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"Our dear little Maria was the greatest sufferer at this time, my illness depriving her of her usual nourishment, and neither a nurse nor a drop of milk could be procured in the village. By making presents to the jailers, I obtained leave for Mr. Judson to come out of prison, and take the emaciated creature around the village, to beg a little nourishment from those mothers who had young children. Her cries in the night were heartrending, when it was impossible to supply her wants. I now began to think the very affliction of Job had come upon me. When in health, I could bear the various trials and vicissitudes through which I was called to pass. But to be confined with sickness, and unable to assist those who were so dear to me, when in distress, was almost too much for me to bear; and had it not been for the comforts of religion, and an assured conviction that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I must have sunk under my accumulated sufferings. Sometimes our jailers seemed a little softened at our distress, and for several days together allowed Mr. Judson to come to the house, which was to me an unspeakable comfort. Then again they would be as iron-hearted in their demands as though we were free from sufferings, and in affluent circumstances. The annoyance, the extortions, and oppressions, to which we were subject, during our six months residence in Oung- pen-la, are beyond enumeration or description.
"The time at length arrived for our release from that detested place, the Oung-pen-la prison. A messenger from our friend, the governor of the north gate of the palace, who was formerly Koung-tone, Myoo-tsa, informed us that an order had been given, the vening before, in the palace, for Mr. Judson's release. On the same evening an official order arrived; and with a joyful heart I set about preparing for our departure early the following morning. But an unexpected obstacle occurred, which made us fear that I should still retained as a prisoner. The avaricious jailers, unwilling to lose their prey, insisted that as my name was not included in the order, I should not go. In vain I urged that I was not sent there as a prisoner, and that they had no authority over me-they still determined I should not go, and forbade the villagers from letting me a cart. Mr. Judson was then taken out of prison, and brought to the jailer's house, where, by promises and threatenings, he finally gained their consent, on condition that we would leave the remaining part of our provisions we had recently received from Ava.
"It was noon before we were allowed to depart. When we reached Amarapora, Mr. Judson was obliged to follow the guidance of the jailer, who conducted him to the governor of the city. Having made all necessary inquiries, the governor appointed another guard, which conveyed Mr. Judson to the courthouse in Ava, to which place he arrived some time in the night. I took my own course, procured a boat, and reached our house before dark.
"My first object the next morning was to go in search of our brother, and I had the mortification to meet him again in prison, though not the death prison. I went immediately to my old friend the governor of the city, who was now raised to the rank of a Woon-gyee. He informed me that Mr. Judson was to be sent to the Burmese camp, to act as translator and interpreter; and that he was put in confinement for a short time only, until his affairs were settled. Early the following morning I went to this officer again, who told me that Mr. Judson had that moment received twenty tickals from government, with orders to go immediately on board a boat for Maloun, and that he had given him permission to stop a few moments at the house, it being on his way. I hastened back to the house, where Mr. Judson soon arrived; but was allowed to remain only a short time, while I could prepare food and clothing for future use. He was crowded into a little boat, where he had not room sufficient to lie down, and where his exposure to the cold, damp nights threw him into a violent fever, which had nearly ended all his sufferings. He arrived at Maloun on the third day, where, ill as he was, he was obliged to enter immediately on the work of translating. He remained at Maloun six weeks, suffering as much as he had at any time in prison, excepting that he was not in irons, nor exposed to the insults of those cruel jailers.
"For the first fortnight after his departure, my anxiety was less than it had been at any time previous, since the commencement of our difficulties. I knew the Burmese officers at the camp would feel the value of Mr. Judson's services too much to allow their using any measures threatening his life. I thought his situation, also, would be much more comfortable than it really was-hence my anxiety was less. But my health, which had never been restored, since that violent attack at Oung-pen-la, now daily declined, until I was seized with the spotted fever, with all its attendant horrors. I knew the nature of the fever from its commencement; and from the shattered state of my constitution, together with the want of medical attendants, I concluded it must be fatal. The day I was taken, a Burmese nurse came and offered her services for Maria. This circumstance filled me with gratitude and confidence in God; for though I had so long and so constantly made efforts to obtain a person of this description, I had never been able; when at the very time I most needed one, and without any exertion, a voluntary offer was made.
"My fever raged violently and without any intermission. I began to think of settling my worldly affairs, and of committing my dear little Maria to the care of the Portuguese woman, when I lost my reason, and was insensible to all around me. At this dreadful period Dr. Price was released from prison; and hearing of my illness, obtained permission to come and see me. He has since told me that my situation was the most distressing he had ever witnessed, and that he did not then think I should survive many hours. My hair was shaved, my head and feet covered with blisters, and Dr. Price ordered the Bengalee servant who took care of me to endeavor to persuade me to take a little nourishment, which I had obstinately refused for several days. One of the first things I recollect was, seeing this faithful servant standing by me, trying to induce me to take a little wine and water. I was in fact so far gone that the Burmese neighbors who had come in to see me expire said, 'She is dead; and if the king of angels should come in, he could not recover her.'
"The fever, I afterwards understood, had run seventeen days when the blisters were applied. I now began to recover slowly; but it was more than a month after this before I had strength to stand. While in this weak, debilitated state, the servant who had followed your brother to the Burmese camp came in and informed me that his master had arrived, and was conducted to the courthouse in town. I sent off a Burman to watch the movements of government, and to ascertain, if possible, in what way Mr. Judson was to be disposed of. He soon returned with the sad intelligence that he saw Mr. Judson go out of the palace yard, accompanied by two or three Burmans, who conducted him to one of the prisons; and that it was reported in town, that he was to be sent back to the Oung-pen-la prison. I was too weak to bear ill tidings of any kind; but a shock as dreadful as this almost annihilated me. For some time, I could hardly breathe; but at last gained sufficient composure to dispatch Moung Ing to our friend, the governor of the north gate, and begged him to make one more effort for the release of Mr. Judson, and prevent his being sent back to the country prison, where I knew he must suffer much, as I could not follow. Moung Ing then went in search of Mr. Judson; and it was nearly dark when he found him in the interior of an obscure prison. I had sent food early in the afternoon, but being unable to find him, the bearer had returned with it, which added another pang to my distresses, as I feared he was already sent to Oung-pen-la.
"If I ever felt the value and efficacy of prayer, I did at this time. I could not rise from my couch; I could make no efforts to secure my husband; I could only plead with that great and powerful Being who has said, 'Call upon Me in the day of trouble, and I will hear, and thou shalt glorify Me;' and who made me at this time feel so powerfully this promise that I became quite composed, feeling assured that my prayers would be answered.
"When Mr. Judson was sent from Maloun to Ava, it was within five minutes' notice, and without his knowledge of the cause. On his way up the river he accidentally saw the communication made to government respecting him, which was simply this: 'We have no further use for Yoodathan, we therefore return him to the golden city.' On arriving at the courthouse, there happened to be no one present who was acquainted with Mr. J. The presiding officer inquired from what place he had been sent to Maloun. He was answered from Oung-pen-la. 'Let him then,' said the officer, 'be returned thither'-when he was delivered to a guard and conducted to the place above-mentioned, there to remain until he could be conveyed to Oung-pen-la. In the meantime the governor of the north gate presented a petition to the high court of the empire, offered himself as Mr. Judson's security, obtained his release, and took him to his house, where he treated him with every possible kindness, and to which I was removed as soon as returning health would allow.
"It was on a cool, moonlight evening, in the month of March, that with hearts filled with gratitude to God, and overflowing with joy at our prospects, we passed down the Irrawaddy, surrounded by six or eight golden boats, and accompanied by all we had on earth.
"We now, for the first time, for more than a year and a half, felt that we were free, and no longer subject to the oppressive yoke of the Burmese. And with what sensations of delight, on the next morning, did I behold the masts of the steamboat, the sure presage of being within the bounds of civilized life. As soon as our boat reached the shore, Brigadier A. and another officer came on board, congreatulated us on our arrival, and invited us on board the steamboat, where I passed the remainder of the day; while your brother went on to meet the general, who, with a detachment of the army, had encamped at Yandaboo, a few miles farther down the river. Mr. Judson returned in the evening, with an invitation from Sir Archibald, to come immediately to his quarters, where I was the next morning introduced, and received with the greatest kindness by the general, who had a tent pitched for us near his own-took us to his own table, and treated us with the kindness of a father, rather than as strangers of another country.
"For several days, this single idea wholly occupied my mind, that we were out of the power of the Burmese government, and once more under the protection of the English. Our feelings continually dictated expressions like these: What shall we render to the Lord for all His benefits toward us.
"The treaty of peace was soon concluded, signed by both parties, and a termination of hostilities publicly declared. We left Yandaboo, after a fortnight's residence, and safely reached the mission house in Rangoon, after an absence of two years and three months."
Through all this suffering the precious manuscript of the Burmese New Testament was guarded. It was put into a bag and made into a hard pillow for Dr. Judson's prison. Yet he was forced to be apparently careless about it, lest the Burmans should think it contained something valuable and take it away. But with the assistance of a faithful Burmese convert, the manuscript, representing so many long days of labor, was kept in safety.
At the close of this long and low-spirited narrative, we may appropriately introduce the following tribute to the benevolence and talents of Mrs. Judson, written by one of the English prisoners, who were confined at Ava with Mr. Judson. It was published in a Calcutta paper after the conclusion of the war:
"Mrs. Judson was the author of those eloquent and forceful appeals to the government which prepared them by degrees for submission to terms of peace, never expected by any, who knew the hauteur and inflexible pride of the Burman court.
"And while on this subject, the overflowings of grateful feelings, on behalf of myself and fellow prisoners, compel me to add a tribute of public thanks to that amiable and humane female, who, though living at a distance of two miles from our prison, without any means of conveyance, and very feeble in health, forgot her own comfort and infirmity, and almost every day visited us, sought out and administered to our wants, and contributed in every way to alleviate our misery.
"When the unfeeling avarice of our keepers confined us inside, or made our feet fast in the stocks, she, like a ministering angel, never ceased her applications to the government, until she was authorized to communicate to us the grateful news of our enlargement, or of a respite from our galling oppressions.
"Besides all this, it was unquestionably owing, in a chief degree, to the repeated eloquence, and forcible appeals of Mrs. Judson, that the untutored Burman was finally made willing to secure the welfare and happiness of his country, by a sincere peace."
Missionary Beginnings ? 1800. Carey's first convert baptized. ? 1804. British and Foreign Bible Society organized. ? 1805. Henry Martyn sails for India. ? 1807. Robert Morrison sails for China. ? 1808. Haystack meeting held near Williams College. ? 1810. American Board organized. ? 1811. Wesleyans found Sierra Leone Mission. ? 1812. First American Board missionaries sail. ? 1816. American Bible Society organized. ? 1816. Robert Moffat sails for South Africa. ? 1818. London Missionary Society enters Madagascar. ? 1819. Methodist Missionary Society organized. ? 1819. American Board opens Sandwich Islands Mission. ? 1819. Judson baptizes first Burmese convert.
Epilogue to the Original Edition
And now to conclude, good Christian readers, this present tractation, not for the lack of matter, but to shorten rather the matter for largeness of the volume. In the meantime the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ work with thee, gentle reader, in all thy studious readings. And when thou hast faith, so employ thyself to read, that by reading thou mayest learn daily to know that which may profit thy soul, may teach thee experience, may arm thee with patience, and instruct thee in all spiritual knowledge more and more, to thy perfect comfort and salvation in Christ Jesus, our Lord, to whom be glory in secula seculorum. Amen.