William Carey - Obituary
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Dr. Carey was born August 17th, 1761, at Paulersbury, in Northamptonshire. His mother died when he was young. His father was Preceptor in the Established Church at Paulersbury. Though imperfectly brought up in the tenets of the Christian religion, his mind was not directed to the Saviour of the world by his father, who was at that time, unhappily, ignorant of the Saviour himself, but at the age of fifteen the subject of our memoir was apprenticed to a Shoe Maker in the village of Piddington, (ten miles from Paulersbury) and there, often held conversations with a fellow-apprentice, named John Ward, which first led him to reflect closely on his state as a sinner before God; and his occasional access to the ministration of the Rev. Thomas Scott, author of the Commentary on the Bible, and Pastor at Ravanstone, (a village a few miles distant,) tended greatly to increase his convictions of his fallen condition.
At length he met with the excellent Mr. Hall’s "Help to Zion’s Travellers," which did more towards giving him just ideas of himself, as a sinner, and in pointing out the way of salvation than all that he had ever read or heard before, and encouraged him, finally, to give himself up to the exclusive service of the Lord Jesus Christ. When he was about eighteen years old, left wholly to his own judgment, he thought he saw many things in the Established Church, in which he had hitherto been brought up, that he could not reconcile with the scriptures; and at length a sermon which he heard from Heb. xiii. 13—"Let us therefore go forth without the Camp bearing his reproach," led him at once to forsake it and cast lot with a few poor people near him who were of the Baptist denomination. Before he was twenty, a number of persons, in a village a few miles distant, came to him one sabbath, and urged him, as they were that day destitute of a minister, to attend and give an exhortation from the word of God.
With much reluctance and fear he complied with their desire, and they felt themselves so much instructed by his discourse from the scriptures that they asked him again, and again, till in a year or two be consented to become the pastor of the small Church at Moulton, where he continued, up to 1788, when he was prevailed upon to remove to Leicester. In the interval, he became acquainted with the Rev. John (afterwards Dr.) Ryland, then an assistant to his father in the Gospel ministry at Northampton, by whom he was soon after baptized: and about the same time with the Rev. John Sutcliff of Olney, whose Church he joined, and the Rev. Andrew Fuller of Kettering; who was, also, his senior by about seven years. Possessed of kindred minds these four pious men gradually framed a bond of union with one another, which was never interrupted in this life, and which eternity itself will never dissolve.—With these, with Mr. Thomas Scott, and with the Rev. Robert Hall of Arnsby, father of the late, Robert Hall of Bristol, the author of "Help to Zion’s, travellers" (whom he esteemed above all the rest as a minister,) Carey spent the first ten years of his Christian life to his unspeakable advantage. His desire for the salvation of the heathen appears to have sprung up in his own mind, without any fostering from without; for, as soon as that work appeared, he read Cook’s voyages, and the state of the Islanders in the South Seas, deeply impressing his mind, he was led into a train of thought which ended in the full conviction, that it was a duty binding on Christians now, as well as in the Apostles’ days, to carry the Gospel to the heathen in every part of the world. This conviction affected him so strongly that it became at length irrepressible, and he constantly conversed on the subject with such of his friends as appeared most eminent for spirituality of mind. Being one day at Birmingham about the year 1785, he mentioned his views to a few friends there; upon which one of them said, "If you will write your thoughts on this subject, I will be at the expense of bringing them through the press." Animated with this promise, Carey replied, "That if he could not prevail on some one else to undertake it he would attempt it himself." "Well," said his friend, "remember that I have your pledge from which you cannot recede."
On returning home, Carey mentioned the subject to his friends Fuller and Ryland, urging them to undertake the task; they respectively excused themselves and advised him to begin writing without delay, but not to print his thoughts immediately. It is probable, however, that he did this, for we find it said in the Periodical Accounts, that he wrote the article on missions as early as 1786. The Missionary feeling however appeared to gather strength in the minds of his three friends Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland, with whom originated those monthly prayer-meetings for the spread of the Gospel, both at home and abroad, which gradually spread wider and wider among the worshippers of the Saviour, till at length they now fill nearly the whole of the Christian world.—Two sermons were at length preached at a meeting of ministers at Clipstone, in April 1791.—One on "Jealousy for the Lord of Hosts," by Mr. Sutcliff, from 1st Kings, xix. 10, and another on the "Pernicious influence of delay in Religious concerns," by Mr. Fuller, from Haggai, i. 2. After these services Mr. Carey proposed it as a question for the ministers to discuss, "whether it be not practicable, and our bounden duty, to attempt something towards spreading the Gospel in the heathen world, and as the public services which included these two sermons had been attended with unusual solemnity, this question was managed by these ministers with earnest concern relative to exerting themselves for the enlargement of the Saviour’s kingdom.
The chief step then taken, however, was their unanimously agreeing to request that Mr. Carey would publish his thoughts on the subject of Missions, which had laid by him for more then five years.—These issued from the press in the beginning of 1792, and in the words of Fuller, "the author generously proposed to devote profits might arise from this publication to the use of a Missionary Society," whenever it should be formed.—This pamphlet, contains a short review of former undertakings for the conversion of the heathen, commencing with apostolic times, and continuing the survey to the attempts of Ziegenbalg and Groundler in 1707.—The review concludes with the following observations respecting Moravian Missions:—"But none of the moderns have equalled the Moravian brethren in this good work; they have sent Missions to Greenland, Labrador, and several of the West India Islands, which have been blessed for good.—They have likewise sent to Abyssinia in Africa." A brief but luminous survey of the present religious state of the world follows; and then, a section showing the practicability of something being done more than what is at present done for the conversion of the heathen.
To the whole, is added an inquiry into the duty of Christians in general on this subject, and what means ought to be used in order to promote the work.—It is altogether one of the most clear, concise and heart-stirring essays on Missions that was ever published.—At the annual Association of the Baptist Churches held at Northampton, May the 31st, 1792, Mr. Fuller says, brother Carey preached a very animating discourse from Isaiah, liv. 2, "Enlarge the place of thy Tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thy habitations, spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen they stakes;" in which he pressed two things in particular, as expository of lengthening our cords and strengthening our stakes; that we should expect great things; and that we should attempt great things. This sermon so affected the audience, that before the ministers parted, a resolution was passed that a plan should be prepared against the next minister’s meeting to be held at Kettering, for forming a Society in the Baptist denomination for propagating the Gospel among the heathen. This meeting was held at Kettering, October the 2nd, 1792,—but the whole day passed away, without any effort being made to form a Missionary Society, or even to bring the subject prominently forward.—At length, Carey grieved to the soul, took Fuller aside, and sharply remonstrating with him on his permitting the day thus to pass away without attempting any thing, begged him, if he intended to do nothing toward forming a Missionary Society, at once to say so, and not keep him any longer in suspense. Greatly moved by this, Fuller instantly called into Mr. Wallis’ parlour, as many of the ministers as then remained, and with eleven beside himself and Carey, gave existence to the Baptist Missionary Society. The fund then subscribed to commence this holy undertaking, amounted to thirteen pounds, two shillings, and six pence.
Thus after full nine years of anxious thought and exertion, had Carey the satisfaction of seeing a Society formed, with the express purpose of sending the Gospel to the heathen. In reviewing his conversion to God, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that he was indebted to Divine grace for a change of heart so thorough and lasting; in contemplating his being called to the ministry before he was twenty, and so greatly blessed therein, can we ascribe the fact to any thing less than the grace of God constraining him to declare to others what he himself had felt and handled of the word of life? since nothing less than Divine grace could have implanted in his mind that earnest desire after the salvation of the heathen, which lived and flourished amidst all the coldness of his brethren on the subject, until every obstacle being surmounted, he beheld a Missionary Society, formed among his dearest friends, which, small as it then appeared, was the forerunner of the London, the Church, and the Scottish Societies; and of all which have been subsequently formed in America; as well as on the continent of Europe. Surely the grace which was thus given to Carey, was not in vain; and the title of the father of Missions, so justly awarded to him, demanded on his part the deepest gratitude to the Father of mercies and the Redeemer of men.
It has been seen, that when Carey and his colleagues formed a Missionary Society, consisting of twelve persons beside himself, they had no specific object in view! That it was their duty to exert themselves for the conversion of the heathen, they felt with irresistible force; but to which part of the four hundred millions, whom Carey in his pamphlet had represented as not having yet heard the Gospel, they should turn their attention, they knew not. The Islands of the South Seas had at first attracted his attention; but it is now evident to us, that had he chosen that part of the world for his labours, the peculiar talent with which God had intrusted him, that of fitness to translate the sacred oracles, would have been almost buried—circumstances have since shown that India presented almost the only field in which this talent could be fully employed.
Perhaps some may ask, what fitness he could possess for acquiring languages, who had been trained up in such an humble sphere of life till the age of thirty-two, without even tasting those literary advantages enjoyed so fully by the Missionaries and Clergymen who now come forth to India? That his brethren deemed him possessed of such fitness, however, is evident from the language of Fuller in his "Narrative of the first Establishment of the Baptist Society," which he ascribed to the workings of his brother Carey’s mind for the preceding nine or ten years, in which he observes that his conversations, prayers, and sermons, were mostly accompanied with something relative to this subject; and adds:—"He possessed at the same time a great thirst for Geographical knowledge, and a remarkable aptitude at learning languages; so that his most intimate friends were, for several years past, induced to think that he was formed for some such peculiar undertaking, that he should have acquired a knowledge of the learned languages, while labouring with his hands to supply the wants of an increasing family, or faithfully discharging his ministry among an affectionate people, in a Church, (then at Leicester,) the number of which the Saviour, by his blessing on his pastoral labours, was pleased to double, in the four years he ministered to them, will appear singular to many." So fully capable was he of going forward alone, in the study of a language when once placed in the proper course, that he could be at no loss, after his acquaintance with Mr. Sutcliff and Dr. Ryland, both sufficiently familiar with Classical and Hebrew literature, and who as they found him so much more ready than themselves in acquiring languages, would compassionate his want of leisure, amidst the labours of his calling and the cares of a family, and naturally give him the best instructions in their power.
It was in these later four years of pastoral labour that he gave a proof of his power of acquiring a language, which filled Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland, with surprize. In their theological researches, their diligence in prosecuting which will sufficiently appear, if we recollect, that Fuller, about this time, published his various writings on Faith,) it was found desirable to have recourse to certain Dutch divines. How to do this was the difficulty; they were not found in an English dress, and neither Fuller, Sutcliff, nor Ryland, were willing to undertake the labour of learning Dutch merely to obtain this object. Carey, understanding the case, however, instantly sat down to the language of Holland, as he had to that of Rome, Greece, and Palestine, and in about three months, presented them, to their astonishment, with a translation of the author they so much desired to peruse.
It is manifest therefore, although he as yet knew it not, that Providence was training him up with a view to his giving the word of God in the classic language of India, aid its kindred and multifarious dialects. As yet, India was quite out of the thoughts of both Carey and his colleagues. Within a few months after their embryo Missionary Society was formed, Providence brought it before them. John Thomas, formerly Surgeon of the "Oxford" Indiaman, had gone out to India in his Medical capacity, as early as 1783. On his arrival in Calcutta, he who had been brought to the knowledge of the Saviour about two years previously, sought for religious people there; but finding none, at length put the following advertisement in the India Gazette of November 1st, 1783:—
"A plan is now forming for the more effectually spreading the knowledge of Jesus and his glorious gospel in and about Bengal; any serious persons of any denomination, rich or poor, high or low, who would heartily approve of, join in, or gladly forward such an undertaking, are hereby invited to give a small testimony of their inclination, that they may enjoy the satisfaction of forming a communion, the most useful, the most comfortable, and the most exalted in the world. Direct for A. B. C. to be left with the Editor."
To this the following answer was received the next day: "If A. B. C. will open a subscription for a translation of the New Testament into the Persian and Moorish languages, (under the direction of proper persons) he will meet with every assistance he can desire, and a competent number of subscribers to defray the expence." Who the writer of this note was Mr. Thomas was never able to discover; but he was able to do no more in that voyage, although on his second to Bengal, in 1786, in the same capacity, he found three or four Christian friends connected with the family of the late Charles Grant, Esq. who had not then left India; by these, and afterwards by Mr. Grant himself, he was received in the kindest manner; and on Mr. Grant’s removing from Malda to Calcutta, Mr. Thomas preached in his house every Sunday evening. Soon after, a friend gave him to understand that Mr. Grant wished him to stay in the country, to learn the language, and preach the Gospel to the Hindoos. To this he felt averse at first, but after "much prayer, and many tears," to use his own expression, he gave himself up to this work, and God removed difficulties out of the way, and encouraged him by adding two seals to his first labours, in the conversion of two Europeans, previously complete deists.
He now began to translate the scriptures into Bengalee, and actually finished Matthew, and circulated it in manuscript; for respecting it he says in his letter to Mr. Fuller, "There are several Brahmins who have the book of Matthew in their hands, who read it in their families and among their friends, whom, I have never seen." At the end of 1791, Mr. Thomas returned to Britain, with the hope of obtaining help in this good work, both as to men and money. This, coming to the ears of Carey and his friends, they requested Mr. Fuller to write to Mr. Thomas, and in reply to the request a letter was written (from which these particulars are extracted) fully acquiescing in their Missionary plans. The infant Missionary Society deemed this a call to Bengal: and the inquiry now was, who will go to India with Mr. Thomas?
No one of Carey’s friends offered; but on the question being put to him, (now in his thirty-second year, with a wife, and three children, and Mrs. Carey ready to be confined with a fourth,) he at once answered, "Yes:" and as his wife was so near the time of her confinement, he made up his mind to take only his eldest son with him, and to leave the rest of his family till Providence should open the way for their following. It was on the 1st of April 1793, that he parted from his beloved flock at Leicester, with this determination, intending to come out in an English vessel. But through the mysterious ways of Providence, however, he and Mr. Thomas were disappointed in this particular, after having been a fortnight on board: and they were ultimately obliged to take their passage in a Danish Ship, then about to sail from the Downs. These circumstances occasioned a delay of nearly two months, in which period Mrs. Carey, who had been confined of her fourth son, Jabez, having fully recovered, agreed to go to India with her husband, on the condition that her sister should accompany her. This being at once acceded to, Mr. Thomas, together with Mr. Carey, his four sons, Mrs. Carey and her sister, embarked June 12th 1793, on the Danish Ship "Cron Princessa Marie" and arrived in India Nov. the 12th, after a voyage of five months. On their arrival, (as no particular part of India had been assigned for their labours by their brethren at home,) they remained two or three months in Calcutta and its neighbourhood.
The salary appointed for the two brethren, sufficiently shows how unable Fuller and his other friends at home were to judge relative to the support of a Missionary in Inda, and how necessary it was that they should do something for their own support. With the strongest affection for them, they resolved that "the salary of Messrs. Thomas and Carey shall for the first year be the sum of £150, divided between them on their arrival, and that they shall draw this sum annually for their support." Thus Carey had seventy-five pounds annually; or, as the Rupee was then two and six pence, 600 Rupees, that is, fifty Rupees monthly, to support himself, Mrs. Carey, her sister and four sons; and even the second year, when his brethren at home had in love, added to this £20 annually, because of his large family, the whole amounted the monthly allowance of sixty-five Rupees. It is no wonder, that he found it impossible to live on this pittance in Calcutta, where even a wretched house could scarcely be obtained for a monthly rent equal to the whole amount of his salary. In consequence, he, within four months, left Calcutta, and took a small portion of land at Deharta, a place about forty miles distant, towards Jessore, with the determination to subsist his family by cultivating land with his own hands, thinking it as easy to support them by agriculture in Bengal, as in Britain. Providence, however, graciously prevented the distress in which this agricultural enterprize must have terminated, by bringing before him, the very next month, an offer from Mr. Udny, then residing at Maldah, to superintend at Indigo Factory at Mudnabatty, on a monthly salary of 200 Rupees; with which offer, as Mr. Thomas had accepted a similar one, Mr. Carey closed, with deep gratitude to his Heavenly Father, for thus graciously supplying his wants in a strange land. To Maldah, he at once removed, and in June, he went to Mudnabatty, (about midway between Maldah and Dinagepore) where Mr. Carey resided until December 1799, and being soon able to converse in Bengalee, he made know the Gospel to all around him and within his reach. It is, however, our chief object to trace his progress in translating the Scriptures. In this work the ardour of his mind carried him forward in a degree scarcely credible.
In his journal, sent home to his friends Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland, we find the following entry:—"January 27th, 1794. This day finished the correction of the first chapter of Genesis, which my Moonshee says is rendered in very good Bengalee; just as we finished it, a Pundit, and another man from Nuddea, came to see me. I shewed it to them, and the Pundit seemed much pleased with the account of the creation; only they have an imaginary place somewhere beneath the earth, (Patala,) which he thought should have been mentioned likewise; I observed that the earth was a planet, and that the heavens and the earth included all the material creation." Within a year after he settled at Mudnabatty, he began the study of the Sanscrit language. In his course of translating, he found it necessary to examine into the original meaning of the words he used, and these being, in many instance compound words, he felt it necessary to ascertain the meaning of their primitive elements, as, without this, he scarcely felt himself safe in the use of words in a language so little known to him.
This course led him at once to the Sanscrit language, from which at least five-sixths of the pure Bengalee tongue is derived; and determined him, at the age of thirty-four, to attempt the study, encompassed as it was with difficulty. India had never seen typography applied to her own indigenous characters, till about twelve years before the arrival of Carey and Thomas, she was indebted for its existence to the ingenuity and unceasing efforts of Lieut. Wilkins, then a young man in the Bengal Army, and now, the justly celebrated Dr. Wilkins, the author of our best Sanscrit Grammar, and Librarian to the Hon’ble East India Company. The attachment of this young man to Indian literature is testified both by Sir Wm. Jones and by Nathaniel Brassey Halhed, Esq., the author of the first and the most elegant Grammar of the Bengalee language which has yet appeared. This was printed at Hoogly, in 1784, with the first complete fount of Bengalee types fabricated by Lt. Wilkins, and respecting which, Mr. Halhed, then in the Civil Service, testifies in his preface, that in preparing it, Lieut. Wilkins performed all the various operations of the type-founder, from cutting the punches with his own hand, to bringing them complete from the foundery. To mention how deeply Mr. Thomas interested himself in the work both of translating and printing the Scriptures, is only an act of justice to his memery.
It has been already seen in what manner he began by translating Matthew, and circulating it in manuscript as early as 1788, and in a letter, dated Calcutta, January 4th, 1794, not two months after his landing, he says, "I am pursuing my Sanscrit studies, and keep a Pundit; brother Carey pays a Moonshee twenty Rupees per month, which takes almost half his income. I should be very happy to see a Bible in any degree of forwardness before I die, and have been talking with a printer to-day, in whose hands are the Bengalee types which are used here, on the expence of such a work." In one dated August the 4th, 1794, Carey says, "I now inform you brethren, that I can subsist without any further assistance from you. At the same time, I sincerely thank you for the exertions you have made, and hope that what was intended to supply my wants may be appropriated to some other mission. It will be my glory and joy nevertheless, to stand in the same near relation to you, and to maintain the same correspondence with you, as if I needed your supplies."
Another plan which Carey then formed for doing good to India at his own charge, was the following: "Mr. Thomas and I, between whom the utmost harmony prevails, have formed a plan for erecting two Colleges, (Chowparries, Bengalee,) one here, and the other at the place of our residence; in each of which we intend to educate twelve lads, six Musoolmans and six Hindoos; a Pundit is to have the charge of them; and they are to be taught the Sanscrit, Bengalee, and Persian languages. The Bible is to be introduced there, and perhaps a little Philosophy and Geography. The time for education is to be seven years; and we are to provide them with meat, clothing and lodging, as well as instruction. We are now inquiring for children proper for the purpose. It will be requisite for the Society to send us a printing press from England; and if our lives are spared, we will repay them. We can engage native printers to perform the press and compositors’ work." Thus the comprehensive mind of Carey, while intent on printing the Scriptures planned in the very first year on his entering on his Missionary work that institution for Native Instruction which after the lapse of thirty years he lived to see realized in Serampore College.
It is satisfactory to find that Fuller, Sutcliff, and Ryland, with their associates at home, fully responded to their brethren in India in generosity of feeling; as will appear in the following extract from a public letter, written by Fuller, September the 16th, 1795:—" It affords us great satisfaction that you have conceived a design of laying out your money in such works as establishing schools and translating the Bible. The latter however will be a great undertaking, and when it is proper to print it, you must not, even if you can afford it, deny us the pleasure of participating with you in the expence. The. public is generous, and what shall we do with our money, but appropriate it to the service of our God?" He at the same time informed them that "they had already resolved upon a Mission to Africa, and were that day met at Birmingham to take leave of the brethren, Grigg and Rodway, about to sail for Sierra Leone."
It is evident however, that they soon became perplexed about printing; for while in a letter to Mr. Fuller, dated August the 8th, 1795, Mr. Thomas says, "We intend to print and send abroad Genesis, Matthew, and Mark, this year, at our joint expence," in one to Mr. Pearce, dated October 2d, Carey says: — "The translation of the Bible is going on, and it is to me a very pleasant work. Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, Mark, and part of John and James, may be reckoned ready for the press; printing is uncommonly expensive here; and if types could be got from England, there are natives who can do the business of compositors and pressmen; and this would be the cheapest way. Mr. Thomas has a set of letters fit for types to be formed by, written for that purpose by a native, who writes an excellent hand.
I will persuade him to enclose them to the Society this season. We intended to have printed at our own expence, but at present are not able." In another letter to Fuller, dated November 16th, 1796, Carey says: "I expect the New Testament will be complete before you receive this, except a very few words which may want altering a third and fourth revisal, and now I wish the printing to be thought of. It will be at least two years from this time, before communications respecting printing will arrive from England, by which time every correction may certainly be made. We were in hopes of printing it at our own expence; but in that we are disappointed. Were it printed here, 10,000 copies would cost at the nearest calculation, 43,750 rupees, an enormous sum. But it may be done much cheaper, by sending out a printing press, with types, &c. and if a serious printer could be found, who was willing to engage in the Mission, he would be a great blessing to us in superintending the work; for the natives would do the laborious part." On this plan Fuller and his associates appear to have proceeded without delay. They immediately began to correspond with Mr. William Ward, who had been brought up to printing under Benson in London, and recently called to the Ministry by the Baptist Church in George Street, Hull, of which he was a member. He was then twenty-eight, and was studying under Dr. Fawcett, at Ewood Hall, in Yorkshire.
In October 1798, Mr. Fuller and his associates engaged him as a Missionary to Bengal; upon this Mr. Ward wrote immediately to Carey, informing him of having engaged in the work; and what must have been the surprize and the gratitude of Carey to the God of all mercy, when this letter told him, that the young man lie saw in London and to whom he then said, "I am going out to India to translate the Scriptures, and you must follow after to print them;" was now coming out with this express view, and with the determination to be his helper in Mission to his life’s end. Mr. Ward arrived in India, October the 13th, 1799, with his colleagues Emanuel Brunsdon, Wm. Grant, and Joshua Marshman, with their respective families.
Mr. Grant died of a fever eighteen days after they landed, and Mr. Brunsdon of a liver complaint about twenty months afterwards. In about the same space too, Mr. Fountain died at Dinagepore, and Mr. Thomas at Sadamahl, which left only Carey, Ward, and Marshman, with their respective families. When Mr. Ward had arrived from England with the printing apparatus, Bengalee types were still wanting which Providence was pleased to supply in a way quite unexpected. About two months after Carey’s arrival at Serampore, with Mrs. Carey and his four sons, a native* named Punchanan, who had been instructed in cutting punches by Lieut. Wilkins and had wrought at the same bench with him in cutting the Bengalee fount of types, applied for employment, offering to cut a fount at a rupee four annas each letter. Filled with gratitude to God for an occurrence so unexpected, the brethren instantly retained him, and a fount of Bengalee types was gradually created for about 700 rupees, instead of £540 sterling, (the price they would have cost in cutting at home.) The New Testament was then brought through the press within eleven months, Carey having taken an impression of the first page, March the 18th, 1800, and the last page being printed February the 10th, 1801.
With the Old Testament he proceeded, at press, without delay; and finding, after he had occupied himself in translating so many years, that by far the greater part of the words in other dialects around him, were derived from the same source, (the Sanscrit language,) and were precisely the same in meaning and import, the translation of the New Testament into some of these, appeared quite within reach. His being appointed in May 1801, to Fort William College, gave him the command of the first Sanscrit Pundits in India, retained as they were for the College, and increased his knowledge of both the Sanscrit and Bengalee language, (in which be constantly gave lectures) to a degree he could scarcely have obtained in other way.
Meanwhile pundits continually applied to him from various countries in India, who tis man, though he lived only 3 or 4 years, instructed in his art a family at Serampore, and thus the knowledge of type cutting has remained at Serampore ever since. And as a new fount of types in any language could be obtained for so small a sum, Dr. Carey, before his death, had the satisfaction of seeing founts of types prepared at Serampore in the Deva Nagree, the Kytee, or Bazar Nagree, the Punjabi, the Cashmeer, and the Multanee characters on the West of India; the Mahratta, the Orissa, the Telinga, the Tamul, and the Cingalese, on the South; the Thibet and Assamese on the North-East, and the Burmese and the Chinese on the East; together with founts in the Persian, the Armenian, and other Oriental characters could converse with ease in Bengalee or Hindoostanee as well as Sanscrit; this gave him an opportunity of closely examining their vernacular dialects; which led to his almost immediately beginning the study of the Mahratta and the Orissa, and a few months after, to a translation of the New Testament in those languages.
He afterwards did the same with the Sikh or Panjabee, the Bulochee and other dialects on the West; the Telinga, the Kurnata, and the Konkun on the South, and the Assamese, the Khassee, and the Munipooree on the North-East, so that, (with his brethren’s help,) he had the satisfaction, before his death of seeing the whole of the sacred scriptures translated and printed in seven of the Eastern languages, including the Chinese; and the New Testament completed in twenty-one others of the languages and dialects of India, and the surrounding countries. In his labours as a Missionary, he greatly abounded, in the younger part of his life, before he was closely engaged in the work of translating the scriptures. But although it was impossible to continue these in the same degree in his old age, especially when his hands were so full of other work, no less important to the cause Christianity, he never lost his Missionary spirit. On the contrary, he constantly mourned that he could do no more, personally, in a work which had filled his whole heart from his youth; and the Missionary cause was never forgotten in his prayers, either public or private. In addition to the evening monthly prayer meetings, for the revival and progress of true religion throughout the earth, constantly held at Serampore, he for thirty-three years held a weekly meeting for prayer with his brethren, in the Mission Chapel from 7 to 8 in the morning, with a view to the spread of the Gospel India—and the blessing of God, granted on the Missionary labours of those helpers, united with him European, East Indian and Native (for with him there was no difference beside that created by the grace of God,) was such as to excite the deepest gratitude. In April 1800, Serampore was the only Missionary station, in this part of India, as Mudnabutty had been unavoidably given up: and this contained a small Church of eleven Members, of which he was then chosen pastor.
This one Missionary station with a small Church, Dr. Carey lived to see increased to eighteen Missionary stations in his own immediate connection in Bengal, Hindoostan, Assam, and Arracan: and beheld twenty-six Gospel churches raised in them, each on the average containing nearly double the number of members which that one in Serampore contained in 1800, and these stations and Churches occupied by nearly thirty Missionary labourers, all, with the exception of six Missionary brethren, from Europe raised up by Divine goodness in India itself. In addition, to this he beheld eleven Missionary stations more, containing as many Churches of the same faith and order, and no less then twenty-five Missionary stations formed by other denominations of Christians, on the prosperity of which he felt scarcely less interested than in the thirty in his own denomination.
Surely when the venerable Carey looked back "on all the way the Lord his God had led him, these forty years" in Bengal, and recollected how India was brought before him as the scene of his future labour,—how the wants of himself and his family were supplied, when his brethren at home could not help him—how his mind was kept steady to his work amidst every discouragement—how the way was opened for printing the scriptures beyond his highest expectations,—and afterwards for his extending so widely the work of translation—and how the grace of God had been poured out in the increase of Missionary stations in this part of India alone.
Before we come to the close of this good and great man’s memoir, we will here briefly advert to the deep interest he constantly felt in the welfare and happiness of the natives in a temporal point of view; to his labouring with the Government till he procured from the Marquess of Wellesley the abolition of the horrid cruelties practised at Saugur Island, by the natives devoting their offspring to death there; to his incessant labours in exposing the abominations of the Suttee, which he had the happiness at length to see abolished by Lord Wm. Bentinck, to his cultivation of science, particularly that of botany, which he enriched with various discoveries of his own, he could not but feel that the grace of God had kept him alive in his work even to the end. What must have been the feelings on a death-bed of a man who had lived wholly to himself compared with the joyous tranquillity filled Carey’s soul in the prospect of entering into the joy of his Lord, and above all with what he felt when, a few days before his decease he said to his companion in labour for thirty-five years, "I have no fears; I have no doubts; I have not a wish left unsatisfied."
The following proceedings relative to Dr. Carey, took place at a Meeting of the Asiatic Society, held June 2d, 1834, The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Calcutta, Vice-President, being in the chair. His Lordship addressed the meeting as follows:—
"It had been suggested to him that the death of the Rev. Dr. Carey, one of the oldest and warmest supporters of the Asiatic Society, was an occasion which called for some testimonial of the sense entertained by all its members, of the value of his services to the literature and science of India, and of their sincere respect for his memory."
"He had himself enjoyed but two short interviews with that eminent and good man; but a note from Dr. Wallich, who was prevented from attending to propose the resolution, supplied his own want of information. Dr. Carey had been 28 years a member of the Society: and (with his Calcutta duties) a regular attendant at its meetings, and an indefatigable and zealous member of the Committee of Papers since the year 1807."
"He had enriched the Society’s publications with several contributions: an interesting report on the agriculture of Dinajpore, appeared in the tenth volume of the Researches. An account of the funeral ceremonies of a Burman priest in the twelfth: the Catalogue of Indian medicinal plants and drugs in the eleventh volume, bearing Dr. Fleming’s name, was also known to have been principally derived from his information and research. As an ardent Botanist, indeed, he had done much for the science of India, and one of the last works upon which he had been engaged, was the publication as Editor, of his deceased friend, Dr. Roxburgh’s Flora Indica."