« 前へ次へ »
mansion attracted their attention. A passer-by told them that it was Brodie Castle, the residence of George Arbuthnot, Esq. Mr. Griffith had in his pocket a letter of introduction to that gentleman. Hope filled the sorrowful hearts of the shipwrecked travellers, and they resolved at once to seek an interview with him. Strengthened by hope, with renewed energy they entered the compound, and approached the premises. A peon, or native policeman, meeting them, unceremoniously commanded them to retrace their steps. In vain did they endeavour to persuade the man they were gentlemen. He would not listen to their tale of woe ; his heart was callous from hearing too many untruthful representations of that kind ; he would yield to no appeal. He had master's orders to allow no vagrant access to the house. Shoeless, shabby, dirty, and haggard, —such were not the gentlemen who visited at Brodie Castle. He judged from appearances. Disheartened by this cruel rebuff, compelled to go away without sympathy or refreshment, they turned their heavy feet ; and, just outside the large gate, they sat down on the hard, hot road, to rest, and lament the unkind repulse they had met with ; which very act would confirm the suspicious opinions of the faithful watchman.
“ The Adi-ár river is about seven miles from Madras. They had beard that the Wesleyan Mission-house at Royapettah was four miles farther distant ; and hence they concluded eleven miles must still be traversed, with bare feet. The prospect was painful. If on just landing they had failed to secure the confidence of the people, there was less hope of doing so now. Weary and heavy laden, they walked slowly on three miles further, when the sight of a grave-yard with tombstones and inscriptions led them to conclude they were near a Mission-station. Advancing a few steps, they beheld a gate ; there they stood hesitating whether to venture within or not. guarded this gate to dispute their entrance; but the treatment at Brodie Castle was fresh in their memory, and deterred them. Meeting a stranger, they inquired, “Who lives in that house ?' • The Rev. Mr. Carver, the Wesleyan Missionary. Nay, the news was too good to be true! Had they really accomplished the journey ? In the verandah a native servant appeared. Is Mr. Carver at home ?' - Yes.' • Tell him we wish to see him.' The man went, and no doubt gave his master a faithful description of the men at the door; for Mr. Carver came out to inquire what they wanted with him. • My name is Griffith : we have been wrecked, and I have come to seek assistance for the Missionary band.' By this time Mrs. Carver, also, was a listener. Sympathy for the exhausted sufferers overpowered their tender hearts, and the strangers and their new-found friends wept together. It seems superfluous to add that all that condolence and kind attentions could do to restore our now prostrate travellers was done by Mr. and Mrs. Carver. Comfortable beds were prepared, and they were urged to obtain mental and physical repose by sleep. Quite ready to take the advice, they retired; and, while they slept, Mr. Carver, through the assistance of the Police Magistrate, secured a sufficient number of palanquins and bearers to commence
the journey to Sadras that evening. When all were prepared to start, Mr. Griffith and the doctor were roused to partake of refreshment before they again re-traversed the ground in palanquins, which they had a few hours previously gone over on foot. Comfortably laid in palanquins, we may fancy they glanced at Brodie Castle as they passed by with feelings of greater independence than when they last saw it.
Had the faithful peon then seen and recognised them, no doubt they would have been saluted with a very low salaam.
“ To be carried on men's shoulders in palanquins, especially after the fatigue of such a journey as theirs, was found to be a most soothing and easy mode of travelling. No wonder they slept the whole night, and, on awaking in the morning, were surprised to find the palanquins put down in the travellers' bungalow at Sadras. Nor were they less gratified to see there the whole of the Mission-party from the wreck. The natives had contrived to tie a boat together with coir rope, and enabled them to land safely at Linga Chetty choultry. They were more fortunate than Mr. Griffith had been, having succeeded in securing a bullock-bandy, or native waggon, for the convenience of the company. In it were deposited such things as each of them bad brought on shore for immediate use; and the luggage formed a seat on which the ladies and children occasionally rode till they reached Sadras. With as little delay as possible, a large supply of provisions was sent from Madras, with horses, palanquins, and the requisite number of bearers to carry the whole party.
On Saturday, the 13th of January, the ladies and children arrived safely at the Royapettah Mission-house : and so did Messrs. Male, Best, Jenkins, and Fox on the following day ; leaving Messrs. Crowther, Carver, and Griffith to look after the personal property of the whole party. The crew had mutinied ; they refused to obey orders. Hence little assistance, if any, was rendered by them. Mr. Carver hired a large number of coolies, and by their united exertions they succeeded in saving a large portion of their goods."
These remarkable adventures and providential deliverances deeply impressed the susceptible mind of Mr. Griffith. While he was under the full influence of the recollection of recent events, he was directed to take charge of the Mission at Negapatam, during the absence of the resident Missionary.
The narrative already largely quoted thus describes Mr. Griffith's introduction to his first station :
“Mr. Griffith was instructed to proceed to Negapatam from the wreck, and take charge of that station during the absence of the Rev. Samuel Hardey, who was summoned to attend the DistrictMeeting at Madras.
“On his arrival, he was informed that the bullock-bandy, containing his library and clothes, might be expected in ten or twelve days. The transit of goods in India is slower than in England; the average rate of travelling, in bullock-bandies or by coolies, varying from ten to fifteen miles a day. Fortunately for Mr. Griffith, he had access to Mr. Hardey's wardrobe, and was able to make a decent appearance in
borrowed garments. Early in February, 1838, the
young Missionary had entered his new scene of action. The excitement, anxiety, and hurry incident on late disasters were now followed by holier and more subdued feelings. Happily received and peacefully settled in the Negapatam Mission-house, he could not but indulge in meditations of a most salutary nature. The providences of the voyage might not be forgotten. How often had the Great Preserver of men defended him when no man could help! The Lord had indulged him greatly ; for the position he occupied was one he had coveted from childhood. To be a Missionary to the Heathen of India was his highest ambition ; but now the responsibility of so solemn a change was very highly estimated.
“The Tamul studies commenced during his residence at Hoxton were diligently pursued during the voyage ; of which we have honourable proof, inasmuch as a sermon was delivered in that language by Mr. Griffith a few days after reaching his station. This circumstance created not a little surprise amongst the natives, who listened with astonishment to a foreigner only just landed, yet addressing them in their own language on things pertaining to eternal life. Some of the Madras journals recorded the fact as a very remarkable one, and observed that positive advantage must accrue from sending men so prepared to commence their sacred duties at once on the Missionfield, and especially in such a climate as that of the south of India. Economy of time, as well as of still more valuable health and strength, had in this case been happily and successfully secured. Many considerations, too long disregarded, now commend such a preparation as this to the attention of Missionaries. Independently of every other result, the effect on the minds of the young Missionaries themselves, who have enjoyed the advantage of such instruction, is of immense importance. They feel encouraged to greater diligence, while their energies are fresh and their faith strong. It is no mean trial, in a languishing clime, to study hard and conquer the difficulties of a language so entirely different from those of Europe. The task is hard enough when the mere mastership of the language is the chief object ; but how much more wearing to the mind and heart, when the toil is accompanied with intense yearning and sorrow because of inability at once to declare the unsearchable riches of the Gospel of Christ! The anxious Missionary has enough to weigh down his soul, and to dishearten bis efforts, in the bold attitude of the Heathenism which he beholds, compared with the utmost that has been accomplished for Christianity in India, notwithstanding the earnest teachings of so many faithful men; enough, in the great conquests yet to be achieved ; without suffering from causes which might be removed before he leaves his native land. Did Theological Institutions confer no other boon, surely this advantage may not be regarded as unimportant."
The Tamul language, (pronounced Taml,) in which Mr. Griffith studied and laboured, is an ancient language, which is proved to have prevailed in India more than two thousand years ago. It was spoken
from Cape Comorin, the most southern promontory, to the mouths of the Ganges in the north. A recent author says :
“It is a remarkable circumstance, that the largest stock of primitive Dravidian (Tamul) words, which is contained in any authentic written document of ancient times,—the earliest extant traces of the existence of the Dravidian languages, as distinguished from the Sanskrit,-are those which are contained in the notices of the Greek geographers, Ptolemy, Strabo, and the author of the Periplus Maris Erythræi; including also the natural history of Pliny. Many of the names of places and tribes which are recorded by those geographers, not long after the commencement of the Christian era, are identical, letter for letter, with the names which are now in use." *
The Tamul written character is, perhaps, more ancient than the Déva Nagari, in which the Sanskrit is generally written, being nearly related to the Grantham, or old Sanskrit, and to the character of the cave-inscriptions. The civilization of the Tamul people, together with the literary cultivation of their language, commenced probably about the sixth or seventh century, b.c. “If we eliminate from the Tamul language,” observes Dr. Caldwell, “the whole of its Sanskrit derivatives, the primitive words that remain will furnish us with a faithful picture of the simple, yet not savage, life of the un-Arianized Dravidians. From the evidence of the words in use amongst the carly Tamulians, we learn the following items of information :—They had kings, who dwelt in fortified houses, and ruled over small districts of country. They were without books, and were probably ignorant of written alphabetical characters ; but they had “minstrels,' who recited
songs' at 'festivals.' They were without hereditary 'priests' and 'idols,' and appear to have had no idea of heaven' or hell,' of the ' soul,' or 'sin ;' but they acknowledged the existence of God, whom they styled Ko,' or King; a realistic title, which is unknown to orthodox Hinduism. They erected a 'temple' to His honour, which they called Ko-il,' God's house ; but I cannot find any trace of the 'worship’ which they offered to Him. The chief, if not the only, actual worship which they appear to have practised, was that of
devils, which they worshipped systematically, by giving to the devil,' i. e., offering bloody sacrifices, and by the performance of frantic devil-dances. They were acquainted with all the ordinary metals, with the exception of tin' and zinc;' with the planets which were ordinarily known to the ancients, except • Mercury' and • Saturn.' They had numerals up to a hundred, some of them to a
thousand;' but were ignorant of the higher denominations, a ‘lakh' and a 'crore.' They had medicines,' but no ‘medical science,' and no doctors ;' hamlets' and 'towns, but no cities ;' 'canoes,'
boats,' and even ships, (small decked coasting-vessels) but no foreign commerce ;' no acquaintance with any people beyond sea, except in Ceylon, which was then accessible on foot at low water; and no word expressive of the geographical idea of island' or 'continent.
* Caldwell's Dravidian Comparative Grammar,
They were well acquainted with 'agriculture,' and delighted in war.' All the ordinary or necessary arts of life, including "cotton-weaving' and dyeing,' existed amongst them ; but none of the arts of the higher class. They had no acquaintance with painting,' sculpture,' or 'architecture ;' with astronomy,' or even 'astrology ;' and were ignorant not only of every branch of philosophy,' but even of 'grammar.' Their uncultivated intellectual condition is especially apparent in words that relate to the operations of the mind. Their only words for the mind' were the diaphragm,' (the opny of the early Greeks,) and “the inner parts,' or 'interior. They had a word for thought; but no word distinct from this for 'memory,' judgment,' or 'conscience,' and no word for 'will.' To express the will,' they would have been obliged to describe it as 'that which in the inner part says, I am going to do so and so.'
“This brief illustration," Dr. Caldwell continues, " from the primitive Tamul vocabulary, of the social condition of the Dravidians, prior to the arrival of the Brahmans, will suffice to prove that the elements of civilization already existed amongst them. They had not acquired much more than the elements; and in many things were centuries behind the Brahmans, whom they revered as instructers,' and obeyed as overseers :' but, if they had been left altogether to themselves, it is open to dispute whether they would not now be in a much better condition, at least in point of morals, than they are. The mental culture and the higher civilization which they derived from the Brahmans have, I fear, been more than counterbalanced by the fossilizing caste-rules, the unpractical, pantheistic philosophy, and the cumbersome routine of inane ceremonies, which were introduced amongst them by the guides of their new social state." *
The Tamul people retain many of the features of their primitive character, as portrayed by the author we have qnoted. They use the same language ; now honoured as the vehicle of Christiau instruction to tens of thousands of willing hearers. Devil-worship and bloody sacrifices may be witnessed in their towns and villages; and Brahmanical civilization has not obliterated rude and ancient observances. It has been found that Christianity takes a readier hold of the rude and simple, than of those who have come fully urder the teaching and influence of the Brabmans.
Mrs. Griffith thus describes her husband's early labours at Negapatam :
“ Never did man venture into the Mission work confiding less in his own strength, and feeling more intense desire to be a profitable servant. The word was preached in faith : the seeds were scattered, and some of them, we know, fell on fruitful soil, and yielded their increase. And the glory was always jealously given to God. Not unto me, not unto me, but upto Tby name be the glory ;' 'A worm of the earth He does not disdain to use ;' • How humbled I ought to feel, that He does employ me for His honour!'
* Caldwell's Dravidian Comparative Grammar,