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THE district of Berbice formerly belonged to Holland; it is now a British possession. It is so called from a river of that name, which forms its western boundary, and which runs from north to south emptying itself into the Atlantic, fifty-seven miles to the eastward of the Demerara. This country lies on the north of South America, and is included in British Guiana, a tract of country probably about some 500 miles from north to south, and about 250 or 300 miles from east to west. George Town is the capital of this colony, and is situated on the Demerara river. New Amsterdam is a small town, situated on the Berbice. It was founded in 1796. Sugar, coffee, and cotton are the staple products of British Guiana, and, so rich is the soil, that these commodities might be increased to any extent.

The Rev. John Wray commenced his labours at New Amsterdam in the year 1812, and shortly afterwards succeeded in forming a church -a church of eleven members. He continued his labours here and in the surrounding district till 1837, when he was called to his rest, leaving behind him several large and flourishing churches. A new place of worship was opened in 1843. This building measures ninetyfour feet by fifty, and accommodates 1,200 adults, and from 200 to 300 children. Our engraving gives us a view of the interior of this building.


"WE are so glad you have come, Aunt Mary," exclaimed Jennie Riley, as, taking her aunt's hand, she escorted her to a seat in the midst of a merry group of girls, whose faces as well as words attested their welcome also.

"We chose this lovely hillside for our morning talk, because it is so shady and cool, and also because of the charming view of the country and sea," said Julia Monroe.

"Precisely the spot I should have chosen," said Aunt Mary, smiling upon her young friends as she seated herself upon the rustic seat near the trunk of the great oak, whose wide-spreading branches could have afforded shade sufficient for a much larger party than that now assembled round it. "I hope you have selected an interesting topic," she continued, "otherwise the beauty about us will distract our attention, and we shall be poor listeners."

A Talk about India.


"We have chosen India," said May Noteware, speaking for the company. "Jennie proposed it. We put it to vote, and the 'ayes' had it. But if you prefer any other subject, Aunt Mary—"

"That suits me very well," said Aunt Mary. "I have always liked to hear and read about India, and particularly since one of my friends, Mrs. Gunn, was a missionary there. The past history of that country, its present rapid progress, and its prospects for future greatness, all interest me very much. So, as soon as you are ready, girls, we will begin; and don't forget that all are expected to contribute whatever information upon the subject they have.”

While the girls are arranging themselves, so that each can easily hear and be heard, we will take the opportunity to tell our readers that some of the bright, happy group are Aunt Mary's nieces and summer guests, and the others are her country neighbours, and that they all assemble, every morning, either in some part of Aunt Mary's delightful grounds, or on the piazza, and on dull mornings in her cosy library, for conversation, which they all endeavour to make instructive as well as interesting. Sometimes they choose the topic, and sometimes Aunt Mary does.

"I am going to hurry, and give one bit of information, for fear I shall have no other to give," said Ella Monroe," although I dare say you all know that India is situated on a peninsula, in the southern part of Asia, and that it is also called Hindostan."

“Yes, but there is another India, also on a peninsula, in the south of Asia, called Farther India," said Lottie Swan; "but which is the one we are to talk about ?" she asked.

"The western one, Hindostan, is the one I proposed," answered Jennie.

"Very well," said Aunt Mary. "That is the country which some geographers think was known in Solomon's time as Tarshish, and` which was famed for its spices, gold, and precious stones. But whether that be so or not, it is a land of great interest to the historian. Its inhabitants now are degraded, ignorant, and superstitious, but they were not always so. Long before our Saviour came to the earth, India was the seat of science and art. While Europe was in

a state of barbarism, in India mighty empires successively rose and fell."

"It seems strange to think of Europe, now so enlightened, as ever having been in a state of barbarism," said Lottie Swan.

"And just as strange," said Ella, "to think of a nation once learned and refined as India was, sinking into ignorance and superstition."

"The history of our world is full of just such changes," remarked Aunt Mary. "Nations appear to have, like individuals, their periods of infancy, from which they grow into knowledge and power. Then follow wealth and luxury, which engender vice and corruption, and thus bring about national decay and ruin.'

"Just as in the cases of Assyria, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, about which we have studied," observed Julia Monroe.

"I have read that the Hindoos, like the Chinese, claim a very great antiquity for their nation," observed May.

"Oh, yes, a wonderful one, said Aunt Mary. "They say their nation is four or five thousand millions of years old, and also, that in the early times their race used to live one hundred thousand years, and were thirty-five or forty feet in stature."

This claim was pronounced "quite absurd," and "perfectly ridiculous," by the young people, and Emma Swan inquired upon what the Hindoos pretended to base such extravagant statements.

"I think it would be difficult for them to produce proofs to confirm them," said Jennie, "for my father says that, according to geology, the earth has probably not been inhabited by man very many thousands of years, although the world itself may have been forming for countless ages."

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"They certainly can have no authentic records of such very remote periods," said Aunt Mary, "and as we have none, we may be excused for doubting their assertions on these points."

"Well, how old do you think their nation is ?" asked Lottie.

"That question I cannot answer," replied Aunt Mary. "Our knowledge of India and its people extends back only to a little more than three hundred years before the Christian era. Of its history, we learn that it was for about thirteen centuries under the rule of the Hindoos; that after that it passed into the possession of the Mohammedans and the Mogul emperors, and that it attained a degree of wealth and splendour unknown to any other nation existing at the time. Now it is held by the British crown."

"How did the English get possession of it," asked Ella.

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"I will tell you," answered Aunt Mary. "Soon after the discovery of America by Columbus, a passage to India, around the Cape of Good Hope, was discovered. This opened communication by sea be

A Talk about India.


tween Europe and Indis. The great wealth of Hindostan excited the cupidity of Europeans. In 1600 a commercial company was chartered in England, called the East India Company. This company gradually acquired a vast amount of wealth and power in India. It began to seize territory belonging to the native kings and princes, and continued its conquests, until it had acquired possession of all India, which it ruled with a merciless severity. Its only aim was to enrich itself, and it cared nothing for the interests of the millions of poor natives." "How mean!" exclaimed Lottie, indignantly, "to go to a country to make money, and then steal the whole country, and oppress its inhabitants!"

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Yes," responded Aunt Mary. "The story of the aggressions and dreadful crimes committed by the East India Company makes a sad record for the contemplation of a nation calling itself Christian. But, happily, the rule of that company has come to an end. Its injustice and cruelty towards the natives incited terrible revolts, and the British government, after gradually curtailing its powers, at last, about sixteen years ago, abolished the company altogether, and assumed itself the control of India. And now, a government, which has for its object the real welfare of India, has been established there. It has made very great progress, particularly within the last ten years, towards developing the material resources of the country, and in advancing the education of the natives."

"What are some of the ways in which the British government has benefited India ?" asked Lottie.

Aunt Mary enumerated some.

"It has made fine roads where there had been either very poor ones or none at all. It has introduced railroads and the telegraph. A journey which could not have been made in less than three months when Mrs. Gunn lived there, can now be accomplished in twenty-four hours. By means of these improvements distant provinces are brought into communication with each other, and exchange their produce and manufactures. Another very important benefit has been conferred upon the people by the introduction of canals, for the purpose of irrigating the land. They have two seasons in India, the wet and the dry. Rain, however, falls very unequally. Some years their crops are parched for want of rain; in other seasons they are destroyed by floods. In either case, great famines are occasioned, which cause the death of thousands. The canals carry a steady supply of water to the cultivated lands, and thus insure the safety of the crops."

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