of
belonging to that strange sect: hence, to avoid suspicion, they are
professing Roman Catholicism in large numbers. They have their children
sprinkled, and conform outwardly to the rules of worship. But it is said
that their lives are unchanged. I feel an inexpressible weight upon my
soul while I write, because at this juncture we have no missionary among
the Pwos of Bassein. Hence this digression.

"_25th._--I have spent this sabbath in Th'mah-t'k'yah ['A Hundred
Alligators']. An interesting feature in this church is, that among its
members are three Burmans. I have already found six Burman Christians in
the Bassein (Karen) churches. One of these is at present pastor of a
small Karen church. I have also seen one Shan convert. To-day I have been
entreated to baptize a Bengalee. He certainly understands enough to be a
Christian. But he is a Bengalee, and has no wife. Though he has been in
Burma a long time, and in this village more than a year, yet one fears
some sinister motive.

"_27th._--Spent yesterday with a new church, where I baptized four. After
calling at P'nahtheng, arrived to-day at [Kyootah], the place where the
association meets. The third academy is at P'nahtheng. It is not so
firmly established as the one at Kohsoo.

"_30th._--Since the last date I have been engaged day and night in the
meetings of the association, the Home Mission Society, and the
Ministerial Conference. These meetings were all mingled together in the
most indiscriminate manner. I tried hard to have them attend to [the
business of] one body at a time, but was unable to break over their old
customs. This irregularity was the cause of fearfully long sessions,
wearying out most of those present long before the meetings closed:
hence, while hundreds more were present in the village, the meetings
(some of them) were thinly attended. Mau Yay was chosen moderator. If he
is the best Karen for that office, there is not one fit for it. However,
the meetings were all harmonious, and some of them devotional. It is
regarded by the Karens as a good meeting. The statistics indicate a fair
state of religion among the churches. The contributions compare well with
those of former years. Two hundred and fifty-five have been baptized, and
some new worshippers are reported.

"_31st._--This forenoon was occupied with the ordination of Toothah, the
pastor of the church with which we meet. In the afternoon I took the lead
in the communion-services, and was determined to have one service only
endurably long. But after we had sung, and were ready to leave the house,
Mau Yay arose, and begged to say a few words. The privilege was granted,
of course, and the good brother spoke at least half an hour. But his
speech was on a very important subject, and, though long, was of great
interest.

"_Feb. 3._--I left Kyootah early Monday morning for Henthada. Our course,
for there was no kind of a road, lay to the east and northeast. Two whole
days we travelled without meeting a single Christian. Indeed, we found
but very few people of any kind, and nearly all of them were Burmans and
Pwo Karens. We invariably stopped among the latter tribe, who freely
provided us with food, and a sleeping-place in their houses. They also
listened attentively to the gospel, but seemed not at all inclined to
submit to it. Late last evening, when every one of us was ill from
excessive weariness, we reached Eng-gyee, the most southern church of the
Henthada mission. It would have been agreeable to my feelings to spend
most of the day in sleep, but there has been too much to do. We have had
four services, besides examining, and going two miles to baptize, two
converts."

As this meeting at Kyootah was felt by all parties to be a critical
occasion, Mr. Vinton of the Free Mission Society came over from Rangoon
to sustain his associate, Mr. Beecher. His lamented decease occurred very
soon after his return. Outwardly the meeting was harmonious, the three
American brethren being about equally prominent. The one decisive thrust
which seems to have determined Mr. Thomas to go directly back to his own
field after the meeting, and to have nothing more to do with Bassein, was
delivered by a Karen, none other than the leonine veteran, Mau Yay of
Kyootoo, who still lives to preside, in his own fashion, at the meetings
of the Home Mission Society. We quote Mr. Thomas's vivid description of
the scene:--

"Mau Yay is the oldest of the ordained Karen pastors. He is unusually
large, and rather uncouth in his personal appearance. He has but little
education, even for a Karen pastor. He is not eloquent, in the common
acceptation of the term; yet there is power in his speech, for there is
soul and common sense in all that he says. He appears to be quite
ignorant of the fear of man. Hence it is that on all occasions Mau Yay is
put forward as the mouth-piece of his brethren.

"Fancy, then, this man of the jungles, with turban but ill arranged, with
two or three coats on (one over the other), with a soiled silk
handkerchief flung around his neck, containing a little change tied up in
one end, and his keys attached to the other. The immense congregation is
assured that he has something of importance to say: hence all listen
attentively while he passes in review the history of the creation, of the
fall of man, and of the redemption by Christ. The kingdom of God must be
extended; Satan's head must be crushed.

"Now, all this is very good in its place; but why does Mau Yay rehearse
these great truths here and now, seemed to be the inquiry of all present.
Indeed, it was not until he had nearly exhausted our patience, that he
brought out his great thoughts; viz., that Karens, in order to act well
their part in the world's redemption, must be educated. He naturally
passed from this to the means of obtaining an education. With great
boldness and force he urged that they, the churches of Bassein, ought to
call a teacher, not exactly a missionary, from America. They were able,
he said, to pay the passage of a family, and to support that family alter
their arrival. He continued, 'Let the missionaries now in the field give
themselves to the work of the ministry, and go to the regions beyond; but
let us have a family who will remain among us, and instruct our youth in
English, in Greek and Hebrew; then may we ourselves hope to understand
the word of God.' He urged his brethren to act at once, and to act
unitedly. Said he, 'Let the five thousand Christians of Bassein but
contribute four annas (twelve cents) each, and the passage-money for our
teacher and family is paid.'

"The proposition was unhesitatingly accepted, and all present agreed to
make the effort at once. I spontaneously arose, and said, 'Brethren, go
on. Your fathers and brethren in America who have long labored for your
good will rejoice to hear that you can get on without their special aid;
that they no longer need to watch over their mission in Bassein, as a
mother over her helpless babe, but that they may dismiss you as a
well-grown man, able to provide for himself.'

"These were my sentiments on that sabbath evening, Jan. 31, 1858; these
were my sentiments daring my return home; they are my sentiments now that
I am again in this town, the centre of the Henthada mission. Brethren of
the Missionary Union, with many prayers and tears you have sown the seed
of the kingdom in the districts of Bassein and Rangoon. That seed has
taken root; it has sprung up; it is now bearing fruit. You have done your
work in the Karen departments of those fields. Now, therefore, commend
those churches to the God of missions, and let them choose and support
their own theological and literary instructors. Indeed, let them be just
as free in these matters as are the churches of New Hampshire and
Vermont, but let me remain in the Henthada and Tharrawaddi districts, and
spend all my time and strength henceforth in trying to win these numerous
heathen to Christ, and to make these churches equal and even superior to
the churches of Bassein. Help, brethren, by your earnest prayers, by your
silver and your gold, and, depend upon it, in less than another quarter
of a century your special aid may also be dispensed with in both these
wide provinces.

"Yours in the gospel of Christ,
"B. C. THOMAS."

This faithful missionary did his best to rescue the heathen of Henthada
and Tharrawaddi, and to breathe his own earnest spirit and warm religious
life into the churches of his planting. He did his best, doubtless, to
use wisely the silver and the gold which came to him from the home-land,
according to his expressed desire. But the snare that was in the lucre
was scarcely escaped, perhaps, by his people; nor is the need of special
aid less keenly felt to-day, perhaps, although the quarter of a century
of which he wrote was complete last February. If there were, or if there
be, in the Bassein Sgau churches any less spiritual life than in other
circles of Karen churches, which the author strongly doubts, it may be
the fault of their overworked missionaries: it certainly is _not_ the
fault of the system of self-help to which they have been so rigorously
trained. It may also be said, that the greater degree of benevolence
developed, and their pre-eminent zeal for education and foreign missions,
will go far to atone for any slight deficiency that some may seem to
detect in the direction aforesaid.

In closing the chapter, we must not fail to give the following
translation of the historic letter which was prepared by the Bassein
pastors at Kyootah, and sent to the Executive Committee of the A. B. M.
Union at Boston:--

"We, the ordained preachers of the churches of Bassein, have received
your letter, in which you say that you had compassion upon us while we
were yet in darkness, and sent teacher Abbott to instruct us in the word
of God; and again, that, though teacher Abbott is dead, love is not dead,
and that you will have more regard for us in the future than in the past.
You also say that teacher Thomas is of like mind and spirit with teacher
Abbott, and direct us to receive him as our teacher.

"In reply, we are happy to inform you that we have not forgotten the
great blessing we have experienced through your sending to us teachers
Abbott and Beecher, and, more, that we never shall forget it, or cease to
pray that God will abundantly bless you for what you have done for us.

"When teacher Abbott left us, he said to us that Mr. Beecher was to
become our teacher in his place; and, when Mr. Beecher left us for
America, we hoped to receive the additional favor of your sending him
back to us. As you, however, did not send him, another missionary society
kindly received him, and sent him back to us. We have therefore received
favors from both these societies, neither of which we can ever forget.

"You say that you send teacher Thomas to become our teacher, and direct
us to receive him. As to this, we know not what to think. Teacher Thomas
wrote and inquired if we would receive him; and we replied, 'Come and
visit us, and stir us up in the faith and fellowship of the gospel:
coming in this way, we will cordially receive you.' But we also told him
that our own teacher, Beecher, having returned, we had received him as
our teacher, as at the first. What you say to us, therefore, respecting
teacher Thomas, greatly embarrasses us, for the following reasons:--

"Teacher Thomas has work of his own, and he cannot do both that and the
work here; and, should he become our teacher, that work must go to
pieces. Moreover, it will have the appearance of an attempt to interfere
with the work of our teacher, and will greatly perplex the minds of many
of the disciples. For ourselves, we cannot but regard the two teachers as
brethren; and what one does, the other should consider as done; and what
the other does, his brother should consider as done. Moreover, we have
learned through teacher Kincaid that you have decided to invite back
teachers Beecher, Vinton, and others, in order that all may be one again,
as formerly. We do therefore greatly rejoice; for, should the Executive
Committee earnestly invite them to return, it might be the means of
uniting the two societies in America, and, if not, they would no longer
throw obstacles in each other's way. What one did, the other would
consider as done, and there would be no interference with each other's
work.

"We think, therefore, that we should receive teacher Thomas only as a
visiting brother, as we have received teachers Brayton and Vinton. Beyond
this, we do not think that we ought to receive him.[1]
(Signed)
"MAU YAY.    NAHPAY.    SHWAY BO.
MYAT KEH.    OO SAH.    TOOTHAH.
PO KWAY.    TWAY GYAU.    TOHLO."

{ Footnote: [1] There may have been a little ploughing with the Karen
heifer; but the letter was substantially their own, and its positions
were fully indorsed by the great body of the Bassein disciples. The one
concession which would have been most highly prized by the Karens, and
which would have done more than any thing else to elevate them, and keep
them friendly, if not loyal to the Union, was to have transferred the
Seminary to Bassein, as urged by Dr. Wade. Beecher would have co-operated
cordially with Dr. Binney, but the latter was fated to go and labor for
years in a locality where it was obvious to himself afterwards that he
had but a scant welcome. }



CHAPTER XV.
1858--1862.


"Christianity has been in all its history the patron of sound learning.
It has gone teaching all nations. The light of knowledge has followed it
around the world, as the light of day the sun. It can hold men only by
going before them; and _the narrowest policy of missions ever conceived
is that Christianity can employ preaching, but not the school_. When a
people become Christian, they next call for education, and they will fall
to those who furnish it for them. Without education, religion itself runs
out."--PRESIDENT SAMSON TALBOT.


IN returning to Burma, Mr. Beecher clearly apprehended the great want of
the Christian communities in Bassein to be increased facilities for
Christian education. Up to that time they had enjoyed but twenty-six
years of labor from foreign missionaries, including Abbott's period of
service, Van Meter's, and his own. Twenty years of that labor had been
done at arm's-length; the missionaries being shut up between the
mountains and the sea, in remote Arakan, where but a few scores of the
people could see them for a small part of the year. Six years only of
white man's time had been given them in Bassein itself. Other stations
had received more thousands of dollars in aid of schools and preachers
than theirs had received hundreds. While the villages of Maulmain and
Tavoy had received long visits from their numerous missionaries, more
than half of their chapels had never been entered by an American
"teacher." They had indeed escaped the evils of petting and superfluous
aid; but the substantial benefits of Christian light and training--full
rations of the very bread of life, and full draughts of the water of
life--were beyond their reach. True, many of them could read; but what
had they read? They had learned to worship, to pray, and to sing; but how
well? Very partially, indeed, had the love of God and the light of life
supplanted the slavish fear of Satan's hosts and the darkness of death.

Improved facilities for _Christian_ education is what Mr. Beecher sought,
and his successors still seek, for that people. We emphasize the
adjective; for no extension or improvement of facilities for secular
education offered by an enlightened, but, in religious matters,
necessarily neutral government, can lessen our obligation to aid in
providing for the children of our converts the religious atmosphere and
training of positively Christian and Baptist schools of an advancing
grade. To give over the brightest and most aspiring of our Christian
youth to the moulding influence of irreligious, neutro-religious, or
Boodhistic masters and text-books for eight or ten years at the most
plastic period of life, in the hope that we can subsequently, at Sunday
services and (for a few of them) in distinctively theological schools,
renew the lost impress of early lessons, may be tried, if you will, in
America; but in Burma the experiment will be a failure, and the outcome
worse than vanity and vexation of spirit. To leave, moreover, as we are
still doing among the Karens and Telugus, a larger majority of the
children of converts to grow up in ignorance and superstition than does
any other missionary society of which the author has knowledge, is to
incur sooner or later a fearful penalty. To the duty and direful
necessity thus laid upon us, the missionaries, and even the
half-enlightened Christian parents of Bassein, have been from the first
more keenly alive than the best of their friends in the far-off land of
schools and churches.

Mr. Beecher, therefore, in communicating to the Executive Committee the
conditions[1] under which he would be willing to return to his field
under their auspices, frankly wrote:--

"In regard to the first condition, I would say the great object to which
I intend to direct all my energies, and employ all the means placed at my
disposal, is, not merely to Christianize the Karens, but to bring the
converts forward as rapidly as possible to that high state of
intellectual and religious culture which shall enable them to go forward
in their growth and in the support of religious and literary
institutions, independent of foreign aid.

{ Footnote: [1] "1. That I shall return to Bassein, and perform the same
work that I undertook at my first appointment; and in this work of
preaching the gospel, superintending native churches, raising up a native
ministry, and educating the Christian population, I shall be left
unrestricted, except by the aggregate of the annual appropriations of the
Executive Committee.

"2. No permanent change shall be made in the place or kind of my labor,
except by mutual consent.

"3. The Executive Committee shall not dismiss or recall me unless I shall
have had an impartial hearing by my associates, and have been pronounced
by them unworthy of my standing.

"4. Any statement communicated by any one on the mission-field to the
Executive Committee or executive officers, injurious to my Christian or
missionary character, shall be immediately made known to me, or the paper
containing such statement be returned uncopied to the author." }

"In order to prosecute the work successfully, I deem it necessary that I
should not be required to follow out _in detail_ any routine of measures
which the Executive Committee shall prescribe; but while I shall not feel
at liberty to exceed the appropriations, nor to divert them from the
object for which they are designated, yet with regard to the number of
pupils who shall be instructed in the normal and other mission schools,
and the course of instruction to be pursued, I shall expect a large
liberty, only promising that the funds of the Union shall not be used to
support pupils studying English, unless by specific permission of the
Executive Committee."

Considering the fact that a powerful attempt had been made to keep him
out of his appointed field of labor, and that an official letter had
passed him on his homeward voyage, recalling him from the field, on the
strength of unfriendly representations which he had had no opportunity to
meet, his conditions seem to us not unreasonable; but they were rejected.
Coming out as he did, unfettered, under the auspices of the Free Mission
Society, he addressed himself manfully to the important work which he had
planned, in the face of many obstacles. With the narrowest resources, he
had a poor but united and enthusiastic people at his back. With the
blessing of God on their help, he may yet accomplish great things.

The position which Mr. Beecher occupied at this time was a proud one, and
his victory was assured. Chosen by the Karen Christians for what he was,
and not for what he might bring; with no bag of American money for
monthly or quarterly distribution among the preachers; with no funds even
for the support of teachers or needy children in his schools; his whole
power and influence due to the weight of his personal character, to the
truth which he may draw from the word of God, to the teaching and the
examples which he may cite to them from the Christian civilization of his
own land, and, above all, to the gracious help of the Holy Ghost, who had
called him to this very work,--he proceeded to lay the foundations of
Christian institutions, and to mould and develop the people, whom he
loved, for God, depending solely upon the pecuniary help of the poor, and
such local aid as might offer. It is painful to see how few missionaries
of the present day are content to occupy just such a position.

The first work of the missionary was to secure a suitable piece of ground
for the mission establishment and a large boarding-school. As the
government had at last given up the plan of removing the district
headquarters to the mouth of the river, land was more difficult of
acquisition. For the Karens, however, a location somewhat removed from
the heart of the town would be preferable. The credit of selecting the
present beautiful and sightly Sgau Karen compound clearly belongs to Mrs.
H. L. Beecher. Others thought that "White Book Hill" (Sahbyugon), as it
is now called, was too far from the town, or too far from the river.
There was no road to it. There would be danger from tigers, robbers, etc.
Besides, it was an old Burman burying-ground, and many Karens feared that
they would be pestered by ghosts. But one fine morning the ponies were
mounted, and the hill was reached by a circuitous route through the
potter's village. Mrs. Beecher favors us with some interesting
reminiscences:--

"The whole place was covered with scrubby jungle, and was uninhabited and
neglected. A Karen boy climbed a tree, and declared that he could see the
river. Altogether our visit satisfied us that it would be the best place
for a large school, and so clearing and building were begun immediately.
The beginning, like that of many good works, was under great
difficulties. It was the time of the commercial panic in America, and it
was very difficult to get money for the work, or for any thing else. I
remember that one Saturday night we had no money to buy the necessary
food for Sunday even, when a friendly Chinaman came, and lent us quite a
sum of money, without interest or security. Indeed, we had many proofs of
the Lord's care over us. We had hardly moved into our new house, and it
was by no means finished, when a terrible cyclone swept over the city,
and tore down nearly all the houses both of the natives and the
Europeans. Our thatch all stood straight up, and we had to hold our
umbrellas over our heads. I remember well, how, during that anxious
night, Mr. Beecher called me to kneel with him, and I cannot forget the
fervent and trusting petition that he presented, that our house and those
mission-buildings might be spared. And they were spared, somewhat
injured, but not one destroyed. The next year a similar tornado came; but
we were better prepared, and suffered even less. We had several
earthquakes, too, the first year or two; and lightning struck one of the
Karen houses, but the fire was soon put out. I have often wondered, in
thinking over those days, how we were cared for, and all our wants
supplied.

"The dry season of 1858 was a period of great interest. As soon as the
first building, the old schoolhouse, was put up, we moved into it. It had
no glass windows, and was rough enough; but we were very happy there. It
was so quiet and sweet all around us, so many birds sang (more sweetly
than I supposed tropical birds could sing), and the jungle, which came
almost to our door, abounded in the most beautiful flowers, and every
thing was so fresh and hopeful. Every week, Friday or Saturday, we
visited some Karen village, and spent the sabbath with the people. In
that way, although Mr. Beecher had to spend nearly all his time week-days
in looking after the building, still, much important work was done, and
preparation for the rainy-season school was made.

[ Illustration--KAREN MISSION-HOUSE, BASSEIN, BUILT BY MR. BEECHER IN
1858. ]

"That rains, nearly all the pastors came in to school. It was the first
time they had ever had the whole Bible to study from. I wish I could give
you an idea of the intense interest they exhibited as the types and
shadows of the Old Testament were explained to them. Many of them said
that they had never in all their lives learned so much as they had in
that one season. Some of them brought their wives. There were also
several young women. And Po Kway brought his whole family, excepting
Myassah, who was studying in Rangoon. Po Kway was one of the most
interested students. I recollect how amused I was to see him make quite a
nice suit of clothes for his little girl, Mah Loothah. His wife, when she
first came, was quite homesick; and of course I felt somewhat anxious in
beginning to teach so large a class of women when I had been so short a
time in the country. My first essay was at a Saturday morning
prayer-meeting. I read to them about Timothy, his mother and grandmother,
and talked a little upon it. I saw no particular response in their eyes,
such as I had been accustomed to see from my dear girls in Rockford
[III.]; but in the evening, Th'rah Kway came, and said to me, that, since
his wife had heard my talk about Timothy, she was no longer homesick. I
believe that I was never more comforted in my life. That was indeed a
busy rains. Besides finishing the buildings, and making roads, and a
bridge across the creek, the school must be carried on with very
imperfect machinery...

"The Karens, especially Th'rah Kway, soon spoke of an English school; but
we kept putting it off, from time to time, as well as we could. Two great
difficulties were in the way,--one, the state of public sentiment at
home; the other, the want of a teacher. However, as the Karens were so
determined, we at length began, with Santhah only to help. Sahnay came
afterwards, and so things went on. It was simply impossible for Mr.
Beecher or me to do any thing in that school except to keep a general
oversight. I also taught the girls to sew, etc...No one knows better
than you what the work was that pressed on my dear husband's time and
strength, and finally pressed the very life out of him."

Mr. Beecher, writing to a private friend in February of this year,
says,--

"The Karens propose to pay the cost of the buildings I am now erecting,
which will be, when completed on our present plan, some two thousand
dollars, they holding the property as their own."

The Karens were full of enthusiasm, no doubt; but, by the time their
school-buildings were erected and paid for, they were quite willing to
have the Free Mission Society meet the expense of the mission
dwelling-house, and retain control of the entire property. In
consideration, doubtless, of the loyal services of the Karens in the late
war, the government generously gave to the Free Mission Society ten acres
of land on the crown of this hill, and made it free from all taxes, "so
long as it shall be used for _bonâ fide_ mission-purposes." Sixteen acres
have since been added by purchase from native grant-holders; so that the
mission now owns twenty-six acres, including the entire hill, the whole
forming a mission compound unsurpassed, in Burma at least, for beauty,
extent, and healthfulness.

On this fair hill Mr. Beecher proceeded to establish in 1858 the "Bassein
Sgau-Karen Normal and Industrial Institute." At the importunate and
long-continued solicitation of the Karens, the English department was
added in 1860. His grand object, as clearly set forth in a prospectus
published in 1861, from which we quote below, was to increase the numbers
and efficiency of the native agency, and through them to elevate the
entire people in the scale of Christian civilization.

"The gospel has awakened such new life and enterprise in this people,
that they desire to advance in civilization and social refinement, as
well as in Christianity. To do this successfully, they require a much
better educated class of preachers, of school-teachers, and other
lay-helpers, than those who are their present mental and spiritual
guides. All praise is due to the zeal and faithfulness of these laborers
as _pioneers_; but the great majority of them were so sadly illiterate
when converted, and have since (almost unavoidably) made such meagre
attainments, that they are incapable of raising their people, in the
social scale, much above their heathen neighbors. The object of our plan,
therefore, is to raise up an agency well qualified to promote education,
civilization, and social reform, in connection always with progress in
the Christian life, or rather as the fruits of that life.

"The Karens have been so long an oppressed people, that all enterprise
has been crushed out of them. They have been made to regard themselves as
inferior in mental and physical abilities to the race that ruled them, if
not to all other races. It is not strange, then, that they have little
heart, even if they had any encouragement, to learn any thing from their
more skilful but haughty and contemptuous neighbors. Being destitute of a
literature and science, as well as of mechanical skill, they are
impressed with the belief that they can make little or no progress
without foreign aid, and without a wider range of thought and enterprise
than can be found through their vernacular. Not that the masses can be
taught in any other than their own language, but that a portion of the
agency which enlightens and guides the masses requires that mental
discipline and that knowledge which can be acquired to better advantage
by studying the English language than by any other means within their
reach. And if the standard of moral excellence, social refinement, and
ennobling industry, which has been attained in England and America, is to
be the model for moulding these converts, then must the same means be
used among Karens that have proved effectual among Anglo-Saxons.

"Impatient of longer delay, the Karens have come forward this season, and
with great exertion have raised funds for erecting a small schoolhouse
and dormitories, barely sufficient to accommodate the one hundred pupils
who have been admitted from a much larger number of applicants. Besides
these, we have eighty in the vernacular department.

"In order that these pupils may be fitted for the work now needed among
their people, it is evident that they must be taught the natural
sciences, physiology, and hygiene. All observing Europeans remark their
unproductive and wasteful methods of cultivating and cleaning their great
staple, rice; and no one who has noticed how much laziness, disorder, and
looseness are attendant upon their sprawling postures in their
unfurnished houses, can have failed to reflect upon the healthful moral
influence of chairs and tables in daily use. In connection, then, with
studies that will enlighten, strengthen, and elevate them, they need to
be taught practically some branches of mechanical industry.

"These considerations seemed to indicate that it was highly important to
establish somewhere among the Christian Karens _a Normal and Industrial
Institute_. Believing that Bassein is a most favorable place for such an
institution, we propose, with the divine blessing, to give the schools
now in our charge this character, as far as the means intrusted to us
will permit. These schools are in fact already assuming this character.
All the pupils in both departments are now required to perform some kind
of manual labor three hours a day. Ten of the vernacular pupils are at
work with carpenter, joiner, and wheelwright tools. From fifteen to
twenty are required to clean the rice used by the school; and they are
doing it this season with mills, fitted up mainly by the pupils, which
are regarded by all as a decided improvement upon the mills in common
use. Six lads have become quite skilful in making low seats, or _morahs_,
of rattans and bamboos. Sixteen women and girls are instructed in
needlework. A large number of the smaller boys are at work clearing and
grading the mission premises, which were covered with dense jungle. This
work will soon be finished, when there will be some seventy-five lads who
would gladly work at useful trades, if they could be supplied with the
necessary tools and workshops."

None over thirteen years of age were admitted to the English department,
unless they had previously received instruction in that language; and all
entered under a pledge to remain ten years, if approved after due trial.
The English classes continued in session nine months in the year; and,
from the outset, the expenses of board, lodging, and native teachers,
were mainly borne by contributions in money and paddy from the Karen
churches. Although an appeal for outside help, either in money or
school-material, was issued with the prospectus, but little aid was
received. The work, however, went on, gathering volume and steadiness
year by year, as we shall see hereafter.

The first building erected on the premises was the old schoolhouse,
fifty-two by thirty-four feet, which stood about ten feet west of the
present girls' school, between it and the mission-house; next came a line
of dormitories, running north and south, a few steps east of the
schoolhouse, each thirty-four by seventeen feet, in which were used for
posts the iron-wood slabs obtained in squaring the posts of the
mission-house, also built in 1858. The small English schoolhouse, which
stood a few rods north of the mission-house, was erected in 1860 or 1861,
and was more substantial than either of the earlier school-buildings. All
of these accommodations for the school probably cost the Karens, with Mr.
Beecher's careful management, not less than three thousand or four
thousand rupees. Of course, all were roofed with thatch, and made of
cheap jungle-wood; so that the best of them, with annual repairing,
lasted barely fifteen years, when, with the increased resources of the
Karens, they gave place to a more substantial class of structures.

But a burning desire for education, and enlarged plans for promoting
education, were not permitted to interfere with the religious work of
this people. In April, 1858, another quarterly meeting of the Conference
and Home Mission Society was reported by Mr. Douglass. Mohgoo was the
place of meeting. A memorial service of deep interest was held, in view
of the recent death of Rev. Mr. Vinton. Lootoo, one of the faithful
missionaries to Toungoo, was present, with seven young converts who had
returned with him to study in the Bassein schools. His account of the
work in which he and his companions had been engaged, with the lamented
Whitaker, excited much interest. Mr. Douglass's story of the way in which
the first debt in the Bassein Karen mission was managed is worthy of
insertion:--

"After one of the young men from Toungoo had given some account of his
own people, and the work among them, the committee of the Home Mission
Society gave their report. They stated that six men were ready to go as
missionaries; that the three young men who had been to Toungoo had
returned in debt; that paying them and the other missionaries had
exhausted all the funds, and left the treasury with a deficit of ninety
rupees.

"As this is the first time the Home Mission Society has been in debt
since its formation, the announcement created at first a little
despondency; but instead of passing a resolution to retrench, to appoint
no more missionaries, and to recall some already appointed, they voted
unanimously, after a little conference, to appoint the whole six. The
question was then asked, Could not a contribution and subscription be
taken on the spot? This idea met the approval of all; and in a few
minutes three hundred and forty-seven rupees were raised, a large portion
of which was paid at once, and the remainder promised within three
months, thus cancelling the debt, and more than providing for the six
missionaries for three months to come. All then united in the closing
season of thanksgiving and prayer."

At the October meeting held in the town of Bassein, the foreign
missionary spirit of this people was again manifested. Most missionaries
had long believed that the main body of the Karen people would be found
in Upper Burma. The Karen Christians had come to feel a strong desire to
send missionaries thither to their own unknown kindred. Mr. Douglass
narrates the circumstances:--

"Soon after the meeting commenced, a spirit of fervent prayer was
manifested. Never have I attended a meeting among the Karens where the
Spirit's power was more visible. Resolves of a bold character were made
with reference to educational and missionary operations. Early in the
meeting there was a call for volunteers to go to the Karens north of Ava.
Some expressed a wish to go, but no appointment was made until sabbath
evening; and the inquiry continued as to who would lead the way as a
pioneer into that vast region between Ava and Assam. At the close of the
services sabbath morning, in a conference of the pastors, I ventured to
ask if Rev. Po Kway was not the man. He was taken a little by surprise.
But the question was no sooner asked than all saw, and soon heard, that
his mind was full of the subject, and that he only wanted the concurrence
of his brethren fully to believe it his duty to leave his church, his
wife and children, and go. This concurrence was promptly given; and that
evening, Po Kway and two younger men were appointed for the work.

"An address followed, showing that to sustain these men and the others
under appointment, and to carry out the resolutions passed during the
meeting, fervent prayer must continue to be offered, and all they
possessed be consecrated to God. A contribution was taken for missions,
amounting to over one hundred rupees. Po Kway and the young men will go
three or four hundred miles north of Ava, and spend about six months
preaching and exploring, that they may learn the number of the Karens
there, the dialect spoken, and the willingness of the people to receive
the gospel. He will then locate the young men at suitable places, and
return here to report. Po Kway's intellectual power, education,
eloquence, and devoted, consistent piety, cause him to stand pre-eminent
among the ordained pastors in this district. He is about to commence a
work which we hope will not be less glorious in result than that which
Quala began in Toungoo five years ago."

To tell the story of this mission in a few words, the party went, in
company with Rev. Messrs. Kincaid and Douglass, as far as Ava and
Mandalay. Leaving the capital in January, in a Burman boat, two of them
went north to Bhamo, the present seat of the Kakhyen mission, whence they
soon returned home. As we now know, there are nowhere, north of the
frontier, Karens who speak the dialects used in Lower Burma; so that the
expedition only served to settle the question of there being no Karen
field in that direction, and to prove the zeal and devotion of those who
composed and sustained it. The information obtained concerning the
Kakhyens was correct, and of some value.

In November we find Mr. Douglass organizing the Pwo Karen church at
Thahyahgôn, now one of the largest churches among that people. As the
village has recently been set off to the new district, of which Maoobin
is the chief town, there is some talk that the church may join another
association. Most of the original members were converted under the
ministry of Thahbwah, with whose name and work we are already familiar.
The little Sgau church at Kwengyah (south) also originated about this
time, through the labors of Ko Thahno, one of Mr. Douglass's Burman
assistants,--the only instance, in Bassein at least, of a Karen church
founded by a Burman preacher.

At the annual meeting in Kohsoo, in February, 1859, the deputy
commissioner, or governor, Major Brown, was present, and made a brief
speech on the importance to the Karens of educating their children.
Several other English officers and merchants were present, and expressed
themselves as much pleased with the singing and the general appearance of
the Karen Christians. Th'rah Po Kway gave a report of his mission to
Upper Burma; Shway Bau spoke of his labors among the Kyens in the Prome
district; while Thahbwah and others gave an account of their labors in
the home field. The subject of building permanent villages, and of
breaking up, as far as possible, the Karen habit of roving from place to
place without sufficient reason, was made prominent. Strong resolutions
on this subject and on education were discussed and adopted. The
aggregate of contributions was greater than in any previous year. At the
closing session, Sunday, P.M. (the meetings began on Thursday), twelve
hundred disciples partook of the Lord's Supper with thankfulness and joy.

In November, 1859, the hand of fellowship was withdrawn from Thahbwah,
for ten years a Pwo evangelist, for immorality. The church at Thahyahgôn,
which he had been instrumental in founding, and which comprised several
of his near relatives, excluded him promptly and unanimously, and chose a
young Sgau preacher in his place. When such straight-forward discipline,
regardless of the ties of kindred and clan, becomes the rule among Karen
churches, it will be a happy day for them, and their glory will be less
frequently dimmed than it is at present.

Dr. Kincaid reports this year four Karen preachers laboring in the Prome
field, sent thither and supported by the Bassein Home Mission Society.
This service was continued year by year, both among the Karens and the
Kyens of the Prome field, until 1863, when Dr. Kincaid writes as
follows:--

"I have frequently mentioned the young Karen preachers from Bassein. They
were supported for a year [three years?] by the Bassein churches. I have
now assumed their support. Up to this time, twenty have been baptized as
the result of their labors. And this is not the only result. The seed of
the kingdom has been widely scattered, and I know there are many who can
no longer make offerings to the evil spirits. The gospel in its power has
reached them. Twenty or thirty have been taught to read the word of God
in their own language. One year ago they were degraded heathen, and did
not know a letter of the alphabet. These preachers are both firstclass
young men,[1] and have been remarkably well instructed in the Scriptures.
To Mr. Beecher and the Bassein churches I am under great obligations for
such faithful and well-trained fellow-laborers,--men who are not
eye-servants, and do not need prompting to go into the field, and
work,--men who do not see 'a lion in the way.' One of them has been very
ill with fever for three months. He is still feeble, and I have provided
him with means to ride from village to village, and go on with his work."

{ Footnote: [1] Myat Koung and Shway Nee are referred to. }

Mr. Thomas also reports two brethren laboring in his field, under the
support of the Bassein churches, in 1859, and five the year following.
The contributions of the Karens in Bassein are reported by Mr. Douglass
as steadily increasing. Owing to the alarming state of Mrs. Douglass's
health, her husband was obliged to return to the United States in the
summer of 1860. The Pwos continuing to ask earnestly for a missionary of
their own, Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter were sent back to them, arriving in
Rangoon Sept. 29, 1860. Their ship, the _R. B. Forbes_, which carried
several other missionary passengers, became a bethel during the voyage;
all but two of the crew and officers, from the captain down to the
cabin-boy, professing a hope in Christ. Bereaved of their little son soon
after their arrival in their own home, Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter seek
comfort and joy in the avenues of usefulness which open to them on every
side.

Six Chinamen had been baptized in Bassein, of whom Dr. Stevens writes,
"They owe their knowledge of Christ mainly to the Karens, among whom they
are accustomed to trade." In the absence of Mr. Douglass, Mr. Van Meter
looked after the interests of the little Burman church and the Chinese
converts, as well as he could. As Mr. Beecher was no longer connected
with the parent society, he also reported, from time to time, the
progress of the Sgau work. This service, so little appreciated at the
time, was the more valuable from the fact that the Free Mission Society
seems to have taken little pains to preserve in permanent form the
current history of its missions. Mr. Beecher's original letters to the
secretary of that society are believed by Rev. Dr. Brown to be no longer
in existence; and we have been unable to find anywhere a file of the
society's organ, the "American Baptist."

The meeting of the Bassein Association at Kaukau Pgah, in February, 1861,
was an occasion of more than ordinary interest. Dr. Binney, from the
seminary in Rangoon, was present, and gave valued assistance. The
impression left upon his mind by this his only visit to Bassein can be
inferred from the following paragraphs written to the secretary:--

"I was very much pleased with what I saw and heard. The meeting of the
association opened punctually at the time appointed, and every thing
moved on as though they were used to it. During the three days' session,
the letters from the churches were read, and the queries, theological and
casuistical, noted. The discussion of those queries went through the
whole session, and added great interest to the meeting. The churches,
ministers, and schools are in a very encouraging state: to me it appeared
especially so, as their efforts rely largely upon Karen support. It was
truly cheering to see eight hundred or nine hundred Christian Karens
collected together for such purposes, and to witness the intelligence and
energy with which they attended to the business. Sabbath forenoon there
were not less than a thousand Christians present, nearly all from abroad,
and among the best members of the churches. I was gratified to meet many
of my own and some of Dr. Wade's old pupils, and to see that they are
among 'not the least valuable men here.' I was not ashamed of any who
took a public part, as most of them did. I am quite willing the tree
should be judged by the fruit. Mr. Beecher speaks well of them. But the
places assigned them, and the manner in which they performed their
duties, was most conclusive to me. The senior pastors, whom Mr. Abbott
ordained, are strong, reliable men. They reminded me of some of our
fathers in the Baptist ministry at home, who learned the value of an
education from the want of it, and resolved that their sons in the
ministry should not suffer as they had done. They were the men who
provided institutions, and urged young men to go to them in our own land;
and the same class are nobly doing a similar work in Bassein. They see
the advantages of education, and how it would add even to their own
usefulness. They took part in all the discussions respecting education,
and manifested a warm sympathy in all our remarks in behalf of village
schools, Mr. Beecher's school, and my own."

The ordination of Dahbu, the pastor of the church, on Sunday, gave great
pleasure to all. He had studied under Dr. Binney in Maulmain; and the
doctor writes of the examination, conducted by himself, that it was one
of the best that he ever attended. At the ordination-service, Dr. Binney
gave the charge to the candidate, and Mr. Beecher addressed the church.
We continue our quotation:--

"As soon as Mr. Beecher closed his address, an elder of the church arose,
some distance from us, and in a short speech responded to the address.
This part was not in our programme, and it took us all by surprise; but
it was beautifully and touchingly done. In a few remarks, simple and to
the point, he, for himself and for the church, accepted, as from the
Lord, the precious gift of a pastor, with all its accompanying duties and
responsibilities, and pledged himself and the church to an effort rightly
to sustain the relation; so that God might be pleased, and that pastor
and church might be happy and useful, and, in closing, asked the prayers
of all, that God would help them to be faithful. It had a very good
effect upon the large assembly. The whole proceedings and my visit have
greatly encouraged me in my own work. It is not in vain: it is worth
living for, and, if need be, dying for."

For more than twenty years now, that church, as well as their admirable
pastor, have nobly redeemed the pledges made that day.

Mr. Van Meter was present, and took a part in the association at Kaukau
Pgah; but the Pwo churches were not well represented. They had a separate
meeting, immediately after, in a Pwo village, looking forward, no doubt,
to the formation of a separate Pwo Karen association. The connection of
the Sgau churches with a distinct American society, and the not unnatural
feeling that they and their work were somewhat overshadowed by the larger
Sgau body, made a separation seem advisable to them; and it took place
two years after, with kind feelings on both sides. If there had not been,
somewhat later, a little too much eagerness to draw away, from the older
organization, churches in which there were a small minority only of Pwo
members, fewer regrets would have followed the change. At the
supplementary meeting of the Pwos, Thahbwah, the fallen Pwo preacher, was
fully restored to his place in the ministry and to his salary from
America.

During the year 1861 thirty-five native evangelists were commissioned by
the churches of this district; some for a short period, others for the
entire year. Of these, twenty-two were Sgaus, eleven Pwos, and two
Burmese. Two of the Sgau preachers were expected to go a long way towards
Ava, in search of large Karen communities reported in that direction. At
the association in M'gayl'hah, in February, 1862, it appeared that eight
new churches had been formed during the year, three of which were among
the Pwos. Two hundred and eighty baptisms were reported, and
seventy-seven "new worshippers;" the number of pupils attending the
schools was three hundred more than the year before; while the
contributions for the English school in town had increased threefold. At
the same time, in order to secure three thousand rupees and fifteen
hundred baskets of paddy annually for the support of the town school in
both its departments, the Sgau churches voted to assess themselves
thenceforth yearly one rupee and a half-basket of paddy per member for
this object. The contributions for all purposes this year reached Rs.
10,637, of which Rs. 1,219 came from the Pwos. Two unordained preachers,
Shwaythee and Pohdee, were set aside for immorality. We should not omit
to mention that Mr. Van Meter acknowledges one hundred baskets of paddy
and some money, given to him this year by the Sgaus for the Pwo school.

During the year 1862 there was more than ordinary encouragement in the
work for the heathen of Bassein. Mr. Van Meter's journals speak of
several new villages that seemed to be turning to the Lord. He draws a
pleasing picture of a scene which transpired in November:--

"Immediately after Yoh Po's sermon, we proceeded to the examination of
Shway Wing, a Chinaman, for baptism. Mau Yay, also a Sgau preacher, aided
in this; but so imperfect is the candidate's knowledge of Burmese, that
Ko Han, another Chinaman, had to interpret for him. A strange sight this,
but one of deep significance, may we not say?--a Karen examining a
Chinese, through the Burman language, as a candidate for membership in a
Burman church, and that through one of his own people as interpreter, in
the presence of an American missionary, who must in some degree bear the
responsibility of the decision. He seemed unwilling to admit that he was
still under the influence of sin, and an actual transgressor; but he
finally admitted the fact, if he before denied it. Our chief dependence,
of course, is on the knowledge of his life and conduct for the past two
years, while going in and out among us as a believer in Jesus. There was
entire unanimity in his reception."

As this year of our Lord (1862) closes, we hear grateful tidings from
Bassein laborers in distant fields. One who had wrought among the
northern Bghais of Toungoo for two or three years, "with much success,"
was ordained by Dr. Mason and his assistants. Toowah, then fresh from his
studies in the seminary, now one of the veterans in the Henthada field,
sends the following comforting message to his aged mother in Bassein:--

"Six young persons are learning to read with me. The parents have already
become disciples. Others seem about ready to follow. I hope many more
will become Christians here soon. I hear that my mother is anxious about
me, because I am in Myanoung [a region infested with robbers]. Do write
her a letter, and tell her not to be anxious about me, for I am safe.
Burman officials greatly hinder the work. It is truly distressing to me
to hear them curse and revile the disciples.--TOOWAH."

Sahpo, small of stature, but brave and true, writes thus to his beloved
teacher Thomas:--

"Dear teacher, since I parted with you in Henthada, I have been on a
preaching-tour, quite to Enmah [near Prome]. Some, mostly the young,
listened attentively; but the older people are less desirous of hearing
the gospel. I saw a great many villages in Enmah; and as I went from
village to village, almost alone, O teacher! I felt my own weakness. Then
I remembered Joshua going about the walls of Jericho, and took courage.
Do remember these Karens in your prayers. I am sure that ere long God
will enlighten the hearts of these multitudes. And why not? God can
command the stones, and they become the children of Abraham."

On the 18th of May Mr. Beecher wrote in his private journal:--

"Had the great pleasure of welcoming back to his native land, to our
family, and to a share in our labors, Brother Sahnay, after an absence of
seven years and two months."

Long before this, the pupils had made such progress in the use of tools
in the industrial department of the Institute, that he had written:--

"Instead of the old, stupid excuse for indolence and inefficiency, that
'Karens cannot do these things,' they reply, to propositions for new
branches of industry, that they are able to do whatever their missionary
will teach them."

The first public examination of the English school was held on Thursday,
Nov. 6, 1862. Several of the English residents were present, and
expressed themselves well pleased with the progress of the pupils.



CHAPTER XVI.
1863-1866.


"'There are heathen enough here in America. Let us convert them before we
go to China.' That plea we all know; and I think it sounds more cheap and
more shameful every year."--REV. DR. PHILLIPS BROOKS.


A MULTIPLICITY of cares and heavy burdens were rapidly telling upon Mr.
Beecher's constitution. To his other trials and anxieties were added open
opposition, for a time, from one who owed all his education, and
opportunities for extensive travel, to himself and to the American
Christians whom he represented. Whatever may have been the need twenty
years ago, now, certainly, there is little occasion for the natives of
Burma to subject themselves to the risks, and Christians in America to
the heavy expense, of ocean-passages, and years of sojourn in a foreign
land, to acquire an education. Facilities better adapted to their wants
are now to be had at their own doors in Burma; and our missions should be
saved the distraction and trouble which have been too often caused by
superficially educated but self-confident young men returning from their
somewhat dazzling experiences in the new world to their native wilds in
the newer old world. Happy will it be if the great body of native pastors
and Christians to-day, and onward into the future, shall have the good
sense and loyalty to put down the spirit of pretension and discord as it
was summarily put down by the God-fearing, missionary-loving Karens of
Beecher's day.

Early in 1863 four more tried men were ordained to the full ministry of
the Word; viz., Thahdway, the able and popular pastor of the church in
Kyun Khyoung, one of Dr. Wade's pupils; Thahree, so long Mr. Abbott's
faithful personal attendant; Kroodee, also one of Abbott's men, not great
in intellect, but the model pastor, who said, as he lay a-dying in 1872,
with a beautiful smile breaking over his face, "The angels of heaven have
received me;" and Tsa Laing, an approved Pwo pastor. This accession
brought up the number of Karens hitherto ordained in Bassein to sixteen,
of whom fourteen were living; twelve of them, the apostolic number, being
Sgaus.

In February, as already foreshadowed, two associations were held in
different villages, the Pwos finally separating themselves from the
Sgaus. Mr. Van Meter reports a serious division in the Thahyahgôn church,
caused by two or three quarrelsome and boisterous men. He relates, that
soon after one of their outbreaks, two of these men happening to be in
one house, a stroke of lightning deprived one of both wife and child, and
marked the other, probably for life. The result was a new chapel, an
enlargement of the village, great union in the church, and such a warm
and hospitable welcome to the Pwo association as is rarely seen even
among the Karens. The cast-iron theory of natural events had not then
penetrated the Karen jungles.

On the 6th of January thirty-six baptized believers united in forming the
Institute Church,--the first Karen church established in the town of
Bassein. As their action, and the covenant to which they subscribed, had
been duly approved by a council from the neighboring churches, the new
church was received into fellowship at the following meeting of the Sgau
association.

A mission to the Karens of Zimmay in Northern Siam (now again revived, in
1881 and 1882, under more hopeful auspices) was then in progress. Sahdone
and three companions, all recent pupils of Dr. Binney, left Bassein for
that distant region, after appropriate farewell services in the school
chapel, on the 30th of January. They went _viâ_ Maulmain, with a company
of traders, but found the difficulties and dangers of the way so great,
that they stopped short of their destination, and returned. The mission
to the Karens and Kyens of Prome was still prospering, but the
missionaries were suffering a good deal from fever. Thirty-one Karens
altogether had professed their faith in Christ since the four brethren
then engaged in that work first entered upon it. Single churches were at
this time contributing as much as four or five hundred rupees a year for
various objects; and Mr. Van Meter states that one (Sgau) village brought
in no less than five hundred baskets[1] of paddy for the use of the town
school. Grants-in-aid were also offered to the jungle schools by
government this year, for the first time,--five hundred rupees a year for
three years to the Pwos, and fifteen hundred rupees to the Sgaus.

{ Footnote: [1] Rather more than that number of bushels. }

The rainy-season term of the English school opened May 5, with forty
pupils present the first day. On the 11th, however, owing to an outbreak
of cholera and small-pox in the town, and the death of a pupil from the
latter disease, Mr. Beecher felt obliged to dismiss the school for three
weeks. How often has this seemed to be necessary in later years! Aug. 9
Mr. Beecher writes in his journal:--

"Received a letter from Dr. Binney, notifying me that I should probably
be invited to a council in Toungoo to see what can be done to arrest the
progress of Mrs. Mason's heresies among the Karens. Replied to Dr.
Binney, that, if invited, I should consider it a most disagreeable duty
to attend. Would that God in his wisdom and mercy, however, would order
some more effectual means of saving those feeble churches from ruin!"

Mr. Beecher was absent on this painful business during most of September
and October.

During this year one of the Bassein evangelists in the Prome district,
Moung Coompany, was earnestly engaged in reducing the Kyen language to
writing. He succeeded in making a spelling-book and a small hymn-book in
that language, which were printed by Rev. Mr. Bennett. High hopes were
entertained of his continued usefulness among that people, all of which
were blasted, first by his downfall in dishonest debt and adultery, and,
later, by his becoming a rank heresiarch, and doing all the harm he could
in two or three misguided churches of his native district. The love of
the Chinese church-members seemed to be waxing cold, when, fortunately,
about the close of the year, Mr. Douglass reached his old field in
Bassein again. Mo Nyo, a third Pwo pastor, was ordained about the same
time.

Dec. 24, Mr. Beecher writes in his journal:--

"Had a visit from Poo Goung. Was much gratified to hear that fourteen or
fifteen young men wish to study the Scriptures and arithmetic with him,
as soon as the hurry of harvest is over.[1] God is thus beginning to
grant an answer to my prayers, that he would create a hungering and
thirsting for a knowledge of his Word in the hearts of the Karens."

{ Footnote: [1] These studies had hitherto been pursued only in the
rains. }

In January, 1864, the association was held at P'nahtheng with much
_éclat_. At the urgent invitation of the church in P'nahtheng, the
Burmese association just held in Bassein was adjourned to join with the
Karens in their annual gathering. Dr. Stevens, Messrs. Crawley and
Douglass, Mrs. Ingalls, and perhaps other Burman missionaries, were
present with several of their assistants and disciples, and added much to
the joy and profit of the occasion. Dr. Stevens writes thus:--

"The Karens urged their plea by the statement that they had long prayed
that God would visit the Burmans as he had the Karens, and incline them
to his service. They now saw their prayers answered, not only in the
conversion of the Burmans, but in bringing a Burmese association to hold
its session in their midst. They felt, therefore, that they could not be
deprived of the privilege, nor could we decline such an invitation. The
session was truly interesting, uniting the Karen and Burman disciples in
closer bonds, and producing a deep impression in the minds of all,
missionaries and converts, that the kingdom of Christ is taking firm root
in this land."

Mrs. Ingalls also writes:--

"It was a glorious sight to see that representation from the Karen
churches of Bassein, headed by fifty pastors. Some of them had passed
through bitter trials, but these have made their faith strong in the
power of the eternal God. I had met many of these men when I first came
to Burma with my dear husband; and it was sweet to renew our
acquaintance, and together mingle our tears, and talk of the Lord's
goodness. They very much enjoyed this meeting with the Burman brethren.
One day I saw two men with arms clasped about each other's neck, and I
paused to know the reason. One was a Karen preacher [Myat Koung,
probably.--ED.], and the other a Burman preacher. They held each other a
moment, and then, half releasing themselves, the Karen exclaimed, 'We
were enemies once, but now we are brothers!' And then, with overflowing
hearts of joy, they bowed upon the grass, and mingled their prayers of
love and gratitude."

Let it be noted, that, at this great meeting, the first on the list of
resolutions adopted was this: "_Resolved_, That Bassein ought to beg
until it gets an American teacher to come and help in the teaching of the
Bible." In other words, Mr. Beecher, the native pastors and Christians
generally, had come to feel the urgent necessity of having a Bible-school
for the Karens in Bassein itself. That an urgent call went home to the
Free Mission Society there is no reason to doubt. But the call, though
often renewed to the mother society as well as to the daughter, remains
unanswered to this day. The contributions of the Sgau churches for this
year, including Rs. 144 given for the entertainment of the Burmese
association in Bassein, foot up to Rs. 11,174. The number of Sgau
communicants was 5,431, or, including the Pwo and Burman Christians,
6,064 members of Baptist churches in the Bassein district.

The meeting of the Pwo association, also, was a pleasant occasion; and
the reports of the itinerants among the heathen showed that much
aggressive work had been done, not without a prospect of rich results. So
great had been the strait for money in the mission, owing to the war in
America, that the Pwo mission house and compound (now owned by Mohr Bros.
& Co.) had been sold during Mr. Van Meter's absence, and the proceeds
used to keep in operation the missions of the Union in Henthada and
Bassein. He had now secured for eight hundred rupees a new home for the
Pwo mission, opposite the Burmese mission compound; and this fact gave
satisfaction and hope to the Pwo Christians, who cheerfully made a
contribution for the erection of temporary buildings for the use of their
children in the town school. The deputy commissioner, Major Stevenson,
attended this meeting on two of the days. Mr. Van Meter says of his
visit,--

"His object is to become acquainted with the people, and to have them
become acquainted with him, and know that he is their sincere friend,
personally and officially. As an earnest Christian man, he gives his
support to every measure that tends to elevate the people; and he
believes firmly that the prevalence of Christian truth will do this most
effectually. When in the city, it is his custom to have religious
services in the court-house, sabbath afternoon. At this time he invited
all to tell freely of any grievance, present any petitions, or make any
inquiries they wished. In order to attend the better to such business, he
had brought with him two court-writers, who made on the spot a memorandum
of all matters of importance. Six of the preachers, who had not yet
received their tax-exemption papers, gave in their names, and will not
need to go to court in the city. He addressed the association on the
subject of schools, especially village schools, stating the deep interest
felt in this matter by government, and the conditions on which aid would
be given."

During this year, several new adherents are reported at Myat-laykhyoung,
where the Romanists are said to be making strenuous efforts to get a
foothold.[1] The Zoungyahgyun church receives eighteen new members from
the heathen, and doubles its congregation, largely through the labors of
Myat Thah, a native of Paybeng, and long a member of that church, but now
for many years the ordained assistant of Rev. Mr. Brayton in Rangoon. Mr.
Van Meter's "heroic" method with a niggardly Sgau Christian in this
village would hardly be adopted by pastors in the United States who are
afflicted with covetous members in their churches. He writes:--

"One of the wealthiest men in the place, who ought to be the leading man
in the church, is so wretchedly mean in giving for the support of the
gospel, that his example is most pernicious. I have lately instructed the
pastor to say to him and his family, that they must give up to a certain
amount (say, ten baskets of paddy), or nothing at all would be received
from them. This, perhaps, may shame them into doing their duty. It will
at least show the others that we can do without the gifts of some men,
and they be no better off, and the church no worse off."

{ Footnote: [1] It was about this time that a Roman-Catholic missionary,
depending on the co-operation of a deputy commissioner of the same faith,
went to work systematically to compel some of his Karen disciples to
unite in forming a large village in the south-eastern part of the
district. Things went on pretty smoothly, until one man--not daring to
refuse, yet determined not to obey--hanged himself. This brought the
business to light, and very soon put an end to it. }

At the two associations held in March, 1865, exactly four hundred
baptisms were reported--a larger number than in any year of the preceding
ten. Three hundred and sixteen of these were Sgaus, two were Shans, the
remainder Pwos and Burmese. Upwards of one hundred "new worshippers" are
reported among the Karens, of whom seventy are Pwos. Two new churches
were received. The schools numbered one thousand and six Karen pupils,
and the outlook was full of encouragement to the friends of missions.
Among the subjects for earnest prayer presented by Mr. Beecher at the
Sgau association were these, "that God would stir up the disciples'
hearts to hunger and thirst for the Holy Word," and "that God would bless
the work of the society in America, in sending an additional teacher to
Bassein." A resolution was passed also, which may sound strangely to
Americans. It was to the effect that any applicant for baptism who cannot
read, and who has no understanding, is to be refused. The resolution is
justifiable on the ground that learning to read the phonetic Karen is so
easy, and the facilities for so doing so widely diffused, that a
persistent neglect to acquire the ability to read would indicate an utter
lack of appreciation of the worth of God's word and the dignity of the
Christian calling.

This year Myat Koung, the evangelist in Prome, was ordained under Dr.
Kincaid's direction. Tahpooloo, also a Bassein man, was ordained pastor
of one of the Maulmain churches. A little later, Sahpo, of whom we have
already spoken, was ordained in one of the remoter villages of Henthada;
and, about the same time, Shwayleh was set apart to the work of the
ministry by the laying-on of hands in Toungoo. This Shwayleh was
connected with the work in Toungoo almost from its beginning; and,
according to Dr. Cross, he was one of the very few who were not shaken in
mind, or entangled in the new customs and the new religion invented by
Mrs. Mason. The year after his ordination, he made a speech at the
association, of which we have a report by Dr. Cross. His statements are
so true, and so worthy of consideration, that we reproduce them. He
said,--

"You see the Bassein Karens everywhere, in all parts of the
mission-field. Your own pastor and his wife are from Bassein, and you may
see many others as the leading men among you. Why is this difference? I
answer, It is because the first disciples in Bassein were made to know by
trials and cruel opposition the value of books, and how much it costs to
possess and read them. I was obliged, when a lad, to hide my books in the
ground, or in a hollow tree, and steal opportunities to read them by
night, for fear of the Burmans. They killed one of my uncles, by tearing
out his bowels, for having and reading books. It was these trials, and
the faithfulness with which they held on to their Bibles, that made the
Bassein disciples what they now are, in comparison with others. No others
have paid so much attention to the Bible and to schools, and no others
have made so great advancement, or sent so many preachers to other
places, as they."--_Missionary Magazine_, 1867, p. 413.

A fortnight before this speech, two more Bassein preachers, Lootoo and
Klehpo,[1] were ordained by Dr. Cross, making six Bassein men in all
ordained in foreign parts within a twelve-month. It is necessary to speak
of these things to show the far-reaching results of Abbott's and
Beecher's labors, and also to show how highly Bassein Karens have been
appreciated in fields remote from their native district.

{ Footnote: [1] For Rev. A. Bunker's estimate of Klehpo, and his
efficiency in stirring up the Toungoo Christians to self-help, see
Missionary Magazine, September, 1875, p. 404. }

In October, 1865, at Rangoon, was formed a society from which great
things were expected, and from which great things ought yet to be
realized,--the Burma Baptist Missionary Convention. Beecher, Douglass and
Van Meter, with several of their native assistants and brethren,
participated in the first session of this body; the former taking an
active part in the drafting of the constitution.[1] In the resolutions
which were adopted on education, we find an appreciative notice of Mr.
Beecher's schools in Bassein. Directly after his return, in early
November, the quarterly meeting of the Sgau pastors was held; an
unusually large number being present. There was an animated discussion on
the subject of the new convention; but a decision to unite with that body
was not reached, although it was earnestly advocated by the three Bassein
missionaries. Three new Karen missionaries were appointed to Prome, and
two to Toungoo to assist Rev. Mr. Bixby in work for the Geckos.

{ Footnote: [1] The author was associated with him in this work, and he
remembers distinctly that Article V--"This Convention shall assume no
ecclesiastical or disciplinary powers"--was proposed by Mr. Beecher, and
adopted without dissent. To the close of his life he held this principle
of the Free Mission Society to be of vital importance. }

As too often happens in our "hand-to-mouth" way of conducting foreign
missions, help came when it was too late to relieve and save the patient,
suffering burden-bearer. Rev. William M. Scott and wife, from the
vicinity of Philadelphia, sailed from Boston, July 28, under appointment
by the Free Mission Society, to aid Mr. Beecher in educational work.
Touching at Galle, they reached Rangoon Dec. 13, and Bassein near the
close of 1865. Dr. Scott was a regular graduate in medicine, and had had
some experience in school and medical work among the freedmen. He was a
good man, of very fair abilities, and if he could have had a fair chance
(which could only come by using his eyes and ears for a year or two, with
the senior missionary in principal charge), he would have succeeded well.
Instead of addressing himself to the uninterrupted study of the language,
the state of Mr. Beecher's health required him to take charge of the
English school almost immediately, and that step was only preliminary to
heavier burdens.

At the association in Thahbubau, March 1-4, 1866, Mr. Beecher presided,
apparently with his accustomed energy. The Scotts were there, young and
buoyant. Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter from Rangoon were present also, by
invitation, and, without suspecting it, received their first introduction
to the scene of their future labors. To their eyes every thing was
hopeful: there were no signs of the coming change. Preparations for the
erection of a house for the Scotts were actively progressing. The Karens
had brought in over thirteen hundred rupees for that object. The scholars
were clearing a site for the house, and the posts and lumber were
contracted for. Mr. Beecher was complaining a little of a sore mouth, but
neither he nor his friends regarded it as an alarming symptom. The stroke
came at last, as tropical storms sometimes come, almost without warning.
He had not taken to his bed, or given over his accustomed duties for a
day. Even after the arrival of Mr. Scott, he kept about his work from
morning till night, and too often, in his restless dreams, from night
till morning. In less than a month after the meeting at Thahbubau, the
startling news came that Brother Beecher was far gone in consumption of
the lungs,[1] and that he was positively ordered to leave the country
without delay.

{ Footnote: [1] Physicians in England decided that his lungs were
unaffected, and that he died of chronic disease of the liver. }

They had but one week in which to pass over the work into other hands and
to make hurried preparations for the homeward voyage. The wife and
mother, almost an invalid, rose to the emergency. Her sick husband and
four little girls--the eldest under eight, and the youngest in very poor
health--must be got ready, or at least made comfortable, for the long
passage around the Cape. Kind friends gave their assistance. Boganau, a
lad in the English school, was ready to go and help take care of "the
teacher," though there was not time to seek the consent of his parents. A
ship must be chosen, and the choice rested with Mrs. Beecher. There were
three in the river, loading for England, two of them comparatively new
and fast. The third, the _William Chandler_, was a lumbering old craft,
but stanch, and nearly as comfortable for a family as the others. She had
a close netting around the poop, which would make it "so safe for the
children." This, with the fact that she was to sail a day or two before
the others, decided the question. They would go in the _Chandler_,
although the port-officer said afterwards that he, or any seafaring man,
would have chosen either of the others in preference. The event proved
that a kind Providence directed the choice. The _Chandler_ was left far
astern by her fleeter companions. The _Mystery_, in which the children
wanted to go, because she had numerous pets on board, sailed into a
storm, and was lost south of the Cape; while the other, a fine new iron
ship, was never heard from again. We can take but a few sentences from
Mrs. Beecher's very interesting account of the voyage, and her husband's
last days in England:--

"When I found how hopeless my dear husband's case was, I dreaded
exceedingly to go to sea; but our kind friend, Mrs. Wells, suggested that
there was a possibility of recovery; and kind Capt. Wells, while taking
us to the ship in his comfortable boat, gave me this advice, 'Live in the
day, and don't be anxious about the morrow.' Although my heart had been
like lead, I really think that we took his advice. It seemed as though we
thought but little, and did not even pray much, during those sad first
days of the voyage, but left ourselves quietly in the hands of our loving
Father, and he cared for us.

"Our state-rooms were very comfortable, but Mr. Beecher was unable to
come down. He remained on deck, where there was a rattan couch, the
inclination of which suited him exactly; and they put up an awning over
him, which protected him from the sun and the dews of the night. For
about six weeks the thermometer did not go below 82°, day or night. My
dear husband sometimes appeared to be dying. There was no doctor, and no
woman but myself on board; but the Lord sustained us. Mr. Beecher began
gradually to improve; and by the time we had crossed the line, and had
reached the delicious trade-winds, he seemed to me to be almost well
again. How pleasant every thing was then!...But all too soon we
reached the region of change and storms again. As we approached the 'Cape
of Storms,' the barometer began to fall alarmingly, and the wind and sea
were so high, that we had finally to heave to. I shall never forget that
night."

They had pleasant weather from the Cape to St. Helena, and from thence to
Falmouth. Mrs. Beecher, however, was alarmed by the re-appearance of bad
symptoms in the patient, especially by the swelling of his feet. On the
6th of August, eight days from St. Helena, they crossed the equator
again; and Mr. Beecher writes in his journal the last words, it is
believed, that he ever wrote on earth: "How highly are we favored by the
Father of mercies!" They reached Falmouth Sept. 12, and Plymouth on the
14th, all, as it was supposed, in greatly improved health. Although much
encouraged by hopes of the invalid's ultimate recovery, it was thought
best to remain there quietly for some time before attempting the Atlantic
voyage. Mr. Beecher was very weak, but as peaceful and happy as a
child.[1] He took omnibus-rides daily, and enjoyed calls from the pious
and learned Dr. Tregelles and a few other friends. On Saturday, Oct. 20,
he took his usual ride, and on Sunday would not permit his wife to remain
at home from chapel to be with him. Monday morning, at four o'clock,
after a slight exertion, he fainted as was supposed; but he never
revived. His trusting spirit had passed home to God. His remains were
interred in the burying-ground of the George-street Baptist Chapel.
Through all this time of sickness and sorrow the kindness of their
English friends, many of whom were old friends of Mrs. Beecher's father,
Rev. Dr. C. H. Roe, was unbounded; while the devotion of young Boganau
was like that of a son. It was not until the 11th of June following, that
the bereaved family reached their friends in New York.

{ Footnote: [1] A resolution received at this time from the Executive
Committee in Boston, cordially and unanimously inviting Mr. Beecher to
return to the service of the Missionary Union, gave him much pleasure,
and he even indulged the hope of going out again to Burma under their
auspices. }

The record of Mr. Beecher's labors in the mission-field we have already
given in an imperfect manner. While he never overlooked other departments
of the work, it is evident that his attention was largely drawn, from the
outset of his career in Burma, to the educational necessities of his
people. Nurtured for many generations in ignorance and superstition,
surrounded still by the grossest superstitions, accepting Christianity,
but still inwardly prone to superstition, as the sparks to fly upward, he
saw no hope for the growth of the Karen converts in love to God, no hope
for their growth in holiness and all Christlike graces, but through
giving them far better opportunities for a Christian education than they
had ever enjoyed. That he was right, and that those who opposed him in
this respect were wrong, is certain. He did not exaggerate the deplorable
need, nor was he mistaken in the remedy which he sought to apply. He was
not permitted to see the walls rise far above the surface; but the
foundations which he so wisely laid, still remain, and will remain, we
trust, for ages to come, the firm basis of a massive structure, which
shall ever grow in breadth, height, and solidity, fulfilling for all time
the educational needs of that people.

Born of stanch antislavery, Baptist stock, it was impossible for Mr.
Beecher to "lord it over God's heritage." He himself testified
repeatedly, and to the truth of that testimony those who have succeeded
him can bear witness, that there are no churches in the world more
independent, none, as he said, more "provokingly independent" sometimes,
than the Karen Baptist churches of Bassein. He rejoiced in that
independence. Only when he saw them going astray from righteousness and
from the New-Testament pattern, did he interpose, not personal authority,
but the authority of God's word, which liveth and abideth forever.

A friend who was most intimate with him for many years writes thus of Mr.
Beecher:--

"The strongest impression left on my mind as to his character is the
direct and childlike nature of his faith. His business was to do his
Father's work; his Father's, to supply the means. And his prayers were
most remarkable for their directness and trust. He was not surprised at
the answers to them, which were constant, and often striking. He expected
that they would be answered; and, like a child with a father, he brought
the little as well as the great things, and, asking in faith, received
the answers continually.

"The next thing that is impressed upon my memory is his extreme
attachment to his work. It was the delight of his life. He might weary in
it, but he never wearied of it. He desired no change, no recreation. Few
could work on so steadily as he. The Karens often spoke of his industry.
From early dawn to the hour of retiring at night, with the exception of
meal-time and a short ride or walk daily, he was continually at work at
one thing or another, and I well remember on our voyage home, when I was
speaking of the pleasure of meeting dear friends, and the delights of
Christian society at home, he agreed, but said after a while, 'I believe
that I like work best.' Indeed, when at home in 1856, after the first joy
of meeting his relatives, they began to feel that he was theirs no
longer. His whole heart was in his work. The last six months in Bassein,
a kind of restlessness took possession of him. Although evidently not in
full strength, and suffering from local troubles, yet his desire to work
became a passion, and he undertook more than he had ever attempted
before. I felt that he was killing himself, and besought him with tears
to moderate his labors; but it seemed as though he could not. Perhaps he
had a premonition that his time was short. In England he once remarked,
that probably his work had shortened his life by ten years; but he seemed
to think that it was worth the sacrifice.

"He was attached to the Karens with a deep and undying love; and yet that
affection never led him to seek popularity among them, or to flatter
them, or to refrain from telling them the whole truth, if they ought to
know it, in the plainest manner. He knew their faults so well, and felt
them so deeply, and often spoke of them so plainly, that I sometimes
wondered how he could still have such unwearied patience with them. The
Karens would hardly have endured his plain speaking if they had not felt
his deep and true affection for them.

"One characteristic of Mr. Beecher's, which must have struck all those at
all intimately acquainted with him, was his perfect truthfulness. He
hated exaggeration, and rather underrated than overrated his own work, or
suffering, or success. Indeed, he criticised rather severely some who
spoke eloquently of the sufferings and privations of missionary life,
never allowing that they were worth mentioning. His exactness led him to
enjoy and value statistics, and he delighted in making them out
himself.[1] He had many accounts to keep,--with the society, the school,
the Karens, and with the government for 'grants-in-aid;' and he kept them
all clear and unconfused. He was a good business-man,--could build a
house better and cheaper than most men, and would always buy and sell at
the right time, greatly to the advantage of the school and mission. In a
word, he was a strong man, one to be trusted and relied upon, not one who
would easily change or waver. He was also eminently disinterested and
unselfish in all the relations of life. Of what he was as a husband and
father I hardly dare to speak."

{ Footnote: [1] To Mr. Beecher the readers of this volume are chiefly
indebted for the full and instructive statistical information herein
contained. }

During the later years of his life Mr. Beecher's spirit was much
softened; and before his death, we are told that every trace of
bitterness was obliterated. He referred in affectionate terms to the
brethren of the Missionary Union, and especially to his old friend and
associate, Mr. Abbott. He died, as we all would die, at peace with all
the world. He rests well: his work abideth.

On the west wall of the spacious and beautiful Memorial Hall in Bassein
may be seen two marble tablets side by side, as the two brethren and
companions in labor would wish them to be. The one is sacred to the
memory of E. L. Abbott. The other bears this inscription, imperfect, in
that it contains no mention of the American Baptist Free Mission Society,
to which he was so true:--

Sacred to the Memory of
JOHN SIDNEY BEECHER

[Name and title in Karen.]

Missionary of the American Baptist Missionary Union
And, by the help of God, the Founder of the
Bassein Sgau Karen Normal and Industrial Institute.

Born in Hinesburg, Vt., U.S.A., Feb. 19, 1820;
Arrived in Sandoway, Burma, December, 1847;
Opened this Institution in 1860;
Died in Plymouth, Eng., Oct. 22, 1866.

His is the distinguished honor of establishing
The first Christian School in Burma on
The basis of indigenous support.
The Karen Christians of Bassein will not suffer
His name, or the Institution which he founded,
To perish.

[In Karen] May his work ever flourish!



CHAPTER XVII.
1867.


"Christians are God's people, begotten of his Spirit, obedient to him,
enkindled by his fire. To be near the Bridegroom is their very life: his
blood is their glory. Before the majesty of the betrothed of God, kingly
crowns grow pale: a hut to them becomes a palace. Sufferings under which
heroes would pine are gladly borne by loving hearts which have grown
strong through the cross."--COUNT VON ZINZENDORF, _the Moravian._


WE have seen that the Karens were so full of zeal and courage in 1857-58,
that they were ready themselves to undertake the support of an additional
teacher from America. No less conscious of needing more teachers, they
were not long in finding that there was a limit to their pecuniary
ability. They now call upon American Christians to send them a suitable
man or men to carry on the work to a higher stage of advancement. A few
words on the subject thus suggested seem to be called for.

So great is the poverty of Asiatic Christians, and so great is the
consequent disparity between their mode of living, and the living which
is absolutely necessary for the preservation of a white foreigner's
health and strength in their country and climate, that we should deem it
most unwise to ask or permit them to contribute to the support of
American missionaries, although the missionary's whole time and strength
be used for their benefit. To ask a native, who lives in a hut on five
dollars a month, or less, to bear his share of the support of his own
native pastor, and, in addition, to contribute to the support of his
missionary, who lives in a house which would be to him a palace, on fifty
dollars a month, which would be to him the height of luxury, would be
unreasonable, and most unhappy in its effects every way. Self-respect
would constrain a missionary, in accepting native support, to bring down
his living as nearly as possible to the native level, although it might
involve the loss of health and years of usefulness.

But we urge more especially, that, _to do the native Christians and the
heathen the greatest amount of good, the missionary must be quite
independent of native support_. Paul refused personal gifts and personal
support from all his converts, save those in Philippi, although they
belonged to nations wealthier and more civilized, probably, than his own,
in order that the Gentiles everywhere might know that he sought "not
yours, but you." (See 1 Cor. ix. 12, 15, 18; 2 Cor. xii. 14; 2 Thess.
iii. 8, 9, and elsewhere.) So John, in his Third Epistle: "For His name's
sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles." For any missionary
to violate this principle, and make a gain in any way of the people whom
he goes to elevate and save, is disastrous to his influence and
usefulness. Develop the principle of self-support, by all means, to the
utmost; but let American churches look to the support of their own
missionary representatives.

Despairing of adequate help from the Free Mission Society, the Bassein
pastors united in the following letter to the A. B. M. Union. It was sent
through Mr. Douglass, in March, 1866, after its contents had been made
known to Mr. Beecher.

BASSEIN, BURMA.
_To our beloved brethren in America, pastors, elders, and all disciples
of Christ_:--

We, pastors and Christians of Bassein, send a Christian greeting. May the
grace of God abide with you! Dear brethren, we desire to tell you a
little of our present condition. We cannot forget the great grace brought
to us by you formerly. We constantly remember the time when teacher
Abbott first came to us. His coming caused us great joy. From the death
of our beloved teacher until now, we have never been so happy and
steadfast as before, and in some things we have retrograded. _First_, the
schools in town and in the villages have diminished: in some of the
villages, schools have long ceased to exist. _Secondly_, the number of
men willing to go and preach to the heathen has decreased. _Thirdly_,
conversions from among the heathen do not increase: they have nearly
stopped. _Fourthly_, the love of the disciples generally to the Saviour
is less, and they appear not to have the same pleasure in serving him as
formerly; thus they seem retrograding year by year.

Beloved brethren, this state of things is very hard for us. We Karens do
not understand; we cannot devise; we have no power; we are a feeble
people, and have as yet little strength to do for ourselves. We wish
therefore to ask you a few questions:--

What are teacher Abbott's two sons doing? How are they living? How
employed? Are they not worthy to do the Lord's work? We have hoped they
would remember the work their father left here. We express our wish in
this matter, but we cannot bring it to pass of ourselves. It must be
decided as you think best for us. Teacher Beecher says he cannot remain
long among us, but a new teacher will come to take his place. We feel
that one missionary is not enough for Bassein. We need two or three
American teachers all the time. We want one man to teach English, one man
to teach the Bible and other books in Karen, and one man to have the
superintendence of the churches. One man cannot supply our necessity:
possibly two might do. But, dear brethren, our wants are so great, we
cannot provide for them all, unaided by you. We are still weak, and there
is much poverty among us. We therefore implore your help.

The churches in Bassein have many things to do for themselves. They have
the Home Mission Society to support, and the English Institute for young
men and women. They also have the schools in their villages to support,
besides their own pastors. These things we must do; and, as we cannot do
all that ought to be done, we write to tell you, dear brethren, and pray
you to remember us, and send us help. When you have received this our
letter, and considered it, we beg you to be patient, and inform us
whether you will try and send us one or two missionaries or not.

May the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all! Amen.

(Signed)
MYAT KEH.    TOOTHAH.    MAU YAY.    TOHLO.    PO KWAY.

The falling-off in the schools, to which the pastors allude, must have
been in comparison with what was done in the first years after Mr.
Beecher's return to Bassein from America, not in comparison with what was
done in Mr. Abbott's time, when, from the untoward circumstances, very
little indeed could be done in that line. The decline in spirituality
should have been attributed mainly to the prosperity and the worldly
cares which followed the irregularity, the losses, and, to some extent,
the license, of the war. The fact was, also, that Mr. Beecher at last
found himself simply overborne by the magnitude of his work. He had said
again and again that the work in his field required the full time and
strength of three men. He was a strong man, and he had literally used
himself up in the vain struggle to overtake the various tasks that
pressed upon him. True as most of this letter was, and not uncalled for,
the reading of it, in his prostrate condition, must have added to his
pain. To have delayed the writing a few weeks would have been more
merciful, and none the less effectual.

Aside from communicating with the sons of Mr. Abbott, no action was taken
by the Executive Committee until after news of the departure of Mr.
Beecher from Burma had been received. It then being settled that neither
of the young men referred to was prepared to respond favorably to the
call of the Karens, Secretary Warren wrote to the pastors, assuring them
of the warm interest of the Missionary Union in the Bassein Christians,
and suggesting the name of Rev. D. A. W. Smith of the theological
seminary, as a man well able to supply their needs. By the same mail a
letter was sent to Mr. Smith, opening the way for him to go to Bassein,
in case he should feel inclined. The very day before this letter arrived,
however, it had been arranged, provisionally, that Mr. Thomas, who was on
the eve of embarking for the United States, in broken health, should try
the effect of a change to Bassein, Mr. Smith supplying his place in
Henthada. Mr. Thomas was already well known and loved by the people of
Bassein; and he soon received cordial letters from the Karens, inviting
him thither. That this deferring of the homeward voyage would cost the
mission his valuable life was far from the thoughts of his friends; but
so it proved. The arrangement gave general satisfaction. One of the
leading brethren in Rangoon wrote at the time:--

"A noble band of Christians they are at Bassein, and they need look no
farther for a man adapted to them. It is the hand of the Lord
re-instating the Missionary Union in its own field. We have great reason
to rejoice in the present harmony prevailing among all the missionaries
of this field."

Mr. Thomas reached Bassein the last of February, 1867. Mr. and Mrs. Scott
were occupying the mission-house and compound owned by the Free Mission
Society. A new dwelling-house must be built before the rains; and Mr.
Thomas, though much debilitated, set about the task promptly. The site
selected was on the Free Mission property, at a convenient distance from
the chapel and school-buildings. To avoid complications of ownership, the
materials and some money gathered by the Karens for a house for Mr. Scott
were made over to Mr. Thomas; and the balance necessary, furnished by the
Union, was to be regarded as advance rent, the house to belong to the
Karens, when the accumulated rents should amount to a sum equal to that
put into the house by the Union. A harmonious division of the work
assigned to Dr. Scott the superintendence of the English school, in which
he was succeeding finely, and to Mr. Thomas the care of the churches.

The statistics of the Sgau churches for 1866, the last year of Mr.
Beecher's connection with the mission, footed up,--churches, 52;
baptisms, 209; pastors (ordained), 12; unordained pastors and preachers,
72; communicants, 5,658. Total contributions for religious and
educational purposes, Rs. 17,549. The Pwo statistics for the same year
show 17 churches, 74 baptisms, 631 communicants, 5 ordained pastors, 23
preachers, and the total contributions and expenditures, Rs. 3,282.

Mr. Thomas's letters from Bassein this year give us a clear idea both of
the field as he found it, and of the nature of his closing labors on
earth:--

"BASSEIN, _Feb. 28, 1867._--Having passed beyond the Henthada field, I
spent a day at Kwengyah, the seat of the first Bassein church, and tried
to arouse them from their spiritual stupor. Towards night we started for
our boat, nearly a mile from the chapel, followed by a large number of
the disciples and by nine candidates for baptism. On reaching the river,
we had worship, and then, in the presence of many heathen Burmans, I
baptized these, re-entered my boat, and hastened to the next church.

"Friday was spent with the large church in M'gayl'hah. I attended an
early prayer-meeting, visited young converts and old members at a
distance of three miles, preached at eleven, A.M., at noon baptized five,
communion in the afternoon, and left, to sleep five miles farther down,
at Pohdau. As the pastor was unwell, we did not hold meetings here, but
pressed on early the next morning to Hseat-thah and Shankweng, where are
more than two hundred disciples. There I spent Saturday and Sunday. 'The
word of God was precious.' Sunday noon I baptized fifteen happy converts
in the Bassein River,--a beautiful baptistery.

"In all the above places the simple preaching of one, two, or three
sermons, was but a small part of the labor to be done: hence I reached
the city weary and worn, yet not abating 'a jot of heart or hope.' Now
with my whole heart I entreat the dear people of God in America to pray,
'O Lord, revive thy work' in Bassein."

"_March 29._--Soon after arriving in Bassein, I started southward, to
visit churches that were in a bad condition. I visited six, all that
there are on the river in that direction. I was very kindly received in
every place, and found many who seemed like true children of God. March
13 we went to the association. Messrs. Scott and Thomas with their
families were there, and Brother Van Meter, and a very good
representation from the churches. We spent four days and five nights
preaching, praying, devising, and directing in reference to the interests
of these churches."

The letter closes thus:--

"The schools are prosperous. I do not think there is any widespread error
in Bassein; but I am deeply impressed with the conviction that there is a
very low state of piety. We need a revival here. Plead with the Saviour
that he may again 'visit his plantation.' Let our united cry be, 'O Lord,
revive thy work' in Bassein!"

Mr. Scott writes to the "American Baptist:"--

"The twenty-fourth annual meeting was held with the Lehkoo church. A
large number of pastors and delegates were present, though a few of the
churches were not represented. Some of the Karens came in on elephants.
The stately march of seven or eight of these huge animals through the
streets of the little village, to and from the thickets where they sought
their food, was quite a sight to us. The meetings, four each day, were
all well attended. Hundreds flocked to the daily sunrise prayer-meetings,
in striking contrast to the few who usually find their way to similar
meetings at home. The spirit of believing prayer seemed to be in the
hearts of many.

"Brother Thomas presided throughout the meetings in a very interesting
way. Sermons were preached by brethren Thomas, Dahbu, Kwee Beh, and Poo
Goung. An obituary notice of Brother Beecher, testifying to the value of
his labors, was adopted, and ordered to be printed with the minutes.
Pastor Dahbu, one of Brother Beecher's pupils at Sandoway, was appointed
to prepare a letter of sympathy to Sister Beecher and her fatherless
little daughters.[1] A desire to send the gospel to the regions beyond
was evinced by the adoption of a resolution to support three men in the
Henthada district, if fit men could be found; also to aid two of the
Bassein evangelists in Prome. A collection of eighty-five rupees was
given in aid of [Sahpo, who has recently returned to Bassein from
Henthada, where he had been laboring faithfully for several years]. The
question of the continuance of the English school was discussed. When the
vote was taken, nearly the whole audience voted affirmatively, by rising
to their feet. On Lord's Day afternoon, the Lord's Supper was observed
with the Lehkoo church."

{ Footnote: [1] This letter pledged pecuniary assistance from the Bassein
churches, if needed. }

July 24 Mr. Thomas writes, that since they moved into their new house, on
the 6th of June, Mrs. Thomas's health had been much better. He adds,--

"We have been passing through sad scenes. The wife of Sahnay was buried
yesterday. Do you recognize the name Sahnay? He is the man whom Mr.
Beecher sent to America to be educated, now head master of the
Anglo-Karen school [on this compound]. His wife, Nau Pyoo Mah, only spoke
Karen. She belonged to a fine family, and was an earnest, consistent
Christian. We all feel our loss most deeply. There are too few such women
left. On hearing that many heathen Burmans were expected [at the
funeral], I sent for Brother Crawley, reminding him that there might be a
good opportunity to preach the gospel. He came. Our large chapel was
filled, and there were not less than a hundred Burmans. So, after the
reading of Scripture-selections in Karen, Brother Crawley made one of his
most appropriate and effective addresses in Burmese, from the words,
'That ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.' While he spoke
of the hope we have of the dying believer, they listened attentively, and
only began to be restive as he pictured the condition of those without
hope. The heathen listen, and are interested; but they return to their
unholy ways. Whatever may be the results of this address, I am very
deeply impressed with the great privilege of thus preaching the gospel to
the heathen. Oh that many of the young brethren just about to enter upon
life's duties may decide to tell these heathen of Jesus!"

During the rains Mr. Thomas was teaching in the vernacular department
three hours a day, besides preaching, and attending to the innumerable
calls from the jungle villages. Moreover, he was hard at work, often
until late at night, in writing and revising hymns for the new edition of
the Karen hymn-book, then passing through the press. Not a few of his
Karen hymns will live, and exert their quickening influence, so long as
the Karen language is used. Besides all this, and the finishing of his
house, he was preparing copy for the Karen "Morning Star," which he
edited for many years. He also published at this time two excellent
tracts, on "Family Worship" and "Revivals of Religion." No wonder that he
writes to a correspondent, Aug. 30, "Really I am too weary to write much
now, and have no time to do so."

In October he writes to a friend in Rangoon that the attendance at the
Ministerial Conference was very large. The subject of discontinuing the
English school was again under discussion. If we mistake not, Mr. Thomas
himself was in favor of its discontinuance, and pressed the subject
somewhat. Mrs. Scott had been obliged to leave the country on account of
serious ill health, and there was a prospect that her husband would have
to follow her before long. The school was dismissed for six weeks; but it
was finally settled that it should be carried on, and that a single lady
from America should be obtained, if possible, to assist in that
department. At the fullest session Mr. Thomas introduced a resolution to
this effect: "As the Burma Baptist Missionary Convention is of the same
faith and order with ourselves, we put our minds at one with them" ("pah
p'thah t'plerhau dau au"). There followed an hour of warm discussion.
Sahnay led the opposition. Mr. Thomas spoke much, he writes, giving all
the light he could on the objections raised, the principal one seeming to
be the fear that some time the convention might even introduce
life-memberships. Finally the subject was wisely dropped, without taking
a vote. Evil seeds of distrust had been sown, even in that early day,
which would yield their bitter fruit in that otherwise fair field for
many a long year.

We give two more characteristic extracts from Mr. Thomas's letters to the
secretary:--

"_Aug. 10._--Last evening the mail came in, and we got accounts of your
meetings at Chicago. Many things astonish us nowadays, but nothing more
than the growth of the West in America. In Chicago there is evidently
something besides a vast city and numerous men and women; these we have
on this side of the globe: but there is _moral power_. We rejoice that
perfect unanimity prevailed in the missionary meetings; yet I feel the
need of something still better,--a tender, melting sense of God's
presence. Peter could walk on the water while he kept lowly, and while
his eye was fixed on Jesus.

"_Nov. 24._--The rainy season passed away much as it has seventeen other
times since I have been in Burma. Only this season I have had more
anxiety about the churches. The care of them and the station-work, with
instruction in the vernacular school, nearly all the preaching in Sgau
Karen, preaching once a month in English, together with editorial duties,
have kept me busy, nay, crushed me almost to the earth."

Owing to the mortal disease which was upon him, though he knew it not,
Mr. Thomas turned back from Rangoon, quite unable to reach the convention
at Maulmain. For medicine, he again resorts to travel among the jungle
churches. He writes:--

"_Dec. 24, 1867._--On my return from Rangoon, I commenced my preparations
for work among the Karens. The country was not dry enough for me to
travel safely until the first of this month. Having returned to the city
for a few days, I hasten to give a few particulars in regard to my tour.
From them the reader may infer the general state of things now existing
in Bassein.

"I visited twelve different churches. In some of them my stay was brief;
but in others, circumstances required me to prolong it. To the most of
the twelve, I came ten years ago. In some, say in three of the twelve, I
can see a very decided improvement; in other places there has been no
improvement; while in a few, deterioration is to be plainly seen.

"The church in Shan Yuah is in a very undesirable state; but, as I can go
there easily, I propose to visit the place later, when I can spend a
longer time. Hence I did not call the disciples in from their distant
fields. At evening, however, I preached to a good congregation from John
xv. 8, urging the people to bring forth fruit, much fruit; e.g., support
their pastor, instruct their children, and other things in which I knew
them to be deficient.

"Thence we proceeded to Wetsoo, on the east side of the river, some
twenty miles from the city. In this place we spent three days. Here are
about one hundred disciples, who seem to be true believers; yet they are
divided, one half adhering to the preacher established there, while the
other half, only two miles distant, have put up one of their own number
as their pastor. This preacher is a very modest, intelligent,
sincere-appearing man.[1] While there were no outbreaking sins to be
dealt with, there was a want of vigor and of general intelligence. But
both branches would be deemed worthy Christians in any part of the world,
and yet they were hopelessly divided. Last March I spent a day and night
here. We urged them to be united under one preacher, but that union is
impossible. Hence, after much prayer and consultation, the Wetsoo church
agreed to become two bands. They seemed relieved when they found they
could do this, and to love each other better than ever before.

{ Footnote: [1] We regret to say that Pahlo, the preacher referred to,
was disfellowshipped at the association in 1882, for practising heathen
enchantments. }

"Our work was very simple after we found that union could not be had. It
was merely to form an additional church. There were no letters of
dismission to be read. One church simply agreed to separate into two.
Then, before the elders from neighboring churches and the missionary,
they agreed to love and aid each other, to maintain the ordinances of the
gospel, and to extend the blessings of Christ's kingdom in the world.
Hence we all agreed that they were two real churches of Jesus. How
simple, yet how mighty through God, is a church of Christ! We had the
communion with both churches separately, but persons to join both were
baptized by me at one place. It was a very solemn occasion. Four were
accepted out of ten applicants.

"From Wetsoo, returning up stream a few miles, we entered a large river
to the west, called Thandoay. On this river and its tributaries are many
of our churches. We soon came into a beautiful country. The spurs of the
Western Yoma range began to show themselves,--beautiful, gravelly
hillocks, on which are thrifty gardens of pine-apples, shaded by jack and
mango trees in great numbers. Here the people are not confined to
rice-cultivation. Between the hills, paddy grows luxuriantly; but, should
the rice-crop fail, these fruit-gardens still remain. It is a land richly
blessed of Heaven.

"We first stopped at Hsen Leik, not because of any difficulty known to
exist in the church, but, as this is the place for the association this
year, I wished to see if all was likely to be in readiness, and if the
time of meeting was understood. Here is Thahree, one of our most
intelligent ordained men. There are pleasing signs of enterprise and
Christian activity in this church. Improvement is very visible. I was
here ten years ago, and spent a whole day in trying to unite this church,
and to induce them to make choice of a pastor.

"From Thahree's church we proceeded up the stream ten miles, to one of
the most disordered churches in the district,--the one in Gai-kalee [or
Pee-neh-kweng]. It numbers a hundred and twenty-five members. Five years
ago the pastor (unordained) was expelled from the church for open sin.
Thus far all was in order. But here the difficulty began. A large party,
mostly relatives of the pastor, were opposed to calling a new man. They
said their old pastor, if he should repent, ought to be reinstated. But
the majority prevailed. They called another man, restored the offender to
church privileges, but opposed his becoming a preacher again. Upon this
the friends of the offender withdrew a few miles, and proposed to become
a new and separate church. In this condition I found them when I came to
Bassein. Often have I urged them to return to their church relations, or
else, by aid of a council of brethren, to form themselves into a new
church with a man of untarnished character for pastor.

"But on reaching Gai-kalee all had to be talked over again. The names of
all were still on the church list at Gai-kalee, yet for three years the
disaffected had never reported themselves. Bad reports also were in
circulation about many of the lost members. Our first work was to have
the Gai-kalee church erase these to them lost members. This was done
understandingly, though perhaps it was now done for the first time in
Burma. The church understood that they had cut off thirty members from
all connection with them; that, if these members were ever admitted into
any church, it must be on experience, much as candidates for baptism are
received.

"Our next business was to go to the members thus cut off, and see what
could be done with them. Having called the elders of the nearer churches,
we went to Lahyo, where these irregular members reside. We found them in
a beautiful place. They had built a small chapel, and on our arrival they
received us with great cordiality. At first nothing would do but to
acknowledge the once excluded preacher as their pastor. This we firmly
resisted; and after preaching and praying, and a great deal of talking,
all gave up their favorite, and agreed to do as their brethren thought
they ought to do. They were willing to accept another man as pastor.

"Then we formed a kind of council of the elders in the vicinity, who knew
all about these scattered members. Out of about thirty, fourteen were
found without fault. These wished to be constituted into a new church.
After questioning them as to their belief and future intentions, it was
voted that they be a church of Christ in Lahyo. Then from among
themselves was found a very worthy appearing man, Tookyau, who was
unanimously chosen as their minister. A deacon was not ready just then;
and the missionary told them that a church could exist without a deacon,
at least until such officers are needed. Having thus formed a little
church, and they having chosen their pastor, they proceeded to other
business. Three candidates for baptism were accepted. Two more persons,
whom no church had claimed for years, were received on experience. Then
we all went to the baptismal waters; and then, for the first time in
Lahyo, was celebrated the dying love of Christ.

"I was surprised to find that many heathen Karens reside near Lahyo, and
Tookyau seems to be pleased to labor among these heathen. Who knows but
this little one is to become a thousand? These twenty poor disciples
cannot yet support their preacher; but I have just received the good news
that God has put it into the heart of a sister in Milesburg, Penn., to
send twenty-five dollars to be spent by me. This money shall be given to
aid Tookyau to preach the gospel among the heathen in Lahyo.[1]

{ Footnote: [1] Rev. Ng'chee, the present pastor at Lahyo, in addition to
the care of his little church, does regular, hard work among the heathen
far and near, for which he receives from the Karen Home Mission Society
pay enough to give himself and family a frugal support, without looking
to Christians in America for help. }

"From Lahyo, we went on as far as we could before Sunday was upon us
again. That was a precious sabbath. We spent it in two places quite near
together. In Mohgoo, Rev. Shahshu is the ordained pastor. Their
meeting-house is the very best I have yet seen in the jungles of Burma.
There and in Taukoo it was very cheering to see stable, orderly,
intelligent Christian men and women. The word of God has taken deep root
in many villages. It will be sure to bear fruit to God's glory, and that
for years to come. But we need a revival, oh, how much!

"The sabbath past, we again directed our course where our help was
needed. Several members of the Hohlot church had been to me in town,
complaining that three ordained men and several elders had decided that
one of their members, an elder of the church, was guilty of immorality.
This, they affirmed, was not so; and, to prove it, they declared that the
church had not excluded said elder. On arrival, I found that nearly all
the church believe the man guilty, but hardly dare to exclude him. They
feared to act, and tried to hope that it was sufficient for a _quasi_
council to act for them. We tried to make the church feel that they must
take action at all hazards. I will not stop to tell how we passed up to
the very end of the Thandoay River, trying to stir up other churches,
until I reached another river to the north-west of Bassein, when, hearing
that cholera was raging in town, I returned, fearing that the school
might be scattered."

We quote most of the above letter, because it would be difficult to find
a more graphic and truthful picture of missionary work as it goes on
to-day among the Karens. We have heard it whispered that missionaries in
foreign lands are prone to assume episcopal powers. That they are called
upon to do the work of a bishop, in the New-Testament sense, on a far
wider scale than pastors in America, and that they endeavor to fulfil the
duties of that office in the fear of God, will not be denied. We have
here a fair sample of their work in stimulating pastors and churches to
activity, in healing divisions, promoting wholesome discipline, order,
and orthodoxy in faith. Let the descriptions which Thomas and others have
frankly given in our missionary publications be read critically. Where is
the assumption of unscriptural authority? Let the particular fault be
pointed out, and missionaries, we are sure, will not be slow to correct
their errors. The letter which follows is the last that appeared in the
"Magazine" from the pen of its lamented author.

BASSEIN, Jan. 8, 1868.

This second trip has been among the churches up the river to the north.
Let me say a few words as to what I have seen and heard.

I have seen many professed Christians: but many of them have a wild,
heathenish appearance; this is especially true of the women. The fact is,
the members of these churches read but little. When I first reached
Bassein last year, there were less than fifty Karen newspapers taken and
read in Bassein, among six thousand Christians. Over three hundred are
now taken, but they are read by a few only. There are but few Bibles in
Bassein. I have already furnished one for every church in this district.
A few private members have received the same great blessing. But this
precious book looks too large for this people to undertake to read it.
They are absorbed in their paddy-fields. They admire fine guns and fine
cattle to cultivate their fields, but to read the word of God there is
but little disposition. They do like to hear read the news items in the
monthly paper; but, as they can get these from their pastors, they
decline, as a body, to "take the paper" for themselves.

I have found schools, though just now not in operation, as it is
harvest-time; but they are held mostly in buildings with no walls and but
indifferent floors and roofs. All seems so cheerless, and so destitute of
all that is adapted to interest children, that one is led to doubt if
education can be maintained among any people in this way.

The women of this district are in a worse state than the men. They work
in the fields with their husbands. They are careworn, with children
clinging to them every moment in the day. No child can be left alone for
a few moments, shut up, it may be, in a room, while the parents attend to
household affairs. In these Karen houses there is no room into which to
put children. They must be held by might and main to keep them from
falling through the bamboo floors, or over the edges of the verandas, on
which there are no railings. Hence women grow old while very young. They
are destitute of nearly all the privileges enjoyed by women in New
England. They seldom attend meeting, or only with a child or children too
troublesome to admit of the mother hearing God's word. The missionary's
wife is in the city; but not more than one Karen woman in a hundred ever
goes to these good missionary women; and alas! there is no female
missionary to go to them: all are away, or worn out with years of toil.

I have only written a few of the disheartening things which have pressed
themselves upon my attention during the past two weeks. I am oppressed
with a burden upon my soul,--a burden which no human hand has placed
there, and which no hand but that of our gracious God can relieve. I
bless God that I have been permitted to preach the gospel with such
freedom here in Bassein, and to so many. Now my strength is nearly gone.
But there must be hard, persevering, earnest preaching of the gospel
here. There must be work done.

At last, like Beecher, Mr. Thomas awoke, too late, to the necessity of an
immediate change. At the close of January he was in Rangoon, "a mere
skeleton," and "too miserably unwell to write." Feb. 28 he penned a
letter from Madras, which lies before us. From that port, onwards to
Marseilles, he suffered agony almost from every revolution of the
steamer's screw. In Paris he enjoyed a brief meeting with the Baptist
brethren, and put himself under the care of an eminent physician for a
few weeks; but he was very weak. In one of his last letters he writes:--

"Earth has lost in my eyes much of her charms; but, now that I am on my
way home, I have a great desire to see all there. But there are purer,
brighter scenes above, even if I fail to see those I so much love in
America."

In his very last letter to Secretary Warren, dated London, May 8, he
speaks a word for peace:--

"I want you and Dr. B----to be united; i.e., I want the two societies to
become one, at least as far as Burma is concerned. This union would be
the greatest thing you could do for Bassein. Please remember this, as you
go to New York for the meetings.

"Yours in the gospel of Jesus,
"B. C. THOMAS."

Hastening on, he reached New York on the 8th of June, and died three days
later, surrounded by sorrowing Christian friends and relatives.[1]

{ Footnote: [1] An obituary notice of Rev. B.C. Thomas may be found in
the Missionary Magazine for September, 1868, p. 381. }

On his gravestone, in the cemetery at Newton Centre, Mass., these true
words are inscribed:--

"He preached Christ; he trusted in Christ; he has gone to be with
Christ."

May we do our work as well, and enter into our rest as peacefully, as did
the warm-hearted, manly man, and devoted missionary, Benjamin Calley
Thomas!



CHAPTER XVIII.
1868-1874.


"If India is ever to be evangelized, it must be by the voluntary efforts
of her own sons, not by agents sustained by foreign money, and directed
by foreign committees...Not invasion, but permanent occupation, is
our object: that object can never be attained, _save by making the war
support itself_."--_Indian Evangelical Review_, April, 1874.


THE manner in which the American Baptist Missionary Union finally
obtained undivided possession of the Bassein field is worth recording.
Soon after the departure of Mr. Thomas, Mr. Scott received instructions
from his board, that, in case he should leave Bassein, he was to sell the
property of the society to as good advantage as he could, or, if unable
to sell, to make it over legally to Rev. Messrs. J. B. Vinton and R. M.
Luther, their missionaries in Rangoon. Mr. Scott accordingly wrote to
those brethren, giving them the first opportunity to buy the
mission-compound, and proposing that one of them should remove to
Bassein, and take charge of the school and mission, as he himself was
about to return to the United States. Mr. Luther replied, on behalf of
Mr. Vinton and himself, to the effect that they had not the funds
wherewith to buy the property, nor was either of them at liberty to leave
their work in Rangoon. They also suggested the purchase of the property
by the Karens. A general meeting of the pastors and elders was
accordingly called on the 11th of June, 1868. Mr. Douglass, who is our
authority, was present at the meeting, by invitation. Mr. Scott, as agent
of the Free Mission Society, offered to sell the entire property to the
Karen Home Mission Society for twenty-six hundred rupees, a nominal
price; that being the amount actually expended by the Free Mission
Society on the dwelling-house and outbuildings of Mr. Beecher. This sum
the Karens at first agreed to pay, on condition that Mr. Douglass would
move into the house, and take temporary charge of the property and the
school. This he declined to do. After five days of prayer and
consultation, the pastors united in a request that Mr. Douglass would
purchase the property for the Missionary Union, and himself take the
superintendence of the mission. We quote from his letter to Secretary
Warren:--

"They said that they wished the Missionary Union to own the property, for
two reasons. (1) If they were required now to raise the money to pay for
the property, it would, for at least a year, so absorb their
contributions, that their schools and home-mission work would greatly
suffer; but,

"(2) They especially wished the Union to own the property as long as
foreign teachers remained among them, as they would then be united and
happy among themselves; while, if they owned the property, some might
wish a teacher from one society, and some from another, and thus they
might become divided. They said they feared to have teachers from two
societies, lest they should not agree between themselves, and the Karens
should be divided, some for one teacher, and some for the other."

It was finally arranged that Mr. Douglass would make the purchase in his
own name, and at once offer the property to the Union, he, meanwhile,
taking temporary charge. Mr. Scott's deed to Mr. Douglass is dated June
25, 1868. In closing the letter announcing his action to Dr. Warren, Mr.
Douglass uses this language:--

"As the Sgau Karen churches in this district have from year to year, for
the last twelve years, contributed more for schools and religious
objects, furnished more students and candidates for the ministry, and
sent out more missionaries, than all the other districts in Burma
combined (I think this statement is strictly true), I doubt not that you
will favorably regard the wish of these pastors, and accept the offer
that I make to you of the property."

In a subsequent letter he says,--

"Another man is needed here, and another man these Karen pastors are
determined to have, for the educational department...Look at what
God is doing,--a people that were in pagan night, and did not know a
letter of the alphabet thirty years ago, now laying hundreds and
thousands of rupees at the feet of the missionary, and demanding a man to
teach them, and fit them to work for God!"

The Executive Committee promptly authorized the purchase of the property,
and the transfer was made to the Union by Mr. Douglass for the exact
amount paid by him for it. From July until November, Mr. and Mrs.
Douglass occupied the Beecher house, left vacant by the return of Mr.
Scott to America. He divided his time and labors between the Burman and
Karen departments, while his wife gave her time chiefly to teaching in
the Karen school. In consequence of his over-exertion at this time, Mr.
Douglass was much worn down, and in the following July he succumbed to an
attack of bilious-fever, to the deep regret of his associates and many
friends.[1]

{ Footnote: [1] For an account of Rev. J. L. Douglass's last sickness and
death, see Missionary Magazine, November, 1869, p. 417. }

In November, 1868, a most interesting and profitable meeting of the Burma
Baptist Missionary Convention was held in Bassein, on the Sgau Karen
compound. The steamer _Pioneer_ of Rangoon having been chartered for the
occasion, there was a large attendance of missionaries and native
delegates from abroad, as well as large delegations from the jungle
villages of Bassein. The Karens contributed cheerfully and generously for
the entertainment of their guests. The work in Bassein was duly reported
with that of other districts. Not a few pastors and laymen of Bassein
united with the visiting body as individuals; but, with cordiality of
feeling increased somewhat, there was no general movement towards a
formal union with the convention.

The question who should succeed the lamented Thomas in this important
field, was uppermost in all minds. On the third day of the meeting the
first telegram ever sent from the Rooms in Boston to the American Baptist
missions in Asia gave answer. Seven words--"Carpenter transferred to
Bassein, Smith to Rangoon"--produced a great calm in the minds of all,
save the delegation of Henthada Karens, who were loath to lose their new
teacher. As Mr. Carpenter had already received letters from Boston on the
subject of a change of work, and an urgent invitation from the Bassein
pastors[1] to become their leader, he was ready for immediate removal.
His only experience in station-work had been gained in two vacations
spent on the Maulmain Karen field; but, during his connection of five
years and a half with the theological seminary in Rangoon, he had
acquired the Karen language, and gained, also, a personal acquaintance
with the younger Bassein pastors and a goodly company of the best
educated young men in that district.

{ Footnote: [1] This letter breathes so excellent a spirit, that we give
an exact translation:--

BASSEIN, Sept. 9, 1868.

May abundant blessing from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy
Spirit, descend like the morning dew upon you and your household, dear
teacher Carpenter! We the Karen churches in Bassein address you in these
words:--

When we heard that it had pleased God to call home our dear teacher
Thomas, who labored so hard among us, and cause him to rest from his
spiritual conflict, and give him a shining crown of gold which will never
fade, we were truly filled with grief. But since God saw it to be best
thus, we the Bassein Karen churches consented to this act of the Divine
Will. And now we are left like sheep without a shepherd, like lambs whose
mother has died and left them. Moreover, when we came down to the city
for consultation on various matters, we received our brother, teacher Sau
Tay's letter, which said that he had heard that the Missionary Union had
consulted about sending you to us to take up the unrusted sickle which
teacher Thomas laid down, and reap the ripened harvest. Thereupon we
greatly rejoiced. We the churches in Bassein took counsel together, and
agreed with one heart that you should come and labor among us as teacher
Thomas did.

Therefore, when you get this our letter, we hope that both you and _mama_
Carpenter, with cheerful consent, and full of the love of God, will come
and do God's work among us. Thus, when the convention meets in Bassein
next November, we beseech you to come at once, and remain among us.

And you, dear teacher, having lived among Karens, know about them. We are
weak and imperfect in wisdom. In order that we may grow more perfect in
these respects, our strength is in you, that you will help us abundantly.
For this reason, inasmuch as you love God, and like his work, with all
your heart, we hope that he will be with you in every thing you do, and
bless you in all. On that account we write you these words. In like
manner, all of our brethren hope in you, and put their strength in you,
that you will certainly come.

(Signed)
MYAT KEH, _Chairman,_
THAH DWAY, _Scribe,_
(_On behalf of all the Bassein churches_). }

Returning to Rangoon with the convention party for their household
effects, the Carpenters again embarked, and reached their new home in
Bassein Nov. 24. They were joined in a few days by Miss DeWolfe of the
Nova-Scotia missionary society, who rendered valuable assistance in the
school until her transfer to Henthada in 1870, and soon after by Miss I.
Watson, who has served the school faithfully most of the years since.

Various duties pressed upon the young and inexperienced missionary. He
wished first of all to make the acquaintance of his people in their
homes, and thus to learn at once the geography of his field, and the
circumstances and character of his widely scattered flock. The week
following his arrival, therefore, he started on a tour to the
southernmost group of churches. And, throughout the travelling season,
every day that could be spared from the pressing work in town was spent
in touring; the result being, that, before the end of April, forty-four
of the churches were visited, besides scattered hamlets of Christians and
heathen. Sermons were preached in every place, women's prayer-meetings
revived, the schools and cases of discipline attended to, large numbers
of Bibles, hymn-books, and school-books sold, and the people made to feel
that they once more had a teacher and _mama_ whom they could call their
own. To the surprise of the new missionaries, it was found that not a few
of the Christian villages even had never been visited by a white face
before; and, with much to encourage, they could not be blind to the
signs, in many places, of ignorance, superstition, and worldliness, that
had impressed Mr. Thomas so painfully.

Mr. Beecher's description of the manner in which many of the pastors had
entered upon their work will throw much light upon the condition of a
field which has been sometimes spoken of by those ignorant of its real
state as "a well-tilled garden."

"The remarkable manner in which many of the Bassein churches were first
gathered, and their first pastors chosen, operates strongly against their
ordination and against their present usefulness. When the gospel was
first proclaimed among the Karens of this district, it was accepted in
many places by whole families and whole communities, and that, too,
immediately and almost implicitly. They were ready to begin to worship
the true God before they could properly be taught how to call upon his
name. Educated preachers were nowhere to be found. In this extremity,
each community selected from its own number the elder whom they thought
best fitted to conduct their religious services. He was brought to the
missionary, taught a few weeks or months how to read, if he had not
previously learned, then the first principles of faith in Christ, the
necessity of abandoning all heathen practices, and how to perform the
duties incumbent upon pastors. He was furnished with a Testament, a
hymn-book, and a few catechisms, and duly commissioned to the ministerial
office. It was the best and only thing that could be done at the time,
and these men have done an important work. If they could have been
satisfied to serve the brief period they were really needed, all would
have been well. One-fifth, however, of the pastors of this mission, are
still composed of this class, who remain incorrigibly illiterate,
superstitious, and seriously obstructive. They can never be worthy of
ordination; and, being well supported by church-members who are their own
relatives, they cannot be made to feel that it would be for the interest
of the cause for them to resign, and allow some of the many educated
young preachers to take their places.

"It will be seen from these statements, that the appointment and
dismissal of native pastors is very seldom in this mission dependent upon
the will of the missionary. Nowhere in the world are Baptist churches
more fully or more provokingly independent in all their church polity.
They are free enough in seeking the advice and aid of the missionary, and
just as free in neglecting it, or setting it aside. But this is, on the
whole, much more cause of rejoicing than of regret: they will learn all
the sooner how to govern and provide for themselves."--_Missionary
Magazine_, July, 1866, p. 253.

There was indeed a great and difficult work of discipline to be done in
Bassein; and that work must begin, if possible, among the pastors. The
ordained pastors and a considerable number of those unordained were
stanch Christian men, and intelligent enough to know, that so long as
immorality and superstitious rites were practised by a number of the
pastors, with little attempt at concealment even, there could be no hope
of improvement in the Christian communities at large. On those faithful
pastors, and on the promised presence and help of the great Head of the
church, was the missionary's sole reliance.

In his first northern tour the new missionary found in one of the largest
churches an uneducated boy of sixteen, the son of the late pastor, duly
installed in the pastor's office by vote of the church, the church
virtually without an instructor or guide, and on the down grade to
destruction. Two days of hard work with individuals and with the
assembled church, in expounding the indispensable scriptural
qualifications of a pastor, resulted in the reconsideration of their
action, and in the appointment to the pastorate of an old seminary
student, a very suitable man, nominated by themselves. The subsequent
peace and prosperity of the church at Mee-thwaydike abundantly proves the
wisdom of their action.

Before the close of 1870 three of the older unordained pastors were
clearly convicted of practising heathen enchantments, or of permitting
them to be practised, in cases of sickness in their families, or in their
herds, and were duly disfellowshipped, and set aside from the ministry.
Another man, in middle life, was convicted of drunkenness, of
sabbath-breaking, and of threatening the life of one of his deacons. He,
also, was set aside by the unanimous vote of thirty-nine of his fellow
ministers. Another elderly man was set aside for forgery and other grave
reasons. Two others, men of ability and wide influence, were commonly
reported to be guilty of adultery, and by this and other offences to have
lost the "good report of those without."

As the first of these cases (that of Pah Yeh, for many years the
unordained pastor of the church in Shankweng) has been commented upon
unfavorably in this country by those who have heard only the offender's
side of the story, we will give a brief _résumé_ of the case, which may
be easily verified by the records of the council on file in Bassein. It
is safe to say, that, while the best pastors felt the need of action, no
action whatever would have been taken but for the missionary. The case,
therefore, may be another illustration of the supposed stretch of
authority exercised by missionaries in foreign lands. Let the masters of
Israel read, and then tell us how far the theory of church independence
is to be carried in heathen lands, when truth and righteousness, ay, and
the very existence of the church itself, are imperilled; also, whether
Paul's interference with the independence of the church in Corinth (1
Cor. v.) was placed on record simply to show what an apostle might do on
occasion, but a missionary, held responsible by all the world, and, as he
believes, by the Saviour himself, for the good morals and Christian
character of the churches under his oversight, may never do.

As in a well-known case in Pittsburg, Penn., and as in the majority of
cases in heathen lands, where pastors are guilty of moral delinquency,
action did not originate with the church. It was not until the pastor's
conduct through a series of years had become a public scandal, that other
pastors in the association, feeling that the cause of Christianity, and
the character of the Christian ministry, were suffering serious reproach,
brought the matter to the notice of the missionary. At his request,
therefore, and with the consent of the church, a council, composed of
twelve ordained pastors, sixteen unordained pastors, and five lay elders
from abroad, with the missionary, assembled in Shankweng, Dec. 7,
1870.[1] The brethren were hospitably received, and kindly treated by the
church throughout their stay. The accused was present, with his friends
and one of his alleged paramours; and every opportunity was given for a
full and fair hearing. Probably no council of native Christians was ever
held in Burma of equal numbers, or weight of character, none in which
more time or pains were taken to arrive at the whole truth and a just
decision. Ten long sessions were held in the course of three days. Many
witnesses were examined; and all the evidence and the arguments offered
on both sides were carefully weighed, and a _unanimous_ decision was
reached. While there was not a doubt, probably, in the mind of any member
of the council, that an adulterous connection existed during the
trading-tour of three or four months in Upper Burma, which Pah Yeh made
with a woman of doubtful character, with whom, as he confessed, he lived
on the most intimate terms during the whole time, while his relations to
another (a Burman) woman at an earlier period had been the occasion of
grave scandal, the finding of the council was simply this: (1) That Pah
Yeh had left his church for months together to engage in trade; (2) That
on these expeditions he had habitually broken the sabbath; (3) That he
had been guilty of gross improprieties, amounting to a strong presumption
of adultery. For these reasons, he being no longer of good report before
the world, the council recommended his exclusion from the church, and the
withdrawal from him of fellowship as a minister of Christ.

{ Footnote: [1] For the opinion formed by Rev. B. C. Thomas of this
church and its pastor in 1857, see p. 276. }

Will it be believed, that notwithstanding all the evidence, and the
decision and the entreaties of the council, a large minority of the
church, composed mostly of his relatives, determined to adhere to Pah Yeh
still; and adhere to him they have, up to the present time. It is our
painful duty to add, that, if it had not been for aid and comfort
extended at another mission-station to the delinquent pastor and the
ill-advised faction which followed him, their repentance, and return to
duty, might probably have been secured. As it was, the repeated letters
and visits both of committees and of missionaries were in vain. A
majority of the church, with a nephew of Pah Yeh for pastor, continued in
the fellowship of the association; but the minority stubbornly adhered to
their old leader. Unfortunately it has been found in more than one
mission, that there is quite as much danger that the principle of
non-interference will be violated by adherents of the same society as by
those of rival societies, and that the ruin resulting from such
interference may be even more irreparable.

The other case, exactly similar in its nature, but occurring later, took
a different turn. The church (really the pastor) refused in insulting
terms to receive a council, or to have any thing to do with one. A
committee was sent to visit the church, and induce them to change this
decision, but in vain. The facts being known to all the pastors, the only
thing that could be done was done at the meeting of the association in
Mohgoo, March, 1871. The pastors present, resolving themselves into a
council, unanimously withdrew from Shway Byu the hand of fellowship,
basing their action on 1 Tim. iii. 2, 7; and the church was advised to
seek a new pastor. This they would not do. The year following, Shway Byu
was called to his last account. It was then hoped that the church would
return to their duty; but, instead of doing so, they received as pastor
Moung Coompany (referred to p. 309), a confessed adulterer, and fugitive
from debts; since which time, under the fostering influences alluded to
in the previous paragraph, the last state of that church has been worse
than the first. After five or six years of patient effort and waiting,
the name of the church was finally stricken from the roll of the
association in 1876. A few of its members have united with neighboring
churches, but the main body keep up their worship; and Coompany, having
received ordination at the hands of Pah Yeh and two or three laymen,
administers the ordinances to his own church and to that in Shankweng.[1]
The end is not yet; but that these and other most difficult and painful
cases of discipline were justified and approved by the great body of
pastors and church-members throughout the district, is proved
conclusively by their harmonious and enthusiastic following-out of the
plans of their new leader, at the cost of great sacrifices, through a
long series of years.

{ Footnote: [1] Although it is in accordance with Old-Testament and
apostolic precedent, we publish the above facts with reluctance and pain,
actuated by the hope that a wider knowledge of the trials that beset
missionary work in every land may lead to wider and more intelligent
sympathy, and especially to a more scrupulous observance on
mission-fields of the vital principle of non-interference. }

In addition to the need of discipline, there had been for several years a
falling-off in the number of men available for home-mission work. At the
first meeting of the Ministerial Conference after Mr. Carpenter's
arrival, in May, 1869, only two men presented themselves as candidates
for that service. It had come to pass that nearly all of the
contributions were being divided up among the pastors of the smaller
churches, the larger allowances going generally to the men who would "put
on the poorest mouth." When the subject was fairly presented to the
brethren, it seemed reasonable to them, that, while a church of five or
six families could not ordinarily support their pastor, the very fewness
of their numbers afforded a reason why they need not take up all of his
time. The pastor of such a flock, for example, might give to each of his
families as much care as the pastor of a flock three times as large could
give to his, and do it in one half of the time, perhaps, leaving the
other half free for labor among the heathen, for which the Home Mission
Society would gladly give him fair remuneration. The following minute was
discussed, therefore, and finally adopted unanimously, and placed upon
record at the meeting six months later. The result proved that the
measure was a long step in the right direction.

"This is not an eleemosynary society, to assist (1) feeble churches
because they are feeble, or (2) poor ministers because they are poor. It
is a _missionary_ society, to help on the work of evangelizing Bassein;
and it aims to do this by sending out (1) its own special agents, or (2)
by 'helping those who help themselves,' i.e., feeble churches that are
willing to grow strong by enlightening others (the rule of the Eastern
Turkey mission was here quoted from the 'Missionary Herald'), and by
assisting poor but faithful ministers, by giving them a money equivalent
for evangelical work actually done among the heathen or scattered
disciples. The very inability of their churches to support them is
evidence that the disciples are few, and hence that the preacher has time
for outside labor: therefore

"_Resolved_, That henceforth we cannot, as a rule, help any church in
which there are not signs of healthy growth in Christian graces and
activity, if not in numbers. Nor will money be paid to any preacher,
whether local or itinerant, who does not present a written and accurate
report of missionary work performed among the destitute, Christians or
heathen, Sgaus, Pwos, or Burmans; and the amount paid will in all cases
be proportioned to the amount of labor bestowed."

Considerable school-work had been done since 1858, mainly by Karen
assistants, and yet only an impression had been made upon the dense mass
of ignorance in the Bassein churches. In 1868-69, the year of Mr.
Carpenter's arrival, a majority of the adult church-members were returned
as unable to read or write; and of the readers, the less said about the
amount of their reading and understanding, the pleasanter for the author
and his readers. It should be said, however, that, at that time, 209
copies only of the Karen Scriptures (Bibles and New Testaments) were
found in the hands of 5,988 church-members. Under the stimulus of a grant
from government of from fifteen hundred to two thousand rupees a year in
aid of their jungle schools, the number of pupils had risen to 1,321; but
what were these among a Christian population of school-going age of not
less than six thousand? And what would the bare learning to read avail,
if the practice of reading was to be dropped at the end of from three to
twelve months of schooling?

The missionary could not disconnect the signs of rampant superstition
from the prevailing ignorance. On the one hand, all the native
missionaries had gone out from the schools, such as they were. In the
several churches, also, the degree of benevolence and of the missionary
spirit was exactly proportional to the high or low grade of the village
school. On the other, the outbreaking immorality and heathenism were in
the villages where ignorance prevailed from the parsonage throughout the
parish. He could not forget that the third generation of Christians, from
the great ingathering under Abbott, was now coming on to the stage. While
God had mercifully given special grace to the first generation, to make
up for their involuntary ignorance, was it not sheer presumption to count
on a continuance of that special grace to the second and third
generations, when the ordinary means for the improvement of minds and
hearts, God's most sacred trust to his children, were neglected? It
seemed to him worse than useless to go on baptizing, and founding
churches, leaving the disciples with indifferent schools, and with Bibles
closed and unread.

If possible, a fresh impulse must be given to the jungle schools; and,
with increased numbers in the town school, there must be an increase in
thoroughness, and an extension in the courses of study. As one means of
effecting the first object, twenty-seven of his old pupils from the
seminary in Rangoon, and three young women, were provided with places,
and set at work teaching during their long vacation in 1869, in addition
to the force of teachers regularly employed. The number of pupils in the
association quickly rose to 2,057, a number not since equalled, we are
sorry to say. By combined effort the number of Bibles within the limits
of the association was increased in two years to 321, and of New
Testaments to 815, mostly by purchase for cash;[1] while the number of
church-members able to read was brought up in the same time to 3,735, and
the number unable to read was reduced to 2,554,--a report of progress
only which left numerous and high mountains yet to be removed.

{ Footnote: [1] Up to Dec. 31, 1871, Mr. Carpenter had received for
Scriptures and books sold in Bassein cash to the amount of Rs.
8,098-6-10. Besides the sales in town, the mission-boat always carried a
box of Bibles and other books for sale, wherever it went. The sales might
have been increased, no doubt, by the employment of special colportors;
but it was thought that the increased expense would outweigh the
advantage. }

To the town school, Mrs. Carpenter in charge of the new female department
and in the vernacular, assisted by Misses Watson and DeWolfe in the
English department, would give their invaluable assistance. The Thomas
house, not needed at the time for a dwelling, could be easily adapted to
the purposes of a general chapel, and schoolrooms for the English
department. The school-buildings, erected by Mr. Beecher ten years before
under great difficulties, had now reached a condition of dilapidation and
ruin. All of them, moreover, and the two mission-houses as well, being
covered with thatch, and connected by low, thatched passage-ways, the
whole would be swept by fire in half an hour, if a fire should break out
at any point. It was like living in a powder-magazine, with smokers all
around. Preparations for permanent and more commodious school-buildings
must be begun at once; and, if possible, the heavy bills must be paid
without calling upon the over-burdened society in America.

Twenty days after the arrival of the new teacher in Bassein, the pastors
came together, at his request, for consultation. Plans had been drawn for
their inspection,--one for laying out the compound anew, dispersing the
native buildings somewhat, and arranging for a park of fruit-trees in the
centre, so as to give the place the aspect of a model Karen village; the
other for the erection of fourteen substantial cottage dormitories and
teachers' houses, each twenty-seven feet square, with teak roof and
walls. The labor of grading and laying out the compound would be
performed by the pupils without cost in money; but the buildings
projected would cost about six thousand rupees, and the missionary
quietly proposed that the pastors should then and there pledge their
churches to raise the amount within the ensuing three years.

The changes proposed, and the plan of the buildings, the pastors had
already heartily indorsed; but they were evidently taken aback by the
idea that they were to raise the money from their people. After a little
delay, J. P. Sahnay, the head teacher in the English school, educated in
America, arose, and said that the buildings were just what the school
needed and must have; but the teacher, being new to Bassein, was unaware,
probably, of the great poverty of the Karens. "Why," said he, "there is
not one of these pastors here to-day who has a rupee in his bag [quite
true probably.--ED.]; yet the teacher asks them to raise six thousand
rupees from their people, who are as poor as they are. There is a great
deal of money in America. Cannot the teacher get the money more easily
from there?" To Sahnay's credit, it should be said that this was the last
occasion on which he ever hung back, or seemed to oppose the plans of the
missionary in charge. He became a thorough convert to the doctrine of
self-help for his people; and he gave freely, after a time, of his money
and of his influence, up to the time of his lamented death, nine years
later. In reply to this suggestion, which expressed the desire of every
Karen in the room, and in the district too, for that matter, the burdens
of the American Christians growing out of the late war were spoken of,
and plans set forth by which the poorest of the people could make special
offerings for this object, to the amount of at least a rupee each in
three years. The result was that the pastors gave the pledge with some
hesitation; and the work of reconstruction and enlargement begun that day
has not yet ceased, although the six thousand rupees has been raised and
expended more than ten times over.

It was pleasant indeed to see how the interest and the courage of that
dear people grew, as the work progressed from stage to stage. That very
season, before the rains, three nice cottages were completed, and the
debt contracted at the outset fully discharged. The next year four more
were finished and paid for, and the third year seven, making the full
number required; and considerable timber, etc., was on hand for further
operations. Instead of the six thousand rupees which they had pledged
with trembling, they had paid in over eight thousand; and they were ready
to go on with preparations for a new girls' school-building, which was
much needed.

Marking the quick response to every effort made for their improvement,
and the unrivalled advantages of Bassein as a location for the higher
Karen schools, Mr. Carpenter, ignorant of any previous movement in that
direction, addressed a letter to his revered friend and late senior
associate, the Rev. Dr. Binney, dated Oct. 4, 1869, in which he strongly
advised the transfer of the Karen Theological Seminary from Rangoon to
Bassein. The reasons urged were briefly these: that, as more than half of
the teachers and pupils in the seminary were from Bassein,[1] that place
would be more accessible, and really more central to the major part of
the constituency of the seminary, than any other; that the seminary would
exert a more powerful indirect influence for good upon the large circle
of churches in Bassein than it could hope to do anywhere else; that it
would have sympathy and pecuniary assistance from those churches to a far
greater extent than it could expect to receive elsewhere; finally, that
Bassein is the place of all others for a successful preparatory
vernacular and English school in connection with the seminary. Knowing as
we now do the position which Dr. Binney had taken with reference to
previous attempts to move the seminary westward, it is evident that but
one answer could come from him. His reply, which lies before us, is
brief, but characteristically kind:--

"Respecting the removal of the school to Bassein, I am not surprised that
the subject should occur to you. Before driving a stake in Rangoon, I
fully canvassed that point in connection with Henthada and Maulmain. I
knew that Bassein had the points you mention strongly in its favor.
Beecher wished it might be in Bassein."

{ Footnote: [1] In 1869 Bassein alone had fifty-five young men studying
in the Karen Theological Seminary, and thirteen preachers at work in the
Toungoo and Prome districts. }

Then he goes on to give as the determining reasons for his decision the
expressed wish of the Executive Committee, and the fact that Rangoon is
the metropolis of British Burma, and more central than any other station.
In closing his remarks on this subject, he adds,--

"Still, it may be a question yet, especially respecting general
education. Respecting that school [since called a 'college'], though it
should be general [i.e., for all the stations], I do not feel so certain
that it should be in Rangoon, especially while so many of the pupils
would be mere children. It is a matter for grave thought."

In a letter written a month later he says,--

"Press your English school hard. Make it, as far as you can, a specialty.
Have only a select number that continue after the first year. One year is
enough to indicate whether a boy or girl had better be retained in that
[department of the] school or not."

To increase and strengthen the tide of benevolence in the churches, the
duty of giving liberally and systematically was pressed upon the pastors
as a body. At the regular meeting of the Conference, in October, 1870,
after a citation of "blind Johannes'" argument from the "Missionary
Herald," all of the pastors, and, not long after, the assistant teachers
in the Institute, with hardly an exception, signed a written agreement to
give to the cause of the Lord not less than one-tenth of all their
income. This agreement was faithfully observed for ten years; and to this
self-sacrificing example of that rare company of men is to be attributed,
in no small degree, our subsequent success in raising large sums of money
from a comparatively poor people.

Another important work kept in mind was that of seeking out and ordaining
suitable men as pastors and evangelists. It was a work that could not be
hastened faster than men suitably qualified and tested were supplied. At
the meeting of the association in Kyootoo, in 1870, four were ordained at
the request of their respective churches, who have since been true
pillars in the spiritual temple; viz., Deeloo, Pohtoo, Too Po, and
Toomway. The year after, at Mohgoo, Thah-yway and Poo Goung were
ordained,--the latter as an evangelist, for which office he had special
qualifications; making twenty-two ordained ministers then laboring in
connection with the Sgau Karen churches of Bassein. Other worthy pastors
were invited to present themselves as candidates, but were hindered by
excessive modesty.

At the two associations last named, special efforts were made to bring
the Bassein churches into thorough sympathy with the Burma Baptist
Missionary Convention, in order that, with other advantages, their zeal
for foreign missions might find therein freer vent and more generous
scope. It was thought that we had succeeded. Resolutions of sympathy and
active co-operation were passed with apparent unanimity and cordiality;
but, two or three years later, complications arose which dashed these
hopes for a time.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the trying cases of discipline, and the heavy
drafts on their liberality, the ordinary blessing of the Spirit upon the
Word preached in much weakness by the native brethren and their
missionary, was not withheld. The number of baptisms among the Sgau
churches for the four years ending February, 1872, was 1,125,--an annual
average of 281, to an average of 231 for the eleven years previous. The
number of itinerants in the home-field, under the regular pay of the Home
Mission Society, was not quite up to the average of former years perhaps;
but a considerably larger amount than usual of unpaid, voluntary work had
been done by the settled pastors and lay-elders.

Prematurely, after only three years and a half had been spent in this
most interesting and engrossing work, Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter found
themselves obliged to leave Bassein for temporary rest and change in the
United States. As in the case of his predecessors, long marches on the
feverish Arakan coast, night-watches, and heavy responsibilities and
anxieties, had thus quickly reduced the missionary from a state of
vigorous health to one of invalidism; while the health of his efficient
and devoted companion was seriously impaired. Secretary Warren had
written, early in 1869:--

"One thing the Committee want,--hold the Karens together, and hold them
to us, even if you must give them another man to be associated with you.
We shall look for a young man, and, if you desire it, send him on at the
earliest day possible."

Such was the weight of the load, that the new incumbent speedily sought
the relief which had been promised. He wrote for the second man again and
again. At the association, in March, 1870, the Karens unanimously invited
the Rev. Melvin Jameson, recently arrived in Bassein, under appointment
to the Burman department, to become their missionary with Mr. Carpenter.
Permission was granted by the Executive Committee to make this change,
but Mr. Jameson's decision was "to hammer away at the Burman rock."

It was not until near the close of January, 1872, that Rev. H. M.
Hopkinson, a graduate of Colby University and Newton Institution, reached
Bassein with Mrs. Hopkinson. The Carpenters, on their way to the United
States, met them in Rangoon, and gave them such information and advice as
they could, in a brief day or two, at another place than Bassein itself.
Mr. Hopkinson was a man of piety and ability. He found Misses Watson and
Norris, J. P. Sahnay, and a well-trained corps of native teachers, ready
to work with him in the school, and a noble band of pastors and preachers
ready to work with him in the district; but he labored under great
disadvantages. To place any man fresh from home in tropical Burma, with
not a word of the new language at his command, and to roll upon him from
the first day of his arrival the burdens that necessarily devolve upon
the missionary in Bassein, is cruel, as well as most impolitic. He also
had to struggle from the outset with ill health in his family and in his
own person. During the three years of his incumbency, if nothing new or
startling was attempted, it is creditable enough that there was no
disaster anywhere, and no falling off, but a small increase both in the
number of baptisms and in the amount of the annual contributions. He
continued on the field until 1875, when he was obliged, by continued and
increasing ill health, to return with his family to America. Miss Norris
(later Mrs. Armstrong of the Nova-Scotia Society) had early left Bassein
for another field; while Miss A. L. Stevens of Illinois, who had joined
the school in 1872, was obliged after one year to return home, on account
of serious disease. Both were ladies of rare qualifications for the work.
Their places were filled after a time by others, who will be noticed in
the next chapter.

Meanwhile, what of the Pwo department? Mr. Van Meter's labors among that
interesting but somewhat unstable people had been abundant and not
unfruitful. He gives the following abstract of his work for the year
1867:--

"I have given almost my entire time and effort to jungle labor, having
gone out every month of the year, in all thirty-two times. The number of
visits made [to villages], at some places repeated several times, is 80.
The whole number of miles travelled is 2,341, on foot 343 (barefoot about
50), all in direct missionary work in the Bassein district. The greatest
distance of round trip has been 200 miles. Baptized, 45.

"I have preached or conducted religious exercises about five hundred
times, usually three times, and occasionally as often as five times, in
one day. During these visits I am constantly distributing books (for pay
where they are able to pay), establishing schools, prescribing for the
sick, in some cases where another day's neglect might have been serious,
if not fatal. At the same time I have endeavored to instruct them as to
the care of their houses, themselves, and their children; matters,
perhaps, which to some would appear of a trifling nature, but really
affecting their health and comfort to a great degree. Especially have I
had to call attention to the severity of the tasks too often imposed on
the women. The gospel for woman is still a great need among the Karens. I
consider nothing beneath my attention that affects their welfare."

Mr. Van Meter's ideas of jungle travel, outfit, etc., as given in the
Magazine for January, 1868 (p. 18), would not, probably, be fully
accepted by all; but his ideas and methods are at least worth reading and
considering by all missionaries. Miss S. J. Higby joined the mission in
June, 1868, and soon began to do excellent and much-needed work in the
Pwo school. The statistics of this branch of the mission for 1868 are as
follows:--

"Churches, 19; baptized, 33; church-members, 767; nominal Christians,
727; total Christian community, 1,494. Preachers, 52; ordained, 6. Pupils
in town school, 67; in twelve village schools, 237; total, 304. Total
contributions and expenditures, Rs. 2,582. Books sold, Rs. 663. 'Burman
Messengers,' for the most part taken and paid for by the people, 220."

In October Mr. Van Meter wrote of the formation of the nineteenth Pwo
church in Bassein, and added,--

"During no one year have more been reported of those who have forsaken
their heathen rites and relatives, and of those who have pledged
themselves to become Christians. At Pantanau I baptized six."

During the month of June, 1869, he was laid aside with a bad leg and a
head affection, accompanied with deafness. In July he watched with Mr.
Douglass through his long last illness, taking his turn, alternate
nights, with Mr. Carpenter. His health suffered perceptibly under the
strain. A little later he found that he must leave Burma; and by making
short stages, by the overland route, he finally reached New York, but so
reduced in strength that he could not rally. He died in Mottville, N.Y.,
Aug. 18, 1870, only a few weeks after landing.[1]

{ Footnote: [1] An appropriate notice of Rev. H. L. Van Meter's life and
labors may be found in the Missionary Magazine, October, 1870, p. 370. }

His excellent wife, Mrs. Helen L. (Hooker) Van Meter, remained in charge
of the mission for a little more than one year. She exerted herself to
keep up the work. A few of the weaker churches, set off by her husband a
little prematurely perhaps, she recommended to re-unite with the
mother-churches from which they had been taken, thus reducing the number
of churches, but adding to their strength. Her varied and heavy cares
proved too much for her; and she, too, died after a painful illness, on
the 27th of August, 1871, the last survivor of the three missionary
couples who were associated in labor at Sandoway in the early time.

Rev. Sabin T. Goodell and wife came to the relief of Miss Higby in the
following March. He took hold of the work with such vigor and discretion
as to gain the regard and confidence of the Pwo Christians in an unusual
degree. To earnest piety, Mr. Goodell added good executive ability, and
tact in teaching. He had just completed the translation and publication
of "Stilson's Arithmetic" in Pwo Karen, he had secured from the churches
under his care three or four thousand rupees for the erection of a
substantial school dormitory, and was moving on strongly in all kinds of
mission-work, when he, too, was called away after a distressing illness,
Nov. 16, 1877, at the early age of forty-one.[1] Miss C. H. Rand, coming
from Maulmain, had joined the Bassein Pwo Mission in 1876. Mrs. Goodell
returning to the United States in 1878, Miss Rand continued alone in the
work for some months. In May, 1879, she was united in marriage to the
Rev. J. T. Elwell, in whose charge the Pwo mission remains at the date of
this writing.

{ Footnote: [1] Rev. Dr. Jameson's interesting obituary can be found in
the Missionary Magazine for March, 1878, p. 88. }

The remarkable mortality in the Bassein mission is exhibited in the
following table:--

E. L. Abbott    died 1854, aged 45 years, 1 month, 10 days.
J. S. Beecher      " 1866     " 46     "  8 months, 3 "
B. C. Thomas       " 1868     " 48     "  2      "  9 "
J. L. Douglass     " 1869     " 46     "  5      " 15 "
H. L. Van Meter    " 1870     " 45     " 10      " 27 "
Mrs. Van Meter     " 1871     " 46     "  4      "  8 "
W. M. Scott        " 1872     " 43     "  (about.)
S. T. Goodell      " 1877     " 41     "  5      " 24 "

Besides the above, there were Mrs. Abbott, the first Mrs. Beecher, and
the first Mrs. Douglass, who died early, also the gifted Maria C.
Manning; while others have been driven home prematurely by disease. The
missionaries who have lived longest in Bassein are confident, that, for
the tropics, it is unusually healthy. The opinion of the heathen is, that
witchcraft alone will account for the mortality. We believe, on the
contrary, that overwork, and excess of care, are the true explanation.
When the duties of all pastorates at home, or the management of all
railway lines, or the burdens of all college presidents, are equally
heavy and wearing, we may assume that all positions in our foreign
mission-field are equally onerous, but not before. Until the work of the
Sgau Karen mission in Bassein is subdivided between two or three men, it
will continue to be heavier than the work of any other mission-post in
Burma, and the certainty that the missionary in charge will prematurely
break down and return, or break down and die, will continue. Is it right
or necessary that such an alternative should exist, when the second man
so often asked for by the Karens and their overburdened teachers would
probably do away with it?

More than fifty years ago Dr. Judson united with his missionary
associates in the following prayer:--

"Have mercy on the theological seminaries, and hasten the time when
one-half of all who yearly enter the ministry shall be taken by thine
Holy Spirit, and _driven_ into the wilderness, feeling a sweet necessity
laid upon them, and the precious love of Christ and of souls constraining
them."

O ye young men now dedicating the strength and richness of your lives to
Christ's work! cast not your eyes on the high places in Zion, nor seek
for the pleasant places near at hand; look away yonder to that "thin red
line," now advancing, now retreating, in the forefront of the battle in
pagan lands. If you have no pity for the worn and wasted standard-bearers
falling there, at least let the deep organ-tones of your ascending Lord,
the Crucified, sounding down the ages, bidding you "Go, disciple all
nations," arouse you to duty; and let the accompaniment to that divine
voice, the low wail of eight hundred millions of heathen perishing in
their sins, without hope, and without God, lend wings to your feet and a
holy unction to the glad tidings which you bear. For Christ and the
heathen's sake volunteer for the work abroad!



CHAPTER XIX.
1875-1880.


"Human nature remaining, as it is in the best of men, imperfect in its
judgments and imperfectly sanctified, and trained towards perfection, as
our regenerated human nature is trained by the Master, by trial, by
burden-bearing, by debate, and even by harsh collisions with the
imperfections of others, including our true brethren, we need not wonder
at a partial and transitory dissonance, or even at broad divergences, of
opinion and feeling. Such collisions and the consequent thwarting of
endeavor must be expected and accepted, often hailed even, as
indispensable to progress, and as preparatory to our final union in
fuller light."--_Missionary Magazine_, 1855, p. 158.


ONE more attempt to make Bassein the seat of an advanced school is now
added to the many which have preceded. Mr. Carpenter returned to Burma
early in April, 1874, as president of the Rangoon Baptist College, so
called, an institution then recently opened in response to the united
request of the Karen missionaries. The missionaries to other races had
not joined in the request; and it was generally understood that the
school was to be mainly, if not exclusively, for the benefit of the
Karens.[1] To his great disappointment, Mr. Carpenter found, on his
arrival, serious differences of view, and dissatisfaction with the
location which had been selected. He also found little evidence of a
disposition to sink differences in order to promote the growth of that
which was hoped to be a college in embryo. Coming back to Rangoon as he
left it in 1868, with little thought of the grave moral and pecuniary
disadvantages of the metropolis as a place for training jungle youth for
humble, self-denying work in the jungles and mountains, he, nevertheless,
could not avoid contrasting his new surroundings in a great city, cut off
from all Karen support and from almost all intercourse with the people to
whom his life was devoted, with those which he had so recently left in
Bassein. He could not escape the conviction, that a momentous mistake had
been made by the Executive Committee in locating the college there, and
by himself in accepting the charge of it. He was expected to go on at
once, and expend twenty-five thousand rupees of Christ's money in
erecting a school edifice in a place where he now saw clearly, or
believed that he saw, that the money would be worse than thrown away; for
every rupee expended would tend to perpetuate the evil and the waste. He
could not shake off the conviction, that, before a rupee had been spent
upon buildings, there was yet time for reconsideration. As the
responsibility of the enterprise rested immediately upon himself, he
could not conscientiously do otherwise than communicate his change of
views to the Committee in Boston, to Rev. Dr. Binney, his predecessor in
office, and to all of the Karen missionaries in Burma. This he did on the
13th of May. He also visited Bassein the same week, to learn what offers
the Christian Karens of that district would make, in case the Executive
Committee should consent to remove the college thither. The leading
pastors promptly promised all that he asked;[2] viz., twenty thousand
rupees in cash towards the college-building fund, and the contribution,
year by year, of rice sufficient for the use of all pupils, from
whatsoever quarter they might come.

{ Footnote: [1] The recent throwing open of the College to pupils of all
races and creeds, without distinction, seems to be unacceptable thus far
to the Karens. Nor would it have been agreed to, probably, by the Karen
missionaries of a former generation. Mr. Abbott wrote as follows on the
subject of a seminary for the Karens, Sept. 17, 1838; and, so far as we
know, his views remained unchanged to the time of his death:--

"A professor in the Burman seminary can never at the same time be a
professor of a Karen seminary,--_no, never_. If any thing is ever done to
prepare the young men of the Karen jungles to preach the gospel of God's
dear Son, it must be done by a man _expressly, exclusively appointed to
that work by the Board_; and the quicker they appoint their man, the
better. As regards the qualifications of such a man, all I have to say
is, that the Board should appoint just such a man as they would appoint
over a theological seminary in the United States...

"Such an institution must be _decidedly and distinctively Karen_, not
only as regards its professor, but its native language. It will never do
to make it a part, or parcel, or department, of a Burman institution;
because that would frustrate the whole plan. As regards the importance of
establishing a Karen literature, I will now say nothing; as no doubt the
Board have heard much on that subject. Such an institution must be not
only Karen as to its literature, but as to its location. I can never
(with my present views) send the Karen young men of this vicinity to a
Burman institution; although every thing else but the location be
decidedly Karen, so far as Karens are concerned. Where the Burman
theological seminary will be eventually located is doubtful, as the
brethren are not agreed. But, at whatever place, let the Karen
theological seminary be somewhere else. In this view I shall be sustained
by every Karen missionary.

"There is not a subject within the scope of the Board's observation and
effort of more importance than this, nor one which has stronger claims on
their immediate attention and immediate action."

If it is not thought best to insist upon whites and blacks attending the
same schools in the South, is it more judicious and right to denounce
Karen Christians, and warn them to beware of the condemnation of the
Jews, because they decline to send their children to a school for all
races? It is to be presumed that the Executive Committee will at least
hold to their resolution of November, 1876: "The Executive Committee have
no desire to restrict the freedom of the Christian Karens in selecting
schools for their children at any of the stations, provided their
children...are supported by the Karens themselves, without additional
expense to the Union."

[2] We have in this connection a capital illustration of Karen character
and methods. In the two public meetings that were held on this subject,
in the English schoolhouse built by Mr. Beecher, the missionary in charge
strongly opposed the plan set forth by Mr. Carpenter. After considerable
friendly discussion, the veteran Myat Keh arose on behalf of the pastors,
and delivered himself of this parable:--

"We Karens are in the position of a weak, sickly lad, whose father
advises him to eat some dried fish, while his mother forbids his doing
so. First, let our parents agree between themselves in this matter, then
we shall know what to say and do about it."

As the desired agreement seemed to be impracticable, Mr. Carpenter,
though fully convinced of what the independent choice of the Karens would
be, withdrew his proposition, without asking for any definite pledges,
trying to be content with the general expression of favor which they had
given. Immediately after the adjournment, however, without his
solicitation, and entirely without his knowledge, the pastors got
together by themselves, talked the whole matter over again, decided that
the plan was desirable and feasible, so far as they were concerned, and
agreed each to raise his proportion of the twenty thousand rupees, if the
college could be moved. They also wrote a formal letter to the Missionary
Union, asking that the change of location might be made. Rev. Po Kway and
Choot, then the devoted and efficient steward of the school, and a deacon
of the Institute Church, waylaid Mr. Carpenter on his way to the Rangoon
steamer, and communicated to him their action, with strong assurances of
cordial and unanimous co-operation.--C. H. C. }

[ Illustration--GIRLS' SCHOOLHOUSE, BASSEIN, BUILT 1875. ]

The statement prepared by Mr. Carpenter went the rounds in Burma: but
with the exception of the missionary in Maulmain, and, later, of the one
in charge at Henthada, the Karen missionaries as a body, and the Burman
missionaries as well, opposed the change; and many of them were not slow
to say that the fulfilment of the Bassein pledge was impossible. The
Executive Committee, accordingly, decided the question in the negative.
Mr. Carpenter, convinced that he could do more to advance the interests
of higher education among the Karens as a people in Bassein, without the
college and without pecuniary aid from America, than he could do in
Rangoon at the head of the college, backed by the treasury of the
Missionary Union, resigned his position, and early in March, 1875, was
again in the midst of his loving and trustful people,--the very people
who had loved and reverenced Abbott as a father,--the people who had
stood by Beecher through thick and thin.

It will be remembered, perhaps, that the school in Bassein differed
essentially from the college in Rangoon, in that it was emphatically of
indigenous growth, and in no sense an exotic. It was the child of an
intense desire and of a settled purpose, on the part of the Karens of
that district, to secure for their children and their children's children
the benefits of a Christian education, the higher, the better to their
liking. It was the child of their prayers, fed and clothed from its birth
by their own unstinted bounty. In March, 1860, at the association in
Naupeheh, Mau Yay had given expression to the convictions of the Karen
leaders thus:--

"DEAR BRETHREN,--It is now several years since we became Christians. Each
passing month and year should have seen an improvement in the schools for
our children: nevertheless, whether we look at the school in town, or at
those in our jungle villages, nothing is complete. Let it be so no
longer, brethren; for a Christian education is the foundation of every
thing good. Your committee, therefore, have resolved that nothing should
be allowed to hinder any girl or young woman, any boy or young man, who
wants to get an education. Moreover, if any are so stupid as not to
desire one, let their parents and pastors take them in hand. Moreover,
let the churches help orphans and the children of poor or heathen parents
to the utmost of their ability. As to the contributions for the town
school, we judge that every disciple should give half a basket of paddy
and four annas [twelve cents] in money before the end of March every
year."

At this very time, while Mr. Beecher--holding, with many others, that an
English education was not desirable for Karens--had repeatedly declined
their proposals to establish an English department in the town school,
the pastors were laying plans and collecting money to establish an
English school of their own at Kohsoo. Finding how determined they were,
Mr. Beecher wisely yielded to their wishes, and accepted their liberal
offers. His expenditures would be trebled. War was on the eve of breaking
out in America, and he could look for no aid from that quarter. In this
juncture the Karens must bear their own burdens, and nobly did they come
up to the work. For the year 1861-62 they brought in, for buildings and
the current expenses of the school, Rs. 2,427 and 1,168 baskets of paddy,
and the association voted to assess the churches on the scale of Rs.
3,000 and 1,500 baskets of paddy annually. Their contributions continued
for a long time on this generous scale, and were at length much
increased. The government, indeed, came to the relief of the school in
1863-64, with an annual grant of Rs. 1,500; but it came out of the heavy
taxes paid by Karen cultivators. This aid was increased in 1869 to Rs.
2,000, to Rs. 2,500 in 1876, and still later to Rs. 3,000, to match the
improvement of the school and the largely increased gifts of the Karens;
but from America, for the six years preceding Mr. Beecher's departure,
his accounts show that less than a hundred and thirty rupees were
received for the school, an average of less than one dollar a month. In
like manner it can be shown, that from the beginning until now,
_including the cost of land and buildings_, wages of native teachers,
pupils' board, and all current expenses save the salaries of American
teachers, less than five per cent of the expenditures has come from
private friends, churches, and societies in America.

Widely different was the plan on which the Rangoon Baptist College was
conceived. Widely different had been, and must ever be, its mode of
existence and growth, if growth there could be in the uncongenial soil
where it was planted. Is it remarkable that one who had inherited, with
the field of Abbott and Beecher, somewhat of their spirit and ideas,
should find himself, to his own surprise, unable to abandon the goodly
foundation which they had laid on the Karen rock, in order to enter a
structure costlier, perhaps, but reared with American silver, and, as he
judged, upon the sand?

At Awahbeik, Thursday evening, March 18, 1875, the association
unanimously voted to raise Rs. 20,000 within four years for the erection
of a spacious and substantial chapel and school-building for the male
department. The resolution was passed with far less doubt and hesitation
than the one to raise Rs. 6,000 in December, 1868. They had begun to find
their strength. Mr. Hopkinson having obtained the posts for the girls'
school-building, projected in 1871, work was begun upon it directly after
the association. Forty strong men from Kohsoo, Mohgoo, and two other
villages, came in to raise the heavy iron-wood posts. The hard and
dangerous job was finished late in the evening of the second day, when,
after a hearty hymn of praise, the dusty, tired men bowed upon the turf
in the moonlight, and dedicated the house there begun to the Christian
education of the future wives and mothers of the Karen people. The
building was formally dedicated, after its completion, on the 10th of
October following. Dedicatory prayers were offered by both Myat Keh and
Po Kway: the sermon was by the missionary. It was a two-storied structure
of teak and iron-wood, fifty-four feet by thirty-six, with a driveway and
upper veranda-room on the front, twenty-one feet by eighteen. The roof
was of teak. The rooms were painted throughout, and furnished with desks
and seats from Chicago; the latter being the gift of the Woman's Baptist
Missionary Society. In consideration of having the upper story finished
off ultimately for the occupation of the ladies of that society, they
also contributed Rs. 1,980 towards the cost of the building; and
afterwards, when it was made over to their use, they met the cost of
inside partitions, doors, etc., for that story, which brought up their
entire contribution to a little less than half of the whole cost of the
structure.

The school, meantime, was constantly growing in numbers and in
efficiency. Nowhere in Burma was the happy effect of "woman's helping
hand" more plainly visible than here. Misses Baldwin (later Mrs. Dr.
Cross), Walling (Mrs. Dr. Jameson), Batson (Mrs. Price), Manning, and
McAllister, with Miss Watson, who has been already mentioned, contributed
very largely to make the school what it was. Besides these of American
birth, Yahbah Tohlo, Moung Tway, and Dr. Boganau, returning from schools
in the United States, and Sandwah,[1] Taynau, Toolay, Rev. Shway Gah,
Maukeh, Pahhah,[1] Nyahgeh, Thah-too-oo,[1] and others, sons of the soil,
and of the schools of Bassein itself, did good service in teaching and in
the equally important out-door work of the Normal and Industrial
Institute. The number of pupils increased from year to year until it
reached two hundred and fifty; and the director of public instruction
with the government inspectors have ranked the school from that time to
the present, sometimes as the model school of the province, and always as
one of the first. While it was in advance of other Karen schools,[2] very
few of its classes ever passed beyond the middle (grammar) school
standard; and the limit of its scholastic ambition was to graduate
classes fitted to pass the "entrance examination" fixed by the Calcutta
University. In a word, while bearing the name given by its founder, Mr.
Beecher, the school aimed to do thoroughly the work of a New-England
academy _plus_ a comprehensive course of Bible study; and well manned as
it was by the woman's societies, with experienced teachers of good
education, it was fairly well able to do that work.

{ Footnote: [1] These three energetic, well-trained men are now serving
their people under government, as deputy inspectors of Karen schools.

[2] As to secular studies, we presume that the remark is true of all the
schools of our mission in Burma (see Appendix C). As to sacred studies
the theological seminary would stand first, of course. }

During the year 1876 a two-story L, one hundred feet by twenty-seven, was
added to the rear of the girls' schoolhouse,--the upper rooms to be used
as dormitories for the girls; the lower rooms, for weaving, storage, etc.
The cost of this building was given by an old friend of the mission,
resident in Burma. Moreover, much of the timber, and all of the choice
iron-wood posts, for the projected Memorial Hall, were collected from the
forests, fifty miles or more distant, and conveyed to the building-site.
On the 23d of August, at four, P.M., ground was broken for grading the
site of the new hall. Ez. ii. 68--iii. 13 was read by Shway Gah. After a
hymn sung by the school, and remarks with a financial statement from Mr.
Carpenter, prayer was offered by Rev. J. P. Sahnay, the pastor of the
Institute Church.[1] The ladies, and the native teachers of the school,
then lifted each a spadeful of earth; and the hard work of removing the
top soil, and grading up with laterite, was delegated to the young men
and boys of the Institute. At the close of the year we were sending off
Bogalay, our first missionary to the Kakhyens of Bhamo; the "Thomas
House" had been torn down, and taken to another site to make room for the
Memorial Hall; the Chinese contractor was beginning to hew and smooth the
posts of the latter; we had taken delivery of a hundred and forty
thousand teak shingles from Maulmain, and the building-fund had been
brought up to ten thousand six hundred rupees.

{ Footnote: [1] This was one of the last public services performed by
this excellent Karen brother. For a brief memorial sketch of his life and
character, see Missionary Magazine, April, 1877, p. 97. }

The year 1877 was one of great anxiety and of the severest labor. To add
to his legitimate cares, the missionary had been compelled to enter upon
a difficult and most unwelcome course with reference to the chief civil
authority in Bassein. Nowhere in the world, probably, is there a class of
officials more highly paid, or, as a class, possessed of higher
qualifications for their responsible duties, than the officials of the
British Government in India. There are among them not a few who combine
with the highest ability and training the beautiful characteristics of an
inward Christian life. British Burma owes much to the administrative
power of chiefs like Sir A. P. Phayre and Sir A. Eden, and not less,
certainly, to the Christian wisdom, combined with rare general ability,
of an Aitchison, a Thompson, and a Bernard. It is the exception, however,
that proves the rule. In an interior district, at rare intervals,
officers have been known to do what they could on British soil to
reproduce the tyranny of the old Burman rule.

It would be easy to fill half of this volume with well accredited facts
of what the native subjects of her Majesty had to endure about this time
in the Bassein district,--forced labor exacted wholesale over wide tracts
of territory; the compelling of all persons of the humbler classes to
kneel, in the great man's presence, on the street, or wherever they might
chance to meet him; many cases of personal violence done to innocent men
by the magistrate's own hands (or feet); Karen Christians obliged in
repeated instances to violate the Christian sabbath, and also to
contribute for the celebration of heathen festivals, etc. Matters reached
such a pitch, that an appeal was made to the highest authorities in May,
1876. This was followed by the wanton wrecking of one of our Karen
chapels (in Tohkwau) by the orders of the officer in question and in his
own presence; by persistent endeavors to prevent our obtaining the timber
necessary for our extensive buildings, on which we had paid advances, and
to which we had a legal right; and, finally, by fostering a vexatious
criminal charge brought against the missionary, on the alleged ground of
"wrongfully confining" one of his pupils nearly a year before. The
subject was referred by the chief commissioner to the viceroy of India
for orders. An informal and by no means an exhaustive inquiry was held in
August, 1876; but it was not until the middle of April, 1877, that the
decision of the Indian Government was made known.[1] The delinquent was
reduced in rank, and removed to a distant station.[2] In consequence, a
sense of relief, and thankfulness for partial justice even, pervaded all
classes of native society in Bassein.

{ Footnote: [1] However strangely it may sound to American ears, it is a
fact that no inquiry whatever was made into the charge of cruel treatment
of the natives, and no fair opportunity was given to the injured persons
to present their testimony. No compensation was ever offered for the
chapel destroyed; and, in the letter announcing the judgment to the
framer of the charges, no weight whatever was given to any thing brought
forward by the missionary. It was made to appear that the decision was
grounded solely upon a fact confessed by the gentleman himself, that,
contrary to the rules, he had accepted a loan of a few hundred rupees
from one of his native subordinates. So much for official pride and
class-feeling, not to speak of the gross disregard of the rights of the
poor and helpless. It may not be out of place to add in a footnote, that
the missionary himself was under police _surveillance_, and the name of
every visitor to his house was reported to the magistrate daily, for
months. The members of his family, as well as himself, were not surprised
to find themselves "sent to Coventry" for a still longer period, by all
save two or three stanch English friends.--C. H. CARPENTER.

[2] He has since retired from government service. }

On the 5th of February the last of the one hundred and sixteen heavy
iron-wood posts of the Memorial Hall was raised, with the English and
American flags waving at the top, fifty-six feet from the ground. The
roof was completed on the 15th of May, just as the annual rains began. By
a great effort the building-fund had been brought up to Rs. 22,850 at the
close of the year, but it had been necessary to spend large sums for
material and on subsidiary buildings. We had re-erected the "Thomas
House" as a boys' dormitory, a hundred feet by twenty-seven, with a
carpenter's shop, a turning-room, and a small book-bindery below: we had
completed also a very substantial granary of thirty-five hundred baskets'
capacity, to receive the rice contributed by the churches. Sheds for
grinding and pounding out the school rice were annexed, above which was a
dormitory for boys, seventy-two feet by twenty-seven. The rains,
moreover, had been very late in coming; and in July and August the
district was visited by floods of unprecedented height and continuance.
It was feared that the rice-crop would be a total failure throughout
Lower Burma. The seedlings were killed, and had to be reset twice and
three times. At the same time a cry of deepest distress came from the
Telugu Christians across the bay. We might ourselves be in the midst of
famine within six months; but an appeal was prepared in Karen, and sent
to every one of the churches. As two or three years before, in a time of
scarcity in Toungoo, a thousand rupees were cheerfully raised for their
needy Karen brethren, so now an equal amount was promptly brought in by
the churches, and sent to Rev. Mr. Clough and his associates, for
distribution among the suffering Telugus.

In March two more missionaries had been sent, with Rev. Messrs. Cushing
and Lyon, to the Kakhyens beyond Bhamo. In October two others volunteered
for the same self-denying and perilous work. The Home Mission treasury
was empty: what would the pastors do? We shall not soon forget old Mau
Yay's reply, "Is the teacher afraid to lend three hundred rupees to the
Lord?" Koteh and his companion were at once sent forward with the wife
and infant son of S'peh, who was already at his grand work on the
mountain peaks overlooking China; and the debt assumed by the pastors was
discharged in a few weeks.

On the 31st of December we were five thousand rupees in debt for
building, and still we were driving the work as fast as thirty carpenters
and sawyers could do it. We had formed the purpose, with God's blessing,
to dedicate the principal building May 16, 1878, as the "Ko Thahbyu
Memorial Hall." That day would be the fiftieth anniversary of the baptism
by Boardman, in Tavoy, of the first Karen convert to Christianity. Ko
Thahbyu, afterwards so zealous and successful in missionary labor as to
be called "the Karen apostle," was a Bassein man: his widow and son were
still living among us, worthy members of the church in Kaukau Pgah. The
first jubilee that the poor, once degraded, devil-worshipping Karen ever
had, ought to be worthily celebrated.

God was better to us than our fears, better even than our most sanguine
hopes. One-third only of the villages lost their crop, for the third year
in succession. Two-thirds of the Christian villages, those in the lower
part of the district, owing to most favorable latter rains, made a bumper
crop; and, most unexpectedly of all, paddy was bringing nearly double the
ordinary price. Never before, not even in the year of the great Bengal
famine, had the Karens in the fortunate part of the district received
nearly so much money for their grain.

At the annual meeting of the association in March, 1878, it was voted, in
view of the exigency, to make a second, supplementary effort, and, by a
special contribution of two rupees and a half per member, bring the
building-fund up to forty thousand rupees before May 16, in order that
the memorial building might be dedicated without a debt. The two months
following were crowded with blessings and the hardest kind of work for
every member of the Bassein mission. It was the hottest of hot seasons,
but there was no flinching. The devoted pastors again took hold of the
work of collection with fresh zeal and an invincible determination to
succeed. It is needless to say, that as a body they themselves gave to
the very extent of their resources. An enthusiasm for giving seemed to
fall upon the people. On the day of dedication, our building-fund, which
we had set at the modest figure of Rs. 20,000, had reached the sum of Rs.
42,342-3-0. The debt was extinguished. There was an abundance of material
on hand, and over Rs. 8,000 in cash,--considerably more than enough to
complete the Memorial Hall and two or three smaller buildings then under
way. The Karen contributions alone during the five months previous had
added Rs. 17,139 to the building-fund. For years we had been humming, "In
some way or other the Lord will provide." Faith was now changed to sight;
and for two days we had such a jubilee as the Jews may have kept, at the
other southern corner of the continent, in Solomon or Zerubbabel's day.

At the solemn services Rev. C. Bennett and wife, for fifty years most
useful and esteemed members of the Burman mission; the earnest and
devoted Mrs. Thomas, who but a few years before had a happy home on the
very spot now dedicated to the work of Christian education; and Rev. M.
Jameson and wife of the Burman Department, with the members of the Karen
mission in Bassein itself,--all assisted by their presence, and some of
them by valuable papers, reminiscences, or exhortations. Rev. D. A. W.
Smith of the seminary in Rangoon contributed an inspiring Karen hymn.
Last, but not least in importance, were the Karen pastors, especially the
veterans Mau Yay, Myat Keh, Po Kway, and Shway Bo,--all of whom were
prepared for their work and ordained by Abbott himself,--Shway Bau,
Tohlo, Dahbu, Pohtoo, and Deeloo, Kyoukkeh from Toungoo, and Rev. Sau Tay
from the Karen Theological Seminary in Rangoon, together with the widow
and son of Ko Thahbyu himself, and hundreds of others, of high and low
degree, from almost all parts of Karendom. To all it was an occasion of
deep and thrilling interest. The addresses of Myat Keh, Tohlo, and Shway
Bau; the papers read by Mrs. Thomas, Mr. Bennett, Mr. Carpenter, and Sau
Tay; the sermon by Poo Goung; and the dedicatory prayer by Mau Yay,--all
were worthy of the occasion, and produced a deep impression; while the
discussion of the twin-questions, "During the next fifty years what would
the Karens have God do for them, and what would the Lord have them do for
him?" led many, it was hoped, to fresh and deeper consecration to the
divine service.

[ Illustration--KO THAHBYU MEMORIAL HALL, PAID FOR BY THE BASSEIN KARENS,
DEDICATED MAY 16, 1878. ]

The building was not finished at the time of the dedication; but a brief
description of it as it was finished shortly after (see engraving) will
not be out of place. Its general form is that of the letter H less the
bottom half of the left leg: in other words, it consists of a main
building with three wings; two projecting on the north, and one,
containing the driveway and front entrance, with tower attached, on the
south. In the centre of the main building is a chapel for the united
worship of all departments on Sundays and at morning prayers. The
audience-room is sixty-six feet and a half by thirty-eight. The floor
slants on three sides towards the platform, which is in the middle of the
south side. Verandas ten feet broad on the north and south sides, and
galleries of the same width on the east and west, add largely to the
capacity of this place of worship. A rich teak entablature runs the whole
width of the audience-room over the east gallery; and upon it is carved
in large Karen letters, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the
sin of the world." Over the west gallery is inscribed in uniform style,
from Deuteronomy, "These words which I command thee this day,...thou
shalt teach them diligently unto thy children." On the west wall, side by
side with the marble tablet to Mr. Beecher, already described, hangs its
counterpart, with this inscription:--

"Sacred to the memory of
ELISHA LITCHFIELD ABBOTT.

[In Karen] Father-teacher Abbott.

"Missionary of the American Baptist
Missionary Union, and under God the
Founder of the Bassein Karen Mission.
Born in Cazenovia, N.Y., U.S.A., Oct. 23, 1809;
Arrived in Maulmain, Burma, 1836;
First tour to Kyootoo, Bassein, Dec. 23, 1837;
Died in Fulton, N.Y., U.S.A., Dec. 3, 1854.

"He was enabled to establish fifty Christian
Churches among the heathen, in which
Self-support was wisely practised
From the beginning. His name will ever live
In the traditions of the Bassein Karens
As that of a hero, and their beloved
Spiritual father."

[In Karen] We loved him very much.

The chapel contains also one of J. Estey & Co.'s best missionary organs,
the gift of the generous makers. The iron-framed settees in the chapel,
and the excellent desks and seats throughout the building (sufficient to
accommodate three hundred pupils), are of Chicago make, and were the gift
of L. D. Carpenter of Seymour, Ind., and another friend.

The east end of the main building, with its two wings, all two stories,
is for the study and recitation rooms of the English department. It
comprises one schoolroom thirty-eight feet by twenty-eight and a half,
three lecture and class rooms twenty-eight feet and a half by nineteen,
and three rooms nineteen feet square, besides much good veranda room. The
west end of the main building, with its one wing, is used by the
vernacular department. It has one large schoolroom thirty-eight feet by
twenty-eight and a half, five rooms twenty-eight feet and a half by
nineteen (one of which is occupied by the library), and one room nineteen
feet square, besides available room on the verandas.

The south front of the Memorial Hall measures 134 feet; the east,
including the tower, 131 feet; and the west, 104 feet. The tower on the
south-east corner is four stories, or sixty feet from the ground to the
top of the gilded Greek cross. A fine-toned bell presented by "The
Fort-holders" of the First Baptist Church Sunday school, New York City,
swings in the belfry. The building was thoroughly painted throughout by
the students, at the cost of the material only. Most fortunately, the
acoustics of the chapel, and the ventilation of the whole building, prove
to be all that can be desired. A two-story covered gallery, 350 feet
long, connects the Hall with the mission-house and the girls' school;
thus saving the teachers and pupils from all exposure to sun and rain in
passing to and fro, and the ladies from much fatigue in going up and down
stairs.

At the association held in Singoo-gyee, March, 1879, Rev. Mr. Smith,
president of the Karen Theological Seminary, was present by invitation,
and gave valuable aid in the deliberations of the body. The work of
providing the school with ample buildings having been completed, there
being also no token manifest of exhaustion on the part of pastors or
people, the project of raising fifty thousand rupees to be the nucleus of
an endowment for the school, under the name of the "E. L. Abbott
Endowment Fund," was discussed. Mr. Smith also wished to know what terms
the Bassein Karens would offer, in case the Missionary Union should see
fit to remove the theological school to Bassein. A conference was held
with the pastors, all of whom were anxious to do every thing in their
power to effect an arrangement which they had so long desired. The
association finally voted unanimously, and the leading pastors and elders
signed a formal pledge for transmission to Boston, to raise five thousand
rupees at least, for the erection of a dwelling-house for Mr. Smith; to
give for the use of the seminary the seven cottages on the western side
of the compound, of which the cost value was not less than five thousand
rupees; the free use of the western half of the Memorial Hall, so long as
Mr. Smith and his teachers would be responsible for the management of the
vernacular department of the Institute; and all the rice needed year by
year for the consumption of the pupils of the seminary. It was also voted
unanimously to raise within seven years the proposed endowment of fifty
thousand rupees, and ten thousand rupees for a small hospital, doctor's
house, etc., besides the ten thousand rupees for Mr. Smith's house, and
for dormitories to take the place of the buildings to be transferred to
the Theological Seminary, in case it should be removed to the Sgau
compound in Bassein.

This munificent offer, made in the best of faith, and from no selfish or
narrow motives, the Executive Committee were unable to accept in the face
of probable opposition from many missionaries. If there were any ground
to hope that the offer would be favorably considered, it would doubtless
be renewed, and the pledge, like all the pledges of that noble people,
would be more than redeemed. Meanwhile the work of raising the endowment
goes on. Serious opposition to the endowment-plan was raised, in one
quarter at least, where there should have been the heartiest
co-operation; but the work went on. Over Rs. 31,000 had been paid in,
before ill health again obliged Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter, in November,
1880, to leave Burma. Of this endowment-fund raised by the Karens,
$15,066.66 are now safely invested in this country, under the control of
the Missionary Union, for twenty years; and the accruing interest,
undiminished, is forwarded semi-annually to Bassein for the support of
the Institute.

Rev. C. A. Nichols, a graduate of the college and seminary at Hamilton,
N.Y., arrived in Bassein with Mrs. Nichols in December, 1879. Under his
direction, with the continuance of the divine blessing, the work will not
cease to progress. A telegram of a single word, "ten," recently received
from him, indicates the purpose of the pastors and the trustees of the
Institute to raise and forward $10,000 more towards the endowment this
year. May the God of Abraham speed him and them in all their works of
faith and patience until the blessed consummation!

To sum up. Since 1868 the Sgau Karen Christians of Bassein alone have
contributed Rs. 82,511-14-5 (equivalent, at the rates of exchange current
during the period, to $36,564.96) for the erection of permanent
buildings, and for the permanent endowment of their Normal and Industrial
Institute. There have been no fairs, grab-bags, or ingenious devices of
any kind, to lure away their money without their feeling it. That amount
has been given out and out, in cash, besides thousands of rupees' worth
of gratuitous labor, in addition to all their heavy contributions for the
support of the gospel, for the current expenses of the Institute, and
their own village schools. In the exercise of a beautiful confidence in
the Christian honor and love of their American brethren, this large sum
has been either expended on the property of the A. B. M. Union in
Bassein.[1] or intrusted to the treasurer of the Union in Boston for
investment. Missionary friends and others in Burma have also given within
the last twelve years, for the endowment of this school, for permanent
school-buildings and furniture, Rs. 53,649-7-4; making a grand total of
Rs. 136,161-5-9 permanently invested thus far in this indigenous school
enterprise. To this may be added Rs. 4,153-5, given by the Woman's
Baptist Missionary Society (mostly to provide accommodations for their
missionary ladies) and by private friends in America, and the "Mark
Carpenter Scholarship Fund" of $4,000.

{ Footnote: [1] Of late, incited, perhaps, by the example of the Karen
Home Mission Society in Rangoon, there has been an increasing desire, on
the part of many pastors and laymen in Bassein, to own the valuable
property in Bassein in their own name. The writer has not been in favor
of yielding to this desire heretofore, although it will doubtless be
brought about naturally and easily in the course of time. To hold the
property, a Karen Society would have to be formed, and legally
incorporated; and the consent of the government to the transfer of the
land granted by it to the Free Mission Society would have to be obtained.
In the present immature stage of Karen character and social development,
differences of view, and practical difficulties of management, would be
likely to arise, which would make the possession and control of the
mission-compound by them unprofitable and unwise.

In view, however, of the fact that the Christian Karens have expended not
less than fifty thousand rupees on this property to less than five
thousand expended by the Union, the writer did urge the Executive
Committee strongly, to give to the Karen pastors a formal "refusal" of
the property, binding themselves and their successors to give the Sgau
Karen Baptists of Bassein the right of first purchase, at a price not
greater than the actual cost to the Union of the property, whenever the
society may think it wise to dispose of the same.

It seems, however, that this suggestion was not heeded, and that an
excellent letter (referred to in the Missionary Magazine, July, 1883, p.
203), filled with kind assurances and Christian counsel, was sent, but
_not_ through the missionary who made the application. It seems to the
writer that this refusal to meet a generous and trusting people half way
will some day have to be reconsidered. }

To keep up such a scale of giving through so long a term of years,
_without allowing their Christian work to flag in any particular_; to do
it, as that dear people did, in the face of opposition from without, and
finally from within also; in the face of the dismission of four entire
churches with their pastors to join the Rangoon association, and of the
emigration of not less than five hundred adult members of other churches
to the limits of the same association; in the face of the defection of
two other large churches through the influence of corrupt pastors; in the
face of unusual ravages by pestilence; in the face of the loss of the
greater part of their cattle by murrain, of the oft-repeated loss of
their crops by floods; in the face of increased taxation, and, for a
time, of positive oppression, and the disfavor of their rulers,--was
nothing less, surely, than a marked triumph of that divine grace which
enriches "in every thing unto all liberality," and works, through the
saints, "thanksgiving to God." To Him who increases "the fruits of
righteousness" be all the praise!

We close this record of the mingled trials and blessings of forty years'
labor in a remote corner of the Lord's vineyard with two instructive
tables, which will receive, we trust, the careful attention of all
thoughtful readers, although consigned to the Appendix. The first table
shows the gradual growth of the Bassein churches, Sgau and Pwo, in
numbers, benevolence, etc., from 1857 to 1879 inclusive. The second
contains the amounts given by the several Sgau Karen churches of Bassein
for the permanent buildings and endowment of their school from 1868 to
1880,--the churches being arranged, not according to the aggregate
amounts given, church by church, but according to the average given per
member; the smaller churches thus having as good a chance for precedence
as the larger,--and also the donations of each church to ordinary and
special objects for the jubilee year 1879.

As our readers may be interested to know how the annual contributions set
forth in the Appendix are distributed between the various objects, we
introduce a short table on the opposite page.

[ Illustration--Classified Table of Contributions, Bassein Sgau Karen
Churches, 1870-79. }

If an inquiry is raised as to the condition in life of these generous
native Christians, we reply that ninety-nine hundredths of the laity are
ordinary lowland rice-cultivators. Not one of them owns the field which
he tills. The high taxes which they pay may be regarded as of the nature
of rent paid to the Empress of India, who is the legal proprietor of all
ungranted lands in Burma. The charge varies, according to the quality of
the soil, from Rs. 1-8 to Rs. 3-4 per acre annually for all land under
cultivation. To this, a cess of ten per cent on all tax-bills is added
for roads, police, education, etc. Then there is the house-tax of Rs. 5
for every married man under sixty (not a school-teacher, or minister of
religion), and Rs. 2-8 for every bachelor; besides the export duty on
their rice, and a small duty on most imported goods, which amount to a
pretty high indirect tax. They are not, however, impoverished, like the
people of Bengal, by _zemindars_. There is no fictitious landed nobility
here to stand between the people and the government, fattening on the
life-blood of the poor. Lord Cornwallis, whose name is somewhat familiar
to Americans, created such a class for unhappy Bengal; but Burma escaped
him.

The Bassein Karens are hard workers; and as their district is troubled
with an excess of water, rather than the reverse, they are, as a class,
undoubtedly more prosperous than the corresponding classes in India.
Still, they are poor. Their standard of comfort is low, and they have
very little property. A few cattle, a house or hut that counts for
nothing, a single change of clothing, a heavy knife or two, a few baskets
and other utensils of his own manufacture, a hymn-book or a New
Testament, perhaps a gun (it may be the gun without the hymn-book), are
all that you will find in the possession of the ordinary Karen
householder. Their prosperity is merely relative compared with their own
estate under the Burman rule, or that of others in the lowest depths of
poverty. Such as it is, their prosperity is not often enhanced by high
prices received for their crops in consequence of famines in India. Many
of the cultivators accept advances early in the year, to be paid back in
kind at harvest, at the very lowest rates. Those who are more fore-handed
almost always sell directly from the threshing-floor, both to meet the
demands of the tax-gatherer and to save the trouble of storing. The rise
in prices, when it comes, takes place after the bulk of the crop is out
of the hands of the cultivator; and the profits of India's misfortune are
generally reaped by speculators and middlemen. The year 1878 was a marked
exception to this rule.

Money is plentier, no doubt, among the natives of Burma than it is among
the natives of India; but in comparing wages, contributions, etc., the
great difference in the cost of living should always be considered. A
common cooly in some of the Madras ports is glad to work for four or six
cents a day, and that suffices for his daily necessities. The same man in
Burma could easily earn from twenty-live to fifty cents, according to the
season; but, if his family were with him, he would require to spend
nearly the whole of it to live upon. The prices of all things, not
excepting rice even, are far higher in Burma than on the opposite coast
of the bay.

While we would not be so bold as to proffer advice to any, a lesson from
our experience may possibly be of interest or value to some of our
readers; and so we give it. Our experience in Bassein, then, teaches,
that, to enlist native Christians heartily in benevolent enterprises, the
following things are at least highly desirable:--

(1) The enterprise selected should be of such a nature as to attract
them, as well as to commend itself to their Christian hearts and their
sober judgment. The Bassein Karens have been eager for Christian
education from the first; but that which animated and sustained them
throughout this arduous undertaking was the conviction that what they
were doing was for the advancement of the kingdom of God and the moral
and temporal elevation of their own children. The doctrine of Christian
stewardship has been freely preached among them, to the poorest as well
as to the richest. The duty, rather the privilege, of giving _out of
their living_, if necessary, has been inculcated on all.

(2) It is hardly necessary to say that they should have a leader who is
strictly responsible, and able to keep accounts. He must also secure
their perfect confidence by enlightening them as to his plans at every
stage, and by reporting to them frequently the exact sums which he has
received and spent, from whom he has received, and for what the money has
been spent. The author has always taken great pains to have a
well-matured plan prepared in advance, and to talk over his plans, and
exhibit his drawings, to as many of the leading men as possible; to keep
a small ledger, in which there is a separate account with every one of
the seventy odd churches, so that he could answer exactly, at a moment's
notice, any inquiry as to the amounts given by any church or leading
individual; also to have all his accounts balanced from time to time, and
thoroughly audited, and compared with the vouchers, by competent Karens,
as well as by fellow-missionaries; and, moreover, to give at all the
general meetings of the pastors and people, at least three times a year,
a clear and exact abstract of all receipts and expenditures, showing the
precise balances on hand, or the deficits to be made up. In a word, he
has constantly endeavored to treat the work as _their_ work for God, and
to hold himself as _their agent and servant for the efficient carrying
out of the common design_.

(3) The work once resolved upon, it should be pressed, even in advance of
the receipt of contributions. Show the people that you trust their
pledges. Like children, they are best taught by "object-lessons." They
will best understand and appreciate your plans by seeing them wrought out
in brick and wood before their eyes. The work once well begun, the desire
and determination of pastors and people to complete it will grow with
every stroke of the hammer. If we had waited until twenty thousand rupees
had been secured, before beginning operations, instead of dedicating the
building at the end of the third year, we should have waited at least ten
years before breaking ground; and, before the people would have intrusted
a new and untried man with such an accumulation of money to lie dormant,
he might have waited till he was gray. That is not the way in which
heathen temples and pagodas are built. Such a policy, excellent as it may
be for the West, is not in accordance with the genius of Asiatic peoples.
The more the writer has ventured in the Lord's work in Burma, the more he
has received. He would therefore earnestly recommend a trial of this
method by other missionaries.

(4) "Many a little makes a mickle." Our people being so poor, with no
wealthy class to lean upon, their strength lay in their numbers, and
unanimity of feeling and purpose. From the beginning, our aim was to
enlist in the effort every church, and every member of each church with
their children, so far as possible. While the native assistants in town,
under the direct control of the missionary, gave largely and cheerfully
for the buildings and endowment, month by month, by far the larger share
of the credit for our success should be given, under God, to the devoted
native pastors. With a single temporary exception, not one of these
sixty-five men ever receives a rupee from America, or is beholden to the
missionary for temporal assistance of any kind. Of course the
missionary's influence over them is very different from what it would be
if he had some thousands of rupees of foreign money to dispense among
them annually. As a body, they are truly humble men; and yet the writer
would not know where to look for manlier men. Their influence over their
own people is great. Their mutual regard, their confidence in each other,
and their delicate respect for each other's feelings, are touching to
behold, and have no little to do, probably, with their efficiency. A
small volume might be filled with an account of their sacrifices.

The church at Kaukau Pgah, which heads the list of the jungle churches,
is by no means rich, even for a Karen church. It is composed largely of
the poorest people; but Rev. Dahbu, their noble pastor, is a man of
resource and boundless faith. Of the Rs. 4,289-6 brought in by them for
our buildings and the endowment, it is safe to say that the pastor
himself contributed more than any four, perhaps more than any six, of his
members. Some of the younger men, pastors of the smallest churches, have
shown a spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion rarely equalled. Shway
Louk, one of our old seminary graduates, receives from his church a
salary of just forty dollars a year in money, and about forty bushels of
cleaned rice. He has raised from his own people $751 for the permanent
buildings and endowment of the school. Ng'Chee, also one of our old
seminary pupils, receives from his little church of twenty-nine members
twenty dollars a year only, and no rice. This would mean simple
starvation, but for the fact that he receives about the same amount from
the Home Mission Society for his earnest labors among the heathen. He,
too, has brought in for the school-buildings and endowment $162. Shway
Chee and his gentle wife, graduates of the Karen Theological Seminary and
the Bassein girls' school respectively, eke out a scanty living on $15.45
in money, and forty baskets of cleaned rice. Under his leading, the
little church of twenty-seven members has contributed $140 for the
special object under consideration. The little church at Th'byeelat, the
remotest of all our churches, has but twenty members on the roll; yet the
good old elder, one of Abbott's men, has brought in $116 for the
Institute buildings and endowment.

The Hsen Leik church has given Rs. 1,660 for the Memorial Hall and Abbott
Fund: of this the pastor, Rev. Thahree, formerly Mr. Abbott's personal
attendant for years, gave, with his children, Rs. 72 at one time, besides
generous sums before and since. The Kyootoo church raised Rs. 2,630.
Their pastor, Mau Yay, has been already referred to as the oldest of our
pastors, and the first man to learn to read Karen in all Bassein. He is a
gigantic man for a Karen, but as gentle as a child. At the time of the
English attack on Bassein, his life was sought by the Burmans; and it is
said that the cross on which he was to be hung was actually constructed.
His zeal in all good enterprises is unbounded. Notwithstanding the
complete destruction of their crops by floods, three years in succession,
the Yaygyau church raised Rs. 1,408. Their pastor, old Nahpay, never
recovered fully from the tortures inflicted upon him by the cruel
Burmans. Up to the time of his death, in 1880, his limbs were still
distorted, and he suffered greatly from rheumatic pains. In October,
1877, when it was certain that their crop was again destroyed beyond
hope, the old man surprised me one day by coming in with Rs. 50-5 for the
Telugu famine. I remonstrated with him, and told him that his people had
no more rice for the year to come than the Telugus. I knew that the old
man and his people were poverty-stricken and suffering, while
intelligence had come, that, owing mainly to the unbounded generosity of
the people of England, the crisis in Madras was passed. I proposed to him
to take back a part or all of the money, and use it as he thought best;
but he would not listen to it. "We think that the Lord will not forget
us. He has destroyed the rice, but not the fish. We shall get on in some
way." These cases are selected almost at random. Where nearly all have
done nobly, to single out any may almost seem to be invidious. The best
of it all is, that the elect ones in Bassein have no thought of stopping
in this course of giving. Where can we look for brighter examples of
sacrifice and devotion on the part of whole communities in Christian
America?

In the very crisis of affairs, two months or so before the Jubilee, the
writer proposed to send out some of his assistant teachers to aid a few
of the pastors in raising their quotas; but hardly one of them was
willing to have an "agent" to help them to do their own work. They said
it would make them too much ashamed. Of course there are close-fisted, if
not miserly, men, even among the Karens. One of the pastors told me of
his unfailing device in such cases. He would go with one or two of his
deacons, and quietly labor with the brother all day. Very little would be
said directly of the real errand. Perhaps the man would disappear, and go
to his work. If an apology was offered, it was readily accepted. They
were in no haste. They had come to make him a good long visit. They would
sleep with him that night, and have a long, earnest talk about "the
kingdom of God." A second night was rarely necessary. The next morning,
after family prayers, he was generally ready to meet their wishes.

We would urge the importance, finally, of enlisting the aid of the native
Christians, at the earliest possible day, in all departments of mission
expenditure, save only the personal support of the foreign teacher. The
school-buildings and houses of worship on the mission-compound in town
should _not_ be excepted. No matter how small and insignificant the
amount they give at first, let them have an opportunity to help. It is
only thus that they can become accustomed to the idea of bearing all of
their own burdens; and they will never cease to creep in weakness, unless
they are encouraged to stand erect, and walk. Strength and assurance come
with the repeated use of limbs and will. "Sow an act, and you reap a
habit; sow a habit, and you reap a character; sow a character, and you
reap a destiny."



CHAPTER XX.
1881-1887.


"I believe that He who was once crowned with thorns shall yet be crowned
with many crowns."--PRESIDENT MARK HOPKINS.


"All nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of
Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name
forever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and
Amen."--DAVID, _the son of Jesse._


THE fulfilment of the prophecy waits upon the lethargy and unbelief of
God's people in Christian lands. Oh for the dawning of that day of power
in which all Christians, north, south, east, and west, the world around,
shall be "willing"!

As the impregnable position assumed by the pioneer Bassein missionaries
from thirty to forty years ago has been still further fortified by events
recorded in the later chapters, it may be well to sum up the wisdom of
the pioneers, and the experience gained by their successors. Briefly, the
principles by which the work in Bassein has been uniformly shaped, from
the outset to the present time, are these:--

(_a_) "While all Christians, women and children as well as men, are
bidden to bear a part in the direct work of evangelization, it is a grave
question whether God calls to exclusively religious labor a larger
proportion of his church in any land than can be supported, as well as
the average membership live, from local sources. The command, "Go ye into
all the world," etc., undoubtedly requires the personal service of a far
greater number of the ablest men than have as yet responded; but it does
_not_ (in our judgment) include for Christians at home the duty of
subsidizing foreign churches, or of affording regular support to any of
the converts who may be made.

(_b_) It is certain that the mere fact of a foreign missionary dispensing
considerable sums of foreign money from month to month mars his
influence.

(_c_) It is deleterious to the native preacher himself, and to the native
church, to receive foreign aid.

(_d_) It puts the native preacher in a false light before the heathen,
and seriously diminishes his usefulness.

(_e_) The apostle Paul suffered neither in character nor influence from
making tents, elsewhere than in Philippi; nor will the native preacher
thus suffer, if, in default of a comfortable support from his own
brethren, he ekes out the supply of his necessities, like the Baptist
ministry of a former generation in America, by the labor of his own hands
or brain for a portion of his time.

In 1841 Mr. Abbott asked, for his great and most difficult work, Rs.
1,500. He was allowed but Rs. 1,000 ($454) for every thing outside of his
own support. Notwithstanding this hard treatment, he and his mission got
on fairly well; while the small Burman missions in Arakan, each of which
received the same amount, and from which he asked for the aid of a few
hundred rupees in vain, have long been practically extinct. The worst
result of the lavish expenditure of home funds in mission-work is not so
much the waste, as we deem it, of Christ's money, as the permanent
weakening and emasculation of hundreds of young Christian communities.
That destructive influence the Sgau Karen churches of Bassein have wholly
escaped, thank God!

On the whole, the prospects of the Bassein Karen mission, though not
unclouded, are bright. The hands are too few, but the work is in good
hands. May God speed the time when "the little one shall become a
thousand, and the small one a strong nation," and when, "from the rising
of the sun even unto the going-down of the same," the Lord's name "shall
be great among the Gentiles"! What foreign missionary does not long for
the day when his peculiar vocation shall be gone,--the day in which the
churches in lands now heathen shall be both competent and willing to
manage all of their affairs, and to assume all of their Christian
responsibilities,--the day when he may be released from the labor and
cares which now almost crush him to the earth,--the day when he may be
left free, either to spend his declining years in the home-land, amid the
scenes of his youth, drinking in the healthful air of his native hills,
or, girding himself for fresh conquests, to pass on with a force of his
late disciples to the yet unevangelized regions beyond? What of the
night, watchman? What signs of promise herald that glad day when we may
leave Burma to the care of its own converted peoples, assured that its
future and theirs will be bright with the presence and all-sufficient aid
of the Redeemer King?

From the facts set forth in the preceding chapters, it is evident, we
think, that many long steps towards pecuniary independence have already
been taken in Bassein; but, before complete moral and intellectual
independence are achieved, it is equally evident, we think, that many
more long steps must be taken. Note this patent fact. Whenever the
numerous native missionaries of Bassein have been well led by their
American brethren, as in Bassein itself, in Toungoo, Prome, and Bhamo,
they have done yeoman service, and have been efficient factors, in the
work of saving the lost. Note another fact, equally patent. Thus far, in
almost every instance in which they have attempted independent missions,
as in Upper Burma in 1859, towards Zimmay in 1863, later in the Meklong
Valley of Siam, and, shall we add, beyond Zimmay to Lakon in 1881, their
efforts have well-nigh come to naught. Long journeys have been made
successfully; money for the journeys has been forthcoming, and abundant
enthusiasm at the start: but of the home-coming, and of the spiritual
results, what can we say?

We have looked also with regret at their weakness in the presence of
wrong-doing. If the offender were a Karen of standing and influence, or a
man likely to be a dangerous enemy, or even if he were but one of the
same family or clan, whom they felt bound, as by secret oaths, to screen
from justice, how often have they silently endured his presence in the
church or in the ministry, instead of openly rebuking the wrong, and
taking scriptural steps for the excision, or the discipline, of the
offender! These and other marked weaknesses of character must be overcome
before the Karen churches will be truly independent, and able to walk
erect, without support, superior to fear, and in danger of no deserved
reproach.

Like a young person, a young nation or people must pass through that
period when the puffing-up of a little knowledge, and the lack of
confirmed strength and confidence, lead to a somewhat unpleasant
sensitiveness. The Karens seem to be approaching that stage. They are
losing a little of their old docility, they are seeking new avenues to
fortune and power; some of them are casting about for leaders of their
own race; and perhaps a few would-be leaders are casting about for
constituencies. All this is to be expected, and it indicates that the
Karen Christians must be treated with more than ordinary gentleness and
forbearance until they have had time to attain to that higher stage of
mingled humility and self-respect which follows deeper knowledge and
hard-won success. May God help and bless them always! With their
antecedents and the divine favor which has hitherto rested upon them,
they cannot go far wrong; and the day of complete independence, which
they and we alike long for, will surely come.

But what of this desired independence when that happy day arrives? Not a
few friends of missions have congratulated themselves on the fact that
one of the stations in Assam, in the absence of a missionary, has been
left for a few years to the management of a native brother. This may have
been the best arrangement possible under the circumstances: but the
appointment of any native brother by the Missionary Union to the place
and rank, as it were, of an American missionary; the regular support of
that brother by the Union on a salary much larger than he could hope to
receive from a congregation of his own people; the regular payment into
his hands of considerable sums of mission-money for disbursement among
the other native assistants, thus giving to him a prestige and power that
is dangerous to his own character, and as foreign to Assamese ideas as it
is to the polity of the New Testament,--this, we say, cannot be the true
independence that we are looking for. Is it a small step even, in the
direction of that independence? No. Complete pecuniary independence must
come first.

Then native leaders must arise,--God's men, "full of faith and of the
Holy Ghost;" sons of Burma; not Americanized Karens, but Karens of the
Karens; men so pre-eminent in goodness and greatness, that these
qualities shall be recognized by their fellow-Christians, who will gladly
call them, trust them, and support them, in preference to leaders of any
other race, though they come bringing their own support. Such men are
wanting now. Their time has not yet come. The educational conditions are
still deficient, but they will be made complete. Schools higher and
better than any that now exist in all that land will arise, and men of
the requisite natural qualities will be forthcoming. Some of the first
generation of pastors came short, only by their utter lack of
school-privileges. Men like Tway Po and Po Kway among the dead, and men
like Myat Keh and Mau Yay, who are permitted still to linger among the
living, had all of the natural qualifications of leadership. They had,
besides, the grace of God in their hearts in large measure, and, not
least, that rare meekness and humility which seem to be so sadly
deficient in many of the younger men of the schools.

The Karens are not a decaying people: they are rapidly increasing in
numbers.[1] Their mental powers are not on the wane, neither is there any
evidence that in spiritual things the grace of God has deserted them; and
yet it is a problem where the God-ordained leaders for whom we look and
pray are to come from. Among the younger men, our own loved pupils, we
see but few who give promise of being to the next generation what the men
we have named, and others, have been to the present generation and the
last.

{ Footnote: [1] Between August, 1872, and February, 1881, the census says
that the Karens of British Burma increased from 331,706 to 518,294, an
increment of _fifty-six per cent_. This increase is due, not to
immigration, but to fertility. The ratio of increase for the Burmans in
the same period was thirty-one per cent only, and they were aided by a
large immigration from Upper Burma. The increase in the entire population
of the Bassein district is over forty-four per cent, and to this increase
the Karens contributed their full share. If the race should continue to
multiply in this ratio for forty years to come, there would be over three
millions of Karens in British Burma alone. }

Our schools are not what they ought to be. Says President Eliot of
Harvard, "A good school is not a grand building, or a set of nice
furniture, or a series of text-books selected by the committee, or a
programme of studies made up by the superintendent; and all of these
things put together, though each were the best of its kind, would not
make a good school; for a good school is a man or a woman." Under God the
great want of the Karen people to-day is some man or men of commanding
intellect, of high training, and absolute devotion, who shall do for the
choice youth of the rising generation what Arnold of Rugby and Wayland in
Providence did for the young men whom they first drew to their schools,
and then moulded to be leaders of thought and action for communities and
nations. If such men are to be found, let them know their opportunity,
and let them go forth, secure of personal support from the home-land, but
looking confidently for the means they need for their work among a
grateful people. Let the Karen school or schools of the future be
created, not out of nothing, but chiefly from the offerings called forth
from a people responsive above most others to the slightest touch of
loving and masterful devotion. Let the common schools be improved, and
let them reach all, not one-fourth or one-sixth only, of the children.
Let us keep striving until the family altar shall be naturalized in Karen
homes, and until there shall be some show, at least, of family
discipline. Let us strive to infuse a deeper and more genuine love for
God's Word and for all useful books. Let us draw out more and more the
missionary spirit of that missions-loving people, and systematize and
stimulate their efforts in behalf of the perishing. And let us
continually wait upon God for his begetting and his anointing grace. Then
we may hope to see in due time a prosperous and enlightened people,
rejoicing in that happy combination of natural gifts, grace, and culture,
which shall mark the new era of complete independence for the Karen
churches, and fit them for the highest and broadest usefulness.

If there were evidence of a gradual, even though it were but a slow,
throwing-off of the monetary shackles which cramp and enfeeble the
development of native churches in some other fields, there would be less
occasion for the lessons which this historical sketch enforces. One of
the most dangerous features of the subsidizing system, which Mr. Abbott
so vigorously attacks in Chap. VII., is its tendency to perpetuate its
evil influences. While there has been some gratifying advance, the fact
should be recognized, abroad and at home, that the mission which he
singled out in 1848 as the special object of his criticism still
continues to be the most expensive of all the Baptist missions in Burma,
while, for the amount of labor and money bestowed, it appears to have
been rather below the average in fruitfulness. Another field in which the
pioneer missionaries began their labors on the healthful principle of
self-support has drawn, under the later management, increasingly heavy
sums from the home churches, until now it is numbered among the most
expensive of our missions. Too many other missions are lapsing deeper and
deeper into the slough of dependence on foreign bounty.

The Missionary Union as a whole, instead of being free to advance into
new fields for the enlightenment of those who still sit in utter
darkness, finds its resources subjected to a constant strain to supply
the ever increasing demands from the old fields. However important and
needful other branches of Christian work may be, most Christian people
will agree that the chief work of an evangelical missionary society
should be the maintenance in heathen lands of men from the home-land who
are called of God to preach the everlasting gospel. The number of men
actually engaged in this work on foreign shores at any given time may be
taken as a fair measure of the amount of work done in this the main line
of the society's operations.

A careful study of the treasurer's reports of the A. B. M. Union year by
year since 1840 shows, that, for the ten years 1840 to 1849 inclusive, an
average of 33 6/10 American male missionaries were maintained in Asia,
Africa, and Europe, including, with preaching missionaries, schoolmen,
translators, printers, and new men learning the language. Dividing the
gross expenditure for all purposes by the number of men on the field, we
find the average expenditure to be $2,425.48 per man. From 1850 to 1859,
an average of 36 1/10 men were supported on the field at an average
expenditure, for all purposes, of $3,070.39. From 1860 to 1869, an
average of 31 6/10 men were kept on the field at an average expenditure
per man of $4,389.15. From 1870 to 1879 there was an average of 43 4/10
men, and an average expenditure of $5,336.35. From 1880 to 1883,
notwithstanding the restoration of our currency to a gold basis, with an
increased average of 54 1/4 men, there was a gross expenditure of
$5,322.80 per man. A part of this increased expenditure is due to an
increase of salaries paid to missionaries on account of the increased
cost of living in the East; a part is due to the sending-forth of so many
worthy and efficient single women: but a careful analysis shows that
neither one nor both of these together will account for the great
discrepancy that exists between the expenditures of 1840 and 1883. To a
large extent the increase is due to the largely increased sums expended
upon native schools and native helpers. Taking at random the report for
1880-81 for a sample, we deduct the amount of "collections on the field,"
and the amount of annuities paid to donors of permanent funds, and we
have left $275,079.99 for expenditure. Of this total, we find that
twenty-one per cent only ($60,030.90) was paid for the support of male
missionaries and their families on the field; about seven per cent was
paid for the support of thirty-eight single lady missionaries, mostly
employed as teachers in the schools; eight per cent, as nearly as we can
reckon, was spent upon mission compounds, chapels, school and dwelling
houses, of which half, perhaps, should be added to the cost of supporting
mission-families on the field; a trifle over seven per cent was paid for
the outfit and passage of missionaries, male and female; about four per
cent was paid in allowances to missionaries at home on furlough; eleven
per cent was used for home expenses proper, including officers' salaries,
publications, etc.; while, as nearly as we can reckon, $78,593.45, or
twenty-eight per cent of the whole, went for "schools and mission-work,"
of which nine-tenths, probably, was used in the support of native pupils,
or natives engaged in teaching their countrymen or in preaching to them;
about ten per cent, also, was sent in aid of native work in Europe and
Africa, while about five per cent was appropriated for Scriptures and
printing. It is safe to say, that at some stations from two to six times
more money from America is now spent than was spent in them by the
fathers thirty years ago.[1] More than one of our own Baptist missions
might be named which were begun on sound, economical, self-supporting
principles by the fathers, but which are now being weakened by the free
expenditure of money given by the Sunday schools and churches of this
land. Far less money for "station-work," so called, ten times more money
for the support of earnest and devoted missionaries to be sent forth from
America to reap the whitening harvests in a hundred fields both new and
old, should be our rule of action.

{ Footnote: [1] Over forty thousand dollars in specific donations were
given last year, through the A. B. M. Union and the auxiliary Woman's
Societies, for the support of native preachers, "Bible-readers," pupils,
and schools, in addition to large appropriations from those societies for
the same objects. (Specific donations for the support of missionaries,
for the Children's Home at Newton Centre, for Bible-work, and some other
minor objects, are not included in the above statement.) If all of our
missions would come up to the position which has been consistently
maintained since 1854 by the mission whose story is here told, this large
sum, with a large proportion of the present appropriations for
"mission-work" and schools, might be at once devoted to the establishment
of new missions and the re-enforcement of old ones. The saving made by
the hearty adoption of the self-supporting principle would suffice, even
with no increase of giving from Christians at home, to enlarge the force
of American missionaries on the field nearly if not quite one-half. }

The doctrine of this book, and, we fear, the examples set by Bassein, are
not welcome in some quarters; and yet the prevalence of these principles
everywhere in our missions is vital to true and lasting success. What can
be done to correct the evil referred to? what to convince the most
unbelieving and unwilling minds? We reply, after long reflection, that
the most direct way to promote self-support throughout Burma is to give
to that principle its fullest development and its completest success _in
Bassein itself_. It is not only the American missionaries in Bassein (to
the Burmans, as well as to the Karens) who are the strongest advocates of
the doctrine. Listen to Kyoukkeh[1] and Klehpo, away on the Toungoo
mountains; listen to the scores--shall it not be in the future the
hundreds?--of men trained in the Bassein schools, eye-witnesses of the
benign effects of consecrated enterprise and beneficence on that wide
circle of churches, using their influence to reproduce what they have
seen, in all parts of Burma and in the adjacent lands. The strongest
argument that we can put into the mouths of these and other men who agree
with them, the strongest appeal that we can make to backward missions, is
to secure the largest and completest success of this principle on the
field of its earliest victories in Burma. What, then, is lacking there
to-day?

{ Footnote: [1] See Rev. A. Bunker's report of an address "of unusual
fire and force" on this subject by Kyoukkeh, Missionary Magazine, June,
1870, p. 171. }

What is lacking in Bassein? Go with me to Great Plains, which once
blossomed as the garden of the Lord (pp. 89, 173). Many of the
descendants of Wahdee's flock are still there; the fruit-trees which he
planted still feed the dwellers by the sea: but the candlestick has been
removed, the church is extinct. Drunkenness and licentious revels have
taken the place of sober industry and hymns of praise. Buffalo,
M'gay-hmau, To-kwau, Layloo, Shankweng, and Wah-klaulot are not much
better off. A dozen others are honey-combed with impoverishing,
soul-destroying superstitions. Always weak by reason of the unconverted
element admitted at the beginning, they are steadily going backward and
downward. Half of the churches are comparatively strong; but many things
need to be set in order, even in them: and the half-light of the morning
should be superseded by the full light of God's day. The dead and dying
churches want only to be let alone; but the great desire and the greatest
need of the living, self-sacrificing churches and pastors is, and has
been for thirty years, _a vernacular Bible school in Bassein itself._[1]

{ Footnote: [1] See pp. 284, 311, 325, 326, 341, 350, and elsewhere in
this volume. }

The simple fact is, that Bassein has been heavily handicapped from the
time of the first great ingathering in 1844 until now. Her very numbers,
and the weight of the interests involved, have been in the way of her
pastors receiving that careful instruction which was essential to the
spiritual prosperity of the mission. Said Abbott, "I deem it absolutely
essential that I see all these men _together_ once in the year. Even were
I permitted to visit Burma, and go from church to church through the
whole land, I should still deem it essential to have an annual
association of pastors,...and to have them all together for several
weeks, perhaps months...They cannot go to Maulmain...They have
no libraries" (p. 152). Dr. Stevens can call his Burman preachers around
him every rains for careful and systematic study of the Bible doctrines
and church history. Dr. Cross and Messrs. Bunker and Crumb in Toungoo can
and do give hours of solid work to teaching the Bible and other studies
every day during the rains. The Karen missionaries at most of the other
stations can do the same for their preachers and young men, but the man
at Bassein is utterly unable to do any thing of the kind. His time and
strength are absolutely used up on other more importunate objects and in
the work of superintendence. True, he has the help of one or more ladies
from America, and several good native assistants; but it is vain to think
that these will supply the lack of his own personal instruction and
influence. Abbott, in his annual meetings with the preachers at Ong
Khyoung, exerted a mighty influence, the effects of which are still
visible. But Abbott's men are fast passing away. For twenty years or more
but little has been attempted in the way of personal teaching of the
pastors and candidates for the ministry by the missionary in Bassein;
and, unless something is done to supply this pressing necessity speedily,
still greater declension may be expected.

The compiler of this volume returned to America, at the close of 1880,
broken down in health, but charged by the Bassein pastors with an
important mission,--a mission that has waited hitherto upon the
completion of this history, and the restoration, in some measure, of his
strength. At the meeting of the Pastor's Conference, held in Bassein, May
26, 1880, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted, and signed
by nearly if not quite all who were present:--

"_Resolved_, 1. That, without one American missionary devoted exclusively
to the work of teaching and conducting a Bible-school in the vernacular
languages, the system of schools in Bassein is utterly incomplete, and
unable to do for us and for the heathen that which must be done
continuously for generations to come, if Christianity is ever to be
extended and developed properly in this great district and the regions
beyond: therefore

"_Resolved_, 2. That we earnestly desire teacher Carpenter, during his
approaching sojourn in America, to secure the services of such a teacher,
and an endowment of forty thousand dollars for his support and for the
partial support of the school.

"_Resolved_, 3. That, for our part, we hereby pledge ourselves and our
churches, in good faith, to build a suitable house for the missionary
teacher aforesaid, at a cost of not less than five thousand rupees; to
furnish the school with all needed permanent buildings, and to give rice
(paddy) year by year, amply sufficient for the sustenance of all pupils
who may resort to the school.

(Signed)
"Rev. MAU YAY.          Preacher  TOO-KYAU.
   "  MYAT KEH.               "   AY-SHAH.
   "  TOHLO.                  "   N'KAY.
   "  DAHBU.                  "   SOO-KOH.
   "  YOH PO.                 "   SHWAY CHEE.
   "  THAHREE.                "   KOHKOH.
   "  TOHTAH                  "   MAU LOOGYEE.
   "  POHTOO.             Teacher NG'THAY.
   "  POO GOUNG.              "   YAHBAH.
   "  PAHOO.                  "   BOGANAU, M.D.
   "  MYAT KOUNG.             "   NYAHGEH.
   "  TOOLAT.                 "   THAHTOO-OO.
   "  THAHDWAY.               "   MAU SHWAY TOO.
   "  SHWAY GAH.              "   NAHGOO.
   "  TAYNAU.                 "   PAHAH."
      MAU-OO.

This money is wanted, not for the support of native preachers, not to
feed and clothe the youth of Bassein, not for buildings and land even,
but for the support of one additional American teacher in Bassein, if not
two. It is easily within the power of a few of the many wealthy Baptists
of the Northern States to grant the urgent request of the leading pastors
and laymen of Bassein by furnishing a moderate endowment for this most
important object. The numerous friends and admirers of E. L. Abbott alone
might do it, and thus complete for all time, so far as pecuniary aid from
America is concerned, the work which he so grandly began. Shall it be
done? By thus subdividing the work, the apparent necessity for the one
man to kill himself will be obviated; the work may be done with a
thoroughness hitherto impossible; new influences potent for good may be
brought to bear upon that field of vast capabilities; and the reproach
which has so long rested upon American Baptists, of making inadequate
provision for the removal of the ignorance and superstition so long
rampant in that field, will be taken away.

To one who has been intimately connected with the Bassein mission for
fifteen years, the new stage to which the work should be speedily
advanced unfolds itself in these forms:--

(1) Having established the proposed Bible-school, we would call in as
many of the pastors as possible, every rains, for special courses of
study adapted to their wants. Either provision should be made for their
families on the school-compound, or they should be allowed to return to
them on Saturdays. Their pulpits would be supplied, in their absence, by
the village school-teacher, who is generally, in effect, a licensed
preacher. In this way twenty or thirty of the unordained pastors might,
without doubt, be speedily fitted to assume the full responsibilities of
the pastoral office, and a vast deal of quickening and uplifting
influence might be brought to bear through the pastors on the entire
district.

(2) The entire native Christian population of Bassein should be resolved
into a Christian education society. This plan is already being set on
foot by Mr. Nichols. Certificates of life-membership have been prepared.
Any Christian Karen may become a life-member of the new society by the
payment of twenty rupees in instalments or at one time, or a life patron
of the Institute by the immediate payment of a hundred rupees. A main
object is, of course, to secure an endowment for the Institute, but not
for that only. If the people grasp the new idea with their former
enthusiasm, the "Abbott Fund" will equal a hundred thousand rupees within
five years, and it will go on increasing as the churches receive new
accessions. The income of such an amount would more than suffice for the
wants of the Institute, and we could go on and rear "academies" in local
centres like Singoo-gyee, Merpahk'mah, Hsen Leik, Naupeheh, Lehkoo,
M'gayl'hah, P'nahtheng, Parakhyoung, and others. Grants from the
endowment income, of from two to four hundred rupees yearly, would enable
the liberal churches above named to employ two competent teachers the
year round. If, in addition, we should be in a position to release those
villages from all responsibility of supplying the town-school with rice,
we believe that they would go on, and make provision for the
entertainment of pupils from other villages. Thus we should have a system
of "feeders" for the Institute, and there would be a great gain in
general intelligence. We should hope, also, ultimately to aid the common
village-schools.

[ Illustration--REV. MAUKEH, HIS WIFE, AND SHWAY GYAU, BASSEIN
MISSIONARIES TO THE KAKHYENS. ]

But more especially our object in this educational movement would be to
enlist the minds and hearts of all the people for the Christian education
of all their children, girls as well as boys, up to the point where they
can not only read and write, but think for themselves, and communicate
their thoughts to others. While Bassein has sent forth scores of men like
Rev. Sau Tay, Rev. Shway Noo, and Taytay, teachers in the theological
seminary; Rev. Thanbyah in the Rangoon College; Rev. Myat Thah, assistant
to Rev. D. L. Brayton in the translation of the Pwo Karen Bible; Revs.
Thahmway, Shway Nyo, Mau Kyah, Kwee Beh, and Shway Do, pastors in the
Rangoon association; Rev. Toowah in Henthada; Rev. Pahgau in Prome;
Bogalay in Tavoy; a goodly company already referred to in Toungoo; and,
best of all, nine foreign missionaries now at work (some of them with
wives trained in the Bassein Karen girls' school) on the Kakhyen
Mountains, and on the upper waters of the Salween, far beyond British
territory; while it has been in the past, and ought to be still more in
the future, the great hive from which preachers and teachers go forth to
all parts of the land,--the fact remains, that, in educational matters,
Bassein is very, very backward.

(3) Steps should soon be taken towards an arrangement which shall do for
these churches what "the Sustentation Fund" is doing for the free
churches of Scotland. The "pice-a-week" collection, already started, if
systematized, and devoted by the churches generally to the objects now
proposed, could easily be made to yield from six thousand to eight
thousand rupees yearly. A moiety of this sum would be sufficient, if
carefully distributed, to bring up the salaries of all approved pastors
to not less than a hundred rupees in cash and seventy-five baskets of
paddy for each family annually. How would brotherly love increase, and
comfort, with no degrading sense of dependence on foreign bounty! The
other half would enable us at once to double or treble our expenditure on
foreign mission-work. The fields opening so auspiciously on the borders
of China and in Northern Siam could be occupied in strong force, and an
avenue thus be opened to the gospel, and to the energies and faith of our
most zealous and enterprising young ministers. Nor should we relax our
efforts in this direction until every Christian in Bassein is warmly
enlisted in missionary work.

(4) We have long had it in mind to institute each season, after harvest,
a series of what may be called "revival meetings" in convenient jungle
centres, in the hope of calling down upon this people, who seem to be
rather unsusceptible to emotion, a more than ordinary measure of the Holy
Spirit's power. A meeting of days, devoted exclusively to prayer and the
exhibition of divine truth in its more pungent forms, would be something
new in Bassein; and, if wisely and prayerfully followed up, we believe
that great good might be accomplished.

Without the addition of the vernacular Bible-school to the agencies
already existing, no great increase in efficiency can be looked for. The
machinery already existing in Bassein is more than enough to task the
powers of one man to the utmost, though he were of the ablest. Nor have
we failed, we believe, to make the largest use possible of the abundant
supply of native talent available at this station. The obvious deficiency
is that pointed out so often from Beecher's day to the present,--more
American brain and heart to teach God's Word, to devise plans, and, not
least, to stimulate and direct the great store of life and energy that
lies dormant in that circle of ninety self-supporting, but, alas, for the
most part, self-contained and self-satisfied churches. With the addition
asked for to the teaching and executive force of the mission, and
friction watchfully excluded, the effectiveness of the mission in all its
departments should be doubled. The work would be systematized more
thoroughly, and a large increase of power and of precious result would be
secured. Shall the boon asked for be denied? What field has yielded a
richer harvest from the seed sown and the labor bestowed upon it? Does
any field now open to the Missionary Union give brighter promise of
vigorous growth and abundant fruitage from roots within itself than this?
If so, where is it?

The Bassein jubilee properly falls at Christmas-tide, 1887. The fiftieth
anniversary of Abbott's first visit to Kyootoo will doubtless be observed
with becoming solemnities. Shall it also be observed with fulness of joy?
Before that year of grace, with its hallowed associations and precious
memories, comes around, the Bible-school, with the help of God and his
people in America, maybe in full operation; the "Abbott Endowment Fund,"
raised by Karens, may be brought up to fifty thousand dollars; the
present preparatory school may be enlarged, and elevated to a higher and
a secure position; the girls' school may have taken on completer form and
fulness of strength; half a dozen academies may be working efficiently at
as many convenient points in the district; a full hundred common schools,
in the charge of well-qualified masters and mistresses, may be doing
their no less important work in as many Christian villages. In all these
schools there may be not less than four thousand boys and girls, young
men and maidens, in daily attendance. The number of living, growing
churches in the district shall have surpassed a round hundred; the
members in full communion, a myriad. Fifty, sixty, ordained pastors, and
a hundred licensed preachers, shall see to it, that, with regular
ministrations of the word to all Christians, not a heathen Karen family
in all the district fails to receive the offer of salvation at least
yearly, while a thousand miles away, among the robber-haunts of the
Kakhyens, and in the realms of despotic Laos princes, a score or two at
least of humble, faithful sons of redeemed Bassein, shall be found
proclaiming Christ and him crucified, the only Saviour of lost men.

When we survey the past, what God has wrought from such feeble
beginnings, the souls that have been born again, the workmen that have
there received training; as we look forth upon those churches, and see
that their faith in the school and in the missions of their own planning,
and their willingness to sacrifice in this glorious cause, are, if
possible, greater than ever; as we look out upon the heathen, and see
village after village, and tribe after tribe, calling for teachers to
lead them into the way of light and life,--our hearts swell with courage
and hope. Surely, with all the imperfections and failures, this is a vine
of God's own planting. To his name be praises everlasting! And may he
incline all who read this record to test the methods which have secured
his favor in such glorious results! "God loveth the cheerful giver"
indeed; but he loveth best him who is judicious as well as cheerful in
his giving. Why should we not help first those who desire Christian
instruction, and are striving to help themselves? May the Spirit of truth
help us all to see "eye to eye"!

Finally, O ye Christians of great Christian America! absorbed in your
farms, your merchandise, your stocks, your families, and in responding to
the claims of "society," ye who are engrossed with the architecture of
your churches, the music, the sermons, and all the proprieties and
elegancies of public worship in these modern days, know ye that the
populations of the Pagan world, sixteen times more numerous than the
entire population of your own enlightened land, are perishing for lack of
the gospel which you can give them, to your own unspeakable advantage.
They, God's men and women, for whom our Lord and Saviour died, are going
down to the starless, eternal night of the idolater and the
devil-worshipper, with no hope. Your Karen allies on heathen shores are
in the forefront of the battle, eager for service, but half-armed and
un-disciplined. They cry for arms; they cry for leaders. Is not Jesus
Christ your King? Has he not laid this great work upon you? Awake! The
King's business requires haste. "_How shall they call on Him in whom they
have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have
not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they
preach except they be sent?_"

"Shall we whose souls are lighted
With wisdom from on high,--
Shall we, to men benighted,
The lamp of life deny?
Salvation, oh, salvation!
The joyful sound proclaim,
Till earth's remotest nation
Has learned Messiah's name."


APPENDICES.

[ Illustration--APPENDIX. A. Statistics showing the growth of the Bassein
Karen Churches, 1857-79. ]

[ Illustration--APPENDIX. B. Contributions of the Bassein Sgau Karen
Churches. ]

[ Illustration--APPENDIX. B.--_Continued._ ]

[ Illustration--APPENDIX. B.--_Concluded._ ]

APPENDIX C.
TESTIMONIALS TO THE EXCELLENCE OF THE BASSEIN KAREN NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL
INSTITUTE.

HON. SIR ASHLEY EDEN, then Chief Commissioner of British Burma, since
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and member of the Council for India, after
spending several hours in the school (Sept. 2, 1871), wrote officially as
follows:--

"I may safely say, that I have seldom paid a visit to any school from
which I derived more satisfaction and pleasure. The proficiency of these
Karen children in geography, arithmetic, and geometry, was extraordinary,
and reflects the highest credit upon those by whom they have been taught.
I had not time to hear the classes go through their course of study in
any subjects except those I have mentioned. The singing was remarkably
good...No doubt, in the course of time the training of a large
number of Karen children will leaven the mass of the Karen population."

In September, 1873, Bishop Milman of Calcutta wrote as follows in the
Visitor's Book of the Institute:--

"I had much pleasure in visiting the Sgau Karen Institute, under the
charge of the Rev. Mr. Hopkinson. I cannot, from ignorance of the
language, judge with any certainty; but, as far as I could follow, the
pupils seemed well taught. The answers were quickly given, and apparently
with accuracy: the tone and manner of the school seemed very good. The
English taught was good, as far as it went. It is pleasant to see these
Christian schools, and to consider what general progress in the district
they indicate. I am sorry that I have not time to write more fully.

(Signed)
"R. CALCUTTA,
"_Bishop and Metropolitan._"

Mr. Rivers Thompson, C.S.I., Chief Commissioner of British Burma, and
later a member of the Supreme Government in Calcutta, made a personal
donation of two hundred rupees to the school, and wrote as follows, Aug.
24, 1875:--

"I visited the Sgau Karen school this day, accompanied by Capt. and Mrs.
Wells. The different classes were examined before me in English reading,
the Scriptures, arithmetic, geography, and the elements of physiology,
with a success which gave me a very pleasant surprise.

"I wish to record, what I took the opportunity of expressing verbally at
the close of the examination, that the government is largely indebted to
Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter and their coadjutors for the work they have
undertaken in the education and advancement of these tribes. It is a very
noble work, looked at merely for its secular advantages; but it has
higher aims, and will, I have no doubt, under God's blessing, bear rich
fruit yet for the good of the district and the country generally...

"The Institution well deserves the grant-in-aid which it receives from
government."

The next chief commissioner, Mr. C. U. Aitchison, C.S.I., now
Lieutenant-Governor of the North-West Provinces, with a handsome
donation, wrote as follows, July 6, 1878:--

"The visit which I paid to this school yesterday afforded me the most
sincere pleasure. I had often heard of the school before I came to Burma,
but was not prepared to find it so large, so efficient, so thoroughly
well managed in every respect. The importance of the work, both secular
and missionary, which is being quietly and efficiently done by Mr. and
Mrs. Carpenter and their staff of teachers, cannot be overestimated. They
are laboring in a field which the government cannot by its educational
establishment overtake; and their efforts for the education and elevation
of the Karen tribes deserve the cordial acknowledgments of all interested
in the welfare of this province. Those more competent to estimate with
precision the educational results than I am have recorded opinions most
favorable to the school and the methods of teaching adopted in it. For
myself, I will say, that the pupils in the various classes examined
acquitted themselves in reading, spelling, arithmetic, and geography,
better than in any of the schools I have yet seen in Rangoon, or
elsewhere in Burma. In writing English to dictation, the pupils were not
so strong.[1] I heartily wish Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter Godspeed in their
noble work."

{ Footnote: [1] Owing to a lack of time, Mr. Aitchison was unable to
examine the two highest classes.--C. H. C. }

Bishop Titcomb wrote as follows on the same day:--

"The Bishop of Rangoon, who accompanied the Chief Commissioner in his
visit to this Normal School, has the sincerest pleasure in stating his
full concurrence with every word written upon the preceding page. The
bishop left the Institution lifting up his heart in praise to God for the
noble and successful work of missionary education conducted by the
American brethren, and begs to assure them, that, so long as he is spared
to the diocese upon which he has entered, their labors will always have
both his sympathy and admiration.

(Signed)
"J. H., RANGOON."

Mr. M. H. Ferrars, Senior Inspector of Schools, had officiated as
Director of Public Instruction for one year. On the 14th of August, 1879,
he wrote thus:--

"In the Departmental Annual Report, 1877-78, I designated the Bassein
Sgau Karen school the model school of the province, both as regards aims
and attainments. In this its relative position it has not been disturbed,
nor do I perceive much prospect of its being so. A record of the absolute
position of the school, however, is desirable, and would have been
provided by the provincial examinations, but for the circumstances of
many pupils having held back, for reasons of their own, and of the pupils
not being trained throughout the year with almost the sole aim of these
examinations in view. In my tour of 1879-80 I am applying tests of a more
incisive kind even than the provincial examinations, and of a character
as uniform as theirs. The results obtained at all schools will be
compared at the close of the year. The 'imponderables' will find no place
in this comparison. And in this comparison, as far as my tour has
extended, the Sgau Karen Normal School is as far ahead of the others
which I have examined as it is ahead of them in those respects where
sentiment and opinion have a more legitimate scope."

On the 29th of the same month Mr. Ferrars wrote again:--

"The results I obtained in the Rangoon Government High School were a
little lower than at Mr.----'s school, of which your school is about one
class in advance. Your school is accordingly head and shoulders above all
the schools of the province."

Mr. Aitchison wrote again, Sept. 14, 1879:--

"I have again had the pleasure of a visit to the Sgau Karen Institution,
and am not surprised to find it maintains its well-established
reputation. I examined the ninth, fourth, and first classes. The
performances in all were very creditable, particularly those of the
fourth class in geography and arithmetic, and the first class in algebra,
arithmetic, and the elements of botany. The Institution fully merits the
commendation bestowed on it by the Inspector of Schools. I am very glad
to see the spacious hall completed, and in full use. The building has
been almost entirely constructed by contributions from the Karens, and
bears strong testimony to their appreciation of the Christian education
afforded. Mr. Carpenter and his staff of efficient and devoted teachers
are doing a noble work in which I again wish them God-speed."

Mr. P. Hordern, for many years the efficient Director of Public
Instruction in British Burma, wrote, Nov. 29, 1879:--

"It is nearly four years since my last visit to this school; and,
comparing its present condition with that in which I found it in 1876,
material and satisfactory progress is evident in every direction. The
first sign of the school's prosperity, is seen in the handsome buildings
which have been completed since my last visit. The existence of these
buildings,--among the finest school-buildings in the province,--which
have been erected mainly by the munificence of the Karen villagers, is a
most gratifying proof of the popular appreciation of the work which the
school is doing. It is also abundantly evident that the facilities for
school-work thus given have been, and are being, used to the best
advantage. Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter are supported by a very efficient staff
of teachers, both native and American; and the thoroughness of the work
done is seen in every class.

"I remember the ready response given by the managers a few years ago to
the desire of the government, that the study of the Burmese language
should be encouraged in Karen schools, and I have been much struck by the
progress made in this direction. The familiarity with the language shown
throughout the school is at once a novelty in Karen schools, and evidence
both of hearty co-operation with the Education Department, and of careful
and diligent teaching. The English language is no less carefully and
successfully taught.

"The first class showed a fair knowledge of algebra, and in arithmetic a
high standard is reached. My examination was necessarily limited, but was
enough to enable me fully to confirm the favorable judgment passed by
inspecting-officers and other visitors, and to satisfy me that the school
has not stood still, but has steadily progressed during the past four
years.

"Tested by the newly prescribed standards, the school will, I anticipate,
hold a high place; and I should hope that a class or department may be
formed to prepare pupils for the university entrance examination. It is
very desirable that the Karens should be tested by the same standards as
their Burmese fellow-countrymen, and the way for such competition has
been admirably prepared in this school."

Mr. C. Bernard, the late Chief Commissioner, and long a member of the
Supreme Government in Calcutta (a nephew of the late Lord Lawrence),
visited the school Aug. 18, 1880, and sent, with the following minute, a
personal donation of two hundred rupees:--

"I have been much surprised and delighted with what I have seen to-day at
the Karen Institute, and at what I have heard regarding the sixty-four
Christian Karen villages in the interior connected with the Rev. Mr.
Carpenter's mission. I was allowed to examine and test the work of most
of the classes, to see all the schoolrooms; dormitories, dining-rooms,
and other arrangements. On the whole, it is quite the most complete thing
of its kind I have seen in British India. The progress of the higher
classes in English, geography, arithmetic, and in penmanship, was very
satisfactory. Scriptural knowledge is, as it always ought to be at a
missionary school, well taught and fairly understood. Saving the three
American ladies who have given their lives and talents to Karen
mission-work, all the teachers are Karens, and all are Christians.

"It is pleasant to hear that some thirty or forty village schools in
Christian Karen villages are dependencies of and offshoots from this
Institution, and also to learn that the American missionaries have got
the Karens to adopt and act upon the Western principle of self-help.

"Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter and their fellow-workers, and the native pastors
and elders of the Karen mission, are to be congratulated on the great and
successful work they are doing. From the government point of view, their
work and its results are full of promise for the future of the Karen race
in British Burma. I have been glad to see that my predecessors, and many
public officers of different grades and departments, have given their
hearty sympathy to the Bassein Karen Mission Institute."

The present Chief Commissioner, C. H. Crosthwaite, Esq., visited the
Institute, July 4, 1883, and left on record the following:--

"I have not seen any thing in India which gave me so hopeful a view of
the possible future of the people as this school has done. I have heard
much of what the American Baptist Mission have done in Burma, but I do
not think any one who has not seen this establishment can appreciate the
results of this mission. It has manifestly raised the Karens, and placed
them on a distinctly higher stage of civilization. I consider the
government of India is deeply indebted to the American Baptist Mission
for their work. They have succeeded, where we utterly failed, in winning
and civilizing this timid and formerly oppressed race. I have no doubt
that their present success is only a beginning, and that we shall see
these Christian Karens progressing, and forming a very valuable element
in the population of British Burma. I hope and believe they will
gradually attract and influence their wilder brethren in the hills.

"One of the best characteristics of the Institution, and that which
promises best for its permanence, is that it is self-supporting. This
shows the value the Karens place on it, and it is not likely that it will
meet with less support when every Karen village shall be full of men and
women educated in it.

"Of the singing I need say nothing. Every one has heard of Karen singing,
and we were delighted with it. I am very much obliged to Mr. Nichols for
allowing us to hear it, and for his kindness in showing us all over the
Institution. If I remain in Burma, I shall certainly visit the school
again."

Further quotations are needless; but it should be added, that the above
are a few only out of scores of favorable notices and reports of the
Bassein Sgau Karen Institute.


INDEX.

Abbott, Rev. E. L.,
Abbott, Mrs.,
"Academies,"
Aitchison, Mr. C. U.,
Akyab,
Anderson, Rev. Dr. G. W.,
_Anna_,
Arakan,

Baptismal scenes,
Bassein,
Batson, Miss R. E.,
Baumee,
Beecher, Rev. J. S.,
Beecher, Mrs. M. F.,
Beecher, Mrs. H. L.,
Benjamin, Rev. Mr. and Mrs.,
Bennett, Rev. C.,
Bernard, Mr. C.,
Bible-school, Bassein,
Binney, Rev. Dr. J. G.,
Binney, Mrs. J. P.,
Bleh Po,
Bogalo,
Boganau, M. D.,
Brayton, Rev. D. L.,
Bright, Secretary,
British protection,
Brooks, Rev. Dr. Phillips,
Brown, Rev. Dr. N.,
"Buffalo, Broken-legged,"
Bunker, Rev. A.,
Burma, British,

Carpenter, Rev. C. H.,
Carpenter, Mrs.,
Cholera,
Christlieb, Dr.,
Comstock, Rev. Mr. and Mrs.,
Conference, ministerial,
Convention, B. B. M.,
Coompany, Moung,
Crawley, Rev. A. R. R.,
Cross, Rev. Dr. and Mrs.,
Crosthwaite, Mr. C. H.,
Crucifixion,

Dahbu, Rev.,
Deaths, triumphant,
Deeloo, Rev.,
De Poh,
"Deputation,"
DeWolfe, Miss M.,
Douglass, Rev. J. L.,

East India Company,
Eden, Hon. Sir A.,
Edwards, Mr.,
Edwin Moung,
Elwell, Rev. J. T.,
Emigration to Arakan,
English schools,

Fines,
Foreign missions from Bassein,
Free Mission Society,
Fytche, Gen. A.,

Goodell, Rev. S. T.,
Great Plains,
Gwa,

Henthada,
Higby, Miss S. J.,
Home Mission Society,
Hopkinson, Rev. H. M.,
Hordern, Mr. P.,
Howard, Rev. B.,
Hton Byu,

Ingalls, Rev. Mr. and Mrs.,
Ingalls, Mrs. M. B.,
Institute, B. S. K. N. and I.,
Irrawaddy,

Jameson, Rev. M.,
Jayne's medicines,
Judson, Rev. Dr. A.,

Kakhyen mission,
Kan Gyee,
Karens,
Karens, benevolence of,
Kaukau Pgah,
Khyoungthah,
Kincaid, Rev. Dr. E.,
Klau-meh, (see Thah Gay).
Klehpo, Rev.,
Ko Bike,
Ko Dau,
Kohsoo,
Koteh,
Ko Thah-ay,
Ko Thahbyu,
Kroodee, Rev.,
Kwee Beh, Rev.,
Kwengyah,
Kyau Too,
Kyootah,
Kyootoo,
Kyoukkeh, Rev.,
Kyouk Khyoung-gyee,
_Kyoung_,

Lahyo,
Location, college and seminary,
Lootoo, Rev.,
Luther, Rev. R. M.,

Magezzin,
Manning, Miss M. C.,
Mason, Rev. Dr. F.,
Mason, Mrs.,
Maubee,
Maukoh,
"Maulay,"
"Maulmain system,"
Mau Mway,
Mau Yay, Rev. (Kyootoo),
Mau Tay, Rev. (Raytho),
McAllister, Miss E. F.,
Meekoo, Rev.,
Mee-thwaydike,
M'gayl'hah,
Min Gyau,
Mohgoo,
Morton, Dr.,
Murdock, Secretary,
Myassah Po Kway, Rev.,
Myat Keh, Rev.,
Myat Koung, Rev.,
Myat Kyau, Rev.,
Myat Thah, Rev.,

Nahkee,
Nahpay, Rev.,
Nahyah,
Native preachers,
_Nats_,
Naupeheh,
Nga So (Ko Tso),
Ng'Chee, Rev.,
Nichols, Rev. C. A.,
Nyomau,

Ong Khyoung,
Oo Sah, Rev.,
Ordination of natives,
Oung Bau, Rev. (Aupau),

Pagodas,
Pagoda-slaves,
Pahgau, Rev. (Shway Nee),
Pahpoo, Rev.,
Pah Yeh,
Pantanau,
Peck, Secretary,
Peck, Rev. P. B.,
Pegu,
_Pehnin_,
"Perils of waters,"
Persecution,
Phayre, Gen. Sir A. P.,
P'nahtheng,
Po Kway, Rev. (Th'rah Kway),
Poo Goung, Rev.,
_Poongyees_,
Pohtoo, Rev.,
Pwo Karens,

Quala, Rev. Sau,

Ramree,
Rand, Miss C. H.,
Rangoon,
Raytho,
"Readers,"
Rice,
Roman Catholics,
Rupee,

Sah Gay,
Sahnay, Rev. J. P.,
Sahpo, Rev.,
Sandwah, Moung,
Sandoway,
Sau Tay, Rev.,
Scenery in Burma,
Schools,
Scott, Rev. W. M.,
Sekkau,
"Self-support,"
Sgau Karens,
Shahshu, Rev.,
Shan Byu,
Shankweng,
Shanywah,
Shway Au,
Shway Bau,
Shway Bay,
Shway Bo, Rev.,
Shway Eing,
Shway Louk,
Shway Myat,
Shway Nyo,
Shway Weing ("the young chief"),
Simons, Rev. T.,
Sinmah,
Small-pox,
Smith, Rev. D. A. W.,
"Specific donations,"
S'peh,
Statistics,
Stevens, Rev. Dr. E. A.,
Stilson, Rev. Mr.,

Tau Lau,
Tenasserim,
Thahbwah,
Thahdway, Rev.,
Thah Gay, the martyr (Klau-meh),
Thahree, Rev.,
Thahyahgôn,
Tharrawady, King,
Thomas, Rev. B. C.,
Thomas, Mrs.,
Thompson, Mr. R.,
Tohlo, Rev.,
Tongoo (Too-oo),
Too Po, Rev.,
Toothah, Rev.,
Toowah, Rev.,
_Tracts_,
Tway Gyau, Rev.,
Tway, Moung,
Tway Po, Rev.,

Van Meter, Rev. H. L.,
Van Meter, Mrs.,
Vinton, Rev. J. B.,
Vinton, Rev. J. H.,
Vinton, Mrs.,
Vinton, Miss M.,

Wade, Rev. Dr. J.,
Wah Dee,
Walling, Miss M. E.,
War, losses by,
Warren, Secretary,
Watson, Miss I.,
Webb, Rev. Mr.,
Wells, Capt. and Mrs. G. F.,
Whitaker, Rev. D.,
"A widow indeed,"
Witchcraft,

Yahbah, Moung,
Yohpo, Rev.,
"Young Chief" (Shway Weing),



THE ENS



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