Mather, Robert Cotton (DNB00)

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MATHER, ROBERT COTTON, LL.D. (1808–1877), missionary, son of James Mather, congregational minister, was born at New Windsor, Manchester, on 8 Nov. 1808, and educated at the Edinburgh and Glasgow universities and Homerton College. After his ordination at Lendal Chapel, York, on 1 June 1833, he went to India as an agent of the London Missionary Society. He had the pastorate of the Union Chapel, Calcutta, for a few months, then removed to Benares, where he remained until May 1838, when he settled at Mirzapore. There he established a new mission, and in course of time gathered a flourishing Christian community, built schools and churches, founded the orphan school press, and started and edited a monthly journal in Hindustani. He was an excellent preacher in the native languages of Northern India, a successful administrator of the important mission which he founded, and an influential member of various associations of missionaries in India. He revised and edited the entire Bible in Hindustani, and in recognition of this work the university of Glasgow conferred on him the degree of LL.D. in 1862. He wrote many tracts and treatises in Hindu and Urdu, and among his English writings is one on ‘Christian Missions in India,’ London, 1858. He edited Sherring's ‘Indian Church during the Great Rebellion,’ 1859. He returned to England in 1873, after forty years' work in India, and subsequently published a commentary on the New Testament in Hindustani. At the time of his death, which took place at Torrington Park, Finchley, London, on 21 April 1877, he was engaged on a commentary on the Old Testament in the same language. His wife Elizabeth, born Sewell, ‘church member of Hew Court Chapel, Carey Street, London,’ was an industrious author, and published a Hindustani dictionary of the Bible. After Mather's death she joined the female mission at Mirzapore, and died 29 March 1879. Their youngest son, Dr. C. B. Mather, is now medical missionary in Tanganyika, Central Africa.

[Congregational Year Book, 1878, p. 325; Athenæum, 28 April 1877; Brit. Mus. Cat.; private information.]

C. W. S.