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bring home such as were still alive. A voyage seeming to offer the only hope for my recovery, I was conveyed on board, apparently in a dying state, and set sail the same day for Queda."
Having partially recovered, the good missionary returned to Nancauwery, where he found that Sixtus had died. Several other missionaries were afterwards sent out, almost all of whom died also; and as to any success in making the natives acquainted with the Gospel, all their exertions seemed in vain.
In consequence of the loss of so many valuable lives, and the failure of the object of the mission, it was resolved to relinquish it. "Words," says Haensal, cannot express the painful sensations which crowded into my mind, while I was making a conclusion of the labours of the brethren in the Nicobar Islands. I remembered the numberless prayers, tears, and sighs offered up by so many servants of Jesus, and by our congregations in Europe, for the conversion of the poor heathen here: and when I beheld our buryingground, where eleven of my brethren had their resting place, as seed sown in a barren land, I burst into tears, and exclaimed, Surely all this cannot have been done in vain! Often did I visit this place, and sat down and wept at their graves. My last farewell with the inhabitants, who had flocked to me from all the circumjacent islands, was very affecting. They wept and howled for grief, and begged that the brethren might soon return to them. We always enjoyed their esteem and love, and they do not deserve to be classed with their ferocious neighbours, the Malays; being, in general, kind and gentle in their dispositions, except when roused by jealousy, or other provocations; when their uncontrolled passions will lead them into excesses, as some of the Danish soldiers experienced. We always found them ready to serve us."
The good missionary proceeds to give an account of the appearance of the country in the Nicobar Islands, and the customs of the inhabitants. We abridge a part of his description.
"Most of these islands are hilly: but Tricut, Tafouin, and Kar Nicobar, are flat, and covered with forests of cocoa trees. All the valleys and sides of the hills, to a considerable height, are thickly covered with them, insomuch that the light of the sun has not been able for ages to penetrate through their foliage. They are in many places so closely interwoven with immense quantities of rattan and bush-rope, that they appear as it were spun together; and it is almost perfectly dark in the woods. Most of the plants and trees bear fruit, which falls down and rots. These circumstances contribute to render the climate very unhealthy, the free current of air being wholly impeded: even the natives experi ence their baneful effects, but, to a European constitution, they are of the most dangerous nature.
"I am no botanist, and can therefore give but little information concerning the different species of trees, shrubs, and plants, which seem to thrive here in such luxurious abundance. That most useful of all trees, the Cocoa, is of very easy growth, and thrives best on the sea coast, where its roots and stem are reached by the flood-tide. The nut, falling into the sand, is soon covered by it, and springs up in great strength. I have planted many, and enjoyed the fruit after five years. When the nuts are ripe, you hang them about the house in a short time they shoot out sprigs and branches, and when these are about a yard long, you may put them into the ground, where they continue to vegetate rapidly. Another most beautiful and valuable tree is the Mango; the fruit of which is extremely useful, both for eating and medicinal purposes. The eatable part is inclosed in a shell, which lies in a
thick, pulpy rind its taste is spicy, very grateful, betwixt sour and sweet, and SO wholesome, that there is hardly any fear of eating too plentifully of it. The shell is bitter and astringent, and the Nicobar doctors, or sorcerers, administer a decoction of it against fevers and agues, to which they, as well as strangers, are much subject. There is also a vast variety of roots, fruits, and herbs, with the medicinal virtues of which the sorcerers are well acquainted.
"As to the beasts and reptiles existing in these islands, I shall only mention what has come under my own observation. There are no wild beasts here, such as tygers and leopards. Monkeys are found in the southernmost islands. In some others are large herds of buffaloes and other cattle, originally brought thither by the Danes, but which have run wild in the woods, since the abandonment of the colony. They have increased prodigiously; and as the upper regions of the mountains are covered with vast quantities of fine grass, they find food in abundance, and grow to a large size. These are always seen in herds; and I never ventured to shoot any, though I longed to procure some of their flesh for our use. Dogs and swine are found in all the islands.
Serpents are numerous in some places, but far less so than on the coast of Coromandel. The chief cause of this difference I am apt to ascribe to a custom, prevalent among the natives, of setting the long grass on the mountains on fire, two or three times a-year. As these reptiles like to lay their eggs in the grass great quantities of them are thus destroyed. One kind of serpent struck me here as a singular species it is of a green colour, has a broad head and mouth, like a frog, very red eyes; and its bite is so venemous, that I saw a woman die within half an hour after receiving the wound. She had climbed a high tree in search of fruit, and,
not observing the animal among the branches, was suddenly bitten in the arm. Being well aware of the danger, she immediately descended, but, on reaching the ground, reeled to and fro like a person in a state of intoxication. The people brought her inmediately to me; and while I was applying blisters, and other means for extracting the poison, she died under my hands."
"I saw but few scorpions; but among them an unusually large species, of a red colour, said to be extremely venomous. One of the most formidable animals with which these islands abound, is the crocodile or alligator. They are of two kinds; the black kayman, and the proper crocodile. The latter is said never to attack live creatures, but to devour only carrion, and is therefore not considered dangerous. Of the correctness of this opinion I had once ocular proof. I was walking at Queda, along the coast, and looking at a number of children swimming and sporting in the water. On a sudden I observed a large crocodile proceed towards them from a creek. Terrified at the idea of the danger they were exposed to, I screamed out, and made signs to some Chinese to go to their assistance; but they laughed at me, as an ignorant stranger. I afterwards saw the monster playing about among them, while the children diverted themselves by pretending to attack him and drive him away. The kayman is less in size, and very fierce, seizing upon every creature that has life; but he cannot lift any thing from the ground, as his lower jaw projects.
"The bats of Nicobar are of a gigantic size: I have seen some whose outstretched wings measured from five to six feet across the back, the body being the size of a common cat. They appear hideous, and in their solitary fight resemble a cloak in motion, chiefly and awkwardly perching upon the mango tree, the fruit of which they eat, breaking down the smaller branches,
till they light upon such as are able to bear their weight.
"Of birds, I shall only notice one, called by some the Nicobar Swallow it is the builder of those eatable nests, which constitute one of the luxuries of an Indian banquet. These birds build in fissures and cavities of rocks, especially in such as open to the south. In the latter, the finest and whitest nests are found, and I have sometimes gathered fifty pounds weight of them on one excursion. If they are perfect, seventy-two of them go to a calty; that is, somewhat less than two pounds. The best sale for them is in China. After the most diligent investigation, I was never able fully to discover of what substance they are made. My opinion is, that they are made of the gum of a peculiar tree,called by some the Nicobar Cedar, and growing in great abundance in all the southern islands. About these trees, when in bloom or bearing fruit, I have seen innumerable flocks of these little birds, flying and fluttering like bees round a tree or shrub in full flower, and am of opinion, that they there gather the materials for their nests. The hen constructs a neat, large, well-shaped nest, calculated for laying and hatching her eggs; and the cock contrives to fix another, smaller and rather more clumsy, close to his mate: for they are not only built for the purpose of laying eggs, but for resting-places, whence they may take wing. If they are robbed of them, they immediately fall to work to build others, and,being remarkably active, are able to finish enough in a day to support the weight of their bodies, though they require about three weeks to complete a nest.
"I did not perceive any great variety of birds in these islands; but wild pigeons and parrots are nu
"As to fishes, the sea abounds with various descriptions; but my attention was principally directed to shell-fish, which are found in great abundance and beauty on
most of the islands; the mission being in part supported by the sale of collections of these and other natural curiosities, made by myself and other brethren, whose time and disposition allowed of it,-there having been at that time a great demand for productions of this kind in England, Holland, Denmark, and other parts of Europe.
"On my frequent excursions along the sea coast, it sometimes happened that I was benighted, and could not, with convenience, return to our dwelling; but I was never at a loss for a bed. The greater part of the beach consists of a remarkably fine white sand, which, above highwatermark, is perfectly clean and dry. Into this I dug with ease a hole large enough to contain my body, forming a mound as a pillow for my head: I then lay down, and by collecting the sand over me, buried myself in it up to the neck. My faithful dog always lay across my body, ready to give the alarm, in case of disturbance from any quarter. However, I was ander no apprehension from wild animals. The only annoyance I suffered was from the nocturnal perambulations of an immense variety of crabs of all sizes, the grating noise of whose armour would sometimes keep me awake. But they were well watched by my dog; and if any one ventured to approach, he was sure to be suddenly seized, and thrown to a more respectful distance; or if a crab of more tremendous appearance deterred the dog from exposing his nose to its claws, he would bark and frighten it away, by which, however, I was often more seriously alarmed than the occasion required. Many a comfortable night's rest have I had in these sepulchral dormitories, when the nights were clear and dry. I feel truly thankful to God, that He preserved me, on my many journeys, from all harm; nor can I speak of having ever been in much danger.
"I regret that I cannot gratify you with a sight of the lists I kept, of the different kinds of serpents, crabs,
spiders, and other creatures, which I caught every where, either to stuff, put into spirits, or otherwise prepare for my customers. At our garden near Tranquebar, I had a shop or work-room purposely constructed for these operations, and kept sometimes two or three Malabar boys at work to help me. Of serpents and snakes I had a list of upwards of eighty different species, from the size of a common worm, to sixteen and twenty feet long; of crabs, upwards of ninety; and of spiders, more than forty. Whether I went into the woods, on the beach, by land or by sea, I was accustomed to look about, and examine every object I saw, and acquired great facility in catching some of the most dangerous animals, without harm to myself. Far from being afraid of serpents, I went out purposely to discover their haunts, in the jungle or among the rocks, defending my legs with a pair of strong boots; and if I could prevent their slipping off into their holes, and irritate them so as to make them attempt to strike me, my work was done. For a serpent, thus situated, will coil himself up, and, instantaneously darting forward his head, strike and bite whatever comes in his way. I then presented my hat, which the animal violently seized with his fangs; when, instantly snatching it away, I seldom failed to extract them by the sudden jerk; for, being curved, they cannot be readily withdrawn, and sitting but loosely in the gums, are easily disengaged. Being thus rendered in a great degree harmless, I pinned their heads down, and tied them up. Great care how ever is required not to suffer yourself to be lacerated by their teeth, or in any other way, while preparing their heads, and refixing the fangs; for if a wound is thus inflicted, even long after their death, the consequences are dreadful, and often fatal; of which I might relate many singular instances, which came immediately under my observation.
"There is among them a short
serpent, called by us the SplitSnake. Its bite is extremely venomous; and, being slender, it can insinuate itself into a very small hole or cranny, and will enter rooms and closets in quest of food. There was a door in a dark part of my work-room, with a large clumsy lock to it; and one evening, as I was attempting to open it, having to pass that way, I felt a sudden prick in my finger, and at the same time a violent electrical shock, as if I were split asunder. Not thinking of a serpent, I first imagined that my Malabar boys had, in their play, wound some wire about the handle, by which I had been hurt, and asked them sharply, what mischief they had done to the door. They denied that they had meddled with it; and I made a second attempt, when I was attacked still more violently, and perceived the blood trickling down my finger. I then returned into my room, sucking the wound till I could draw no more blood. I applied some spirits of turpentine to it, put on a bandage, and being much hurried that evening with other business, made no farther inquiry about it. However, in the night it swelled, and was very painful. In the morning I perceived an unpleasant, musky smell; and on approaching the before-mentioned door, the stench was intolerable. A candle being brought, I beheld the origin of all the mischief. About six inches length of the head and body of a young split-snake hung out of the key-hole, quite dead; and on taking off the lock, I found the creature twisted into it, and so much wounded by the turn of the bolt, in attempting to open the door, that it had died in consequence. It had intended to enter the room through the key-hole, when I thus accidentally stopped its progress, and got bitten; and considering the deadly poison this serpent always infuses into the wound inflicted, I felt very thankful to God, my Preserver, that, by sucking the infected blood out of my finger in time, and applying a
THE ROSE OF CASTLE HOWARD.
By the Rev. G. Croly.
Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.”
The crown and shield were on thy walls;
proper remedy, though ignorant of
"But I have detained you already too long with this unsavoury subject, and will, in my next, proceed to aswer your inquiries concerning the habits and customs of the natives of the Nicobar islands."
POETRY FROM THE ANNUALS.
WE lay before our readers, according
The bold Crusader in his mail,
The last survivor of the band
He led from England's joyous strand;
To face the Arab's arrowy shower;
To bleed in fatal Palestine.
And there the Sage's lofty brow,
That summons virtue in her power,
A loftier fate may yet be thine,
A richer wreath than ever round
The brow of sage or chief was bound:
Crown of the holy and the just,
to our promise, a few examples of Are lit with glory's deathless beams;
Translated by Archdeacon Vrangham.
As by her filial circle girt we see
A Mother gaze, and yearn with love's fond
One's brow she kisses, to her bosom close
So heed and aid His cares to all dispense:
He but withholds, to make the prayer intense; Or seems but to withhold, and in withholding gives.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 326.
By Miss A. M. Porter.
Waking in the Morning.
Lord, let my thoughts on angel wings,
At waking, rise to thee,
Ev'n ere the lark at 'heaven's gate sings'
Her hymn of ecstacy!
And as the light, through night's dark stole,
May brighter ardours in soul
Walking out into the Fields.
Till Thou alone my worship be!
As oft I break my daily bread,
May that glad act the memory wake