Account Of The Scenes At Ava During The War

Mr. and Mrs. Judson were among the number of the first missionaries who

left this country for India. After labouring for some time in Hindostan

they finally established themselves at Rangoon in the Burman Empire, in

1813. In 1824 war broke out between the British East India Company and

the emperor of Burmah. Mr. and Mrs. Judson and Dr. Price, who were at

Ava, the capital of the Burman Empire, when the war commenced, were

> immediately arrested and confined for several months. The account of the

sufferings of the missionaries was written by Mrs. Judson, and is given

in her own words.

The sufferings of the missionaries, during this long and disastrous

period, surpassed all that the most alarmed and fertile imagination had

conceived. Of the dreadful scenes at Ava, a minute account was written

by Mrs. Judson to Dr. Elnathan Judson. It will be read with strong and

painful interest. Fiction itself has seldom invented a tale more replete

with terror.

"Rangoon, May 26, 1826.

"My beloved Brother,

"I commence this letter with the intention of giving you the particulars

of our captivity and sufferings at Ava. How long my patience will allow

my reviewing scenes of disgust and horror, the conclusion of this

letter will determine. I had kept a journal of every thing that had

transpired from our arrival at Ava, but destroyed it at the commencement

of our difficulties.

"The first certain intelligence we received of the declaration of war by

the Burmese, was on our arrival at Tsenpyoo-kywon, about a hundred miles

this side of Ava, where part of the troops, under the command of the

celebrated Bandoola, had encamped. As we proceeded on our journey, we

met Bandoola himself, with the remainder of his troops, gaily equipped,

seated on his golden barge, and surrounded by a fleet of gold war boats,

one of which was instantly despatched the other side of the river to

hail us, and make all necessary inquiries. We were allowed to proceed

quietly on, when he had informed the messenger that we were Americans,

not English, and were going to Ava in obedience to the command of his


"On our arrival at the capital, we found that Dr. Price was out of

favour at court, and that suspicion rested on most of the foreigners

then at Ava. Your brother visited at the palace two or three times, but

found the king's manner toward him very different from what it formerly

had been; and the queen, who had hitherto expressed wishes for my speedy

arrival, now made no inquiries after me, nor intimated a wish to see me.

Consequently, I made no effort to visit at the palace, though almost

daily invited to visit some of the branches of the royal family, who

were living in their own houses, out of the palace enclosure. Under

these circumstances, we thought our most prudent course lay in

prosecuting our original intention of building a house, and commencing

missionary operations as occasion offered, thus endeavouring to convince

the government that we had really nothing to do with the present war.

"In two or three weeks after our arrival, the king, queen, all the

members of the royal family, and most of the officers of government,

returned to Amarapora, in order to come and take possession of the new

palace in the customary style. As there has been much misunderstanding

relative to Ava and Amarapora, both being called the capital of the

Burmese Empire, I will here remark, that present Ava was formerly the

seat of government; but soon after the old king had ascended the throne,

it was forsaken, and a new palace built at Amarapora, about six miles

from Ava, in which he remained during his life. In the fourth year of

the reign of the present king, Amarapora was in its turn forsaken, and a

new and beautiful palace built at Ava, which was then in ruins, but is

now the capital of the Burmese Empire, and the residence of the

Emperor. The king and royal family had been living in the temporary

buildings at Ava, during the completion of the new palace, which gave

occasion for their returning to Amarapora.

"I dare not attempt a description of that splendid day, when majesty

with all its attendant glory entered the gates of the golden city, and

amid the acclamations of millions, I may say, took possession of the

palace. The saupwars of the provinces bordering on China, all the

Viceroys and high officers of the kingdom, were assembled on the

occasion, dressed in their robes of state, and ornamented with the

insignia of their office. The white elephant, richly adorned with gold

and jewels, was one of the most beautiful objects in the procession. The

king and queen alone were unadorned, dressed in the simple garb of the

country; they, hand in hand, entered the garden in which we had taken

our seats, and where a banquet was prepared for their refreshment. All

the riches and glory of the empire were on this day exhibited to view.

The number and immense size of the elephants, the numerous horses, and

great variety of vehicles of all descriptions, far surpassed any thing I

have ever seen or imagined. Soon after his majesty had taken possession

of the new palace, an order was issued that no foreigner should be

allowed to enter, excepting Lansago. We were a little alarmed at this,

but concluded it was from political motives, and would not, perhaps,

essentially affect us.

"For several weeks nothing took place to alarm us, and we went on with

our school. Mr. J. preached every Sabbath, all the materials for

building a brick house were procured, and the masons had made

considerable progress in raising the building.

"On the 23d of May, 1824, just as we had concluded worship at the

Doctor's house, the other side of the river, a messenger came to inform

us that Rangoon was taken by the English. The intelligence produced a

shock, in which was a mixture of fear and joy. Mr. Gouger, a young

merchant residing at Ava, was then with us, and had much more reason to

fear than the rest of us. We all, however, immediately returned to our

house, and began to consider what was to be done. Mr. G. went to prince

Thar-yar-wa-dee, the king's most influential brother, who informed him

he need not give himself any uneasiness, as he had mentioned the subject

to his majesty, who had replied, that 'the few foreigners residing at

Ava, had nothing to do with the war, and should not be molested.'

"The government were now all in motion. An army of ten or twelve

thousand men, under the command of the Kyee-woon-gyee, were sent off in

three or four days, and were to be joined by the Sakyer-woon-gyee, who

had previously been appointed Viceroy of Rangoon, and who was on his way

thither, when the news of its attack reached him. No doubt was

entertained of the defeat of the English; the only fear of the king was,

that the foreigners hearing of the advance of the Burmese troops, would

be so alarmed, as to flee on board their ships and depart, before there

would be time to secure them as slaves. 'Bring for me,' said a wild

young buck of the palace, 'six kala pyoo, (white strangers,) to row my

boat;' and 'to me,' said the lady of a Woongyee, 'send four white

strangers to manage the affairs of my house, as I understand they are

trusty servants.' The war boats, in high glee, passed our house, the

soldiers singing and dancing, and exhibiting gestures of the most joyous

kind. Poor fellows! said we, you will probably never dance again. And

it so proved, for few if any ever saw again their native home.

"As soon as the army were despatched, the government began to inquire

the cause of the arrival of the strangers at Rangoon. There must be

spies in the country, suggested some, who have invited them over. And

who so likely to be spies, as the Englishmen residing at Ava? A report

was in circulation, that Captain Laird, lately arrived, had brought

Bengal papers which contained the intention of the English to take

Rangoon, and it was kept a secret from his Majesty. An inquiry was

instituted. The three Englishmen, Gouger, Laird, and Rogers, were called

and examined. It was found they had seen the papers, and were put in

confinement, though not in prison. We now began to tremble for

ourselves, and were in daily expectation of some dreadful event.

"At length Mr. Judson and Dr. Price were summoned to a court of

examination, where strict inquiry was made relative to all they knew.

The great point seemed to be whether they had been in the habit of

making communications to foreigners, of the state of the country, &c.

They answered, they had always written to their friends in America, but

had no correspondence with English officers, or the Bengal government.

After their examination, they were not put in confinement as the

Englishmen had been, but were allowed to return to their houses. In

examining the accounts of Mr. G. it was found that Mr. J. and Dr. Price

had taken money of him to a considerable amount. Ignorant, as were the

Burmese, of our mode of receiving money, by orders on Bengal, this

circumstance, to their suspicious minds, was a sufficient evidence, that

the missionaries were in the pay of the English, and very probably

spies. It was thus represented to the king, who, in an angry tone,

ordered the immediate arrest of the 'two teachers.'

"On the 8th of June, just as we were preparing for dinner, in rushed an

officer, holding a black book, with a dozen Burmans, accompanied by

one, whom, from his spotted face, we knew to be an executioner, and a

'son of the prison.' 'Where is the teacher?' was the first inquiry. Mr.

Judson presented himself. 'You are called by the king,' said the

officer; a form of speech always used when about to arrest a criminal.

The spotted man instantly seized Mr. Judson, threw him on the floor, and

produced the small cord, the instrument of torture. I caught hold of his

arm; 'Stay, (said I,) I will give you money.' 'Take her too,' said the

officer; 'she also is a foreigner.' Mr. Judson, with an imploring look,

begged they would let me remain till further orders. The scene was now

shocking beyond description. The whole neighbourhood had collected--the

masons at work on the brick house threw down their tools, and ran--the

little Burman children were screaming and crying--the Bengalee servants

stood in amazement at the indignities offered their master--and the

hardened executioner, with a hellish joy, drew tight the cords, bound

Mr. Judson fast, and dragged him off, I knew not whither. In vain I

begged and entreated the spotted face to take the silver, and loosen

the ropes, but he spurned my offers, and immediately departed. I gave

the money, however, to Moung Ing to follow after, to make some further

attempt to mitigate the torture of Mr. Judson; but instead of

succeeding, when a few rods from the house, the unfeeling wretches again

threw their prisoner on the ground, and drew the cords still tighter, so

as almost to prevent respiration.

"The officer and his gang proceeded on to the court house, where the

Governor of the city and officers were collected, one of whom read the

order of the king, to commit Mr. Judson to the death prison, into which

he was soon hurled, the door closed--and Moung Ing saw no more. What a

night was now before me! I retired into my room, and endeavoured to

obtain consolation from committing my case to God, and imploring

fortitude and strength to suffer whatever awaited me. But the

consolation of retirement was not long allowed me, for the magistrate of

the place had come into the verandah, and continually called me to come

out, and submit to his examination. But previously to going out, I

destroyed all my letters, journals, and writings of every kind, lest

they should disclose the fact that we had correspondents in England, and

had minuted down every occurrence since our arrival in the country. When

this work of destruction was finished, I went out and submitted to the

examination of the magistrate, who inquired very minutely of everything

I knew; then ordered the gates of the compound to be shut, no person be

allowed to go in or out, placed a guard of ten ruffians, to whom he gave

a strict charge to keep me safe, and departed.

"It was now dark. I retired to an inner room with my four little Burman

girls, and barred the doors. The guard instantly ordered me to unbar the

doors and come out, or they would break the house down. I obstinately

refused to obey, and endeavoured to intimidate them by threatening to

complain of their conduct to higher authorities on the morrow. Finding

me resolved in disregarding their orders, they took the two Bengalee

servants, and confined them in the stocks in a very painful position. I

could not endure this; but called the head man to the window, and

promised to make them all a present in the morning, if they would

release the servants. After much debate, and many severe threatenings,

they consented, but seemed resolved to annoy me as much as possible. My

unprotected, desolate state, my entire uncertainty of the fate of Mr.

Judson, and the dreadful carousings and almost diabolical language of

the guard, all conspired to make it by far the most distressing night I

had ever passed. You may well imagine, my dear brother, that sleep was a

stranger to my eyes, and peace and composure to my mind.

"The next morning, I sent Moung Ing to ascertain the situation of your

brother, and give him food, if still living. He soon returned, with the

intelligence, that Mr. Judson, and all the white foreigners, were

confined in the death prison, with three pairs of iron fetters each,

and fastened to a long pole, to prevent their moving! The point of my

anguish now was, that I was a prisoner myself, and could make no efforts

for the release of the Missionaries. I begged and entreated the

magistrate to allow me to go to some member of government to state my

case; but he said he did not dare to consent, for fear I should make my

escape. I next wrote a note to one of the king's sisters, with whom I

had been intimate, requesting her to use her influence for the release

of the teachers. The note was returned with this message--She 'did not

understand it,'--which was a polite refusal to interfere; though I

afterwards ascertained, that she had an anxious desire to assist us, but

dared not on account of the queen. The day dragged heavily away, and

another dreadful night was before me. I endeavoured to soften the

feelings of the guard by giving them tea and segars for the night; so

that they allowed me to remain inside of my room, without threatening as

they did the night before. But the idea of your brother being stretched

on the bare floor in irons and confinement, haunted my mind like a

spectre, and prevented my obtaining any quiet sleep, though nature was

almost exhausted.

"On the third day, I sent a message to the governor of the city, who has

the entire direction of prison affairs, to allow me to visit him with a

present. This had the desired effect; and he immediately sent orders to

the guards, to permit my going into town. The governor received me

pleasantly, and asked me what I wanted. I stated to him the situation of

the foreigners, and particularly that of the teachers, who were

Americans, and had nothing to do with the war. He told me it was not in

his power to release them from prison or irons, but that he could make

their situation more comfortable; there was his head officer, with whom

I must consult, relative to the means. The officer, who proved to be one

of the city writers, and whose countenance at the first glance presented

the most perfect assemblage of all the evil passions attached to human

nature, took me aside, and endeavoured to convince me, that myself, as

well as the prisoners, was entirely at his disposal--that our future

comfort must depend on my liberality in regard to presents--and that

these must be made in a private way and unknown to any officer in the

government! What must I do, said I, to obtain a mitigation of the

present sufferings of the two teachers? 'Pay to me,' said he, 'two

hundred tickals, (about a hundred dollars,) two pieces of fine cloth,

and two pieces of handkerchiefs.' I had taken money with me in the

morning, our house being two miles from the prison--I could not easily

return. This I offered to the writer, and begged he would not insist on

the other articles, as they were not in my possession. He hesitated for

some time, but fearing to lose the sight of so much money, he concluded

to take it, promising to relieve the teachers from their most painful


"I then procured an order from the governor, for my admittance into

prison; but the sensations, produced by meeting your brother in that

wretched, horrid situation, and the affecting scene which ensued, I

will not attempt to describe. Mr. Judson crawled to the door of the

prison--for I was never allowed to enter--gave me some directions

relative to his release; but before we could make any arrangement, I was

ordered to depart, by those iron hearted jailers, who could not endure

to see us enjoy the poor consolation of meeting in that miserable place.

In vain I pleaded the order of the governor for my admittance; they

again, harshly repeated, 'Depart, or we will pull you out.' The same

evening, the missionaries, together with the other foreigners, who had

paid an equal sum, were taken out of the common prison, and confined in

an open shed in the prison enclosure. Here I was allowed to send them

food, and mats to sleep on; but was not permitted to enter again for

several days.

"My next object was to get a petition presented to the queen; but no

person being admitted into the palace, who was in disgrace with his

Majesty, I sought to present it through the medium of her brother's

wife. I had visited her in better days, and received particular marks of

her favour. But now times were altered: Mr. Judson was in prison, and I

in distress, which was a sufficient reason for giving me a cold

reception. I took a present of considerable value. She was lolling on

her carpet as I entered, with her attendants around her. I waited not

for the usual question to a suppliant, 'What do you want?' but in a

hold, earnest, yet respectful manner, stated our distresses and our

wrongs, and begged her assistance. She partly raised her head, opened

the present I had brought, and coolly replied, 'Your case is not

singular; all the foreigners are treated alike.' 'But it is singular,'

said I, 'the teachers are Americans; they are ministers of religion,

have nothing to do with war or politics, and came to Ava in obedience to

the king's command. They have never done any thing to deserve such

treatment; and is it right they should be treated thus?' 'The king does

as he pleases,' said she; 'I am not the king, what can I do?' 'You can

state their case to the queen, and obtain their release,' replied I.

'Place yourself in my situation,--were you in America, your husband,

innocent of crime, thrown into prison, in irons, and you a solitary,

unprotected female--what would you do?' With a slight degree of feeling,

she said, 'I will present your petition,--come again to-morrow.' I

returned to the house, with considerable hope, that the speedy release

of the missionaries was at hand. But the next day Mr. Gouger's property,

to the amount of fifty thousand dollars, was taken and carried to the

palace. The officers, on their return, politely informed me, they should

visit our house on the morrow. I felt obliged for this information,

and accordingly made preparations to receive them, by secreting as many

little articles as possible; together with considerable silver, as I

knew, if the war should be protracted, we should be in a state of

starvation without it. But my mind was in a dreadful state of agitation,

lest it should be discovered, and cause my being thrown into prison. And

had it been possible to procure money from any other quarter, I should

not have ventured on such a step.

"The following morning, the royal treasurer, prince Tharyawadees, chief

Woon, and Koung-tone Myoo-tsa, who was in future our steady friend,

attended by forty or fifty followers, came to take possession of all we

had. I treated them civilly, gave them chairs to sit on, tea and

sweetmeats for their refreshment; and justice obliges me to say, that

they conducted the business of confiscation with more regard to my

feelings than I should have thought it possible for Burmese officers to

exhibit. The three officers, with one of the royal secretaries, alone

entered the house; their attendants were ordered to remain outside. They

saw I was deeply affected, and apologized for what they were about to

do, by saying, that it was painful for them to take possession of

property not their own, but they were compelled thus to do by order of

the king. 'Where is your silver, gold, and jewels?' said the royal

treasurer. 'I have no gold or jewels; but here is the key of a trunk

which contains the silver--do with it as you please.' The trunk was

produced, and the silver weighed. 'This money,' said I, 'was collected

in America, by the disciples of Christ, and sent here for the purpose of

building a kyoung, (the name of a priest's dwelling) and for our support

while teaching the religion of Christ. Is it suitable that you should

take it? (The Burmans are averse to taking what is offered in a

religious point of view, which was the cause of my making the inquiry.)

'We will state this circumstance to the king,' said one of them, 'and

perhaps he will restore it. But this is all the silver you have?' I

could not tell a falsehood: 'The house is in your possession,' I

replied, 'search for yourselves.' 'Have you not deposited silver with

some person of your acquaintance?' 'My acquaintances are all in prison,

with whom should I deposit silver? They next ordered my trunk and

drawers to be examined. The secretary only was allowed to accompany me

in this search. Everything nice or curious, which met his view, was

presented to the officers, for their decision, whether it should be

taken or retained. I begged they would not take our wearing apparel, as

it would be disgraceful to take clothes partly worn, into the possession

of his majesty, and to us they were of unspeakable value. They assented,

and took a list only, and did the same with the books, medicines, &c. My

little work table and rocking chair, presents from my beloved brother, I

rescued from their grasp, partly by artifice, and partly through their

ignorance. They left also many articles, which were of inestimable

value, during our long imprisonment.

"As soon as they had finished their search and departed, I hastened to

the queen's brother, to hear what had been the fate of my petition;

when, alas! all my hopes were dashed, by his wife's coolly saying, 'I

stated your case to the queen; but her majesty replied,--'The teachers

will not die: let them remain as they are.' My expectations had been so

much excited, that this sentence was like a thunderbolt to my feelings.

For the truth at one glance assured me, that if the queen refused

assistance, who would dare to intercede for me? With a heavy heart I

departed, and on my way home, attempted to enter the prison gate, to

communicate the sad tidings to your brother but was harshly refused

admittance: and for the ten days following notwithstanding my daily

efforts, I was not allowed to enter. We attempted to communicate by

writing, and after being successful for a few days, it was discovered;

the poor fellow who carried the communications was beaten and put in the

stocks; and the circumstance cost me about ten dollars, besides two or

three days of agony, for fear of the consequences.

"The officers who had taken possession of our property, presented it to

his majesty, saying, 'Judson is a true teacher; we found nothing in his

house, but what belongs to priests. In addition to this money, there are

an immense number of books, medicines, trunks of wearing apparel, &c. of

which we have only taken a list. Shall we take them, or let them

remain?' 'Let them remain,' said the king, 'and put this property by

itself, for it shall be restored to him again, if he is found innocent.'

This was an allusion to the idea of his being a spy.

"For two or three months following, I was subject to continual

harassments, partly through my ignorance of police management and partly

through the insatiable desire of every petty officer to enrich himself

through our misfortunes. When the officers came to our house, to

confiscate our property, they insisted on knowing how much I had given

the governor and prison officers, to release the teachers from the inner

prison. I honestly told them, and they demanded the sum from the

governor, which threw him into a dreadful rage, and he threatened to put

all the prisoners back into their original place. I went to him the next

morning, and the first words with which he accosted me, were, 'You are

very bad; why did you tell the royal treasurer that you had given me so

much money?' 'The treasurer inquired; what could I say!' I replied. 'Say

that you had given nothing,' said he, 'and I would have made the

teachers comfortable in prison; but now I know not what will be their

fate.' 'But I cannot tell a falsehood,' I replied. 'My religion differs

from yours, it forbids prevarication; and had you stood by me with your

knife raised, I could not have said what you suggested.' His wife, who

sat by his side, and who always, from this time, continued my firm

friend, instantly said, 'Very true--what else could she have said? I

like such straight-forward conduct; you must not (turning to the

governor) be angry with her.' I then presented the governor with a

beautiful opera glass, I had just received from England, and begged his

anger at me would not influence him to treat the prisoners with

unkindness, and I would endeavour, from time to time, to make him such

presents, as would compensate for his loss. 'You may intercede for your

husband only; for your sake, he shall remain where he is; but let the

other prisoners take care of themselves.' I pleaded hard for Dr. Price;

but he would not listen, and the same day had him returned to the inner

prison, where he remained ten days. He was then taken out, in

consequence of the Doctor's promising a piece of broad cloth, and my

sending two pieces of handkerchiefs.

"About this period, I was one day summoned to the Tlowtdan, in an

official way. What new evil was before me, I knew not, but was obliged

to go. When arrived, I was allowed to stand at the bottom of the

stairs, as no female is permitted to ascend the steps, or even to stand,

but sit on the ground. Hundreds were collected around. The officer who

presided, in an authoritative voice, began; 'Speak the truth in answer

to the questions I shall ask. If you speak true, no evil will follow;

but if not, your life will not be spared. It is reported that you have

committed to the care of a Burmese officer, a string of pearls, a pair

of diamond ear-rings, and a silver tea-pot. Is it true? 'It is not,' I

replied; 'and if you or any other person can produce these articles, I

refuse not to die.' The officer again urged the necessity of 'speaking

true.' I told him I had nothing more to say on this subject, but begged

he would use his influence to obtain the release of Mr. Judson from


"I returned to the house, with a heart much lighter than I went, though

conscious of my perpetual exposure to such harassments. Notwithstanding

the repulse I had met in my application to the queen, I could not remain

without making continual effort for your brother's release, while there

was the least probability of success. Time after time my visits to the

queen's sister-in-law were repeated, till she refused to answer a

question, and told me by her looks, I had better keep out of her

presence. For the seven following months, hardly a day passed, that I

did not visit some one of the members of government, or branches of the

royal family, in order to gain their influence in our behalf; but the

only benefit resulting was, their encouraging promises preserved us from

despair, and induced a hope of the speedy termination of our

difficulties, which enabled us to bear our distresses better than we

otherwise should have done. I ought, however, to mention, that by my

repeated visits to the different members of government, I gained several

friends, who were ready to assist me with articles of food, though in a

private manner, and who used their influence in the palace to destroy

the impression of our being in any way engaged in the present war. But

no one dared to speak a word to the king or queen in favor of a

foreigner, while there were such continual reports of the success of the

English arms.

"During these seven months, the continual extortions and oppressions to

which your brother, and the other white prisoners were subject, are

indescribable. Sometimes sums of money were demanded, sometimes pieces

of cloth and handkerchiefs; at other times, an order would be issued,

that the white foreigners should not speak to each other, or have any

communication with their friends without. Then again, the servants were

forbidden to carry in their food, without an extra fee. Sometimes, for

days and days together, I could not go into the prison till after dark,

when I had two miles to walk, in returning to the house. O how many,

many times, have I returned from that dreary prison at nine o'clock at

night, solitary and worn out with fatigue and anxiety, and thrown myself

down in that same rocking chair which you and Deacon L. provided for me

in Boston and endeavoured to invent some new scheme for the release of

the prisoners. Sometimes, for a moment or two, my thoughts would glance

toward America, and my beloved friends there--but for nearly a year and

a half, so entirely engrossed was every thought with present scenes and

sufferings, that I seldom reflected on a single occurrence of my former

life, or recollected that I had a friend in existence out of Ava.

"You, my dear brother, who know my strong attachment to my friends, and

how much pleasure I have hitherto experienced from retrospect, can judge

from the above circumstances, how intense were my sufferings. But the

point, the acme of my distresses, consisted in the awful uncertainty of

our final fate. My prevailing opinion was, that my husband would suffer

violent death; and that I should, of course, become a slave, and

languish out a miserable though short existence, in the tyrannic hands

of some unfeeling monster. But the consolations of religion, in these

trying circumstances, were neither 'few nor small.' It taught me to look

beyond this world, to that rest, that peaceful, happy rest, where Jesus

reigns, and oppression never enters. But how have I digressed from my

relation. I will again return.

"The war was now prosecuted with all the energy the Burmese government

possessed. New troops were continually raised and sent down the river,

and as frequent reports returned of their being all cut off. But that

part of the Burmese army stationed at Arracan, under the command of

Bandoola, had been more successful. Three hundred prisoners, at one

time, was sent to the capital, as an evidence of the victory that had

been gained. The king began to think that none but Bandoola understood

the art of fighting with foreigners; consequently his majesty recalled

him with the design of his taking command of the army that had been sent

to Rangoon. On his arrival at Ava, he was received at court in the most

flattering manner, and was the recipient of every favour in the power of

the king and queen to bestow. He was, in fact, while at Ava, the acting

king. I was resolved to apply to him for the release of the

missionaries, though some members of government advised me not, lest he,

being reminded of their existence, should issue an immediate order for

their execution. But it was my last hope, and as it proved, my last


"Your brother wrote a petition privately, stating every circumstance

that would have a tendency to interest him in our behalf. With fear and

trembling I approached him, while surrounded by a crowd of flatterers,

and one of his secretaries took the petition, and read it aloud. After

hearing it, he spake to me in an obliging manner--asked several

questions relative to the teachers--said he would think of the

subject--and bade me come again. I ran to the prison to communicate the

favourable reception to Mr. Judson; and we both had sanguine hopes that

his release was at hand. But the governor of the city expressed his

amazement at my temerity, and said he doubted not it would be the means

of destroying all the prisoners. In a day or two, however, I went

again, and took a present of considerable value. Bandoola was not at

home; but his lady, after ordering the present to be taken into

another room, modestly informed me that she was ordered by her husband

to make the following communication--that he was now very busily

employed in making preparations for Rangoon; but that when he had

re-taken that place and expelled the English, he would return and

release all the prisoners.

"Thus again were all our hopes dashed; and we felt that we could do

nothing more, but sit down and submit to our lot. From this time we gave

up all idea of being released from prison, till the termination of the

war; but I was still obliged to visit constantly some of the members of

government, with little presents, particularly the governor of the city,

for the purpose of making the situation of the prisoners tolerable. I

generally spent the greater part of every other day at the governor's

house, giving him all the information relative to American manners,

customs, government, &c. He used to be so much gratified with my

communications, as to feel greatly disappointed, if any occurrence

prevented my spending the usual hours at his house.

"Some months after your brother's imprisonment, I was permitted to make

a little bamboo room in the prison enclosures, where he could be much by

himself, and where I was sometimes allowed to spend two or three hours.

It so happened that the two months he occupied this place, was the

coldest part of the year, when he would have suffered much in the open

shed he had previously occupied. After the birth of your little niece, I

was unable to visit the prison and the governor as before, and found I

had lost considerable influence, previously gained; for he was not so

forward to hear my petitions when any difficulty occurred, as he

formerly had been. When Maria was nearly two months old, her father one

morning sent me word that he and all the white prisoners were put into

the inner prison in five pairs of fetters each, that his little room had

been torn down, and his mat, pillow, &c. been taken by the jailers. This

was to me a dreadful shock, as I thought at once it was only a prelude

to greater evils.

"I should have mentioned before this, the defeat of Bandoola, his escape

to Danooboo, the complete destruction of his army and loss of

ammunition, and the consternation this intelligence produced at court.

The English army had left Rangoon, and were advancing towards Prome,

when these severe measures were taken with the prisoners.

"I went immediately to the governor's house. He was not at home, but had

ordered his wife to tell me, when I came, not to ask to have the

additional fetters taken off, or the prisoners released, for it could

not be done. I went to the prison gate, but was forbid to enter. All

was as still as death--not a white face to be seen, or a vestige of Mr.

J.'s little room remaining. I was determined to see the governor and

know the cause of this additional oppression; and for this purpose

returned to town the same evening, at an hour I knew he would be at

home. He was in his audience room, and, as I entered, looked up without

speaking, but exhibited a mixture of shame and affected anger in his

countenance. I began by saying--Your Lordship has hitherto treated us

with the kindness of a father. Our obligations to you are very great. We

have looked to you for protection from oppression and cruelty. You have

in many instances mitigated the sufferings of those unfortunate, though

innocent beings, committed to your charge. You have promised me

particularly, that you would stand by me to the last, and though you

should receive an order from the king, you would not put Mr. J. to

death. What crime has he committed to deserve such additional

punishment? The old man's hard heart was melted, for he wept like a

child. 'I pity you, Tsa-yar-ga-dau, (a name by which he always called

me) I knew you would make me feel; I therefore forbade your application.

But you must believe me when I say, I do not wish to increase the

sufferings of the prisoners. When I am ordered to execute them, the

least that I can do is, to put them out of sight. I will now tell you

(continued he) what I have never told you before, that three times I

have received intimations from the queen's brother, to assassinate all

the white prisoners privately; but I would not do it. And I now repeat

it, though I execute all the others, I will never execute your husband.

But I cannot release him from his present confinement, and you must not

ask it.' I had never seen him manifest so much feeling, or so resolute

in denying me a favour, which circumstance was an additional reason for

thinking dreadful scenes were before us.

"The situation of the prisoners was now distressing beyond description.

It was at the commencement of the hot season. There were above a hundred

prisoners shut up in one room, without a breath of air excepting from

the cracks in the boards. I sometimes obtained permission to go to the

door for five minutes, when my heart sickened at the wretchedness

exhibited. The white prisoners, from incessant perspiration and loss of

appetite, looked more like the dead than the living. I made daily

applications to the governor, offering him money, which he refused; but

all that I gained, was permission for the foreigners to eat their food

outside, and this continued but a short time.

"It was at this period that the death of Bandoola was announced in the

palace. The king heard it with silent amazement, and the queen, in

eastern style, smote upon her breast, and cried, ama! ama! (alas, alas.)

Who could be found to fill his place? who would venture since the

invincible Bandoola had been cut off? Such were the exclamations

constantly heard in the streets of Ava. The common people were speaking

low of a rebellion, in case more troops should be levied. For as yet

the common people had borne the weight of the war, not a tickal had been

taken from the royal treasury. At length the Pakan Woon, who a few

months before had been so far disgraced by the king as to be thrown into

prison and irons, now offered himself to head a new army that should be

raised on a different plan from those which had been hitherto raised;

and assured the king in the most confident manner, that he would conquer

the English, and restore those places that had been taken, in a very

short time. He proposed that every soldier should receive a hundred

tickals in advance, and he would obtain security for each man, as the

money was to pass through his hands. It was afterwards found that he had

taken, for his own use, ten tickals from every hundred. He was a man of

enterprise and talents, though a violent enemy to all foreigners. His

offers were accepted by the king and government, and all power

immediately committed to him. One of the first exercises of his power

was, to arrest Lansago and the Portuguese priest, who had hitherto

remained unmolested, and cast them into prison, and to subject the

native Portuguese and Bengalees to the most menial occupations. The

whole town was in alarm, lest they should feel the effects of his power;

and it was owing to the malignant representations of this man, that the

white prisoners suffered such a change in their circumstances, as I

shall soon relate.

"After continuing in the inner prison for more than a month, your

brother was taken with a fever. I felt assured he would not live long,

unless removed from that noisome place. To effect this, and in order to

be near the prison, I removed from our house and put up a small bamboo

room in the governor's enclosure, which was nearly opposite the prison

gate. Here I incessantly begged the governor to give me an order to take

Mr. J. out of the large prison, and place him in a more comfortable

situation; and the old man, being worn out with my entreaties, at length

gave me the order in an official form; and also gave orders to the head

jailer, to allow me to go in and out, all times of the day, to

administer medicines, &c. I now felt happy indeed, and had Mr. J.

instantly removed into a little bamboo hovel, so low, that neither of us

could stand upright--but a palace in comparison with the place he had