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Toungoo News Sheet,
Jan. - Dec. 1864
Printed and Published at the Toungoo Karen Institute Press for the proprietor F. Mason.
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Jan. - Dec. 1864
Printed and Published at the Toungoo Karen Institute Press for the proprietor F. Mason.
press ctrl+ f to search this page
THE CHIEF COMMISSIONER
A Salute of thirteen guns on the 18th January announced the welcome arrival of Col. A.P. Phayre, C.B. the Chief Commissioner of British Burmah.
The Sunday following, he attended Divine worship in the building of the Karen Institute and listened to a discourse in Paku from the Rev’d. Shapan, the senior ordained preacher to the Bghaig.
On Monday, January 25th, he visited the Institute schools and heard them examined. There were also present by invitation Capt. Lloyd, Deputy Commissioner, W. De Courcy, A.B., Asst. Commissioner, Capt. J. Duval, Superintendent of Police, Dr. Williams, British Resident at the Burmese Court, Rev’d. Mr Patch, Chaplain and Mrs Patch.
He was present at the annual meeting of the Karen Education Society on the next Thursday, when he was elected Patron, which office he was pleased to accept in an appropriate speech highly flattering to the Karens.
It should be borne in mind that Mr Cross has written of “The Karens fighting for a King of their own under Mrs Mason” yet to this “Insane or perverse woman,” in the elegant diction of Messrs. Cross and Bixby, the Chief Commission addressed the following letter, under date of 28th January 1861.
Having been present at the examination of the Karen girls, who are studying at this station. I beg to express to you the satisfaction I have derived from witnessing the progress they have made.
I observe however, that the number of girls at the Institute is less than when I last had an opportunity of hearing them examined. I fear this may have resulted from the dispute and dissentions which have so unhappily arisen.
As these must hinder the great object in view, that is of instructing and civilising the Karen mountain tribe. I trust that from this time forward these disputes will be forgotten by you and will not be allowed to interfere with the great work which still remains to be done.
It is essential that the interest of the Karen Chiefs in the Institute should be maintained and that they should feel they have a voice in the management of it. Your plan for maintaining their interest in the Institute and for making it together with the Young Men’s school an effective instrument for good to the Karen people, appear to me to be judicious.
The land adjoining the Institute ground, where Chiefs from the hills and other Karens can have houses for themselves when they come to town for their daughters while studying and where dwellings are provided for those engaged in cultivating the neighbouring fields, is necessary in order that your entire plans may be carried out.
In my opinion you have rightly judged that for the education of the Karen people a knowledge of literature and science is only a part of the regular instruction which should be imparted. You have undertaken to teach them better methods of agriculture than they knew before, build better houses than their fathers inhabited and to live in a higher degree of comfort and cleanliness than they hitherto have been accustomed to.
It was with reference to these objects that the land adjoining the Institute ground was made over to you for the benefit of the Karens generally. A thorough investigation by me in the presence of all concerned, has shown that in the matter of that land, you and those Karens who were ejected from a part of it, have been deeply wronged.
But as that subject has been fully treated in a separate proceeding, I will not now enlarge thereon. What has been remarked here on that subject has been done only to show you as is your due that I fully understand and appreciate your large plans of education, to carry out which, the land, of which I regret to say, efforts were made to deprive you, and which have partially succeeded, was absolutely requisite.
I again however express a hope that the orders which have now been passed relative to that land, will relieve you of all anxiety and enable you and the Rev’d. Dr. Mason to pursue your useful labours without being any longer distracted by the cares and troubles which for the past twelve months and more have been forced upon you.
One point connected with the Karen Female Institute still remains to be decided. In my Minute dated the 1st May 1853, I commented upon what had been charged against you in regard to what was called the “Karen national flag.” I decided that the flag or banner in question was merely a flag with educational and Christian emblems with an appropriate motto from the Epistle to the Ephesians.
I remarked that when I considered the time had come when the flag might no longer be viewed as a party emblem in regard to the existing disputes, that I should have no objection to its being hoisted with the Institute enclosure. I have now fully considered this point. I am of opinion that the flag was only intended as “a bond of brotherhood for education” and that the time has come when it may be exhibited without any bad effects whatsoever. I therefore beg to say I have no objection to the said flag or banner being displayed in any manner you and the Committee of Management may think proper within the Institute land.
I have the honour to be,
Your most obedient servant
Chief Commission of British Burmah and Agent to the Governor General."
In the “separate Proceedings” mentioned above referring to the land now occupied by Mr Cross of which he gained possession through an illegal grant to his Tavoy assistant Plapan the Chief Commissioner writes:-
“The Chief Commissioner has no doubt whatever but that the grant of the land now in dispute to the Reverend Plapan has been made erroneously and he has no hesitation in declaring that the Commissioner of Pegu had no authority to sanction such grant in 1863 and the Deputy Commissioner no legal authority to make it. The land was found in actual occupation: Karen houses were built on it and Karen families were in them. These families were ordered to remove their houses without any written proceeding or record of the reasons for such orders. The Chief Commissioner must express his entire disappointment of such an act.”
It thus appears that efforts have been made to deprive Mrs Mason of land that was “absolutely requisite” to carry out her “large plans of education” and these efforts have “partially succeeded,” : Rev’d. Mr Cross having taken possession of six and a half of land that had been “made over” to Mrs Mason.
After the first “thorough investigation – in the presence of all concerned,” that has been made on any of the Toungoo disputes, the highest authority in British Burmah has decided that Mrs Mason has been “deeply wronged.”
Let us have “a thorough investigation in the presence of all concerned” on the other points in discussion by men who have not satisfied themselves by prejudging the case: and we have no doubt but the results will be similar.
The worst thing Mrs Mason did, according to the Friend of India, was to hoist a flag. After a thorough investigation the Chief Commissioner is fully persuaded that there was no foundation whatever for the false and absurd charges brought against her by Messrs. Cross and Bixby in this matter, which induced the Deputy Commissioner to order the flag down and he now gives her official permission to re-hoist it: deciding that the flag is precisely what Mrs Mason represented it to be “A bond of brothers for education.”
“The cares and troubles” which have “for the past twelve months and more” here distracted Mrs Mason and Mr Mason “have been forced upon them."
While the Chief Commissioner was in Toungoo a large band of Phokhai’s people started to attack a Karen village at the head waters of Tin river. On reaching the fields the Karens were clearing, they seized and carried off four men, but the alarm was given, the village abandoned and all the rest of the inhabitants escaped.
Soon after the Chief Commissioner left town, intelligence was brought that the village of Yauta... had been attacked by Phokhai when one woman was killed and four children carried away.
The most difficult matter to adjust on the whole frontier of British Burmah, just now, is the difficulty with Phokhai. The Chief Commissioner has made a wise selection in designating Mr O’Riley for this service. He is the right man in the right place. There is perhaps no man in the Commission so well adapted for the work as he is. He is well known to all the parties concerned and is respected by all for his kindness, patience, justice and fearlessness.
The work of quelling feuds among the Karens is not new to Mr O’Riley. When he came to Toungoo in 1853 he found the villages even within sight of the city, in a state of chronic warfare with each other: robbing, murdering, kidnapping and selling into slavery their neighbours, whenever opportunity occurred, but when he left in 1857, he left the whole Eastern region in peace and harmony to the Salwen and up the Red Karens, whose annual inroads on the Toungoo villages, he succeeded in effectively stopping and with a solitary exception that region has remained quiet ever since, till the disastrous affair with Phokhai occurred.
Mr O’Riley did not effect all this without incurring considerable personal risks. We know from native testimony that he came very near being assassinated in his tent one night by a Karen chief: and his present mission is by no means unaccompanied with danger. Still, Mr O’Riley has lived in the shadow and the public who know him as a philologist, has heard little of his labours for humanity and the state, though we know few officers more deserving of public notice and government patronage than Edward O’Riley.
By a letter recently received from him in Karenee, we learn that he has succeeded in rescuing the children mentioned above and we trust he will succeed in putting a stop to these savage inroads altogether.
He writes “I have been so far successful in reaching the heart of Hpokai and his band of savages as to stop their cruel raids on the Karen Pyns, whom they had intended to wage incessant persecution upon during the present season and but for my timely arrival here, their victims would have been counted by hundreds ere the dry season closed.
This has not been effected however without difficulty such as I did not anticipate. The savage nature of these people had been incited to the highest pitch by the unfortunate affair of the destruction of Hpokai’s village, the loss of life and property on that occasion and the burning of the Yunsalone village by the Chief of which is a near relative of Hpokai and it was with the greatest reluctance that Hpokai came to meet me here.
He was at first deaf to all reason, furious in his denunciations of the Karen Pyns and threats of vengeance upon them, until I almost despaired of making him more tractable. Human nature however is pretty much the same throughout the human race and I succeeded at last in bringing him to reason and inducing him to forgo all present molestation of the Karens.
As an earnest of his good faith he promised to perform “Theetsa” with me and restored the poor little creatures I now send to their homes: and if I can again induce Hpokai to meet me here, I have no doubt but I shall be equally successful in recovering the captives taken from Mokai.
I fear I shall be detained much longer in Karenee than I intended, as the affair of Hpokai’s and the disinclination of old Kyay-hpo-gy and his sons to allow me to go to the Eastern section of the county, where they anticipate danger to myself, throw many obstacles in the way of concluding negotiations with them on the several points of my mission. Go I must however speedily as I have to cross the Salwen and proceed to Zimmay and the States in that quarter before I return.”
Resident at Mandalay
Dr. Williams, our Resident at Mandalay, after a brief visit with the Chief Commissioner returned, as he came, overland to the Burmese Court. He represents the King as decidedly favourable to education and says that were anyone to establish an English school in Mandalay he might depend on His Majesty’s cordial support.
Mr Theobald of the Geological Survey is expected in Toungoo about the middle of April. He has long been distinguished as a Conchologist and he is now making up the Reptiles of Burmah. In a letter to the Editor, he says: “I am working at our Pegu Reptiles and have already over 70 species on my list, of which 32 are snakes. But I estimate our Reptiles at double that number and am sorry to say can find not one fellow worker in the Branch to assist me in the service.
I have had a letter from Agassiz and have promised to send him a collection for his museum; but it is hard work single handed to do as much as might be wished. Can you help me to get some specimens of Testudo Phayrei? I sent a man in vain the other day to Maulmein for them. They are I believe from near Amherst, Tiekell tells me, but do not seem to be known at Maulmein. Is the Ava Testudo found near Toungoo?"
“The most charitable conclusion that anyone can come to is that she is insane, but Dr. Mason’s conduct is inexplicable.” This is what six missionaries left their work for many weeks, travelled many hundred miles at great expense and trouble and sat in Council ten days to find out! Is the conclusion worth what it cost?
Then, why not extend the same charity to both and conclude both insane? Or if Dr. Mason’s conduct is to be written down inexplicable, why not put Mrs Mason’s in the same category?
Again, if they wished to have these inexplicable things explained, why did they not state them and ask for explanations? What right have men to conclude that the conduct of another is inexplicable till he has had an opportunity to explain it and failed to do so? Members of the Council often came to Mr and Mrs Mason’s table in Toungoo, he sometimes met them at their lodgings and they occasionally strolled out together at evening. They talked on almost every subject under the sun but never once did any member of the council ask Dr. Mason to explain his “inexplicable” conduct.
This certainly seems to us inexplicable if they wished for an explanation. What did they come to Toungoo to do? To condemn Mr and Mrs Mason? This they could have done as well and much cheaper in Rangoon, if that condemnation was to based, as it has been, on testimony and representations of the prosecutors, without allowing the defendants to be present to attempt even an explanation of their “inexplicable” conduct. Well has the Council been characterised by outsiders as “An outrage on public decency.”
On the 11th Nov. 1862 Messrs. Cross and Bixby denounced Mrs Mason as “no longer worthy of confidence as a religious teacher,” representing her teaching doctrines “directly blasphemous in their nature” and that she “grossly imposes upon the Christian public.” Before issuing such a Bill of excommunication as they did, Christian men would have called in the interposition of mutual friends, to prevent for the reputation of religion and missions, if for nothing else, such a public scandal. But no; the missile was shot forth without warning and fell on its victims, like the bullet of an assassin.
This paper was not a mere anathema for heresy: it attacked Mrs Mason’s moral character. The amenities of social life having thus been outraged by Messrs. Cross and Bixby, Mr Mason broke off associating with men who had publicly declared that Mrs Mason was unworthy of being their associate. What is there “inexplicable” in such conduct? Where is the law human or Divine that condemns it?
Shaking the fist
It is stated by Mr Cross, on page 51 of the Minutes and reiterated on page 109 by the Council, that Mrs Mason “shook her fist” in Mr Bixby’s face. It would be quite as true to say she knocked him down. It was by such unchallenged falsehoods as these that Messrs. Cross and Bixby imposed on a Council willing to be imposed upon. Mr Mason was present throughout the interview and he says a more execrable libel was never uttered. In the language of the Council on another occasion, Mr and Mrs Mason say; “They dare not give vent to their feelings of pain and indignation.”
FALSE REPRESENTATION OF COUNCIL
On the 17th November, Messrs. Cross and Bixby addressed a letter to Government, asking it for substance to turn Mrs Mason out of the Institute and from the Institute land.
The Council in their decision, as in almost everything else, make an entirely false representation of their application. They say; “Their application does not appear to have had any reference to the so called Female Institute, or to the land pertaining to it, but to land about 40 square miles intended for a Karen settlement.”
Now their application had nothing whatever to do with these “40 square miles,” but it had to do with the “so called Female Institute and the land pertaining to it.” Their application was to take from “Mrs Mason whatever Agency she may have had entrusted to her on the part of Government.”
What had been entrusted to Mrs Mason, Capt. Lloyd informs us on page 96 of the Minutes. He says “The Institute on the east bank of the Sitang is in her charge, especially made over to her – the lands purchased by her, a house on this side of the river and the land on which it stands with a large enclosure has been made over to her by grant for educational purposes and advances have been made to her for the purchase of buffaloes for Karens.” He says nothing of the “40 square miles.”
“The Council are satisfied, that Messrs. Cross and Bixby had no wish to get the lands or funds in question into their own hands.” We “are satisfied” that to get the lands into their possession was THE object of their application. Facts sustain our view. If the Karen Institute and land were taken from Mrs Mason, they must be given to someone else and to whom could they be given but to Mr Cross, who had previously applied to the Thoo-gy to divide him of half the land?
If the “house on this side of the river and the land on which it stands” devoted to a Burmese Girls’ school, are to be taken from Mrs Mason, to whom can they be given but to Mr Bixby, who had previously asked Mrs Mason for a part of the land?
“Dr. Mason has taken much pains,” says Mr Bixby, on page 73 of the Minutes, “to produce the impression that Messrs. Cross and Bixby had reference in this letter [to Government] to Mrs Mason’s Trusteeship etc.” It was necessary, because it is one of those facts which Messrs. Cross and Bixby have found it convenient to deny. It has been their tactic, throughout this war, to repudiate every disgraceful measure that proved unsuccessful. Their denial in this instance however, backed though it be by their Council, can avail them nothing, for Dr. Mason’s statement had been affirmed by the Head of the Government in an official “Proceeding” of the Chief Commissioner Col. Phayre, dated 27th Jan. 1864, in which he says “The Rev’d. Mr Cross had in fact endeavoured to induce the local Government Officers to remove Mrs Mason from her position as Trustee of the Institute Grant on the ground of her being unworthy of confidence.” This shows how utterly untrustworthy the statements of facts made by this Council are.
After Mr Cross had issued his Anathema of the Ides of November, in accordance therewith, his Tavoy Assistant went round the village Mrs Mason had founded, denouncing her and abusing her from house to house in terms substantially the same in Karen, that Mr Cross had used in English – as a blasphemer, an imposter and not a Christian.
Mr Cross having entered on such a course, how was it possible for Mrs Mason to tolerate him longer on her compound, the compound from which he and Mr Bixby were trying to drive her? One or the other, must leave. That was a necessity, which, Mr Cross himself seemed to feel and by his application to Government, he made it incumbent on the Commissioner to say which.
When the Commissioner of Pegu decided that Mr Cross must vacate the premises, the Council favour us with another tissue of misrepresentations tending to show that Mr and Mrs Mason were determined to drive him out of his house “immediately,” which is untrue.
The Council do not tell their readers that when the Commissioner of Pegu decided that Mr Cross must leave the Institute land, Mr Cross got up a bogus claim against Mr Mason, for his services as school teacher, demanding in fact that Mr Mason should pay him his salary which had been already paid him by the Board of Missions and until this false claim was liquidated he evinced a determination to remain on the premises. Mr Cross was asked to go away, “at your earliest convenience,” and on his refusing to do so, he was threatened with an immediate action at law. If any action at law was had, it was necessary to be immediate, for the Deputy Commissioner accorded entirely with the views of Messrs. Cross and Bixby and unless the action were commended immediately before the Commissioner of Pegu left Toungoo, it was thought that it would be to little purpose to commence one afterwards. So soon as Mr Cross indicated a purpose to leave the premises, nothing was said about his leaving immediately; and here an important document which completely negates the charge of the Council, has been withheld.
Under date of February 4th 1863, Mr Mason wrote to Mr Cross: “Some days ago, Mrs Mason wrote: “I have no wish to put you to unnecessary inconvenience and if you will appoint any reasonable time at which you will evacuate the premises, it will give me great pleasure to await your convenience.” Your reply evinced a determination to remain, so she saw no way but to proceed immediately to law. You now write me that you hope to leave in less than a month; Mrs Mason then repeats her former offer and says: “If you will engage to leave in one month, you can remain quietly where you are for that time.” And Mrs Mason begs me to add, if at the end of the month you cannot suit yourself better and can arrange the matter amicably with Miss Marston, you can occupy the house she lives in with her for six months if you choose, or during the next rains.”
Thus the Council’s congratulations that “Fortunately there was a brother missionary who could give him temporary shelter,” is a mere flourish of trumpets deceiving the misinformed. Mrs Mason gave him all the time he asked and offered him part of another house belonging to her for six or nine months, where he could have been better accommodated than at the “brother missionary’s.”
Then Mr Bixby speaks on page 73 of the Minutes of “Dr. Mason’s legal action which he had commenced against Mr Cross.” Dr. Mason never “commenced” a “legal action” against Mr Cross. So there is another untruth here, but quite in harmony with the general character of these “Minutes.”
On the morning of the 22nd of March, Dr. Mason’s house, on the west bank of the Sitang, was totally consumed by fire. The Superintendent of Police says: “There can be no doubt but it was set on fire by design. That is certain.” A lady remarked to Dr. Mason’s Assistant: “I think the Karens set the house on fire because they hate the teacher.” Before the advent of Messrs. Cross and Bixby, there was not a Karen, from the Sitant to the Salwen, who would not have left his dinner at any time to serve the “teacher.”
Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal – 1863
... The proceeding one had two interesting papers from Col. Phayre on some antiquities in Burmah ... Capt. J.F. Stevenson describes the hot springs of Tavoy, W.S. Blanford Esq., eight new species of land shells, J.H. O’Donel Esq., wild tribes in Aracan and W. Theobald Esq., has an article on the origin of species.
The Ex. Committee of the A.B.M. Union write under date of Nov. 30th 1863; “We regret more than we have language to express that the matters of difficulty in the Toungoo Mission should have been made on your part the subject of public controversy. Mr Cross, as we understand, took the initiative in the New York Chronicle and subsequently in the Rangoon papers.” We regret it no less, but the above proves that the controversy had been forced upon us.
The compound occupied by Mr Cross is the Slesvig-Holstein difficulty of Toungoo. It was taken from the land of the Institute village that had been “made over” to Mrs Mason “for the benefit of Karens.” Mr Cross though morally guilty of taking the possessions of his brethren for “the land was found in actual occupation, Karen houses were built on it and Karen families were in them.,” yet he is legally blameless because they were given him by the Deputy Commissioner who did so without any “legal authority” and he stated distinctly before the Chief Commissioner, that had he understood Mrs Mason’s claims, he never would have made the grant.
Karen families were ordered to remove their homes without any written proceedings or record of the reasons for such orders.” Three Karen houses however still remain within the limits of the grant that have never been officially ordered off.
As Mr Cross cannot get these houses away by an arbitrary order, as he did the other ones, he has been trying another way to compel the people to leave. The occupants of these houses recently undertook to roof and repair them preparatory to the rains, when they were forcibly obstructed in so doing by Mr Cross. The Karens testify that Mr Cross shook his walking stick over the head and in the face of one man that was repairing his house and commanded him to desist. He took the bamboos and thatch, and the ladder they were using, and threw them away repeatedly, as they were repeatedly brought back. In one instance, he had a personal struggle with a Karen for the possession of a bamboo and was defeated. In another, he thrust the end of his walking stick into the side of the deacon of the church and pushed him away some fifty feet, till the good old deacon fell into the drain, leaving his turban in the melee on the road.
Originally these Karen houses had compounds allotted them, plans of which were sent in to the Deputy Commissioner before the grant was measured off. After Mr Cross had thus forcibly obstructed the repairing of the houses, Mrs Mason asked the advice of a Barrister in Rangoon as to the lawfulness of the Karens enclosing the compounds that had been originally marked off to them. He replied; “You can enclose and plant. You will not be a trespasser, or have committed a criminal act.”
The Karens therefore commenced erecting their fences, but the posts were pulled up by Mr Cross’s people and Mr Cross proceeded to erect a fence on the boundary of Plapau’s grant so as to imprison the Karens within it and he attempted to carry his fence through one of their houses. Then the Karens in turn pulled up Mr Cross’s fence to prevent being imprisoned and Mr Cross although the first one to use force, rushed immediately to the law and on Saturday evening, Mrs Mason was summoned for trail on Monday morning.
Thus this Christian missionary shut up as associate to meet an unexpected criminal charge, to seek legal advice and prepare a defence on Sunday. This is much like throwing a man’s “ox or his ass” into a pit of the Sabbath day that it may be slaughtered on Monday morning. The Rangoon Barrister telegraphed: “your defence is: You are the rightful owner in possession; they the trespassers. Protest against Deputy Commission sitting as Judge, he having granted the land to Cross. - “Mischief” inapplicable as you are the rightful owner in possession, removing nuisance.”
Mrs Mason’s council J.W. Barry Esq., did protest. Nevertheless Capt. Lloyd tried the case and fined Mrs Mason two hundred rupees. That Mrs Mason acted in the full belief that what she did was in accordance with law, is clear from a letter she addressed to Mr Cross before the fence was pulled up, in which she said “You have already transgressed the law and placed obstructions on the grounds of our settlers, which if not immediately removed, we shall cast out of their way.” Mr Cross made no reply. She sent a copy of the same letter to the Deputy Commissioner and neither did he make any reply or tell her she proposed to do an unlawful act. Had he done so, Mrs Mason would of course have desisted.
There was one feature in this trial which seems to us unusual – The prosecutor was allowed to act as interpreter for the defendant’s witnesses. Of course Mr Cross had it all his own way with their evidence. Some twenty or thirty witnesses were in waiting but three only were questioned. The case will of course be appealed.
AUDI ALTERAM PARTEM
“It is not a Land question,” writes Mr Cross to a gentleman in Toungoo on the 6th April 1864, “but an attempt to drive me from the place in revenge for my opposition to Mrs Mason’s new doctrines. – If I can be ejected or prevented from having a school, I have the best reasons to know that their object is gained.”
With what want of truth these remarks are made, the following extract of a letter addressed to Mr Cross, Oct. 23rd 1863, shows; “I have made you two proposals for peace both of which you have declined to accept. I now come to you the third time with the olive branch.
“Dr. Kincaid said that your principle objection to my last proposal was that you were not willing to give up your school for an English school. Very well then, I agree that you take the Young Men’s Normal School, which you had at first and we will divide the subscriptions that are brought in to the Associations equally as formerly.
After what has passed, you cannot expect, however, to teach the school in the same place that your formerly did, and I therefore now, as I did to Dr. Kincaid, propose that you bring your buildings over to this side of the river and that I give up to you the house I occupy, which belongs to the Board and exchange the grant of my compound, which is in my own name, for the grant of the compound you occupy.
This arrangement will relieve the Chief Commissioner of the duty of deciding whether you can legally remain where you are or not without further contention and will put you in possession of the most eligible situation in town. Mrs Mason engages to lay no barrier in the way of your appropriate labours, but on the contrary, will do all she can to forward them.”
This proves, if language can prove anything, that “their object” is Not to prevent Mr Cross from having a school. How far REVENGE forms an element in the opposition, the reader can judge from the fact that the party said to entertain it, has made several proposals for peace and has been three times rejected.
Mrs Mason has made another attempt to settle this difficulty without resort to the Courts of law and though Mr Cross is not entitled to anything, for he knew he was going on the Karen’s land, she has offered him 1,400 rupees to pay for the removal of his buildings and two areas of the most valuable land in town on the west bank of the river: but all to no purpose.
When D’Oyly and Ireland were in the Commission under William the Conqueror, they scarcely anticipated that eight centuries afterwards, their descendents would be in the Commission over a conquered people at the antipodes.
Yet Capt. G. D’Oyly, whose ancestors came to England at the time of the conquest, was our universally beloved and respected Deputy Commissioner for several years and he ended here, his successful, honourable and Christian career. And though he sleeps far from the groves of Steepleton House, the patrimonial domain, yet his resting place is within the precints of the ruined palace of a conquered King: a palace built by Maha Thei-ha-thu-ra. Dhammaraza [i.e. The Great Thie-ha-thu-ra. King of the law] A.D. 1584. MELIUS EST NOMEM BONUM, QUAM INGUENTA PRECIOSA: ET DIES MORTIS, DIE NATIVITATIS.
Mr Ireland, on the contrary, commended his course with us and after serving two or three years, as Extra Assistant Commissioner, he has been recently promoted to Assistant Commissioner, at Sitang and we regret to record his departure from Toungoo on the 12th April, for by his ever kind and gentlemanly bearing both to Europeans and Natives, he has won the esteem of the whole community. He graduated at the Dublin University and accordingly to Burke he is “derived from William Ireland, son of George Ireland, who was brother of Sir John de Ireland, the father of the great Sir Gilbert Ireland, of the Hutt and Hale. William Ireland married before the year of 1640, the Hon. Margaret De Courcy, sister and heiress of Almericus, Lord Kinsale, and shortly after settled in Ireland; his representative, the great great great-grandson of this marriage, is the present William Ireland, of Robertstown House, Co. Kildare, Esq., son and heir of the late De Courcy Ireland, of Low Park, Co. Roscommon, Esq., by Susannah his wife, sister of Sir Edmund Stanley, formerly Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Madras.” The grandson of the above “present William Ireland “ is William De Courcy Ireland, Assistant Commissioner at Sitang.
“Mr Cross was – Mr Mason’s equal,” say the Council on page 110 of the Minutes; a fact that Mr Mason never denied. On the contrary, he wrote to the Commissioner of Pegu, Col. Sparks, January 1863; “Allow me to remark that the missionaries of the A.B.M. Union act perfectly independent of each other, one having no control over the other, but each rendering an account of himself and his doings to the Ex. Committee of the Board. No missionary is in any way accountable to his associates, not have any of his associates, how numerous soever, any control over him.” This proves that Mr Mason never thought of contesting Mr Cross’s equality.
The Council say: “Mr Cross was in no sense Mr Mason’s agent or employee.” Mr Cross was in possession of a school house to which he had no legal claim, yet, like the land, he manifested a determination to hold it till he was ejected; and to do this, it was necessary to use the word agent, but in no such sense as to make him either the inferior or the “cooly” of Dr. Mason.
The facts are these: Mr and Mrs Mason, applied to Government for a grant to build a school house for the Karen young men, to be erected on the Institute land and to be under the control of those who controlled the Institution.
In accordance with this application for a grant, the Government of India appropriated three thousand rupees to Mr Mason for a Karen Young Men’s Normal School House. This money Mr Mason did not expend himself, but Mr Cross expended it for him, technically as his agent; for the Government made Mr Mason responsible for the way it was expended and called on Mr Mason and not on Mr Cross to report on it; and when permission was given to make over the grant to the Karen Education Society after the school house had been built by Mr Cross, that permission was given to Mr Mason, not to Mr Cross.
Mr Cross then was Mr Mason’s agent in the same sense that Mr Mason is the agent of numerous individuals for the expenditure of money for specific objects. The word “employee” is not a word that Mr Mason used, but an offensive term introduced by these “peace makers,” apparently to widen the breach.
MORE SPECIAL PLEADING
On page 112 of the Minutes, we have the truism asserted and enforced that “Neither Dr. Mason nor any other Baptist Minister has the right to set aside a fellow Minister.” A doctrine which Dr. Mason has repeatedly and repeatedly explained to the Karens from the beginning of these difficulties with special reference to Pwai-pau. He told them that not accepting him in no way affected him as a Minister; that he must be tried and condemned by the Church before any exception could be taken to his administering the ordinances to those who wished to receive them from his hands; and if none were to receive him, he would then be only in the position of a Minister in America or England without a charge.
A letter which Dr. Mason addressed to Pwai-pau and printed in the Minutes page 66, is decisive. He says; “I have not cast thee out of the Ministry.” The reasons for sending Shapau are stated thus; “There were a great many houses (i.e. villages) who thought as I did, that if you consented to teacher Cross’ falsehood, they would no more receive you. I had heard that many of the Klerlah people did not receive you. If you had the communion, they would not partake and they would make a separate church. I therefore sent Shapau to go from place to place and baptise and administer the ordinances of Christ where the people would not receive you. This was not that he went to contend with you. He went to those who would receive him joyfully.”
This was not to “depose” Pwai-pau, but to afford the people who would not receive them from Pwai-pau, the ordinances of the Gospel. That Dr. Mason never intended to set aside Pwai-pau from Ministering to those who wished to receive him, is further manifest from the fact that he let Pwai-pau have three bottles of wine with which to administer the ordinance AFTER he had sent Shupau as above. Yet at the time he was furnishing him with communion wine, the Council represent Dr. Mason as “deposing” him or setting him aside!
It is well known that Dr. Mason has ever directed the labours of the Karen preachers in Toungoo. When he ordained Pwai-pau, he appointed his field of labour. When he ordained Kyouk-kai, he took away a part of Pwai-pau’s district and gave it to Kyouk-kai; and before these troubles commenced, he had signified his intention to ordain another man and send him to administer the ordnances in another part of Pwai-pau’s field. To this course, which was well known to all the Missionaries, no exception was taken till these contentions arose. No Missionary has done so much to make the Karen churches and their Ministers independent and place them on a Scriptural basis as Dr. Mason and the representation to the contrary is a“cruel calumny.”
A CRUEL CALUMNY
Shortly before the meeting of the Paku Association in January 1863, Mr Mason in his evening walk, met Kya-pau, a Karen Assistant, coming to the Association with his people. After the usual salutations, the Assistant, un-suggested, said to Mr Mason: “Shall I bring you the contributions of the congregation?” Mr Mason replied in the affirmative and the Assistant said “Well I will bring them.”
He did not bring them however and teacher Pwai-pau told Mr Mason that he paid them, three rupees to Mr Cross, adding “and I reproved him severely for it.” Mr Mason therefore said that Mr Cross has turned three rupees out of its proper course to himself.” Because its proper course was to go where it has been promised. This Mr Cross’s Council is pleased to call “ a cruel calumny.”
A FALSE CHARGE
The Council say Mr Mason “By his circular letter to the Karens, turned 1446 rupees out of its ordinary course.” The contributions had always been paid into the hands of Mr Mason, so it was not directing them out of their “ordinary course” to ask that the money should continue to be paid to him.
The money had always been appropriated to the Institute schools, which the Chief’s were all pledged to support and no portion of it had ever been voted to Mr Cross; so in asking that the money should be again appropriated to those schools, the money was not directed out of its “ordinary course.”
A new state of things however having arisen new arrangements were in some measure necessary: and to prevent an unseemly contention for money in the meeting of the Association, the separate churches and congregations were asked to designate the object of their contributions themselves, as is done in America, and not leave them to be designated by the Association. This measure was adopted only to avoid a scandalous contention before the Native Christians for money, which Mr Cross appeared as anxious to get up, as Mr Mason was to avoid. The contributions would undoubtedly have been appropriated at the Association as they were at the villages; but AB OVO, the motto of these men seems to have been, the greatest possible scandal to religion from the least possible occasion; and they have done their utmost to make Christianity a SHAM before the Natives and Missionaries a bye word among Europeans.
WORDS OF WISDON
“Any investigation or settlement,” writes Dr. Warren, Secretary to the A.B.M. Union, on hearing of the Toungoo Ex. parte Council, “that does not take in all parties and indeed all the prominent points in the case will, from the nature of the case, only aggravate the difficulty.”
Here is a sentiment with the ring of equity in it, and grants all we ask. It is the echo from America of the language in our midst that the Toungoo council was “AN OUTRAGE ON PUBLIC DECENCY” and renders quite harmless the poison stings, so warily prepared, of their unjust decisions.
The papers in the interests of this Council have tried hard to foist it upon the public as “a Deputation” from “the Executive Committee of the American Baptist Missionary Union.” We have just received a letter from the Cor. Secretary, Dr. Warren, who writes: “Everything touching this matter has originated and been carried out on your side of the globe, without suggestion, hint or advice from this side.”
Judges, when they sum up, are guided in their decisions by the evidence. “The Council” having usurped this character, ought in common decency to have gone through the same forms; but without any evidence to sustain them in the previous 106 pages of printed “Minutes” they come in their “decision” with the statement concerning Dr. Mason that, “In regard to Mr Bixby, he has denounced him – forbidden the Karens to associate or receive instruction from him.”
There is not a particle of evidence to support this charge in the whole pamphlet and as a matter of fact, Dr. Mason is not aware that he ever denounced Mr Bixby to the Karens or forbid them from associating with him.
“Even in the science of singing,” they add, and refer to Mr Bixby’s testimony. He says on page 32 “the young men of Mr Cross’ Karen school commenced coming to my house to sing on the first day of September and closed in the early part of October 1862. They were forbidden to come to me on the first Monday in October by Dr. Mason.”
Now Dr. Mason never spoke to them on the subject. Whatever he did in the matter he did through the agency of Mr Cross. Dr. Mason remarked in conversation when all were present, that it would be better for the maintenance of peace that we should keep our departments of labour separate, that if the Shan Missionaries and the Karen Missionaries were mixed up together, there would be quarrelling as there had been a Maulmain, when the Burman and Karen Missionaries were associated together as one mission. The contentions were so great that the Ex. Committee had to separate them and make them two independent missions.
He had in mind too that Mr Bixby had had trouble with his associates in Maulmain and had had trouble among the returned Missionaries in America and trouble was anticipated in Toungoo if he were allowed to mix himself up with the Karens. Mr Mason therefore proposed to Mr Cross that he should not send over his pupils to Mr Bixby anymore and Mr Cross assented. In a note dated October 29th Mr Cross wrote “After what has been said by Mr Mason, I shall not put any of my pupils under Mr Bixby’s instruction until Mr Mason is willing I should.”
This is the way Dr. Mason “denounced” Mr Bixby and forbid the Karens from coming to him. Unless he is very much mistaken, he never uttered one word to the Karens. The whole thing was done through Mr Cross and if there were any un-courteous language in the case, Mr Cross alone is responsible for it.
That Dr. Mason judged wisely in anticipating interference in the Karen mission, if Mr Bixby were allowed to mix himself up with the Karens, has been amply proven by subsequent developments. At the very time the public are reading in the papers: “The Rev’d. Mr Bixby is also in the Shan States,” he is quietly seated at home teaching Bghai Karen boys Burmese! and he has succeeded, we hear, in inducing a Bghai Chief to dismiss his Karen teacher and take from Mr Bixby a Burmese teacher in his place.
This is turning back the progress of Karen education thirty years, to the time when there being no Karen books, we taught the Karens Burmese. Since the Toungoo Mission was commenced, the Bghai dialect has been reduced to writing and more than Five Thousand rupees expended on Bghai books, all of which, so far as Mr Bixby’s efforts go, are to be thrown away as waste paper and the Burmese language and literature are to be substituted in their stead.
Mr Bixby says on page 48; “I came to Toungoo in May of 1861. Dr. Mason received me cordially and treated me very kindly. For more than one year he entered into all my plans for labour, counselled me and aided me with money.” And why the change in Dr. Mason? Because, as he told him in the presence of several members of the Council, “There would have been no trouble between us and Mr Cross but for you. We should have settled the difficulty about the “God-Language” quietly between ourselves. I consider you as the occasion of all our difficulties.” Very likely he was. “Very likely he was,” observed Dr. Kincaid, “It is owing to Mr Bixby’s superabundant zeal!”
MORE CHARGES WITHOUT EVIDENCE
“Capital way” says Mr Cross on page 86, “to use money begged for the support of preachers to buy 21 Burman houses.”
Here is a charge against Mr Mason of having applied money contributed for preachers to other objects and though perhaps the most serious of the many falsehoods told about him in this pamphlet, yet it is received and printed by these Judges, without evidence offered or asked for All said on the subject is in the sentence quotes above.
After all that Mr Cross has said and done, we are not surprised at anything he may say or do but we must confess to some astonishment that Christian men, preachers of truth and righteousness, who have taken upon themselves the character of Judges, should be so lost to all ideas of justice and propriety, as to take up such wanton charges against an associate without a word of evidence to sustain them and print them and send them forth to the world.
For thirty three successive years Mr Mason had had funds committed to his charge to expend on assistants and not a whisper had ever been utter to his disparagement in their distribution but at the end of that time, Mr Cross quarrels with Mr Mason and rises up in an assembly where Mr Mason is not allowed to be present with this nude charge on his lips and the Council receive it unquestioned, print it in their Minutes and sent it to the four winds. Then, for the first time, Mr Mason learns to his surprise that such a charge had been brought against him.
Here are the facts: About the time these houses were purchased, a gentleman sent Mr Mason a draft of Rs. 600 and after designating Rs. 362, he added: “The balance Rs. 238, ENTIRELY AT YOUR DISCRETION: for yourself or mission work,” underscored as above. This money paid for the houses, excepting a small balance met by similar funds.
Was buying 21 Burman houses to help Mrs Mason in her good work of educating and civilising the Karens, misappropriating these funds – ENTIRELY AT YOUR DISCRETION?
TOUNGOO KAREN MISSION
There are two Associations in Toungoo, one on the south of Thoukyekhat river and the other north of it, one for the Paku Maunepgha and Wewa, called the Paku Association and the other for the Bghai Mopga and Gaikho, called the Bghai Association. These Associations meet annually in January or February and each Christian congregation send a letter and delegates to the meeting. The following is a specimen of the briefest of these reports.
“To all assembled at the village of Maihtai, we will tell you a word concerning ourselves.
Dear Brethren, through the grace of God, we have met with nothing to make us faint. We have been happy this year. Everyone has harvested paddy enough for his consumption. We entreat all the members of the association to pray that our strength may be increased.
During the year, 23 have been baptised and there have been no exclusions, suspensions, or restorations. Seven persons have died, none of whom were members of the church and there have been fourteen births but five of the children have died. There are 37 members of the church and there were 17 pupils in school this year. The contributions to the teacher were in money Rs. 4:4, paddy 15 baskets, silk thread half a viss and two Shan boxes. May God bless the teachers and all the members of the Association.
Ordained Preachers – 6, Un-ordained Preachers –110, Stations – 134, Village Schools – 96 .... ....
Those who have foul hearts are not scrupulous in the use of foul epithets yet we rarely find persons call blasphemers, It is a term so foul and fearful that few allow it to escape their lips.... On the 17th November 1862, Messrs. Cross and Bixby published of Mrs Mason “She holds and propagates doctrines – directly blasphemous in their nature.” They accompanied the charge to their correspondents with the evidence on which they relief to sustain it. On the 30th of November 1863, the Ex. Committee of the A.B.M. Union wrote in reply. “The charge of blasphemy, for instance, is not well sustained, while that of disloyalty to the civil authority was peculiarly unhappy.”
With the date of September 20th 1863, the Secretary of the Woman’s Mission Society of Boston, wrote to a member of the party, “As to the heresy and blasphemy you seem to think is proved by quotations from the letters you sent, we must beg leave to say, we have failed to find the proof in the documents forwarded. Here are divergencies from the usual modes of thought and the stereotyped manner of expressing those thoughts; but in the investigation of either religious or scientific truth each mind has its own particular lens, so to speak, through which that truth is conveyed and finds corresponding modes of expression. We are therefore constrained to say that if you found your proof of heresy and blasphemy on the documents you forwarded, the foundation is weak indeed.
On behalf of the Woman’s Missionary Society of Boston, Mass.”
Were Christian missionaries constrained to bring charges against an associate, it would be expected of them that the charges if they erred at all, would err on the side of charity and that there would be irrefragable evidence to establish them, yet here are these men, with their eyes uplifted towards heaven, charging Mrs Mason with blasphemy, the greatest of sins against God and of exciting the people to rebellion, the greatest of crimes against Government; both of which charges, after full and thorough examination by Religious Societies on the one and by Government on the other, have been pronounced groundless.
Referring to the Council, a correspondent writes: “Many men are often tried, when such a trial, from the [constitution of] the tribunal CAN have but one issue, quite irrespective of the points or strength of the defence; as old Joe Brown by his Southern captors. – The foregone decision which her [i.e. Mrs Mason] arraigners would arrive at, was so clear, that the verdict was DE FACTO registered before the charge was made.”
Is there another instance in the whole history of modern missions, so like a reproduction of the case of Naboth as this? “They proclaimed a fat and set Naboth on high among the people and there came in two men, children of Belial and sat before him and the men of Belial witnessed against him even against Naboth in the presence of the people saying. Naboth did blaspheme God and King. Then they carried him forth out of the city and stoned him with stones that he died.”
From one of the original eight villages called Deu-den there was formed the village of ... Peace was finally concluded when La-quai gave Bo-gyee six kyee-zees and Bo-gyee released La-quai’s wife and children and agreed to pay tribute as usual. Thus matters stood in 1853, the year the English took possession, when La-quai was continued in his appointment and things went on smoothly for a few years, but early in 1857, soon after Capt. D’Oyly took charge of the province, the Gai-khos made a raid on a Bghai village, but Capt. D’Oyly was on the spot immediately and he crushed the spirit of revolt at once.
Capt. D’Oyly by his rapid movements, his personal presence, his fearless bearing and considerate treatment, was peculiarly well adapted to deal with turbulent wild tribes. He was always successful and while feared by the strong was beloved by the weak... They were quiet all the time Capt. D’Oyly remained but commenced their raids on the Bghais again briefly on his departure.
Nothing shows the ANIMUS of this Council clearer than the attempt to get up a charge against Dr. Mason that he taught the Sun was God. There was not a man on the Council, the accusers included, who did not believe that the charge was as false as wilful murder would have been. But it answered the purpose of those who brought it. It injured his character with the unreasoning mobility at home. The more absurd the charge, the more acceptable to a certain class, because it feeds the appetite for wonders. They crave incredible things as the drunkard craves strong drink. They love to be bewildered.
Letters running over with sympathy were written from America, urging him to quietly leave the field and lamenting that a man who had preached the Gospel so many years and translated the Bible and done many other wonderful works, should at last “be left to teach the Karens that the Sun in the heavens is God. A system of idolatry such as their fathers never heard of.”
It is to no purpose to say now the charge was not made out. A missionary, like Cesar’s wife, if he is not above suspicion, must suffer guilty or not guilty equally the same. People are too much occupied with their own affairs and there is too much scandal abroad for them to stop and examine accurately into the truth or falsehood of every report they hear. This charge of teaching Sabianism to the Karens was fabricated out of three Karen words, nothing more, and those words a quotation from the Bible, Ps 84: 12, which reads in the English version “God is a Sun.” It illustrates Fouche’s remark “Give me three words of a man’s writing and I will hang him.”
The circumstances were these: Mrs Mason was exhibiting the magic lantern one evening in the Institute to her school and others. Mr Cross had the good taste to interrupt her. What would be thought of a clergyman in London or New York, who should go to an exhibition and in the midst of it should interrupt the proceedings with a railing accusation against the exhibitor for something that he charged him with having written? This was Mr Cross’s course. He asserted over and over again in the most boisterous manner that Mrs Mason had written the Sun was God, without any qualifying words whatever; which Mrs Mason denied.
To show the absurdity of the idea that she intended to say the Sun was really God, even if she used the language attributed to her, Dr. Mason quoted the 84th Psalm, where similar language is used. It was the ARGUMENTUM AD ABSURDUM – If Mrs Mason’s language teaches the Sun is really God then the language of the Bible teaches that the Sun is God; which is absurd. So he was understood. The primitive Christians were charged by the heathen with being cannibals because they spoke of eating the body and blood of Christ in the Holy Communion and the charge is parallel and quite as legitimate as that Dr. or Mrs Mason taught the Sun was God from the figurative and scriptural language they used.
Still, three words had been uttered and there was enough out of which to construct a charge and we have in the Minutes Mr Cross’s statement and Mrs Cross’s statement and out of “a very large evening meeting” three Karens are induced to come with their statements. No two of the five statement agree and all differ from the truth. Words are reported as said which were not said and words were used which are not reported. However, Mrs Cross’s statement of facts, so far as they pertain to Mr Cross is quite accurate except where she reports he said “I did not write thus” when he said “Mr Wylie did not write thus,”! which is no doubt a mistake and except, in common with all that quote the passage, she uses the definite article and renders “God is THE SUN” where there is no article in Karen, but reads “God is Sun [and shield]” This is an important error known to every Karen scholar on the Council.
There is no article in the Hebrew and therefore nothing to represent an article was used in Karen. This is in accordance with the best versions. The German language had two articles, like the English, but neither is used in this passage, by either Luther or De Wette. Luther renders “Gott, der Herr, ist Sonne [und schild]” and De Wette “Sonne [und schild] ist Jehova Gott,” like the Vulgate SOL ET SCUTUM DOMINUS DEUS.
When the examination was going on before the Council and a Karen teacher had been brought up to say he “did not understand” the language a Bghai Assistant present spoke up and said “it is a figure, everyone knows and if teacher Pwaipan does not understand that, he is not fit for an ordained preacher.” This remark however does not appear in the Minutes. It would be too much to expect it should as it would have proven that the whole investigation was the merest FARCE.
A like wrong is done to Mrs Mason. She was charged with having written “The Sun is God” without any qualifying word and when she denied having used that language a voice called out “Yes you did and I have it in your own hand at home,” but when asked to produce it the reply was “I was mistaken in the exact words of your document, as I had not read it over for some time. The words are these “The sun represents the Son of God as we know Son and Sun have the same root.”
Nor does this appear on the Minutes. How should it? That would have proven that Mr Cross had brought a grave charge against Mrs Mason before a large Karen assembly, which he had to confess was false, while the Council came up committed to Mr Cross.
It must never be forgotten that the secretary of the Council wrote up to a Karen before their arrival, “we must say to you concerning teacher and Mama Mason, that we the other American teachers must really withdraw the right hand of fellowship from them. Don’t think that you are under teacher Mason. You ought not to go under him, you ought not to listen to his erroneous teachings. But in all things obey only teacher Cross.”
THE PALI LANGUAGE
Pali is the sacred language of three hundred millions of Buddhists, more than a third of the human race.... The Burmese books have as many Pali words in them as the English have Latin and yet we have neither Grammar, Dictionary not even a Vocabulary of the language. Here then is a wide and a vacant niche in literature which we propose to occupy, if not to fill. Prospectus :
Preparing for publication at the Toungoo Karen Institute Press, under the patronage of The Asiatic Society of Bengal.
CHRESTOMATHY & VOCABULARY
Francis Mason, D.D.
Member Of The Royal Asiatic Society
And American Oriental Society
On The Basis Of Kachchayan
CHRESTOMATHY & VOCABULARY
Francis Mason, D.D.
Member Of The Royal Asiatic Society
And American Oriental Society
On The Basis Of Kachchayan
The manuscript has been approved by a Committee of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and approved for publication in their Bibliotheca Indica....
KAREN MORNING STAR
In 1842 we commended a Karen Monthly in Tavoy and named it the Morning Star. It was the first native publication in China-India. Its object was to help the Karens onward and upward in anything and everything pertaining to their interest temporal and spiritual. The paper has so retrograded that for several months past every number has had some scurrilous article or another abusing the founder of the paper, charging him with having “apostatized” with “deceiving ALL the people” with “printing lies” and many other things, among which, take the following.
In the May number it is said “Teacher Mason and Mama Mason took by force teacher Cross’s house” or in other words “robbed teacher Cross of his house.” The writer not satisfied with the Karen word for the idea, combines with it the Burmese Lu, which is defined in Judson’s dictionary “to pull from another, to take by force, plunder.” Now we shall be glad if the Editors of that paper did not know that 1. The house was not Mr Cross’s house but built by Mr Cross for the Karens who had paid for it in part, as his own written statements prove. 2. When Messrs. Cross and Bixby went to the Commissioner Col. Sparks and asked him, to turn Mrs Mason out of the Institution building and off the Institute land, Col. Sparks decided that Mr cross could not remain on the Institute land without Mrs Mason’s consent. 3. Mr Cross determined after receiving Col. Spark’s final decision to leave the house voluntarily. 4. Mrs Mason paid to Mr Cross all the money he had expended on the compound due to him from the Karens, amounting to Rs. 2457:12:6 but had she left him to go to law, which is his habit against his fellow labourers, he could not have recovered a single rupee because he came on to the land without her permission or the permission of the Society of which she is Trustee.
In the face of all these facts the “Mission Press” publishes to the whole Karen world between the Southern Cross and the North Pole that Mr and Mrs Mason “plundered Mr Cross of his house!” Should Mrs Mason retort on her enemies and bring a criminal action against them for defamation of character they would only meet their deserts. This however we shall not do but we will patronise the Morning Star no longer and this month we present our readers with a specimen of “The Pole Star” the work of Bghais men that when we came to Toungoo were deemed savages. Bghais wrote the articles, Bghais set them up, a Bghai and a Mopg will do the press work and Bghaid will distribute the type. This is a part of the education the Karens get at the Institute.
A correspondent complains that we publish only one side. We refer him for the other side to the “Minutes” we are reviewing and to the Rangoon, Maulmain, Madras, Serampore and New York papers.
An old friend writes for information from Guernsey, knowing nothing but what he has seen in the Friend of India. We shall send him our Sheet from the beginning to correct the prejudiced and erroneous statement of that Journal.
A letter from Mr Bixby appeared recently in one of the Maulmain papers and PRO DEO ET ECCLESLA we wrote a reply, exposing its insidious and deceptive statement. After the manner of many others, who have printed Messrs. Cross and Bixby’s misrepresentation and falsehoods, the Editor rejected our communication. He wrote “ Mr Bixby’s statements are refuted by native testimony. If Dr. Mason will write from his own personal knowledge we shall be glad to give such a prominent place in the Observer.”
At the beginning of these troubles, Dr. Mason spoke and wrote from “personal knowledge” and then he was met by Mr Bixby with native testimony, who was the very first to use it. This is proven by his printed letter in the Rangoon Times of the 15th August 1863. He there writes that he went to see Dr. Mason and “he was greatly offended and said I was dishonourable for taking the testimony of natives against an associate.” Had not he and Mr Cross introduced it, native testimony would never have been brought into these disputes. But what Dr. Mason testified to from his own “personal knowledge” and Mrs Mason stated from her “personal knowledge” were set at nought in comparison with the testimony of a native woman as related by Mr Bixby and it turned out in the end that the women never gave the testimony attributed to her.
Mr Bixby charged Mrs Mason in my presence, in September or October 1862, with teaching her peculiar ideas on letters to her Burmese Bible woman and giving her a paper teaching them, to carry out among the Burmese women after she has promised to teach them to the natives no more. I promptly interposed and told him it was not true because I had the means of knowing that in the interval Mrs Mason’s communications with the woman had been very slight and with one or two brief exceptions, had been made in my hearing, I often acting as interpreter.
Months after this interview, finding that Mr Bixby continued to repeat this falsehood I again in conversation endeavoured to correct him, explaining that he had been mistaken in the character of the paper which Mrs Mason gave to the woman who would tell him so herself, if he asked her. Here then was my positive statement and Mrs Mason’s positive statement, yet both were rejected for this so called native testimony, which was not even given by a native but manufactured by Mr Bixby himself.
Several weeks after the interview alluded to above, someone with Mr Bixby’s cognizance published in the Friend of India of 12th March 1864 “Mrs Mason endeavoured to reduce the doctrines of her system to writing in the native languages – one of the papers contained Mrs Mason’s notions about the Burmese cock and the names of certain sacred persons of old etc., this paper Mrs Mason sent out daily by her only Bible Reader. It is true Mrs Mason has denied this but the Bible Reader herself testified to the fact before persons fully competent to understand her.”
Here we see native testimony received in preference to Mrs Mason’s testimony too, that the woman had repeatedly denied giving long before this was printed and which she denied again before witnesses after it was printed and her husband also declared that she never carried out any such paper. Add to all this, she denied every having been given such a paper by Mrs Mason before the Council, when brought as one of the witnesses for the prosecution. On page 38 of the Minutes we read that she stated “Dr. Mason made a figure with numerals and asked me if Mrs Mason had given me a paper containing that figure? I replied that Mrs Mason had never given me such a paper.”
Yet this is the paper the Friend of India says Mrs Mason “sent out daily by her only Burmese Bible Reader.” Thus Mr Bixby’s own witness testified against him before the Council. And yet the Council saw nothing to censure in his printing falsehoods proven to be falsehoods by persons in his own employ.
The Council could gravely record native testimony against Mrs Mason from Kyouk-kai, who made no pretentions to knowing anything of the matter himself. It came to him as a report, an ON DIT, MAN SAGT, LOO MYA PYAH “Tah To told him this, who is not present,” (see Minutes page 23) and who told Tah To? No one knows. For ought that appears to the contrary, on the record, the story might have passed through twenty others before it reached Tah To and whether Tah To and his informants were trustworthy or not there is no testimony. Did anyone ever read of any Court accepting and recording such evidence before and that too against an absent defendant, who had been refused permission to be present? Yet such native testimony as this is considered worthy of printing and posting to every part of the civilised world but when we bring forward written testimony from native preachers, eye and ear witnesses, to meet Mr Bixby’s untruthful statement, his friends refuse to publish our replies because “Mr Bixby’s statement are refuted by native testimony!”
The Friend of India had no objections to printing native testimony AGAINST Mrs Mason when it is distinctly stated in the same paragraph that its truthfulness was denied by Mrs Mason but when we wrest our enemy’s arms out of his hands and attempt to use them on him his friends cry out “Ah you are using unfair weapons! Our personal statement are rejected for Mr Bixby’s reported native testimony, that no native ever gave, and when we produce well authenticated native evidence, that is rejected because it is native!
We say to our cavillers as Our Lord said to his “We have piped unto you and you have not danced, we have mourned unto you and you have not lamented.”
A gentleman writing from England says “it is grievous to me to think of the sad contentions at Toungoo. I still feel as I did, as to Mr Cross’s letter to the Friend and the attack on Mrs Mason for sedition, that if the Council took up the matters in issue they should have treated that matter as one of the greatest gravity and should have dealt with it as quite as great an offence as Mrs Mason’s “God language””
“I wish to convey to you the assurance of my warm brotherly sympathy and of my sorrow that you should be compelled to turn aside from your great work to answer attacks and strive with trouble that seem to be designed by the Great Enemy of all saving work, simply as hindrances to the free course of the Gospel. How you must sometimes long for the end when the wicked will cease to trouble and the weary be at rest! Then the fruit of your work will I believe remain and the fruit of Mrs Mason’s work too, when all cavilling will be hushed forever.” The warm brotherly sympathy of the writer, whose name is a Host in the Christian world, is enough to counterbalance all the “cavilling” so far as our personal feelings are concerned.
WORDS AND WORKS
The President of the Woman’s Union Missionary Society writes to Mrs Mason:
"I cannot tell you how deeply I have felt for you in this hour of your great trial. Like Job, you have been tried and like him, you have proved yourself one that feared God and eschewed evil. You have done too much to overthrow Satan’s kingdom for him to let you go on undisturbed – I believe this has been permitted to bring your work out to the notice of the public in order to let the world see the Christian world that there is other work to be done in the mission field besides preaching.
As works are better than words, I will add that I am making articles for a box for you. I told our ladies if they would make an extra donation of fifty dollars to you that I would give fifty more and we would send you out some things hoping that you would thus be enabled to meet some of the debts which I feared might have been brought upon you by Messrs. Cross and Bixby.”
Between A.D. 1502 and 1510, according to different historians, about the time Columbus was making his fourth voyage and the Portuguese were discovering St. Helena and Henry the Seventh was building his famous Chapel in Westminster Abbey, when Cardinal Wolsey was only Dean of Lincoln and Knox and Calvin were little children, King Zeyathura was building the city of Ketumatie [i.e. possessed of Royal Banner] the present town of Toungoo. This last name was derived from a previous city built in the interior on a mountain spur and is in no way applicable to the present town which is on a alluvial plain.
The Burmese books state that the walls were a mile from north to south and about a mile and a half from east to west, that they were twenty feet high and 38,707,200 bricks and 12,995 baskets of mortar were used in their construction. To every seven cubits were twenty workmen and 48,000 men were employed on the whole wall...
Soon after the city was built, King Zeyathura was involved in a war with Narapati King of Ava... ... and he defeated Narapati with great loss.
At the death of Zeyathura A.D. 1531, his son ascended the throne under the name of Mentata, who conquered Pegu and removed his seat of Government to that city. This is the King to whom Yule refers, who says; “In 1544, when Martaban was besieged by Para Mandara (as he is called by the Portuguese) King of Burmas (i.e. of Toungoo) we find among his force galleys manned by Portuguese under John Cayero and five years later when the same Prince invaded Siam and attacked the Capital, he had with him 180 Portuguese under James Suarez de Melo.” While this Prince... ...
... but before he arrived Toungoo had been taken and Natshen with all his court carried captive to Syriam A.D. 1612. In the same year the King of Ave took Syriam and “having done in it as he wished,” returned with many captives. Synchronising nearly again with Burmese history, Yule writes “In 1613, the King of Ava appeared in the field and with a large army besieged de Brito in Sirian, where the Portuguese leader made a desperate defence. At last de Brito was betrayed and carried to the King who caused him to be spitted or impaled and set up on an eminence overlooking the fort." The Burmese history passes on to A.D. 1637...
On the 28th September 1864 at five minutes before seven o’clock by the Cantonment time, a severe shock of an earthquake was felt in Toungoo. There were two shocks following each other in rapid succession. They struck the house in which we were sitting, on the north side, precisely as a wave of the sea strikes a ship, and we felt for a moment the same sensation of dizziness, as on shipboard.
The wave rolled on to the south with a discernible interval between blow on the northern and southern rows of posts, it is believed as much as half a second and as these rows of posts are eighty feet apart, the wave could not have travelled at more than two miles a minute, one fourth the rate of sound. The shocks were accompanies by a subterranean rumbling noise, like a rapid passage of a heavy wagon on a stone pavement.
Within the last half a dozen years, two other very similar shocks have been felt, all three belonging to the class of earthquakes in which the motion is horizontal. The Karens say that about twenty seven years ago, there was a destructive earthquake throughout the province of Toungoo and many pagodas were thrown down. One of the “Seven Pagodas” east of the city a few miles, fell down and exposed in its ruins a great amount of treasure which some were disposed to appropriate but were prevented by the Burmans who speedily rebuilt the pagoda. On the mountains, twenty five or thirty miles east of Toungoo, the earth opened in several places, threw out water and then closed up again. Shocks continued at intervals for three days.
This was undoubtedly the earthquake of 23rd March 1839, which Yule says shattered every brick building in Ava. It was felt as far south as Tavoy, but there was no subterranean noise and no rolling horizontal wave. The motion appeared to act perpendicularly, which is characteristic of the most destructive class of earthquakes.
Bamboos, some species at least, like certain palms, flower and bear fruit once and then die.... In the year of bearing fruit the whole surface of the ground in the bamboo jungles is covered with it and it is sometimes gathered and eaten by the Karens, like rice, but it is said to be the means of drawing large numbers of rats, that not content with the bamboo seeds, eat the young paddy and hence an extensive inflorescence of bamboo is looked upon with great apprehension by the Karens. There are numerous species or varieties in the forests and they do not all bear fruit at the same time. When a species not very extensively diffused produces its fruit, comparatively few rats appear but at this time there is a species in fruit which covers many square miles on the eastern mountains and the Karens are apprehensive that their paddy fields will be overrun and destroyed next year by hordes of rats.
In 1858 and 1859 the Christian Karens on the mountains between Toungoo and Prome, lost all their crops and about the same time the rats appeared in immense numbers in the Tavoy and Mergui districts, where they had certainly not been seen before since 1830, nor had there been within that period any extensive inflorescence of bamboos. The Karens of Tavoy supposed that the rats came from the Siamese territories and said that the rats swam across the Tenasserim in thick columns so abundant that a boat in passing through caught bushels of them.
The Karens on the eastern mountains suppose that the rats will come up from the Shwegyen district but the rat seems to be the common white bellied species which visits their granaries constantly and we are disposed to believe that they are in the midst now waiting to be attracted together by an abundance of food and that one reason why the rats have everything their own way is owing to the Karens not keeping cats. Many villages have not a cat in them.
To meet the scourge we recommended the Karens to carry out cats to their mountains and tell them that the Dutch were driven out of Mauritius by the devastations of the rats they found there but it was re-occupied by the French who took large numbers of cats with them that completely overcame the rats and it is now one of the most productive islands in the world.