Project Canterbury

Notes of a Visit to Penang, Singapore, and Malacca.

[By George John Taylor Spencer]

From The Colonial Church Chronicle and Missionary Journal, Vol. I (No. III) (September, 1847) pages 88-96; (No. IV) (October, 1847), pages 131-139; (No. V) (November, 1847), pages 168-172; (No. VI) (December, 1847), pages 209-215; (No. VIII) (February 1848), pages 288-294.

Transcribed by the Right Reverend Dr. Terry Brown
Bishop of Malaita, Church of the Province of Melanesia, 2007


THE Editor is indebted to the Lord Bishop of Madras for the opportunity of presenting to the readers of the Colonial Church Chronicle the following interesting extracts from a Private Journal of a Visit to Penang, Singapore, and Malacca, during the past year.

April 29th, 1846.--We are steering direct for Penang, whose mountain, on the top of which I hope to pass two or three cold weeks, is plainly in sight. We shifted last night out of our course. There was much heavy rain, accompanied by thunder and lightning, and few of us got much sleep. This little world of the Straits is quite a new world to me. May it please God, for His dear Son's sake, to bless my visit to it.

30th.--It was about one o'clock yesterday, when we cast anchor off the Port of Penang. It is a splendid roadstead, with depth of water sufficient for ships of any burthen. The town is built along the edge of the water, and backed by the finely wooded hills, on whose top the climate is said to be delightfully cool. It is very warm below, but yet not the fierce, glaring, withering heat of Madras and Calcutta. The island is as green as a luxuriant tropical vegetation, watered by frequent showers, can make it.

My arrival here was quite unexpected, as no letters from the Bengal government have been yet received here respecting my Visitation. The Governor, Colonel Butterworth, whose acquaintance I had the pleasure of making some few years ago at Madras, is absent; but we have been most kindly received by Mr. Garling, the resident Counsellor.

We landed yesterday at five o'clock, and my first visit was to the very pretty church, which has now been left, I grieve to say, for some time without a minister. I hope I shall often enjoy the blessed privilege of worshipping in it on my return from Singapore. I observed here the monument of the father of my valued and lamented friend, whom few knew as I knew him, Edward Bannerman. He was Governor of the Straits.

From the church we went to the school, an excellent building, containing the requisite accommodation for a large school-establishment, both for boys and girls. I had no opportunity of examining the pupils, which, however, I hope to do on my return. There are an English schoolmaster and schoolmistress, of both of whom I heard a satisfactory report.

A drive of three miles on an excellent road brought us to Mr. Garling's very pretty country-house. I observed several [88/89] nutmeg plantations. It is a handsome shrub; but, as is necessarily the case, where one kind of plant is extensively cultivated for profit, there is too much of it to please the lover of nature. The glorious scenery of Ceylon is becoming spoilt by its endless plantations of coffee.

I was up and out by five o'clock, to enjoy the soft yet fresh morning. The birds, which are numerous here, awoke me at four. There is a bird here that sings something like a nightingale. A singular fate has just overtaken a very fine large species of tree, called here the Ansannah. All have died throughout the island. There are several enormous skeletons of them in Mr. Garling's "compound." I have read, or heard, that a similar blight destroyed nearly all the plane trees in England, about thirty or forty years ago.

After breakfast, the missionary--I believe a German--who superintends the Chinese school, was kind enough to call upon me; but I was too unwell to have much conversation with him.

By the Chinese school is meant a school, where Chinese boys and girls, who are numerous in Penang, are taught the rudiments of Christianity and of the English language. It is maintained by private contributions, and there are at present about eighty scholars. Perhaps I misunderstood him; but I thought that this gentleman spoke somewhat despondingly of his labours among the adults, whether Chinese or Malays.

The bazaar is placarded with Chinese advertisements of articles for sale, and this singular people seem to be the shopmen of the place.

By two this afternoon we were again on board the Fire Queen; but it was not until half-past five that we steamed out of the beautiful harbour. If permitted to return to Penang, may I be enabled to be useful to its little Christian flock!

May 1st.--Feast of St. Philip and St. James. We have had a rainy and rather squally night; and, in consequence of having exchanged our English for Indian coal, have made but little way.

How comforting is it to carry the Church with us wherever we go; so that, although we have no longer our holy and our beautiful house where our fathers praised God, the house made with hands to resort to, we can, nevertheless, always worship God in Christ Jesus in the way our Church has taught us, and in the words of home. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life," was Christ's answer to Philip, who desired of him that He would show them the Father. Grant, O Lord Jesus Christ, for Thine own sake, that through the teaching of the Holy Ghost the Comforter, whom Thou alone givest, we may always seek and always find in Thee the Way, which Thou alone art, to the Truth, which is Thyself; so that through Thy pleaded [89/90] merits, on that day we may triumph over the world, the flesh, and the devil, over sin and sin's wages--death; and, finally, attain unto Thyself who alone art Life everlasting. Grant to us, ever blessed Jesus, so to live in this faith here on earth, that when we come to die we may have it, we may have Thee, as our anchor of the soul, both secure and stedfast. But this strong consolation will be no consolation for us then, unless we fly for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us now--Thyself and Thee only.

Early this morning we met the Hooghly steamer, having on board Colonel Butterworth, the Governor of the Straits, on his way to Penang.

Those awful words of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Apocalypse have entered strongly into my heart this morning; may they always abide there; mhden fobou a melleiV pascein--ginou pistoV acri qanatou, kai dwsw soi ton stefanon thV zwhV.

I paid this morning a kind of pastoral visit to Mr. Nugent, the second mate, who is confined to his cabin by sore legs, the result of fearful exposure about two years since. He was at that time gunner in the Mellish, a small East Indiaman, which was wrecked during a typhoon on the Paracels, described by Horsburg as a collection of very small islands and very dangerous shoals, in latitude 12° and 13°, and about twenty leagues from the coast of Cochin-China. The ship was returning from China with a cargo of tea, when the storm overtook her. She was broken in three places by the shock, and was, of course, entirely wrecked. The only chance of escape for the unfortunate crew was to make a raft, to which they applied themselves immediately. But the work could only be carried on at ebb-tide; and even then there were about two feet of water on the shoal where they were standing. It was out of the question, therefore, to attempt to take any rest. They worked, however, as men only work who are working for their lives, and soon constructed a raft of forty feet long by eight broad; and on this there embarked twenty-two men. The ship having almost immediately been broken up by the violence of the waves, all the provision that they had been able to store for their perilous voyage, was a few bottles of wine for their drink, and a few pots of preserved ginger for their food. Not a drop of water! There were, however, two other articles which the captain had saved for the consolation of himself and his fellow-sufferers. He was a Christian, not merely in name, but in faith and love and good works; and he had in the breast-pocket of his jacket, at the time of the shipwreck, a Bible and a Prayer-Book, and he kept them by him to the last.

Thus provided for their hazardous enterprise, the pious [90/91] captain and twenty-one of his companions, being, indeed, the whole crew, with the exception of one boy who was drowned when the ship was wrecked, launched out upon the tempest-tossed and sun-scorched ocean, trusting, let us hope, in God. Most certainly that was the captain's trust. Every morning and every evening he read to his comrades and to himself out of the Bible, and prayed with his comrades, for them and for himself, out of our Book of Common Prayer; and, as Mr. Nugent told me, "it was very comfortable." Poor fellows! they had no other comfort, but had to endure almost every misery that can befal man. I have already said that they had not a drop of water; not a drop of water, whilst rowing for their lives under a tropical sun for twenty days! The consequence which the good captain feared, soon occurred. In spite of his own example of unflinching self-restraint; in spite of his exhortations, not in his own name, but in the name of God, whose minister he had been thus terribly consecrated, eleven of the crew could not be withheld from drinking sea-water; and all who drank went mad, and threw themselves into the sea! The survivors, who had the fortitude not to touch it, were preserved almost miraculously; as their daily food, all that they had to sustain life daily for twenty days, was two dessert-spoonfuls of preserved ginger; and their whole daily drink, half-a-glass of wine to each man, the captain, who served it out, always helping himself the last.

But he, and let us hope his companions also, were held up by faith. It was no ordinary church, that church in the wilderness of waters, that little flock, where "never rose any from his place" on the raft for twenty days, except to throw himself a shrieking madman into the sea; and it seems a kind of presumption to speculate how they prayed to and spoke of God, under such awful circumstances. But, beyond a doubt, the good captain frequently reminded them of that promised rest, where real Christians will "hunger no more, neither thirst any more; where the sun would not light on them, nor any heat, and where there would be no more sea:" and, doubtless, he continually pointed out to them and to himself Jesus Christ the Righteous, as Him through whom alone that "better country" could be reached. A blessing, indeed, must that Bible, and that Prayer-Book, and the good captain, who knew their value, have been to the shipwrecked crew!

At last, when near the coast of Cochin-China, and almost ready to perish, they were picked up by a native boat, and taken ashore. Here they remained for six months, subsisting upon the precarious and scanty charity of the Cochin-Chinese, in one of whose vessels they at length obtained a passage to Singapore, and from thence found their way to Calcutta, where, [91/92] shortly after their arrival, the captain, having "fought a good fight, and finished his course, and kept the faith," sank rapidly, and slept in Jesus.

The only lasting injury which Mr. Nugent has apparently received from all this fearful suffering, is that he is subject to ulcerated legs, in consequence of the raft having been, generally, two feet under water during their voyage.

This is a true tale of the sea, and, which is far more interesting, it records an unquestionable triumph of our most holy faith.

"Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

5th.--There is an appearance of mercantile importance in Singapore, which we do not find at Penang. The port is crowded with vessels, among which the huge misshapen Chinese junks are peculiarly conspicuous. Indeed, there is a Chinese look about the place, which makes you feel that you are no longer in India, but on the confines of that vast Eastern world, the empires of Burmah, Cochin-China, China and Japan, and the great islands of Sumatra and Borneo, to which Singapore is, as it were, the entrance-gate from Europe. The bulk of the population are either Chinese or Ma1ays, distinct and unmistakeable races, who are probably now, just what they were eighteen hundred years ago. The Chinese coolies, with their round baskets poised over their shoulders on a bamboo, and their broad-peaked hats, are exactly what are seen on a Chinese tea-cup. The Malays have a heavy, louring, sulky, dangerous look, as if they would readily use their national weapon, the deadly kreese, if their passions were raised.

The European houses here are good and comfortable; and all are of two stories, which the damp of the climate renders necessary; the Malay huts being for the same reason raised from the ground on piles. Of the state of society here I cannot speak at present, as I was too unwell yesterday to receive the gentlemen who were kind enough to call upon me. With my excellent host and hostess, [* Sir William and Lady Morris.] whose characters have been long known to me, I feel myself quite at home; and the change of climate, although the weather is still very hot, is, I think, doing me good. The chaplain here is, I understand, highly and deservedly respected. The church is, externally, a handsome building for India; I have not yet been able to see the interior, it being, according to the abominable usage of England, locked up, except when open--too generally only on Sundays--for public Divine service. Facing the sea, its spire, for which Singapore is chiefly indebted to the [92/93] liberality and energy of the Bishop of Calcutta, is, as it ought to be, one of the most prominent objects as you enter the harbour. Near it is a handsome hotel, which is said to be very well conducted; and beyond the hotel towards the town is a large building appropriated to Government offices, and containing likewise the court-house for the assizes. They are building a large and handsome Roman Catholic church, (as always in India, larger and handsomer than ours;) and I am told, that there are many here of that persuasion, and, likewise, some converts from among the Chinese. There is, likewise, an Armenian church, large, and apparently in good repair. The Government house is built on a little hill, and commands a noble prospect.

Singapore is considered a healthy place; and those few Europeans whom I have as yet seen, have not that pale, pulled countenance, so painfully conspicuous in Bengal. The whole island is as green as an emerald, the continual moisture effectually counteracting the searching rays of the sun. All these settlements are garrisoned by Madras troops; and their European officers must find the Straits, as they are emphatically called in India, a happy exchange from the withering heat of Arcot and Trichinopoly.

6th.--I am just returned from a morning ride through the town, which I had not yet visited. It is extensive, with many well-built houses and shops; the latter tenanted chiefly by Chinese, among whom the carpenters and blacksmiths seem the most numerous. I observed several "licensed opium shops."

I met several small detachments of well-armed police; but, I am told that robberies are nevertheless frequent, the thieves being generally Chinese.

The Joss-house at Singapore is to me, who had never yet seen a Chinese temple, a very curious place. Admission was readily granted; and the "Chinese church Peon," for such is the title that he wears on his badge, takes his fee as readily as his brother-beadle of St. Paul's cathedral, in London.

The temple is not large, and is a three-sided building, open on the north to the enclosed court which surrounds it. The interior contains three shrines. The centre altar is presided over by two idols, small female figures, which I understood or misunderstood the guide to be representations of a mother and daughter. This altar is decorated with two large candlesticks, the base of one being a dragon, and of the other an elephant; there was also a box, in shape like a sarcophagus, in which incense is burned. Small tapers were burning before the altar; but there were no candles in the candlesticks. On either side of this shrine stands a figure, about the height of a man, of "a painted devil," with a green serpent twined over his shoulders.

[94] The idol of the two side altars is a middle-aged man, the one the exact counterpart of the other in feature, though not in dress, with a very red face, and a long black beard. These figures are as large as life. Incense was burning before them.

The Joss-house is gaudily painted with red and gold, and elaborately ornamented with carving. It is entirely of wood, with the exception of two granite pillars, grotesquely carved in the Hindoo fashion. The interior of the roof is likewise richly ornamented, though in very bad taste, with gilded figures, among which the Chinese dragon predominates.

From the temple we were conducted across a paved court, (in one corner of which I observed a kind of kitchen and half-a-dozen Chinese hands at work,) to a detached shrine, free from paint and gilding, and containing a small altar with a female idol, and decked with flowers. On the walls are four fresco paintings. Two of these pictures represent a saint, tempted or insulted by the devil; the third, an aged devotee, in a frenzy of devotion; and the fourth, a jovial-looking old gentleman, "with fair round belly," and evidently very happy in its contemplation. A Chinaman gave us here some tea in very small cups out of a tea-pot, small enough for a baby-house. I thought it very bad. Whilst we were in the Joss-house, but one Chinaman entered to render his devotions, which he did by prostrating himself before the high altar.

The most beautiful, perhaps the only beautiful thing in the temple, is a large lantern, very finely carved in wood, and quite free from the usual Chinese barbarisms of gilding and gaudy paint.

The exterior of the building is exactly like what one sees in Chinese pictures--a dragon or other monster being perched wherever it is possible to perch it.

8th.--I enjoyed a fine sea-view yesterday evening from Colonel Watson's house. This would be a beautiful island, but for the want of large trees, which, I presume, have been destroyed to make room for the somewhat formal, but very profitable nutmeg-plant. The roads are excellent, the result of Singapore being a convict-station; and the fields are enclosed with hedges of the dwarf-bamboo, which makes a very good fence.

I was shown a Chinese burial-ground. I understand that they never enclose their cemeteries, which are always situated on the side of a hill, and never make a new grave so close to an old one as to disturb it. They bury their dead in wooden coffins, cemented with a cement which becomes hard as iron.

I am disappointed at the interior of our church, which, but for the altar, pulpit, and reading-desk, would more resemble a theatre than a house of prayer.

[95] 9th.--One of the most beautiful views in Singapore, and as beautiful, I should think, as any in the world, is to be seen from the top of "Faber Hill." Wanderer as I have been in many lands, I have never met with any thing of its kind so lovely. It affords a panorama of the island, and presents a combination of high cultivation, and occasional tracts of yet unclaimed jungle, with the prosperous-looking town, and the harbour crowded with shipping. The surface of the country is gently undulating. Here are no hills, as at Penang, which have almost a right to be called mountains. The landscape is, however, quite free from tameness and flatness; and although I fear I must designate the frequent little inequalities of the ground as hillocks, they are not mere lumpy excrescences. But the peculiar glory of the view from "Faber Hill" is the sea-scenery; by which I mean, numerous little creeks and straits in and between the numerous coral islets, which have been gradually thrown up by those indefatigable engineers--the coral insects; beautifully irregular in their form and surface, and covered with wood to the water's edge.

There is a flag-staff from the top of the hill, from whence vessels are descried at a considerable distance; so that an enemy could not approach that island without giving ample warning of his presence. Not that Singapore could resist a hostile invasion; for I believe it to be quite defenceless.

Several Malay fishermen were out in their long, thin, graceful boats, spearing fish, which I am told they do with singular dexterity. The navigation among these islets into the harbour must be very difficult for sailing vessels; but it is easily effected by steamers.

After descending the hill, we rode to a pretty Malay village at its base. The houses, some of which are large and look comfortable, are built not unlike Swiss cottages; although they are not so elaborately ornamented with carving. They are entirely of wood, with heavy, slanting roofs and latticed windows, the lattice-work remarkably pretty.

11th.--The religious aspect of this place is peculiar, and the position, therefore, of the chaplain, one of peculiar difficulty. By far the larger portion of the European residents are of the Presbyterian persuasion. I am happy, however, to find, that they all attend the public services of the Church on the Sunday, and that they manifest, generally speaking, an earnest desire to listen to the word of God. Nevertheless, the parochial system of the Church of England, which I am convinced is the system bequeathed to us by Christ and his Apostles, cannot be fully carried out at Singapore. Christ's minister, placed here by the authority of his Church, that he should "set in order the things [95/96] that are wanting," cannot continually watch for the souls committed to his charge, where that system is not in active and unshackled operation. Where it is "bound," his will be but a crippled ministry. Neither old nor young are exclusively his.

The average number of communicants, out of an average congregation of one hundred and forty, is thirty-eight. This is, perhaps, larger than is usually found at our Indian Mofussil stations; but yet, we cannot shut our eyes to the fact, that it is lamentably small. "Lord, increase our faith."

(To be continued.)


(Continued from p. 96.)

THERE is at Singapore no association for Missionary purposes, in connexion with the Church of England. This is a painful fact. It is the privilege, as well as the obvious duty of every Christian congregation to labour to impart spiritual things to those who as yet know not Christ. This duty is discharged here, not by the Church, but by a very respectable agent of the London Missionary Society. This gentleman has a small Malay congregation, a school attended by about eighty boys, and a printing-press. The New Testament has been translated into the Malay language: but there is, at present; no translation of the whole book of God. There is, likewise, a school for Chinese girls, under the charge of a pious lady, who is, I understand, highly qualified for the office.

But, why is not the Church at Singapore a missionary church to the heathen? The chaplain of the station seems to be generally loved and respected; and, I doubt not, he deeply regrets that the word of God committed here to his ministry should be thus bound by circumstances beyond his control. The Chinese, of whom a great many are settled at Singapore, are, I fear, a very profligate race. They have an energy of vice unknown to the Hindoos. Opium-smoking, of which I hope to speak hereafter, when I shall have obtained full particulars respecting it, is general among them; and their love of gambling may be estimated from the fact, that there are 191 gambling-houses in the town. The Malays are, perhaps, less actively vicious; but when their passions are roused, and they are roused very easily, they are like "brute beasts, which have no understanding." What a field is here presented to the missionary love of the Church of England!

I am delighted to find that the Sacrament of Baptism is publicly administered here, "openly before the Church," at the time appointed by the Rubric. Divine service was conducted yesterday in a very edifying manner. Many of the people joined in the responses, and in singing the praises of God. After that the chaplain, not the clerk, had given out the psalm to be sung, I preached in the morning on the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit; and Mr. Whitehead gave us an excellent sermon in the evening, on that remarkable passage in Zechariah, "It shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light." This morning I visited the burial-ground. It is on the slope of [131/132] a hill; and Singapore being a new station, is not yet overloaded with those immense masses of brick and chunam which generally disfigure our Indian cemeteries. Still it contains many records of early death; it being customary to send here from Bengal consumptive patients, in the vain hope of their deriving benefit, from the equability of the climate; an equability, as it seems to me, of depressing damp heat.

The quiet of Singapore is, however, very refreshing to me, after the fatigues of body and excitement of mind to which I have been so long exposed. The continual "wear and tear" to which a Bishop is subject in India, is inconceivable to others. It is impossible for his awful charge not to press heavy upon him. Surrounded by heathenism, against which the Church here is not free to wage open war, and perpetually beset by difficulties unknown in any other country, he cannot do for the glory of God and the spiritual good of his fellow-creatures a hundredth part of what he desires to accomplish. He is continually meeting with anomalies which he cannot correct, and too often with opposition, where he has every right to look for brotherly support.

May 14th.--I purpose, please God, to hold a Confirmation next Sunday. There are sixteen candidates; and among them three in whom I feel a peculiar interest, a Chinese boy and his two sisters. The boy I have not yet been able to see; but I have had an interview with the girls, and am greatly pleased with them. Miss Grant, the lady in charge of the Chinese school, and to whom, under God, they are deeply indebted for their knowledge of the way of salvation, kindly brought them to me on Sunday afternoon. They are aged respectively seventeen and eighteen; fine-looking girls, well grown, and full of intelligence. Although they speak but very little English, I soon found they fully understood all I said to them. Their father, who was a respectable Chinese, is dead; and they live with their mother, a Malay, who remains, I am grieved to say, an obstinate heathen. They were converted to Christianity m the Chinese school; and already show the firmness of their faith under very trying circumstances. During the week days, they are strictly confined to their mother's house, and are not allowed to see or be seen by any one, except the members of their own family. On Sundays, however, they enjoy the inestimable privilege of being permitted to attend Divine service in the House of God. Miss Grant calls for them in a carriage every Sunday morning at four o'clock, it being contrary to Chinese usages for a girl arrived at a marriageable age to be seen abroad before she is married. It is surprising they are permitted this privilege oil the Lord's-day. It is conceded, however, only on the condition [132/133] I have just mentioned, and that they return home in the dark. They have been regular communicants at the Lord's table for the last nine months; and I earnestly pray they may be made instrumental, through God's grace, in the conversion of some of their countrymen. Their faith and patience will, I fear, be severely tried, as they will naturally be averse to take heathen husbands, and it is considered a disgrace for a Chinese girl to remain single.

15th.--Not being strong enough to go out in the sun, Miss Grant kindly brought her pupils here to be examined in the word of God. I chose, as is my custom, one of the chapters of the day; and it was peculiarly appropriate, being the 13th of St. Matthew. The poor children showed by their answers that they were well instructed, and some of them exhibited a knowledge of the Bible which was very gratifying to me. One very little girl was particularly quick in producing her texts. I concluded the examination with our usual morning prayers.

All these children, upwards of eighty in number, are the offspring of Chinese fathers by Malay mothers, as the Chinese women scarcely ever migrate from their native country. None of them, I grieve to say, have been baptized; and I fear there is little prospect of their being so. There must be something radically wrong in a Missionary system which contents itself with merely teaching the first principles of Christ, and then leaves its little ones still outcasts from the covenant of grace. We have taken for our motto, maqhteusate, but our Lord inseparably connects it with baptizonteV. A very just and reasonable fear of the opus operatum of Popery has driven us into the opposite extreme. I am aware of the great and peculiar difficulty which stands in our way with respect to the Chinese of Singapore, who, whilst they are not unwilling that their children should be taught in our schools, are most unwilling that they should be admitted into the communion of saints. The same difficulty, however, stood in the way of the Apostles in their dealings with the heathen, but it did not stop their progress or cool their zeal; they overcame it by faith, which worketh by love, and by patient continuance in well-doing. And we may, doubtless, thus overcome it also. Again I say, "Lord, increase our faith;" and an increased faith will increase our love. Let the Church consider the days of old and the years that are past. "Will the Lord absent himself for ever, and will he be no more entreated? Is his mercy clean gone for ever, and his promise come utterly to an end for evermore?" Let the Church freely acknowledge with the Psalmist, "it is mine own infirmity."

16th.--Here, as at almost every station in India I have [133/134] visited, with the exception of the three presidencies, the Roman Catholic church, if there be one, is far more like a church than ours. At Singapore they are building a beautiful church, which will contrast painfully with the shapeless, tasteless mass which we have appropriated to the public service of God, but which is by no means the ugliest of its kind in India. As I passed very early this morning by the Roman Catholic chapel, where Divine service is celebrated during the building of the church, I observed several persons, some of them Chinese, on their knees. When shall we see our own people praying silently and secretly in our churches on a week-day, when, as is unhappily so generally the case, no public service is celebrated? I never saw it yet, either in Europe or in Asia.

I have not been able to ascertain what progress Popery has made in Singapore. There is a so-called Bishop of the Straits, an intruder into the diocese of its legitimate catholic prelate; and it has, undoubtedly, some converts amongst the Chinese and Malays. How far their hearts are turned to God in Christ, who knows but God himself? Let us rather take shame to ourselves that a purer faith, the real Catholic and Apostolic faith, has not yet been freely and fully offered them. Instead of judging others, may we "be watchful and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die." "Perilous times" have come upon the Church; and whilst Rome never slumbers, we are only beginning to wake out of sleep.

Sunday, 17th.--The two Chinese girls and their brother were confirmed by me this morning, with fifteen other candidates. The poor girls behaved remarkably well, and I am persuaded they will not forget the solemn service. It was a very pleasing confirmation, and the participation in it of the Chinese converts gave it a peculiar interest. I addressed them on the nature of the baptismal covenant, making my discourse applicable to all present.

20th.--I have gleaned a little information here respecting the sources of the public revenue. It is a shocking system, and such as must, sooner or later, bring down a curse from God, and not a blessing. At Singapore, and, I presume, at Penang and Malacca also, there are four government monopolies, which are farmed out to the highest bidder. The first, in value and in wickedness, is the exclusive right to sell opium to the natives. It is estimated at 16,000 dollars per month, or about 50,000l. annually. The second is the monopoly of the sale of arrack, the average value of which I have not been able to ascertain. The third, a most grinding tax on the poor, is the monopoly of the sale of the betel leaf, which raises its price to those resident within the limits of the monopoly, and which, of course, includes [134/135] the town of Singapore and its immediate neighbourhood, 500 per cent.; so that a bundle of betel leaves, which, beyond the precincts of the monopoly may be purchased for one pice, costs, within its limits, six pice. The fourth monopoly is the privilege of keeping a pawnbroker's shop, which is limited to one individual, who, as he pays a high price for it, most unmercifully oppresses the poor and needy. Until lately gaming-houses were licensed by government; and this produced an income at Penang alone of 10,000l. per annum! The grand jury recently presented the gaming-houses as a public nuisance, and their licenses no longer form an item of the financial budget of the Straits. And this pandering to, and fattening upon, the lowest vices of the Chinese and Malays, is deliberately legalized and practised by religious and moral England! The defence of the practice is, that the Government could not otherwise find funds to cover its expenses; but will such a plea be admitted on the great day?

My kind host and hostess left me yesterday, Sir William Norris's duties requiring his presence at Malacca, whither I hope to follow them next week.

21st.--Ascension Day. The consecration of the additional burial-ground took place yesterday. Few were present; perhaps about thirty in addition to the resident Councillor, Colonel Watson, and Captain Faber; but those few seemed much impressed with the simple and affecting service, which I concluded, as I invariably do, with a brief address on life, death, and eternity. A portion of one of the psalms of the day, the eighth to the eighteenth verses of the 103d Psalm, supplied me with a most appropriate text. It is singular how often I thus find a subject prepared to my hand. He who goes quietly and faithfully along the old paths of the Church from the baptismal font to the house appointed for all living, will seldom find himself without one, either in the Lessons, or the Psalms, or the Epistle or Gospel of the day; affording a ready theme of meditation for himself, or for ministerial or social exhortation to others. The Book of Psalms is an exhaustless mine of pious thought, whether in joy or in sorrow, whether at home or abroad.

The population of the island of Singapore amounts to about 50,000 souls, 30,000 of whom are Chinese, and perhaps 15,000 Malays, whilst the remainder are natives of the Indian Continent, convicts, &c. I could not ascertain the number of European residents, but it is not, large. It is said that the proportion of Chinese women to the men is but one to thirty-eight, a frightful state of society!

Perhaps the best summary of my visitation of this very [135/136] pretty island and mercantile settlement may be given in the words of the memorandum which I wrote in the chaplain's correspondence book.

"The congregation amounts at present to about 200 souls, exclusive of officers and seamen attached to vessels from time to time at anchor in the harbour. The sacrament of the Lord's Supper is administered once in each month; the average number of communicants is at present about thirty-eight."

Tanjan Kling, near Malacca, May 27th.--By eight yesterday morning I was on board the steamer Hooghley, and before nine we steamed out of the harbour of Singapore. God grant that I may have left there some token for good. The scenery about New Harbour--a harbour as yet only in contemplation, but where it is proposed to erect a large dock--is remarkably beautiful. We passed very quietly over the very quiet water, and by daylight this morning Mount Ophir was in sight, and shortly afterwards Malacca, the ruined Roman Catholic church on the hill being the most conspicuous object. The delightful bungalow where I am now lodged having been kindly placed at my disposal by the Government, I did not go ashore at Malacca, and I am very thankful to find myself in this lovely and cool place. It is built on a little promontory which forms the northern horn of a little bay, the town of Malacca being built on the opposite horn. Where not open to the sea and its most welcome breezes, it is completely shaded by lofty and wide-spreading Ansannah trees, through whose thick foliage even the fierce blare of a tropical sun can scarcely penetrate. There is, consequently, no heat, in the terrible Indian sense of the term. The Rev. J. W. Lindstedt, chaplain of the station, has been most kindly attentive to our comfort.

29th.--I had much conversation yesterday with Mr. Lindstedt respecting his charge. His congregation is small, not exceeding fifty souls; but he has peculiar trials to bear, and difficulties to contend with.

In the course of my evening's ride yesterday I observed several Malay women playing at cards, and apparently quite absorbed in their game. The Malay cottages have a remarkable neat appearance, and, as I have already mentioned, have a strong resemblance to those of Switzerland. Like the Cingalese, they are always built of detached cottages, in the midst of trees, generally cocoa-nuts, palmyras, or bread-fruit, but which, from their close contiguity to the house, must make it very damp. There is much paddy cultivation in the immediate neighbourhood of this bungalow.

Malacca, Whitsunday.--Yesterday there was heavy, decidedly [136/137] tropical rain during the whole day, and I scarcely left the house. After my usual daily course of reading I read again, after an interval of many years, the Bishop of Bangor's admirable and unanswerable Defence of the Catholic Doctrine of Spiritual Regeneration in Baptism. His lordship's treatise is, I think, infinitely superior to those of A. Knox and Pusey, and worthy to be placed side by side with that of Bishop Jolly.

We came in here very early this morning, and thus escaped the sun. It is a pretty road from Tanjan Kling to Malacca, and the Malay houses have an air of comfortable neatness which we look for in vain among the huts of the Coromandel coast, although they are not, I think, better, though perhaps more picturesque, and certainly more Swiss, than those of Malabar.

The church here is large for its present small congregation; and, with the exception of a vestry protruded into the body of the building, close to the communion-table, as ridiculous as it is monstrous, there is no fault to be found with the appearance of its interior arrangements. I say its appearance, as, on examination, I found the pews too narrow to admit of a person kneeling without very great discomfort. Divine service is conducted in a very orderly manner, but the congregation are remiss both in making the responses and in singing the appointed psalms. I preached on the awful subject of the day, and we had seventeen communicants at the holy table in addition to the officiating clergy. I thought the people very attentive to my sermon, and yet it was a very old-fashioned one.

Two Chinese funerals passed our window this afternoon. The huge cumbrous coffin was covered with a kind of pall embroidered with flowers. A few men with cymbals and tom-toms headed the procession; and, mixed with the crowd of indifferent followers, walked the mourners, men and women, clothed in white. There is a singularly horrible and disgusting ceremony connected with a Chinese burial. They keep the body in the coffin for two or three days, and, as decomposition takes place so rapidly in a tropical climate, they cement every chink of the coffin most carefully with the powerful cement I have already mentioned. Nevertheless, there will be occasional exudations from the coffin; and, in that case, the son, or other nearest relation of the deceased, is bound to lick them up! He entreats the departed with most pathetic imprecations to spare him this most revolting duty.

Mr. Lindstedt preached a plain and very orthodox sermon in the evening on the gift of the Paraclete.

Monday.--After Divine service I had an interview with the church-trustees, the result, which was on the whole [137/138] satisfactory, will be stated in my memorandum of my visitation of Malacca. I have laboured to be a peacemaker without compromising my duty of faithfulness, and I humbly hope that God has blessed my labour.

I had a beautiful drive this evening, partly through rice-cultivation and partly through fine woodland scenery. The innumerable Chinese tombs give the country a very singular appearance.

Wednesday, 3d.--Yesterday morning, after the usual service of Whit-Tuesday, I held my confirmation, when three boys and four girls were confirmed. I have reason to believe that Mr. Lindstedt has taken great pains in preparing them, and they certainly appeared much impressed with the solemn rite.

After breakfast I visited the free-school, but I have nothing to record of it. So far as religious instruction is concerned, it seems to me about a nonentity. There is here a school for native children under the charge of a Dutch Dissenting minister, who courteously invited me to inspect it, and whose invitation I had accepted, when I was informed, on apparently indisputable authority, that he had publicly declared his persuasion that "the Catechism of the Church of England is the work of the devil and his angels."

This being an Ember-day, we have again enjoyed the comfort of joining in the public service of Almighty God in his own house of prayer.

The old roofless ruin of a Roman Catholic church on St. Paul's Hill (the flagstaff hill) is still occasionally used as a burial-place by some of the Dutch families, or, I should rather say, their descendants residing at Malacca. There are many tombstones still within the walls, but I saw no epitaph of an earlier date than the middle of the seventeenth century. I am told, however, although I could not find it, that there is a tomb of the second Bishop of Japan, a Jesuit, dated 1598. It seems that the Dutch desecrated the church as a place of worship, and then adopted it as a cemetery! It was built by Albuquerque, I believe in 1513, and dedicated "to the Visitation of our Lady." A convent was attached to it, and there was a nunnery on the neighbouring hill of St. John's.

It was in the year 1511, and after a rather severe contest with the natives, that Albuquerque took Malacca. A native historian alleges--if the passage be correctly cited by Captain Boglia--that at that period the inhabitants of the town of Malacca amounted to nineteen lacs (190,000 souls); but this is, doubtless, very much exaggerated. The population of the British territory of Malacca now exceeds 50,000. Chinese are numerous in the town, and some of them are stated to be very [138/139] rich. Their houses have a comfortable appearance, and I observed chairs and tables in the huts of some of the Malays.

Almost all those who in India are commonly called Portuguese profess the Romish religion, whilst the descendants of the Dutch have naturally a strong leaning to the Presbyterian opinions of their ancestors. Of the state of society here I have been able to ascertain scarcely anything.

I had almost forgotten to mention the. Stadt-house, the old Dutch government-house, where I am lodged during my visitation of Malacca. It is a large rambling building, and arranged, on the whole, with much comfort.

(To be continued.)


(Continued from p. 139.)

THE little Hooghley entered the Malacca Roads at six this morning. On the whole I have much enjoyed my visit to this place, and I am very thankful to have enjoyed here as much peace and rest as I can ever hope to enjoy in India.

5th.--We are going along smoothly and pleasantly, among islands completely covered with mangrove-trees; and thousands of that singular animal, the flying fox, are hanging in clusters from some of their branches.

Penang, June 8th.--By five we were ashore, and are again the guests of the hospitable Mr. and Mrs. Garling.

The church of this settlement is decidedly the best of the three. The congregation yesterday morning amounted to nearly 200; and although the usual notice had not been given, in consequence of there being no resident Clergyman, twenty-eight communicants partook with us of the Lord's Supper. It being Trinity Sunday, I preached on that awful mystery, the holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity. In the evening the officiating minister was the Rev. Mr. Parish, Chaplain of the Agincourt.

[169] Government House, or, as I believe it is called, Bel Retiro, June 9th.--I cannot give an idea of the beauty of its situation. It is 2,600 feet above the sea, of which it commands a most lovely view, and so extensive, that every vessel approaching Penang, from either north or south, can be seen I know not how many miles off. But it is not a sea of apparently boundless space; it has all the characteristics of a magnificent lake. The hill on which the house is built is covered with trees and shrubs of a great variety of foliage. The ascent is three miles and-a-half from the bottom of the pass; the road sufficiently good for riding, but impassable for carriages.

The thermometer at mid-day was at 74, whilst in the valley it was most probably at 86; a most welcome change, and which has brought with it, to me, a feeling of renewed health and freshness which I have not experienced since I left Bishopstoke last August. We have been most kindly welcomed by Colonel and Mrs. Butterworth, with whom I purpose to pass a week, and then to go into a house of my own, which I have already secured.

I had the pleasure of meeting here, at dinner, yesterday, the admiral, Sir Thomas Cochrane, and also Captain Munday, of the Iris; of a Derbyshire family, with some members of which I was once well acquainted. To my regret, the Agincourt and the Iris are to sail to-morrow, I believe for Borneo. * *

During the past week I have been continually occupied in answering my numerous letters; but it will require the whole of this week also, I fear, to accomplish the task. Some questions of much importance have been submitted to my decision. The old leaven of caste is still poisoning some of our native flocks, especially in Vepery and Tanjore; and I feel an awful responsibility in dealing with it, lest, whilst seeking to free our native Church from a yoke of bondage, I shall unconsciously impose on it a burden greater than the law of Christ requires. It is exceedingly difficult to separate the social character of caste from that which is religious, and therefore essentially idolatrous; at least, so I am assured. For my own part, I most strongly suspect it to be thoroughly of an idolatrous origin and character. Earnestly do I pray for the spirit of counsel, true knowledge, and ghostly strength, to guide me in my course.

I was favoured, two days since, by a visit from a very intelligent Roman Catholic Priest. He is a Frenchman. I was greatly pleased with his simple and gentleman-like manners, and he gave me some interesting and useful information, having resided for some years at Moulmein. The Roman Catholics have a congregation of about 8,000 souls in Penang, and another of 3,000 in Province Wellesley, the small British territory in [169/170] the Malay Peninsula, immediately opposite the island. They have also at Penang a Chinese college, which I hope to visit. He spoke of the Chinese as apt to learn, and I believe they have been generally found so by the Roman Catholic Missionaries. The Burmese he describes as quiet and amiable (I had conceived a very different notion of them), but it is very difficult to make any impression upon them. I hear that this gentleman subsequently expressed himself much surprised at the simple dress and simple manners of a Protestant Bishop, never having seen one before.

There is a fir-tree here, and, I believe, peculiar to the island, exactly the counterpart, when young in appearance--for I am sorry to say I cannot speak botanically--to the spruce-fir of Europe. When old, the leaf quite changes its character, and the tree then looks like a Scotch fir. It wants, however, one excellent quality of both these trees--it grows very slowly.

10th.--One of those extraordinary outbreaks of temporary madness to which the Malays are liable, has just occurred here. A carpenter, who, it seems, has been in great affliction lately by the death of his wife and two of his children, "ran a-muck" through the town, and stabbed with that deadly weapon, the crease, eleven persons, nine of whom have died of their wounds. He was at last arrested, and, on being questioned as to the cause of his conduct, observed, "How can I tell? My head became dark, and I want to die. What is the use of trying me? I am quite ready; hang me at once." It does not appear that he was "banghed," or intoxicated with opium.

Lieutenant Roefstorff, of the Danish navy, has been passing a couple of days with me. He is very intelligent, and, what is far more valuable, unaffectedly and really religious; and I have been much interested in the account he has given me of the state of religion in Denmark. At his request I am going to send my little journal to the Queen of Denmark, whom he describes as most sincerely interested in the progress of Christianity in India, which owes to Denmark its first Protestant Missionaries. The Danish Bishops and Clergy are, according to his account, generally speaking, pious and devoted men.

I pass the time of my retirement here chiefly in reading the Greek Testament, Bishop Taylor, and Hooker. Taylor, Hooker, Andrews, Beveridge, Leighton, Butler, and Pearson, are, indeed, my chief favourites. A clergyman could not be in better company, next to the companionship of the Word of God. I think I have derived much benefit, and I am sure I, have derived much comfort, from Bishop Taylor; he knew so well the human heart. * * *

25th.--T'his morning, the Festival of St. James, I held my [170/171] confirmation. Twenty-four were confirmed, and among them the Governor and his brother, Captain Cook. It was a beautiful sight to see the two brothers, now advanced in life, kneeling side by side at God's altar, there to be blessed in His name by the Bishop, and thus bearing public testimony among his little ones to the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. This is preaching by example; the best preaching of the Gospel everywhere, but especially in India. There was, I am happy to say, a large congregation.

I had intended to have visited the Roman Catholic Chinese College, but my weak state of health prevented me from doing so.

August 24th.--We left Penang on the morning of the 18th, having spent the previous day with the excellent Sir W. and Lady Norris; and, after a somewhat stormy voyage, we are now off Amherst. * *

Moulmein, 28th.--This is altogether the strangest-looking place I have yet seen, from the numerous and peculiarly-formed Burmese pagodas. Every little hill is crowned by one; and its gilded spire in fretwork, and fringe of little bells, has a very pretty effect. I entered one of these temples yesterday. It contains a colossal figure of Buddh, or rather Guadma, with three figures of smaller dimensions on either side of him. As works of art they are ugly and contemptible. I shall not, however, say anything at present on the religion of the Burmese, as I hope shortly to obtain some correct information on the subject, and which I do not possess at present.

Moulmein, once a very large military cantonment, has now but a very small force in garrison. The terrible Seik war caused the removal to Calcutta of the European regiment, and I am told it is not likely to be replaced. Their absence, and the consequent non-occupation of so many houses, gives the place a somewhat desolate look. All the houses are of teak-wood, and thatched with the leaf of a kind of palmyra, which effectually keeps out the rain of this dripping climate; but they are very damp, and it is sad to see the mouldy and rapidly-decaying condition of Mr. Hamilton's [1] [The Rev. A. Hamilton, Chaplain of Malacca, and my most kind and highly-valued host.] books. It is, however, by no means an unhealthy station, but quite the contrary. Cholera is scarcely known here; and I am not aware that Europeans here are liable to fever, although the natives sometimes suffer from it severely; but it is occasionally visited by dysentery, which especially attacks persons lately arrived. To me its climate is very oppressive, although the actual range of the thermometer is from 78 to 80.

[172] I walked this morning to the church. Externally, it has not a very ecclesiastical appearance; indeed, were it not for the little dumpy wooden tower, a stranger would scarcely recognise it for the house of prayer; but the interior arrangement is all that could be wished. It is very large and airy, and built entirely of wood. Many of the hideous monuments in the burial-ground (in India they are always hideous) are thatched to protect them from the rain, which gives them, if possible, a still more hideous appearance. Mr. Hamilton appears to me a most diligent and devoted parish priest, equally gifted with love and good sense.

The howling of the dogs at night is frightful. One begins the song, which is quickly taken up by hundreds, until it swells into a loud chorus of unearthly yells. Then it lulls for perhaps half an hour, and then bursts out afresh. But there is a noise still more extraordinary within the house. A large lizard, called, I believe, the top-hay, crows occasionally during the night like a cock; and I understand the natives attach to its cry the same superstition as some people in England do to the death-watch. It frequently startles me out of the broken sleep to which I am now subject.

Sept. 1.--The labours here of the devoted American Missionaries appear to be greatly blessed among the natives, especially among the people called Kareens! These are neither idolaters nor atheists, as are the Burmese (for their religion seems, in fact, a pure atheism), and they are described to me as a docile and tractable race. I hope in the course of the present week, or early in the next, to visit their Mission and examine their schools. I have made the acquaintance of two of their Missionaries, but all are energetic men. But it is sad to think that the inhabitants of an integral portion of the British empire should be indebted to foreigners for instruction in the way of life. How easily might this ground, which is now possessed by strangers, have been occupied by the Church had she put forth her strength some years ago! There is no part of British India which holds out such a reasonable prospect of success to missionary enterprise as the Terasserim province, in consequence of the abomination of caste being unknown in Burmah. The women, also, are in a very different state from the Hindoo women. They are not hidden from all intercourse and imprisoned in their respective homes, but occupy their proper place in the social system, such as it is, and exercise there their legitimate influence.

(To be continued.)


(Continued from p. 172.)

Moulmein, Sept. 2d.--THE confirmation took place yesterday. In consequence of the removal of the European regiment, and other causes, there were but thirty-two candidates; but among them were two officers and the wives of two others. Mr. Hamilton had taken the deepest interest in preparing them, and l was delighted to have an opportunity of publicly expressing my respect for his character. I preached on Phil. iv. 1, and exhorted them to stand fast in the Lord, and thus to be the joy and crown of their excellent minister.

This afternoon I examined the children of the Artillery School and visited the Artillery Hospital. It is delightful to see Mr. Hamilton with the children. They are evidently very fond of him.

7th.--I preached yesterday on Luke xiii. 22, and Mr. Hamilton in the evening on Matt. vii. 13, 14. I have been for the last three or four days so weak that I feared I might not be able to go through the duties of the day, which included the administration of the Lord's Supper. There were twenty-eight communicants; but the society of the place is now so diminished that this is considered a large number. Mr. Hamilton kindly consented, on my suggestion, to give the sacramental offerings, upon which he has at present no other claim, to the Tinnevelly Mission of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

[210] 8th.--I went early this morning to the Great Pagoda. The morning was fine--a rare event just now at Mouluiein--and the view clear and beautiful.

These pagodas are popularly supposed (not that the Burmese believe it) to be built over a hair of Guadama's head or beard, or some relic of something which once belonged to him. They are solid masses of masonry, and therefore merely ornamental and commemorative; but generally by the side of the pagoda, if it be of any magnitude, is a kind of chapel, where the votaries worship Guadama's image. These chapels, which are often mere sheds, are invariably fitted up in the same way; a colossal figure of Guadama, with a genuine Burmese countenance, and a most unmeaning smile, in the centre of a semicircle composed of many smaller images, male and female, who are supposed to be listening to his words of wisdom. The demi-god is represented in various attitudes--standing, sitting, or lying down; but the most usual is a sitting posture, with his legs tucked under him, after the usual Oriental fashion. Immediately in front of the divine philosopher is generally erected a petty paltry altar, upon which, on certain days, the Burmese offer flowers and little lighted tapers. They are also in the habit of making offerings at these shrines on some special occasions. Those, for instance, who have been rescued from shipwreck, or drowning--to which, as they live so much on the water, they are frequently exposed--present models of ships or boats. At one of their great festivals, instead of pelting each other with sugar-plums, as during the Carnival in Roman Catholic countries, the men throw water at the women, and the women throw water at the men. This is a peculiarly merry day, and anxiously looked forward to. I saw, a few days ago, many women and children kneeling in the mud outside the chapel and saying their prayers with much apparent devotion; but it seemed to me that very little reverence was manifested by some men who were making their offerings within.

The language in which the Buddhist sacred books are written is called the Pali, and has, it is said, some slight affinity with the Sanscrit. The priests are called Rahans, but their usual appellation is Poongies, which is a title of peculiar respect, the word signifying "great virtue." They do not dwell alone, but reside in monasteries, called kiaungs, the abbot of which is styled Zara, and the high-priest, who is at the head of their ecclesiastical establishment, is designated Zarado. The priests are all, by profession, mendicants, it being enjoined them at their ordination to beg their subsistence from door to door. This begging is not, however, considered degrading, but rather the tacit assertion of a right, as they take their stand at a door [210/211] without speaking; and few would venture to send away a poongie empty-handed. I met this morning one of these begging friars returning homeward with his spoil a basketful of fruits, little pots of curry, and other Burmese good things; and I could not but be reminded of the begging monks of Italy, to whom their appearance, with their dirty yellow robe wrapped loosely around them, and their slender body and bare feet, bore a really startling resemblance, except that the monk carries his collected good things in a sack over his shoulder, and the, poongic carries his in a basket suspended from his neck. There are thousands of these poongics throughout Burmah, and they exercise a very considerable influence. I am assured they are by no means vicious or immoral in their lives. The Zarado is the king's confessor, and possesses certain privileges which are, with the exception of himself, limited exclusively to the sovereign. The priestly order is not indelible, but may be laid aside at any time, and not unfrequently is so, as the priesthood is not limited to a particular caste, like the Brahmins. Indeed caste, that degrading and crushing chain under which all India staggers, is unknown among the Burmese. Neither are the women shut up here, as among the Hindoos and Mussulmans, but go about as freely as the women in Europe. Some of the young girls are really pretty, with fine Grecian heads, but they soon become very fat and shapeless. All the women smoke tobacco; and you continually see children of both sexes, of even four or five years old, with a cigar in their mouths. The women are, generally speaking, I fear, profligate; and it is to be deplored that their profligacy has been by no means diminished by the residence among them of the Europeans.

There is a Roman Catholic Bishop at Moulmein, with some Italian priests and a nunnery. They have a large congregation, but it is greatly to be feared that the Christianity of their proselytes is not of a higher standard than that of their native converts in India.

10th.--I here picked up a little more information respecting Buddhism, which, I believe, may be relied on. It is commonly supposed that Guadama, who died about 540 years before Christ, taught the doctrine of annihilation; that is, that after passing through certain changes of existence, man's spirit was finally absorbed at last in nothingness. This is, however, incorrect. He maintained, that the end of good Buddhists, and which ought to be the constant object of their thoughts, and hopes, and labours, is a state called in the Pali language "Niebar," and which is thus described in the sixth volume of Asiatic Researches, p. 266:--"When a person is longer subject to any of the following miseries, namely, to weight (by which, [211/212] I presume, is meant the cares and sorrows of life), old age, disease, and death, then he is said to have obtained Niebar." This is a state of passive enjoyment, not of extinction.

No criminal can be put to death should a Rahan touch him on the way to execution. A similar privilege is, I believe, still existing in France, should the king's carriage meet a criminal on the way to the guillotine.

The liturgy, if such it can be called, used in the Buddhist temples, is, according to Captain Hiram Cox, never used by the Rahans, whom he never saw on any occasion officiating in the temples; but is recited by the individual worshipper before the image of Guadama. The Poongics always perform their religious services within the walls of their own convents, where they have little shrines and images to which they chant their prayers. In praying, all classes use rosaries.

It is said that formerly there were convents for women, who made the usual vow of chastity; but this, if it ever existed, is now abolished; and the only females connected with the temples are certain old women, who shave their heads, and assume a peculiar white dress. They attend at funerals, and are a kind of servants to the Rahans. They are not, however, allowed to enter the kiaungs. How very different is this from the abominable profligate of the wretched dancing-girls of the Indian pagodas!

The houses of the priests, which are built within the precincts of the kiaungs, are pretty and picturesque. The Zara's residence may be always known by its three stories. They are constructed entirely of wood, with much carving about them, and arc not unlike a Swiss cottage, and, perhaps, more like houses of cards, which we have all often built when we were children.

I have had the pleasure of visiting the Kareen schools maintained by the American Missionaries. The Kareens are a singular race, quite distinct from the Burmese; and neither Buddhists nor Hindoos, and, indeed, of no religion, but very apt to learn, and willing to be taught the truth as it is in Christ Jesus. They are numerous throughout Burmah, inhabiting sometimes the mountains and sometimes the plains, migrating from one to the other. The excellent Missionaries here, among whom, though now absent, must not be forgotten the devoted and able Dr. Judson, have been very successful in their labours among them; and I was highly gratified yesterday by all that I saw and heard. The Kareens have a peculiar language, which is apparently spoken with perfect case and fluency by Messrs. Binny and Vinton, as also by the wife of the former gentleman and by the sister of the latter, who superintend the female [212/213] schools. The same plan is adopted as by the American Missionaries at Madras and Jaffna; the girls are boarded and lodged in the Mission-premises, and thus effectually protected from the counteracting influence of bad example abroad, to which they would otherwise be exposed. I examined the first class of Mr. Binny's theological students in the Epistle to the Romans, of which they gave a clear and satisfactory account. The children at Mr. Vinton's school sang a Psalm, set to a genuine Kareen air, which is very pretty and melodious.

11th.--I know no finer sight, I mean of man's workmanship, and scarcely one so fine, as a British man-of-war, with its manly, noble-looking officers and crew; and nothing more touching than to see them assembled on their quarterdeck, joining in prayer to God, where there is good reason to believe and trust that it is not a mere formality, but that the captain and officers are really pious in men, and anxious to set the seamen a good Christian example, and to win them to follow it.

At the request of Captain Maclean, I went yesterday afternoon on board the Cruizer, for the purpose of addressing the men on the subject of religion. Mr. Hamilton read the prayers of the Church, and I then spoke for upwards of half-an-hour of Christ and their own souls which He died to save, to one hundred gallant fellows, who listened with great attention. I took care to make my language as plain and simple as possible, and, I have reason to believe, that I was understood by them all.

Monday, 14th--Never did I see such rain as falls here. For the last three days we have had a deluge. Every thing is uncomfortably damp; but the weather does not appear to be unhealthy. There are but very few Europeans in the hospitals; indeed, but six in the Artillery Hospital, four of whom are there from the results of habitual intoxication, the crying sin of British soldiers in India; and here, where that horrible slow poison, toddy, is particularly cheap, drunkenness is, of course, most fearfully prevalent. I went to the Artillery Hospital on Saturday, and gave the poor fellows the best advice in my power, and tried to impress upon them the madness, as well as sinfulness, of their way of going on.

16th.--I begin to look anxiously for the steamer, which is to bring my European letters, and to take me to Arracan. Not that I any in haste to quit Moulmein, did other duties permit a longer residence here, where I have met with much to interest and to please me.

At my request, Mr. Hamilton invited all the American Missionaries to meet me on the Monday at breakfast. They are intelligent and earnest-minded men; and, although I deeply [213/214] regret, and frankly expressed my regret to them, that this very promising field of Missionary labour should not have been occupied by the Church, I cannot but heartily rejoice in the success which has blessed their labours, and I wish them most sincerely good speed in the name of the Lord. Their converts amount to nearly four thousand.

These gentlemen were followed by a very different order of visitors. Four Poongies came to see me; the chief Poongie, or, as the interpreter styled him, the bishop, being too infirm to come so far, sent to me the next in rank to himself and three other Rahans, having understood that I wished to speak with them about their religion. We had much conversation, my remarks and questions being chiefly founded on what I have been reading lately respecting Buddhism; and their answers satisfied me that the information I had thus gathered is correct. One of them seemed rather acute, and was certainly very fluent; but I was not impressed with any great idea of their abilities, and should think them inferior in intellect to the Brahmins. I hope to see the chief Poongie-house this evening, as I am desirous of looking at their sacred books.

I have had an opportunity of hearing some Burmese music, which is decidedly more harmonious than that of India They have many kinds of instruments; and among them one consisting of, I think, twelve small ghirries, or bell-plates, fixed in a circular case, in the centre of which sits the musician, and strikes the different bells with great skill and with much harmony. Another man sang in a very nasal twang to a kind of lute. The air was simple and pretty.

17th.--I went yesterday to see the chief Poongie. He received us in the Poongie-house, or rather hall, for it is all one room, where he resides with his subordinate priests; a part of the building being used as a school. All the Burmese are taught to read and write,--at least, such I understood to be the fact,--and it is a part of the Poongie's office to teach them; and we found a great many children of different ages, really, or pretending to be, hard at work over their books and slates. That portion of the building which is reserved for the Poongies, is raised upwards of a foot from the level of the school-room; and has a vaulted and handsomely-carved teak ceiling; and against the wall are arranged numerous figures of Guadama, chiefly in alabaster; and also several richly-gilded large chests, in which are deposited their sacred books. The poor old man--he is upwards of eighty--is nearly, if not quite, blind, and so emaciated that he looks like a living skeleton. He wears no peculiar dress or ornament to denote his rank, but simply the yellow robe, which is the distinguishing mark of a Rahan. This [214/215] time I enjoyed the advantage of a very intelligent interpreter; and I asked many questions concerning their religion, which occurred to my mind. I did not, however, learn anything new, except, indeed, that the old man declared "Niebar" to be neither more nor less than annihilation. But Major Macleod assures me that this is not his meaning, but that he cannot clearly express his ideas. He was, moreover, speaking a foreign language, and he is a Peguan from Rangoon, and spoke Talein, and is therefore not quite at home in the Burmese tongue. They showed us their sacred books. These consist of several copper-plates, highly varnished, and the writing highly embossed upon them. Three of the inferior Poongics read, or rather chaunted, some passages from them. The language is the Pali; but they are in the habit of reading it with either a Talein or a Burmese accentuation, according to the locality. The Talein sounded pretty; the Burmese, of which they also gave us a specimen, very drawling. The chief Poongie expressed his gratitude to the British Government for the protection and freedom which they enjoyed; and I doubt not he spoke with sincerity. He then showed symptoms of entering upon a long grievance, in consequence of a religions feud between the Burmese and Peguans, from which I thought it best to escape. I suspect he imagined that it was a matter which I, as Bishop, would take in hand and decide.



(Concluded from p. 215.)

Moulmein, Sept. 18th.--Having understood that several seamen had been brought into the General Hospital, suffering from severe fever, I visited them yesterday evening, and read and explained the Scriptures, and prayed with them. Poor fellows! they seemed very attentive; and as I always use on such occasions the plainest language, I believe they clearly understood me, and were very glad to hear of the Saviour.

21st.--Yesterday I attended Divine Service for the last time at Moulmein. I preached in the morning on 1 Cor. ii. 1, 2, and exhorted my hearers to unity in the faith of Christ crucified; and in the evening I baptized ten children, after the second lesson. All the American Baptist Missionaries were, I believe, present; and I will hope that the scriptural truth, as well as beauty, of our Baptismal Service, was not unheeded by them.

And thus finished my visitation of Moulmein, which I shall always look back upon with thankfulness to the Giver of all good, who most graciously imparted to me such a portion of strength as was sufficient for me to get through my duties--I dare not say my duty--and who, I humbly hope, has not altogether withheld His blessing on my work there.

I have met with much kindness at this station, and with several persons for whom I entertain a most sincere regard, especially its truly estimable Chaplain, Mr. Hamilton.

Kyouk-Phyou, 26th.--Early yesterday morning we were in sight of this pretty place, and by 12 at anchor in the harbour. I am the guest of my old friend and former Missionary Presbyter, Mr. Humphrey, now the Chaplain of this station.

27th.--The church here is a remarkably neat little structure, very simple, and arranged in quiet ecclesiastical order. Mr. Humphrey had but six candidates for confirmation; but among them were two officers of the regiment stationed at Kyouk-Phyou. I preached on the occasion, and in the evening consecrated the burial ground, hoping, if it please God, to consecrate the church to-morrow. Every thing connected with the Church is quite "young" here; but Mr. Humphrey is very devoted and active, and appears to be universally respected.

Poor Mr. Whitehead has had a bad fall from an elephant, and a slight concussion of the brain; but I am assured that there is no reason to be alarmed.

28th.--A truly awful thunderstorm awoke me in the middle of the night. I never heard louder or more cracking peals of thunder. It has, however, greatly cooled the air. I have just [288/289] consecrated the Church of St. John the Baptist at Kyouk-Phyou. Mr. Whitehead being unable to accompany me, the whole service was performed by Mr. Humphrey and myself. I was highly pleased to see, as I was informed, every Christian resident present. In my sermon I thankfully profited by the opportunity to use great plainness of speech to the young officers. All seemed interested in the solemn service, and I trust were edified by it.

October 1st.--We landed at Akyab yesterday afternoon, and I have been most kindly received by the Chief Commissioner, Major B------. In a commercial point of view, Akyab is an important and very rising place. During the last season, it exported rice to the value of 120,000l. The principal purchasers are native merchants from Madras. It is a splendid harbour, although the approach to it is, I believe, rather difficult. The population of the place amounts already to 20,000, and will probably increase. The native town is built with great regularity, with an air of comfort pervading it which is very pleasing to the eye. The "Mugs," as the natives of Arracan are called, are of the same indolent character as the Burmese, to whom they bear a strong resemblance, although they are perhaps not so good-looking; but they are a docile and easily governed race. There is here an American Baptist mission; but as I was not favoured by a visit from the missionary, I could gain no authentic intelligence respecting it. I fear, however, that the progress of Christianity at Ahyab is, at present, very slow.

The European congregation under the charge of the Rev. Chaplain, does not exceed thirty souls. There is no church, but Mr. Humphrey is actively engaged in collecting subscriptions for building one. At present Divine Service is celebrated in the Court House. I held there a confirmation this morning, and after laying my hands on five persons, I preached on Proverbs, iv. 13-27.

Oct. 9th. Chittagong--We visited this very pretty place on Saturday the 3rd. The Commissioner, Mr, R------, kindly came on board the steamer, and carried us off to his house; and here I am domesticated, as if I had known him and his very pleasing and clever daughters all my life.

There is a remarkably pretty church here, not like the ecclesiastical buildings in my own diocese, but with a pretty tower. I was too ill to attend Divine service on Sunday morning; but I preached in the evening on the occasion of the baptism of Mr. and Mrs. B------'s child; he being the nephew of the Dean of W------, and she a daughter of Mr. R------, and a most pleasing young couple. Everything in this house [289/290]--with the fearful exception of the climate--is thoroughly English; Mr. R------ himself being a perfect English gentleman.

Each European house is built on its own little hillock, from whence the view of the river and of the surrounding country is very pretty and cheerful. Chittagong is a great salt depot.

We rode a few days since to see the ruins of the house of Sir William Jones, who occasionally came to Chittagong, as well as to Kishnagur, to escape from the wear and tear of Calcutta. It is a lovely situation, commanding a fine view of the Bay, and the ruins show that it was once a handsome though not a very large house. Any place or thing connected with the memory of Sir William Jones is interesting to me.

Chittagong most certainly ought to have a resident Chaplain.

15th.--On board the Irrawaddy steamer; sailing up the Megna, and bound for Dacca.

The banks of the Megna are decidedly prettier than those of the Hooghley; and the rice-fields give the country a cheerful and rich appearance.

This is a most strange network of rivers. We have now quitted two of them, the Megna and the Delipur, and we are steaming up the third, the Burragunga.

We anchored last night off Nairingunga, the great salt-depôt for the natives in this part of India. I say for the natives, because Chittagong is the Government salt-depôt; but the native merchants will not send their boats to Chittagong on account of the danger, real or imaginary, of the voyage; and, consequently, the Company are obliged to hire the huge clumsy vessels we saw lying in the river there to carry the salt to Nairingunga, from whence it is circulated by the many veins and arteries of the enormous Delta throughout this part of Bengal. Nairingunga is a very populous place; its numerous salt-go-downs look like so many ill-formed haystacks. The people flocked in crowds this morning to look at the steamer, which probably many of them now saw for the first time. The salt-merchants are chiefly Armenians, a rich and numerous race at Dacca; and their character does not stand very high for honesty, as I am assured by the Baptist missionary, who professes to know, and probably does know, this part of India very well, that to every maund of salt received from Chittagong they add a maund of mud before it is retailed to the smaller merchants and sent up the country. The profits to the Company from the salt monopoly must be very large, being a tax which necessarily catches everybody. Indeed, it presses with peculiar severity on the poor natives of India, to whom salt fish is a most important article of food. We are now within ten miles of Dacca, which we are last approaching, with wind and tide in our favour.

[291] The approach to Dacca is very fine. We have just passed a tower (I presume a Hindoo temple or monument) and a bridge, both the perfection of their kind as picturesque ruins. The town has a very imposing appearance from the river, I mean for a town in India: that is, you see, it may be, a dozen or even twenty large houses, not unlike Venetian palaces until you look into their architecture, each surrounded by a pretty garden. The river here is about as wide as the Thames at Greenwich, and exhibits a variety of boats peculiar to Bengal, and two or three pretty English pinnaces. There is not water enough for ships of any size. The bank opposite to the town is a continuation of meadow-looking land, though much of it is really under paddy cultivation, of the most lovely green, with varied groups of grazing cattle, and with wood, in which the peculiar trees of India do not predominate.

We landed at eleven o'clock, and have been most hospitably welcomed by Mr. Shepherd, who has been for seventeen years Chaplain of Dacca. The air is much cooler and fresher than I found it at Chittagong.

17th.--We drove out yesterday evening, but too late to see much of the place. We passed through a large and busy bazaar, and entered an inclosure, called, I believe, the race-course, and laid out with good taste in a park-like manner. I remarked several ruins of Mussulman buildings on the way to it. The church is, for India, a very handsome edifice, although I prefer that of Chittagong. It is old for India, where all our ecclesiastical buildings are of so recent a date, having been consecrated by Bishop Heber.

19th.--This morning I visited the principal mosque of Dacca, into which I was admitted without taking off my shoes--an unexpected act of liberality. The new Mahometan sect the Ferezis, a kind of Mahometan Puritans, is gaining great influence here. They are opposed to all feasts and idle pageantry, and affect to desire the restitution of Mahometanism to the strictest discipline of the Koran. They are suspected to be not altogether free from political objects; and are narrowly watched by the Government. The Mollah who admitted us to the mosque is reputed to be a man of very high sanctity.

The vestiges of the Mahometan rule at Dacca are very conspicuous, and the ruins of their buildings in the Lal Baug [1] [The Red or Rose Garden; a public walk.] are really beautiful.

21st.--Although greatly fallen away from its former prosperity, Dacca is still a large and important city. Its present population amounts to about 50,000 souls, equally divided, so far as I can [291/292] ascertain, between Hindoos and Mahometans. It was formerly greatly celebrated for its manufacture of muslins, but it is now at once exceeded in quality and undersold by the steam-looms of Great Britain. The Dacca scarfs are, I believe, still much admired.

An English Baptist Missionary has been resident here for many years; but I heard nothing of the result of his labours, as he has not called upon me; and although always most ready to show all possible courtesy to missionaries of any Christian denomination, who are labouring faithfully among the heathen, I never intrude on dissenting missionaries who do not manifest a desire to know me.

I met this morning a very interesting character--Kelim Brahmin, who has been converted to Christianity, and who bears a very high character, both for piety and ability. He holds some office under Government, but gladly and heartily dedicates the Sunday to the improvement, spiritual and moral, of his countrymen, several of whom he is in the habit of instructing in the doctrines of the Gospel. He is a cousin of the excellent Kruitna Rolin Barenger; and I have invited him to accompany me to Calcutta, and stop some time with me there; and I hope he will be able to manage it.

I had also much conversation with Mr. Dudley, a very enlightened civilian, on the subject of the education now offered by Government to the natives of India. He ardently supports, and hopes very extensive good from the system now adopted, although he confesses that the jealous alarm which so rigidly excludes the Bible is almost groundless, and it is his opinion, that education must lay the foundation for their reception of Christianity. But this was not the system of the early Christian Church; it was not the system of the great Apostle of the Gentiles; and we have no warrant to presume that the blessing of God will rest upon it.

24th.--I was visited yesterday by the Armenian Priest of Dacca, a fine, intelligent looking man, with a splendid beard. He answered with great good-humour and patience my numerous questions about his Church. I gathered from what he said, that the Armenian Priests do not preach the word of God to their flocks, but leave that duty to their Bishops. If this be so, it is a duty which must necessarily be sadly neglected. In the Sacrament of Baptism, the Priest first pours water three times on the head of the infant, and then immerses it three times in the font; they also administer to it at baptism, the mass or consecrated wafer. I know not on what strange tradition this strange usage is founded. The Armenians are no longer numerous at Dacca, his flock not exceeding twenty souls.

25th.--We had a large and very earnest congregation at [292/293] church this morning. I preached on Luke xix. 41-44, and administered the Lord's Supper to thirty-three communicants. There is a decidedly religious spirit at Dacca; and I am much comforted and encouraged by what I find there.

I walked this evening on the house-top, which commands a beautiful view of the city and river. The many spires rising out of the trees, (though unhappily by far the larger number of them belong to Hindoo pagodas) gives the place at once an imposing and a Christian appearance. The country in the immediate neighbourhood is highly cultivated; but Dacca is bound in by a dense jungle, which causes it at times to be very unhealthy. The sepoys suffer much occasionally from fever, their lines being at some distance from the river, and in a jungly situation; but generally speaking, it is not unhealthy for Europeans who reside in houses near to, or on the banks of the Burragunga.

26th.--I have been making an exploring expedition about this curious old city, under the kind guidance of Dr. W------, who is well acquainted with the place and people. Our first visit was to a large Hindoo house, whose owner welcomed us in a very friendly manner. Like all Hindoo houses, it is enclosed by high walls, with a court-yard, and a large receiving-room opening upon it, where the proprietor welcomes his friends, sits in state, and occasionally entertains them and himself with a Natch. The only ornaments in this room are two prints, one representing our blessed Saviour bearing his cross; and the other His being nailed to the cross by the Roman soldiers! They showed me here the tulsee flower, a kind of wild sage, which is held in peculiar reverence. The Hindoos are in the habit of putting a leaf of the tulsee into the mouth of a dying person, when a drop of Ganges-water is not procurable, who is thus enabled to depart this life in the odour of sanctity. As is, I believe, generally the custom in the house of a wealthy Hindoo, there is here a little private chapel or shrine. Here the object or worship is the Shelgram, a small black stone, in which the legend asserts that Vishnu once deposited his ear! There is a large old dilapidated house in Dacca, one of the walls of which is literally broken in several places by Hindoo devotees beating their heads against it. It contains a very sacred Lingum. But let not those who have seen the Santa Scala at Rome, be too ready to ridicule the poor ignorant Hindoos.

There is a street here called the Street of the Shell-cutters, because inhabited chiefly, if not entirely, by the workers in that craft, their trade the manufacturing of bangles. [1] [Armlets universally worn by the Hindoos.] These [293/294] bangles are made out of the common. trumpet-shell, and are ornamented with carving, and are much prized by the Hindoos of Bengal.

28th.--This morning I visited the Greek and the Armenian Churches. I had already made the acquaintance of their respective priests. The Greek Church is small. It contains several bad and tawdry pictures. The women sit in a gallery, apart from the men; and in this gallery children are baptized in a great iron kettle!

The Liturgy is in Ancient Greek.

In the Armenian Church is a gaudy high altar, very similar to that in the churches of the Roman Catholics. The font is in the vestry.

Both congregations are now very small; and I fear there is no reason to think that they are very spiritual.

On board the Jellinghee accommodation-boat.

30th.--My visitation at Dacca is over. On the whole it has been very satisfactory, because I may hope without presumption, that, under God's blessing, I have done some good there. I concluded it, as I have often concluded my visitations, with the consecration of an additional piece of ground to the Burial-ground. Most of the Christian inhabitants met me there yesterday evening; and I do think that our meeting and our parting there will be long remembered by many of us. It happened, with that singular felicity which I have often found to accompany a faithful obedience to the rules of the Church, that the Second Lessons for Morning and Evening Service, were the 15th of Luke, and the 3rd of St. Paul to the Philippians. I had peculiar reasons for rejoicing that I had an opportunity of thus explaining yesterday morning those most blessed parables of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Piece of Money, and the Prodigal Son; and I could not have selected out of the whole volume of Scripture a chapter more appropriate to what I wished to say as my last words at Dacca, than the 3rd of Philippians. After explaining to them, to the best of my ability, the whole chapter, I ended my little address by most earnestly entreating all who heard me to have their "conversation in heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself." There are, I am sure, many at Dacca desirous to have their conversation in heaven, by following Christ on earth.

We are now on our way towards Calcutta.

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