Newell, Harriet

Newell, Harriet the wife of Samuel Newell (q.v.) and daughter of Moses Atwood, of Haverhill, Mass., a celebrated American female missionary, was born Oct. 10, 1793, and received an excellent education. She was naturally cheerful and unreserved, possessed a lively imagination and great sensibility, and at a very early age evinced a retentive memory and a taste for reading. Before the age of thirteen she received no particular or lasting impressions of religion, but was uniformly obedient, attentive, and affectionate. In the summer of 1806, while at a school at Bradford, she was the subject of those solid and serious impressions which laid the foundation of her Christian life. At the age of fifteen she made a profession of religion. When Mr. Newell, along with Messrs. Judson and others, offered himself a missionary to the General Association at Bradford, and was about to sail for India, he asked Miss Atwood in marriage. Her own heart was prepared to quit her native land, and to endure the sufferings of a Christian among heathen people. She therefore readily determined to go, and sailed June 19,1812, for Calcutta. Finding on their arrival that the Bengal government would not grant them permission to reside within their territories, the missionaries chose different places of destination, and Mr. and Mrs. Newell proceeded to the Isle of France, Aug. 4 ensuing. There she employed herself assiduously and with earnestness in the promotion of her Redeemer's cause, and by her conduct and advice became an honorable and truly valuable member of society. The uniform piety and seriousness of her mind are forcibly displayed in her letters to her young friends and in her diary. Her health was delicate, but she bore indisposition with that calmness and submission to the dictates of Providence which always signalized her character. She complained much of the want of humility, and lamented her deficiency in that Christian grace: "she longed for that meek and lowly spirit which Jesus exhibited in the days of his flesh." Mrs. Newell died of consumption Nov. 30, 1812. She departed in the peace and triumph of an eminent Christian. Her Life, written by Dr. Woods, to which are appended several of her letters and the sermon preached at her funeral, has passed through many editions in its English dress, and has also been translated into foreign languages. The cause of missions has been greatly promoted by the delineation of her character and the description of her sufferings. Says Dr. Whedon, of the Meth. Qua. Rev. (April, 1875, p. 346): "Both Samuel J. Mills and Harriet Newell perhaps accomplished more by their early death in the mission field than they would have done by the most efficient life. Their memories shed a sacredness over their work. There was a pathos in the life and death, especially, of Harriet Newell that touched the heart. The Church at home saw that her missionaries were capable of the most heroic self-sacrifice, and could meet death in triumph; and how could she shrink from the enterprise to which she was so evidently called?" See Jamieson, Cyclop. of Mod. Religious Biography, s.v.; Pierson, Amer. Miss. Memorial, s.v.; also Menmoirs of Harriet Newell, by Samuel Newell; Eddy, Daughters of the Cross; Heroines of the Missionary Enterprise; Women of Worth; Anderson, Hist. of the Missions of the A. B. C. FI. M. in India (Bost. 1874). (J. H.W.)

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