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A MONTHLY JOURNAL
UNITED BRETHREN IN AMERICA.
; I Am The Wat, And The Teoth, Akd The Life."—John 14. 6.
COMMUNICATIONS.—The Editor is not to be considered responsible for the opinions of his correspondents, on subjects respecting which the Church allows a diversity of sentiment.
PUBLISHED FOR THE CHURCH OF THE UNITED BRETHREN.
Received by the Rev. David Bigler, 522 Houston St., New York, Rev. Edm.
Phintel Ht Julics W. Held, Bethlehem, Pa.
RTO. XI. NOVEMBER, 1834. VOI,. T.
Narrative of the Voyage and Journey of the Brn. Pagell and Heide from Calcutta to Kotghur, in the Himmalaya Mountains.*
(From the Missions-Blatt.)
In our last letters we mentioned, that we purposed setting out for Benares on December 12th. The boats for such a voyage, which occupies several weeks, are well adapted to meet the requirements of the country and the climate. Ours had two cabins, the larger of which was twelve feet square, the smaller nine. Mr. Rebsch's boat was considerably larger, but both had the same number of persons to navigate them, viz, ten to row, and one to steer. Our friends recommended to us a Hindoo servant, John William, whom we engaged, principally for the purpose of assisting us in the language. He wos born at Delhi, and had frequently undertaken similar journeys with Europeans. In his youth he had been baptized, yet he seemed to have experienced but little of the power of the gospel. Shortly before setting out, one of the boatmen came to bog for some money, in order to sacrifice to his gods, and obtain their help on the voyage. Mr. Rebsch told him, that this would be quite opposed to our religious principles; but that we would intreat the true God, to grant us his assistance: if he himself behaved well, he should, however, receive a present on arriving at Benares. With this promise he went away quite satisfied. The first dny's sail up the noble stream of the Hoogly delighted us; we kept close to the bank, which is adorned with the most lovely and luxuriant vegetation. In consequence of the ebbing
* The Editor makes no apology for inserting this Journal with but little abridgment, though somewhat exceeding the ordinary limits. It will be found to contain a variety of interesting particulars relative to countries and people, with whose character and circumstances, the members of our own Church were formerly more familiar than they have probably been, since the abandonment of our Mission in Bengal, more than half a century ago. of the tide, on the first evening, we were obliged to make an early halt. Being close to a Hindoo village, we went ashore, in order to see the houses and gardens ;—naked children were rolling about in the sand on the road; but on our addressing them in English, they scampered off.
On the 18th, we came out of the Hoogly into the Matapanga, another branch of the Ganges, the banks of which are less inhabited. This river is narrow, studded with islands and sand-banks, but at the same time very rapid. A fleet of forty-five large boats, conveying 1200 native soldiers to the seat of war in Burmah, met us, and made it necessary for us to lie by, in order to escape the danger of collision. In the evening, we were struck with the howling of the jackals, who frequent the river sides, in quest of prey. We were likewise surprised to hear this evening, as well as at other times during our journey, the ringing of bells at sunset, which proceeded from the idol temples. This is to signify, that their chief idol, Machadeus, which has been standing on its table during the day, is being laid to rest in a boy, by the priests; in the morning he is awakened by a loud cry. Our boatmen being hindoos, Whose superstition does not allow of their cooking upon the water, we were obliged to lie by for an hour each day, that they might prepare their meals on shore. The other boat meanwhile continued its eourse, being manned by Mussulmen, who have no such scruples about cooking. As our boat was much smaller, we were always able to make up for our loss of time. The Mussulmen seemed very religious. Every evening at sunset, one of the men, who were drawing the boat, staid behind, kneeled down and performed his devotions with great apparent reverence. The same was done by those who remained in the boat, where the captain generally offered up the prayer. How sad to think, that it was not a bending of the knee to our crucified Redeemer!
On the 21st of December, we left the tributary, and entered the Ganges, which is about two and-half miles broad at that place. The boatmen immediately poured some of the water over the prows .ef the boat. We were surprised to find the banks desert, and without vegetation. The water being very low, we almost daily ran aground on sand-banks, from which it was- not always easy to get off. Many boats of merchandise are lost by this means. We saw a number of them, the crews of which stood on the bank, looking quite dejected, and watching over their cargoes. Where the water is deeper, we frequently overtook other boats proceeding up the stream, on which occasions there was generally a great deal of squabbling among the different crews. 'Once, in consesequence of such a quarrel, we had to go before the magistrate of the nearest village, who took down our address, etc. He was a fine stout Hindoo. There is apparently more traffic on the Ganges than on any of our German rivers. We found it at times almost covered with boats of larger or smaller size belonging to the natives; these are very curiously and awkwardly built, and the sails sometimes so torn, that they can be of very little use. The?inhabitants of the Hindoo and Bengalese villages generally appeared very shy, more especially the women and children. This is lesB surprising with regard to the former, inasmuch as the Hindoo notions of female modesty require, that a female should veil herself, and as far as possible shun any strange man. The females of the lower castes, however, are far from evincing such modesty. Every day, as the sun rises higher and higher, and the warmth increases, the people who live along the banks of tho river bathe in it, and worship the waters of this to them so sacred stream, with all kinds of ceremonies, which are often performed with great expense by the rich. You may frequently see a sort of scaffolding erected in the midst of the mud near the bank, covered with a fine carpet, on which some Brahmin or rich Hindoo is seated, surrounded by all manner of vessels for sacrificing, and by a quantity of flowers, and at his back a number of servants, who wait upon him. Whilst engaged in their devotions, they do not fail to gratify their curiosity, by looking about them in every direction. Persons of all ages and sexes bathe together in the river; the more modest plunge their children under the water, in spite of their loud screams. The corpses, which almost daily were carried past us by the stream, or were lying along the bank, presented the most frightful appearance. One evening, when walking along the shore, we passed a dead body, the greater portion of which had been devoured by dogs. On another occasion we saw forty-five vultures busy devouring a corpse. There is a countless number of dogs throughout the whole of India, but more especially along the Ganges, which live almost entirely on human flesh. They belong nearly all to one species, resembling the greyhound, wander about the country, without having any master, and frequently contend with the jackals and vultures for the prey which they may happen to have found. Often you may see the vultures sitting upon a corpse, which is floating down the stream, and tearing it to pieces., It is well for the country, that so many animals exist, which feed upon the decaying bodies, as otherwise the atmosphere would become quite infected. The Hindoo turns away his eyes in silence from such scenes, whilst the Mussulmen, who always inter their dead in a proper manner, testify their disgust by their gesticulations. It is scarcely credible what a number of plaees we passed along the banks, which were completely strewn with human skulls and bones. One morning I counted nine skulls within a narrow space, around which the rest of the bones lay scattered about. Truly, India is a land full of dead men's bones, and wait* to be re-animated by the Spirit of the Lord 1